MC41SK Bepaluhe, the family`s boat

We wrote this article with the intension of telling how a dream of owning an offshore cruising sailboat can become a way to break free from the oppressive atmosphere of urban centres. The MC41SK Bepaluhê is a good example of this. In times when the cities are getting so crowded and so far apart from mother nature, to own an ocean bound cruising sailboat capable of taking you to places where the problems of our times didn`t really arrive yet, is a privilege. The story told by our client Paulo Ayrosa Ribeiro tells in capital letters this state of mind.

The MC41SK saloon transmits the feeling of being at home when living aboard. The swing keel trunk top-face works as an extension to the galley`s counter, what is handy when the cook is passing plates to the table.

Paulo is a doctor living in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Latin America. Imagine how stressing can be his time schedule! He was the first to build a MC41SK in aluminium, this representing an important accomplishment to him, since it was the sport of cruising under sail where he found the escape for the tensions of his professional life. Being competent in everything he gets involved with, he managed to build Bepaluhê to a high level of workmanship and state of the art technology.

We believe the interior of the MC41SK is excellent for up to five persons to use it for prolonged periods. That was the reward for Paulo`s commitment in building Bepaluhê.

The MC41SK is a sailboat of large possibilities. She is adequate for crossing oceans, she can sail in shallow waters denied to other sailboats fitted with fixed fin-keels, and she can shelter a family of five as comfortably as if they were dwelling a nice apartment ashore.

The following text is the latest entry in his blog: "Bepaluhê, the family`s boat", http://bepaluhe.blogspot.com.au/, written in Portuguese. This entry reports Bepaluhê participation in the 2014 Recife to Fernando de Noronha Regatta, an event Paulo nurtured an old wish to take part in it with his own boat.

Paulo Ayrosa Ribeiro wrote:

"Look what nice present I received from my friend Chagas (Sailboat Intuição).
This beautiful photo of Bepaluhê sailing between Salvador and Maceió, two cities in the Brazilian northeast coast, in September 2014.

Guess which boat is this? She is Bepaluhê, the family`s sailboat!

It took some time to settle in my mind all the experiences lived during the race, but finally here is the text I`m owing to my friends who follow the blog. I hope you enjoy it:

http://bepaluhe.blogspot.com.au/

What to say about a 305 miles offshore race, with three metres high waves in average and winds roaring at twenty-five, thirty knots at times? All we can say is that we went, enjoyed and came back safe and sound. And, can you believe, this race had its share of mishaps, broken spars, broken rudders, shipwrecks and much more...They were nine boats that did not finish for the most varied reasons. We, who were novices in offshore racing and quite inexperienced sailors (two couples more interest in enjoying life at sea than anything else), have plenty of reason to be proud of our performance, especially for having completed all our watches, for arriving unscathed and for having endured that inclement seas that God presented us.

Last minute adjustments before the start. Moment of truth for beginners like us.

We arrived at Recife in 24/9/2014 afternoon and went straight to the Cabanga Yacht Club, the sponsoring club, where Bepaluhê awaited for us placidly, perfectly berthed in the club`s front pier since the boat arrived from Salvador. Waiting for us and already installed aboard, our crewmenbers Jairo and Claudia, from the sailboat Nemo (Ilha Sul Náuticas), were only awaiting our arrival for unpacking their belongings and setting shop for the long haul bound for the distant island. It was a good chance for updating the conversation and to enjoy the pre-regatta atmosphere. The evening was accordingly toasted savouring some titbits and fresh oisters (which were all left to me, since the others couldn`t stand even seeing me eating that) in the club`s swimming pool bar.

And time was passing by among little conversation and jobs yet to be done; we went to the supermarket to buy provisions for the trip and went out in leisure sightseeing of the town.

The 25/9 evening was the official opening party for the event followed by supper and a great ball. We went back early to the boat...and when we took account of the time it was already Friday wee small hours, the day before departure and anxiety had already burst forth. My wife, Betinha, worried on how she would stand seasickness and Claudia, anxious about the adventure before her. We would be the first class to cross the line, at Saturday, 27/9/14 half past noon.

