After years of dreaming, years of planning, years of chartering, years of borrowing and a summer of searching, viewing some 15 sailing boats, sea trialling 2.
A budget that started with £5,000 and a long wishlist.
The wishlist that got honed down and the budget that ballooned to £9,000 after a very frugal summer.
…we found her.
She felt right from the first moment, but I didn’t want to fall in love for she was still above our (ballooned) budget. The kids didn’t even leave CampyVan when we went to view her, we didn’t want to disappoint them (and they were happy watching the Minions movie).
As we drove away after seeing her we glimpsed back in the rear-view mirror with sadness. Although she ticked all the important boxes- structural integrity, sails, engine- , she wasn’t flashy and only had few of the nice-to-haves.
She was over our budget. And we said we wouldn’t, couldn’t go any higher, this sailing boat needed too many extras adding for our dream adventures.
It would feel too uncomfortable paying more: Afterall, we knew too little about boat ownership.
We left it at that. I sort of held onto the hope that I may find something within our budget before the end of the sailing season, but that hope dwindled as we boarded the ferry to Tallinn, our final adventure of the summer.
The summer ended.
I headed back to the UK for work, Antoine was travelling across Europe. Then totally out of the blue we got an email from her owners: they are dropping the price by 15% to just a slither above our budget.
Do we want her? – they asked- If not, they readvertise her.
We vacillated, weighed up the pros and cons.
Finally, after snatched discussions between Antoine’s work commitments in Brussels, Amsterdam and London and my Oxford and London commute, we decided. We put in an offer, it was accepted and the deposit transferred .
Two weeks later, on a beautiful autumn day, we drove 2 hours down to where she was. She stood on the hard by then, ready for the winter.
Nerves making us doubt our decision: what would happen to CampyVan?
Would we really be able to make use of her?
What do we know about boats and sailing?!
S**t, we haven’t even sailed her! (The sea trials were on 2 different types of boats that I dismissed as too small.)
We met up with the owners at the boatyard and they put us at ease immediately. We felt we were buying the right boat from the right people. With shaking hands and giggling like a child I took the pen to sign the paperwork. Monies were transferred via swish, the mobile app and she just like that:
We bought our first boat!
She’s a 28ft (8.5m) Maxi Fenix, a Swedish-built boat.
She’s an seasoned lady, but at 36 years old, she still has plenty of adventure left in her, we hope.
True to ourselves Mariposa is not your usual layout, but was a trailblazer at her time. Despite her size, she has a dinette and a huge bed under the cockpit.
This weekend we are heading down to start prepping her for summer adventures she may never have seen. (All her life she’s been used for short weekend trips and a week or two in the Stockholm Archipelago.)
We’re a family of 5 and plan a 3 month trip around the Baltic- Stockholm> Aland> Finland> maybe Russia> maybe Latvia… and back up to Stockholm and perhaps even to Uppsala. Mariposa is equipped for weekends onboard…so not much. I have a looooong list of “essentials” which I think we need for coast hopping.
When the paperwork was all signed and our families congratulated us on our new adventure vessel, we joked:
“Ah yes, but now we need to get 2 other boats, just for this boat” (A liftraft and a dinghy)
So that’s the start of our next mad venture!