Our boat

From Felix, to Medina, to now Take It Easy…

Boat ownership can be a bit like home ownership. You get what you can afford, you do it up, you upgrade. We started small, loved sailing, yearned for something better; and thus started our love affair for catamarans and cruising.

The progression!

downloadOur first boat was a trailer sailer: a 5ft Jarcat called Felix, designed by Ross Turner.  It was a two-man tent on water. You walked inside the tiny cabin and literally stepped onto the double bed. You swung your legs one way and you were facing the Evercool fridge. You swung your legs the other way and you were ready to cook on the small stove or rinse your dishes in the tiny sink. No toilets on this cat! But we had loads of fun, discovered Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes, and became hungry for bigger and better things.

Mid North Coast - MedinaOur second boat was a bigger version of the Jarcat, and also designed by Ross Turner.  It was a Coral Coaster 29 called Medina. It was such a change: much more space at 29ft long, and able to sail out of the protected waters of the Lakes. We had her for eight years and discovered with her many of the Bass Strait islands. Medina gave us a taste for adventure, coastal sailing and Bass Strait crossings.  But she was always the smallest craft wherever we threw the pick and if Felix was the two-man tent, Medina was the 1970s caravan on water.

TIE-underwayOur third and current boat is Take It Easy, a 38ft or 11.6m catamaran, designed and built by Peter and Ann Snell. Peter is a professional shipwright who sells his plans for “Easy” cats of various sizes for the amateur boat builder.  Take It Easy was the first 11.6m cat he built as a demonstration model. It was launched in Brisbane in 2003. By the time we acquired it in May 2011, it had had two more owners, was lying in Pittwater, looking a bit tired and in need of maintenance, but we could see the potential and capability.

We sailed her to her new home port of Paynesville, in the Gippsland Lakes in August 2011, and then embarked on a major makeover, when we lavished much needed TLC on our boatie. Over a three months period we repaired, updated and transformed her and made her truly ours. Take It Easy now looks quite striking in her Bass Strait inspired colours. The blue hulls are like the ultramarine water of Deal Island, her light grey decks, white topsides, orange sail trims and sign writing are reminiscent of its white sandy beaches bordered by grey granite boulders and the characteristic bright orange lichen.

Check out some of the before/after pictures:

Take It Easy is well appointed and we have gradually equipped her as a live-aboard since she is now our cruising home as we have finally given up work in July 2017.  We initially enjoyed a broadened cruising range, despite the old limitations of our 6 to 8 weeks ‘holiday’ each summer.  Remote trips such as Port Davey in South West Tasmania, and our epic 2000nm sail and first real offshore cruise to Lord Howe Island were evidence of her capability.  And now there is no time limit, so our horizons have broadened again!

Some Specs

Make:                    Easy Catamaran

Style:                     Masthead Cutter Rig

Length:                 38ft or 11.6m

Beam:                   6m

Bare weight:       4.5 tons

Draught:              80cms

Mast Height:       16.5m off water

Steering:              Tiller in each hull plus wheel (very handy)

Sails:                      Main, furling staysail, 110% furling genoa, spinnaker

Engines:                2x Yamahas 9.9

Electronics:          Raymarine GPS, Autopilot, Wind, Chart Plotter and Radar

Ground Tackle:   Manson Supreme 45, 2 x Fortress 45, Marsh anchor, 50 m of chain and 50m of rope

Dinghy: Called Peasy, it accommodates 3 people comfortably, 4 at a stretch.  The original dinghy was made of marine ply and epoxy, but we have replaced it with a 10ft Walker Bay tender – a lighter, more flexible dinghy, with a RID around the gunnels.  We either row it or use a 2hp Honda 4 stroke engine, depending on how far we want to go!  Peasy is lifted out of the water on davits when underway.

Accommodation: Full bridge deck saloon, owners’ cabin with an island queen bed in Starboard side, guests’ cabin with a double bed in Port side, 1 single berth in both forepeaks (mainly used for storage), galley down in Port hull, Shower/head including washing machine in Starboard hull, Navigation table in Starboard hull.

Toys on board:

  • Walker Bay sail kit for the Walker Bay dinghy
  • 2 Walker Bay Airis kayaks
  • Power Snorkel & dive gear
  • Boogie board
  • Kite boarding kit
  • Fishing gear, prawning gear & crab pot

28 thoughts on “Our boat

    • Hi Sue, a few reasons: 1) the big one for us is liveability – we intend to eventually live aboard, so more space and comfortable accommodation is worthwhile – we have an island queen bed for ourselves and a standard double for guests; we can cook underway easily… Try cooking a meal at 20 degrees! 2) Less physically demanding underway – it sits reasonably flat and you don’t get as tired on passages since you are not constantly bracing yourself. 3) Faster passage making which opens up your cruising range. 4) All round view once at an anchorage. The only way you get that on a keel boat is in the cockpit or if you have a pilot house. 5) Two engines – handy if one decides to give up. 6) Stability in rolly anchorages. We don’t do the pendulum (back to liveability). But the downside is cost to purchase and maintain, berthing in marinas, and windward performance.

