Cruising. Impi’s Advice to Wannabee World Cruisers

Impi in New Caledonia

by Ana & Brent Grimbeek
(currently enjoying New Caledonia)

Most human beings are creatures who love comfort and are on the whole uncomfortable with change. So how did we decide to go sailing around the world in our mid-forties, rather than build up a comfortable retirement nest, watch our children have children, and retire in the comfort of a home on land?

Sometimes life throws interesting curve balls at us and dishes up events that make us evaluate what we do from a new perspective.

Impi in Bora Bora

Illness and death of people close to us served up the reality that you only die once, but you can start a new life every day and take a totally new direction in your life. Pain and loss of loved ones can

make you look deep inside and help you to decide that this old sailing dream you had when you were a teenager is only attainable once you make that first step.

That first step of buying a boat is to be approached with caution, reflection and only after thorough investigation of the options available. But at the end of the day you have to decide to bite the bullet and commit with the information that you have.

Buying a boat is not like buying a car. We purchased a supposedly ‘blue water’ off shore boat only to discover it was not cruise ready at all. Like many new buyers of boats who are wannabe world cruisers we did not understand what it takes to live for extended periods on anchor in remote places.

Impi in Tahaa – French Polynesia

We brought our Lagoon 440 to Cape Town after purchasing it in France under the care of a delivery skipper and with the help of our son. Through that journey it very soon became obvious to us that we needed to invest majorly in the boat to have a comfortable world cruise.

The first thing we did was to put big alternators on the engines so as to charge the house bank. Next we installed 2 Multiplus 3000 Victron inverter units which deliver 120 amps to the battery

bank. We upgraded the electrical wiring, installed cameras, deck lights and interior lights. A stainless steel frame with solar panels followed soon after. This together with an Onan generator took care of our electrical upgrade.

Of course your treasured boat once on anchor, needs to have a sturdy and reliable anchor as this is more or less your guarantee that the boat will not go walkabout without you. So that was our next investment, a Rocna anchor as we were so fed up with plowing up the bays of South Africa.

A home on the water still needs fresh water in large quantities to remain clean and to offer the comfort of showers and laundry facilities to its owners. So we installed a 12V watermaker and washing/drying machine. This required rebuilding an outside cabinet to integrate the washer/dryer.

To top it off, we needed a replacement for our charter sails and purchased a new main, genoa and asymmetric prior to our cruise.

Caught from Impi off Raiatea – French Polynesia

Add to this a newly installed Hi-fi system, communications via Iridium, throw in a few laptops for additional navigation, a dinghy, dive compressor and dive gear and you are good to go!

This was our initial set up for Impi and we have never regretted doing this prior to our world cruise, in our home town Cape Town.

We found that kitting the boat out was affordable in South Africa, with skilled artisans and world-class products. We had the benefit of knowing the people we dealt

with, having a car to make our purchases and understanding the local culture.

Now 6 years later we are three-quarters of the way around the world. Technology has evolved and we have upgraded many systems in the boat. Our batteries are now lithium, we replaced the Balmar alternators with much cheaper Prestolites who deliver 175 amps to the battery bank.

Impi in Maupitit – French Polynesia

We are able to monitor our batteries from anywhere in the world thanks to our Victron Colour Control which shows the energy consumption data on the Internet.

Sail-making technology has also developed and we now have a carbon threaded sail, a Fibrepath.

We had to replace our Hella mastlights and interior lights, so our boat is now bathed in a golden glow at night.

We upgraded our saildrives to SD60s, which together with the high tech sails have increased the speed of the boat.

What piece of equipment would we put on our boat, if it was free? Definitely the SunPower solar panels, which deliver up to 320 amps.

So our advice if you are sailing from, or via Cape Town? Tap into the very skilled artisans of the Cape who deliver quality at a fraction of the cost.
Follow Brent and Ana on board their Catamaran named Impi.

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Email: Cat-impi@hotmail.com