Watch how fast a monohull sailboat sinks

Another monohull sailboat sinks.

The beautiful Dubols half-tonner “The Alchemist” was owned by the commodore of the Island Sailing Club of Cowes, UK.  During the “Round the Island” race, the skipper hit the wreck of the SS Varvassi, leading to a rescue operation by the RNLI. Watch as this sailboat sinks with the White Cliffs of Dover in the background.

Cruiser live-aboard for sale Chesapeake

Hello faithful reader, this particular boat and its owners are an integral part to our sailing stories. We met Rupert and Dory back in 2009 as we were sailing down the east coast of the USA in S/V Third Aye. Good times.

This is a fantastic boat and I’ll tell you why. There are two reasons I recommend buying this boat; the structural safety of a ferro-cement hull and my full confidence in the craftmanship of it’s rebuilder, Rupert. This is a true cruiser’s kind of boat, and a well-cared-for one at that.


Cruiser live-aboard for sale


Sandpiper, British-flagged yacht, one of the last ocean-going boats to be built in Baltimore, MD, by NASA engineer John Laudadio. She is a customised copy of Ocean Racer Finisterre and has taken us through the Carolinas, Florida, Bahamas, Cuba and the Caribbean.

35 ft(38 ft overall) Keel-Centreboard rock-solid Cruising Ketch. Perfect for Bahamas and other shoal-draft areas, but with a world-cruising capabilities, this pedigree Ferro Cement classic has been immaculately restored and refitted.

She is very much a hands on traditional sailing boat with hank on sails and a classic manual bronze gipsy windlass and barlow winches. Fast, comfortable, beautiful and unique. Built over-strong by NASA engineer John Laudadio, this is one of the last five boats produced in Baltimore in the 1970s and as such is allowed to parade in the Baltimore yearly historic regatta.

An all-round Chesapeake classic – traditional Skipjack above deck, on a racer-cruiser hull (Finisterre: Teak lined with huge headroom. Radar, Wind, Solar, SSB, Garmin Plotter, Refrigeration etc etc. All fully functional and newly overhauled.

Recent installation of long-range Yanmar 35hp engine on custom-built steel engine-bed, with only 1500 hours and a new transmission, this boat was known and loved for 30 years all around North Chesapeake.

We have upgraded the systems for blue-water cruising (including re-wire, hot water etc.) over eight loving years.

She was kept in fresh water and launched and raced/cruised seasonally until two years ago. We have found her to be ideally suited as a cruiser live-aboard vessel, with her roomy and airy living quarters and a 4ft shoal draft with a drop keep centre-board which makes total draft 8ft 9” when down.

Many photos and cruising blog at and on facebook atVoyages of the ketch SandpiperThis is a communal website for all those who know or are associated with the Yacht Sandpiper, her crew, her history, and her itinerant ports of call. Any and all questions welcome, as we know every technical aspect of the boat in finest detail!


Full set of sails with 120% Genny, brand-new storm jib, spinaker and spare mizzen – all in very good shape with a couple of minor strengthening repairs made on the main clew by Irish sail lady in St Augustine.
Dinghy – Brand new Westmarine Zodiac inflatable with Mercury 7.5 outboard
Two fold-up Dahon bikes for shore side wanderings.
Water – galley hot water pumped from engine, manual salt water and fresh water rinsing taps in galley, hot water tap as above and fresh water tap in head. Three water bladders with capacity for 420 litres of water. Also extra water storage in four jerry cans carrying 100 litres in total

Living quarters – 
Check out our youtube video for a tour! 

Teak lined throughout, with Perko bronze portholes and insect screening. Ample storage under cushions in Saloon also in bilge and deck lockers.
V-berth, Saloon, Galley, Head and Navigation area. Boat has 5 berths in total (double in V-berth, two pullman berths in saloon and one storm berth in navigation area.) All cushions recently reupholstered in teal Sunbrella by a professional seamstress.
Force 10 stove in galley – two burner with grill and oven. 