  1. very kewl i used to have a twin engine owens cruiser once upon a time in dandy eggo 🙂 was fun them boatin days, yep we used to make extra money cleaning bottoms of guys boats parked in the marina 🙂 was a lotta fun 🙂 ,,, those were the day now i am 500 miles way from the ocean,,closest is lakes to play here 🙂 take care . sail safe 🙂 kewl ryde here shes beautiful 🙂 Q

    • Hey Q – thanks for the visit, the likes and the follow! We are new to this blogging thing and enjoying the great mix of people we are meeting this way. 🙂

  2. Thanks for posting your sailing logs. I’ve found them very enjoyable and informative to read through.

    I’m considering a few different designs to build for a multihull to do some cruising with my wife and kids. I live in the USA so I’ve never seen a cc29 in person. But from what I’ve read, it seems like a good fit because
    * it has a big payload for a small size
    * rig can be dropped to go under bridges
    * safe cockpit for kids
    * shallow draft

    Would you recommend the cc29 given your experiences? The designers website speaks of 12 knots to windward and a big payload and comfortable offshore passages. Does that match what you experienced with Medina? What were the biggest drawbacks?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Thanks for the follow, Andy. We haven’t had a question about Medina/CC29 for a long time!

      With all catamarans, the longer they are, the faster they are; the lighter they are, the faster they are. The more bridge deck clearance they have, the more comfortable they are. Medina was small, did not have a big pay load and had a very low bridge deck clearance. But we had a lot of fun on it; it was a great introduction to coastal cruising. We found that we averaged 5 knots speed, but would get 7s or 8s if the wind was on our stern at about 20 knots. We tended to do a third of the wind speed. The tack track was useful to extract a bit more speed downwind and upwind, but we never ever did 12 knots into wind. Ross Turner claimed a lot more than we did. May be we were conservative.

      We found we were limited by Medina’s payload; by the time you added water and fuel, we could not pack a lot of provisioning for our typical 4 to 6 weeks cruise. And it was just the two of us. The CC29 does have a lot of internal space for a little boat, but if you fill it, down goes the waterline, your performance and safety.

      The biggest drawback was its size and bridge deck clearance. With low clearance, when you go into wind, the waves slam underneath and that too slows you down.

      As the name Coastal Coaster suggests, the CC29 is designed for coastal cruising. Again, Ross Turner described it as a capable offshore cruiser. He in fact took it to New Caledonia from Australia. That was something we would never have attempted. We did not see it as an offshore boat.

      You often hear the mantra “go small, go simple, go now”. We had a great deal of fun on Medina. It was great value for our dollars and we don’t regret it at all. However we enjoy our current boat a lot more for its capability and comfort – but at 3 times the price!

      If you are building from scratch, how much more involved would it be to build the CC29 versus say an Easy? We quite like plywood boats, they are easy to maintain, repair, and if the worse comes to the worse and they fill up with water, they still float!

      All our sailing journals for Medina and Take It Easy are on the website – Go to the Cruise Stories page and appropriate subheading… If you want to know more about the Easy design, which comes in different lengths, go to http://www.easycatamarans.com

      If you have any more questions, feel free to yell out. All the best – Chris & Wade

    • Hi Andy,
      My name is Dean and I was wondering if you followed through with your catamaran plans? I am currently building and Easy Sarah and I live in the Pacific Northwest. If you have you. An contact me at
      beav_222@ yahoo.com

      BTW Take it Easy is a fabulous yacht. Hopefully I’ll be able to sail across the pacific and join my fellow Easy owners.

      Cheers Dean

      • Hi Dean- this is Chris and Wade, not Andy. It looks like you may have got confused with the previous question from the person who was asking about the Coral Coaster. You can’t contact Andy or any other person commenting through this blog. But thanks for the kind comments about Take It Easy. We have had her for 5 or 6 years now and will move on board for full time cruising some time in 2017. Thanks also for the follow.

  3. Sorry you guys I was talking to the person that posted above me. They were looking at boats to build I think. I was going to give my experience about building an Easy Catamaran.
    That was rude of my.

  4. Hi guys.
    Nice to read if your plans and adventures as we are marching towards a similar, actually the same goal. I a very interested in your thoughts and experience with the boat and in particular the choice of a boat running 2 outboards.
    Initially I have excluded such a setup however as you are aware there is a big cost difference to go inboard.
    What are your thoughts.
    Kind regards
    Col

    • Hi Col, it’s not only cost but weight which is an issue for cats. Like so many things in life there are pros and cons. The pros – outboards are lighter, relatively cheap to replace after 10 years or so, easy to access to work on. When you are not using them they are completely out of the water, so no prop drag. They are quiet. You don’t have the problem of diesel bug. The cons: they run on petrol so you carry highly flammable, explosive fuel on board. They don’t charge the batteries or hardly. Our engines being 9.9 lack grunt. In 25 knots of wind and sea, going straight into it we are only doing 2 knots head way. Outboards can sometimes cavitate.

