When you love someone…

We had Music Maker for a year. We spent many weekends sailing her in the Thames Estuary, on the River Medway, around the East Coast of England and we crossed the channel to France and back. We met interesting people and we’ve seen interesting places. Very light, fast and with enough room down below to spend the weekend or even a week or two, it was a true delight sailing her. She brought us many moments of joy…along with the much needed experience for novice sailors and boat lovers.

Crossing the English Channel from France on Music Maker
Returning to Oare Creek from Stangate Creek aboard Music Maker

Until one day when Sorin tells me that he would like a bigger boat – a boat that would have enough head room down below. I replied that I was not keen on a bigger boat, unless we could live on it. Unknowingly I set Sorin on the secret mission of buying a sailboat to live on – again with no money in our bank accounts. But, Sorin can dream big!

In his online search Sorin came across a sailboat moored in Almerimar, Spain. He thought that sailing boat was exactly what we needed. Next day Sorin went to the bank and took a personal loan.

Now, with the money in his bank account and ready to fly to Spain, he had to share his secret plan with me. Of course I was revolted to hear that he had borrowed money behind my back! But when you love someone you need to get over the things that you don’t like. Especially since it was a ‘fait accompli’!

Sorin booked his flight, hired a car and met the sellers at the marina in Almerimar. To his disappointment, the sailing boat he took a loan for and hoped to be of a ‘5 star standard’ was far from what he had expected! She had been hauled ashore for many years, covered in osmosis, dust and dirt. With a poor layout, the interior resembled very much with a cave – dark, mouldy, and overall very dated. There was sadly a huge gap between the online description and the reality! Deflated Sorin flew back to England to a bitching girlfriend who kept insisting we should give the money back to the bank.

Of course that was not an option, and luckily the Southampton Boat Show was just around the corner… We had been going to the show every year with no particular reason. Yet, that year we had a purpose. We had some money in the bank account for which we were paying interest and so we had to spend it. Not unwisely though! Before heading to the boat show we went to the used boat show, in Swanwick Marina on Humble river. This time, there was every chance to find the dream boat that we could afford!? Once we’ve got there we realised that our hopes where wishful thinking again! Every boat on display was far beyond what we could afford. Until Sorin’s keen eye fell on Mehalah.

An Oyster Mariner 35, she looked like a true ocean going live aboarder. She had a strong built in keel and a solid mast, clean hall and well calibrated rigging. The teak deck was worn out, though. Unlike Sorin, I was overall not impressed…But when I went down the companion way and I sat in the saloon, looking around and through the stern window, I told Sorin: “I could live here.”

That was the beginning of another adventure! We thought we were buying a sailboat to live on, when in fact we were buying a sailboat to sail around the world. But how could we have seen the future?

It is true that when Sorin was offered his Day Skipper course as a birthday present, shortly after our first sailing holiday with friends, I had planted the seed for this big dream. Purely speculatively, I had hinted that the sailing course could represent the first step towards sailing a sailboat around the world?!

We had to sell our beloved Music Maker, raise more funds, put Mehalah in the water and sail her to the Thames Estuary. Failed attempts to borrow the outstanding amount from marine mortgage brokers led to me taking a home improvement loan from my bank. We sold Music Maker in record time online to a Czech buyer. Sailing Mehalah to the Thames Estuary had to happen very soon. Marinas in the Solent are expensive and the autumn was well underway! We had to plan and make things happen around the clock. Surveying the boat. Servicing the engine. Checking all electronics (most not in working condition!). Finding crew. Dropping Mehalah in the water.

A young chap from London joined Sorin in the Solent the evening before the scheduled launching. The first hurdle came when Mehalah was in the water and the engine did not start.

Now I will need Sorin to help me out with the story!

16 thoughts on “When you love someone…”

    1. I was not really waiting, Dani, I was just really fussy and preferred to be on my own than go for half measures! 🙂

    1. 🙂 Happy you are following, Cath! Sorin would be delighted to jump in and say the story of the crazy sail to the Thames Estuary and what he learned!

  1. Just read your latest blog, I really enjoy your story developing and your candour sharing it. 🙂

    One thing that caught my eye earlier though: I thought most Hunter Sonatas had fin keels, so I was wondering how did you manage to keep it on a drying mooring. Unless yours had the lifting keel version… What type of keel does Mehalah have?

    1. Hi Peter

      Thanks for your kind thoughts.

