New Project for Us

WILDLING has been sold! The new owner lives in France, so WILDLING will be staying in the Med. We wish the new owner many safe and happy miles of sailing on this exceptional catamaran!

We would like to sincerely thank the team at Grand Large Services, led by Pierre Delhomeau for managing the sale of WILDLING. GLS is a sister company of Outremer Yachting and handles the post-warranty servicing and management of Outremer boats. Pierre managed the entire sales process for us and took excellent care of WILDLING throughout. I was in and out of hospital and physical therapy during most of this, and needed someone I could completely trust to handle the sale. I can’t speak highly enough of Pierre and the GLS team, they are super professional, kept me informed at every step, and went above and beyond to take care of the highly complex process of selling WILDLING. I never imagined selling a boat of this size could be a stress free process, thank you all!

On the personal front, my shoulder is coming along nicely. I’m now at the point where I am beginning to use it again, but I’m still 6 months away from full recovery. It’s a slow and painful process, and requires more patience than I was born with, but I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

We are building a new sailboat to replace WILDLING. Robin and I decided to downsize our next boat, because most of our sailing will be just the two of us, with our kids away at university. We want a boat that is safe, comfortable, capable of crossing oceans, but still fast and able to be sailed single-handed by either of us. After much discussion and research of potential boats, we have chosen an Outremer 4X.

Our 4X is named PUFFIN, after the little sea birds that we love. She is currently under construction at the Outremer factory in La Grande Motte, and will be launched in August this year. We have booked passage on a yacht transport ship to bring PUFFIN from Palma to Brisbane.

We have been working closely with the Outremer team to customize PUFFIN to our needs. The basic 4X design is excellent, so we have focused on some additional weight saving options to make her faster, and a number of sail handling changes to make her easier to sail solo. We have also been able to incorporate some of the construction techniques from the Gunboat line into PUFFIN, which is a great benefit of the same company owning both Outremer and Gunboat and having both construction factories co-located in France.

I will detail all of this and more in our new website and blog. I’ll post a link to the new website as soon as it’s ready. In the meantime, here are some preview photos of PUFFIN under construction.

Outremer 4X, PUFFIN – Hulls and bridge deck
Port hull, looking Aft
Starboard hull, looking forward

Wildling Test Sail Video

Here’s some video I took of my first time sailing Wildling in La Grande-Motte. We had perfect conditions with winds 15 to 20 knots, and gusts over 30 knots. Flat water so we could keep a full main and jib and really open her up. Max speed (beam reach with no surfing involved) was 19.8 knots.

I hope the video gives some sense of how smooth, safe and fast it feels aboard Wildling.

I uploaded this to YouTube in true HD, so if you have the bandwidth it’s really great to watch in High Def. Select 1080p quality in the YouTube player settings.

Handover days

We finished the handover process after three days of sailing and 2 days of system tests and instruction. Outremer is very thorough when they hand over a boat to a new owner, and we found the whole experience to be really well managed and very valuable. We learned a lot about how to sail and operate Wildling, and the Outremer team were with us the whole time to adjust and fix any little issues that came up.

The most important were the sailing sessions where we went out on 3 different days with Jean-Pierre, who is not only an expert sailor, but also a great instructor! He gave us many helpful tips about handling the boat in different situations with a big focus on keeping the boat and everyone on board safe.

The self tacking jib works very well. Jean-Pierre is giving me some advice on trimming.

Sailing under main and jib, and getting ready to hoist the Code-D gennaker. You can see the Code-D sailbag on the trampoline.

We practiced all the basic maneuvers, tacking, jibing, reefing, and sailing with the Code-D and Code-0 headsails. We also practiced a man overboard drill when Jean-Pierre launched one of our fenders over the side and shouted out “man overboard” catching us all by surprise while we were sailing along under full main and Code-0.

Using the jib to blanket the Code-D makes it easier to unfurl. Once the gennaker is up, we furl the jib.

Using the jib to blanket the Code-D makes it easier to unfurl. Once the gennaker is up, we furl the jib.

