30 January 2022 | Ft. Lauderdale, FL
There is a very old, well-known boating adage: "The two best days in a boat owner's life are the day they buy it, and the day they sell." Whoever coined that phrase must have had a crappy boat.
Our idea to purchase a boat and go cruising began years before we created Berkeley East. Those days of dreaming, researching, planning, and chartering were exciting, some of the best days during that time. Executing the contract with Hylas Yachts to build Berkeley East, while stressful, was truly a highlight of our lives. Visiting Queen Long Marine in Taiwan while BE was under construction was exhilarating.
Choosing a boat name, taking delivery of Berkeley East in Ft Lauderdale, performing her first test sail, signing the closing documents making us the proud owners of the best Hylas 54 ever made; all were a few, just a few, of the best days in these particular boat-owners' lives. Add to that, 15 years filled with fun, travel, challenge, adventure, exploration, discovery, friendship, and sailing; there were endless best days.
There is no question that there were also tough days, scary days, exhausting days, days we thought would never end. Contrary to popular belief, cruising is not all "cocktails and sunsets". But the cocktails and sunsets helped take the sting out of the bad bits. And having a beautiful, strong, well-equipped yacht like Berkeley East kept us safe, secure, and, as comfortable as possible, during the more challenging moments.
Our plan to end this phase of our lives, while difficult, was well thought out. We were not happy to stop cruising, we were not relieved at the idea of selling Berkeley East. It was just time for us to move on. We've made complex decisions like this before: selecting one college over another, taking job number one instead of job number two, moving from California to Australia, and back again, retiring from careers we loved, to go sailing. All choices that presented thrilling possibilities mixed with quiet trepidation, just like now. Perhaps we have good instincts, or just enjoy dumb luck, but most of the time we made the right move.
After weeks of hard labor getting Berkeley East ready to sell, we escaped to the beach to rest and recharge. We spent five days enjoying the sun and sand, with just one serious task at hand: making our list of "Next Best Days" once BE had sold. The Captain brought his spread sheets; the Admiral packed her post-it notes. The result is a collaboration of ideas that present us with a continuing goal for new experiences, challenges, and adventures. It is a list so long that we probably will not have time in our remaining life to reach completion, but we will die trying.
Less than a week after Berkeley East was listed, we received two offers. It was very flattering to see that the boat we loved, and looked after, for 15 years was so attractive to buyers. A few weeks later, following an extensive survey, test sail, questions, answers, requests, and negotiations, we signed BE over to her new owners and officially ended our cruising run on Berkeley East, the best Hylas 54 ever built. It was truly one of the saddest days of our lives. But without the sadness, we would not have experienced all the joy. We had a great ride!