Free spirit


This week we left La Vie and moved aboard Free Spirit, she is an O Day 36. The lovely Paul is her owner and lives aboard a motorboat nearby in Simpson bay lagoon while he slowly works on her. She was damaged in a hurricane when she ripped her mooring and  was swept under the bridge losing her mast and cockpit. Paul has scrubbed her and we’ve been donated bedding and towels from another local cruiser Cathy, so we’re good to go and move aboard early Tuesday morning. She is a great little boat with two rooms, a bathroom and small galley and we fit quite comfortably. 

On the Wednesday we had an interesting day, we walked up to the fort above Marigot, the view is beautiful and it helps to see the area from above as it is a very confusing island with all the water, bridges, French side, Dutch side etc. Whilst we were up there we did our let’s look for the boat and oh my goodness… there was a yacht slowly being towed across the bay to the French bridge, we watched it for a while slowly getting more and more excited, could it be??  It looked like dove II , we legged it back down the steps, ran through the streets and dived into the dinghy as fast as we could, we hurtled out of the lagoon, under the bridge and oh the disappointment as we came out into the bay, it wasn’t her… I mean imagine if it had been, what a fairytale ending worthy of Hollywood, but it wasn’t. We were all a little subdued as we made our way back to free spirit for dinner, but the search was still on, we had made the decision to stay and try to find her. Over the next couple of days we continued with life, we did school in the mornings and then took picnics of baguettes with butter and jam to remote spots and swam and snorkelled anchoring the dinghy off little beaches, James would spend the evenings searching on the wifi. 


Saturday we were woken by a very excited boy who happened to be 10 that day so we had a wonderful day celebrating Heath and his awesomeness, Tanya and Steve on La Vie unloaded all kinds of inflatable goodies into the water and I picked up a very beautiful cake and we spent the day eating cake and bobbing around in the sea. Heaths best bit was tow-in surfing behind the dinghy and he was brilliant at it, so was Jim, I however was rubbish!  Steve did homemade pizzas for dinner and Debs, Bob and John all came over , it was a lovely evening.


 There was a flurry of excitement/anxiety when James received a message, someone had sighted a boat that looked just like ours! It was washed up in Grenada… oh my goodness, this was in completely the wrong direction to where we were expecting it to be. Everyone went into full speed , contacting everyone they knew in Grenada. Was it Dove II? This was a tricky one, on one hand we wanted it to be ours as it would be closure, on the other hand this yacht had been completely stripped/ransacked and that is a sad thought. There are things on that boat that are only important to us, our hard drive with photos from our whole lives, the children as babies, our wedding. The children’s pillows that I made from their baby blankets with their names appliqued on, only we want these things.  We stayed the night on La Vie, I was up at sun rise and sat on deck , the boat was being circled by two beautiful spotted rays, quickly followed by a turtle and then a pair of pipe fish it was a beautiful morning. Tanya received news that it wasn’t Dove II, in fact it was a trimaran so how that looked like ours I’ll never know. In a week we had thought we might have found Dove II twice but as another week passes we have still had no news. 

So what next? James has been sent an updated drift pattern which puts the boat up near Anagarda in the BVI’s so it’s time to leave St Martin. The following morning we receive a message from another neighbour in the lagoon, Royce the kiwi (the one who helped us go surfing) . Would we like a lift on his catamaran to the BVI’s, he’d be leaving in two days? 

Yes please.

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4 responses to “Free spirit

  1. Hello lovely family! Your story has touched my heart (my dream is to go cruising with my family) and your strength to keep going is incredible, I really really hope you find your boat in the BVI…. I have shared your story with a very close friend who runs a surf school in Josiahs Bay on Tortola. Im not sure where you will be in BVI but he is happy for you guys to go and use some boards whenever you like, if not for a bit of respite and recharge and some fun for the kids! I cant find any contact details for you so I have sent a private message on James Facebook page (may be in others folder) with details. Take care and good luck. We are rooting for you from Brazil xxx

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  2. I just came across your story yesterday and I’ve been touched by the outpouring of kindness from the marine community which just confirms why I’m honored to be a part of it. I also admire you guys for your adventurous spirit and your persistence to remain hopeful and get on with it. Many people in your shoes would have accepted defeat and gone home never to accept such risk again. I’ve also seen the negative comments out there and I encourage you to not let them deter your spirit. I see that your gofundme page has stopped taking contributions but if there is any other form of help you need, please let me know. Best of luck!

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  3. Just letting you know I and other sailors have been following your story closely. It’s a very unfortunate set of circumstances that led you to this place but remember you are part of the greatest community on earth. Cruising Sailors. We look out for each other and take care of one another. I do hope the boat turns up safe and sound. Do know that word has spread through all the cruising forums and there are many eyes looking out for her!
    Layne Zuelke
    SV Gambit
    Gulfport MS

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