Lets start the story from the start, I'm 21, I'm a masters student, and I've just broken up with my girlfriend of 19months. We lived together, and thus now I'm in the market for a new place to call home.
Living in a university town attaches many problems, mainly the excessive price of housing, and the lack of rental choices. Jumping into a cardboard box with my sleeping bag isn't really an option either, with the wind, rain, and freezing temperatures that are battering this town in early December.
And so, at the moment I've been put up in a small but perfectly adequate room in the hotel I work at. The conditions of my stay are I work the night every night till Christmas, for no wage. It sounds a good deal, but it's definitely not permanent. I need somewhere to call my own, and I need it ready before the New Year.
A fortnight previous to the breakup I had booked myself in with a nurse to talk about the stress I found myself under, previous to the breakup I was worried about money. I went to the university "money doctor" and their best answer was take a year out and work till you have enough money to carry on. With the research I'm doing this plan caused some issues, plus I can see myself never coming back once I leave. And so, I've decided to carry on regardless.
Then the slap in the face that was the breakup. It was amicable and mutual, and we've since watched films together, we probably get on better than we have for 15months or so. But this doesn't remove the fact that now I'm not going out with the greatest person in my life, and now I'm on the market as it were.
Talking of on the market, being out on the street means I need a new house. My old house was perfect, plenty big enough, with a rent of £100 a week +£50 per month bills. And although it was tight on my budget this was very do-able split between 2. However, now I find myself looking for a flat for one, or a room in a shared house, the costs seem to have sky rocketed. The cheapest place I can find is £70 per week + bills. A price I can ill afford.
And so, I went in search of a cheaper option. I've checked B&B's, lodging, caravans. I've priced each one independently and I've come to the conclusion, in this student town everything has a price and every price is too high.
So on a whim I went to look at something from my past. Being from the Isle of Wight, and educated in Cowes (the so called "International Home of Sailing"), I have always had a soft spot for the sea, and boats in my heart. My best memories as a child were racing oppy's at Yarmouth Sailing Club, going out fishing on my dads boat, kayaking around the coasts and estuaries of the island, and visiting my grandpa in Cornwall with his moorings and boats on the Helston estuary. The best memories were in or on the water, and so I wondered, what if?
This isn't the first time these thoughts have passed though my head. During GCSE my friends and I wanted to motor through the canals of France in the summer holidays, at the end of A Level the same idea once more reared it's head. As my Bachelors degree came to a close I planned with my close friends to buy a boat in need of repair, do her up and sail around the UK or Europe for a gap year. And although I have viewed boats in my time with the thought of buying a yacht as a home and as an adventure, I have never actually gone ahead.
Then a month ago, a lecturer over a pint asked me to help him repair his 24ft long keeled yacht, that he planned to sail to Ireland. This day was fantastic and it relit the fire in my belly. Then my girlfriend and I broke up and I'm looking for a home, so I just had a flick through boatyards websites, and put ridiculously low offers in on the boats that tickled my pickle. Turned out that an offer for 75% below asking price was taken on the boat that suited my needs the most. A 24ft Falmouth Gypsy, 22miles as the crow flies from where I live.
|The Golden Cloud: The Falmouth Gypsy MkII that may soon be my home|
Source: Boatshed.com (2011)
The fate just hit me, so I went and had a look at the boat. I went hoping I would realise it was a bad idea, hoping she was a tip and I would totally change my mind once I saw her. In fact quite the opposite happened. She was in perfect condition, and a total bargain. And so on condition that I could organise a home for her and get her to that home, I said I would buy her.
I found a boatyard perfect for the job, 8miles from uni, with a regular bus and train service from uni, to within walking distance of the yard. The prices, and dates were discussed, a ship could soon be my home.
Now I wait, sitting in my hotel room, thinking and praying of what might be. Waiting on the haulage company to OK my dates, and then I'll be off.