Boat Life, It’s Getting Complicated
It’s been a very loooong week here aboard Curiosity. At first, we thought about forging ahead despite our pounding heads and piles of paperwork. “Just go for an adventure and post something fun” we said. But, that would be a disservice.
We are struggling with a few issues and we feel it’s important to remain transparent with the reality of this lifestyle. If we didn’t, we’d feel like a couple of frauds serving up a hallmark fiction when you signed up for the independent documentary.
So here it is.
Cyclone season is coming to an end soon here in Tonga and we’re trying desperately to plan our next move. But it’s getting complicated.
Our ever-growing list of boat projects is slowly moving from minor to major to mandatory. We NEED to get to a mainland. Ya know, somewhere with a decent stock of marine supplies, tools, and industry experts.
But between insurance issues, COVID restrictions, and the weather…we’re feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place.
We’re also sick and tired. Literally. A few days after the last ukulele lesson in the village, Jason came down with a terrible cold, and now this flu-like monster is trying to drag me down too. Which isn’t helping with our motivation or our attitudes towards solving any of it.
This is becoming a serious point of contention. Boat insurance is complicated, expensive, and gets increasingly worse every year.
This week, we received a “Notice of Non-Renewal”. Our current insurance company, Novamar, will no longer be insuring boats in this region. The further we get away from the USA the more challenging it has become to insure our US-flagged vessel.
Contacting and getting quotes from at least a dozen agencies has become our annual routine. Hodgens Marine, Lloyd’s of London, Global Marine, Pantaenius, Novamar, Jackline…you name it, we’ve gotten quotes (but if you know of a company that is insuring US boats in the S. Pacific, please let us know).
Luckily, we found a new agency but they’re requesting a haul-out and full survey. Here in Tonga, there is no accredited marine surveyor. So, the only option is to get to Australia or New Zealand before our insurance expires. Which may not be possible.
Our insurance won’t cover us if we set sail before April 1st and our coverage ends April 23rd.
Where to Go
What countries in the South Pacific are open right now? None!
That said, we can apply for an exemption if we have a compelling reason for entry. It’s not a guarantee but worth a shot.
We’re looking into our two closest countries: New Zealand and Australia. Neither presents a perfect scenario. But as the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers.
Australia is at least 2100 nautical miles away, approximately a 20-day sail. It is an option we’re looking into but they don’t count time at sea, and they’d make us do a full 14-day hotel quarantine. Aside from taking a serious chunk out of our cruising kitty, it’s impossible to sail there, quarantine, and check into the country before our insurance expires.
That leaves New Zealand. The 1100 nautical mile sail would take approximately 10 days, but we would need to creep in on day 12. Because they will count our time at sea towards quarantine, but only if we are at sea for 12 days or more.
The exact compelling need language for boat refit says “Boat Repairs More Than Minor”. We’ve spoken with a yacht agent in NZ and what they said is “the magic number is $50,000 because anything less gets denied”. WTF?!?! It should be judged on the work needed, not the dollar amount. But hey, nobody asked me to define what is fair.
We can sail to NZ in unsettled weather and turn our annual budget blood-red by promising to pay $50k in boat repairs. OR we request permission to sail to Australia, have our insurance lapse mid-transit, and pray mother nature plays nice while we put our home & life savings on the line.
None of this leaves me with the warm and fuzzies. But we’re running out of time and soon, a decision will have to be made. Which way we will go…I still don’t know.
Some Good News
We Donated 4 Uke’s to the Vava’u Public Library!
We also have some cash donations that were sent in that we will donate to help keep the library going and fund other programs and educational materials.
You can learn more about the libraries needs and make a donation here: https://gofund.me/81b50828
Some Extra Good News: Turns out one of the guys from Gibson Gives is a fellow traveler and fan. He reached out and said Gibson Gives wants to donate some ukes and a guitar! How cool is that!?! Our little community never ceases to amaze me.
So yea, this week’s been full of challenges but it also raised our spirits seeing the Vava’u Library get some love and the local kids expand their musical opportunities.
The most beautiful part of all this is: we didn’t even ask. You all just showed up and said, “how can we help”. Warms me up even more than my hot toddy!
🎥 CAMERA GEAR USED TO FILM THIS VIDEO
🎶 MUSIC IN THIS VIDEO:
- Source – Artlist, Get 2 Months FREE: https://bit.ly/artlist-GWTW
Artists – Paper Planes
🙏 THANK YOU!
Ups, downs, and all around, we share it all. We’re able to do so because people like you show up each week, read, watch, comment, share, shop our gear store, and toss a tip in our production jar. If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.
For anyone to assume that you both haven’t been touched by COVID and care shows extreme shortsightedness/optorectitis.
Keep being the wonderful people you are!
I haven’t seen an update of this issue, hope the resolution is going well. Was wondering if American Samoa would be an option? would there be surveyors and haul outs there? As Americans, you should be able to get accepted, but I also have no clue if its in a good weather direction or not. At least, as its America, you should be able to get things shipped in w/o customs! Otherwise, I vote for Fiji and at least getting the insurance worked out and what other repairs are possible while you wait for weather or countries opening as vaccine rates go up and covid goes down. It’s quite likely by May / June that NZ and AUS would be open for sailing vessels taking x days to travel there as a quarantine or if they originate from somewhere w/o covid like Tonga / Fiji. Poss even totally open for travellers. We are now in mid-march and it seems like the numbers are really starting to go down in many areas.
Once insurance is ok, then just hang / explore somewhere and wait for weather to be in your favor. No sense in risking yourselves or your home and the 50k thing, even if its only 36k USD, thats whoa, 36k in boat work…. one heck of a lot. Jury rig the heck out of things until that requirement goes away. see what parts local machinists can make for you. Delos special!! 😉 Brian was always wandering into some shop holding something asking if someone could make it or alter it. There must be a mechanical guru who can jury rig that starter on the generator for you as a short term fix.
We moved aboard our 2005 Broadblue 42 cat in 2018. So far, we have not left Chesapeake Bay, so compared to you guys, we are wimps. It’s embarrassing. Anyway, we haven’t had trouble with our insurance yet through Travelers. We had a cruising range from Nova Scotia to Brownsville, TX, including the Bahamas, but asked that it be cut back to save some money. I don’t think we’ll be able to afford to have the original range restored.
