Posted 09 June 2011.
We would like to welcome Karen Harper and Hamish Smith, proud owners of the gorgeous Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41 “Isis”, to the Multihull Solutions fold. “Isis” was launched and officially handed over in late May 2011. Here, Karen and Hamish share their story with us.
What are your long term sailing plans with your new cat “Isis”?
Our plans are to eventually sail around all the warmer parts of the world. Top places to visit (on our bucket list) are Louisades, Indonesia and return to Phillipines and Borneo. We also want to visit Galapagos and Turkey. After that we’ll just see were the winds blow us.
For now we are being content with weekend visits to Moreton Bay and shorter extended holidays up the Queensland coast. We will spend two months this year between Hervey Bay and the Kepples watching whales, learning how to master Isis and generally having a holiday as well as short stints with friends and family on board. We do love the Kepples and you can’t beat Hervey Bay in whale season. The Whitsundays in your own boat is fantastic as you can get away from all the charter boats. As we need to work for a few more years we will be live aboard and working around Queensland with the hope of heading overseas in about three years, probably joining a rally for our initial venture.
Why did you choose a cat rather than a monohull?
We chose a catamaran after sailing on monohulls for years and found that we prefered the space and comfort of the cat while sailing, as well as the increased performance in sailing. At every boat show we went to we picked a different brand.
About five years ago we decided to get a boat builder to construct a Schioning for us (we still have the plans!), but a combination of factors lead us to go off that idea, though I still believe they sail incredibly well. One factor we struggled with was in the building process, having to decide about everything and having watched friends build over the years, it becomes very time consuming and expensive. So we began looking at second-hand boats and did that for a number of years, never finding the one. With the state of the current Euro, buying a new boat became a possiblity. This led us to choosing between Lagoon, Leopard and Fountaine Pajot.
We went with Fountaine Pajot catamaran primarily for a number of little things: position and type of helm, raincatcher in saloon roof, standard of internal finish (everyone loves the great view from the toilet in the owner’s side!), crash bulkheads in hulls, boat construction technique and a high standard of quality control at the factory. For lightness and safety, we are liveaboards so having it liveable was important. We are very comfortable (though I am still trying to master going solar totally, we keep having to plug shore power or start the motors every few days for a top up).
The standard of finish and other little things show that it is built by people who sail a lot and review and upgrade the design regulary. The initial sales service from Multihull Solutions was very good in helping us decide what we needed at factory, what we could fit in Australia and what we could do without and add later. The building process was a little disappointing. Fountaine Pajot clearly produces a large number of boats (as indicated by the fact that we are hull 60 in the Lipari 41), and getting an acknowledgement the build had started let alone an idea of how it was progressing was impossible. Once responsibility of the process returned to the Multihull Solutions team in Qld (Richard and Nod particluarly), and the service picked up again with great communication, accommodating our needs and timelines.
Our current marina manager wants us out on the end for all to see as we ‘add style’ to the marina! One lot of friends are seriously thinking of a lifestyle change. Everyone else is busy coming for dinner or booking weekends or extended cruises – they all love it! We recently had a guy dinghy up and knock on the hull to ask all about the boat.
Have you come from a long sailing background?
Hamish started sailing on friends’ trailer sailers back in the late 80’s in north Queensland. We then jointly sailed Hobie Cat 16s (mainly inland on dams) then bought a 650 trailer sailer that we had many lovely holidays on between the Whitsundays down as far as Hervey Bay; it was a great way to learn and not put much money at risk.
We have also done crewing all the way up the Queensland coast and from Singapore over to the Phillipines, all on a Roberts 52ft. Pete, who owned the boat, was a great teacher and we still do many things he taught us (including always having a paper chart and plotting your position regularly). We have also hired a number of cats and sailed with friends to get a feel and the new skills to go with this sailing. The one area we clearly lack skills in is bringing the cat into a berth! When you charter they never let you do that, so we are very inexperienced.
So how are you feeling now you have “Isis”?
Having had Isis now for nearly two weeks, what do we think?! We love her! She has everything we want, and we have not yet found anything we wish was different. We sailed down from Moolalaba and sailed 80 per cent of the way in fairly light winds and managed to point higher than we thought possible. We’re very happy with how she sails. As we had planned, Karen is able to handle the sails singlehanded as that was one of our criteria; we did not want a boat that meant we had to have two people to sail her.
Special thanks to the Multihull Solutions team for helping us realise our dreams – we could not be happier!
Nod from Multihull Solutions officially handing over “Isis”
Cheers to happy sailing!