In the midst of busy boat projects you never have time to write down everything that goes on. Later on it seldom feels like a tempting subject, especially if there are interesting travel stories waiting to be told. But sometimes a perfect opportunity presents itself – like when you’re waiting on a Galician ría to get some engine service done, and it’s freezing cold and cloudy – so I decided on a little article about the solar energy system we installed a year ago. Besides, we now have a whole year’s worth of experience and insight. If you’re into technical stuff and boat projects, you might find this interesting – if not, travel stories will appear soon enough!
There are certain things in life that you anticipate with such fear and anxiety, you feel quite surprised afterwards to have survived them. Things like the first day of school, driving test, first date, wedding day – and crossing the Bay of Biscay!
The spring in Brittany turned out to be long. Because of the blooming flowers and warm days we had experienced in February we had expected to be on our way much earlier, but it seems the phenomenon called the “second winter” is not entirely unknown beyond Scandinavia. April came and went before we felt ready to leave.
These were some of the highlights of 2018 – one of the most memorable years for us so far, and undoubtedly the most eventful!
Our journey began in June this year. That means we have now sailed slowly, and not particularly surely, towards southerly latitudes for more than six months. Having reached such a milestone, many sailors like to draw a summary of the highlights, measure how well their expectations were met, publish statistics about their journey and so on. It’s a good idea, so why not give it a try.
If you’re reading this, it means we have untied the lines and are somewhere out at sea! Heading towards the southern horizon, I hope, and next time you will hear from us when we find land again.
A couple of days into May it was time to launch our boat, Aina. The time came sooner than we had really hoped for, as we were neck deep in boat projects. But the big crane had only been booked for one day, and the costs could be shared by several boats, so we had to be ready. We had the boat survey done, keel cooler units installed on the bottom, two layers of new antifouling applied and all the zincs replaced. Right on time!
I have read Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time. I know the universe started with a Big Bang, and as soon as it’ll be done expanding it’ll shrink again, and another Big Bang will follow. The same theory seems to apply to boat projects. Last year it wreaked havoc on our little boat, and we had to sweat for days and weeks on end to get everything back together. But in the end we had a much better boat than we started with. I’m really hoping that this spring we can pull it off again – on our new boat! During the Easter holidays we finally had time, and tolerable weather – it’s a rare thing for the two to happen at the same time during the Finnish spring – to delve into the boat matters and to take a better look at our projects.
Planning a great sailing voyage is hard work. And it’s almost all new to us. Budgeting and planning, refitting and kitting our boat, safety aspects, charts, cruising guides, navigation electronics and programs, weather, tides, insurance, permits and qualifications, vaccinations, prescriptions, cruising routes, interesting places to see along the way… Not to mention the mental preparation! It’s really hard to imagine what it will be like to give up a permanent home on solid ground and move your whole life onto a floating home on the water. What will it be like to swap your safe, familiar everyday life for an uncertain future, your regular income for living off savings or odd jobs – and your monotone, wearisome life for complete freedom!
Winter days are short above 60° north. Really, really, depressingly short! But there’s one positive consequence: the evenings are very long! And if you like reading as much as I do, a long evening spent with a good book will make everything brighter! As we are planning to cast the lines and begin our big sailing adventure next summer, I have lately focused almost exclusively on sailing books. To be honest, I have also focused on browsing the web, but I can defend myself – it’s all been sailing related!