“I’m bald, so I’ll sail South”

English translation below!

Elke winter weer trekken we dikke truien aan, lange warme broeken en liggen we binnen onder een dekentje Netflix te kijken. We stappen de deur niet uit zonder een dikke jas, een stel handschoenen en draperen ook nog een sjaal in ons nek om alle tocht tegen te gaan die ons eventueel een snifje kan opleveren.

En dan neemt ouder worden ook nog happen uit ons enige bedekte stukje lichaam. In het midden van ons hoofd, precies op de plek van de hersenen die verantwoordelijk zijn voor β€œcomplexe bewegingen” houden wij mannen rond ons 40e helemaal geen bescherming meer over. Wat is dat met mensen dat we denken dat we hartstikke slim zijn?

Hebben jullie ooit de stadsmerel een jas zien aantrekken? De vos een stelletje wanten uit zijn zak zien pakken? Of een hond (zelf) een jas zien aantrekken? Dat we dankzij Eva en haar trek in een appel, een broek aanmoeten over onze gevoelige delen snap ik nog wel. Maar dat we van de circa 5000 zoogdieren op aarde nou 1 van de 11 moeten zijn die haarloos zijn? En dan te bedenken dat dolfijnen, walrussen, dolfijnen, zeekoeien en walvissen ook nog in zee leven… Dat is de enige plek waar het logisch is dat we kaal zijn, of bijvoorbeeld op de Savanne (de olifant) of als we lekker in de modder liggen (varkens).

Ik kies er maar voor om naar de Carieb te varen, heerlijk warm en zonnig, daar smeer ik me graag een keertje extra voor in en daar ben ik blij om kaal te zijn. Want hoe vervelend is het om een duik te nemen met een volle vacht. Bovendien vind ik mijn vriendin toch wel sexier zonder een dikke bontkraag…

Brace yourself … the winter is coming! Every winter we pull on thick sweaters, long warm trousers and we curl up under a blanket to watch Netflix. We don’t go out without a big coat and we’re sure to top it all of with a scarf to minimize the risk of a tiny cold.

And as a man you have an extra challenge. The older we become, the less armed we are against cold. In the middle of our head, exactly above that part of the brain that is responsible for “complex movements”, we have (or had) natural protection: hair. Why is Mother Nature so harse for men in this regard?

Have you ever seen the city blackbird put on a wintercoat? Or a fox grabbing a bunch of mittens from his pocket? Or see a dog putting on a jacket? I can understand that with Eve eating the apple, we had to cover up ourselves a bit and become a bit more decent… But why do we, men, just belong to the 0.2% mammals on earth that are (partially) hairless? And to think that dolphins, walruses, dolphins, manatees and whales also live in the sea … That is the only place where it actually makes sense to be bald or maybe on the Savannah (the elephant) of mud (pigs).

I choose to sail to Caribbean, wonderfully warm and sunny, I don’t mind putting sunblock on and be okay with my bald-ness. How annoying it would be to take a dive with a full coat on… Furthermore, I find my girlfriend a whole lot sexier without a thick fur coat!

But first… a new engine

From kiteboard to a 44 footer

On September 1st 2018, we were featured in the magazine Waterkampioen by the ANWB. We’ve translated the article so everybody can enjoy the interview we’ve had. Thanks a lot, Erik van den Berg (interview) and Dirk Jansen (photos). See the Dutch article-photo down below!

When Suzanne and Jurre met 3 years ago, she was a kitesurfer and he a sailor. She taught him to surf, he taught her to sail. Together they bought their first boat: a 44ft Van de Stadt. The kiteboards will be joining them on board.

Jurre: “Suzanne windsurfed a lot and took on kitesurfing later on. I learned to sail in a Optimist and sailed with my parents from a very young age on several boats. Over the past few years, we got to use the Bavaria 38ft of my parents. We sailed on the Frisian lakes and to de Wadden (a set of beautiful islands in the North of the Netherlands). Suzanne taught me to kitesurf and we take our kitesurf gear with us wherever we go, resulting in just perfect holidays. We have been living together for over 2 years now and we work fulltime.

