Saturday, December 31, 2005

Getting closer

31st December 2005

A happy new year to all of you. Let us hope that we will all achieve our goals and aspirations for this coming year.

The fact that Miggy gave her requistite 3 months notice of retirement from her employment yesterday has jolted us into the realisation that our leaving date of 06/04/06 at 0600 (Neal's 60th birthday) is approaching increasingly quickly. They will even leap one second just before midnight tonight to allow the world to catch up with atomic time (I think that's the right way round!). We have a growing feeling of apprehension, but are still extremely excited, about our new way of life. We also have some sadness about the thought of leaving our friends and relations behind, albeit only for a year at a time. Having said that we hope you will come and see us during the year. This site will tell you where we are and you can tell us when you would like to visit. Final details can be sorted out by text, email or phone ( we will advise of our local mobile number on this site as soon as we can).

There is still uch to be done to finalise our shoreside affairs in this country whilst we are away. The yacht, however, is about ready and is raring to go. We have yet to load personal clohting clothing and effects and emergency provisions. We will not carry much food on board as we intend our passages, with a few exceptions, to be no longer than a day. Buying fresh food and wine in local markets regularly will be one of the joys of our new life.

Talking of the yacht, 'Bella', a Jeanneau Sun Oddysey 35, has an overall length of 10.75m (35'3''), an overall beaqm of 3.47m (11'5"), a draught of 1.85m(6'0") below waterline and a deisplacement of 5400Kg (11905lbs). She has a sail area of 60sqm in the mainsail and headsial together with a 'cruising chute' to give additional area in light winds. For safety we also have storm sails. She is equipped with a 30HP Yanmar diesel engine for no wind conditions and for motoring in harbour.

She is like a small cottage below with two sleeping cabins and a saloon living area with galley that is equipped with a gas cooker and fridge. She has separate shower/heads and draying/wash basin compartments and is fitted with pressurised hot and cold water throughout including a hot and cold water shower on the bathing platform at the back of the yacht. We have central heating below for any cold winter days and nights.

We have personalised 'Bella' to make her feel cosy with paintings and pictures from home including a collage of photos of our friends and family and other nicknacks such as brass clock and ships bell, cuddly toys and the like.

Outside her deck layout and cockpit, where we will spend a lot of time in the heat, are spacious. We have fitted awnings (bimini) over the cockpit and wind scoops to the hatches to provide ventilation below in hot weather. All openings to the accommodation below have purpose made mosquito nets for use when necessary.

We have equipped her to stringent 'code' safety standards with various life saving and health maintenance appliances and products and have fitted various gadgets to make life easy (Neal is getting no younger) like a gantry to maneouvre the outboard engine and other gear aboard. She is well stocked with electronics for self steering, radar, GPS chart plotting and radio communication to make life easy for two handed sailing and possible. God forbid, for single handed operation.

We hope to post photos of 'Bella' when we have mastered the way of doing it. In the meantime have a look at the builders website (Sun Oddyssey 35 - Owners version) to give you an idea of appearance and accommodation.

Look for updates of this site at least monthly before we go and more frequently hopefully while we are away. Next month we hope to publish an itinery for our first year. Keep your comments coming - they are great fun to read and will be reassuring while we are away. Sorry for any typing mistakes!!