Back Onboard Our Yacht Tea Chest

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure

William Feather

Well, it has been a rocky start in our yacht owning journey to say the least. We came to Turkey at the beginning of February 2020 pre-Covid 19. We did everything right in that we went through a reputable yacht broker, discussed boat history in depth with the owner, looked over maintenance and upkeep records, hauled out, engaged a yacht surveyor, checked over what we could see ourselves…and we were ready to move onboard and sail off into the sunset. That didn’t quite go according to plan! We had been living onboard in the marina for 2 weeks, gently going over all the electronics, making lists of changes we wanted to make, getting stuck into the normal upkeep that a steel yacht entails, one of those being some minor rust work on deck. Just little patches that water had crept into and needed attention before becoming a bigger problem. I set to chipping away the layers of paint, and scraping away the rust ready for a coat of rust convertor, undercoat, filler and then paint to completly secure the sites. The chap went to investigate the battery compartments and bilges. He had noted some ‘what looked like’ surface rust on his cursory pre-purchase look over. I was happily working on deck in the late winter sun when I heard a few expletives from below. The chap came up on deck and said stop what you are doing we need to prepare her for an urgent haul out! What!!! Turns out things aren’t always as they seem! We found we had a false floor that was holding the batteries up and below this was about 2 years of water that had been left to sit and slowly do its damage. We initially found a pin hole leak…this was just the beginning. I tried very hard not to panic, my mind was envisaging being at the bottom of the marina by morning, turns out a pin hole leak could take weeks if not months to do some serious flooding. No chance of that happening, we were off to the marina office arranging a haul out as soon as possible.

It turned out this discovery was the just the tip of the iceberg; we required 400kgs of steel plating on the hull, a new prop shaft, replacement fuel tank, engine haul out, anchor locker refit and a new fridge/freezer system. Don’t forget the sandblasting, undercoat, paint and anti-foul to boot. All and all about 18months of our predicted budget has been eaten up by our beautiful boat. We have been blessed however, in that our marine engineer who has been project managing for us has been exemplary. Totally professional, empathetic to our situation and went above and beyond our expectations. Even as much as going to the Provincial Governor with photos of our boat and explaining the situation to have permission granted for his team to work through lock-down periods – all this without us knowing, just to get the job done.

That was four and a half months ago. We have lived out of our suitcases in hotels, an apartment and with some wonderful friends in Kas for a few weeks. There have been some pretty tough times, not helped at all by the Covid 19 pandemic, no option to return home, being in a foreign country with limited local language and a never ending list of repairs that needed to be completed on our ‘dream boat’ to make her sea worthy. There were a few tears, I won’t lie. And maybe a few frustrations and meltdowns on my part too…my heart was breaking for the chap who has had this dream his entire life and he had researched and planned meticulously. He just wanted his boat sorted so he could travel and sail, we didn’t think it was too much to ask. On the up side we have met some amazingly kind people, seen a lot of the local area, learnt about the history and customs and become completely immersed in the local community. We even gained our Turkish Residency! As for the chap and I, we have managed to come through this challenging time stronger than ever, with a new found respect for finding the humour in most situations and looking forward to finally realising the dream.
While we were locked down in our apartment we did a radio interview with a station back home in New Zealand. Lots of fun to do – hope you enjoy it.

Fairing after the welding has been completed
Looking good

We decided to rename our beautiful yacht, Tea Chest. We wanted her to be completely ours, and felt this was a positive move forward and a fresh start. Tea Chest went back into the water two weeks ago to have a pressure test to ensure the welding sites were secure. Once that was completed they started putting the insides back together, electrical wiring, plumbing and carpentry. We were set for a sea trial date. It was a very exciting day, not only were we able to take her out and test the engine we were able to take her out of the marina! With the chap and I we had 7 of the boatyard team with us for the sea trial, engineers, mechanics, the Meister and our project manager. It was the perfect sea trial, calm waters, light winds and a very happy group of people who had worked so hard to get us to this point. The chap took Tea Chest out into the Mediterranean and she performed perfectly. The pull to keep going was a big one, but we turned her a round and brought her, and the team back into the marina for a few more days of internal refitting.

