We are Agata (27yo, Poland) and Alex (28yo, Australia), a freediving, sailing and boat-rebuilding couple. Apart from each other we have an old, trusty boat and a dream of sharing the next stage of our voyage, the US East Coast to New Zealand, with keen water-men and women. For the past two and a half years we’ve been doing nothing but investing every ounce of energy, time and money into our vision. We have completely transformed both the boat and our lives. The good news is: we are almost finished! The bad news is: we need your help to get us over the finish line.
s/v Trim is a 40 year old, 50ft long, fiberglass, single-mast, flush deck sailing yacht. It has been in Alex’s hands since the beginning of 2017. Cheap price, fabulous lines and a lucky name made it’s purchase all too easy. Shortly after becoming Trim’s new owner and executing a small refit Alex set out on a long-term voyage from Turkey to New Zealand. His plan was to share the experience with friends and dive with freedivers from all around the world, which is still the essence of our current plan. At this point he didn’t realize two things:
- Trim definitely won’t be able to sail anywhere further than North America,
- by the end of the year he will meet his future fiancee: Agata (me!).
About six months into the voyage Alex reached the Canary Islands where I was studying at the time. As anticlimactic as it sounds we met on... Tinder. Being already browned off with my architecture degree I joined Alex for a sail as soon as his invitation appeared on my phone. The arranged day trip quickly turned into a multi-day diving cruise. The moment it finished and I put my feet back on land I couldn’t picture myself being an architect anymore. Despite the fact that I had absolutely no prior sailing experience I decided to take a gap year and join Alex in his voyage. About 4000 nautical miles and a one Atlantic Crossing later (aka my first overnight sail) we became the indestructible and loving team we are today. Unfortunately that could not be said about Trim. Before we even started exploring the wonders of the Caribbean we had already acknowledged that the boat needs more than major work. Trim was leaking and it’s deck was rotting away. Faced with a choice of either selling Trim for close to nothing or completely rebuilding every part of it we decided to start our most adventurous journey to date.
Trim’s Epic Refit
We spent the spring of 2018 cruising the Caribbean which in our case meant visiting the islands in between long refit research sessions on the boat. On the forefront of our minds were boatyards, budgets, lumber prices, seasonal weather, living arrangements and many more factors that one has to take into account before starting a project of this scale. Thanks to the friends we met along the way we found a perfect place to get the plan going: a small town on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay called Deltaville, VA. Since we sailed there in June 2018 we haven’t lived anywhere else for any substantial amount of time. The boatyard literally became our home the moment we started ripping off Trim’s deck (August 2018) and we moved into a travel trailer parked right next to our boat. The list of jobs was long and not for the faint of heart but fueled with our dreams we kept on going and never looked back. So far, apart from a couple of things, we have done every project ourselves.
General list of jobs we have completed so far:
- taking off all of the deck hardware and rigging,
- gutting out 80% of the interior,
- cutting out the entire fore-deck (A),
- laminating 16 new beams to support a new one (B),
- installing the new beams and a centerpiece (C),
- building a completely new fore-deck (D),
- rebuilding other parts of the deck (E),
- rebuilding the engine (F),
- building a bulwark (G),
- replacing most of the bulkheads,
- insulating the hull,
- painting and varnishing every interior surface (H),
- building new chain plates and knees,
- building a new v-berth (I),
- building a new workroom (J),
- building a new bunk-room that hosts 4 guests,
- building a new shower-room,
- building a new navigation station,
- rebuilding the existing galley (K),
- getting rid of every single wire on the boat,
- setting up a new 12v electrical system,
- sanding off the bottom to bare gel-coat,
- sanding and preparing the topsides for painting (3 times...),
- painting the boat (L),
- rebuilding the steering system,
- building a new rudder
… and many more. Our thorough nature and the sheer amount of “surprises” on Trim rendered this refit impossible to finish within our initial, overly-ambitious time frame a long time ago. But if there is anything this project taught us; it is patience and resilience. No matter how many obstacles and delays were coming our way we just kept on going.
Now after over two years of nonstop work, living in the boatyard, away from our friends and families our boat is almost finished! To put this feat into perspective: we could set sail and share our freshly-rebuilt boat with others the upcoming Caribbean season (winter 2[phone redacted]).
We feel very proud knowing that we have already accomplished a project many would deem impossible. It’s probably this sense of great pride that was holding us back from asking for help to the very end.
Why do we need your help now?
Contrary to the common belief: the closer we are to the end the harder it gets. Although we have the finish line in sight our finances have never been so low and stress levels so high.
This costly project is funded only from our savings and an inheritance left by Alex’s dad, who’s also our main inspiration for this project. In order to stay within the finite budget we were very strict and made series of decisions that helped us succeed until very recently (we sold all of our possessions in our home countries, to reduce the time spent in the yard we made Trim’s refit our only job, we took B1B2 visa extensions so we didn’t have to take long breaks and more).
Unfortunately, despite many successes on Trim our year ends on a bitter note. Due to never-ending surprises of 2020 we had to make more radical changes. With the current visa processing delays we couldn’t get a permit to legally work in the US and as of December 10th 2020 we live apart. I am back in Poland to save on living costs, re-brand and seek work online. Alex is staying in Deltaville to sell our trailer and move up on the boat to continue the work by himself.
This is not the scenario we dreamed of but we still feel very lucky to have this project and each other everyday. Although it comes with a lot of sacrifices and hard work we know that we are fulfilling our dream. Now the only thing stopping us from sailing away this year is our budget.
List of expenses that we have to take care of before we can sail away on Trim:
If you would like to join our diving/ adventure voyage (no sailing experience necessary) or just simply want to see us succeed, here are the ways you can help us:
• Contact us to arrange your future adventure on Trim for less (limited number of spots, contact here or though our www)
• Donate: even $5 helps us with items like sanding paper or tape,
• Share this page on your social media,
• Collaborate, cross-promote or sponsor us,
• Give us a hand on Trim in real life, here in Virginia, USA. Good help will be rewarded with a long cruise aboard Trim on us.
Follow us on social media to see the latest progress on the boat and how we put the money to work:
• Instagram- latest progress and daily updates/ @sailing.sv.trim
• YouTube Chanel – documentaries about our voyage and the refit (coming soon!)
• Website - more info on us and the project & contact
Every non-anonymous donation of $5 or more will be forever featured in the “Friends of the Project” section of our website: http://sailingsvtrim.com/friends-of-the-project
Thank you so much for visiting our page and your kind donations. Every little bit of support gives us extra motivation to keep going even on the hardest of days. We were, we are and we will stay persistent to reach this goal. We can promise you that we will sail and host aboard Trim as soon as it's physically possible.
Agata & Alex
- Emily Gray
- Paul & Kate Gray
Fundraising team: Agata and Alex (3)
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