Sagitta catamaran 'Scrumpy'

for sale: £45,000

About scrumpy

The Sagitta catamaran was designed by Richard Woods and his wife Lilian as a weekend cruiser/racer and Scrumpy was built in the UK in 1998. It's pretty nippy, and yet for a 30' boat, accommodation is verging on the palatial. Another Sagitta has sailed from Capetown to New Zealand via Panama. Scrumpy has just completed the Atlantic circuit from the UK to the Caribbean, sailing from St Lucia up to the Bahamas, Bermuda and back to the UK via the Azores. It's just had a lick of paint, engines serviced and a rudder adjusted, and it's ready to go round again.

Some of its systems are idiosyncratic. All are simple. And I wouldn't change a thing if I were to do the Atlantic loop again - although a fridge would have been nice in the Caribbean, and there was a surplus of electricity to run it. I was particularly pleased with the sail arrangements, including a removable inner forestay for the storm jib, and the strong points for the drogues. Scrumpy has three types of drogues - two have proved very useful in conditions much less than stormy - with bomb-proof attachment points at the stern. I'm convinced every catamaran should be fitted with such attachment points, but very few are. Details of this and other systems can be found in the relevant section.

I have worked on and improved Scrumpy and sailed thousands of miles in the last four years. After initial repairs and alterations, I realised that after the paint is applied to the completed job, no-one can see what repairs have been done, and the thinking behind alterations would also be lost. So I started blogging about the repairs. There's probably more detail about the structure of the boat and its systems than you'll ever want to know in the blog, but its a handy reference. I sailed down to the Algarve and there decided to cross the Atlantic - so I started adding a record of the sailing to the blog. The intention here was to keep family and friends informed of how the voyage was going, so it's an honest account, including some of the difficulties and scary bits.

Scrumpy isn't the boat for you if you plan to spend much time in marinas - it's usually 1.5 - 2 x the price of a monohull of a similar length. There's no toilet pump-out arrangement on Scrumpy, no mains electricity to plug in, and I've found not much benefit from being in a marina. In the trip around the Atlantic, I used two marinas. I spent two nights in the marina at La Coruna (at £40 a night) awaiting crew. This was very uncomfortable with a swell coming into the marina jerking all the boats about. I spent much of the time adjusting the lines trying to improve the motion. I should have gone back to the anchorage where it was perfectly comfortable, but I had engine problems, I was expecting the crew to arrive at any time, and I thought I could wait till they arrived to move the boat safely. The other marina was in Flores. The island is tiny, and when I arrived, the marina was the only safe place to be - there are no anchorages on the island of any use except in an easterly. Everywhere else, we anchored. Shallow draft allows for anchoring close inshore - sometimes close enough to paddle through shallow water to get ashore. The wide beam made the boat a pleasant place to be in nearly all conditions (no rolling at all), and in the Caribbean, the wind always blowing through the saloon through the front hatches made it very pleasant.

At anchor, Scrumpy is really comfortable. The breeze blows right through the cabin when it's hot. The saloon roof is lined with thin birch ply, for aesthetic reasons but also to attach aluminium foil to the upper side of the lining. This reflects the sun's heat back so effectively, that the saloon was always cooler even than under the awning in the cockpit. The movable solar panels ensure there's (almost) always enough electricity for laptops, phones, lights, music etc. The rain catching system on the saloon roof minimises requirement to ferry water from ashore - in the southern Caribbean, a daily squall or two was sufficient to supply all our water needs, including showers and laundry for several weeks. A wifi antenna allowed for internet connection in most harbours. There isn't standing headroom in the saloon (it would make for too much windage for a boat of this size) but we found that quite adequate - the saloon seats up to eight people round the table and there's no reason to stand around in the saloon anyway. The kitchen is huge, and as we enjoy cooking, it was a real pleasure, and will be a revelation to anyone more familiar with the galleys on boats of less than about 45'. The bathroom is just as big in the other hull, light and airy, room to swing a cat, or more usually, take a shower. Each cabin has a comfortable double bed with standing headroom and room to easily sit up in bed. A nice place to go and read when you want some privacy. And then there's the enormous cockpit, and the platform behind the aft beam, originally added for fishing but kept for its original purpose, but also for storing dinghies, buckets, fishing gear, and a kayak and to make getting shopping and water containers out of the dinghy really easy.

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