In the Beginning
It started as a wild idea, as dreams often do. He had wanted to liveaboard, sail and adventure for many years. The dream had lived inside his head for such a long time. Such an idea had never entered my head. But persuasive as he can be, he shared his dream and we had only recently agreed this could be a future possibility – to share and lead a more adventuresome life. And so, learning to sail and buying a boat became part of our long-term five-year plan. Note: he is most definitely a planner whilst I, most certainly, am not!
Learning to Sail in Opposite Hemisphere’s
He had a small degree of sailing knowledge having sailed Hobie Cat’s in his long ago past. I had no transferable skills at all except for perhaps an understanding of how the air affects a fabric wing, due to decades around the skydiving scene.
Out of the blue an offer too good to refuse arrived. We knew this opportunity could bring our five year plan for a liveaboard cruising dream forward by perhaps, a couple of years.
In January 2020 he flew from New Zealand to England to take up an exciting new work opportunity. Covid hadn’t yet swung her freedom axe but we knew a long distance relationship was in our future and we were going to be in opposite hemisphere’s for a while. He flew to London, started his new job and sorted out our new house.
Back in New Zealand I tidied up our homes situations, resigned some work commitments and managed important family affairs at home. Challengingly, both of my parents had cancer. And thrillingly, it was announced that we were going to become grandparents. It was a time of immense highs and devastatingly low lows.
Being risk averse and needing to desperately study, learn and upskill, we both undertook some formal RYA training. His departing gift to me was something to keep me mentally and physically busy for a few days: he gifted me an RYA Competent Crew course. So I did my sailing training on Auckland’s Waitemata harbour in the summer, and he did his on the Solent in England in the winter. And by April the world was pretty much universally in some from of hard core Covid lockdown.
Reunited in England
All these challenges resulted in an evaluation of what is truly important, and we were slapped away from apathy and determined to evaluate how we could live the quality life we wanted. I’ve always had this theory that the value of a good life, lived well can be measured by the stories you can share from your rocking chair. By the time we were re-united in England, we were already boat owners.
Buying a Dream Boat
We often looked at boats online having decided that a catamaran was our preferred option. As we all know, the challenges and impact of Covid-19 were global – which meant that at the beginning of Covid there were a few boats for sale on the market.
We found our dream boat in Split, Croatia. She wasn’t the owner’s version we’d originally hoped for, but an ex-charter 4 berth model. She was young, having only been chartered twice with barely double digits of engine hours. We had her surveyed the results of which were reported back as ‘immaculate’.
And so, sight unseen but well surveyed, we made a stupid cash offer. To our immense surprise this offer was immediately accepted. Our five-year plan had become ‘real’ in less than five months. And so suddenly we were the owners of a nearly new 2018 Lagoon 450S. Our dream boat. But she was named Moby Dick!
From ‘Moby Dick’ to ‘Waiata’
We paid a professional delivery crew to sail to her new home, at Mercury Marina in Hampshire, England. Of course, in Covid times, a delivery crew transiting across the Mediterannean had its own challenges.
‘Moby Dick’ was not an appealing name to us in any respect. There is a lot of superstition around changing a boat’s name. We took the option to remove all traces of ‘Moby Dick’, and liberally toast the boat, the sea and ‘we’. It was a more tasteful version of the renaming tradition than having a virgin urinate over the bow, which is a favoured alternative for some.
We registered her to New Zealand, changed her name to Waiata (which means ‘music’ or ‘song’ in Māori). It is a reference to the Crobsy Stills and Nash song, ‘Southern Cross’, where ‘Music’ is the name of the boat. We think it is a beautiful and fitting re-name, using the Māori word for music and making her identifably ‘kiwi’.
The Southern Cross is a constellation that sailors use in the southern hemisphere to find celestial south pole. If you’re south of the equator in say, New Zealand or Australia, it is easy to pick out the southern cross in the night sky. Because there is no star directly at the pole or southern “polaris”, the southern cross constellation points directly to the South Pole. So from this, sailors are able to calculate their latitude.
“When you see the Southern Cross for the the first time
You understand now why you came this way
‘Cause the truth you might be running from is so small
But it’s as big as the promise
The prormise of a coming day
So I’m sailing for tomorrow, my dreams are a-dying
And my love is an anchor tied to you
Tied with a silver chain
I have my ship
And all her flags are a-flying
She is all that I have left
And Music is her name”
And so, that’s how our sailing stoy started. How it will finish is anyone’s guess.