In an earlier issue of Nautilus Marine Magazine, I introduced the concept of a ‘Seabbatical’ as a means of enriching your life by taking time out earlier in life and bring about a cruising adventure to explore the islands and oceans of Australia, the Pacific or even the world.
So I’ve decided to embark on my own Seabbatical journey and document the experience along the way. Turning 40 helped encourage me to pull my finger out and start putting some things into action and with my business continually growing and ratcheting up the stress levels like a frog in a frying pan, its time to see how I can get on the water too. I don’t intend to check out of life full time though and I don’t think you have to – its all about balance. All elements of my business have been designed so I can actually operate remotely, be it from a hotel room, or a boat on the coast of Australia…but no doubt we will be out of range and its hard to take phone calls when you are underwater!
I’m going to follow the seven steps that we outline in my book ‘SEAbbaticals: How to pursue paradise by sea, before you retire’. So here’s how it looks so far:
Waypoint 1: Plan
I’m a keen scuba diver and having dived in locations like Tobago, Vanuatu and Thailand, I’m keen to explore some of the best that we have to offer in our back yard given we have the greatest reef system on earth. Though my youth was spent on Great Keppel Island at our family’s island house, we never actually made it out to the outer reef system or coral cays such as Lady Musgrave, Heron, Lady Elliot etc which are all located near the Tropic of Capricorn – mostly due to not having a boat that was really suitable to get out there. So my plan is to embark on diving Seabbatical to the Great Barrier Reef and explore other islands locations along the way.
Waypoint 2: Purchase
As my budget wouldn’t allow for something grander, I’ve selected one of the greatest coastal cruising boats ever built, a 33ft Seawind 1000. It’s the Jeep Wrangler of the Waves, the Combi of the Coast, the Beach House beyond the Breakers. This little cat maybe compact, but it is perfectly designed for sailing the tropics with a big open living space and sufficient accommodation for our family. It is also in commercial survey so I can charter it out and help fund my adventures. We have renamed her ‘Seabbatical’ for obvious reasons. Had the budget allowed, a Seawind 1160 LITE would have been ideal as it offers better accommodation and much easier to get the family onboard.
Waypoint 3: Profit
At this stage in life, I couldn’t justify pumping a bunch of money into a boat that is going to lose money from day one – as all private boats do new or used. So it needs earn a living, pay rent and board, help pay for its own expenses and not leave me with a massive loss at the end of our little adventure. So we plan to operate day charters on Sydney Harbour and may even explore other opportunities in Queensland as the boat sails north. We will provide details on how this unfolds.
Waypoint 4: Prepare
Though I have been sailing since I was a kid, the one thing that was drilled into me from a young age from my 70 year old sail trainer was that ‘when it comes to sailing you never stop learning’. So I plan to freshen up on some seamanship skills and safety at sea courses with our partners at Pacific Sailing School who offer RYA accredited training onboard dedicated catamarans. I will also be taking the opportunity while the boat is on charter close by to get out sailing as often as possible with family to get them used to the boat and not push the boundaries too much.
Waypoint 5: Prosper
I plan to sail, dive and cruise. But with two young kids at school and a mortgage to pay off, I will be ensuring that we have an exit plan and resale is important so keeping the boat in good condition is important as is timing its sale. But importantly keeping the entire project in perspective to gain some life value out of the exercise and smell the roses as we go.
Keep reading Nautilus Marine to follow our journey as we document our Seabbatical and show lessons we learn. You can also follow our blog at www.multihullcentral.com
Brent Vaughan is the Managing Director of Multihull Central and author of ‘Seabbaticals: How to pursue paradise before you retire’. If you are interested in joining the journey, learning the ropes and also enjoying your own time onboard the boat Seabbatical, consider joining the ‘Seabbatical Club’ to start preparing for your own adventure one day.