Paulo and Betinha enjoying their first participation in the Recife to Fernando de Noronha Regatta, the most coveted nautical event in the South Atlantic.

                 

At first everything went ok. We made a good start, avoiding burning the start for crossing the line before the gun, and, progressing slowly, we manage to overpass a few competitors. Suddenly, however, the wing started to blow stronger, 20kt or so, and we beared off too much, what was a clear mistake. When I asked to change tacks, the furling jib didn`t unroll and we went drifting dangerously towards the shoals inside the channel...then the whole fleet overtook us and it cost us almost one hour to get reed of the dangerous situation in which we got involved. An authentic apprentice`s mistake!

In sequence the wind relented and we had enormous difficulty in rounding a buoy which was mandatory before we could take the straight course to the island. This hesitation cost us some three hours. When I finally managed to overcome the mishaps and put the boat in the right course it was already three o`clock pm and my crew spirits were down to zero, while one of the crew, my dear Betinha was already terribly seasick and was hurling her stomach out. But she is a brave woman and she told me she would go ahead.

After rounding the fatidic buoy, sailing in a fresh breeze (25-30kt), we crossed with the first casualty in the race, a dismasted catamaran. What a sorrow!!! We called them by VHF, and we learned that there were no injuries among the crew, and that the mayday call had been responded. So we proceeded bound for the island even though crossing our fingers so we could have better luck.

With the assistance of my friend Jairo, since in short time we were doing an efficient teamwork, we trimmed the sails to perfection and managed to obtain a good performance of the boat during the night, and despite the tough sea conditions, Bepaluhê was running like a rover of the seas, surfing on the breaking waves.

With the keel totally lowered, a point of reef in the mainsail and the Genoa with one third of its area furled we progressed at a speed between six and seven knots. Late in the evening we reefed the mainsail a little deeper, to improve comfort onboard and to allow the crew off watch to rest a little bit. We established two hours watches until dawn.

My wife Betinha was suffering badly, so seasick she was, and couldn`t stand staying inside the cabin for more than a few minutes without relapsing, for that matter staying in the cockpit for the whole night. She was faint and queasy, but did not give up the ghost.

The following day, Sunday 28/9, dawn brought us a radiant day, and morale was slowly coming back on board. Along the day Jairo and me had great fun trimming the sails to perfection and Bepaluhê responded to our efforts reaching 8-9kt surfing. From then on we sailed the boat on the tip of our fingers ("small fib, it was the auto-pilot who took the burden of steering the boat the race over"), nonetheless I pushed Bepaluhê to her limits, as I never had done before. We sailed full canvassed for a good part of the day, the boat healing beyond the limits for comfort, however rewarded by a magnificent performance. The second night was much more friendly, not that the conditions had improved, but because of the confidence we gained in the boat capacity to endure whatever it came and in our ability to handle her.

Betinha was already feeling a bit better and was managing by then to re-hydrate herself, and in her small talk had words to swear that she "would never do it again"!.

Fernando de Noronha, The South Atlantic enchanted island. Visiting this small archipelago is the dream of many cruising sailors. Paulo Ribeiro deserved making this dream come true building and equipping his MC41SK with absolute commitment.

Dawn brought us the certainty that the more race-like boats had already arrived, while we were still struggling in search of our destination. On the other hand we were happy with what we had attained so far. We learned about the several participants which did not finish and this assured us that we would do a perfect landing, since the worst was already left behind.

A few minutes past noon the island partially covered by mist appeared in the horizon. At 15:31 we rounded Sapata Point, crossing the arriving line in front of Boldró Belvedere at 16:29, spending 51 hours and 51 minutes to complete the race! We were absolutely fulfilled! Tired, for sure, but feeling a sentiment of accomplishment in our hearts. The "never more" was left behind in the memory`s dustbin, opening the scope for enjoying the island for the days we spent there. However this is going to be the next article we will post in our blog.

Click here to know more about the Multichine 41SK.