The wind lifts and suddenly there is shouting on deck. Main and mizzen sails are hoisted in less than 2 minutes, and as the sails catch the breeze, the sound of a hull slicing through the water catches your ear. But you don’t move a muscle; let the Captain and the crew deal with the driving. You are laying back on a sunbed gently quaffing another bottle of Bollinger. “Fetch me another lobster, this one is empty!!”.
Ah, sport can be so exhausting.
The world of the super yacht is one of absolute luxury. In terms of money pit, nothing beats a boat. Just ask any sailor, from the owner of a racing laser to the commander of a 190 foot maxi, where man and water meet sail and deck you will find a trail of dollar notes floating in the sea.
This baby, The Twizzle, is currently for sale for a quick 54 million USD.
Sure, it can accommodate 11 guests so it’s like a beach house really, only with this beach house, the Ocean comes to you. Owning and sailing something like this is something most of us can only dream about.
As well as the cost of the boat itself, of course, there’s the issue of staff- and for a beast like this they are full time and around the clock- plus moorings, licences, and maintenance to deal with. Like the private jets for sale mentioned in our technology section, investments like this are rarely seen as actual investments. If you CAN afford a super yacht, or to privately own a Boeing 777, you probably have no idea how much replacing the carpets on your favourite mode of transport would cost, and you really don’t care.
For this reason sailing has often been seen as a rich person’s sport; however that is not strictly true. It is possible to buy into the world of the sea gypsies without first needing to be either a trust fund baby or a drug lord.
Smaller vessels, like say a 27 footer, will still get you out onto the open water without breaking the bank entirely. Second hand, you might pay anywhere between 19,000 – 120,000 USD depending on the age, condition, and specs of the boat. Wooden hulls require more maintenance, and therefore suffer more damage if they are neglected. Anything to do with masts and keels can be expensive and potentially deadly, so something at the lower end of the cost bracket needs some careful consideration and a cool head.
The romanticism that sometimes grips sailors can lead to financial misery when the once stunning but now slightly weary lonesome lady of the sea that has been sitting idle at the local yacht club for 2 years turns out to be little more than some wood held together by paint and infested with an unreasonable amount of bugs and worms determined to eat it from the inside out.
Sailing itself, however, is a joy when it’s all going well. Out on the sea, the sun and the wind on your face, there is nothing more centring than the knowledge that this is a skill humans have mastered and perfected since we came out of the caves.
To sail is to understand both the size of the earth, and the size of ourselves. Even pottering around a little bay in a dingy (or tinnie as they are known in Australia) gives you a new perspective on things. When you are sitting on top of the water, you realise that our terranian world is less than half the picture. It would be impossible to be on top of the water and to not be curious as to what is underneath. Serious sailors, and here I mean people who buy boats and use them, or even race them, are people who find the challenge of pitting themselves against nature irresistible. One would have to be mad to want to circumnavigate the planet alone in a floating box, and yet every year, people do. When they survive- if they survive- we sit there wondering why on Earth they would want to put themselves at such risk. Within days of having broken whatever record, or achieved some personal goal, lone sailors and ocean racers are planning their next adventure. It’s just what they do. Jesse Martin who, in 1999 at the age of 18, circumnavigated the globe alone in a 34 foot wooden hulled boat once famously said “If we don’t live our dreams, what’s the point of living?”.
That’s true, however whilst some people’s dreams involve 11 months of total isolation and potential death, a great number of people’s dreams involve owning one of these…
That comes with a deck like this… and bedrooms that look like these……
This is the Solandge, she has six decks, won the 2014 ‘La Belle Classe Superyachts’ Award from the Monaco Yacht Club and ‘Best Exterior’ in the first-ever Monaco Yacht Show Awards and is currently for sale with a ‘Price on application’ sticker attached. Which is the super-yacht salesman’s way of saying, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
Crewing, on the other hand, should cost you nothing. If you want to sail but you don’t own a boat, your local sailing club can point you in the direction of someone who might need some help on board. It’s a great way to get onto the ocean without setting fire to all your money. In fact, get good at crewing, and they pay you. That sounds like the business!!!
Sailing is not only for the wealthy, it is for anyone who loves adventure and still has a sense of wonder. It’s the sport for you if you want to find out where your limits lay. It’s for you if you like sunsets and fresh air and the sea. And yes, it’s for you if owning a red Ferrari or your own football team isn’t enough. If that IS you and you need a new crew, you can get in touch with us here at My Grey Nomads. We might not be the most amazing sailors, but we know how to refill a lobster.