The Code-D is a cross between a gennaker and an asymetric gennaker, but it furls and is controlled with sheets like a gennaker so it's easier to handle.

The Code-D is a cross between a gennaker and an asymmetric spinnaker, but it furls and is controlled with sheets like a gennaker so it’s easier to handle.

We were very lucky with the weather, because we got to sail in all kinds of conditions, from 30+ knots of wind on Friday to 8 to 10 knots on Tuesday, which gave us the opportunity to test out all the sails.

Lindsay taking a break from the sailing maneuvers to enjoy the view!

Lindsay taking a break from the sailing maneuvers to enjoy the view!

Gavin stacking the mainsail.

Gavin stacking the mainsail.

Each time we left and returned to the marina we did some port maneuvers and docking, which was good because Wildling is a bit bigger than our last boat, so we have to adjust to the different distances.

Back at the dock after sailing. The boats stck in pretty close in the marina, so you need to use fenders to pivot in and out of the slip.

Back at the dock after sailing. The boats stack in pretty close togehter in the marina, so you need to use fenders to pivot in and out of the slip.

All our bed and bath linens arrived from Analu, and the look great! Lindsay and Donkey put the finishing touches on the master cabin.

Our bed and bath linens arrived from Analu, and they look great! Lindsay and Donkey put the finishing touches on the master cabin.

Gavin helped Donkey make up Lindsay's bed

And Gavin helped Donkey make up Lindsay’s bed

In between sailing sessions we had mechanical and electrical systems instruction from the Outremer after sales person, and electronic systems training from Pochon, the company that installed the instruments, navigation and communication systems. They answered all my questions, and took a lot of care to make sure we understood everything.

Going back out for more sailing maneuvers.

This is how it feels to go sailing again after many months of waiting.

Today we're sailing with the Code-0. Jean-Pierre and I getting ready to raise the sail.

Today we’re sailing with the Code-0. Jean-Pierre and I are getting ready to raise the sail.

Unfurling the Code 0.

Unfurling the Code 0.

Small girl, big sail!

Small girl, big sail!


The Code-0 is an upwind sail so it’s cut flat, and has to handle a lot of force, which requires a very strong and light sailcloth. Wildling’s Code-0 is made of Kevlar.

This just never gets old!

Watching the sea go by just never gets old!

Now the handover is complete, we’re finishing up provisioning and getting all the things we need to live aboard for the next couple of weeks. Our plan is to leave on the weekend to head over to Marseille for a few days before we continue East.

Construction update #3

Last week we visited La Grande-Motte, France and spent 2 days at the Outremer factory to see how construction of Wildling is progressing and finalize the remaining design details. It was the first time that Robin, Gavin and Lindsay had seen the 5X, so I was a little nervous. Luckily they all really love the boat and we can’t wait for Wildling to be finished!

Here are some pictures and videos of our visit:

La Grand-Motte marina. The Outremer factory is just across the road from the marina

We were able to spend a few hours onboard 5X hull #1, Addiction which gave Robin, Gavin and Lindsay their first look at a finished 5X and helped us make all our fabric and color selections.

We toured the factory and spent some time onboard Wildling.

Outremer Yachting - This is where all the boats are built. They are currently launching a new boat every month, and plan to increase the number in 2015

Outremer Yachting – This is where all the boats are built. They are currently launching a new boat every month, and plan to increase the number in 2015

This is inside the construction shed where the bridgedeck and outer hull sections are joined together and the interior bulkheads and fitout work begins. You can see the hull mold that has been pulled away in the left of the picture

Inside the construction shed where the bridgedeck and outer hull sections are joined together and the interior bulkheads and fitout work begins. You can see the hull mold that has been pulled away in the left of the picture

First time aboard Wildling!

First time aboard Wildling!

Checking on Lindsay's cabin. Looking good!

Checking on Lindsay’s cabin. Looking good!

Running the wiring

Running the wiring

Flooring being installed in the companionway

Flooring being installed in the companionway

Many wires!

