That’s what people say to me when I tell them live aboard a sailing yacht in the Mediterranean.
It was my husband’s idea. He was retiring but couldn’t bear the thought of watching daytime TV forever and ever. He wanted something TO DO!
We could have bought a bungalow and planned a garden, but as neither of us is green fingered the idea was quickly discarded. So too was buying a place in the sun. We’ve heard too many people on that TV programme saying how they can imagine themselves sitting on a balcony overlooking the sea with a glass of wine in their hand. The trouble is at what time do you pour that wine? If there’s nothing much else to do all day except admire the same view, you might find yourself pouring a glass alongside your bacon and eggs!
Not for us.
There was a niggling idea at the back of our minds. We used to keep a sailing boat in Malta and fly out to it for holidays. We even sailed it from Malta to Cephalonia and around the Ionian Islands.
The niggling idea at the back of our minds was to live on the boat all the time. Whilst in Malta we’d discovered there was a yachting community, people who’d sold up and set sail – south until the butter melted. Some of them had properties let out in the UK to fund their lifestyle. Others lived on a pittance doing odd jobs here and there to survive.
Were we up for it?
It takes guts. It takes a lot of willpower, selling everything up including house, car and house contents, though as far as the latter was concerned my daughter requisitioned the things that most appealed to her.
Our circumstances were such that we had a basic knowledge of sailing and although only having a state pension we wouldn’t be destitute. Over the past twenty-three years I’ve written about fifty novels and would continue to do so. As long as I had a computer to hand plus the means of sending a finished manuscript by email, we were up and away!
It was in September 2012 that we left Falmouth and the coast of Cornwall behind, heading west to pass the coast of Southern Ireland, the Lizard lighthouse throwing its long reaching beam behind us. We kept the dreaded Bay of Biscay to our port (left) side.
Both in our sixties, just two of us on a forty-six foot yacht we were off on the adventure of a lifetime.
The dreaded passage didn’t turn out to be too dreadful at all and we never seemed to be without company in the form of porpoises and dolphins, even a whale spout at a safe distance. Three days later we arrived in La Corunna in Galacia, mainland Spain. We’d done our first trip and a bright yellow sun was shining down on us. The food was good, the wine was good and so was the company, other couples off to do exactly the same thing.
We had all entered a different world. No council tax, no heating bills and a carefree lifestyle if you didn’t include boat maintenance and cleaning.
From Corunna we slipped our moorings and headed for Portugal, more lovely food, cheap port and cheese and other ex pats who had also slipped away from the rat race. Hopefully I can tell you all about that next time.
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