Posted in: Breaking Free on Friday, January 20th, 2012

When Ben and I decided to keep this blog of our seachange we wanted it to be a complete and completely honest account of our journey.  Downsizing in a fast paced, money hungry world is not as easy as we thought it would be.

The Porsche hasn’t sold as quickly as we needed it too, it’s still sitting under the house collecting dust and the Stagea can’t go on the market yet.  The proceeds of these sales were going to get Tygress ready for long range cruising, and provide a financial safety net for a year or so.  Without that money and until we have it, we may as well be becalmed, for there is little wind in our sails now.

The money from the VSP payment hasn’t gone as far as we thought it would or needed it to, leaving us close to the line and unable to go any further than the marina (yet).  The boat, that was to be a symbol of our new found freedom and the herald of a simpler life, at times feels like it may very well be the sinking of us.  Sometimes we worry we bought too early (well mainly i worry, Ben is resolute in his faith that we have made the right choices) that we should’ve waited until the car sold.  But we were desperate, and myself particularly worried that if we didn’t get the boat as soon as possible, all these plans, like so many others, would amount to hot air and pipe dreams unfulfilled.   So we bought and naively hoped the car would sell quickly and relieve the pressure.

It hasn’t and the pressure grows.

To counter these worries, we check boatsales.com and boatpoint.com to reassure ourselves that we did the right thing. That we bought the right boat at the right time.  And so far we haven’t found any suitable alternatives, Tygress really was meant for us.  If we’d waited we’d still have no boat and someone else would’ve snapped Tygress up.

We cannot insure Tygress until certain survey report issues have been rectified which will take, you guessed it, more money we don’t have.   We’ve been unable to shift our furniture to Bundaberg in the truck we planned on hiring.  February’s marina fees are coming up.  Scotch, that once flowed in abundance, has now become a luxury item.  Times are indeed tough.

Ben is feverishly working to save us, he works to this day on a contract under difficult conditions (Photoshop would make his life much easier), for less money than he is worth (mate’s rates) trying to bring in the next instalment of cash.  Cash that we’ll use to get his boating licence, to repay the generosity of his mother and to satisfy certain credit institutions of their need for repayment.  It won’t be enough and more contracts are on the horizon.

To save money, which is now a main focus and criteria of all decisions made, we hope to be able to take our salty, sea-faring neighbour’s offer of sail training up.  Three months ago we would’ve baulked at the idea of  training anywhere else other than a certified sailing school (with their large fees).  But Ben is a veteran of the world’s oceans for over 30 years and has been a wealth of knowledge so far, and our confidence in him feels well placed.  We haven’t’ seen him so far this year, and we find ourselves missing his Swedish accent, his live-aboard camaraderie,  his keenness to share what he knows and his insistence that it’s all a lot easier than we think it will be.

So for those of you considering your own seachange we have some sage words to offer.

  • It will take more money than you think it will
  • It will take more faith, persistence and hard work than you think it will
  • It will test your relationship more than you expect it to
and because of these things it will be more rewarding than you ever hoped it could be.  To struggle through adversity to bring your dreams to reality indicates that you are earning them, earning the right to dream them and earning the right to transform them through your blood, sweat and tears into a bright and shining reality.





  1. NYCmonica says:

    What size is Tygress? I can totally relate on 31 feet being too small! And I can totally relate on being broke after buying the boat! Yesterday I was elated and deflated at the same time post-delivery. Thrilled she’s home but anxious about all the work ahead and where the money will come from. But it will come! Congrats on your adventure!

  2. Sarah says:

    Tygress is a 34 foot, steel, cutter rigged sloop. Although she’s not the newest or fanciest of boats, a few salty sailors at the marina tell us she’s a ‘tidy’ boat which is encouraging. We have a lot of work to do on her as well and it definitely feels overwhelming at times, but that will all be forgotten when we take her out the first time. How long did it take you to find Mata Hari? 39 feet sounds spacious!

  3. Chris Troutner says:

    Hey Sarah,

    My heart goes out to you to. My wife and I are ‘in the same boat’ as you. Preparing to simplify our life and move aboard has taken far longer, more money, and more energy than I would have ever imagined.

    When I get impatient, I remind myself how much more stable our lives will be when we reach the self sufficiency that a liveaboard life will provide. We’ll be able to provide our own heat from driftwood, our own electricity from the solar panels, and we’ll be able to take advantage of a larger job market by easily being able to move our ‘home’.

    Just this week there was a power outage. We were warm and well lit while all the expensive houses that surround our marina were dark and cold.

    It’s a lot of work, but providing for yourself always is. I can’t wait to sell our house, which I have half-joking named our ‘gilded cage’.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Chris, thanks for reading and commenting! I hope all is going well for your own big seachange. It’s hard to wean ourselves off all the modcons and conveniences of modern life but I think the rewards of self sufficiency totally make up for it! Especially as you pointed out when land lubbers are without power and heat you have your own. It was the same here during ex-tropical cyclone Oswald, those on shore lost power leaving them in the dark and without their mod cons, but we had lights, entertainment, power to charge phones/laptops.
      I guess though on the flip side we were getting tossed around by the extreme wind and fighting to keep ourselves and our boat safe while they were tucked away dry and protected by their four walls. Goes to show all of life is a compromise.

  4. Brianna says:

    I second that it’s harder than we’d though to cast off, and appreciate your honesty, Sarah. I know the rewards will pay off in spades, and the challenges will look smaller with the distance of time. 😉

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting Brianna! It’s hard to be honest at times when things aren’t going as planned, it can feel like admitting failure, but it is important to us that we tell it like it really is.
      You’re completely right about challenges fading with time, some of our early challenges already feel like tiny specks in the distance!
      Looking forward to reading your blog.

Leave Your Comment

* Required fields

CommentLuv badge