Many wires!

firstst time onboard

In the salon

Salon doors

Salon doors

Cabin floor fitout

Cabin floor fitout



Port engine room

Port engine room

Checking out the starboard engine room

Checking out the starboard engine room

Starboard hull removed from the mold

Starboard hull removed from the mold

Crane lifting the hull molds out of the shed. One the molds are out, Wildling will move to a different shed to continue the furniture fitout. The deck and roof mold will then be taken inside this shed so the deck section can be manufactured

The crane is moving the hull molds out of the shed. Once the molds are out, Wildling will be move to a different shed to continue the furniture fitout. The deck and roof section mold will then be moved inside this shed so the deck section can be manufactured

The 5X deck mold waiting to be taken inside the factory

The 5X deck mold waiting to be taken inside the factory

Goodbye Wildling... for now!

Goodbye Wildling… for now!

Before we left, Lindsay was able to try out the transom steps to see if they would work OK as a sundeck!

Structure & Layout Options

The first set of options that had to be finalized have to do with the construction materials for some of the structural elements of the boat and the interior furniture layout. Here’s what we decided:


The standard construction plan for the 5X is well defined and there aren’t many options available, which is fine, since Outremer and the architects (VPLP) have made what I consider to be very good choices. In catamarans of this size and performance level, you see two main approaches taken by builders. They either select full carbon fiber hulls, which are very light and very rigid, or they go with foam core GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic, AKA fiberglass). Foam core is not as light as carbon, but it is lighter than standard GRP laminate and is very strong.

It might seem that carbon fiber is the perfect solution to the strength vs weight equation, but it’s not. Carbon is very expensive, typically you double the cost of the boat when building in all carbon. Its also very thin, so it transmits a lot of water noise into the interior of the boat when underway, which can wear on your nerves, and it isn’t very resistant to impacts, so hitting a whale, tree trunk or submerged container will do more damage, and it’s complicated and expensive to repair, which is a particular concern when getting work done in remote locations.

Foam core is heavier, but it is still very strong and does not transmit noise like carbon. It is not very resistant to impact though.

What Outremer and VPLP have done is to use a hybrid system that is a compromise between safety, weight and comfort. They use a solid GRP laminate in the hulls below the waterline. This adds some weight, but provides maximum strength and impact resistance, and it’s easy to repair if damaged. They use foam core for everything above the waterline to reduce weight where impact resistance is not as important, and they offer the option of several carbon fiber internal structural sections to reduce weight while retaining strength.

The main carbon options available for the 5X are the two main bulkheads (fore and aft of the salon) the salon roof, the rudders and rudder shafts, and the dinghy davits. We chose the bulkheads and the salon roof to be made in carbon. These two options reduce the weight of the boat by about 250 kg (500 lbs).

We decided against the rudders and shafts in carbon, as I didn’t want carbon below the waterline due to risk of impact damage and difficulty of repairs. We also decided against the carbon davits because this was a very expensive option that didn’t save much weight vs. the standard aluminum davits.


The interior layout options for the 5X can get pretty extensive. They will really work with you to design what you need, within reason, and will engage the designer (Frank Darnet) to work on the layout changes if needed. They also offer some standard options, for example having two cabins in the port hull instead of the owner’s suite and having a small “skipper’s cabin” in the forward sail locker compartment.

They offer different types of wood finishes and interior colors as well, and these have to be chosen early in the process as they take a while to manufacture. We really like the standard design selections for the interior finishes so we didn’t make any changes there.

We like the standard owner’s version design with the master suite in the port hull, and we don’t need a skipper’s cabin, but we do want to add a small office in the port companionway which gives us an extra workspace without taking over the dining table or nav station.

This is the standard port companionway with shelves and no office

This is the standard port companionway with shelves and no office. This photo also shows the standard colors and wood finishes that we selected.

This is the port companionway with the desk option fitted

This is the port companionway with the desk option fitted

Another view of the port companionway office. It has a fold out seat that doesn't take up much room

Another view of the port companionway office. It has a fold out seat that doesn’t take up much room

Other layout selections we made were the orientation of the beds in the aft cabins. These can be either longitudinal or transverse. We chose longitudinal, because we don’t want to have to clamber over each other when entering or leaving the bed.

