After almost 9 months of wandering around in a blur, and ditching one plan after another, we have started something. On Tuesday 10th in Langkawi ,we signed a stack of papers, shook hands with Phil and Fay Atkinson, and took possession of SY Tramontana. They in turn, and in an unusual arrangement for boat sales, took possession of Malaika (with a cash adjustment from us).
Photo: On our way to Langkawi - Nick Wyatt and Zara Tremlett, managers of Yacht Haven Marina, casting us off for the first time that Malaika has moved in 8 months. Nick and Zara have been fantastic and have really looked after us both this whole year
We then spent about 14 hours over 2 days swapping the contents of the boats. The logistics of this feat would give you an instant headache, so just imagine you are trying to move out of a tiny little terrace house with a very narrow staircase, while the incoming tenants are moving their stuff in. It's a good thing that boats have forward and aft cabins with holes in the roof to drop bags of stuff through. What came out through the companionway of one boat, was lugged across a very narrow jetty, hoisted up onto the deck of the other boat and dropped through its forward hatch, until all the contents were transferred, moving aft bit by bit.
Malaika (L) and Tramontana(R) side by side in Rebak Marina this week. You can see how narrow the jetty is - at least it meant a short trip each time!
Champagne in the cockpit sealed the exercise, and we helped the Atkinsons cast off and watched them motor out of the marina. They left immediately so that their cat Nobby wouldn't keep trying to come back to his boat. It wasn't as hard as we'd expected it to be. All day while I was cleaning out cupboards and clearing lockers, I felt sad and teary, remembering so many many times with Ali on board Malaika. But as we waved goodbye and watched the boat we'd sailed 5000 miles in with our daughter disappear from sight, we both felt we'd done the right thing. Ali's still with us, I can feel her here in this new boat. She would have loved her cabin, with so much more space, and the flat open decks to move around on. The first thing we'll be doing is putting up some photos of her so we can see her all the time as well as feel her here with us.
Tramontana is a lovely boat. She's a 53 ft, centre cockpit cutter, built - by Phil Atkinson - of strip-planked western red cedar, with glass and epoxy. Her decks are clear and flat - Ali would have seen the sun-bathing potential immediately - and the dinghy is stored upright on the back deck behind the cockpit, lifted on and off the boat by the boom. Everyone who sees her and knows anything about sailing recognises what a great sailing boat she is. Phil built three like her - we almost bought her sister ship Pampero about 4 years back - and has built about 30 other boats. The engine room is a proper room, not a crawl-space in the bilge (although Malaika's was pretty good) and Lex can move around freely inside and almost stand fully upright.
The aft cabin - the second most important part of a yacht - is HUUGE. The dominant feature is a king-size bed, which will render memories of Malaika's aft berth a distant jostle for space. The forward cabin is a double berth, with plenty of space and storage. The two bathrooms are lovely, easy to clean and very practical. The galley is great, easy to cook in and well set out, with good high benches to work on. The nav area is opposite, and again is well laid out and spacious. It has a beautiful open saloon with a large fold-down table and long couches either side. The cockpit is terrific - THIS is the most important part of the yacht, because it's where you spend the most time. Yes, all right, sails and motors and stuff are important too, but I'm looking at this from a purely liveaboard point of view here... It's very similar in design to Malaika's with a hard dodger and a bimini overall, but with a lot more room. And did I mention the washing machine?
The aft cabin on Tramontana
All in all she's a head turning boat, built by a master boat builder. She has already completed one and a half circumnavigations in the 9 years that the Atkinsons have had her, and is in great shape.
Terri and Dennis Hart and their girls, our goddaughters, are joining us in Phuket in mid December for a sail, which will end in Singapore. We'll leave the boat in a marina and fly back to Darwin on 5 January, and come back to Singapore in early April to sail Tramontana non-stop back to Darwin.
Our Plan (#792) is to stay in Darwin and work for a while, spend lots of time with our kids and grandkids, and our friends, and go sailing as often as possible. After that, the question of which direction to head in is up for grabs, with a clockwise circumnavigation of the Pacific Northwest being the hot contender for a while now.
Eventually we'll start a new blog with a new name, but will stay with this one for now. A new boat name is in order too, something we'll do when we get back to Australia.
We'll keep updating this - so check occasionally, in case there are further versions of Plan #792...
Love from Jo and Lex
Lex with Tramontana at Yacht Haven a few weeks back