Last weekend we met up with our friends Chris and Christine Ellsay in Nelson New Zealand. Chris and Chris, with their three kids aged 10, 8 and 6 are sailing around the world and it was refreshing to hear them say – “I don’t know how long we’ll take”. They’re 3 years into it and have made it from the great lakes in Eastern Canada to New Zealand so far. The route has been via the Caribbean, Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Galapagos Islands, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, Tonga and now Kiwiland. (We missed them by a week when we were in Tonga with the NauticEd Graduation Trip in September last year.)
Holding out in New Zealand for the summer while the tropical cyclones pass overhead in the pacific islands, they say they’re returning to the Pacific, starting with Fiji in Late April 2011. Then they’ll decide if to hang another year in the pacific or head off to the top of Ausy through the Indian ocean in 2011 or 2012.
I interviewed Chris and Chris (and the kids) on their experience with a catamaran rather than a monohull for sailing around the world. Their opinion after 10,000 miles is that they would not have done it any other way. The comfort and space was the resounding feedback.
Here’s a short video introducing Stray Kitty a World Cruising Life Style, and Abel Tasman National Park In New Zealand.
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Here’s a few pics of Stray Kitty, their 42 foot PDQ Antares 2002 Catamaran.
The foredeck at anchor is a great place for a few gins after a hard day sail.
The Kids are being home schooled by Christine and by the sounds of it – they were way ahead of where they should be – good job Christine!
These three kids (my one is the 2 1/2 year old 2nd to right ) are pretty amazing – they fear nothing, do their school work, do as they are told, release the lines on command, know which electrical switches to flick on at the right time – in fact I think they’d make it back to land if mum and dad fell overboard. They’re pretty cool kids and are a delight to spend time with.
The Catamaran has heaps of room inside and it’s easy for the kids to do their school work underway because the boat stays flat when sailing.
Stray Kitty is sailing the traditional route around the world following the trade winds. Chris reported that much of their sailing has been downwind and so here he is showing me his much used bowsprit for flying their Gennaker. Oh and by the way – notice the incredible bay that we stayed overnight in – in the back ground in Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island.
There is plenty of safety gear on board and Chris and Chris are doing it right. Notice all the the MOB gear at the stern of the boat ready to be instantly deployed should anyone go overboard.
The boat has on-board a generator, two alternators and solar panels for powering all the electrical requirements of the boat. The total solar production capability is about 500 watts. Chris says for every thing to maintain with out the use of the generator or alternators – he’d like to have about 1000 watts of solar capacity so they do have to kick on the generator every now and then.
Chris also discussed with me his Internet connections via SSB and his weather information gathering capability. Here he has downloaded a GRIB which is a map forecast of the sailing area we were in. The expected forecast was for 35 knots and they got it right. Out sailing we saw it peak to 36 knots on the wind meter. Made for some fun sailing.
And the kids loved the bumpy ride that day as you can see here.
And here’s us busting through the 1-2 meter swell.
Over the 4 days we spent with these true ocean sailors, we had a blast (beyond the 36 knotter). We scored some amazing shots of the Able Tasman National park in New Zealand which will be on the next blog. Stray Kitty will be making the passage up to Auckland via the east coast in a few days but first they’ll have to wait for right weather conditions to cross one of the world’s renown rough water ways, the Cook Straight which lies between the North and South Islands. High winds and current can make this one a bit tricky.
We’re pretty jealous of Stray Kitty. One of Chris’ sayings over the weekend was the “we regret in life more things that we don’t do than what we actually do” and this was one of the big reasons they sold their business and set out across the oceans and wow they had some good stories to match.
If you’re thinking about sailing around the world then we’d certainly recommend our more serious NauticEd sailing school sailing lessons associated with the Captain’s Rank, those are Safety at Sea, Storm Tactics, Weather, Sail Trim as well as – if you think a Catamaran might be the way to go – take the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Clinic.
It was great to see this family making fun light work of sailing around the world. It’s certainly got me thinking – any one else?