In the slings, heading back into the water
Sea trial success looking back towards Finike, Turkey

Finally the day had arrived, we were able to move back onboard. She was ours again to make our own and continue what we had started. We have spent the past few weeks cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, unpacking our suitcases (hopefully for the last time), sorting and stowing. There have been a few tweaks along the way, having hot and cold water running from all three points (galley and both heads), connecting the air-conditioning up (a must when inside can hit 40deg), and our new fridge/freezer unit being installed. While all this has been happening the chap has been clearing the deck, sorting ropes, sails, checking bilges, and going through the endless supply of ‘spares’. He has had a grin like a Cheshire Cat and the old sparkle back in his eyes since being back on the boat. I am so proud of how much junk and rubbish has been discarded, well over a tonne! We have donated excess equipment to some local friends and will sell some of the bigger yacht equipment that is surplus to requirements. This part has been a great cleansing process for us both, making Tea Chest our own.

Tea Chest sitting alongside to finish the last of the internal work

What did we learn? That things aren’t always as they seem and sadly people aren’t as honest and trustworthy as we would like to think they are. I have always held some values very highly; integrity and honesty are two of them…we have learnt to be more cautious, take our time and ask a lot more questions. It hasn’t ruined our plans, it has just made us more wary and our new motto is “Everything is an experience.”

Newly named – TEA CHEST

What next for us? Well we are loving life back onboard Tea Chest. We are aiming for a day trip or two next week around the local area and then we will make plans to start sailing/bay hopping along the west coast of Turkey and head up to the Black Sea. Can’t wait to see some new sights, feel the fresh sea air around us and make the most of every opportunity.

Please don’t let this deter you from following your dreams, just be cautious and go in with eyes wide open.
Fair winds my friends and happy tea drinking.

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33 thoughts on “Back Onboard Our Yacht Tea Chest

  1. Justine I’m happy for the improvements but sad as to why you needed them. Life is always two steps forward and three steps back (give or take a few steps either way). I hope the joy for the rest of this adventure is multiplied for you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One thing I’ve always admired about the both of you, always looking towards the positive. I’ve seen the pair of you go through some tough times on your own, together you guys can be summed up in one word…formidable. Best of luck on your journey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thanks so much Higgy, we are looking forward to getting out on the water and chasing the sun amd adventures. Thanks for popping into the Tea Chest Blog, great to have you here x


  3. Just catching up on your life in and on the ocean waves. Wow! Am in awe! Well done both of you. Really admire how you’ve just knuckled down and sorted it out ..where others would’ve just cracked! What amazing resilience! Hope it’s smooth sailing from here on in! 😁🐠🦈🏖🏝🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so kind of you Chris, just glad to be out on the water again and feeling safe now she is seaworthy ⛵


  4. Well done to both of you and Tea Chest looks absolutely beautiful after all the work. I couldn’t imagine either of you backing off from this dream, it shows share determination, regardless of cost, time and even heart break to achieve this. Happy sailing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks my lovely friend, it has definitely been a bit of a journey but we are determined to see our plans through.


  5. There’s definitely a lot of romanticization behind owning a boat–sorry to hear that there was so much to take care of, but I’m glad it’s going well now! She’s beautiful! :]

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I saw “tiny pin-sized hole” and literally gasped out loud just now. I love that you’re telling the “real story” so other people know that the process isn’t just buying a boat and sailing away happily. There is a lot that goes into it and I see that now! Good luck with everything!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I fully understand that feeling hahhaha ⛵ we are looking forward to getting out on the water that’s for sure


  7. Fair winds & happy sailing. So true that people are not always as honest as we would like them to be. I think you have dealt with it all in a very positive way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, what a journey for both of you. I had no idea of all of the hiccups along the way. What a relief now that you can look back and see how far you’ve come, amongst a pandemic as well and so pleased you have had a professional team to get all of the work completed. I’m so excited for both of you to have a dream come true. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jacqui, we didn’t tell anyone just wanted to work through it and get it sorted. Think we both felt quite deflated and a little embarrassed that this had happened to us. Thanks for your kind wishes.


  9. Glad you are back on board. There is just no way anyone could have predicted COVID19 and how it is changing the world. I think your motto is great. Life is a journey which means twists and turns we could never predict. Enjoy and to the next stage of the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great blog Justine. You have certainly been thrown a few curve balls in your adventure so far but as usual you have a positive attitude. May you and Chuck have your sailing dreams fulfilled soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, we are determined not to let this deter us from our adventure. Live and learn and onward we go ⛵🌍


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