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

Moving aboard

I spent Saturday buying tools and making an inventory of the various marine gear we need to outfit before we leave on our first voyage. Outremer delivers their boats with a full set of PFDs, harnesses, jacklines and tethers, as well as an offshore distress kit with signal flares of various types, and a first aid kit. I still need to buy man overboard rescue gear, boat hooks and various assorted sailing accessories, which I will do on Monday at the local marine supply.

Robin, Gavin and Lindsay arrived in France this morning after 27 hours of flying from Brisbane, they were pretty wiped out, so we went straight over to Wildling so they could unpack some of their things, test out the showers and begin exploring, and then it was on to a delicious seafood lunch and back to get some sleep.

Lindsay checking out the helm.

Lindsay checking out the port helm.

Gavin wanted to check the cockpit lounge to make sure it was comfortable in case he ever wanted to take a nap there

Gavin tested the cockpit lounge to make sure it’s comfortable enough to sleep on.

Enjoying seafood in the Mediterranean helps to forget the long flights!

Enjoying a seafood lunch in the Mediterranean helps to forget the long flights!

Tomorrow we begin the three days of instruction sessions, which includes time on the water each day going over sail controls and maneuvers, and setup and training on the equipment and systems.

First time aboard and sailing at 20 knots!

I arrived at the factory at 9:30am this morning and Francois and I went straight over to Wildling. She is awesome! The Outremer team have built us an amazing boat! Thanks guys!!!

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome Aboard!

After the handover forms were all signed, I was given the keys, and Francois left me to explore on my own for a while. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is really excellent, and all the systems and equipment on board are easy to access, and clearly labeled. Our goal of keeping things simple and efficient has definitely been achieved.

Port Helm

Port helm station. It’s the first time I have seen the dodgers on a 5X. Francois described them when we ordered them, and sent us pictures of the frames, but seeing them fully assembled was really great! They offer lots of protection, but are not obtrusive and still give excellent visibility. I came to love them even more when we went sailing later in the day.

It was also nice to get the schematic drawings so I could see how everything was installed. The documentation package from Outremer is very thorough. Detailed drawings of every system on the boat, along with an owner’s operating guide, and binders with manufacturer’s user guides for everything installed.

Going through the delivery checklist.

Going through the delivery checklist.

After lunch we went sailing. Conditions were excellent with wind from the WNW between 15 to 20 knots gusting to 32 knots. Wildling was perfectly comfortable in all conditions with full main and full self tacking jib. We hardly ever went below 10 knots of boat speed and hit 19.8 knots on a close reach. I’ve never gone this fast on a sailboat before and it’s truly a thrill. The sensation of speed is incredible, and even though we were rocketing along, Wildling felt perfectly safe and stable the whole time.

The sail handling was no trouble at all. The new 2:1 halyard system makes raising the mainsail fast and easy. Lowering the main was also easy. The self tacking jib pretty much takes care of itself, and was no trouble to manage. I took a lot of video while we were out on the water, and will post that as soon as I get a faster internet connection.

In the meantime, here are some photos I took this morning during my first time onboard.


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This is the view from the hatch in the ceiling of the master bunk.

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Master suite looking forward. I have closed the sliding door on the right side of the companionway which seals off the master suite for privacy. It also allows access to the freezer.

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Port transom with the carbon pole we use to mount the radar dome. Because we have a rotating mast, we needed to keep the radar in a fixed orientation so it rneders targets correctly.

Port transom with the carbon pole we use to mount the radar dome. Because we have a rotating mast, we needed to keep the radar in a fixed orientation so it displays the position of targets correctly.

Launch Video

A big thanks to Matthieu at Outremer for sending me this video he took of the launch! He also filmed her being lifted into the water, but had a hard drive disaster and is still in the process of recovering it. I’ll post an update if we can extract the remaining video.

4 more days

I’m on my way to France on Friday to start the handover process. Robin and the kids will be joining me on Sunday and we will start provisioning for our first voyage.

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5X under spinnaker, nice view!

These past few weeks have been a bit frustrating, because since Wildling moved out of the construction yard at Outremer and into the water, there are no more photos or updates from the guys at the factory, so I’m hoping everything is still on track for the handover.

I’ve finished off most of the administration details we needed to get done before handover. We arranged insurance with Pantaenius Australia, who provided us a competitive price for cruising in the Mediterranean. I’m happy to use Pantaenius because we had them for our previous boat and I found them to be excellent. They even handled a small claim we made when our dinghy disappeared (a long story) and couldn’t have been more helpful and professional about it.

I also have to get an MMSI number, which is a 9 digit unique identifier used by international Search and Rescue organizations to lookup information about our vessel from their worldwide database if we have an emergency onboard. We need to program this number into our VHF DSC radio and our AIS system. Since we are Australian flagged, we have to follow the Australian process for getting an MMSI, which, like many things to do with government agencies in Australia, is inexplicably convoluted and slow.

You would think that since the MMSI is an element of safety at sea, that they would give you one when you provide all your vessel details, which is what they do in the USA via an online registration process that takes about 15 minutes, but no. Instead, I had to study for and pass an exam on marine radio operating procedures (which by the way was super informative and I strongly recommend it to any sailor, MMSI or not) and then wait 4 to 6 weeks to receive my operator certificate in the mail. Then I can submit an MMSI application form along with a copy of the famous radio operator certificate and wait another 4 to 6 weeks to get my MMSI number. I didn’t realize all of this until last week, so I did a crash study course and sat my exam on Friday afternoon, and now I’m just 12 short weeks away from having an MMSI! As long as we don’t have any emergencies at sea in the meantime, everything will work out fine!