Hiring out work on our boat is not an option. We did our own bottom paint, engine heat exchanger and saildrive lower replacement, electrical work, and everything else. We just cannot afford the labor rates. It is more than we anticipated, and we thought we had a good plan before we started.
Between hearing of your problems, echoed by Carolyn at theboatgalley.com, from talking to other owners, and our own observations, it seems that the insurance companies, marinas, repair businesses, and parts manufacturers are going to kill cruising for all but the wealthy. There are enough people who have so much money, that they can support the boating industry without us poors. The industry seems to collectively not give a rats ass if we are all forced to sell and leave the water to the filthy rich, who similarly don’t give a rats ass how much the marina charges for an oil change, or a tech to install $20,000 of new electronic gizmos at $140/hr. And boating is not the only sector of the economy the exhibits this tendency. It is disheartening that we have to contemplate selling before we even got started in our own travels. This economy seems to be built for one thing, and one thing only, work for the man to generate shareholder wealth until you die at your desk.
Hope you work out your problems.
Hey dude, I am a MD resident. I was wondering how you found a marina that allows liveaboard status or is this hush hush? LOL.
I have researching this lifestyle for a long time and I am very interested in pursuing it. I am very hands on like Nikki and Jason are and would definitely be keeping my pennies in my pocket doing all the maintenance and repair work I can reasonably and comprehensively accomplish without voiding warranties. WTF is the right response from Nikki. It should not be a dollar amount but the equipment on board status that should dictate a compelling reason for access to the country.
Neil & Virginia
Hi Nikki & Jason.
We will reach out to Jacinda and make a plea to have NZ accept you – no promises but you don’t get it you don’t try!
If you make it here and need somewhere to stay while your boat is being repaired we have room for you here in Wellington or I’m sure my family on Waiheke would make room for you.
I don’t know if anyone else has suggested this but it might help your window situation. Where the cracks in the plexiglass appear, use a drill bit to drill a small hole at the very end of the crack. This will usually stop them from propagating further. you can seal the crack and hole with water proof tape. It is literally a stopgap measure but might keep the window intact long enough to reach a proper repair (replacement(. I’ve had to use this technique on a couple of windows on my airplane. Good luck with your adventure.
Also there has to be a qualified surveyor in Fiji and possibly use some clear paint protection film to completely surround your windows to make them waterproof, just to allow you a bit more time to get to New Zealand and or Australia.
I have to admit when I saw the Diesel tanks, rust through, starter motors for the main engines, and now the windows, It basically convinced me to stick with RVs (travel trailer) and just charter someone else’s boat with a captain. I hope you two start to offer up one or 2 of your additional berths to paying charter guests especially as you start to get closer to Asia.
You should consider New Caledonia. I never been there but they are a closer than both Australia and New Zeland.
Ready and waiting for you to come and visit us down in New Zealand. There are some hoops to go through to get entry but rest assured you will be looked after if you make it in. Let us know if you need a hand with anything happy to help out where we can.
This is your HOME and it saddens me to see even 1 person downplay your situation! You 2 are a couple of the kindest people I know – we have all seen how you help clean up the beaches and help improve the lives of others wherever you go!! Yes this is extremely frustrating! Yes there are people in TX cold with no electric and people sick with COVID, but don’t feel bad – as they say, what does that have to do with the price of eggs in China?? Those things are out of your control! If our water well broke and windows were leaking in our homes, we would be in a precarious situation also. These covid times have turned the world upside down! All I can think of is you need to ask a salty sailor, that Mark from South Africa who had the cancer??? Could you ask him for wisdom and advice? I think it is awesome that you 2 are so non-drama and even keep on smiling and joking! I just watched a Zatara video where they arrived in Australia and it looked like an awful experience! I am anxious to see what you decide – please be safe… and keep smiling 😊
James G Cox
Just got done watching a 2014 episode of Going Rv with you 2 buying your new Rv . My you looked so young! Like 2 kids out of high school. Don’t know how your doing it but looks like a dream life to me. Keep on enjoying yourselves.
That was the beginning of it all. Filmed in 2011, we were 28 & 29 years old at the time. We didn’t know a lick about anything we were getting ourselves into and we’ve had the wildest, most fulfilling ride of our lives and it isn’t over yet. 🤠
There are a lot of comments here. But could you fly a surveyor to you? The cost may be cheaper then the risk of moving g during hurricane season. God bless you both. Love your your tube.
No, the Tongan border is still closed to everyone except its citizens.
Hi. I am not a sailor, but I’m the next closest thing. I’m a pilot with thousands of hours of Pilot in Command time in my own airplanes. Do not, under any circumstances, risk your lives by attempting to sail into potentially bad weather. Assuming you live, it will be a long time before you recover from the sheer terror of what a storm can do to you and your boat.
Let me repeat. Don’t do it! There is a saying which I used all the time when I wanted to fly home on a Friday night with scary weather ahead. “It is better to be on the ground wishing I was in the air than in the air wishing I was on the ground.” I can’t tell you how many times that line saved my life.
So what is the line you will repeat to yourself? “It is better to have a sundowner in calm waters than being terrified on stormy seas.”
My very best to you both as we travel in our motorhome inspired by your earlier RV travels.
Wow! What good ideas people have come up with. This just goes to show the great value in many minds working to solve problems. I liked, too, how there was money-saving potential offered here.
First, I think you and all commentators must decide if the boat is still good. I got the impression that it was a good and well-maintained boat. Sure, a boat may need a new window or a new stanchion or whatever, but that doesn’t mean the boat is too old or not worth maintaining. Can’t you keep it working for decades to come?
With that said, you can go a long ways with your existing windows if you use caulk and tape liberally. Just stop those leaks for now.
The use of polycarbonate may be just the ticket for the windows. Another great idea.
I did not know about the exchange rate. Is it actually a lot less than $50K? And did the total include the value of your own labor? Is a ship yard willing to give you credit for your own labor? Can the inspection cost be included? What about the great ideas of other locations?
Can you just save yourselves a lot of headache by paying for the inspector to come to you? That’s a great idea. He might want a paid vacation, quarantine and all. Getting one who already had the vaccines would be just the ticket. Can people come in who have had the vaccines? Can you meet them by boat, and can the inspection be done underwater? Could that be pretty cheaply handled? Or virtual, as also suggested.
