If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space - Author Unknown

It all started when Tracy and I made the decision early in our marriage to have our children early and travel later in our life to see what the world had to offer.  We in the meantime endeavored to work hard and enjoy our children, with our goal sustaining us throughout    The kids always knew that we, the parents, were going to leave home before them and had no issues with it as it was mum and dad were always going to do.  The kids always knew that they were welcome to join us if they wished. 

We had an opportunity to traveled to the USA in the early 1990s, in doing so had seen a fantastic RV (Recreational Vehicle) with all the luxuries (satellite TV, solar panels, rubber ducky, four wheel drive) and thought that would be the way to travel. 

Another trip to the USA in the early 2000s saw us meet us with Paul's best friend Graham traveling on his lovely luxury powerboat which was being delivered from Miami to Washington DC through the intercoastal system.  Our dream after this trip saw us replacing the RV with a yacht.  We discovered the fabulous flexibility of cruising by water, seeing the countryside from a different perspective and enjoying the company of fellow people of similar interests. So the decision was made to SAIL around the world.  After all, it wasn’t such a bizarre thing – there were several books out on couples who have completed circumnavigations  – it was cheap - so why not?  So, we came up with our 10 year plan. We knew nothing about sailing or life on the ocean and so and we decided we would work very hard over the next five years, make specific goals, buy a sailboat we could travel the world on and prepare for a 2005 departure.  Our plan was to prepare for a 10 to 20 year circumnavigation to begin at the end of 2005.

Working hard, saving, investing in projects and a few family issues began to take a toll placing our dream in jeopardy. One day Tracy brought home a book from her library about blue water cruising on a budget, rekindling our dream.  So, we began discussing why weren't we doing more towards it, how we could do it, and what type of yacht we could do it in, researching the types of boat, size, price, etc that would suit us checking out everything on offer in Perth WA.  Finding nothing in our price range Paul got an around Australia ticket and checked out the boats in all the other states finding a suitable yacht in Sydney within our price range. 

The offer was accepted and then how do we get it back? Where do we keep it ? (it was to big for the back shed). So we haunted the various yacht clubs and eventually joined the Fremantle Sailing Club which has a very active cruising section.  We spend most of our weekend down the club asking millions of questions, looking at any boat we could, joining the committee so we could learn more.  We found a skipper to bring the boat back and Tracy's dad volunteered to crew.  Dad is very brave and did a great job.  He had a horror trip across the Bass Strait with 14 meter waves and got of at Portland.  Paul and I are indebted to him for his time in doing this for us. The estimated time of delivery was 3 weeks, it actually took 6 weeks and three crew changes.  The boat arriving on Tracy's 40th birthday.

Now came the time to refit, repaint, etc a job that took 3 years, we worked every weekend and after work, the kids got quite used to being left to look after the house, cook, etc.

Then came the decision of how to finance our trip. Tracy could quit her job and come back and find another one, no problem.  The problem lied in that with my Computer support business, I just could not take off for any amount of time and come back to where I left off.  We couldn’t do it unless we did something drastic. 

Check out the following pages to see how we’re coming along, what we’ve gone through to get here, and once we’re gone, follow us along on our journey.  We’d love to hear from you – Have a look at our Cruise Log and leave a message.  We would love to hear from you and what you think of our website.

It’s the middle of 2005 now (we left a year earlier than planned) and boy has it been a fun few of years and yes we are definitely on our way!  More information can be found by clicking on these links:

 -         Financing the trip

-         Downsizing

-         Choosing the boat

-         Getting the boat home

-         Fixing up the boat

-         Learning how to sail

-     Making the break

  Let’s face it – this whole trip would never be possible if it weren’t for the hard work of Paul.  Paul has always been the dreamer – and me the grounded one.  He’s the risk-taker, and I’m the cautious one.  I guess that’s what makes us so good together.  He makes me strive for my dreams, and I make him think before he takes a plunge.  Well, his Computer sales career certainly made this trip possible.  He has always been a hard worker, and this was no different, although I’ll bet if you ask him, the last 4 years has almost killed him at times.  In the last 4 years, he has had a very successful Computer career, has purchased 3 homes, remodeled 2 of them, and finally has re-built the boat to be our floating home now.  His attention to detail, desire, and drive is what has gotten us to where we are today. 

We made most of the money we're using by his Company earnings.  Moving to Perth from the country we purchased a home in Banksia Park, Perth in Timbrell Way near Jandakot airport, as Paul had a light aircraft then.  The plane was a Tiger Grumman and we did a fair bit of traveling in that too. After renovating part of the house we put it on the market and it sold within one week. That was a bit of a shock to sell so quickly but we purchased another house just around the corner in Mellor Court, a beautiful home. We considered it to be our farmhouse in the city and our family home.  We renovated most of it.  This house was beautiful when it was finished – 4 bedroom, 2 bath, spectacular kitchen, fireplace, deck, art studio everything you would ever want.  We had such a great time here - lots of fun parties, it was the total party house – after the party, you just turned on the leaf blower and blew everything out!  We lived there for 8 years until the boat was completed.  

