It pains me to write this, but Aisling is for sale. I've heard people say that the two happiest days of boat owners' lives are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it. I don't believe it. I fell in love with Aisling the first time I set eyes on her, and I can't imagine feeling anything but sadness when we walk away from her for the last time.
In the 16 years that we've owned Aisling, she has taken us on many grand adventures. While we were both working full time, we had wonderful summer vacations with our family in Mahone Bay and Cape Breton. With our close friend and "science officer" Nancy, as well as our beloved mutt Shakespeare, we sailed to Maine and had an idyllic time exploring gorgeous coves, hiking and eating lobster. Next came a magical journey to St. Pierre and the south coast of Newfoundland. And when we completed our first ocean passage from Halifax to Bermuda, we danced on the dock and felt like we had conquered the world.
Then, in 2007, Aisling safely carried us across the Atlantic to the Azores, and from there to northern Spain and into the Med. She kept us so comfortable and safe that what was meant to be a 2 or 3 year adventure evolved into a 9 year epic. Cruising is a surprisingly affordable way to see the world, especially on a boat of Aisling's size. Her broad beam gave us lots of space below decks, yet her overall length of 12.4 meters kept us in a sweet spot for low docking fees. In most places, we anchored out and stayed for free. Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Tunisia, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania...each new country brought us new learning and new experiences. We did it at our own pace, cooking meals in our own kitchen and sleeping in our own comfortable bed. One evening, as we sailed in a stunningly beautiful anchorage on the island of Lefkada in Greece, our friend Jaap greeted us. "How do you like my garden?" he asked, pointing toward the spectacular mountain view. Or, as another cruiser put it, "It's like owning a condo where you can change your view every day". OK, I admit that guy's boat had more in common with a condo than Aisling does, but you get the point.
Last year, we were already contemplating listing Aisling, and we tidied up to take some photos to send to a broker. Then, she looked so good that keeping her seemed like a better idea.
But now we've decided to go ahead with it. The biggest reason is that we want to spend more time with our family. We still want to cruise, but we'd like to have a bit more space for our adult children to visit. And as the years pass, we're beginning to think that a boat with some additional labour-saving devices could help us to continue cruising in the years to come. We always thought we would sail Aisling back across the Atlantic, but I'm not in a position to do that right now because of my mother's health. So in May, we'll sail from Sicily north to Genoa and put Aisling on a big ship that will carry her back across the Atlantic. Then we'll meet her on the other side and decide what the next steps are. But if anyone wants to buy her where she is and sail her in European waters, drop us a line.
After all these years, Aisling almost feels like a sentient being to us. When we leave her to fly home each winter, we pat her hull and say "Don't worry, we'll be back in the spring!" We haven't told her yet that she's for sale, and I'm not sure how we'll break the news. So if you happen to see her, mums the word. As for this blog, it's not over till the fat lady sings. We'll be continuing our postings as we make our way up the coast of Italy. After three months of Italian food and wine, I'm sure you can guess who the fat lady will be.
Click here for Aisling's listing on Yachtworld
Click here for more pictures of Aisling in our gallery