The French Diaries!

The French Diaries: Part 15. “Buying a Boat the Hard Way!”

Ok, so I made a decision.

We got accepted for a £7500 loan and I was over the moon. That meant getting a boat in February, storing it and working on it. We made the decision to move away from the Amel Kirk. Raising the €19000 seemed a world away and other options that were just as good started to arise. Even getting a loan for this amount was impossible- and believe me, I tried.

We decided our budget is £10k MAX for our boat. Edouard is more than capable and experienced at fixing up yachts so we were pretty confident in finding a vessel within our budget to suffice. A lot of the boats in our price bracket then fell to the north of France in Brittany.

We found an excellent one for €6500 and we’re really eager to see her. There are a couple of choices how to proceed.

We find a boat in the Marseille area, do her up here in the hope that we can find a berth that we can afford (some boats have a few months left with their berths included in the price). Once we give the three month notice on our apartment we can liveaboard, keeping rent costs down for mooring fees and any improvement costs.

Or, we get a boat in Brittany. We have free mooring available to us and a friend’s shipyard where we can “do her up” with Edouard’s fellow sailing friends. The only downside of that is the traveling back and forth from the South of France.

Back to the loan.

We got accepted, I had the paperwork sent to my sister to look over and she stopped me.

“Did you know there’s a 12% apr on this?”

“Oh balls!”

That didn’t sound like the 3% I had originally been promised. Now, I don’t exist much on paperwork which is probably why the percentage is the way it is. I’ve taken frequent gaps to travel and work in bars or pay my way through my illustrations. I suppose I’ve had a bit of a wanderlust heart and always followed it. It never went wrong for me.

Until the banks were concerned.

However, I’m not afraid by this.

We’ve decided to continue to save and fundraise until March. We are hoping to then have enough to have our boat. A boat. A sound boat. Whatever number we have, we will work with. Leaving in June is in concrete. It’s happening.

We have the comfort blanket of knowing at least we can get accepted for a loan (hoping the interest percentage drops), pay it off early maybe and avoid the mega charges on it. We want to do this as organically as possible without the help of the bank.

But it’s a good to know it’s there.

We’ll be updating our JustGiving donation page to let everyone know our fundraising goal is now £6000 for the entire boat rather than £6000 for a 30% boat deposit- which was the first choice we were going to go down.

I’ve been working so hard day and night to figure out everything. But it’s been a wonderful process. The discovery, the research, the late night conversations between Edouard and I. I’ll get up in the morning, open my laptop, work for Delos, which I love, start on my own tasks, try to paint and before I know it the moon is out already. I am losing track of the days but it’s ok.

I feel as if I have purpose now.

I have a direction.

I’ve never felt so free in my life making this decision. And of course, there are moments when I realise how scary it is. When I’m walking around my apartment, sitting on my nice sofa or eating at my large kitchen table or flushing the toilet without a problem.

What if something breaks? Everyone will be looking to me for answers, for direction, for guidance, reassurance- I will be the one leading this adventure.

I will be responsible.

Now that’s a scary thing.

With Brian he was always the one who made the decisions. He was the one you could always rely on to fix anything. The one who we all looked up to.

How can I fill those boots?

It’s a thought that keeps me awake some nights.

But then I fall asleep into dreams of sailing my own boat, feeling the ocean skim across my fingertips, letting the sails fly free as we catch the breeze.

There is so much news to share, so many plans and so much excitement. Things are changing all the time- not the core of the plan but in the execution. We want to be smart about this.

We even spoke about going to the Caribbean first and looking for a project boat. Our minds are swamped with the amount of research we have been doing until all I can dream about is boats.

I think I have to get through January, carry on looking, carry on talking with people and continue to do what I do.

The main needs of the boat have not changed. We want something with sound rigging, hull and sails. We have friends who can help with everything else. We are not afraid of fixing anything because Edouard has so many friends and contacts who are willing to help us. It’s a wonderful feeling.

However, I want a do-able project if we’re to leave in July.

The size is non-negotiable, with a minimum of 36ft. We want a crew of 4 people with comfortable places for everyone to sleep. We really want to be clever with the interior to create a comfortable living and sleeping space for extra crew, so the bigger the boat the better I suppose, but not too big that it would be difficult to manage.

In all honesty, the third crew member has already been picked. The fourth will be down to Edouard, but I suppose if that person is unavailable we will have to reach out to find someone else with some experience.

Edouard is an experienced sailor, but I think he would just like an extra person who he knows he can definitely rely on. And I’m not even offended that that other person isn’t me- because I’m still learning. Edouard’s experience far outranks my own and I have to relearn everything again.

But I’m sure it’s different with your own boat. You understand things better. Well, I hope I do!

“So, who’s going to be Captain then?” I asked Edouard one night.

I already knew it should be him, but my pride wouldn’t allow it.

He looked at me with a bemused expression and shrugged. “Well, I do not care, Lizzy,” he said with an honest smile.

“Are we going to have a British flag or a French?” I pressed on, already knowing the answer.