During this time Paul talked me into purchasing another house, in Ferndale with his father, an investment property to remodel and resell.  The house was miserable, but they decided to do a remodel and turn it for a profit.  Paul and his dad worked hard to make it very nice.   The below pictures were some we took before it sold. 

After the Mellor house had sold Paul and I moved onto the boat and the kids moved into a rented unit in East Fremantle. to give them some settling in time before we were no longer at arms reach.

+++++DOWNSIZING+++++The house sold it was time to start downsizing. Moving out of our family home was hard, a lot of grieving, three garage sales, two market sales, and six rubbish skips later were finally downsized to the contents of our boat.

  This is the front view of 18 Mellor Crt!This is the image of our Ferndale Investment house This is the view our Manduraha holiday house!

Choosing the boat was a tough one.  We were looking for a boat with some very specific items:

-         No more than 50’ as we didn't want to depend on crew on our trip

-         An ocean cruiser, heavy duty boat, not too light

-         Aft Cabin

-         Center Cockpit

-     Preferably steel or fiberglass

And of course, it had to be in our price range.  We spent hours, days, months looking for the perfect boat.  We checked out every boat for sale in WA, found one we loved but could not afford. So sent Paul off to travel all over Australia to see what was available. With a shopping list from Trade-a-boat he went to every marina in each capital city.  Paul found one he liked in South Australia (again out of our price range), so continuing on Paul found one he really liked in our price range. Paul checked it out, had a survey done, and put in an offer. The offer accepted we had to find a way to bring her back to WA and someone to sail her as we had no clue how to sail.  We had never sailed in our lives before.

Then, in 2001 Paul saw her and fell head over heels for her.  Now it was time to get her home.

Cockatoo II at Fremantle Sailing Club

We found a skipper to bring the boat back and Tracy's dad, Arch Fraser, volunteered to crew.  Dad is very brave and did a great job. We are so proud of him.  He had a horror trip across the Bass Strait with 14 meter waves and got of at Portland with the diesel tanks leaking and the port holes blown in and if that was not enough an auto pilot that would not work. We are indebted to him for his time in doing this for us for little reward. Thanks Dad.

The estimated time of delivery was 3 weeks, it actually took 6 weeks and three crew changes.  The boat arriving on Tracy's 40th birthday.

Now came the time to refit, repaint, etc a job that took 3 years, we worked every weekend and after work, the kids got quite used to being left to look after the house, cook, etc.

We got her Australian Registered and renamed her Cockatoo II (as there was another boat called Cockatoo already registered - Tracy could not think of anything original).

We learned some history about her:

 She was built in 1995 in Canberra, ACT.  Layout and plans for Cockatoo II

She was launched in Newcastle, NSW in 1995.



Once the boat arrived in Perth, she was penned at Fremantle Sailing Club.  Our weekends, nights, etc were no longer free.  Our friends no longer saw us, if they needed to catch up with us they turned up at the Boat.  Working night and weekends whilst holding full time jobs and having teenage children was not easy but our dream held us through the tough times.

Below are pictures of the remodeling.


Also during this time we learned how to sail by going to TAFE courses (ocean navigation, radio operators course, etc) and joining in the activities of the Fremantle Sailing Club's cruising section.


We were excited that we coiuld get the sails up and navigate (sight only) to Rottenest.  Our fist trip we got 3 knots out of her under sail (we laugh about that now) as the average is 6 knots. 

We are indebted to Luuke and Tony off the yacht Mendala for buddy sailing with us to Quindalup, on our first major cruise.  After that we were unstoppable and felt we could tackle anything.  This made us feel that what we were doing was definitely the right thing to do.

+++Making the break

We decided to leave a year earlier as were burnt out from working.  The kids had proven to be very self sufficient. Although the youngest was still in Year 12  we felt that it was the right thing to do as we were only delaying the inevitable.  The parents did not think so and made it well known.  Our friend supported us, although we found our who our real friends were.

Leaving the children was hard, but they were fantastic and said just do it.  Well it really was no surprise, they knew it was going to happen.  We went back in June (6 months later) and they were doing just fine.  We are in constant contact via phone and email.  We also have factored into our budget an airfare for each of them to see us and our lifestyle choice. 

Paul found it difficult to leave as he was leaving a year earlier than planned but was able to do so and then we were set to go.

Thinking back it would have been so easy to say lets stay, as we were giving our security away, but the fact that we fixed a firm date and decided to leave even if we were not ready (one is never ready) made it real.  If we had not set that date we would still have a boat and be working with our time ticking away until it was too late to go.

Leaving with the Fremantle Sailing Club on the annual Quindalup cruise saw us make the final departure from Perth.  You can read the rest from our log.++++