Scout Around The World

Our journey from buying a trimaran in France and the voyage and adventure sailing her back to Australia

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Happy Birthday to me!

Last month it was my 50th birthday. It is quite a significant age and one that I have been looking forward to for a while. Our fifties have been the focus for Mike and I to start to live the lives that we have wanted to. Not quite retirement but a time for us to travel, have some adventure and see the world. Time really for us. It happens to also coincides with our youngest leaving school and it is the perfect window of opportunity for us to begin living the dream.

It has been a wonderful ride so far. We have raised our six children to be lovely adults. We have had enjoyable, rewarding  careers, built a successful business together and have great friends and family. But is has been so busy!!!. A busyness that we have thrived on but now is the time to take a step back and enjoy some time for ourselves. The week was spent with friends and family over several events and I couldn’t have wished for a better way to celebrate my birthday. I flew to Sydney to catch up with friends from school; had lunch with my girlfriend, who shares her 50th in the same week as me; a luncheon organised by my dear girlfriends;and a barbecue at out place with my family, including my three sibling and their families. I also spent the day with Mike around Sydney Harbour with lunch at Watson’s Bay and of course looking at lots of boats.

Our wonderful children. How lucky are we!

Our wonderful children. How lucky are we!

Not only was it a fabulous week- it was also the week that we signed the contracts for our Neel 45. What a  way to blast into our fifties.

Nautical inspired birthday gifts, including a book my girlfriend searched Australia for.'Sailing The Farm' by Ken Neumeyer.

Nautical inspired birthday gifts, including a book my girlfriend searched Australia for.’Sailing The Farm’ by Ken Neumeyer.

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Facing your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone.

I have always had a fear and loathing for writing. Essays, short stories, even letters are trials I have avoided most of my life. My english teacher at school, while a very passionate and gifted teacher, terrified me and I came to dread writing and submitting homework essays. I relished the day when school was over and I would never have to write another composition again.

Three of our children love writing and have gone on in their higher studies and employment to pursue their passion. It amazes me where they have inherited this gene from and I am in awe of their natural abilities. Quite often I would get my daughter to edit or comment on something I have “had” to write and her editing of my work always seemed to be obvious when it was pointed out. Which has made me wonder why couldn’t I initially see the mistakes myself?

If you know me or were to meet me, one of the first things you would notice was how fast I talk. I think fast, I talk fast and when I am writing, I write fast. It is most likely because I want to get my thoughts in my head on paper as quickly as possible, so I can get this onerous task over and done with. Because I never received such good grades in English, I just always assumed I was no good at writing. I sort of gave up and accepted that I would never be any sort of a writer. So why am I venturing into this realm and contemplating writing a blog? There are several reasons for writing this blog.

  • Most importantly and obviously, it is a way to document our adventures for family and friends back home, who will be waiting for updates and photos from our adventures.
  • A diary for ourselves to look back on and remember our days living and touring on Scout.
  • A pay it forward exercise. We have read countless blogs about sailing and cruising and have learnt so much over the last two years from others’ experiences, that I hope that those to follow in our footsteps may gleam from ours.
  • A way of networking and meeting other cruisers and sailors who have similar interests as ours. Receive feedback, hints and advice from them and hopefully enable us to meet up with them the along the way.

Also to help me face my fears. Our sailing journey will be full of wonderful and many, I imagine, fearful moments. They don’t particularly worry me looking forward, because they will occur, perhaps out of our control and they will, hopefully pass. Writing a blog though is something I can take some control of but I just have to develop a different approach to writing. I don’t have to be and probably never will be a good writer. I do, however have to learn to slow down and edit, edit, edit. Not be so impetuous and curb the need to write everything in a hurry. Develop a discipline and take my time and time is something that I have a lot more of now. Lets face it, it is a lot easier to write now than when I was at school. Editing then was done with liquid paper or re- writing the whole thing again on paper. Argh! There are many bloggers out there doing a better and perhaps not so good job at blogging. I am now here to join their ranks. I have nothing to fear. I will just do my best and hopefully get better.

