Atlantic Crossing with SY MARLIN
For the last 14 years, we have been living and traveling aboard sailboats with our family most of the time. As the family members grew, with two daughters being born underway, it was time to sell our old boat IRON LADY and look for a bigger one. Our ship is our home, our office, our school, it’s everything to us, so a few meters more are very much appreciated. In 2013 we found MARLIN in a river in the small country of Suriname in South America. She had been sitting there for 6 years, the owner still dreaming of cruising, but not being able to set sail. We found a sleeping beauty’s castle, and spend almost a year of work to get her back in shape after 6 years in the tropics with almost no maintenance being done. Of course, a lot of money ran down the bilge pipes during this year, so some bigger projects had to wait.
For example: new sails. The sails had been stored wet in a bag, mildew and mold had done their part and our high quality laminate cruising sails where not white, but grey. Very grey. Things got worse of course and after 2000 miles of sailing the mesh started to dissolve and disintegrate and the first holes appeared. No more choice, if we wanted to cross the Atlantic and go back to Germany with our own boat, we had to get new sails. After talking to a couple of sailmakers, we remembered our stay in Phuket 7 years ago. We had been there with our old boat and our little daughter and had gotten a complete new set of sails for IRON LADY. We had been very pleased with the quality and performance of the Rolly Tasker sails, sailed them for over 10.000 miles and they have still been in shape when we sold the boat. „Remember how Maya played in the sailloft Rolly Tasker had in Phuket, let’s contact them again and see, if they can make a new set of sails for MARLIN!“ Michael suggests and a few days and mails later we had placed an order not only for our main, genoa and jib, but also for a gennaker and a set of storm sails for the North Atlantic and we still saved a lot of money compared to the other offers we got.
To be honest, we were a bit nervous to get the sails done only from the measurements, that we had to take ourselves. To measure a 100 sqm main on a sailboat ain’t that easy. We learned new terms everyday and finally the production started. A month later, the sails were shipped to the Cayman Islands where we picked them up. Happy faces as we loaded the new toys into our little dinghi. Genoa and Jib were hoisted quite quickly, the Cayman fishermen were happy about the old sails, that we left on the beach, they would use them as a sunshield n their garden, and we were happy with the new, crispy Dacron sails. What a difference a new sail makes in the whole appearance of a sailing boat. To get the main installed wasn’t as easy. Existing battens and battcar system had to be mounted and reorganized but finally everything was set for the trip across the Atlantic via Bahamas and Azores back to Germany. More than 5000 miles in 2 months.
I think it would have been a sad passage with the old grey cloth, but instead, we have been able to test our new sails in almost all conditions. Light winds, strong breeze, heavy tropical squalls, tacking against the easterly winds from Jamaica to the Bahamas, running downwind in 25-30 knots of wind, we had it all and were completely satisfied with the performance oft he sails. They aren’t racing sails, but for us something durable was more important than the pure velocity, so we knew what to expect. We have ordered offshore cruising quality and that’s ecactly, what we got. The whole fabrication is very strong, with enforcements, where needed, the battens fit perfectly and the reefs are put in the right location. Fortunately we didn’t have to check out the storm sails, but we ran under gennaker for about 24 hours. We are not sure, if we really would have needed the gennaker as a light wind sails, because we got more or less the same speed, as we had, setting all other three sails as a cutter rigg, but of course it’s just beautiful to look at the colourful flying star in the blue sky.
Once again we are very happy to have chosen Rolly Tasker Sails and who knows? Maybe we will sail to Thailand in a few years to save the delivery costs, when we need the next set of sails!
Nathalie Müller and Michael Wnuk have been travelling with their family for the last 14 years. They have published a book about the first part of their voyage in 2008 and have been writing for various sailing magazines, including the well know german magazine YACHT. The family sailed back to Europe this summer and the couple is working on their second book, that will be published next spring.
Nathalie Müller und Michael Wnuk, Meer als ein Traum, ISBN 3768824594
Have a look to the website of SY Marlin: http://www.sy-marlin.de