At TpT (at work), we’d tell new hires to write down all their observations in the first 2 weeks, because after that everything starts to look normal. We’ve been living on our boat for 2 weeks, and already we’re getting used to marina life (like walking to the marina office to use the bathroom every day). But it’s been a whirlwind. There was so much excitement about getting a new boat, we had a meltdown in just a few days!
First off, we didn’t expect La Rochelle to be so nice. We expected a busy, probably dirty, industrial port, like LA Harbor (sorry, LA; you are otherwise very pretty). The old town is really pretty and the seafood is amazing. They are famous for oysters all around the coast. There are lots of boats and I love the sailing culture. We see kids windsurfing, sailing and boat racing in all weather conditions. There’s apparently even a lot of surfing going on. A ton of boat production happens here - if you’re ever here, please let us know and we’ll probably give you a boat shopping list :)
The boat is gorgeous. She is comfortable to sleep and live in with a lovely outdoor dining area. The quality of her build, fittings and finishes is top-notch. She sails well for her class, a 40 foot catamaran. We learned that there is a 2 year wait time for most Fountaine Pajot models, and it makes sense, looking at the newly minted FP catamarans around the marina.
Her name is Kaya, after the egg coconut jam spread from Singapore. My mum and sister also have a bird named Kaya. Kaya has many other meanings, according to the internet - I think they all sound positive.
We moved in to our new boat with limited electricity and water and no gas for cooking, and gradually equipped the boat. We needed, for example, to get diesel fuel for our generator since we couldn’t use shore power (long story, work in progress); we had to buy propane gas tanks which were then missing connectors that we also had to buy, etc… after many other steps, we finally have our own wifi and feel way more settled. We still have to buy a ton of stuff for her to be livable and seaworthy: household supplies, like kitchen utensils, pots and pans, bedsheets, cleaning supplies; boat equipment, like additional fenders and ropes and wood saturator (fun activity for an afternoon); paperwork is a story for another time.
There is NO STORAGE SPACE. We thought we were being minimal with the luggage we brought but we have even less storage than expected. A lot of the storage needs to be waterproofed. Some of my happiest purchases were pots with detachable handles, a salad spinner that collapses to half its size, and stackable waterproof plastic tubs.
We had our first fight 2 days after moving in. It was about bedsheets. Our beds are nonstandard in size. We disagreed on the duvet cover size. It turned into an argument about not trusting each other’s judgment. It’s too silly to go into… Why we REALLY fought was because we were tired and hangry (this was when we were still sans utlities and were on our 4th trip to the stores), and also overwhelmed by how much there was to learn and do. We are relatively new sailors and now we have a whole boat and have to learn about the electronics, engines, generator, heaters, water systems, etc on top of sailing and the dreaded PARKING of the boat. Also, Tobi hit his head on the ceilings 3 times on the first day.
The thing we miss most… is Amazon.com. It’s taken us many iterations of running to Carrefour, local hardware stores (although Leroy Martin is amazing!) and the marine chandleries to find things that will fit our space. Often we had to return home empty-handed to measure something, or bring back a part to fit another part. Back home we would have ordered everything from our living room. Thankfully our brokers were really helpful in giving us advice and ferrying us around to good spots for the first few days.
The most terrifying part of the first week was parking the boat in a super crowded marina. But we started sailing training with the best instructor! With the help of our instructor and a lot of fenders, we’ve gotten comfortable pulling up to a dock and only a few near-disasters. I highly recommend Alain Girard if you’re ever in need of a coach or delivery services (some of these photos are from his Instagram).
Twiggy has come a long way. She has always hated water. She was initially terrified all the time, even getting to the dock from the main office. Now she runs up and down the dock with no hesitation. She is still anxious when the boat is moving, but this week she passed out when we were sailing with the gennaker. That was also the moment when I felt like this was all a really good idea.
Sobering news of bad weather around the region last weekend. Portugal got hit by a hurricane, which hasn’t happened in like 100 years and uprooted thousands of trees. Flash floods from just 3 hours of massive rain caused more than 10 deaths in the south of France. We only got light rain here.
The plan is to spend a few more days training, do more work on the boat and then to wait for the next good weather window to leave. It will be a 2 day voyage on open water to the next port. We’ll have a skipper with us (hopefully our instructor!). Our neighbours (a 47 foot cat) are planning to leave in a week. Hopefully we will have buddies to cross with.
In summary, we had many #OMGWTFBBQ moments. Ups, downs and too many other details to share in one post. We are busy all day, every day. And we are loving it. Till next time!