This is the longitudinal bed orientation that we chose for the aft cabins.

This is the longitudinal bed orientation that we chose for the aft cabins.

The alternative is to have a transverse orientation, which we don't like as much.

The alternative is to have a transverse orientation, which we don’t like as much because there’s too much clambering required!

We had to decide on the fridge, freezer and TV set locations as these all impact the interior furniture  design and need to be determined well before the start of construction.

We chose a large, two drawer fridge in the salon, and a TV that slides out horizontally from behind the cupboards.

The drawers on the left side of the picture is where we are installing our large two drawer fridge.

The drawers on the left side of the picture is where we are installing our large two drawer fridge

We are moving the freezer down into the port companionway, opposite the desk to give us more storage in the salon

Because our fridge will take some of our storage, we are moving the freezer from the salon, to the port companionway opposite the desk. This will give us back some storage in the salon

The TV sill slide out from behind the cupboards. The panel attached to the left side of the TV in this picture will be a door that hinges open on Wildling

The TV will slide out from behind the cupboards like this. The panel attached to the left side of the TV in this picture will be a door that hinges open on Wildling

We also chose the option to have the dining table on telescopic legs with additional cushions so that the banquette can be converted into a double bed for guests.

The custom dining table option with telescopic legs so it can be lowered to make up a bed.

The custom dining table option with telescopic legs so it can be lowered to make up a bed.

The final decision we made for the interior design was the location of the watermaker. Some owners have installed it under the master bunk with a control panel inside the companionway closet. I don’t like this as it means I have to pull the bed apart to service the watermaker. Instead I asked for it to be installed in the port engine room. Since the control panel has to be within 2 meters of the watermaker, we are installing the panel in the side of the transom just above the top step. There will be a watertight door that we can open to access the watermaker controls.

Those are the big decisions that we had to make last week to keep things on schedule. There are plenty more decisions to be made, and I’ll post more details about them as we go along.

Why should we care about a rotating mast?

Outremer offers 3 mast options on the 5X. Fixed aluminum, fixed carbon fiber and rotating carbon fiber. Having no experience with rotating masts, my initial reaction was that it seemed unwise to add the complexity of a rotating mast to a boat being used for long distance cruising. As with all boat decisions there are pros and cons, and so I needed to find out if the benefits of the 5X rotating rig are worth the extra cost and complexity.

Outremer 5X under sail with carbon fiber mast rotated

Outremer 5X under sail with the carbon fiber mast rotated. Note the radar dome installed on the spreader.

The first two fixed mast options are pretty easy to understand, as it’s a simple question of weight. The carbon fiber mast weighs 280 kg (616 lbs) less than the aluminum mast. Taking weight out of the boat is important, and it’s especially important to save weight up high, as this has the biggest impact on the pitching motion of the boat. Less weight aloft = less pitching = more comfort and more speed.

So, we know we want a carbon fiber mast, so the next question is fixed or rotating? To figure that out, we need to look at why Outremer has gone to all the trouble of designing a rotating mast for a cruising boat in the first place!

It turns out the benefits of a rotating mast are not just theoretical, and I discovered that for myself when I did the test sail on the 5X Addiction. We were going upwind in a light breeze of about 7 knots just after completing a tack, with the rotating mast set straight on the center line of the boat. Once we had settled onto the new tack, we rotated the mast into the wind and I could literally feel the boat surge forward! Tests at different wind speeds and angles confirm that there is a 10-15% increase in performance with the mast rotated. This is great, but how does it work?

When a boat is traveling with the wind coming from in front of the beam (<90 degrees) the sails operate as airfoils in much the same way as an airplane wing.


Rigid wing airfoil

When the wind strikes the front edge of this rigid wing, the air is separated and must travel a longer distance in the case of particle A vs particle B. This creates a higher velocity on the top surface and a corresponding area of low pressure. So the wing is pulled upwards due to the lift force developed. This force is called aerodynamic lift.


