Welcome Aboard

Welcome to our website and blog, where we will are sharing our adventures building, launching and sailing our new catamaran, which we have named Wildling.

In 2014, we sold our former sailing catamaran, Zangezi, a Catana 471, after an incredible 4 years and 4,000 nautical miles of sailing around Australia and South East Asia. When we arrived in Singapore at the end of our voyage through Indonesia, our intention was to take a month off to visit family back in Australia, and then continue on to the Philippines. Unfortunately, typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines and created so much devastation that we decided to delay our plans until things settled down.

During this time, the kids went back to school and I went back to work, and the plans for our continued voyage seemed to be moving out of reach. We considered exploring SE Asia during our vacation time, but increasing reports of piracy around the Philippines and the areas we most wanted to visit made that unsafe and out of the question.

Since our long term objective has always been to cruise the South Pacific from the Galapogos to Australia via Tahiti and Fiji, we decided to explore the options for making that voyage a reality at some point in the future. There was no way for us to sail Zangezi eastwards, and we didn’t want to continue west beyond Asia, which involves running the pirate gauntlet to reach the Mediterranean Sea, so we decided that rather than have Zangezi sit in Singapore, not being used, which was really heartbreaking, we would sell her and buy a boat in a more suitable starting location for our intended voyage.

And so we came to the decision to purchase a boat in France, and to spend our vacation time exploring the Mediterranean until we’re ready personally and professionally to set off westwards, across the Atlantic and into the Pacific. We don’t know when that will be, but right now the important thing is that we are on the path towards it.

After a lot of research and discussions we decided to purchase a new boat, rather than used, which meant that it would take a while before we would be sailing again. We decided to buy an Outremer 5X catamaran. Construction began in October 2014 and we took delivery of Wildling in July 2015.

We have posted a lot of details about the design of Wildling, the options we chose and many photos during construction. Now that she is finished and we have begun sailing we will continue to update our blog with information about our sailing voyages and our experiences with our Outremer 5X.

21 thoughts on “Welcome Aboard

  1. Hi! Congrats on beautiful boat! You really have chosen the perfect cruiser. I have established a Facebook group for Outremer Owners, and I am trying to get as many as possible to join in! It is for posting trips, pictures, videos, questions etc. Me and my wife will receive our Outremer 45 Hull #10 in November, and are very excited about it. My impression is that the Outremer Owners are specially nice, and it would be great to get connected in a place where we can collaborate. There are more and more owners outside of France as well, so the group language will be in English.
    Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/480263355467225/
    Keep on sailing!
    Best regards Knut + Anita on Mais Uma.

  2. Thank you! And it’s also been our experience that Outremer owners are good people! Thank you for the invite to your group- our status is ‘pending’. Have a great time on your new boat!⛵️

  3. Doug,

    We’ve communicated a bit before regarding your Catana vs. Outremer experience.
    We’re right in the middle of that decision……….older 471 or newer 49/51.
    Could you provide some in depth insight into the distinctions.
    If you prefer to do off-line, my personal email address is:
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Lee,

      The Catana and the Outremer models you are considering are very different boats that have some pros and cons. I’ll try and give you some feel for the differences I have found after cruising for 4 years with our Catana 471, compared with my experience with the Outremer boats. I don’t have a lot of experience with the 49/51, although I have spent time aboard both models and have sailed a little in the 49.

      The short answer is the Catana 471 has more room and comfort inside than the Outremer 49, but it does not sail as well and is more complicated to own and operate than the Outremer.

      Comfort Inside
      Catana wins here: The 471 has one of the best interior designs of any catamaran out there, and if it weren’t for Outremer moving to a complete redesign of their interior in the new series of boats, we would still be sailing our 471, because it’s that good! There is tons of storage, even more than the 5X, and everything is well made, practical during ocean crossings, and very comfortable. We lived aboard full time for 9 months, and had no complaints at all!

      Comfort on Deck
      The Outremer wins here: The stern ourboard helm stations on the Catana are really a problem. In any kind of weather you are completely exposed. Aside from the helms, the Catana is very comfortable on deck, with lots of places to sit, and plenty of room for doing all sailing and anchoring maneuvers.

      Ease of sailing
      Outremer wins: The 471 is much more difficult to sail and not as fun as the Outremer, although it does have some good points. The main issues are the poor mainsail handling systems. The main is a real chore on the Catana. In strong winds you get a lot of weather helm, so you have to reef much earlier than on the Outremer to keep balance on the helm. The lack of a traveler makes trimming the main more difficult, and the reefing lines all led back to the single winch at the back of the cockpit are a pain to deal with. On the other hand, the headsail setup is really excellent. Very easy to trim and furl in all conditions.