The good news, is that EPIRBs (radio becaons that send the position of survivors in the water to the COPAS-SARSAT satellite network) do not require an MMSI. Instead they have their own internal identifier code. I’m buying our EPIRB in France, so we will have that if we have really major problems.

I also had to get a custom made, stainless steel marking plate with our official registered number and vessel length. This is needed to comply with the Australian vessel registration marking requirements and needs to be permanently attached to one of our interior bulkheads. I have our shiny new marking plate with me and will attach it when I get to the boat.

I’ll post an update when I get to Wildling, along with lots of photos!

Almost ready!

Here’s a photo of Wildling that Fran├žois from Outremer sent me today. She is almost ready for her first test sail which is planned for early next week! Delivery is still on track for June 22nd, so only 3 weeks to go. We can’t wait!

Wildling, almost ready for her first sail

Wildling, almost ready for her first sail!

Launch Day!

Wildling was launched today and is now floating in her berth at the marina! The mast was also lifted into place. She will now go through the final fitout to get ready for handover on June 22nd! Here are a few photos of the launch, with more to follow soon.

Leaving the construction shed.

Leaving the construction shed.

Being lifted into the water by the crane.

Being lifted into the water by the crane.

Mast and standing rigging in place.

Mast and standing rigging in place.

Resting in her new home.

Resting in her new home.


Construction Update #15

We’re getting close to moving Wildling into the water so the mast and rigging can go on. A lot of work is being done now on the cockpit furniture, deck fittings and electronics.

Applying the boat name graphics

Applying the boat name graphics

The boat name is on, the hull mold joins are faired and finished, and the bottom paint is complete.

The hull mold joins are faired and finished, and the bottom paint is complete.


The lifelines on deck are now complete, and the bow seats have been installed.


Bow roller and chain for the main anchor is installed and the trampoline lacing is complete.


Outremer graphics installed



Boat name on the transom and a nice view of the teak steps.



Cockpit furniture being installed

Watermaker control panel at the top of the starboard steps

Watermaker control panel at the top of the starboard steps



Starboard transom steps and engine room hatch.


Master cabin, port aft. You can see the small step we had installed at the bottom right of the photo. This makes it easier to climb in and out of the bed without stepping on the seat cushion each time.


Port companionway



Gavin’s cabin – starboard fwd.


Starboard companionway bathroom


Lindsay’s cabin – starboard aft.


Master bathroom.



Construction Update #14

The big news this week is the teak deck has been installed in the cockpit and transoms! This is one of the options we chose, and even though it adds weight to the boat, we just love the look and feel of teak when living aboard.

There was a bit of a mix up on the mast pictures for the last update. They were actually not of our mast, but a mast for one of the other boats under construction. There are 8 boats being built right now! The construction team assures me they will make sure they put the correct mast on our boat ­čÖé

Support pillars for the dinghy davits

Support pillars for the dinghy davits


Teak deck installation, demonstrating an impressive use of weights to keep the surface flat and even while the adhesive sets!


Decking extends from the cockpit down the transom steps and up the steps to each of the wheel helm stations.


Each transom holds 28, five gallon drums. An important fact that will no doubt come in handy one day!


4 blade folding propeller. The really nice aspect of the turbo charged engines is they provide significantlymore torque for the same engine size and weight. This allows us to fit a 4 blade prop instead of the smaller 3 blade. The 4 blade delivers more power at lower revs.

4 blade folding propeller. This is a nice aspect of the turbo charged engine option, which develops a lot more torque for the same engine size and weight. This allows us to fit a 4 blade prop instead of the smaller 3 blade. The 4 blade produces more power at lower RPM, which means less stress and wear on the engines, less vibration, less noise and more available peak power when needed.

Prop in folded position.

Here’s the propeller in folded position, which reduces drag when under sail with the engines off. Also note the mini skeg in front of the drive shaft. This is a standard feature on Outremer yachts. The skeg is sacrificial, and protects the drive shaft and propeller in the event the boat runs over an object in the water. It can’t really protect against a submerged shipping container, but it does a great job of protecting against logs, branches, trash, fishing platforms, and sleeping whales.


Rotating mast base is now installed along with the traveller cars for the self tacking jib. The anchor windlass is also installed (bottom left of photo).


Side deck and with lifelines installed. There’s an option to use Dyneema lifelines to save weight, (Dyneema is a very strong, thin synthetic line) but we decided to stay with the standard stainless steel lines, because they are more comfortable to lean against and are easier to use to tie on the fenders. The weight difference wasn’t enough to justify the inconvenience.




Port bow


Salon settee. Air registers for the air conditioning are installed and wiring distribution is complete. The layout, easy access and neat organization of the wiring panels is important. It makes it easier to maintain, and find and fix problems that for some reason always seem to happen at 2AM in 3 meter seas! It might seem obvious, but there are not many boat builders that do as nice a job as Outremer with their systems layout and installation. Our last boat had panels all over the place, and many were in locations that were were very difficult to access. It meant that some faults underway had to be postponed until calmer conditions, which made running repairs more complicated than they needed to be.


Bathroom washbasin


Port master suite companionway looking forward.


Stbd companionway looking aft.


Lindsay’s cabin (stbd aft) all finished!


LED strip lighting in salon ceiling.


Port companionway looking aft towards master cabin, with office desk and fold out seat to the right.


Salon kitchen.


Salon. B&G instruments fitted at chart table.


Port side of salon.