Who buys a Broadblue Catamaran?
First in a short series where we profile some of our catamaran owners
We have been chatting with several of our owners about their experiences on Broadblue catamarans and they have kindly allowed us to share their stories and tips with our future owners.
This is the first in this short series, and today we speak to Chris Ross, the current owners of Ruby Dawn, a Rapier 400.
Chris spent his teens and early twenties waterskiing skills on rivers and on the sea, the latter piqued his interest in going further afield. To that end he shared ownership of a Hardy Seawings 19 with a good friend and their first adventure was to “circumnavigate” Anglesey with a hand-held GPS and an Imray paper chart! He then bought a Carver 29 before moving up to an Aquastar Ocean Ranger 38. This took him all over the west coast of England and Wales and the East coast of Ireland.
Moving from power to sail was, “it’s fair to say quite a leap”. He bought Ocean Breeze, a 1996 Prout 45 Catamaran in 2001 – “she was a roomy cat but also heavy, and whilst she looked after us in a blow it took a blow to get her anything like moving, that said we spent nine years as a family cruising the UK, the Channel Islands and north Brittany coast, I have passed Longships Lighthouse both to port and starboard numerous times”. He sold her in 2011 and had a sailing sabbatical until late 2016, “when I just had to get back on the water, moreover it had to be a cat”
He'd sold Ocean Breeze through Mark and Audrey from Multihull world, so it was only natural to seek their wisdom when it came to purchasing another cat. It came down to either a Broadblue 435 or a Rapier R400? “The 435 is a lovely cat, very well appointed but the R400 was clearly more performance orientated, which is what I was looking for”. So, after a trial sail, he chose the short roof (galley down) version. The deal was struck, and Ruby Dawn was born - “exciting times”.
Here’s just a few details of his sailing exploits.
“I buy all my boats in the depths of winter and this was no different, we set sail on the delivery trip in December 2016 from Gosport and broke the passage at Falmouth at Christmas for weather, the second leg (to Holyhead and then on to Liverpool) commenced on 4th January 2017 and saw us powering up the Irish Sea with a full gale from the SW, Ruby Dawn never missed a beat and when we checked the log on arriving at Holyhead, it showed a max boat speed of 23.2 knots, three reefs and a scrap of jib with some surfing to boot 😊 – Ruby Dawn has seen many ports of Wales (her home berth is Conwy and she can probably find her own way up and down the Menai Straights), Howth, Malahide, Carlingford, Ardglass, Bangor and Ballycastle on the Irish coast, Cambletown, Loch Ranza, East Loch Tarbert, Port Bannatyne and Rothsay on the west coast of Scotland. This brings me onto Ruby Dawns finest hour, which was winning the Three Peaks Yacht Race in 2019, a race which starts at Barmouth ends in at Fort William”.
But where is your favourite cruising ground in the Rapier. “It might seem strange to many that somewhere so relatively close, the Isle of Man, is right up there for me, you have a choice of two marinas, quaysides, moorings and anchorages, most of all you have some of the most welcoming people you will come across. It was at Port St Mary that I “invented” my helpful mooring technique (see top tip below) – oh and yes, this place helps me fulfil my other passion, motorcycle racing, so this year Ruby Dawn was berthed in Douglas Harbour for TT practice week”.
Back to the Rapier 400 herself and Chris points out a couple of the features for me. “Top of the list is power and speed, she is a light vessel with a decent sail area, both for upwind and down wind, a square top main with a decent roach, coupled with a self-tacking jib, with a large screecher for downwind, gives lots of options. When the weather is grim you can sit “inside” but with full all-round visibility and whilst I always thought that windscreen wipers had no place on a sailing vessel, they come into their own in such a situation!”.
He also notes that he has made a few additions. These include a Solar arch with 510 watts output total. Upgraded to a 3000 W Victron Inverter charger, added Webasto Thermo Pro 9KW hot water heating piped to both hulls and Quiet flush electric heads to both hulls, using fresh water to flush. He’s just in the process of upgrading the Nav suite with Raymarine Axiom MFDs (one inside and one at the helm)
And do you have a tip for Cat Cruisers? “I mentioned above that we often stay alongside quays and where there is a vertical ladder, I hook the bottom rung with a modified scaffold hook attached to a 12mm line, the top of the line is made secure to the top rung and pulled taught. To this I add a snatch block which is then secured with a short line to the midships cleat, this allows the boat to move up and down with the tide but to stay pretty close to the ladder as she rises and the (long) shorelines end up slackening. I have not seen this used elsewhere but we sure use it every time. I call it the Ruby Riser!”
So, what’s next I asked, “I tend not to think too far ahead but if you were to push me, I’d like to take a slow circumnavigation of the British Isles”.
Our thanks to Chris for sharing.