And of course, listen to those who recommend negotiating an insurance extension. Good heavens, they must understand the pandemic and weather situation and would not want you rushing into the unknown right now. Or even a new company may accept you on contingency that you perform the inspection at a later date.
My previous suggestions for your starter had to do with the generator being in otherwise good shape. You now seem to indicate that other things are defective or failing. Is that so? If it is, then you have two options: First replace the unit with a new and more efficient unit. Second, repair that one. This you can begin wherever you are by dismantling it and cleaning it right there. Do a thorough inspection, and perform a survey of what needs replacing. Assemble it later.
Actually, there is a third option. As already mentioned, you can increase your wind and solar energy capture and storage capacity, which will also better prepare yourselves for going all electric some day. Also, adding Firefly batteries low in the hulls will add good ballast for increase stability and a better ride. Just stay away from adding alternators to the engines. I can’t imagine how the decrease in fuel economy would be justified, nor the need to run the engines to generate electricity when they are not setup for that. That’s just not wise.
I also liked the good idea of a portable generator for now. Can you borrow one?
As to the air speed and direction sensor system, take the base unit up the mast to bypass the cable and see if there is output.
As always, thank you for all the interesting videos you send our way. They are always appreciated and enjoyed. Wherever we go and whatever we do in this life should be centered around living a life of service to others. I think that the most of us appreciate your endeavors in that arena. Keep it up. The Creator is pleased in that regard.
Oh, and I believe the singer’s name is Leon Redbone.
One other note! You’re supposed to tell the person that gave you a b-day $ gift what you got with it!
lol Love y’all still.
I know you have kind of given up on fixing the generator, but I was just looking online at those units, and it looks like they may have used a standard off the shelf automotive starter rather than a custom made unit. Its is a long shot, but you might want to take what is left of your starter to a local auto mechanic. It is possible the same or a similar starter was used in an automotive application they might recognize, and perhaps they could scrounge up a salvaged unit, or parts from a salvaged unit to get yours working. At least you would have that.
Hi guys! I was in Tonga with a broken sailboat back in 2011. It was repaired but not in the best condition. I’m not sure if you considered the option of beating back to Hawaii. In our monohull it took us 32 days from Samoa add 5 days from Tonga. Our prop wasn’t pitched correctly so I could only do 3.5 knots under motor. We stopped at Christmas Island to get more water (our watermaker was also broken). I did the trip in late August so I had to cross hurricane season which gave me lots of angst. In retrospect it wasn’t that difficult of a trip.
Hey Nikki and Jason,
Just donated and hope it helps. You have been a bright light to me, during these dark times! Keep up the good wok!
Seven On the Sea
What is the name of the new insurance company that requires the survey?
Okay, so I apologize if I’m repeating advice that others have already offered. You got SOOOO many comments on this post that I couldn’t make myself read them. Anyway…
Unless being continuously insured is a requirement for signing with a new insurer, I’d say that keeping your boat safe is a bigger issue than actually having insurance. If you risk sailing either to New Zealand during a really bad time of year or all the way to Australia through some of the most reef-strewn waters in the world, you’re neither protecting your boat nor proving your cruising wisdom to insurers if you do have a mishap. My recommendation would be to set aside the insurance issue for a bit, wait until at least mid-April (maybe even well into May) and spend the 4 days or so necessary to get there with a generous weather window.
Once in Fiji, do your haul out and make some of your repairs. I would be extremely surprised if there weren’t any certified surveyors there. The biggest thing about Fiji as opposed to here in Tonga is international access. Whether or not you can get your own parts shipments into the country, there’s certainly a greater flow of people and commerce going in and out, a huge percentage of it through NZ, and you should at least be able to get fellow cruisers to hand carry stuff.
Re your generator, I may be able to offer an option. I’ve lived off of my Honda eu2000i for years. It failed and I borrowed one from Coastal Drifter. In the meantime I ordered a new Champion 2500w gen set from the US and (because I was concerned about using CD’s gen set and thought it would get here quickly) I bought a slightly used Harbor Freight 2000w gen set from Auckland. With the quirks of international shipping, they will probably both arrive here on the same ship the first or second week of March. I could sell you the Harbor Freight generator for what I’m paying, 300USD plus some shipping from Auckland.
In that second paragraph, that should have been to spend the four days it takes to get to a Fiji…
Excellent ideas from Roy. Have you considered crowdsourcing your desperate situation on FB? You are essentially stuck in one of the most remote areas of the world. Just a thought.
I’ve also had this experience in my life….
“A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into.” “The two happiest days in a sailor’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.”
Just left a $100 in the tip jar. I have enjoyed your writings since the RV days and want to support you especially if you decide to go to NZ. What an agonizing decision to make. I also like the idea of sailing to Fiji and waiting the next few months out. Hopefully things will be better around the world Covid-wise by September and think of all the friends you already have there! You could go and visit Pipsqueak too. 🙂
Hello, Safety first! Nothing else matters if you never arrive. I tend to agree with Brad Campbell the gentleman that lives on Fiji. Do what you can there and work out your insurance details while there. How bad could it be to be in Fiji? Besides as sailors on a catamaran there is no rush. Do what you have to do and relax. Remember Curiosity is your home and you must take care of it as well as yourselves. From what I gather April can still be a nasty weather month and it is not unheard of that May over there can also get nasty. In 1994 many set sail from Australia with plan of going to Fiji. The month was May and they got what was called a “bomb” of weather. Knockdowns, 30-60 foot waves, masts lost and lives lost were the results. Check it out on you tube, its a documentary of that trip as told by survivors and the rescuers. If you watch it don’t let that be why you make your decision, its just for a learning experience.
This is but a bunny hill in your adventure!
Regarding lifes glorious and messy challenges. An opportunity of expressing gratefulness for what the good Lord provided you!
1. Your smart, healthy and young
2. 50k is really about 36k US dollars
3. Not having to buy a new boat, costs a lot more
4. You can afford to do this readily
5. Your not in Texas in winter
6. Plus your singing and playing the ukulele.
7. Really, no worries. Life is good. 🙃
Ok my $150 was put in the tip jar for boat repairs.
Hi guys I’ve got another idea what if you flew a certified appraiser to the island?
Also what if you just got a small generator and ran on that to make water.
About your windows if you got some thick plastic 10mil and glued it over the windows that should work temporarily.
