Roland & Gabriella

dec 21, 2020reiservaringen, Verhalen

Roland & Gabriëlla, ‘vertrekkers’ vanop de KLYC

Ik keek even op van twee prachtige jachthonden die het terrein van ‘onze Flynn’ naast de jachthaven verkenden. Mijn speurtocht naar hun ‘baasjes’ leverde onderstaand fragment op uit het leven van Roland (Oostenrijk) en zijn echtgenote Gabriëlla uit Malta. In het Engels , getuigend van flink wat levenswijsheid en durf.

 

If we stop wanting to shape our future and start being content with sitting still as our clock keeps ticking, then we give up our biggest responsibility in our life – our own happiness!
That’s the conclusion we came to after 29 years of marriage and after our two grown-up boys left home in order to conquer the world on their own.

Upon these beliefs we – Gabriella and Roland – decided to spend our golden years (or silver ones if you’d go by our hair) as full-time liveaboards on a sailing boat. Not that we were given any kind of sea legs from our parents, the love for the sea was always there for the both of us. My wife being Maltese and growing up in Malta and I having lived there with her for ten years, that’s somehow understandable. As far as sailing boats goes, we were total newbies. I grew up in the mountains of Austria and Gabby’s sailing adventures didn’t exceed dance party summer cruises.
Since we always had to work hard for our precarious crust of middle-class comfort, we had to go the route of budget sailors: buy an oldish boat, re-fit it to our desire and try to live a frugal life upon it sailing the world – well, at least the Mediterranean sea and everything on its way to it. Beyond that, who knows? We’d have to write another article in a few years’ time.
After a couple of years of researching and learning about the ins-and-outs of buying, restoring and sailing a real sailing yacht, we decided to take the plunge and start looking for our new home, our new life in earnest in February 2020.
Then came March and with it came a mystifying world crisis, allegedly caused by an equally mystifying infectious DNA matter, that locked up some 5 Billion people all over the world, in the hope, to de-mystify the mystery – (which it didn’t).
The immediate professional and economical effects of the consequences in our personal lives and the ramifications we have to except still to come solidified our convictions and philosophy and made us change gear. As soon as we were allowed to cross borders again, we went out looking for boats.

To cut a long story short: after Italy we went to NL and Belgium and found our 1977 C&N 39 here at the KLYC in Antwerpen.

The boat was Christianly priced, it was in very well-maintained condition and the owner turned out to be great guy and a valuable source of information. After many profound conversations and many more glasses of wine I am pleased to say, we believe we can call him a friend.

I wish I could say: the rest of our story is history, but we are still at the beginning. We have overcome our first hurdle – the purchase. Hearing about many not so well scripted stories of boat purchases, we consider ourselves lucky. Now the real challenge is about to begin.
We’ve spent some five weeks now on our boat. Well… not quite. Gabby spent them on the boat, meaning she was sleeping there too. I was sleeping in the car. Not because we fought constantly, but because we also own two young Rhodesian Ridgebacks (dogs). James, about 40 kg, and Miss Sophie, about 30 kg were impossible to hoist up the 3,5m long ladder at our transom. So, they had to stay in the car. And since James (the older one!) is so much in love we me (Roland) and refuses to stay in the car overnight without me, I had to sleep there. Having said/admitted that, there wouldn’t have been enough space to sleep on the boat for all of us anyway, in the midst of all the chaos we unleashed upon the boat. We were busy bees in these weeks, just that bees don’t make such a mess.

If we stop wanting to shape our future and start being content with sitting still as our clock keeps ticking, then we give up our biggest responsibility in our life – our own happiness!
That’s the conclusion we came to after 29 years of marriage and after our two grown-up boys left home in order to conquer the world on their own. 
Upon these beliefs we – Gabriella and Roland – decided to spend our golden years (or silver ones, if you’d go by our hair) as full-time liveaboards on a sailing boat. Not that we were given any kind of sea legs from our parents, the love for the sea was always there for the both of us. My wife being Maltese and growing up in Malta and I having lived there with her for ten years, that’s somehow understandable. As far as sailing boats goes, we were total newbies. I grew up in the mountains of Austria and Gabby’s sailing adventures didn’t exceed dance party summer cruises.
 