      3 or 4 years ago we were faced with having to get new engines. After much deliberation we ended up getting exactly the same ones – same brand, same size.

      A lot of it has to do with the size boat and weight you have to power. We are relatively light at 4.5 to 5 tons.
      Hope this helps. Chris &à Wade

  5. Hi Wade and Chris, Sue and I are thinking of buying an Easy to cruise the east coast and would love to talk to you about it. We currently have a yacht on the Gippsland Lakes kept at Metung. It is a 33 foot, green gaff rigged cutter with a big bow sprit and maroon sails. You may have seen it, as we are around Paynesville a bit. The boat is called Bohemka and it lived in the Paynesville canals for a couple of years up until 3 yeasr ago. Next time I see you, or if you see us please say hello. We would love to talk to you. Phil and Sue

    • Hi Phil and Sue – we do remember your boat! We have left the Lakes and are now full time on Take It Easy cruising Tassie and the East coast. Would love to catch up – will email you.

  6. Love the colour scheme you used for “Take it Easy.” Very distinctive! We are considering buying an Easy catamaran (once our monohull finally sells!) I realise that catamarans don’t have the same upwind performance as monos, especially the ones without dagger boards but I was wondering how much worse. Can you tell me what sort of angle you can sail to the wind and is this badly affected by seastate and windspeed??

    • Thanks for the compliment Tim.

      We can sail at 35 to the wind in flat water but the sea state makes a huge difference. In lumpy seas like we often find in Bass Strait it is more like 40. There are a lot of variables with wind strength and seas. We are cruisers and don’t enjoy beating into wind. With the low bridge deck clearance of the Easy once the wind is forward of beam and over 20 knots the ride is uncomfortable and waves can slam. So we do most of our sailing with the wind back of beam. It’s smooth, fast and easy to manage on the Genoa alone in strong conditions (20-25) or under spinnaker. Hope this help – give us a call if you want to talk. Will email you our details.

    • Hi Tim, we are in the same boat except our monohull is not for sale. Sue and I hired a Seawind Lite 1160 from Whitsunday Escapes last year and fell in love. Self tacking headsail on a furler and sat on 10 knots without a problem. We couldn’t do any better than 45 degrees off the wind but it was so fast we could still go upwind faster than most monos despite covering more distance. The space available is tremendous. The wineglass on the table doesn’t even fall over when you tack and if you run aground you just sit there on your mini-keels until the tide comes in. We didn’t run aground though because it only draws 900mm. I could highly recommend hiring one before you buy. We had two couples for 10 nights and it ran out at $300 per couple per night – no more than a good hotel room and for a $500,000 boat. Had two toilets and two showers too.

      I love our mono a lot but you can’t beat a cat for the east coast especially once inside the reef. The only downsides in my opinion are that they are dearer, they don’t point as well (minor unless you are racing) and they take up two spaces in a marina. Otherwise they are sensational.

      I have been watching the prices and if you stick with a name-brand production boat like seawinds, they are very dear. The Easy’s are cheaper and less flash but I am guessing highly variable depending on who built it.

      I will be interested to see what you do.

      • Our current boat (Challenger 36) is a timber boat (Dynel sheathed, triple diagonal west system). It is a great construction method, strong, light and naturally well insulated and we have had no problems in the 7 years of owning the boat. The trouble is now that we want to sell, nobody is interested, they all want fibreglass so we are practically having to give the boat away. It makes me hesitant to buy an Easy as I don’t want to get stuck with another timber boat I am going to lose a heap of money on. But then fibreglass production cats are either old and worn out or just way out of our budget……At the moment we are looking at a mid 90s Simpson Elite or a younger Easy…..I think the Easys sail better, I certainly think they look nicer.

      • So, here is an update. We had a look at an Easy 41 today. The design of the boat is fantastic, by far the best layout we have seen so far. Price is OK too. HOWEVER, there are some soft spots around the windows and on the foredeck. So, that makes me a little nervous. I have repaired rot in boats before but I know if it isn’t done properly it will just keep coming back.

  7. Hi guys! I am new to blogging and came across your site. Breath taking photos and beautiful boat! I have a 45′ Morgan (monohull) and find myself dreaming of cats more and more! Anyways, love your site! I look forward to reading more!

    • Thanks for the kind words. Morgan’s are lovely boats – we seriously looked at one when we were debating whether to go for a mono or a cat. Enjoy the wander on the site and thank you for the follow!

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