Creating the new windows should be possible you have to create a template for it I would use plaster. Then you have to heat it very slowly and it will bend.
The Tongan border is still closed to everyone except its citizens or people (who must already be in Fiji) who can prove an exceptional need to enter the country. And no, a boat survey is not an exceptional need.
Hey, Could you fly in a Surveyor to Tonga.. Maybe be cheaper, quicker in the long run..
I would love to see you come to NZ in normal times. But right now, it just don’t seem fair. I have been trying since March last year to get my boyfriend into the country and have been turned down 4 times, we don’t have the cash to keep applying. Entry conditions into NZ are super strict and most struggle to meet them. We certainly don’t have $50k + the amount of a boat, to get him here. It has been over a year now since we have seen each other face to face. So, like I said, ordinarily I would welcome you here with open arms, but it doesn’t seem fair that you can just sail here for a price of boat repairs. But you didn’t make the rules, so I’m not blaming you if you do it! I totally would in your shoes. Just wondering if maybe you could pick my boyfriend up on the way here? 😉
I can totally understand those unfair feelings. It’s hard not to feel that way in times like this. I am so sorry to hear you are apart. It is a story all too common right now.
However, keep in mind we may very well get denied too and geography matters. Borders are still closed and the need to get in must be compelling enough to get approval. Simply having a sailboat isn’t enough. Loads of sailboats have been denied to both NZ and AU.
The only reason we even have a shot at potentially getting into either country is that we have a sailboat that if not repaired within a reasonable timeframe, will become unseaworthy and then we will be in an even bigger pickle. If we are lucky, our floating home will be deemed in such bad need of disrepair that they will take mercy and let us come over to fix it. If not, we won’t get in either.
Thanks for the concert, when is the album coming out?
I’m dealing with Insurance co’s also, I feel the pain.
Portable Gen sounds to be a temporary good option.
So, Just thought I would through this at you.
65-67 Woodcocks Road, Warkworth
Freephone: 0800 883 336
Phone: +64 9 422 2565
Good luck guys!!
Hey, thanks for the info Peter!
As for the album, I don’t know that we could in good conscience subject our lovely community to such ear torture. We’ve been advised not to rely on our new musical career as a day job. 🤣
If I may opine, Fiji seems like a great option. There are much more services available here than Tonga, as I’m sure you are aware. I know you two were ‘stranded’ there for a while already. However, you can haul out at Denarau or Vuda and it’s probably cheaper than Aus or NZ. There are affordable, skilled people to help with repairs. Whatever you can’t get here (I live in Fiji 😁) can be flown or shipped in within a few weeks. Both modes of shipment are still functioning with regularity, from Aus and NZ. Spend a few more months here and do what is needed to maintain your insurance then take off during the calm months. Stay cool! Vinaka
Wow. You got a ton of comments.
I have a strong feeling you both will do what is in your hearts. You know Curiosity best. You know Tonga, the surrounding waters and your sailing ability.
You have been doing it for what, 7 years now. You can sense your chances. You know deep down. I did like the comment about getting an extension.
It is true, I love you guys and most everyone commenting does too. Tackle the Elephant in the room first and do what your gut tells you to do.
See you next Sunday. Be Well and Stay Safe, Best..
Dear Wynns, hope you’re both feeling much better. Wow. Lots of challenges ahead. I don’t have any technical advice, but do try to remain confident that all will eventually work out. You two are practical minded and creative. All will end well! Best regards! P.S. how can I find out about becoming a patron?
Pretty cool platform!
Alisha from Texas
I watch Jason and Nikki’s videos every week because their attitude of hope and perseverance and joy in their every day circumstances gives me encouragement to have that same hope and perseverance and joy in mine. I’m a year into cancer treatments and while some could claim my problem is bigger, I don’t think anxiety or worry actually works on a comparison scale.
So thank you for your videos, do not feel like your problems are not big enough to share, or not important to those of us watching. Moving your home during April storms is a real concern. As you are transparent with your true concerns, you give us courage to face our own. Thank you for your all you do! We love the way you give back to those around you and share your lives with us!
Praying for swift resolutions, clear weather, and unexpected blessings in your lives.
Oh, Alisha I love your compassion so much. 🥰😘🤗 I agree that anxiety and worry don’t work on a comparison scale but…in comparison, our problems are nice problems to have. If in any way, shape, or form us showing how we face our problems helps you or someone else find the courage to face your own, I call that a win!
Stay strong and kick that cancer’s arse!
Hey Nikki your uke and Jason’s magnificent singing made me smile! You are top of my list of folk I enjoy to watch especially interaction with the local people and wildlife.
Sailing on ocean going vessels and successful navigation are complex skills and your adventure is absolutely intriguing. Your amazing videography and editing is superb. Thank you for what you do ever so much.
You are in our prayers and part our life.
Dennis – Oregon
Mamma mia! What would it cost to put the boat on a barge and have it taken to someplace that won’t ding you for $50K?
And flying in a surveyor does sound tempting.
If you are still thinking about New Zealand – look up Whangarei. Its a port on the upper east coast and has haul out, fix it up, boat stuff. Also lots of other outdoor activities to enjoy. Good luck and thank you for your channel.
Kia kaha (stay strong)
Sometimes the best decision is no decision. Don’t decide between NZ and Australia until underway. Get well first and keep looking for insurance in the meantime. Maybe by April the Covid travel restrictions will change for one or both of those two countries. Don’t let insurance force you into sailing in a bad weather window; but, only you know what you and your boat are capable of. Stay open minded and creative to find other ways of sponsor-ship and Patreon assistance. Stay safe- Arthur
No need for a Gofundme with the Tip Jar! I can’t afford much right now but maybe if we can all chip in $25 to help out our favorite sailors it would help alleviate some stress. Kind of like that collective effort with AstraZeneca, Pip etc?
Have you ever thought of making a contest where you buy a lottery ticket in the sense to spend some time with you guys just sailing from one point to another for a worthy cause. Know it would be a intrusion into your life but it could be interesting to see what kind of response you could get for such a thing.
Niki and Jason,
You need to hit up Leopard to sponsor/endorse you to either to do a refit or NEW Leopard for you!!!
We love watching your journey. Especially during this time of COVID, your show has been a breath of fresh of air for my family. Super fun- super encouraging!
In fact, we were so inspired we bought our first catamaran (just a starter boat)and we are learning how to sail.