      Outremer wins by a mile: The Catana is a very heavy boat and it will never keep up with an Outremer. It also pounds a lot when you’re at sea. The problem is the aft bunks have shelves that extend outside the hull and not too far above the waterline, and they pound like mad. This is the price you pay for the extra room and comfort of the Catana.

      Ease of Maintenance
      Outremer wins: The Catana is a complicated boat to operate and maintain, particularly the electrical systems. If you have an engineering background it’s not too bad, but it is a lot more complicated than the Outremer.

      Online Support
      Catana wins: The catanacats yahoo group is really excellent. Most of the 471 owners around the world are active on the group and share advice and tips, which makes the extra complexity of owning a Catana much easier to deal with. This doesn’t exist for Outremer, although the Outremer factory support is excellent, even for older boats, wheras I found Catana factory support is essentially non-existant.

      These are some general thoughts, but I’d be happy to answer any specific questions you have.


      • Excellent post, question and reply. I too am looking at the Catana 47 Carbon vs the Outreamer 49/51. I know the 5X is faster, but how would you rate the O49 vs the Catana 47 Carbon? Similar speeds, or huge differences? Your point on maintenance is well taken though. Thank you!

      • Hi Seth,

        I’m afraid I don’t have any experience with the new Catana 47, but in general when comparing Catana vs Outremer, you will get a larger living space for the same length with the Catana and a lighter, faster boat with the Outremer, so a lot of it will come down to where you come out on those two characteristics. Having owned both brands, I have found the other two big differences are that the Outremer is easier and more fun to sail than the Catana, and the Outremer after sales support is much better.

  4. Hi Wildling,
    thanks for the nice website and the clear info on your blog, very interesting. I am wondering why you never considered any of the new Australian designs made by Grainger and Schionning. The both claim to be high performance catamarans, are equipped with daggerboards, now that weight is an issue and so on.
    I know you guys sailed a Catana for 4 years, but for sure must have seen the local designs on the water in your home base. Myself being a European guy, would like to know why you chose for the Outremer.

    • Hi wim,

      Yes, I’m familiar with the Australian designs, and they are nice boats. I didn’t consider them for our new boat though for three reasons (just my opinions, and there are certainly many folks that will disagree with me):

      – They are built too lightweight. Performance is very high on the Australian boats, as they have excellent power to weight ratio, but I feel they have gone too far with this. They use glued Duflex foam core panels to build the boat, which is fairly strong and very light, but offers minimal impact resistance. Outremer uses resin infusion with foam core above the waterline and solid layup below. Much stronger, much more impact resistant, but a lot heavier. The Outremer design is better and safer for ocean cruising in my opinion. The Australian designs are better for coastal racing.

      – Every Australian boat is a custom one-off. There is no series production by a single manufacturer for the Grainger and Schionning boats. Basically you are buying the design and some pre-cut panels from the designer, and then you need to hire a custom boat builder for the production. This means the boats are very expensive due to high Australian labor and material costs, but also there is no opportunity to refine the production process with each boat produced. The series production builders like Outremer spend a lot of effort improving each boat they build, and incorporating feedback from owners of their previous boats. This leads to better quality, higher reliability and lower costs.

      – Interior design is not as good as Outremer – I’ve only been inside three of the Australian boats, but I don’t like their interior design as much as the Catana 471 or the Outremer 5X. They are more cramped and less ergonomic for long term liveaboard cruising.

      The Australian boats are definitely lighter and faster though!

  5. After less than 24 hours I have read all theposts and I am absolutely fascinated by your story. Doug describes the technique of the 5x so precise that I could learn a lot about the boat. I love Robins descriptions how to run a household on a boat and with which Problems needs to be dealed. I think it’s great experience for all of you. I dream of a sabbatical under sail for a few years. I have until now only collected experience with shorter trips. I have sailed regattas on a 56ft boat and was able to gain offshoreexperience in a transatlantic crossing and participation in the FastNet Regatta. With my family we make an annual sailingtrip in the Baltic Sea. We currently live in Kiel, Germany, and are therefore close to the Baltic Sea. We are from April 23 – April 30 in Antibes at the Cote d’Azure and perhaps we will see you there!

    • Hi Felix,

      Thank you for your kind comments about our blog! I’m really glad you found some of the posts interesting. We will be in Aix-en-Provence at the end of April, and then in La Grande Motte for the Outremer Cup event in May, before taking Wildling East along the Cote d’Azure. Please keep in touch, we would love to meet you and go sailing sometime!

      • Hi Doug

        Thanks for your answer. Maybe we will make a day trip to La Grande Motte in April. It would be a pleasure to meet you and Wilding. I will send you a massage if we decide to come to La Grande Motte.