      Music had a lifting keel indeed, but we also kept Mehalah there for a couple of years and her keel was not a lifting one (just long fin keel). It should definitely be either a lifting keel or any solid keel. For a racing boat with a long and flimsy keel, a drying mooring would not be a good idea, but otherwise it is fine as the mud is pretty soft.

      All the best!

  2. OK, am ajuns si eu pe blogul vostru folosind, binenteles, originala alaturare de cuvinte din adresa de email. Primul lucru pe care am dorit sa-l aflu a fost tipul yachtului, al casutei voastre si trebuie sa recunosc ca Mehalah m-a uimit! Este un yacht cu totul altfel decat am vazut prin marinele prin care am umblat si trebuie sa marturisesc ca mi se pare foarte fain gandit. E clar, nu e o barca de viteza, dar arhitectura lui castiga mult in confort, ceea ce cred ca primeaza atunci cand pornesti la un drum lung (de fapt la cel mai lung drum posibil).

    1. Buna Dorin, da Mehalah este intradevar deosebita. Ne referim la ea, alintand-o, cu “Our chubby English girl”…Am fost rugati sa ii facem o prezentare pe You Tube si o vom face in curand, desi nu este usor ‘sa te dezbraci la pielea goala…’

      1. M-a surprins prima data pupa deosebit de inalta, apoi am vazut ca tot corpul e atat de inalt, ceea ce desigur il face comod inauntru, scazand calitatile autice (deriva de vant). Printre alte „ciudatenii” am remarcat doua focuri si doua trape. Bimini inchis pe cele 360 de grade cred ca e la mare cinste pe vreme rea. Puntea de mahon (wow!!!) este foarte aerisita pentru o nava plecata in jurul lumii. Unde tineti dinghy? Unde tineti pluta de salvare?
        Mai sunt cateva lucruri pe care nu le-am „prins” din imagini:
        Ce putere are motorul?
        Cat puteti strange vantul?
        Cum e compartimentat?
        Si o mare nedumerire: am vazut o gramada de imagini pe net pentru Oyster Mariner 35 si pe multe scria Mehalah, si nu era nava voastra. De ce pe toate acele Oystere scria Mehalah???

        1. Buna Dorin. Sunt Sorin. In general in momentul in care iesi pe ocean iti doresti sa fi la bordul unui vapor. Mehalah este perfecta pentru valuri mari. Deriva de vant este un mic detaliu care nu ne-a preocupat. Noi nu facem racing. Da, avem doua focuri si asta este f important. Pe vanturi puternice focul pricipal devine secundar…din cauza formei si inaltimii de la punte. Sunt multe de vorbit despre Asta… Bimini-ul este inspirat de la Alex Thompson pe Barca Hugo Boss si este foarte important pe vant si ploaie din spate. Noi tinem putea aerisita pt ca altfel incep toate sa o ia la fuga (oricat Le-ai lega), sa-ti dea dureri de cap. De asemenea centrul de greutate ridicat mareste riscul de knockdown. Barca de salvare este in cockpit, intr-un compartiment dedicat, la picioare. Dingy-ul sta in spatele barci intr-o valiza atunci cand mergem in pasaje lunigi. Altfel pe punte cu fata in jos. Motorul este un Perkins 4108M de 50Hp. Nu il folosim decat atunci cand nu avem incotro. Upwind putem la si la 30 grade, insa depinde mult de starea oceanului…cand am venit in NZ din Fiji, din cauza valurilor, nu am putut decat la 50-60 grade. Ne-au sugerat mai multi oameni sa o prezentam pe Mehalah pe YouTube si o sa o facem in curand. Au fost construite doar 18 Oyster Mariner 35 si se pare ca toate au fost denumite Mehalah – nume urmat de zona unde urmau sa fie inregistrate. De exemplu, numele oficial al barcutei noastre este Mehalah of Lerwick. Daca mai ai alte nedumeriri, scrie-ne. Bafta!

          1. Merci Sorin! N-am navigat niciodata cu o nava cu doua focuri, dar simteam ca e vorba despre cazul vanturilor puternice. Un unghi de 30 de grade pentru vant de bulina, chiar si numai in circumstante favorabile, arata calitati nautice foarte bune. Cat despre bordul liber inalt, da, pt. un cruiser se potriveste! A mai ramas un amanunt despre care am uitat sa intreb: din ce an e nava?

          2. Salut. Mehalah este din 1979. Oyster este un fel de Rolls Royce al barcilor. Acum Nu mai fac barci de marimea asta. Fac doar f mari.

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