As some of you already know, the boat is back in California while Jean and I work on our businesses and position ourselves for semi-retirement in a few short years. The pace is very intense. I think our schedules are fuller now than at any point in memory with us going as long as month without a full day off. Jean's business, Easykeeper
is nearing the real launch and we're looking forward to fully unveiling the application. Meanwhile Island Planet Sails is hopping. By mid-May we had already built more sails in 2011 than we did in all of 2010. A special thanks to those in the cruising community who contacted us for sails.
I've been visiting Exit Strategy a few times a week and bringing a few dock cart loads of our stuff off the boat at a time. The boat is rising. I think it's up at least 1.5" (38mm). There were some things I've pulled off that we cruised with but never used. Great lesson for next time. The one thing I'm really torn about is what tender to use next time. We love the Porta-Bote but for long passages the seats have to be stored and they take up a lot of space. Building or buying a nesting dinghy that could store on the aft cabin has a lot of appeal. We're not big fans of the RIB. They have a much wetter ride than the Porta-Bote and require much more powerful outboards that are prone to theft. We can get by with our 2hp quite often, throwing the 8hp on for longer trips. I can plane by myself with the 2hp. We'll have some time to sort it out.
Another idea I have involves a second toilet. We have two heads, one ensuite in the master stateroom and the other forward. The forward head has a Lavac that we're quite happy with. The aft toilet was removed to convert the compartment to storage. I've been thinking about a composting toilet. I think between the Lavac and the composter we'd really have our 'stuff" together.
Technically the boat is still on the market as we don't want to have a boat just sitting that costs around $20K per year to keep when everything is factored in. However there is a very limited market for real cruising boats in California. Most people gravitate towards production boats like the Catalina's, Hunter's, Beneteau's, etc. There is no financing available for older boats so even for people that want a high quality older and proven passagemaker, they are limited to cash on hand. The market is sluggish right now with a lot of deals falling apart for one reason or another. I think it may not sell, which is fine. It's a phenomenal boat that's had every system replaced so it's very reliable. We'll be quite content to head back out with Exit Strategy.
Almost all who have expressed interest are from Europe and the east coast. Most California sailors don't know what an Amel is unless they've been cruising and realized once you get to the South Pacific, they're actually pretty common. One of our cruising friends told us he was in an anchorage in Polynesia with 9 other boats. 5 of the boats were Amels.
If Exit Strategy sells, we'll buy an aluminum boat with lifting keel for the next adventure. That may entail a trip to Europe. We're willing to travel. If Exit Strategy remains in our custody, then we'll head back down to Mexico and then to the South Pacific. Ultimately it would be nice to end up in Australia to join the Darwin to Bali Rally. We've spent enough time in SE Asia to know we love it there.
Right now we're just taking it day by day with the knowledge that our efforts will pay off and we'll be back "out there" before we know it. I'm really missing the daily interaction with fellow cruisers. It's an amazing community.
The picture for this blog post is of us leaving our slip in Alameda for Mexico. We are looking forward to doing it again.