Alan Bettencamp wrote from Portugal "After 7 months your 29th Janus was ready. I launched in July and sailed all summer. It was great to see at the end what someone can achieve, she was fast, really fast. I noticed several occassions when only 10 - 12m monohulls could keep up. Once some friends ashore commented "He's going very fast, he must have a good engine" Engine! There is no engine, only sails! Anyway, I built it for the purpose of experiment. I'm getting ready to build my next boat, that I think will be a Windsong. I enclose a photo of my boat, I'm sure you will agree, she's so beautiful."
In previous newsletters we have reported on the Kruger's voyage round the world in their Mira. After leaving Germany they spent a year sailing the Caribbean and east coast of the US (including some time in New York) before heading for Panama and the Pacific. In January Jurgen wrote: "We spent 6 months in the States and enjoyed the Western civilization. Now we are back in the Bahamas which are one of our favourite cruising grounds. The islands are nice and the people are easy and friendly. The lohsters are quite good and very easy to catch. Even the fish are easy to catch, and so are the coconuts. You see life is good in the Bahamas. But we plan to leave here in 2-3 weeks".
Then in April he wrote "We arrived in the Marquesas without any problems. From Balboa, Panama it took us 26 days, which is not very fast for the 3950 miles but we had some calm days which is the reason for "only" averaging 6.1 knots. The Pacific was not as nice as the Atlantic and we never had the "real trade wind weather". But the cat and crew were all right, except that we had some very nasty (3cm long) barnacles. After all the weeks at sea we really like to be in port again. The Marquesas are a very nice place for a land-fall because the islands are absolutely gorgeous and the people very friendly and laid back. We plan to spend the next few months in French Polynesia, Cook and Tonga beforc we sail in October to New Zealand."
Walter Simmons of Fowey, Cornwall has been building his Sagitta for a couple of years. "As you can see I completed as much of cach hull as possible at home but had to move to a flat site near thc water due to the narrow roads and overhead cables here. Simultaneous glueing of all the bulkheads went well although I think the hulls may be 2 cm further apart at the bow than at the stern."
We have also written about Californian Ron Holback and his flat panel Flica in earlier newsletters. In November he wrote "I launched Toucan in August 93. I had built the boat at homc on a steep hill and getting it off our property onto the road was a real concern. Most boat haulers would not touch the job, but the one I hired made it look easy. At 6 am on a Saturday we moved the boat 30 miles to Sacremento and launched it in the Sacremento river. Most of the trip was on the interstate driving down the middle of two traffic lanes at 60 mph. After that, motored down river 100 miles to San F'rancisco Bay.
I doubt if there's 6 catamarans total in the Bay, Toucan being the only modern one. Finally on December 17th we sailed under the Golden Gate bridge and turned left, heading for Mexico. We were about 3 months late, and brought up the end of that year's cruising pack. It's about 500 miles from San Francisco to the border. We spent Christmas in San Barbara, New Year in San Diego and entered Mexico a few days later. Spent the next 10 months leisurely working our way south, currently in Panama.
The boat has been an excellent live aboard for Erika and I and our boys Skip (7) and Hans (4). We've never regretted deciding on a Flica once, nor have we seen another sail boat of any size we'd consider trading for. The boat has earned you and I great compliments everywhere we've been. Toucan is at thc Pedro Miguel Boat Club, on Miraflores Lakc, in the middle of the Panama Canal. We've travelled well over 4000 miles this past year making land falls throughout Mexico, G;uatemala, Hounduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and now Panama with no major problems.
It's virtually impossible for me to recount all the fun times and compliments this boat has provided us. F'or us it is the perfect homc and will continue to be so for some years to come. We have lots of photos of the boat in exotic anchorages. We'll leave herc in March, finish our transit of the canal, then sail down to Columbia, then up to Belize. Thanks for a great boat!"
Martin Pot and Liesbeth Nonhof from Holland are busy building Wizard no 9. " After receiving the excellent plans in August we first built a scale model in balsa wood. We then rented a cargo container to build the hulls, beams and cabin parts in. We started building in November. We had a serious delay because of the floods in Holland last winter. Fortunately nothing was damaged, but the building site was inaccessible for several weeks. Three weeks ago we finished the first hull. At this moment wc are about to glue the deck onto the second hull. We are not unhappy with progress so far. Firstly because we only work at weekends and in holidays. Second because we have no prior experience in boat building. Fortunately we both have technical backgrounds and are quick to learn. Thank you for designing a great boat!"
Peter Sheriff and Linda Thompson of Corfu are one of the first rowing boat customers to have built their own boat as they wanted a seaworthy tender for their 40' live-aboard catamaran. "...So we bought thc plans, which were really excellent. Everything was clear, nothing was missed, we really had no problems at all. What we had not expected was just how much pleasure we get from her. With two rowing you can really feel the power and can keep going for hours. Last summer we explored the bays and islands and the only river round here, doing up to 12 miles in a jaunt. With a bit of a sea running she feels in her element and totally at home, although we were a bit apprehensive at first. Like cycling, head winds make a difference and once, caught out in a meltemi, we had a very slow tiring row home, but we made it fine. Rowing is such a pleasure in itself we don't think we will get around to a sailing rig and as for the outboard, we didn't even try it, just sold it. To us the two great features in rediscovering the skiff concept are thc harmony and powcr of two rowers and the efficiency of a long slim hull combined with two oars. Good rowing! It's the next best thing to sailing"