Flexible sail airfoil

In the case of a sail, there is no rigid bottom surface, so it is less efficient than a rigid wing, but it still forms an airfoil because the two air particles A and B must travel different distances, and so a low pressure region of lift is created in the same fashion as a rigid wing. Around 2/3 of the driving force of the sail comes from aerodynamic lift, with the remaining 1/3 generated by the force of the wind striking the inside (bottom) surface of the sail.

This is the case for an ideal airfoil, but on a sailboat there is a mast in front of the leading edge of the sail. The bigger the boat, the larger the mast cross section has to be to handle the force of the sails, and this becomes a factor influencing the shape of the airfoil we are able to present to the wind.


Fixed mast airfoil

This diagram shows the effect that a fixed mast has on the airfoil. Since the wind must make a tight turn around the mast, a turbulence zone is created which reduces the amount of lift being generated by the forward section of the sail. It also drives the lift force direction slightly aft, reducing the ability of the boat to sail upwind.

Rotating mast airfoil

Rotating mast airfoil

By rotating the mast into the wind, we can clean up the leading edge of the airfoil and eliminate the turbulence. This increases the lift force and moves the lift angle  forward, giving us more speed and better pointing ability (how close we can sail, or point, into the wind direction).

There are other benefits to a rotating mast, regarding reefing the mainsail. Normally when reefing, you turn the boat into the wind to take pressure off the front edge of the sail in order to lower it. This puts the headsail into a luffing mode which is uncomfortable and potentially damaging to the sail. With a rotating mast, you can turn the mast into the wind and lower the mainsail. This allows the headsail to keep drawing during the reefing process and is easier and places less stress on the rig and the crew.

Because the rotating mast is in fact a rigid airfoil, it acts as an additional 12m2 sail, so by rotating the mast to the centerline position as the wind increases, you have the ability to depower the sail, which in effect, becomes an additional reef point.

And for the mathematically inclined:

12m2 mast / (12m2 mast + 125m2 mainsail) + 6% lift improvement  = 15% performance increase from a rotating mast vs a fixed mast of the same size. And conversely, straightening the mast when the wind increases will de-power the mainsail by 15%.

So what’s the catch?

As always, all this goodness comes with a price, and in this case there are three issues that have to be considered:

  1. The additional mechanical complexity needed to operate the mast rotation system
  2. Compensating for the error in the wind angle reading when the mast is off centerline
  3. Dealing with the error in the radar signal when the mast is rotated

For us to be able make the decision to choose the rotating mast option, we needed to find a solution to each of these. Here’s what we came up with:

Mechanical compexity

This one was actually pretty easy. Outremer has done a nice job of designing a simple and robust system for securing the mast, and operating the rotation controls from the cockpit. It does add a little more complexity when sailing, but to me it’s negligible, and since I am a committed sail tweaker anyway, I am looking forward to having another power control on the boat. Our conclusion: Outremer’s system is fine for our needs and has been proven over time on a large number of their other boats. We are happy to install it as designed.

5X Rotating mast

5X Rotating mast

Rotation control lines led back to cockpit

Rotation control lines led back to cockpit


Wind angle error

When the mast is rotated, the wind angle measured by the sensor at the top of the mast will be incorrect. This is because the wind angle instrument measures angle with respect to the mast center-line. So if the mast is rotated 20 degrees, the wind angle will read 20 degrees less than than actual apparent wind. This is a problem, but it can be corrected in software by the instrument system as long as we can provide an accurate reading of the actual angle of the mast.

To read the angle of the mast, we need another sensor:

NKE mast rotation sensor

NKE mast rotation sensor

This rotation sensor from NKE has been used by many offshore racing boats and has proven very reliable. The only concern I had was the cable that connects the mast sheave to the sensor body. If it breaks, there is no way to fix it without taking the mast off. NKE claims a 10 year life for the cable, and Outremer has never had a failure, but they add a second spare cable at the mast base that can be fitted if there is a failure of the original cable. Our conclusion: The benefits outweigh our concerns over the reliability of the sensor. If the sensor did fail, it will only affect the wind angle reading, which is a non critical data point, so we’re OK with this.

