Never in a million years would I have imagined just two years after getting our shiny new FP Saona 47 that we would have sailed it, sold it and are going through the buying process all over again with a different boat. Before I became a boat person, I could barely imagine buying one boat, let alone buying two boats in a matter of just three years.
We are so grateful to be able to learn from our first boat experience which helped us understand exactly what kind of sailing experience we preferred, and make a pivot before we were well underway in our journey. The universe came together last September when we decided to take a visit to the Outremer factory and confirm what we were starting to understand ourselves first hand. It was the end of the season and we had to make a call before we started planning for 2022 which loosely included the Atlantic crossing. When making a choice to change platforms before you are barely started on our circumnavigation, we had to double and triple check our observations and intuitions. Visiting the factory, sailing the boats in different conditions and speaking with other owners in depth pushed us over the edge and we decided to take the plunge.
We definitely had our eyes opened when we visited La Grande Motte and spent two days sailing with Outremer. The first day we had very light wind of about 5 knots and the boat was moving at roughly 4-5 knots. This was incredible because now there is so much more range to sail versus motor. Having a light displacement boat will allow us to have more champagne sailing days for sure. The boat was smooth and comfortable and the sails were so much lighter and easier to handle than what we were used to. On our FP Saona, since it's so much heavier the light wind sails are still very heavy and cumbersome to manage.
The second day we had a whole different experience, sailing in 25+ knot winds and we were also sailing in a regatta so there were about thirty Outremer cats sailing that day. The GLY tour was getting ready to head out for their three year circumnavigation so it was great to see all the different models and configurations all at once - AND - see them all perform on the water at the same time.
With 20-25 knots of wind and a very confused sea state we were easily sailing over 10 knots and slicing gently through the waves with a reef in the main and the genoa. The skipper of the boat we were on opted to take a reef but some of those boats were sailing with full main in those conditions.
Stephane appreciated steering with the tiller and on these boats, whether it's the tiller or the wheel, you can really feel the boat and it brings in that joy factor we all love about sailing.
So here we are.
We are enjoying sunny Montpellier, France through the summer, close to La Grande Motte and the Outremer factory, to go through the boat buying adventure one more time. Hopefully the last time. We recently learned our delivery date got moved up so suddenly it feels like things need to move pretty quickly. In essence, we will be making all the major decisions and finalizing everything before we leave France to go back to the US in the September/October timeframe.
The schedule for the 2023 season would roughly be that we receive handover in July of next year and have until July through October to shake everything out and fix anything before we begin our migration west over the Atlantic - a journey honestly I haven't fully wrapped my head around. The alternative is to spend one more season in the Med but we are a little fearful if we do that we just may never leave. Everything in the Med is so beautiful and it could take a couple lifetimes to fully experience everything. We hear so many stories of cruisers starting out in the Med and 7-8 years later they still haven't left Greece. Like anything with sailing, plans are always made to be broken so we will see!
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