First of all, the name… We did not choose “Zoe” as the name of our boat because we bought it second hand. However, we had to decide if we were going to change it… and we did not! In fact, it seemed perfect for our project – in ancient Greek “Zoe” means “the essence of life” – we wish to always honor such an important name!

A bit of history… When, a few years ago, we started planning to sail across the Atlantic Ocean we had to face a first, major problem: we didn’t have a boat! And, we did not have many clues either on how it should look like. The only certainty was that our boat couldn’t be a new one, given the limited amount of money we had available. We needed to decide which boat size would best fit our needs as well as which features we were not willing to give up. Over the course of the years we had rented several boats for weekends or summer holidays, but this had certainly not made us experts in the field. During winter 2014-2015 we visited several nautical exhibitions, in Genoa, Paris, Amsterdam and Düsseldorf where we did confirm our first impression that we could never afford a new boat, even if not  luxurious. Nonetheless, we had the invaluable opportunity to talk with people, ask a lot of questions and get better ideas on what we wanted and probably needed.

Next, we conducted a hectic search on the web, where we learned a lot on the used sailboat market! We contacted and visited several owners or brokers scattered throughout Italy and in the south of France. Finally, on a cold and rainy day in February 2015, we had our magic encounter with ZOE, a Franchini 41s that was moored in Salivoli (Piombino). Despite being twenty, she had retained the elegance and beauty of her original forms, both outside and inside. At a first glance, she appeared in good condition. We very much liked the robust and heavy structure and the central cockpit, characteristics that we considered important for an ocean crossing. After some negotiation with the owner and the positive review of a technical inspection from a renowned expert we finalized the purchase.

March 29th, 2015 – ZOE from Piombino to Fiumicino

In a sunny and windy weekend at the end of March, perfect for sailing, we took her to a shipyard in Fiumicino. Our experience with boat maintenance was only just beginning! The first “essential” interventions were performed: replacement of all portholes, key engine parts (supports, main shaft…), a few seacocks and numerous other operations we did not contemplate or even thought about before.

May 14th, 2015 – Leaving the FIAD shipyard after the first essential maintenance

While the first set of interventions was targeted at establishing safe and regular performance, then we had to work on the next level – make Zoe ready for an ocean crossing! This included adding a fixed bimini, a rollbar to hold solar panels, a wind generator, and various antennas; replacing both service and engine batteries, running new – oversized – electrical cables; replacing all navigation instruments; replacing the anchor windlass and chain (100m);  adding a furler for the staysail and, referring to the sails, we got a new yankee, a code zero as well as a large staysail for downwind navigation; we also added backplates to all stanchions, a lifeline, and much, much more!