Radar image error

Most sailboats install the radar dome on a spreader located at the top section of the mast (see the first photo in this post). A high elevation for the dome provides greater radar range and minimum interference. On a rotating mast, the radar will provide significant errors when the mast is rotated. For example, if you have the mast rotated and a ship is approaching in the dark and headed straight for you, it will appear as through the ship is actually approaching from the side. This is not good.

As I write this, in September 2014, there is no reliable solution to this problem. The radar image angle should be able to be corrected in software in the same way as the wind direction, but in practice, other owners have experienced system failures where the correction angle is lost, so the radar reverts back to a non-corrected image. Although this can be resolved by rebooting the radar software, there is no way to tell if and when the system has stopped processing the angle correction input. I expect this will be resolved in a future version of the software, but it still leaves us vulnerable if there is a fault in the mast angle correction sensor.

We feel that a reliable and accurate radar, is an essential safety element when voyaging offshore, so installing the radar dome on a rotating mast is not acceptable to us. Our solution is to install the radar dome on a carbon fiber pole at the back of the boat, keeping it fixed with the vessel centerline. We will lose some range due to the lower mounting location, but it won’t be enough to compromise our safety at sea.

So all in all, the rotating mast option is a good one. It does add some complexity, but we found ways to deal with that and we are happy to be able to take advantage of the significant benefits that a rotating rig provides.

Lots of options

One of the objectives of visiting the Outremer factory and test sailing a 5X, was to get the information we needed to select the options we will be installing on Wildling during construction. Although the 5X is a series production boat, and not a custom build, there are still many options that each owner can select that will affect the way the finished boat will perform, and how well it will fit with the intended usage. For example, a boat that is used by a large group of people for short durations in a limited cruising area, would be configured differently than a boat sailed long distances by a small family of full time cruisers. Knowing which option to select for what purpose, takes a mixture of experience, research, and advice from people you trust, that understand your requirements. I relied on all three to make our option decisions. After sailing a 5X and talking with other owners about their experiences and meeting with numerous people at the Outremer factory, I was able to answer the remaining questions that I couldn’t resolve at a distance. Again, I found the Outremer folks to be really helpful during this process. In this post, I’ll provide a list of the various types of options available, and in future posts, I’ll go into more detail on some of the choices and tradeoffs that we made. The options offered by Outremer on the 5X, generally fit into the following categories:

  1. Performance and handling
  2. Long distance voyaging
  3. Comfort and convenience

Let’s take a look at what Outremer offers in each of these areas: Performance and handling options This is where the bulk of the attention is focused. For a given hull design, performance of a catamaran is the result of the weight of the boat and the amount of sail area deployed. Too heavy and the boat slows down and the motion increases, which slows the boat down further. Weight is the number one enemy of performance on a catamaran, and Outremer provides a lot of assistance when fitting out each boat, as every item that is available for the 5X is listed with the price and the weight. In some cases the weight is negative, which allows a weight savings over the standard specifications. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any cases where the price was negative! Some of the choices available to build a light boat are:

  • Using carbon fiber instead of conventional fiberglass and epoxy laminate for some of the structural bulkheads and the salon roof can save over 250 kg
  • Swapping the standard aluminum mast for a carbon mast and using kevlar shrouds (cables that hold up the mast) instead of stainless steel saves another 280 kg
  • Using Lithium batteries instead of the standard lead acid batteries saves around 140 kg

Of course it makes no sense to save all that weight, and then fill the boat up with systems and gear that weigh it down again. Some of the things we had on our last boat that we won’t be adding:

  • No clothes washer & dryer – These are heavy, use a lot of energy and water, and we found we hardly ever used ours on the last boat. Whenever we were at an anchorage we were always able to find a laundromat or local laundry service.
  • No scuba compressor or scuba tanks – Instead we will have a surface air (hookah) system, which is small, light and uses very little energy. We found that during our last cruise, we mostly went snorkeling, and in 90% of cases when we went diving with tanks on our own, a surface air system would have been just as good. We also found we preferred diving with the shore based dive operations whenever we were in a location with good diving, as we were able to use their tanks and air, their boat, and their knowledge of the best dive sites.
  • No generator – No Scuba tanks, dive compressor or clothes washer means we don’t need a generator, so that’s another 250 kg saved, along with all of the fuel, spare parts and work needed to keep it running.