While this blog is predominately about sailing, cruising the world and our adventures, it is also going to be a little bit about us and some of our musings. So please excuse me if I get off the topic sometimes. I will endeavour to bring it back on track as quickly as possible. Mike is also going to contribute when he starts to have more free time. Glance over the posts that don’t interest you but stick with us if our journey does. It is going to be a great ride.

PS…A quick note to thank my english teacher, Mrs Ann Abbott. While I feared your classes, you instilled in me a life long passion for reading and literature. I loved the novels we were ‘forced’ to read at school and while my writing skills may not be strong, I am sure my editing skills will be better from the many books I have devoured over the years.

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To Kill A Mockingbird- or how to name a boat


To name a boat is no easy feat. It has to be a name that encompasses many concepts that you feel strongly about and purvey the image that one wants. It has to stand the test of time. Like naming a child, you have to be sure that you will still feel good about it in years to come and you both have to agree on it.

We both liked the idea of a girl’s name but wanted it to be strong and feisty- see us safely through adventure and times of trouble but also be soft and sweet when just cruising along. We wanted it to embrace exploration and adventure as this is primarily why we are setting out on this course and we wanted it to be short, sharp and succinct. A lot to ask for in a girl’s name.

We deliberated for weeks. One’s suggestions met with the others disapproval until we thought about perhaps searching literature, something that we both love, for a name.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of our favourite books and the characters of Atticus, Jem, Boo and Scout resonated well with us. Scout was feisty, trusting, endearing and warmed to our hearts when we read this book in our school days. Adding to this is the imagery of a scout going ahead to explore and discover.

On a practical note – the Neel 45 is a trimaran with 3 hulls and the name of the boat usually  adorns the centre hull. Not a very wide area, so a short name will be a perfect fit. I don’t think we could have picked a better name.

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We bought a boat!

The last 2 weeks have been hectic. From actually making the decision, to where we are now has been an exciting, tumultuous, stressful, sleep depriving fortnight. There hasn’t been any time to write in this blog and as there has been so much going on and too much to write about, it has all seemed so overwhelming to contemplate writing it all down.

So to recap the last fortnight.

We bought a boat! A cruising multihull trimaran- a Neel 45 which we have commisioned to be built in La Rochelle in France. Deposit has been paid. Contracts have been signed and completion finish date decided on . We will pick up our trimaran on the 10th march 2017 and start our sail and adventure, eventually heading back to Australia.

Our business and our farm equipment has been put for sale. Mike has contacted people in our industry who may be interested and so far we have had 2 companies negotiating with us.

Mikes employer has locked in two lots of  six months leave without pay for him. Never thought they would be so agreeable so far out but we now have 6 months off from March 2017 to September 2017 and the same for 2018. We will sail the mediterranean for two seasons, put the boat on the hard for the in between seasons and make plans for how we will continue our voyage. Perfect arrangement for us. We won’t feel like we are completely abandoning our families and helps keep the sailing kitty topped up.

We have told our families and close friends about our plans. Most have always known about our desire to cruise a boat back to Australia but like us were unsure how we were going to pull it off. It was my 50th birthday over the last fortnight and we had lots of family visiting and celebrating- so what better time to announce to all. We also feel it is symbolic to welcome us into our fifties -this new exciting adventure which we hope will take us through our fifties and perhaps beyond.

Met with Mark Elkington today- owner of Multihull Solutions who are the agents for Neel in Australia. Someone to share our excitement with and officially welcome us to the cruising multihull world. He even dropped off our interior options for the boat. It is starting to feel real. IMG_1448 As you can imagine the level of excitement has been high between Mike and I. Lots of talking and contemplating and some stomach turning decisions in regards to winding down our business and Mike’s passion- his farm. But we feel good and so excited about the decision we have made and our future. We have 23 months to be out the door and on our way to France with lots to do in the meantime. We know the time will go very quickly.

PS. 30 minutes after Mark left today, we received an offer for our farm equipment. A little bit of negotiating and it is sold. Yee Haa! We are one step closer to getting out the door.