  6. Hi Doug

    I hope you doing fine with the preparations for the upcoming season. We will be in Antibes for the next week.
    Faire winds


  7. Bonjour
    Amical souvenir de notre rencontre à Gammarth.
    Comment pouvons nous vous transmettre les quelques photos que nous avons prises de votre magnifiaue catamaran quand nous sommes passés près de vous après la sortie du port ?
    Nous avons suivi avec intérêt votre navigation sur le blog.
    Cordialement et bon vent
    Jacky et Martine

  8. Hi Doug,
    thanks for sharing all these experience and info!
    We plan to visit Outremer end of this month (if our schedule allows).
    Chosing a yard is a decision–as is choosing the boat. Is it possible to talk about some of your personal experience?

    • Hi Matthias,

      Yes, I would be happy to talk about our experience with Outremer. We have had a few problems with out boat as you know from our blog, and Outremer has not always been perfect with taking care of us, but overall I am happy and would choose Outremer again if I were to repeat the process. I will send you an email directly with my contact info.


  9. Hello Doug,

    I am completing the build (finally) – solo, part-time, many years – of a 38′ performance cruising cat and hope to cruise one day (soon) with my family. As I am getting down to the rigging details and having already purchased a new rotating aluminum spar, I am trying to organize the standing rigging. In looking at the photos of your boat, it would seem that your lateral shrouds are affixed to the mast via textile loupes (which is the way mine is currently configured). Considering your many miles of travels, I wondered if you could offer an opinion about this arrangement and/or your view on its level of durability, safety and performance. Since I have not yet stepped my rig, I just wanted to gain as much information as I could in the event that the prevailing wisdom was to swap to a different method of attachment.

    Many thanks for your time – I am, at once, inspired by your story and insanely jealous,


    • Hi Jeff,

      The system for attaching the shrouds on the 5X does indeed use textile loops. These have been perfectly reliable, and no signs of wear after our sailing so far, and we have done some pretty rough passages, with winds up to 50 knots and the seas you would expect along with it. I had the loops inspected last month and there is no sign of any wear. The rotation of the mast is not restricted by this form of attachment either, and we carry quite a lot of tension in the shrouds. Based on our experience, I would have no reservations recommending this arrangement.

      Best of luck to you finishing your build!

  10. Hi Doug
    Like you I am from Brisbane. I am also about to move forward with the purchase of an Outremer 51. I was wondering if you could let me know exactly what issues you have experienced with the Outremer factory so I can be aware of what I can expect and secondly if you dealt with Brent Vaughan during the purchase of your boat. Am I better off cutting out the middle man and dealing with the factory direct.

    Thanks in advance for your help and by the way your blog is fantastic.

    John Strickland

    • Hi John, congratulations on the purchase of your Outremer 51, it’s a beautiful boat, and I’m sure you will love it. The process for me was that the purchase was coordinated with Brent Vaughan at Multihull Central in Sydney, but right away after that I worked directly with the factory team. Brent should introduce you to your contact at the factory who will work directly with you through all the details of the boat pricing, configuration progress payments and build up until delivery. Once the boat is delivered you will begin working with the after sales support team and they will sort out any design or build issues that come up as you begin sailing the boat. I found the process to work very smoothly and didn’t have any issues. I made sure the factory team knew that I valued their input and wanted to hear their opinions on the design options I was considering. Some owners want to make all their own decisions, some owners want to let the factory decide for them, I was more in the middle. I knew what I wanted, but I also wanted to benefit from Outremer’s experience with all their previous boats, and they were very helpful. The other role that Brent plays is to mediate if there are any misunderstandings, problems or delays. He will help you sort out any issue like this if needed. I didn’t have any problems in this regard, but it was nice to know I had Brent available in case.

  11. Hi Doug,

    We are thoroughly enjoying your entire site, thank you very much in advance!

    My wife and I with our two boys enjoyed the April La Grande Motte boat show & toured the Outremer factory following. I’ve been researching the 5X for the last year and I was pleasantly surprised following a sea trial in 12 – 16 knots. I agree with your thoughts – it is a very stable platform. We are weighing options on buying new (12 month duration + shake-out) or used. We have not seen many used 5x’s for sale.

    Reading your blog it appears you either sold are are considering selling Wildling. Please let us know your position on this at your convenience as we are interested.

    Warmest regards & steady winds,

    • Hi Stephen, thanks for the great feedback on the website. Sorry, but Wildling is not for sale. We are really happy with her, and hope to sail her for many years. We have one more season in the Mediterranean and then are planning to sail Wildling back home to Australia.

      It’s true the wait time on a new boat is getting very long, but as you said, there are some excellent used 5X boats for sale right now, that have gone through the post delivery shake-out. If I couldn’t wait 12 months, I wouldn’t hesitate buying used!
      Best Regards,

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