Our next boat
Welcome to our website where we are sharing our experiences aboard PUFFIN, our Outremer 4X catamaran that is currently under construction at Outremer Yachting in La Grande Motte, France.
You can find a brief description of our background and what’s coming up on this site on our Welcome Page.
I explained here why we had to change our plans to sail WILDLING in the ARC rally and then continue on across the Pacific. I received many kind words of support from the readers of our sailwildling blog (thank you all) and some helpful advice on the available options to transport Wildling from France to Australia. In the end, although it was certainly possible to transport WILDLING, the change in plans forced us to really consider if WILDLING would be the right boat for us to have in Australia long term. Most of our long distance sailing from now on will be just Robin and I, and we aren’t getting any younger. So we explored the possibility of “What if we had a smaller boat that either of us could sail solo if needed, and still meet our needs”
In order to find an alternative boat (if one even existed), we listed our criteria as follows:
- Must be strong, safe and comfortable for extended offshore passages
- Must have a large salon and cockpit and a galley up!
- Needs to have a dedicated owner’s hull
- Needs to be able to sleep 6 people for when we have guests
- Must be able to sail single-handed by either of us
- Must have good sailing performance, able to achieve close to true wind speed on a reach
Because we want the boat in Australia, the ideal solution would be to find a boat either already in Australia or have one built in Australia. There are only two catamarans available in Australia that I could find that met our criteria:
Schionning G-Force 1500C – This is a nice boat and certainly has all the sail handling and performance features we are looking for, but we don’t like the small cockpit or the layout of the salon.
Spirited 480 – Another very nice Australian boat that would meet all our criteria. These are built from plans and kits, so we would have to find a boat builder to work with. After seeing how challenging it is to get all the details correct on production boats, where they have the benefit and experience of many previous models to refine and correct design and manufacturing details, I was concerned there would be too many problems to manage with a one-off build.
Back to France
With nothing available on the Australian market that worked for us, we decided to look at the European boats, and Outremer in particular. I really liked the concept and design of the Outremer 4X, which Outremer released a year or two after the 5X. It’s very similar to the layout of the 5X, just smaller, so we know we like the design. It’s light and fast, and can be setup to be sailed single-handed. We also had a great experience with Outremer with our previous boat. They are a company that builds high quality catamarans and they take care of their owners with excellent after sales support, no matter where in the world the boat is located.
The other model in the Outremer line that was a possibility is the 51. Another great boat, but geared more towards comfortable cruising and does not have the performance of the 4X.
Choosing a 4X
So we decided our next boat will be an Outremer 4X. The next steps were to work with the Outremer design team on all the features and options we want on the boat, and to find a shipping company to transport the completed boat to Brisbane.
This involved many meetings, a lot of research and detailed discussions with Outremer, and we now have a design that I am really happy with! The Outremer team was easy to work with, and really gave me great advice to help refine the dozens of details that need to be considered when ordering a new boat.
PUFFIN is scheduled to be completed in August, 2019 and we have booked passage on a Sevenstar Yacht Transport ship from Palma, Majorca to Brisbane to bring her to Australia.
I’ll go through many of our design choices and custom options for PUFFIN in future posts, along with photos of the build process. As always, sailing and cruising is a continuous education process, and I will share what we learn along the way.
In the meantime, welcome to our new website, and welcome aboard PUFFIN!