We want to get into a leopard in the next 2 years and begin our own adventure…..
You would be a continual living advertisement for Leopard!!! They would be crazy not to jump on the opportunity to sponsor you!
Praying for you and thank you so much for sharing your adventures with my family.
‘There’s no such thing as a bad decision’ …. you’ll weigh up the pros and cons of both Oz and NZ and make the best decision for you at the time. It’s hindsight that bites! If it was a vote-off I would vote NZ (just a little bit biased cause I live in Auckland, NZ). I’m guessing it’s NZD not USD??? still a gut-wrenching figure either way but it would be awesome to see you guys in NZ if you do make the decision to sail here. Maybe you could add in a road trip if you do, you’re welcome to use my Class C anytime.
You guys got this! Can’t wait to see you headed for Aussie land.
Yikes. That’s some major issues. I send you good vibes. Also I think the singer you might be thinking of is Louis Armstrong? Take care. Be safe.
Why not start sailing before 4/1?
ANNELISE DUBOSE had a great idea. A Fund Me page. Yes please. We need more loving support for you guys and less MARYSIA! (see above) I think a vast majority of us want to help, much like we did with Pip. Please start a repair fund me page. Pip the Repair Fund Me Page. Or can we do it through Patron? Or your tip jar…wait a minute. You have a tip jar. I’m donating $20. I know it’s not enough to buy upgraded alternator but it’s a start. Will that work? Come on friends of the Wynns. Feeling tipsy as they say?
Hi, my heart breaks for you two. I was talking to my husband who is in Sales in insurance. He wanted me to share an idea that you may have already tried but he thinks it is very important for you to appeal to the insurance company on a couple of key points. You should say that due to the the current limitations of Covid, you are unable to do what you need to secure new insurance since you are not able to haul out your boat due to your location and that you would like to formally request an extension for 30 days so then that would put you to May 23rd.
Sounds like you need to sail home!
Is there no way your current insurance company will grant a month extension.
Then get to Australia. Yes you’ll have to quarantine for 14 days but then you’ll be in a pretty much non-Covid boat friendly everything you need space with no forced amount to pay.
Contact Keith (Zatara) they’ve just done exactly that from Fiji.
Maybe if you are really worried and you can’t get that extension. Do a call out and I’m sure you will get a few buddy boats willing to head out a few days and follow you in (peace of mind).
Marcia If you feel this way stop looking at their videos.
Jason and Nikki… thank you for being a bright ray of hope in this mixed up world. Do not let idiots full of nonsense and negativity influence you a jot…ignore them like a cloud which passes over your sun for just a moment…You are doing a great and honest job by calling the shots AS THEY ARE..BRAVO! As my son is planning this style of future for himself, your advice is so valuable. We have followed you from day one with Curiosity…she is certainly a lovely home…one that can still last many many years! I am sure YOU will make all the right decisions..wonderful to see all the other positive comments.Just take care, and all will be well. Zatara certainly would be worth contacting, but I am sure you have already! Jason, be better soon. Safe travels..from icy Norway…xxx PS You are both very very special!
Just an idea, but I’ve had to get a marine warranty survey done in odd places before— Durban, east Africa, etc. And you can generally speak with a MWS company and pay the guy’s travel expenses and a day or two of his time, and he’ll come to you wherever you are, usually with very short notice required.
Hello Nikki and Jason,
There is a certain irony that your insurance company is potentially increasing its own risk by forcing you into a potentially unsafe passage, not to mention the potential fatal consequences to my two favourite sailors. This does not seem to be a good public relations plan for your insurance company. Hopefully, they will deal.
Meanwhile, I hope you won’t mind a few suggestions. Even if non will work for you, you may find something helpful.
Re: your generator and water maker, consider:
1. Upgrading both alternators on the diesels to charge you house batteries,
2. Throwing out the AC generator or sell it ‘as is’
3. Expand your house battery storage into that new empty generator space.
4. Convert the water maker to 12 volt dc. I am not familiar with its design, but if it happens to use 110 VAC pump to run a reverse osmosis cycle, could you find a 12 volt dc pump that would fit? If there are other controls on it that require 110AC, consider converting those as well, although a small inverter might handle those requirements.
1. Provide two (2) robust methods of charging your house batteries.
2. Add redundant charging
3. Add house battery capacity
4. Give you a quiet water maker–no need to run a generator.
5. Reduce dead weight on Curiosity.
6. This could end up being a better long term solution. It can be done in stages to reduce
costs–start with just one alternator upgrade plus the watermaker conversion.
7. This would add reliability and redundancy, once you have the second alternator
8. Once you have added batteries to the empty generator space, you should still be lighter.
I believe Li batteries are a lot lighter than a marine style generator.
9. Not sure how marine insurers work, but if they add premium for vessels with on-board
generators, you have saved a few more pennies.
You keep making the world a better place as you travel across it. You will make great Ambassadors in New Zealand.
Silly! Pay yourselves $40k in labor and reinvest it in the bank kitty…
Dan S Brown
Hi, thanks for the video.
My comment may seem odd but it is factual and well intended. (Trying to save Nikki) If you can recall seeing a person who is experiencing a runny nose, you’ll notice the tissues there will become red over time and be sensitive to touch. So, did you know that most toilet paper has a stamped pattern in it? One side is softer than the other so when using it for your nose, fold the squares with the smooth side out and you will be less likely to scratch/irritate the skin around your nose.
Nikki & Jason…I much appreciate your transparency, your authenticity and your absolute love of life and adventure. Beyond words, I appreciate you taking me on a journey that I would never physically be able to experience. Your positive outlook on life along with the overflowing bucket of karma you possess will see you through this. We’re all pulling for you, now carry on!
I certainly hope you get that little fairy to help you out and that whatever decision you make will be the one you are both comfortable with. Sending good wishes to you both.
Why not fly an appraiser there with spare parts in his luggage?
Risk management indeed. Make you’re choice, but if I were you I would consider to sail to NZ asap, that means studying weather conditions and aiming to start,if possible, before the beginning of April as long as there is a favourable window to do so. In south hemisphere March is still a nice warm month before autumn.
By the way, It doesn’t seems that the 50 NZ dollars figure is written on stone,no? During these exceptional times there is additional room for considerations… Good luck and thanks for sharing your trip and adventures, showing both sides of the coin. As you properly mentioned, be happy to have this kind of problems nowadays… have a safe and nice trip!!
