We bought an old yacht and sailed it to Greece.
This is how it all began……
We bought Fandancer together in March 2010. My husband Tim had owned other boats throughout his life, but this was my first venture into owning a yacht. I remember clearly the first time I visited her in the marina on a cold morning in March – she looked very unloved, tatty, faded, and she smelt of stagnant water, mildew and general mustiness.
“….. Ohmigod, please don’t let this be my future home”, I prayed to myself while Tim eagerly inspected lockers, bilges and the engine room. But it was too late, the boat was already ours and we now had a mountain of work ahead of us to make her shipshape. Her ancient, deflated dinghy was dumped on the saloon table, there was a large pile of dirty ropes and shackles on the spongy and uneven floor, and her massive sailbags filled the forward cabin. I couldn’t bring myself to inspect the ensuite shower facilities with any enthusiasm. We found rotting and abandoned foul weather gear in a dark locker and radar equipment on the chart table which would take pride of place in a museum of maritime antiquities. The original upholstery and curtains were faded and covered in grease. On the plus side, her hull was sound, and structurally she was in good shape. Her pedigree of being designed by Sparkman & Stevens gave us hope that she could be returned to the fine yacht that she once was, and become our future home…..
A few months later, Fandancer was out of the water and we moved aboard almost immediately while the renovation process began. We no longer had a conventional house to live in. Our home became a semi-derelict 40 year old yacht in the corner of a boatyard. For many months we had to cross the cockpit on temporary plywood boards, as the old engine had been removed through the ceiling of the engine room below. In the saloon, part of the fibreglass structure under a side berth as well as the adjoining shower room floor had been removed to install a new mast step in the bilge space, and the rest of the saloon floor consisted of several wobbly planks as the two old water tanks were removed. Our toilet facilities were a PortaPotti, and for a short time our water supply was a hosepipe attached to a tap in the yard. The galley sink waste pipe emptied into a plastic bin on the ground below the drain outlet which had to be emptied every day.
All flat surfaces inside the boat were covered with every tool ever invented. Dozens of paint pots and brushes were everywhere and Fandancer became a cross between an explosion at a DIY store and a jumble sale. Access to the boat was gained by climbing a sixteen-rung ladder, which raised my stress levels every time my foot touched the first rung. But we had electricity (necessary for all those power tools!) and with multiple fan heaters we were very snug, despite the coldest winter for many years, with four inches of snow on deck and foot long icicles hanging beneath the bow. We were also able to use the galley, and had a decent gas cooker where I concocted some delicious meals in appalling conditions. Once again I questioned my sanity…..
Tune in next time to find out what happened next!