We wanted our own boat, so our search began. At first, we were looking for quite a young ship, nothing too big. But when we saw this Van de Stadt online, we both thought ‘this boat would be perfect, it checks all boxes’.

“This boat would be perfect, it checks all boxes”.

This boat was quite big, it had many features which would allow us to sail long distance, exactly what we were looking for. Before we can go on our long-dreamed-of adventures, there’s a lot of work to be done. The previous owner told us that the engine needed replacement, along with other repairs.

Before the deal was made official, the boat was towed to a nearby wharf to check the underwater ship. That was quite a scary first adventure, crossing the Westerschelde which is quite a busy shipping lane.

Once the deal was made and we had the boat on the wharf, the refit began. The waste tank was completely full, such a nice surprise, so I had to empty it with buckets… Well, this is how you get to know your ship!

We’re hoping to have a nice holiday aboard this summer. And we’ll take her out for longer journeys later on, but we’re still unsure about when we’ll be leaving…”

How it all started…

Jurre and I, Suzanne, had our first date on a sailboat. During that first date, Jurre shared his dream about sailing the world. Solo. I immediately thought to myself: I’ll join. And actually, I said that out loud πŸ˜† and that’s where our shared dream started.

We sailed a lot over the past few years with the beautiful boat of Jurre’s parents. A big thank you for all the times that we could sail away with the Witte Zwaan! I learned so much about sailing. What struck me most, is the instant chill-ness once you enter a sailboat. Being on the water, in such a cosy, tiny space, really brought so much peace of mind. We enjoyed ourselves so much once we were aboard. Sailing, but also the slow and simple lifestyle: doing games, reading, having breakfast. Such a pleasure!

Entering a sailboat results in instant chill-ness

A few years went by and we didn’t speak much about our sailing dream. We thought it would be impossible to ever own a boat. Jurre looked into bigger boats on which we would be able to host guests. But I wasn’t too keen on having to work about 50% during our sailing trip. And as much as I like having friends and family over, I really like to have my own space πŸ˜‡

And then this happened: Jurre asked me to marry him! 😍YAY! So excited! And as we were thinking about the wedding – and the savings – our sailing dream popped up again. If we were going to safe up all that money… shouldn’t we try to make our sailing dream come true?

So we started a new search for boats. We adjusted our requirements and we saw which boats would be within our budget. Older boats, steel, a bit smaller… we looked at many websites, going through them every night to see the new additions. We also looked on Marktplaats, a Dutch Ebay-kinda site for basically everything… and also yachts!

Realizing dreams by adjusting some requirements… that’s how we managed to find our dreamboat.

We did not expect to find anything on there, we always thought such valuable items would only be sold via an agent. But, you’ll probably get where this story is going: we found our dreamboat on Marktplaats. Located in Vlissingen, about 2.5 hours from Amsterdam. We spent several weeks emailing before we could finally visit her. And when we did so, we fell in love immediately. She’s big, rough, old, a bit rusty but very spacious and solid. Exactly what we wanted for our journey.

After two viewings, we decided to go for it. There was a bit of time pressure due to the previous owner leaving the country. It was one of those rare moments when you mainly just have to trust your gut feel. I guess that’s always the case with buying boats: you just fall in love. If you ever start doing the total math, or if you know in full detail about all the things that you’ll encounter, you’ll never buy one πŸ™‰ So far, the boat did cost us a lot more than expected. And there were also many more repairs to be done than expected. In Dutch, there is this saying ‘koop een boot en werk je dood’, which translates to ‘buy a boat, and you’ll work your ass off until you die’. Not very positive… but I guess when you’re working on your dream, no mountain is high enough to keep you from reaching your goal. But yeah… we had quite some setbacks. More on that in another blog, let’s keep this one pure with our initial enthusiasm πŸ˜‰