As promised, you will find an interior tour of Oyai in the post below. She is from 2002, and is in amazing shape for her age. Stu searched for a few months for the right boat, and flew to a few different locations in the Caribbean to look at boats. Our search was narrowed down to the Amel boat before we even had feet on the ground (that's one of the incredible things about our digital world - you can find out a lot of information without leaving the comfort of your own home!) Oyai was in exceptional shape and had been maintained and upgraded very nicely. She came with all of the supplies we needed for cruising, right down to the dishes and cutlery!
If you just want to see the boat, please skip ahead because I am about to expound about boats and the various things that make some boats great for crossing oceans, and others not-so-much :) First on our list of priorities for our chosen boat was safety, of course. A lot of things go into safety at sea, and I am by no means an expert, but here are some of those things: A good design: many boats handle big wind and big seas better than others, and the way the naval architect drew the boat makes a huge difference. Solid construction: so many details about how a boat is constructed can lead to a boat being well suited for offshore sailing vs. more suited for coastal sailing (when you can hide from a bad weather forecast in port). Comfort at sea: this seems frivolous, but is super important because an exhausted crew can make bad decisions. If a boat's motion and interior are well suited to life at sea, people are happier and more well-rested, etc. The list goes on-and-on about safety, but you get the idea.
Other things on our priority list included:
1) Large enough for 4 people to live on for one year (and we didn't want it to feel like camping).
2) No big projects to finish because the timeframe for our trip was tight, and even small projects can snowball quickly and delay things significantly.
3) Having an expert to consult with should things break on the boat (and things always break on boats!). Luckily Amel's have an amazing community of sailors supporting them, and even an Amel expert "on-call" to help 24/7 when things go wrong - Thank You Bill Rouse!
4) Getting a boat that will be relatively easy to sell once we have completed our sabbatical year. Nobody can predict the boat market in a year's time, but buying a sought-after boat in great shape is a good place to start. Hopefully once we are done with our year of sailing, Oyai will be relatively easy to sell, and we can make another family very happy!
Anyways, onto the inside boat tour...
We had a couple of overnight passages between the various Balearic Islands, and will never get tired of the sunsets at sea. The seas were quite calm, and we mostly motored during these passages.