Delivery Bahamas to St.Maarten

New Year new boat delivery! This time I am going to join the Sailing yacht Ngoni, a 97ft (ex Pink Gin) Baltic Yacht built in 1999 and designed by celebrated Judel/Vrolijk. It could definitely be the most beautiful sailing yacht I ever had the chance to sail. Taste about boats are relative but this sloop with three headsails (I don’t even know which rig name is that) is a masterpiece of elegance.

Baltic Yacht 97

The trip will be long, roughly 1000 nautical miles. The idea is to make stops along the way in places like Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, St.Thomas. With a crew of 4 we prefer to do short legs and hide from the worst blows of the trades that are at their maximum in this season.

Go simple, go small, go now (but fix the boat first!)

dreamer

I never made a bucket list (false, I have at least “live in Buenos Aires for  a while”) or had a lifetime dream. The truth is that I have always had several dreams running in parallel and connecting randomly one to the other. For example I’ve always wanted to buy a small RV like the old VW van and make long journeys on it. It hasn’t happened yet but what happened is that I bought a small sailboat instead.

A small RV and a small boat have a lot more in common than the mere adjective. Both are vessels that pursue the idea of a nomadic and self sufficient life. That is true even if for most of the people they represent a mean of transportation for the spare time. They share a destination that is beyond the horizon and they give you a cozy and comfortable support during the trip.

I dream small while I could dream of a big luxury RV or a 90ft sailing yacht. Dreams are for free they say so why don’t exaggerate?

Coziness and simplicity of a living space have a great attractive power over me. The smaller and simpler is the shell that separates you from the environment, the less is the interference with the experience. Insulation from elements has always been an important feature for a living space but it seems that today we removed ousel from nature completely.

If you consider yourself limited and defined by the walls of you home why would you buy a mansion? If you want to travel the World why would you watch it from the window?

Going small and simple has many advantages. Simple and affordable equipment put less obstacles in your cruising project. Maintenance,and repairs can be made cheaper and quicker, with less need for technical expertise. That means more time and more money for cruising. Handling is easier and requires less manpower, even when the situation gets gnarly. Small boat are capable of great things, allowing you easier access to shallow anchorages and more available slips in the marinas.

A small cruising boat it was also the only possible option due to a limited budget. The original project was to save at least 80k, necessary to buy a certain model of boat and to invest the rest in a complete refit in order to have a perfect boat ready for ocean adventure. I soon realized that the 80k budget was not a sustainable goal and that if I really wanted to go cruising and live aboard I should reduce my expectations and go as soon as possible.

Saving up for years in order to have the budget someday was a way to avoid the problem so I checked my account balance and started to be aware of what was my real available budget.

Two events participate in the decision of go now. The first one was reading about Matt Rutherford circumnavigating the americas singlehanded non-stop facing the Northwest passage and Cape Horn aboard a 27-footer Albin Vega. This exploit opened my eyes on the fact a certain type of smaller sailboat is able to sail the oceans even in high latitudes.

I inevitably fell in love with the small but sturdy Albin Vega and started to make more and more research about the so called Good Old Boats, small vessels strong enough to take you everywhere you want. Unfortunately, Rutherford’s exploit made the price of Albin Vega’s rise quite a bit  on the used market. Luckily, the Albin Vega is only one of several good old boats on the market, and with 10k$ or less there’s an universe of sailboats that can take you anywhere.

The second event was reading about Daeung Sunim, a 42yrs-old Korean Buddhist monk that is going to bike his way across Canada, the United States, Mexico, and finally on down into South America. Asked why he was doing it, the quiet monk put his hand to his chest and said, “To test my spirit.” The shocking part was for me to learn that the monk was facing this challenge with no previous experience or training and that he just took this challenge on his shoulders because he wanted to see if he was able to do it.

Another event that made go now a feasible projest is the fact that my partner wanted to do it too and so finally Kate and I bought a Columbia 29 with the idea of fix it up, go living aboard and cruising around. It’s our first move to “test our spirit” and I am sure the refit will be a very demanding one.