Nikki/Jason, we definitely feel your pain with respect to insurance. We were notified in mid-November of non renewal from Concept due to their reinsure partner backing out. The policy was to renew in early January so our scramble ensued just as we were to begin a trek to PR for the winter-spring season. Concept is our third carrier since purchasing our catamaran. The previous two also hit us with non renewal notices after being customers for two years. The reasons given were lengthy and frankly quite flimsy and we NEVER had any claims. Nevertheless, we did get renewed through Concept after a one month extension during a negotiation period for a new reinsure partner. I know it is of no consolation but when I first received my notice in November, I was told we were the tip of the iceberg. The industry is in deep trouble according to two brokers I spoke with in December. I’m not certain what will come next, but a few of our friends are taking the last resort of insuring for liability only at this point. They have not been able to secure binding due to the age of their vessels. Mostly in the mid-late 90’s or older.
If you have not already, look at Offshore Risk Management of Florida and E/G of Florida, or contact Hugo Hanham-Gross in Charleston. Perhaps one of them can be of assistance. Good luck!
Laura J K
So sorry to hear your woes. Sending lots of energy and extra angels in hopes things will work a little easier. I do have one idea on the insurance we recently purchased a boat and found an insurance broker that got us wonderful insurance even though the boat was older. His name is Peter J Ricks III. You can contact him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/peter.ricksiii or if you can’t do that let me know and I will find another way for you to contact him. He does have sources for insurance for cruising (one of the reasons we went with him. Maybe he can help you in this mess. Hugs and best of luck
Regarding your aging acrylic windows. I’d suggest replacing them with 1/8” or 1/4” clear polycarbonate. It is bendable and is stronger than acrylic. You can cut it with jigsaw, table-saw or circular saw. For circular saw use aluminum blade or triple tip blade. Set saw depth just slightly thicker than material being cut. I’ve replaced windows in Prevost bus/RV conversion and 40’ power cat boat. Can be installed with 3M polycarbonate tube adhesive. You will also need 3m one step primer to both mating surfaces. You’ll need to heat vault tube to 150 degrees (in oven) prior to pushing it out with caulk Gun. Cut nozzle notch into “V” shape to provide a ‘standing ridge’ of adhesive that you smash down by pushing polycarbonate window into opening. Polycarbonate can be UV one side or both sides as well as two darling tints. It’s definitely a DIY project.
I worry you will take a dangerous chance or travelling during storm season. Other options could be to stay put until next fall. You could possibly fly to mainland and work there for a bit to save money for repairs? Covid restrictions are getting better, maybe wait it out a bit where you are? Just trying to think of some different options.
Sal and Julie in Highland NY
Someone locate a lawyer in New Zealand who will take this case pro bono!! I am serious. I think the point should be you will do the equivalent of $50k of work, with your labor as the bulk of the value. And health and safety being the reason, and also in your favor you are gainfully employed journalists who do charitable work as well!! You need a free lawyer!!! Or at least a good lawyer – in New Zealand.
Thanks for your honesty and being upfront everyone that is thinking of sailing appreciates you guys and yes things happen all over the world but that has nothing to do with your blog and sometimes people like to be mean and say mean things because it’s a choice to follow your channel and your struggles so no matter what you say are do there will always be someone out there to make it hard on you and try to be mean 😆for everyone else that love all the adventures you guys share We Love Them😊hope you guys feel better.I also follow sailing Zatara and they are in Australia now.Can they help with information on boat insurance?
I enjoy watching and rewatching your journeys. Just curious, is trading Curiosity for a new model or a newer preown an option? It would seem trade in value plus the expense you are expecting to spend would be a healthy down payment.
I would sail to New Zealand if you have a good weather window. It will be tricky at that time of year. If you get to New Zealand in April you will have lots of positive things to post about and probably be able to live in a relatively normal place that has covid mostly under control. The run to Australia is long and has lots of challenges. $50,000 NZL won’t go very far, so I can’t imagine you will have any problem meeting that threshold as others have pointed out. There is also good cruising in New Zealand although you will be heading into fall and then winter there.
Sailing back “uphill” to the US would be tough, so I would sail downhill and finish the coconut run in New Zealand. Mark Byron had good answers to your technical questions – your cruise RO watermaker should run off your inverter.
Re the 50k… US$ or NZ$? And is it you have to commit to $50k or get including labor of $50k… For example, if you get an estimate on job of removing fuel tanks, fabricating new tanks, and reinstalling the new tanks; as long as you get the tanks made and installed there before you leave, does it matter that you do all the labor yourself? Same with the windows, tramps, watermaker and generator, get repair estimates including labor but do it yourself? And what happens if estimates wrong and it took less $ to do repair? Or do you have to get estimates and follow through with those specific companies doing all the work and actually commit to spend $50k NZ? Also, can the cost of haul out and inspection required by ins co be included in that total if you have some hull issue repaired while out of the water? P. S. Don’t forget to look into having a little access hatch fabricated to alloy you to get to the steering sheaves to lube them once a month… might as well get something done to make your life a little easier going forward.
The virtual survey is a very interesting idea! If you can arrange that it would be great. Then get insurance coverage, sail to NZ make your repairs. A smart boat mfg should ship new windows asap as good publicity is always good for business. Good luck
James (Hakjin) Kim
Life is all about over coming the challenges we face every each day and sharing the story of Good, Bad and Ugly decisions. Cheers and God bless.
Maybe time to look for a newer boat?
You have the flu? I thought I had a cold. Covid is evil. It presents in many ways. Get tested immediately.
Fan from MI
I like the fact that you are upfront and honest about the ups and downs of sailing life. Thank you. It helps inform those of us who are interested in the lifestyle and boating. You are obviously doing this to be honest and keep your viewers educated about the realities of boating life. Please ignore the naysayers and keep doing what you are doing. You have a ton of support and I love your channel and content.
Sandra & the 2 Spaniels
This is the reality one-oh-one. No matter how any of us plan for our future, and most folks tend to list only positives, the real world smacks us now and then. Hoping that Jason is well now and that Nikki is too! It’s hard enough to be facing “worse or worser” decisions when you are sick. I know that this is not on your options list, but have you thought of sailing back to the US? You could either get everything fixed or get a new catamaran and restart your sailing. Not a good option, but an option. I enjoy your films every week. I also think it’s time, when the boat gets hauled out, to get 2 new kitties to help sail. And you need to name one “Possi” for Possibilities. As for Marysia-your comments were just mean. Everyone knows the world is tough.
