In March I made a video summing up the sailing trip from Stavanger to Sydney. It proved too much to handle for a poor sailor. I couldn’t take not owning a boat, so I went into high gear, analyzing boats, talking to boat owners, looking at potential itineraries, browsing the Internet, surfing forums and doing A LOT of thinking. Initially I wanted to get a catamaran again, because I had such a great time sailing on African Innovation, the AfricanCats FastCat 435 I sailed from Stavanger to Sydney. If I was doing a “milk-run” circumnavigation along the equator, then I would definitely have bought a catamaran, but because I want to spend two years sailing in Norway, before I cast off on a circumnavigation in 2017 and would like to sail in both the Arctic and Antarctic, a catamaran becomes less desirable.
My “problem” list with catamarans in cold climates:
1. There’s a lot volume inside a cat, so they are difficult to warm up and keep warm in cold climates. Nothing is impossible, but getting them warm would mean using a lot more fuel/electricity than you would in a monohull.
2. All cats are made for warm climates, and because of this they’re not insulated, which means you’ll struggle with condensation and heat-loss. I spoke to a few catamaran owners in Norway and the US, and all of them confirmed my fears: keeping the boat warm and dry took a lot of power, which is OK, if you’re in a marina 24/7, but if you try to sail anywhere, it becomes a real challenge.
3. The weather is a lot rougher in the far north and south, compared to what you meet on a trade-wind circumnavigation, and to be honest when it’s really rough, I feel safer on a monohull.
Another thing that weighted in was that I wanted a boat in aluminum and there are very few good choices when it comes to alu cats.
When looking at monohulls I knew straight off the bat that I wanted an Ovni, but just to be on the safe side I did a lot of checking and felt reassured by what I found out. I landed on an Ovni 435 and haven’t looked back since.
While getting the guided tour of an Ovni 395 (S/Y Frida), Frank (the owner) told me about an Ovni 435, owned by three guys in Sandnes. He recommended getting in touch with them for a look at her, since I had decided upon a 435 from reading, looking at pictures and talking to owners, but hadn’t actually been on one. I went and had a look at her and fell in love immediately. The three guys owning her were very busy with work, and life in general, so they didn’t have a lot of time to go sailing. In fact one of them had been a co-owner for 2 years, but hadn’t been able to take her out on his own, because he had been too busy. He kindly offered me to buy his share, so now I own 1/3 of S/Y Baluba, a fabulous Ovni 435 from 2007.
The other two owners and I have come to an agreement, so I will take Baluba on a 3-year circumnavigation starting in 2017. They are too busy to do it themselves, but will come along for a couple of passages and will come and take over for a few weeks a year wherever I might be. This gives me a chance to go home, work or relax on whatever island we’re close to, so it looks like a win-win situation.
I’m very excited and look forward to planning a new circumnavigation. Now I have a boat, so everything else is easy … except finding a girl that wants to come along, but hey, optimism remains high!
The picture above is from the first afternoon of sailing, after I became a co-owner. Eirik (one of the other owners) is the guy with the big smile on the foredeck.
Now I look forward to July, because that’s when I’ll get to take Baluba for a proper spin, when I tear up the North Sea area for 3 weeks. Report will follow 🙂