Well, those that know me well know that this has pretty much been a lifelong dream to buy a boat and explore the world. As a child, I was captivated by tales of sailing and the sea, stories such as Swallows and Amazons, Robinson Crusoe, Hemingway’s tale of “The Old Man and the Sea” and so many other stories I’d read as a child.
In recent years my hankering was made worse by YouTube and watching the exploits of SV Delos, Sailing La Vagabond, The Sailing Frenchman (Hugo Picard), Sailing GBU and others.
I first started sailing when I was 14 years old on the reservoir behind my school in Birmingham. I was bitten by the bug and enjoyed sailing a small mirror dinghy whenever I could, up until the time I started working full time and then moved to London to work for Demon Internet in 1995. Over the next 20 years I tried to go sailing as/when I could, but it never really seemed possible, there were always too many obstacles, problems finding a boat to crew and my heart wasn’t in balls-out racing – I preferred to cruise and enjoy the journey.
My career blossomed working for iii PLC and Redbus Interhouse PLC in fairly senior positions, which involved lots of travelling and no real personal time. Then in 2001 I bit the bullet and started my own business (Fido), which meant the end of any free time!
Over the years I had managed the odd day here and a week of sailing there, but it was more disappointing than fulfilling; so I pretty much gave up. When I tried to take my (now ex) wife sailing, she openly laughed “You don’t expect me to get involved in this do you?!” and promptly headed to the nearest 5-star hotel to recover.
Then, having finally “retired” in 2018 (selling the business I had spent almost 20 years developing), I decided to spend 3 months “unwinding”, sailing in the Med at the beginning of 2019 and signed on for a fast track Yachtmaster course, primarily to squash the nagging bug once and for all.
It didn’t work, I was just more determined to find a way to sail and in March 2019 I found a 32-foot Westerley yacht that was calling to me, I put an offer in, was in the process of arranging the survey when COVID struck and the UK went into lockdown. The deal fell through, and I spent the rest of lockdown cursing my luck and focusing on playing computer games, making videos and generally ignoring the call of the sea.
Lockdown finally came to an end and I arranged to go to Portland to view a 32 foot Moody. That took longer than anticipated because the broker’s office tested positive and they went into their own mini lockdown, but in the meantime, I found a 1977 Moody 39CC which was abandoned on the hard at the National Sailing Academy, it needed a little work but generally looked sound. I arranged a survey, which the boat passed with minimal findings (problems) so a deal was struck. That was June 30th 2021.
I had finally (suddenly?!) bought a boat! My dream was starting to come true! … Or, as I have often joked, welcome to my Mid Life Crisis!