So it was, one Saturday afternoon – that time we went to ‘have a look’ at a yacht together. We had met just one year before. Peter had taught me to sail on his 27ft Mottle yacht. I’m pretty sure that by my second sail, I was hooked. The sound of the waves lapping against the fibreglass hull, the quiet exactness when the wind catches on the sails as they rise to the top of the mast and the engine is finally turned off. There is no other feeling of freedom.
From then on, I would spend my spare time looking on boat sale ads. I had the adventure bug. My small plans of moving interstate had become big dreams of ditching the land life for that of the sea. Whenever my thoughts would turn seaward, I could feel the wind on my skin, smell the salty fresh air and dream of sailing into some far away unknown port. I had adopted Pete’s vision to sail around Australia, then tackle the world – and more importantly, he had let me. That’s how Emma Ward found us. A 43ft Cavalier. It was love at first sight. Before meeting her, we had made a list of all the things we were looking for in a cruising yacht. Emma Ward effortlessly ticked them off.
The first bonus was how incredibly spacious she is. So much room! Spacious main cabin with lots of head room. Tick. Cupboard space – bonus. Toilet and shower. Tick. Hot water – bonus. Fridge. Tick. Freezer – bonus. Desalinator. Tick. Solar Panels. Tick. Inverter – bonus. Full functioning galley. Tick. So much storage space – bonus. Spare cabins – bonus.
I took in a deep breath I first looked at the sails and noticed her sail number- 88. Such a perfect strong number! Another sign that she had chosen us. We had signed the contract on International Women’s Day, March 8. The previous owner had relayed the story of how she named the yacht after her Great Grandmother, a very strong woman. She wanted the spirit of her Great Grandmother looking after her.
Since purchasing Emma, we have replaced most of the sheets and halyards (Peter has learned how to splice double braided polyester). We have also learned how to service the engine, do some basic electrical work and how to run the desalinator.
We get out just about every weekend and during this years dry season we took her on a 6 day sail to Dundee Beach. The sail to Dundee was great as it gave us a test of what it would be like to live on her full time. In the five months since owning her, our sights have been set on the next Darwin to Ambon yacht race. From there, we will sail around and explore the Top End before selling off all our belongings and setting off on our circumnavigation. It will be a momentous occasion, when we enter the lock for the last time and the gates of freedom slowly open to engulf us. And we shall embrace it with all the enthusiasm, desire and lust one can muster.