Force 10 stainless steel barbecue on deck.
Adler barbour 12 v cold machine refrigeration, in built-in large capacity well-insulated ice chest.
Engine – 35hp 3HM35F Yanmar, approx 1500 hours, with new 80 amp alternator, and two fuel tanks holding 40 gallons fuel in total. Two jerry cans with 10 extra gallons on board.
Lots of spares come with this engine including hoses, filters and alternator.
Self steering – Navico/Raymarine WP5000 Wheel Pilot
Depth/Speed – NASA
GPS – Garmin 210 plotter
VHF Radio Uniden Seahawk
Handheld GPS/VHF Uniden Mystic
SSB radio ICOM 600 with AT150 Tuner
Radar: Autohelm ST50

On deck
Full set of sail covers, bimini and dodger in Pacific Blue Sunbrella.
Ground tackle –
45 lb CQR, 35lb Max, 25lb Danforth, 200ft of 3/8th chain and 300ft of rode on CQR, 20ft of chain and 200ft of rode on Danforth, solid Plath/Simpson Lawrence bronze Gypsy Windlass.
Brand new Air breeze wind generator and four Siemens solar panels giving 180 watts.
Parachute Drogue/Sea Anchor, and 600ft of spare rode.
Hull is sound – boat was hauled and repainted inside and out last year and there are no problems with structure of boat. Teak and mahogany cap rails have also been refixed and finished to ensure ongoing dependable protection of ferro cement below decks. Decks are resheathed and in very good condition – epoxy over ferro cement.

Price: $55,000 
Currently docked in Chesapeake USA

Old boat to future boat: “Third Aye” versus a 2005 Leopard 43, comparing layouts of two very different boats.

In July of 2008, I purchased a 1976 monohulled 30 foot Irwin Sloop for 5,100 USD on Ebay. I used it as a livaboard vessel while working in Key West as a SNUBA guide. I later changed the name to “Third Aye.”

Tadd Prax 1

There was just enough headroom for me to walk upright and not hit my head on the “domelight” in the saloon, which looked like something from my first car in high school.


As you can see from the “accommodation plan” and “inboard profile” below, the boat is pretty much divided into thirds from bow to stern.

1976 Irwin 30 layout
1976 Irwin 30 layout

In the bow, one third of the length is taken up by the v-berth and head on port with sink and locker on the starboard side.

 Third Aye V-BerthIMG00183IMG00182

The middle third is the saloon with a table that folds down and settees on either side. This needs to be raised up and everything stowed when a meal is finished. Storage lockers for personal items and clothing are stored behind and below the seats.


On the starboard side just down the companionway is the galley for one with an ice box I converted to a freezer. On the port side is a chart table and navigation station. Behind that is a tiny aft berth for crew to rest while underway.


The remaining third of the interior is for the engine room, which is inconveniently located under a bonnet or hood on the interior of the boat, between the galley and the chart table. This was very tight and I had to use mirrors and flashlights to see where to put the screwdriver or wrench when replacing parts. In the stern is the steering linkage and a large locker on the starboard which is accessed from the cockpit above.


In 2009, when Lindsay and I spent quite a bit of time and money fixing her up and finally sailed away, we got along very well aboard despite the small space.



After purchasing the dive shop in 2012, we rented an apartment in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Not living aboard any longer, she was being neglected on a mooring at the El Cid marina, and costing us money. Besides, it was too small for us to use for our future travel goals, and we wanted something larger and safer. We sold her for 10,000 USD, with a clause that she be delivered to Rio Dulce, Guatemala before final payment. That in an of itself is another great fiasco, a good story to tell now about how delivery captains can seriously affect your life. Ask me about it sometime.

Goodbye Third Aye!
Goodbye Third Aye!

The next boat we buy, after selling the dive shop, will hopefully be a Leopard 43. Architect Alex Simonis and builders Robertson & Caine won praise for this catamaran’s speed, windward ability, ease of handling, innovative design features, and phenomenal robustness. The maximum hull speed is 8 knots through the water, if the waves are from behind, in “following seas”, the boat is pushed faster than that over ground. This is over twice as fast as “Third Aye.” They were built with the robust South African standards, received glowing reviews in major sailing magazines, sailed to the Caribbean on their own bottoms, not shipped over. They are a very popular charter boat and currently there are two available right now on I will provide the links to them at the end of this post.

2005 Leopard 43 under sail

This drawing of the layout with shadowing vividly shows the spacious cabins.

2005 Leopard 43 BVI layout

There are four cabins, four queen sized beds, two quarter berths in the forward cabins, and the v-shaped settee in the saloon converts into a double bed. Therefore, this model sleeps up to 8 adults on the queen sized beds, 2 children in the quarter berth, and 2 young adults in the saloon. That’s 12 people on a 43 foot boat, provided everybody packed light in soft luggage. What a layout!

