The French Diaries: Part 18 "We bought a boat!"
 


It’s time to announce it. It’s time to share.

We put an offer down on a boat.

And you know what?

WE GOT ACCEPTED.

I’m sitting here stunned, shocked and not really knowing how to react. It’s the day after the acceptance of our offer and as soon as I heard, I discarded the full pot of tea I had just made and pulled out a bottom of rum.

“We find out today, you know.” I had told Edouard that morning as he prepared to leave for work. I had felt in my gut that we weren’t going to get this boat. I had felt that it would never happen for me. That I could dream, but it would never really become a reality, that maybe I was just being a silly little girl.

Maybe Edouard thought the same as well, telling me to message him at work if I heard anything, positive or negative.

However, later on that day I got an email.

Your offer has been accepted. Please view the attached contract to secure your Amel Euros.

Oh yeah, didn’t I mention that?

I just bought an Amel. I just bought 41ft Amel Euros. I did it. I managed this long dream of mine. The dream where I would scan through pictures of boats in England, hoping maybe one day I could buy one as I watched SV Delos on the couch. That maybe one day I would have that life of adventure. Maybe I would do something like that.

Maybe.

I would never have guessed I’ve ended up where I am. I am not the bravest or the best sailor. In fact- I think I’m pretty rubbish at it. I’ve never really fixed anything up properly, accept from an excellent cup of tea. I’m the writer, the painter, the dreamer.

But here I am, making the biggest leap of my life. Because I can see that person I want to be. I want to be that person people can rely on, to be able to take care of her own ship and crew, to be responsible, to have the adventure burning within me so I can show others that they can do this too.

I want to learn. I want to try. I want to work.

And with the boat I’m sure I will.

So why an Amel?

Apart from the obvious, it’s one of the most respected French brands of boats. My top three favourites are the Dufours, the Beneteaus and of course- the Amel. I had many emails telling me not to go for an Amel. That there were better brands out there, But I didn’t care. It wasn’t just about the brand. It was about the spirit. The message. The memory.

It was a testament to Delos. It was a testament to Brian. It was a testament to my crew. All of them. My Delos family.

And this boat is no ordinary Amel. She’s storm damaged. Which means she has a broken mast and needs new rigging. But I’m willing to put the time, work and effort into her to bring her back to her former glory.

As I sat in my living room, pouring rum into my glass, I called Lisa my crew mate immediately. We stayed on the phone for about two hours until the sky started turning dark as I became more and more emotional about the entire thing. It hadn’t hit me yet. I hadn’t realised.

“What have I done, Lisa?” I said, my eyes wide.

She laughed at me. “You just bought a boat, Liz!”

Yeah. I had. I had just bought a boat.

I waited for Edouard with my heart beating in my chest. I knew he wasn’t ready just yet to leave the land. I knew he was having a wonderful life in France at the moment. I knew all of these things. But I had already clocked out. 

“You know it is my dream to buy a boat and sail around the world, Elizabeth,” he told me many times before. “And I will follow you. Just because I am enjoying life now does not mean I will not follow you. I go where you will go.”

And as he walked into the apartment, he could see it written all over my face.

“We got the boat?”

I nodded, my tongue too numb to say it out loud.

“Wow!”

We opened a bottle of champagne and sat on the floor with each other, both of us exhausted, emotional and so so incredibly happy.

I felt like I had done something I could not undo. To have an extraordinary life, you have to make extraordinary decisions. I felt like another part of me had just said, 

“Ok, Elizabeth, you want that life, right? The life of you in the sunshine, on your boat, writing and painting to your heart’s content and going wherever you like, yes?”

“Er, yes I would like that please.”

“Ok, hold my drink.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m making it happen.”

“But what? Now? But it’s scary! Maybe we should-”

“Bitch, please. Not making these decisions and staying within four walls is scary. Time to make the tough choices.”

And so the other part of me made these terrifying choices to start a chain of events that would bring me to the place I wanted to be. I did it even if it wasn’t smart, or if I was not prepared. 

Because I knew I could make it happen. I knew I would work for it. Fight for it.

So what happens now? Well, if I thought buying the boat was the hard part, I was very much mistaken. The Amel is in the British Virgin Islands. Which means we have to leave France as soon as possible.

Edouard finishes his work contract in March, and that’s also the month I return from Australia.

We have to give three months’ notice on our apartment as well, sell our stuff and downsize to fit anything into our boat.

Wow.

Our boat.

I can say that now.

So today, I’ve been arranging the $3000 deposit on the Amel. Her full total is $8000. The remainder we’ll pay at the end of February, giving us some time to get our heads around everything.

Then the real work will start. We’ll head over, couchsurf and stay with anyone that will have us. She is on the hard at the moment, so we will be paying to keep her there until we can fix her up enough to have her in the water. 

And then, the adventure starts. Edouard is incredibly excited to be sailing around the Caribbean and the fact that Delos are going to be in the Caribbean too makes me so happy. I feel so wonderfully happy at the moment, very hungover and very scared. Because I have effectively just bought my first home.

Her name is Pagageno, meaning ‘Magical Flute’, but I think she deserves a new name. A new start.

So if you guys have any thoughts let me know!

The next months will be a hard push of painting, writing, working for Delos and writing The Delos Story and planning on how much everything is going to cost.

We’ve had a comfortable quote on a new mast, taking into account that we will need to source a second hand one. As for the rigging- I don’t think there’s any escaping that.

I’m confident we can make this work.

And besides, anything worth having isn’t easy.

I can’t believe I’m sitting here, as a woman who not so long ago was sad, lonely and living in England and not knowing what I was going to do with my life. I ended up being a sailor with SV Delos, on the most incredible boat, with people and a message that I was so honoured to be a part of. To then find the love of my life, live in the South of France and turn my world upside down again by buying a boat.

But I did it.

My name is Elizabeth Earle, and I am now the owner of an Amel.

I bloody did it.



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