Long distance voyaging options These options cover things that make it easier and safer to sail long distances with minimal crew. Things like:

  • Reverse osmosis watermaker
  • Sail inventory and reefing systems to handle a full range of conditions, from a light breeze to a full gale, and everything in between
  • Electric winches to make it easier to raise and trim the sails. Particularly for younger crew
  • Seats at the wheel helms
  • Dodgers over the wheel helms to protect from sun and rain
  • The size of the engines, their fuel economy and range and the propeller design
  • Electronic instruments and navigation systems
  • Satellite and radio communications
  • The type of dinghy and motor and the system for raising and lowering it and securing it rough seas
  • The anchoring system
  • The type and size of the refrigeration equipment
  • Electrical generation systems: solar, hydro and engine driven
  • Safety equipment

Comfort and convenience options Although these add some weight, there’s a minimum set of comforts that we aren’t willing to live without. Our list includes:

  • Air conditioning. We usually don’t need this at sea or at anchor, because there is nearly always a breeze. But at a dock or marina this is a must!
  • Microwave. Robin and I have gone back and forth on this for years. Robin won! 🙂
  • Media system – TV, Stereo and speakers
  • Convertible dining table that can be made into a queen size bed for guests
  • Electric toilets
  • Full set of blinds for the salon windows
  • Awning system for the cockpit

In addition to all of this, there are the choices for cushions, fabrics and internal surfaces, and also logo artwork on the hulls and sails. Some of the choices we had to make were really complicated and took a lot of discussions to weigh up all the pros and cons. I’ll go into more detail on these in future posts.

Test sailing

I just got back home to Brisbane after a busy few days in France with the folks at Outremer. I had an excellent visit, and was able to spend a day on board the 5X, Addiction to really get a feel for how the boat sails and to help us make some decisions about the feature options that we are considering for Wildling.

Here’s some video I took of the test sail. I apologize for my lack of skill with the video camera, I promise to do better next time! 🙂

All in all, I was very impressed, not only with the 5X, she is a beautifully designed and constructed boat, but also with the Outremer team and their construction operations. The care and detail they put into building their boats is very impressive, and it really shows in the finished product.

I also really appreciate their collaborative design process. They were very happy to discuss all my ideas, and were comfortable telling me when things made sense, and when their experience has proven that something wouldn’t work. This is exactly what I am looking for in a builder, and I left feeling confident that they will deliver us a boat that fits perfectly with our needs.

So we finalized the purchase contract and locked everything in, and now we’re on our way! There are some design issues that I will need to work out with them before we start construction, and I’ll write more about those in another post.

Getting ready for a test sail

Well, we’ve signed the contract and paid the deposit, but there’s still one condition that we have to satisfy before we are 100% committed, and that’s a test sail. Because the performance and sailing abilities of our boat are so important to me, I need to sail a 5X before we give the final go ahead to start construction.

I’ve been in Stockhom, Sweden for the past week for work, but on Tuesday I’m headed to Marseille for a few days to visit the Outremer factory and sail a 5X. I’ll be taking plenty of video and photos to share when I’m done.

The Outremer guys have arranged for me to sail Addiction which is the closest configuration they have built to what Wildling will be, in that Addiction is equipped with many of the performance and weight saving options that I am choosing for Wildling. I’m really looking forward to it!

Here’s a video of Addiction sailing at 18 to 20 knots of speed so you can get an idea of what’s in store! In fact, this is the video that convinced me I had to own a 5X. I still get goosebumps every time I watch it. Going 20 knots in a cruising sailboat!?! OMG, I have to have one!!!  (yes, I realize I have a problem).