Sailing School Plonkers Of The Month: Simplicity

dave and peggy

This is the story about our “Plonkers of the Month”, David and Peggy King and their boat “Simplicity”. We are immensely proud of them for taking their dream in hand and making it happen! They started out as two “Plonkers” in our seaschool and are now two seasoned sailors and adventurers!

People who want to live on a boat or go cruising are always asking us how we made the big move. Some of our friends thought we were crazy, some thought we were the smartest people in the world and some were a combination of both. After talking to people my husband, David, and I get the feeling fear of the unknown is the main stumbling block to most folks. What if we can’t sell our house, what if we can’t find the “right” boat, what if , what if, what if. Bottom line is this … if it’s something you have dreamed about doing … do it …. If you don’t try you’ll never know. Our plan may not turn out the way we dreamed but we will have at least tried and have no regrets. This is our story.

2004: This little adventure was my idea. After having dinner at a local marina with co-workers I went home and asked David what we were going to do with the rest of our lives since we were empty nesters. Simple question!? I told him I thought it would be great if we could sell the house, everything in it and buy a boat. It sounded like an easy enough thing to do. Remember the saying “Be careful what you ask for?” Well, that did it.

Within weeks we we’re on line looking at boats. Gas prices weren’t high yet and we actually looked at a 46′ Chris Craft CONSTELLATION. Buying that boat didn’t work out so we took it as an omen we should be looking in a different direction, which is what we did. We went to the first in-water boat show in Norfolk, VA. where we looked at all the new and beautiful sailboats.

After looking at every boat we could get onto I was honest with David and told him I didn’t think I could live on a sailboat for a lot of different reasons. After that realization, we just wandered around the rest of the day all the while hoping my feelings would change. See our advice on getting a reluctant partner to go sail the cruising life.

Unbeknownst to us, there was one lonely catamaran off at the end of a dock. It was a 440 Lagoon and it was beautiful. Neither one of us had been on board a “cat” before so took the opportunity to take a good look. The boat was fully loaded with every imaginable piece of electronics a cruising cat would need. David went down the port side and I went down the starboard side. After poking our noses in every locker, hatch and cubby hole we both emerged in the salon and said “we can do THIS!!!”

We met the broker and talked to him for quite awhile about sailing a catamaran and how you went about finding a boat. He told us, on average it takes people 3 to 5 years from looking at boats until you find the “right boat.” The timeline seemed to fit into our schedule because we had planned to live on the boat first and then both of us retire in 2010. We felt comfortable with the brokers’ attitude, knowledge of sailboats and his personality so we asked him if he would help us find our boat.

We wanted to learn as much as we could about sailing a catamaran so we decided to go to sail school and learn from the professionals. In April, 2007 we signed up with Blue Water Sailing School out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We were fortunate enough to have our class switched from Fort Lauderdale to Marsh Harbor, Abaco, Bahamas where we spent a full week learning how to live and sail a cruising catamaran. We were lucky enough to have sail instructors who lived and breathed catamarans for years. We’re still friends with Stephen and Estelle Cockcroft to this day and very proud to be members of The Plonker Club.

The afternoon we returned to our home in Williamsburg, Virginia, a “For Sale by Owner” sign went up in the front yard.

Long story short – we got a call on a Wednesday in late June that the boat we had been looking for would be put on the market on Monday. If we wanted to see it, we had to do it before the listing got put on the internet. By Friday, we were on our way to Hilton Head to see the boat.

As it turned out, it was the boat we were looking for. Even though it was a used boat, it was immaculate inside and had all the features we wanted: water maker, generator, HVAC, 3 cabins and 1 cabin for storage, and all the gidgets and gadgets that delight sailors. We spent Saturday talking to the owners and, on Sunday, we drove back to Williamsburg. Along the way, we plotted out how we could pull this off financially with 2 student loans, a house mortgage, and a boat payment. It would be tight, but we could do it.

We made an offer on the boat that week and by the end of the week, we were new boat owners.

We sailed Simplicity home to Virginia in August 2007.

UPDATE 2008: Unfortunately, the housing market took a nose dive and our house stayed on the market for 528 days before we were lucky enough to sell it. We tried staying in the house during the work week and then shift over to the boat on Fridays but in September we finally made the complete move to the boat. Living on the boat full time allowed us time to learn all the systems we would have to deal with as well as decide whether or not we could actually live on the boat and be comfortable.

The rest is history. We both retired in September, 2010 and made our first cruise to the Bahamas returning to the US in May, 2011. We are planning our next cruise to the Bahamas now.

– by Peggy King for Catamaran Guru

19 July 2011

Read about their adventures on their blog!

UPDATE: Peggy’s blog is a bit outdated as life’s pace continues to be brisk following their purchase of a yacht brokerage. Read about this plonker-no-more couple’s post-retirement with yachts.


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