Zach and Becka ditch property market to sail the world instead

Zach and Becka, both hailing from the UK, have transformed their dreams into reality, transitioning from landlubbers to seasoned sailors. Deciding to ditch traditional conventions of entering the property market and now travelling on their 40ft sailing boat, Teulu, in an exclusive interview they share their challenges and learnings and how others can take this adventurous leap. 

Speaking with Omio, a German online travel comparison and booking website, about how their journey began, Becka says, “During the pandemic, we both yearned to travel as far and as wide as we possibly could. We initially thought about buying a van but felt it would limit us to where we could go, and, as we both love the water, we decided a boat would be the perfect method of transport. The only thing was, we had never sailed a big boat before.” 

For Zach and Becka, the decision to forego traditional homeownership made sense.

“As much security as there is in getting on the housing ladder and paying into a mortgage, the thought of that sent us running. We knew we wanted to see the world, and of course, we could have bought a place and rented it out, but we wanted true freedom.”

While boat life isn’t without its challenges, they’ve learned to adapt and enjoy the unique experience it offers.

Cutting Costs to Afford Their Dream 

Balancing saving to buy Teulu, finishing their university degrees, and working extremely long hours was no easy feat. Zach recalls, “When most students were splashing cash on nights out, we decided to save the pennies and work as many hours as we could. My first job out of Uni wasn’t my dream job by any means. I worked 60-hour weeks, working night shifts, but it was a means to an end.”

Becka also took on multiple part-time jobs, and the pair sold the majority of their belongings, including Zach’s car, surfboards and clothes. Their location in Swansea, with affordable rent between 2021 and 2022, played a significant role in keeping their overheads low at just £350 a month for a room in a shared four-bedroom house and a weekly grocery bill of £20 for both of them.

“There isn’t a golden ticket,” says Zach when asked for his advice for others looking to pursue a similar dream. “It’s as simple as keeping your overheads low and selling everything that won’t join you on the boat while working as hard as you can and spending wisely.”

Finding the Right Boat

Their journey to find the perfect sailboat was filled with challenges. They sought a monohull between 35-40ft, with a full or encapsulated keel, a protected rudder, two cabins and two heads, with a budget of around £30,000, but with a competitive boat market due to the pandemic, the couple spent months searching for the right one. 

“We tried to hop on as many boats as possible to see what we really liked and disliked. We would really recommend this to someone also looking to start this adventure as it made our search criteria far more concise,” says Becka. 

Learning the Ropes

Zach and Becka had limited sailing experience before buying Teulu. While they knew the basics of dinghy sailing, they undertook the RYA Day Skipper qualification and diesel engine courses about a year before acquiring their boat. However, they emphasise that practical experience, learning from other sailors, and the vast resources available on the internet have been their most valuable teachers.

“I grew up dingy sailing, and Becka learnt at university, but we’d never sailed a bigger boat until the year we bought ours. We were determined to crew on boats and learn about what life is like living aboard before actually buying a boat. We also did our RYA Dayskipper qualification, which was useful in teaching us essential safety skills, but really, nothing beats just getting out there safely and doing it. Oh, and Youtube! “

Overcoming Challenges

Life on the sea isn’t all smooth sailing. “Don’t get us wrong, this lifestyle is incredible, but it really does come with its fair share of challenges.” They faced difficulty securing a marina space, endured a near miss with a cargo ship in Porto, had a catamaran collide with them in Martinique, and quickly learned the unpredictability of ocean weather. 

Their first hurdle was securing a space in the marina where they bought Teulu. “Everywhere was full, and when we were told to leave on a stormy day in March just a few days after buying the boat. We were pretty nervous, but over the next six months, we took her out sailing a lot, upgraded lots and repaired other things, and eventually, we felt ready to leave the UK in September 2023.

Learning the weather was another pretty big challenge, which resulted in us getting caught in a gale on our first trip across the English Channel. Even after learning the weather, on ocean crossings, you only get a week of accurate weather when you leave, so the rest is somewhat up to chance, and on the Atlantic, we had a rough middle week with really high winds and big waves. But this only works to show you what you are really made of.” 

Support from the Sailing Community 

Zach reflects, “The most surprising element for us is just how strong the community is. We can definitely see how living on a boat alone can be lonely for some, so to have the most friendly neighbours in anchorages who will just dinghy over to you when you arrive and welcome you has been such an incredible thing.

A lot of other sailors have also helped us out. The sailing community has been incredible. Just about everyone will help you if you need some advice or an extra pair of hands, and everyone looks out for each other.” 

Finding Paradise 

Despite the challenges, Zach and Becka have discovered paradise in various places, like the Helford River near Falmouth. 

They share, “We have a lot of favourite places. The first was the Helford River near Falmouth, which we took refuge in during a storm when in the UK. It was pure heaven here and was our first proper experience of cruising life. It just shows that you don’t always have to travel thousands of miles to find paradise.

We also loved the Cies Islands and Grand Canaria, although we were dodging orcas at this point. They have been biting sailing boat rudders, so this took the fun out of it slightly.

Arriving into Antigua after 20 days at sea was also incredibly magical, and we will always remember the warm evening air, the smell of soil and the sound of cicadas as we first made landfall.”

Becka highlights, “The freedom of living on the ocean is absolutely unrivalled. The fact we can turn our internet off and be in a complete bubble is something so rare these days.”

Tips & Advice for Aspiring Adventurers

For those considering a similar life on the water, the couple emphasises the importance of crewing and sailing on as many boats as possible to understand if the lifestyle suits them. They also recommend taking similar courses like the RYA Dayskipper and learning about weather patterns.

“If you are thinking about doing something similar, firstly, that’s amazing, go for it. But secondly, crew and sail on as many boats as possible. This will help you decide if this lifestyle is for you, but also what sort of boat you want if you do decide to buy. There are also plenty of websites to find boats to crew on, such as or Facebook pages. You could also charter a boat with friends or family, which will give you a good taste of boat life.”

Safety, however, remains their top priority. “The ocean can be unrelenting, so take your time, get on a solid boat and learn the weather through and through.” 

Being able to navigate difficult situations with determination and resilience is also key. “I think the word is grit,” says Zach. “Someone said to us after crossing the Atlantic, ‘Wow, you are so brave,’ but we don’t think we are, we would have been brave if someone said mid-way through, ‘Do you want to get off,’ and we said ‘no,’ but you don’t have the choice, so it’s more determination and resilience and a positive mindset that gets you through when times are tough.”

Where To Next ?

While they currently plan to cross the Pacific next year, choosing their next destination is an exciting process of following the wind and weather patterns. 

Zach and Becka say, “It sounds a bit cliché, but we follow the weather. You ideally want the wind behind you, pushing you along, and there are weather patterns which you can stick to which help you plot your course.”

As for the long term, they keep their options open. Becka concludes, “Maybe one day we will live back on land. It’s really hard to tell. But our whole motto is if we are enjoying the right now, then we keep going, so it doesn’t seem like that will be anytime soon.”