Go to NZ. No question. a) great country. b) great people. c) great cruising grounds. d) you might qualify for permanent residency visas as young creatives (that would be super lucky for you!). e) after sailing everywhere around the world for years, the Pardays settled there (‘nuff said).
No question. NZ. Try to get permanent residency.
Plus $50k NZD is only $36.5k USD. And you save $5k AUS not doing their quarantine. With all the work you need done $36k for parts and labor will barely cover it. Plus you will have so much fun cruising in NZ and being past all the problems of covid for a while.
Can you share the name of the insurance carrier that will cover you in the S Pacific? We need this as well.
2nd this request.
Create a boat repair fund me account we want to help, and many others might want to help too.
Great video as always. Have you considered going to New Caledonia. My French father in law is based in Noumea and has been sailing and building catamarans for over 30 years. I am not sure on COVID restrictions but could enquire. Noumea is a modern city with all the same boat facilities you will find in New Zealand.
Feel free to reach out if we can help in any way.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Love your videos they’re a real pick me up in these lockdown days in the UK. You guys always seem happy and resilient despite the challenges. I am not a sailor but am so enjoying the details about sailing and the interesting people and places that you visit keep going, despite the difficult choice of Australia or New Zealand, I love both countries but NZ is a favourite it is beautiful and the bay of islands (Keri Keri) on North Island is well worth a visit.
Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. Good luck Bon voyage
Hey Guys, me again.
An additional reason for choosing NZ: Reducing your sea time by 8 days also reduces your exposure to unsettled weather (and the wear and tear on you and Curiosity) by 40% If you have to go, than 12 days at sea is better than 20.
Wow! That was very honest. Thank you for not sugar coating boat life. I will keep you in my prayers & truly hope your sail to New Zealand is a safe & productive one. Great job Nicki on learning to play the ukelele & to both of you for donating to the library. God bless you both.
A few suggestions from an armchair sailor:
(1) Take care of your immediate health challenges…you will think more clearly when you feel better.
(2) Literally write down on a piece of paper the pros and cons of the two options (NZ or Australia) and go over them carefully.
(3) Include in the assessment the value of your time vs. the hard dollar cost of the respective options.
(4) Don’t let the the arbitrariness of the $50K magic number become your bete noir…it is probable that there are $50K’s worth of repairs and improvements needed on Curiosity after this much time at sea. It’s likely that you will end up spending $50K in NZ or Aussie, so don’t let that be a determinative factor in making your decision. Instead, work on figuring out how to fund the work needed (or desired).
My subjective opinion: Go to New Zealand.
(1) You will save 8 days of cruise time and 14 days of quarantine. Remember, “Time Equals Money”.
(2) You will save $$$ on quarantine hotel expense and wear and tear on the boat.
(3) You will reach your haulout location before your insurance expires. You don’t want to be at sea during unsettled weather (to NZ or AUS) without coverage, and you don’t want to do the physical haulout without coverage either.
(4) New Zealand is a beautiful place, with great cruising, nice people, and very skilled boat doctors.
Thank you for “keeping it real” and don’t lose your great attitudes and liveliness…it will work out and your followers will help.
Very good. Thanks for keeping it real. I love this part for sure: “independent documentary.” never heard a YouTube-like your´s described in this way. Note: We live on an Island here in Greece and the Island is broken up into 4 regions and we can not leave our region at this time.
Its time to pressure your insurance company the way you did the pharmaceutical company for Cancer pills. If you can get a couple of months extension it gives you time to get to AUS/NZ safely. Whatever you do, do not go unless the weather is good!
Many ideas here:
Relax, don’t bet on the weather. Stay in the islands, Tonga or Fiji.
Pay time and travel for a surveyor to come.
With your camera experience, try for a virtual survey while hauled out.
If you stay put, maybe long delivery times for parts is tolerable, a small problem.
In time, you will find an insurer. Safer to stay put than gamble.
Can you run water maker from inverter.
Perhaps invest in larger alternator on a main engine as a back up to the repaired generator.
Seek replacement window/s from Leopard.
Relocation of a boat inspector would be cost prohibitive due to his quarantine on each end of travel. Nice thought though.
Not necessarily. It might be worth it.
Agree with Glenn and you must have thought about the portable option, as they are all over the islands……Perhaps temp option could be used. Recycling after all? Bet the library use one as a backup too, so have the contacts.
I continue reading your blog entries and looking at pretty pictures and try to remind myself that you are are so immersed in your life and so removed from the reality, you just cannot even imagine what people are dealing with right now. Death. Sickness. Loss of employment. Loss of housing. Loneliness. Complete isolation. Depression. I am sorry but your issues on your worse day are insignificant in comparison with what others are experiencing right now.
Your an miserable person. You just needed to say something negative instead of doing nothing. Shitting on them make you feel any better?
Yes – thank you for pointing this out Marysia. Their problems are insignificant compared to what all of us are facing every day in the US. We all know someone who has died of covid, or we know someone who had someone close to them die of covid.
In these trying times these guys should put their boat on the hard and return home to the US where they can put their talents to good use. There is a time to go adventuring and this is not that time. This is the time to be at home and help family and others cope and deal with ingoing devastation of this pandemic.
I’d like to reply to this, hoping that Nikki and Jason won’t feel the need to. I thought that Jason handled this issue very well with his comments in the video. Perhaps the underlying issue is the perception about why they are doing a video cataloguing their challenges. I don’t feel that they were just complaining. Of course they are frustrated, but more importantly, they are sharing their lifestyle. For me, and I am probably in the minority, I really want–no need–them to provide a totally honest look at the challenges of live-aboard cruising. I am planning to buy a cruising catamaran and their insight is valuable to me–so much so that I pay $10/video. Now, I love the sunsets, scuba and aerial footage, the cooking ideas, etc. I actually got hooked on the Wynns watching Nikki paint(!) cockpit cushions. I think that they do a GREAT job of providing content to a wide audience. I ask that we consider that all of us have different interests in tuning in to watch Nikki and Jason. Is it sad that COVID has killed so many and that Texans have lost power and water? Absolutely, but the content of this video is valuable to me (and perhaps more folks) even if the state of the world isn’t what we want it to be. I think Nikki and Jason have been extremely sensitive to the plight of others and I’m happy to support them.