Since we always had to work hard for our precarious crust of middle-class comfort, we had to go the route of budget sailors: buy an oldish boat, re-fit it to our desire and try to live a frugal life upon it sailing the world – well, at least the Mediterranean sea and everything on its way to it. Beyond that, who knows? We’d have to write another article in a few years’ time. 
 
After a couple of years of researching and learning about the ins-and-outs of buying, restoring and sailing a real sailing yacht, we decided to take the plunge and start looking for our new home, our new life in earnest in February 2020. 
Then came March and with it came a mystifying world crisis, allegedly caused by an equally mystifying infectious DNA matter, that locked up some 5 Billion people all over the world, in the hope, to de-mystify the mystery – (which it didn’t). 
The immediate professional and economical effects of the consequences in our personal lives and the ramifications we have to except still to come solidified our convictions and philosophy and made us change gear. As soon as we were allowed to cross borders again, we went out looking for boats. 
To cut a long story short: after Italy we went to NL and Belgium and found our 1977 C&N 39 here at the KLYC in Antwerpen. The boat was Christianly priced, it was in very well-maintained condition and the owner turned out to be great guy and a valuable source of information. After many profound conversations and many more glasses of wine I am pleased to say, we believe we can call him a friend. 
 
I wish I could say: the rest of our story is history, but we are still at the beginning. We have overcome our first hurdle – the purchase. Hearing about many not so well scripted stories of boat purchases, we consider ourselves lucky. Now the real challenge is about to begin. 
 

We’ve spent some five weeks now on our boat. Well… not quite. Gabby spent them on the boat, meaning she was sleeping there too. I was sleeping in the car. Not because we fought constantly, but because we also own two young Rhodesian Ridgebacks (dogs). James, about 40 kg, and Miss Sophie, about 30 kg were impossible to hoist up the 3,5m long ladder at our transom. So, they had to stay in the car. And since James (the older one!) is so much in love we me (Roland) and refuses to stay in the car overnight without me, I had to sleep there. Having said/admitted that, there wouldn’t have been enough space to sleep on the boat for all of us anyway, in the midst of all the chaos we unleashed upon the boat. We were busy bees in these weeks, just that bees don’t make such a mess. 
Oh, I nearly forgot: Miss Sophie decided to go on heat in the first week of our adventure. Only dog owners know what that means, having a non-doctored male powerhouse of a dog in the vicinity of a bitch on heat. Don’t know if there are many boat owners out there, that are also dog owners of two un-neutered dogs (yes, we will have them doctored before we leave) and that want to re-fit a sailing boat some 3m in the air at the same time when the canine missus is on heat and that do not want puppies to slow down the progress of their dream and therefor have to tie them to separate anchor points at all times so that they cannot see each other and in order to do so having to climb up and down that blessed ladder uncountable times a day with an aching back from all that contortionist work on board and that lousy mattress in the car. (Pfff!) 
But what the hell… we asked for it and will push on.
 
Fast forward to the end of our first chapter: it’s now the end of October and we’re back home in Austria. In summary it was a great experience and a big step forward for us. One of the greatest lessons we’ve learned is best expressed with the acronym K.I.S.S. (keep it stupid simple or keep it simple, stupid. Both applies to us.) 
We have managed to curb the eager novice’s urge to make away with all the old and make space for all new. We streamlined our rashness and brought it in line with reality. Not only because of economical reasons, but because we also didn’t want to break with our own philosophy and betray one of our very ideas of living a more modest life, trading some accustomed comfort for life quality and freedom. A garden plot and growing tomatoes wouldn’t cut it for us. 

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