There are four bathrooms, or “heads” with showers, and an additional fresh water shower outside at the swim platform.

The Leopards are famous for incorporating the cooking space into the dining space, called a “galley up” design. We love this concept of bringing the chef into the room, instead of being trapped in a hallway of one of the pontoons. For dining space, there are two options. Inside for windy or rainy conditions and the v-shaped settee seats 8. 2005 Leopard 43 Saloon BVI

Outside in the cockpit, which is preferrable for cruisers, seats 6 on benches with backs and 2 more on a cooler, with cushions provided for all seats. That’s a total of 16, which is 4 more than can sleep aboard! Again, what a layout!

2005 Leopard cockpit seating

Catamarans have over twice the deck space, and the “trampolines” are every charter guests dream come true. There are even dolphin-watching seats installed up front at the “pushpits.”

2005 Leopard Front of deck

To see more pictures and videos of this boat design, follow this link: 2005 Leopard 43 on in BVIs. And a second boat for sale here: Another 2005 Leopard 32 on in BVIs.

2014 ARC Summary Report – Monohulls are faster?

All boats have crossed with a “no news is good news” result. No major problems with the fleet have made the headlines of any sailing magazines or blogs that I have seen yet. Well done by all.

Philo Cat Ena

Here you can see that a little catamaran called Philocat Ena has reached the harbor in St. Martin well ahead of most boats. Not until we look at the results, which are corrected for handicaps and MOTORING PENALTIES can we determine the finishing order.


Philocat Ena has finished second, because they used their motor quite a bit they were not first. Still, impressive to take on an Atlantic crossing on a light catamaran and do it faster than it’s taller competitors. But does that prove that catamarans cross the ocean faster than monohulls?

Let’s compare them. They are in two different classes. Here we can see the first and second place catamarans finished their crossing in 16 days.

ARC 2014 Division Results

Blue Waves actually sailed faster on this crossing than all other catamarans. Well done sailing and maintaining a beautiful boat.

Lagoon 45 Blue Waves

And on this table we can see that ten monohulls, some of which are built to go fast, finished before the third place catamaran did, which was in 17 days and a bit.

ARC 2014 Division Results boat 40

Congratulations to the crusing class monohull winner, Arietta.

Arietta 4.2

This disproves my theory that all catamarans make crossings faster that monohulls, in general. Nine other monohulls finished  before the 3rd place catamaran did. I’m sure some catamarans are faster that some monohulls, such as the Philocat Eno and Blue Waves are  faster than most all of the monohulls.

However, if we compare all catamarans to all of the monohulls that made this crossing they are not faster. They cats  were interspersed among the monos. Perhaps it’s the way a catamaran skipper drives his boat, maybe they like to take it easy and don’t like heeling over. It wasn’t a race, after all, it was a RALLY.

But still, I will attest that a catamaran is more comfortable on anchor than a monohull, which is where Lindsay and I intend to spend most of our time.


This is especially true wherever there is motorboat traffic passing the anchorage. Even small boat wakes from outboard engines tend to “rock the boat” more on a monohull than a catamaran.


Tipping over when accidentally going aground will never happen on a catamaran either. What a nightmare that would be!

Monohull sideways aground

We can all agree that the appeal of chartering a cabin on a catamaran is more attractive than on a monohull, so I think our decision is still sound to purchase a catamaran in the 40-foot-range. Don’t you agree?


2014 ARC Halfway Report

All boats are on their way to Saint Lucia, 2,700 nautical miles to the southwest. The weather provided good north-easterly trade winds for the first few days. After slowing a bit, from 0 to 10 knots, the winds are now expected to shift south of east, improving the speed of those boats that are north of the rhumb line as they can now turn a bit more to the port side, rather then having the wind directly behind them.

ARC catamarans halfway

This image above is from the world crusing club’s “fleet tracker”. I have isolated the catamarans from the fleet of 178 boats. If I were to add in the monohulls, it would look like this:

2014 ARC all boats halfway

These boats are all sailing somewhat together and only the racing class can be seen approaching the finish very soon.

You can follow them yourself by visiting this site.

The ARC crossing record is 10 days, 21 hours, 25 minutes and 10 seconds, set by Caro a Knierim 65 in ARC 2013. This is likely to be under serious threat from 100 foot super maxi Leopard by Finland. Leopard is sailing with a crew of 23 in ARC 2014, and has a considerable history of conquering Atlantic speed sailing records and is the yellow boat that is shown about to finish the race this evening.