Change of Plans

It’s taken me three weeks to get my head around what’s happened and to be able to write this post. We’re in London, I have had three surgeries on my shoulder and Wildling is for sale!

My appointment with the shoulder specialist started out OK, he was thinking it was most likely a partial tear that would heal on its own, but based on the nature of the injury and the fact that I had pain in multiple locations, an MRI was required. The MRI showed extensive damage to my shoulder joint and tears in two of the rotator cuff tendons. It would not heal without surgery, and full recovery after surgery would take 1 year! It took three surgical procedures during a 3 hour operation to repair all the damage.

All our plans for sailing Wildling in the ARC in November and then across the Pacific next year are completely shot. Even if we postponed the Atlantic crossing for 1 year, it doesn’t work because we have to be back in Australia at the end of 2019 so Lindsay can go back to finish her last two years of high school. So that pushes a voyage of this magnitude off until after Lindsay starts university, 3-1/2 years from now. We bought Wildling to explore the Med for a few years and then sail over to the Pacific, but since that isn’t possible, we have decided it’s best to sell her in France and buy another boat in Australia when I am able to sail again. Robin and I still plan on exploring the Pacific once both the kids are in university, but we will be doing that from our home base in Australia.

One thing for sure, whoever buys Wildling is going to get an amazing boat! With all the upgrades we have done and taking care of the post delivery “new boat” repairs and getting her totally dialed in for world cruising, she’s even better now than when we took delivery of her in 2015.

I’m going to focus on shoulder rehab and Robin and I have a lot of thinking and planning to do as we decide what’s next for us. This will not stop our sailing adventures, that’s for certain, we just have to adapt to the new situation and move forward!


30 thoughts on “Change of Plans

  1. Hi Doug
    I have followed your blog for a few years now. It’s been a real education as I to am in the process of buying an Outremer and am planning to eventually sail it back home to Brisbane. Thanks for all your words of wisdom. I am looking forward to your new blog for the next chapter, what ever and where ever that may be.

    John S

  2. Very sad to hear that after all the time and effort you and your family have put into your boat. Wish you all the best, get strong soon and hopefully it will all turn out ok for all of you. Best wishes, Hamish

  3. Hi Doug

    Well that’s terrible news but an understandable decision. I’ve been following your blogs since the beginning, going to miss them. I love the boat and would be first in line to buy her were it not for the financial gap.
    Hope you get better soon and that you will be able to continue your sailing adventures.

  4. Oh Doug and Robin – so sorry to hear the news. Here’s to a full recovery and a continuation of your wonderful plans later on.

  5. Bonjour Doug,

    Une nouvelle bien triste…lors de notre visite a La Grande Motte nous n aurions jamais imaginé une telle blessure…il t en a fallu du courage pour ces opérations. Mais il faut positiver, la santé est le plus important. Ce n est q’ une parenthèse, malheureuse certes, mais tous les possibles sont devant et t attendent pour de nouvelles aventures en mer avec ta si charmante famille, après cette guérison. Toutes nos meilleures pensées de bon rétablissement et tiens moi informé dès ton retour a la Grande Motte. Amitiés Patrick

  6. Doug, like all others have closely followed your blogs and videos – few out there like you. I also tore my rotator muscles clean off the bone , surgery like yours close to 4 hrs and then the rehab that is the most critical phase – I spent 6 months of intense rehab and here it takes a lot of discipline to stick with it to ensure your shoulder gets back to as close to normal again. I met many others who had the same shoulder Op., they did not follow thru their physio program and over 1 year later limited shoulder mobility , back to physio, with little chance to recover their shoulder – my shoulder today is 95% back to where it was , I had a top tier physio and I stuck to my program everyday .
    Won’t be long you will be back out there sailing and shall follow closely your blogs as they come up.
    Your boat will sell quickly –

    • Hi Stasi, thanks for your advice on the rehab. My surgeon is telling me the same thing, so I am going to work really hard on getting my shoulder back as close to 100% as I can.

