Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Change of Command

Some of you may have noticed it has been a while since our last blog post. That is because we have been maintaining blog silence for the past few weeks, as the sale of Starship was pending!

It all started upon our arrival in New Caledonia, when we informed our yacht broker (located back in French Polynesia) of our arrival in Noumea and our desire to lower the price of Starship one last time before we cancelled our contract and sailed on to Australia.

A few days passed and we were preparing to sail for Australia, when we received an email that someone wanted to come and take a look at Starship. Unfortunately the potential buyer couldn’t come out to see the boat for nearly a week, but that gave us the time we needed to get her gleaming and tidy. We spent a weekend at Ilot Maitre with our good friends from Hydroquest, enjoying the beautiful island and cleaning Starship. Ilot Maitre is only 3nm outside of Noumea, but the sea life and scenery is spectacular!

Anne-Marie and Chris sitting in a tree...
Sarah and Will in the same tree
Chris & Will monkeying around
We returned to Noumea and the buyer came aboard with his friend and the local ‘yacht broker’ Thierry. They had a look around the boat and we heard a lot of ‘C’est Super, C’est Super’, but also a lot of ’27 percent! 27 percent!’, the cost to import an American boat in New Caledonia.

There was no doubt the buyer loved Starship, but it seemed the high cost of import was going to kill the deal. The buyer made us a lower offer, citing the high cost of import, but we rejected it since we had so much interest in Australia. We informed the buyer we would be checking out of the country at 10:00am the next day, and our price was firm. We resigned ourselves to sailing to Australia, with a good practice run for showing the boat under our belts.

The next morning at 8am our Skype phone starting ringing. We just missed the call, but a text message was waiting that said the buyer would pay our asking price! Anne-Marie and I were both ecstatic! A purchase agreement was drafted and signed that day with a 10% non-refundable deposit, and no conditions on the sale.

Little did the buyer or we realize that signing the purchase agreement was the easy part, the difficulty of the New Caledonia bureaucracy still laid ahead! Luckily for us, the buyer was responsible for dealing with the bureaucracy, since the officials often spoke little English, it would have been nearly impossible for us to sift through it all. Over the next couple of weeks it seemed as though hurdle after hurdle was thrown in front of us that threatened to kill the deal. It was an emotional roller coaster ride, as our window for sailing to Australia was closing, but finally everything came together and the bill of sale was signed yesterday!

While all of this was going on, we were trying to figure out what do with all our stuff and how to get ourselves to Australia. Our friends Atmo and Petra from the 44ft Privilege catamaran Elfrun, self-described ‘German Hippies’, were kind enough to offer us crew positions on the final leg to Australia! Many times during the roller coaster ride of bureaucratic red tape, we thought for sure they would leave before we had the deal finalized. Luckily, for us at least, poor weather has kept them here long enough to take us, and all our stuff, to Australia.

Final beach walk as owners of Starship
It is certainly sad to see Starship go. She’s carried us safely across the world’s largest ocean, she’s brought us to spectacular anchorages and she’s been our first home as a married couple. Her walls are lined with all the tears, laughs, fears and joys of our journey. We’re both very attached to our beautiful boat, but we know it’s time for our next chapter and we’re ready to open that door. We’re delighted to see her go to a happy and adventurous couple that have plans to continue cruising on her, like she is meant for.

One of our last sails on Starship
It's hard to believe she's gone 
We love her
Thank you Starship

The new owners enjoying their first sail on Starship
There will be a couple more blog posts yet to come, including what we think of sailing on a catamaran, our time in Australia, and a recap of our trip.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Blissful Passage to New Caledonia

I thought I was ready for our passage to New Caledonia. We stayed at a rocky anchorage the night before we left, I made plenty of passage food, I took pre-emptive sea sickness meds and I was reciting all my usual positive pre-passage sayings!
Passage Food Meals! Mac & Cheese; Lentil Stew! Yummy!

The seas had other things in store. The waves were confused, large and on our beam....great :(
The one saving grace was our cockpit side covers. We would have been completely soaked without them. I felt pretty green instantaneously and puked that evening. Lovely....I was definitely cursing all this sailing bologna.

The next day the seas calmed into beautiful gentle rollers and the wind subsided to 15 knots. Starship was gliding effortlessly towards New Caledonia under bright blue skies. The next four days continued to be the best sailing of our lives. I could cook, read, do computer work and still felt amazing. It felt like a vacation with Chris and I lounging in the cockpit.The night watches were even enjoyable. The sky was clear, I was seeing shooting stars and I loved listening to Vinyl Cafe as I dreamed about our future in Canada.

We also celebrated the milestone of sailing over 10,000 nautical miles since leaving San Francisco! It was fun to reset the odometer because we've sailed too much :)

All in all a wonderful 5 day passage to New Caledonia, where we treated to this beauty the night we arrived. 

Thank you sailing gods for giving us one easy passage during this South Pacific. Here's to hoping we have one more!