SV Esprit tied up at the Royal Motor Yacht Club on Friday 14 January 2022. The next day we were issued with new photo ID security cards, replacing our six year old membership cards and registering our vehicle number plate for the new camera gate opening system. All these changes were introduced during our absence, as well as other new or improved club facilities.

Michelle & Kristian.

Michelle invited her friend Kristian for a sail a day later. We sailed over to Towlers Bay and after picking up a mooring went ashore to climb up to the Bairne Lookout for a panoramic view of the Pittwater across Morning Bay and Scotland Island to the South.

Having a breather while climbing up to the lookout.

Annie showing no strain.

Looking out over Morning Bay with a huge Gin palace at anchor.

We sailed to and anchored in The Basin further north on the Pittwater, for a walk and a swim and our evening BBQ of leg of lamb and salads.

Michelle and some friendly ducks.

Full moon rising over Barrenjoey lighthouse.

On the Monday Kristian and Michelle helped us take the main and jib sails and the mainsail boom bag down for repairs. After they left, we started the process of getting our house ready for sale. The house was looking tired after the tenants. We interviewed two estate agents to handle the marketing and sale and got two quotes to paint the house inside and out and two quotes to cut back and clean the overgrown garden.

Our house plans.

I bought a new Karcher high pressure water cleaner and a wet/dry vacuum cleaner and set about cleaning the outside of the house, the balconies, the eaves, the garage and storage area below the house. By the Friday the painters had already painted all the ceilings in the house and I had finished water blasting the outside of the house, the driveway, the retaining walls and the timber deck at the back. Annie was working apace on the admin and organising of all the details and searching for our new house.

Street facade after cleaning and painting.

On the Saturday we visited five open house inspections to get a feel for the current property market. The following week the painters and us gave it a good go, only taking off Australia Day on the 26th January. By Friday the internal painting was done and seven more open house inspections was on our agenda for the Saturday.

The back garden and timber deck.

By Tuesday evening the 1st February, everything was done and dusted: the house painted inside and out, gardens trimmed and cleaned with new wood chips on the ground and the stove rehabilitated (it was a mess). I also stripped the old coats of deck finish and applied two coats of new decking oil to the timber deck at the back of the house.

Our bedroom after styling.

On the Thursday “Furnish and Finish” arrived and styled the house – we very nearly didn’t recognise the place when we arrived after they had done their styling. On the Friday  the 4th February, three weeks after we arrived back in Sydney, we took all the stuff we needed at our house from the boat and tied Esprit up at a new mooring near Scotland Island.

Kitchen and meals area after styling.

We then moved back into our new look house to celebrate with a bottle of wine and a knock up spag bol on our one plate induction cooker plate ($50 at Aldi’s), before collapsing on our familiar bed for a well deserved sleep. On Saturday a new fridge and washing machine was delivered for use during the potential three months stay, until settlement of a sale.

Lounge and dining area – I think our furniture would have looked better.

Sunday was busy day with me applying a last coat of decking oil to our rear timber deck, before having our old neighbours over for sundowners late afternoon. Following the photo shoot of the house on the Monday, brochures were produced in record time for our first home open for inspection on Saturday the 12th February: 23 groups came through and 6 contracts were taken, which according to our agent, was looking promising,

Downstairs family room.

Wednesdays and Saturdays became a merry-go-round of open house inspections for us, as we tried to find a small two bedroom, one bathroom lock-up and go townhouse. Clearly Australian house designs have morphed into magnificent 4-5 bedroom, 2-3 bathroom, double garage McMansions (of which, our  house is a good example). We jokingly discussed moving into the Narrabeen caravan park, as we have become quite used to compact boat living, were not used to keeping up with the Joneses and preferred to march to our own drum. We also briefly looked at retirement villages for the over 55’s in Bayview, but Annie felt we were not yet ready for that.

Walking in the Warriewood Wetlands

On the 24th February our other project, the upgrading of Esprit’s sails, canvas work and running gear, took another step forward with the delivery of a new 50 m2 Fastnet 9.9oz offshore fully battened mainsail, a 42 m2 Fastnet 9.9oz offshore furling headsail and a 115 m2 Fibremax 2.2oz radial cut Code C sail on a Sveggen furling system. This $17,000 investment will keep Esprit sailing for many more years to come, as these specifications are bullet proof.

Beautifully preserved Warriewood Wetlands.

At a meeting with our agents, halfway through the house sale campaign, it appeared that the property market had softened since the buying frenzy at the end of 2021, when the most recent house sale in our street fetched almost $2.5 million. Our pragmatic view after 25 years of buying and selling property in Australia, is that the property market is a bit like the Lotto and that the market will decide the price, despite the valuations the agents often estimate.

Wildlife in the Wetlands.

In the meantime, Karen and Evan did the Jervis Bay triathlon on 26 February. They were glad that the continuous three week deluge of rain flooding the East coast of Australia, eased up to a light drizzle for this event. The two of them are flying to Bogota in early May, to spend three months exploring South America, before she starts her next registrar’s contract in Sydney. Michelle who finishes her contract with the UN in India at end April, will be flying to Europe in May to spend three months of R&R travelling in Europe, before taking on another assignment.

For the past year Karen has been working in Accidents and Emergency surgery under Prof. Balogh, the head of Traumatology and Surgery at the John Hunter hospital in Newcastle. She was stoked when she and Balogh operated with Prof. Munjed Al Muderis in Sydney on 2 March. Al Muderis a former boat refugee, is the leading expert on osseointegration. (Direct titanium prosthetic implants into the bone structure) See:

The Curl-Curl walk, looking towards North Curl-Curl.

During all this activity, I went for a long overdue medical checkup and blood tests. The result of an increased PSA level (Prostate Specific Antigen), resulted in a MRI scan of my prostate, followed two weeks later by a needle biopsy. The MRI and biopsy confirmed the presence of cancer in two areas of my prostate. My urologist Dr. Kris Rasiah, advised radiation treatment rather than surgery.

I have an appointment with Prof. Tom Eade, a radiation oncologist at Sydney University, to start a four week course of External Beam Radiation Therapy, which has the advantage of being a non invasive treatment. In all other respects, I am riddled with good health, but I will keep you posted on developments and hopefully, a positive prostate outcome.

Rough seas at South Curl-Curl.

Mario our agent did a lot of work before auction day, Saturday the 5th March, to ensure at least two bidders on the day. He also received two offers in the week leading up to auction and on the Friday, with all things considered, we decided to accept the highest offer of $2,200,000.

We had seen two townhouses in Warriewood near the Pittwater, which suited our requirements with two bedrooms, one bathroom and one garage, the usual lounge/dining/kitchen configuration with compact front and back gardens – all on one level, for around $1,400,000. A no-brainer really, leaving us with at least $500,000 to spend on a V12 Ferrari – or not! The outcome will be revealed in due course in our next post.

Cheers for now.