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The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

The Myth: the 2 Best Days of a Sailor’s Life

Fran and Jean-Guy Nadeau

Camper & Nicholson 42, CC Ketch
April 22nd, 2016

Whoever coined the concept that the 2 best days in the life of a sailor were the days he bought and sold his boat, wasn’t a cruiser. More probably, a racer getting ready to upgrade to his next rocket-ship, or someone itching to get out of a bad boat relationship. Most of those never took the BCA course on the Psychology of Cruising… No way could a cruiser think like that unless his boat harboured bad memories, or just plain bad karma. We are more in tune with Neil Sedaka’s hit: “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”. Over our 8-year ownership, our beloved Gosling proved to be reliable, safe and a pleasure to sail. Sure, she was a lot of work, but isn’t that a part of the definition of cruising? Selling her was one of the hardest things we have ever done, but in retrospect, it was the right thing to do.

It has been an 8-year love affair with an inanimate object that really has a personality, and loves to show it off, at times least expected. That was especially true after we departed San Diego, (where we bought and refitted her) in early 2008. Not having had the time for a renaming ceremony, we left and were immediately beset with a variety of problems that ceased completely after we held the ceremony a week later at Turtle Bay. It was like, presto, the behaviour switch had been activated and Gosling settled down.

Sailing downwind from San Blas, Mexico with everything up

Sailing downwind from San Blas, Mexico with everything up

We spent 5 seasons up and down the Baja and Riviera Nayarit/Costa Allegre Coasts, then decided to venture south to El Salvador. The following season, we sailed down the Central American Coast to Panama, through the Canal, and into the Caribbean, the San Blas Islands, and back through the Canal the following season, to Mexico. Time and family commitments prevented us from our original goal of crossing the Pacific, but we are satisfied with our adventures.

Anchored in San Blas, Panama - Used with permission

Anchored in San Blas, Panama – Used with permission

We have met hundreds of other cruisers, and I can assure you that they are the best of people. The more you participate in radio nets, dock and beach events, the odd crisis management (2 microbursts, 2 tsunamis and refloating a grounded cruiser) the more you appreciate the cruising community. There are some very talented (technically and artistically) people on those floating cottages, and the variety of life experiences makes for a very entertaining lifestyle that we will miss dearly.

I mentioned above that “the time was right”. Let me expand on that: we originally put Gosling up for sale, more on spec than anything else. We began with a UK broker, then switched to a local broker in San Carlos. Fran was beginning to tire of the long drives and leaving our home and family for so long. It took a while before we got any nibbles and that was OK by me, but then the near-ideal buyer came along. Virgil is a Scot, knows the quality of the Camper Nicholsons and wants to sail her back to Scotland in the next few years. His bid wasn’t as high as we had hoped, but after analyzing the alternatives, it became a better option. The alternative was to sail her back to BC; a hard sail and probably an expensive trip: taxes, duty (UK built boat), new heating system, replacing some of the systems we installed in 2008, and then repairing all those niggly little, non-essential things that had been overlooked for the past few years and needed more personal time and money, of course. The original engine (4-236 Perkins) is still working great, but will eventually need a rebuild and that is cheaper here in Mexico. Then there was the beneficial value of the $US. So, all in all it was a good time to part.

Will we sail again? Definitely, but back home in BC. We have so many unexplored (by us) shores to see and we have already begun our search for the “Ideal Cruiser”.

For a complete story of Gosling’s adventures check out Flights of the Gosling.


  1. Carolyn Daley says:

    great article Jean-Guy… And right on! Glad to hear you’ll be back on the water in BC… See you there. Carolyn (SV Shannon’s Spirit)

    1. J-G Nadeau says:

      Thanks Carolyn
      We are on our way to Comox to pick up Callisto,a C&C 35 Mk II and sailing her south to Mayne Island next week.
      Cheers, J-G and Fran

  2. Donna Sassaman says:

    Bill and I sold our beloved little steel ketch a few years after returning to BC from offshore. We had decided to continue living aboard and wanted more creature comforts (e.g., pressure water, shower, ‘guest room’, etc.). But when it came time to part with Emrys, I felt like we had sold a family member. I understand the love affair with a boat, especially when it has taken you to far away places in [relative] comfort and safety. Bon voyage, Gosling! Best wishes to you both as you search for your coastal cruiser! Sail or power?

    1. J-G Nadeau says:

      Thanks for the lovely comments, Donna. We are, at this moment, in Victoria, waiting for a bus to take us to Comox where our ‘new to us’ boat is waiting. We will be learning the ropes over the weekend and sailing her south next week. Be on the lookout this summer for Callisto, a red hulled, C&C 35 Mk II in your travels. We will be sailing out of Horton Bay, Mayne Island until a berth is available at CFSA in Esquimalt.
      CHeers, J-G

  3. Jordan and Judy sv/Sea Turtle IV says:

    Fran and Jean-Guy

    We can understand the passage of time and events. Cruising the BC coast will be the way to open the next chapter. We also view the day when we too end up in a new cruising ground that we haven’t explored yet, that is BC coast.

  4. Trisha Merrell says:

    A true love story told by a sailor.

  5. Rolande says:

    Good article ,Jean-Guy. I completely agree with you. It is not a good day to say goodbye to a good boat. Our boats (home away from) provide us with so many amazing experiences that land lubbers have no idea about. They cocoon us against the environment at the same time as making us absolutely aware of our beautiful Sea world. Plus We are so lucky to be part of the wonderful cruising community of people. Fair winds to you and Fran on your next adventure.

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