When we checked in a little more than a year ago, we had expected to soon take delivery of our new boat in England and to be exploring Europe.
We could have never imagined the twists and turns that would occur as the months passed.
Soon after our post last year, the boat delivery began to slip. Where we were meant to take delivery in early summer, it slipped to mid summer, then early fall, to finally giving up for the season and deciding to wait for spring 2020.
Discovery continued to work to finish up the boat while we returned to the U.S. for a winter in Bellingham. While we were sorry to not be sailing, it was enjoyable to have extended time ashore. We did lots of walking and exploring and were able to visit with the kids very often. It was wonderful to spend Holiday time with family for the first time in years.
The plan for the boat was that she would be ready very early in 2020, we would head to England to move aboard, then as soon as spring weather started to kick in we would start sailing. First of planned journeys would be a sail across the English Channel to Guernsey for the official legal handover. Next would be a long anticipated passage to Ireland. Mary’s mom sailed out of Ireland as a young girl and she was so hopeful that we would be able to sail back on our own boat. We will miss all our Irish relations and hope we can work it out another time.
As early 2020 dawned, things finally looked like they were coming together.
Then, Covid arrived for us all and caused a rethink of everything.
For Mary and I, we were very fortunate in our ability to hunker down and stay safe in Bellingham. Washington saw the first cases in the U.S. and was aggressive in implementing distancing. We stocked up the pantry at the beginning and really had no close contact with anyone for many weeks. Each day we would go for long walks. Brian/Katie and Sarah/Kristi all live in town within walking range so we could visit (observing distancing) frequently.
U.K. has been hit with the virus very hard and this, of course, affected the final aspects of completing the boat. Echo spent much of the winter ashore in a boatyard. The U.K. lockdown closed the yard and made it impossible for the Discovery guys to finish up the few tasks needed. As things began to improve in U.K. as of late May, Discovery was able to safely finish up the project and make Echo ready for a June delivery.
Now, Echo is ready for us, but we really can’t travel to U.K. to take delivery. Not only would flying to England for the two of us be problematic, even if we made the journey and moved on Echo, there will be continuing difficulties traveling in Europe until the virus situation is resolved.
So, we have decided that we would engage a representative in U.K. to stand in for us to take delivery of the boat. John Eustace has taken on this role. John has excellent knowledge of Discovery boats and has been just great as our eyes and ears abroad.
In order to take delivery, Discovery needed to export the boat the boat to Guernsey (just across the English Channel) where we could take ownership.
In Guernsey, Discovery would officially sell the boat to us, we (John) would take ownership, and Echo would become a U.S. registered yacht. Next step is that John would return to Southampton with Echo and she would return to the U.K. as a visiting U.S. yacht.
As of now, all these steps have been completed and Echo is back in the U.K.
Because international travel is so uncertain, we have decided that the best option for us to be able to use the boat would be to have Echo in the U.S. so we can enjoy her. Although we could arrange a skipper and crew to sail her across, that would result in extra time plus the wear and tear from the crossing. An alternative method is to have Echo loaded onto the deck of a freighter for shipment to the East Coast. This method gets her across the Atlantic in less than 2 weeks. Currently Echo is scheduled to load on a ship in early July for arrival in Baltimore late July.
Last piece of the puzzle is safely getting Mary and I from the Pacific Northwest all the way to Baltimore. We left Bellingham 2 weeks ago in Harvey the RV and are slowly making our way East. Currently we are in Tetons and heading up to Yellowstone next.
So, as we make our way from Bellingham to Baltimore, in U.K. John continues to test the boat and check out the many systems in preparation for shipment. The following photos were from a recent test sail off the Needles on the Isle of Wight.