  7. I’m gutted for you guys so I can’t imagine how you must feel. Best of luck with the recovery and I hope that all you have experienced and learned with this project will help you to get an even better boat when the time is right. Thanks for sharing your journey, it really has been an education.

  8. Feel so sorry for you and hope you are back in shape sooner than later. Your blog is one of the best out there and I have learned so much from you. Will really miss your updates and stories. If you ever starts a new blog please make a note in this with a reference to the new one so we can follow you again. Just wish I had the time and money to buy Wilding but somebody else will be a very happy new owner. Once again wish you all the best and hope I hear from you in the future.

    • Thanks Magnus, I will for sure start a new blog when we have decided on our next project. I’ll link to it from sailwildling so you can continue to share the voyage with us.

  9. That’s terrible news, so sorry to hear it. On the other hand, I struggle to follow your thinking on the disposition of Wildling, which after many labors is now the yacht you’d like her to be. For $25K hire a delivery crew and have them deliver the boat back to OZ. She’ll sit for a few months there while you heal enough for daysails, then a couple years of short cruises with the kids in school, then you’re ready for bigger trips again. Much easier than having to start all over, at least it would be for me.

    • Hi David, you make a good point. I’ll definitely give it some thought. I’m not sure I trust a delivery crew with so many miles. I’ve tried this in the past on shorter voyages on our previous boat, with big repair bills required because they didn’t handle the boat correctly.

      • It’s been hard to stay positive after surgery. So much pain and such a long road to recovery. This cargo option may be the answer, but no idea how we could handle the transfer, mast removal and loading until I get through the worst part of post surgery. We are starting to look into this now. I have a team in Marseille that I trust, might be a solution, stay tuned…

      • Yeah I hear you on the pain and the long road. Just think like a CEO, delegate! Hire the people you need to do the labor, and just watch them. It will all cost far less then the commission you would pay the brokers to sell your boat – and you’ll still have your boat!

  10. Thanks everyone for your kind words of encouragement and support! There are lots of options to consider for where we go from here. I’ll post again when we have concrete plans.


  11. So sad to read this We are now on the Canary Islands with INVIA and I always was looking at the AIS signals to find WILDLING. Now I know the reason.

    Fingers crossed that you recover fast! We are all on this planet just once and therefore never forger: Carpe diem!


  12. Hi Doug,
    I feel very sorry for you and your family. First of all, I wish you a total recovery of your shoulder. After that, I am sure you will have again new exciting sailing plans. Hope to seeing you fast back on bluewater!
    Michel, Spica

  13. Doug,
    I am so sorry! I wish you a speedy recovery! We just ordered a 51 and have been devouring your site and have learned so much from you. I have had similar surgery, the rehab sucks, but go hard and you will be good as new!
    Steve and Denise Maynard

  14. Hi Doug
    I am verry sorry to hear what has happened to you and I hope you will recover soon and well.
    I am reading your blog with great interest. Your very precise technical descriptions and the stories of your voyage are really good!
    I wish you all the best and hope to read from you soon!
    Mathias from Zurich, Switzerland

  15. I’m sorry about your situation, and I hope that your rehab is going well. I’m hoping that everything works out and you will be able to keep and sail Wildling in the future. If you do decide to sell Wilding, might I suggest a replacement?

    The loads are much lower, with no mainsail to reef. The masts are like the wings of a glider – very high aspect and a narrow chord. The clubfooted jibs are self-tacking.

  16. Hi Doug,

    Our thoughts are with you on your recovery.

    Please email when you know your path forward as I’d be interested in viewing Wildling in the near future in LGM if the decision is to sell her.

    Warm regards,

    • Hi, glad you were able to find the link. I was just at the factory and checked on WILDLING, all the maintenance work is done and she looks perfect!

  17. Very sorry to hear about your shoulder and the decision to sell Wildling, so much time, money and effort expended surely you will lose a lot in resale, did you not consider shipping it to Australia? or paying a delivery crew to bring it home?

  18. Hi Doug,
    I once again came back for info on your fantastic site. So thoughtful !
    How is the shoulder ?
    I wish you and your family all the best,

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