I guess you miss the point of watching – its a form of escapism in a reality show/blog/video/photo shoot. The negative things you mention occur throughout the world, all the time. If you are that obsessed with the comparison, perhaps you shouldn’t watch and go help others. Plenty of people would love your computer, and can’t afford one – donate it.
Marysia: they said at the beginning of the video that they know their problems are insignificant compared to what everyone else is going through right now. They have acknowledged that they know how fortunate they are. What do you want them to do? Stop producing videos and give up their livelihood? This is their reality at the moment. It is different than yours. They can’t cure Covid. They can’t raise enough money to feed all the unemployed people. Or to put them back in their homes. They CAN keep producing content that is 1) useful to many people and 2) a welcome distraction for other people. Nikki and Jason have busted their butts to get where they are, and circumstances just happened to put them here when Covid hit. There are many other people whose homes are also paid for, who still have jobs, who have not caught Covid. Do you think they’re all selfish too for continuing to work? Should those people also give up their jobs if they aren’t doing something you think is worthy?
Jason – from one who has worked in the entertainment industry your life provides an escape for all of us during these troubling times. We want to hear about your boat issues, but we also want to escape to the world you are currently in, as it is so much better than the cold reality we face here in the US. People need distraction and entertainment during these times, so a little
Hallmark is not a bad thing. I enjoyed your music at the end. Bad singing or not – who cares – it was in paradise and reminds us of better times to come. I especially look forward to the amazing travels you will have in New Zealand – hope you choose that route.
What I love as well is that they look for ways to serve and to help in many of the places they are at. They use their platform to help people and their subscribers step up and brings support and help to people in places that may not otherwise receive the money and donations that they are able to bring to them. If they were not sailing right now, those places that would likely not receive a lot of those resources would not be blessed because of them and their subscribers. The sailing and their platform likely makes them better able to provide those benefits than if they were in the states. I also just love the benefit of watching a truly gracious couple who give us all a great example of how to be kind, thoughtful, and to overcome challenges with hope. We need more people like them on our screens.
Curious Minion, well said. Nikki and Jason have demonstrated their compassion for others over and over. But regardless of that, they are living their life on their terms, supporting themselves by creating content that their viewers like and appreciate. How could one condemn them for that? Good luck in getting over this bump in the road, N & J. (I’m sure there’s a more sailing-appropriate term than bump in the road, but I’m sure you get the idea.)
After 9/11, the discussion was whether to play football Thursday night. The concensus was, America needed reassuring that life had not gone completely to hell. We were without power for three days. Still don’t have water, except bottled I prepared for. My grandson and his lady had to move in with us for a week. It is warm now, but still no water or power. He went back to work today. We don’t live in Gallery Furniture (God bless Jim Macinvale). We have family and neighbors who care. I’m giving away eggs and bread. We are all digging through our junk buckets for plumbing supplies someone might need. There are people who scoop up whatever is going to be in short supply, and scalp it on ebay or craigslist. But not many. Most give what they can, and don’t worry about what anyone else is giving. That is the Wynn’s. They show us a pet hospital with needs, and don’t complain about whoever doesn’t give. They are all about love and giving. They are good at making lemonade, but sometimes it needs more sugar. They don’t need your vinegar. Don’t you enjoy their videos? They don’t ask us for money.They show us how we can support them, but they show you the videos, anyway. I know their videos are edited. No one can sing and dance all day, every day. But I met them in Fredericksburg. What you see is who they are. The finest couple you will ever know.
The electricity is on, and we have propane heating and cooking. All we need is the well fixed. We are blessed.
The Wynn’s acknowledged their problems don’t compare to all that people are going through now. But, for them, the issues they have are problems like you and I have every day in our own lives. Don’t minimize what they’re dealing with. Wishing you well during these crazy times.
Why continue to read their blog and make snide remarks if you don’t like it.
We pointed out in the very beginning of this video that we are well aware that in comparison to so many around the world, our problems are very nice problems to have.
BUT it is naive at best to assume we, our friends and family are not facing the same issues everyone else around the world is. We also have family members/friends and know people who have died, people who have lost their jobs, and are on the verge of becoming homeless. We don’t share our entire lives, much less what’s going on in our family and friends’ lives online.
To assume we (and everyone we know) are in some sort of bubble that is miraculously untouched is absurd.
In times like these, it is more important than ever not to draw assumptions about others’ lives, what they are dealing with, and how they are feeling.
Trolls are best left under the bridge. Y’all save your keystrokes. Best wishes Jason & Nikki! Keep on keepin’ on!
What about sailing to Hawaii? Is that ridiculous?
Have you thought about a small portable gas generator. It would probably be enough to run the water maker and help charge the batteries. Don’t know what might be available there but it’s an option. Just have to make sure it’s output is 110 volt not 220 volt.
As always, thank you for your wonderful updates. You bring the world closer to those of us , for whatever reasons, can’t travel. I have been a Patron of yours for a number of years and am grateful that you are sharing reality with us. That being said, after this video I am the most concerned I have been for you two. What can we do to help besides waving fairy dust (not sure where to get that as I think it is in limited supply these days, like everything else)?
If I can I will up my Patron membership. Is it time to make the Wynns the priority since you always prioritize others ? How can we do that?
In the meantime, wishing you smooth sailing whether you are moored or at sea.
time for a campaign to raise money for a new vessel!!!!!! or time to take up pilot training and fly the world!
What about flying in a surveyor?
The Tongan border is still closed to everyone except its citizens or people (who must already be in Fiji) who can prove an exceptional need to enter the country.
“virtual” survey possible? I’ve done a lot of work virtually, in manufacturing, and with your video skills guided by a contracted surveyor, I could see it easily feasible. Ask the insurance company, press them. Go up the chain of command if need be to get senior insurance people to hear and think about the particular challenge for your situation…I am positive they use videos and photography all the time…a time stamped, gps enbedded video with a certified (or otherwise approved) surveyor guiding it (and perhaps recording from their side) would surely accomplish the same objective. My $.02.
Is HI an option?
Lastly, I agree with a portable generator option as an interim solution. Makes a lot of sense.