“It depends on the boat.”

“You can be Captain if I have my British flag,” I said. “Wait… but I want to be Captain as well.”

“You can be Captain, Lizzy.”

I frowned and sat back on the sofa. “But that means I have to do everything. People will be looking to me to make decisions…”

He nodded. “Yes they will.”

“Can I be first mate?”

“You can be whatever you want, Lizzy.”

“Ok… Maybe we can both be Captain…”


“…If I’m Captain, can I have the hat?”

And so dawns the realization of the responsibilities that I will have. I will have to grow up and take accountability for the boat, for the crew and for our direction. I will have to learn weather, countries, direction, sails, knots, navigation- everything.

I will have to grow up in able to run away from the grown up world.

I’m ok with that.

Since we’ve started with this path, a light has grown in Edouard. I think settling in Marseille was at first wonderful for us. We found our peace, our stillness, our time to sit back and reflect on the times we had shared with our friends, the adventures. But then, suddenly we didn’t know what to do ourselves. Edouard’s happiness started to diminish. He hates the city, the fumes, the cars, the anger of the people as they rush to and from work, the clattering of voices filling the air, the narrow streets stinking of ale and other less desired substances.

The city, remains to be beautiful, but has begun to lose some of her charm, mystery and hold of us. In fact, it’s completely gone, washed away by the cry of the ocean as she demands for us to return to her like a jealous lover.

Edouard is eager to return to her. He has always had a connection to the wilderness of the waves, the spray of the ocean salt as he would throw himself in beneath her depths during our time in the Summer.

For myself it’s still confusing. I am newly returned to the sea. As a child I loved her with all of my heart, believing that maybe the ocean loved me back. We had a special relationship, a bond, a trust-

Until that trust was destroyed beneath the black depths. I realized in that moment I was not special. I was not immortal. I was just a human child, naive, ignorant, self important and so very fragile. My body was hurled and twisted below, unable to reach the surface, unable to breathe- unable, unable unable-

Time passed, I grew, and my trust of the ocean weakened but my respect remained.

No one is favoured by the sea.

There is a deep power that resonates through my body as I am in the ocean. I remember a time when I swam in the south of England in my early twenties as a dare for a friend in October. The water was freezing, the depths the blackest I had ever seen. I was like swimming through ink, the clouds dark and murderous above our heads as the seaweed ran past our bodies.

There was a sincere fear in me that my pride wouldn’t allow for me to turn away from. Thousands of years of respect, love and fear from men, women and sailors alike was submerged in these waters. I could feel it within my bones as my teeth chattered.

But I am ready to love her and try again.

I do not rush to the shore as Edouard does. His love is so pure and evident that I believe the ocean rejoices at the sight of him. I do not throw myself within the waves like others.

So I continue to remain in my apartment, working day and night as I fight my way back.

I know she is there, waiting for me as I am waiting for her.

I’m determined to bring people along on this journey. I’m determined to try and change people’s lives. To show them there’s another way. It’s like finding the gateway to Narnia and trying to take others there before the doorway is lost. To prove to them there is a world of fantasy out there. There is a freedom that can be taken.

I want to share an adventure with others. I want to have that moment in my heart that I have always been looking for. To find the placing I have always been dreaming of, thinking of, seeing and feeling in my heart as I dream.

And as you follow my journey I know that I’ll never do this alone.

I know we’ll do it together.

We’re a wolf pack, hunting the dream together.

So let’s begin.


Want to help? You can help towards our boat fund by donating here! 

You can also help us in this dream by signing up as a Patron. By doing so even for a dollar is a HUGE help. You also get to read early blog entries, extras and videos! Interested? Sign Me Up!

You can also help another way by buying one of my books or visiting my shop of tees and gifts! I hope you like! Much love!

Thank you as always! Lizbef x


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  1. You two are doing this the right way. Wait till your money is under your pillow. Dont rush it. Go look at boats in the marina. There are many that look like they have sat for a while. If you think it could fit the bill… find out who owns it, ask if they’d be interested in selling…
    Often ppl don’t sail much and the boats a hole in the water they’re ‘pooring’ money into, the money gained selling just might fit their curreng situation… get the cash ready first!

  2. Have a meet in the cockpit with the seller…. have a yarn about your travels… get them wanting to help…. there are many that would be happy to be involved in your future!

  3. Any plans on meeting up with Delos from your own ship? 🙂

    Maybe starting a fleet of sailors! The Delos fleet! Lol

    BTW I know you and Ms. Austria (lol) have left Delos. Is Alex Blue still with them?

    1. Hey brother!! I’d LOVE to meet them. That would be a dream and I’m sure I’ll chase them down one way or another! Yes Alex is Bradys lovely lady. They’ll be side by side on the ocean for a long time! X

      1. I am SO happy to hear that! I’m so excited for your further adventures! I’m living vicariously through you and Delos!

        After reading your story of your desire for adventure. It has inspired me.

        After my daughter is born I’m going to look at buying a boat.

        Thank you for sharing your life.

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