Who buys a Broadblue Catamaran?
This is the third interview with owners of Broadblue catamarans - Mark and Jane from Learn2sail
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 third in this short series. Today we speak to Mark and Jane Sanders, the owners of Learn2sail in Portimao, Portugal. They are also owners of a Broadblue 346 and, as well as using it to cruise personally, it is also part of their fleet of training boats.
Mark has over 50 years sailing experience in all types of craft. Having left school at 16 he joined the Merchant Navy and studied as a navigator. Over 10 years (Jane was there for 5 years too) he learnt his navigational skills on 25,000 tonne Product Carriers, travelling worldwide and, didn’t get lost once!
He joined Herne Bay Sailing Club in 1988 and enjoyed sailing and racing all dinghies, especially the Dart 15 catamaran, (2-up National Champion in 2002 with daughter Elizabeth, 2nd in 2004 with daughter Freya – Freya and Alice going on to have careers in the Superyacht industry - sailing runs in the family). In 1996, he and the family set up HBSC as an RYA training centre and grew it to be one of the largest in the county, teaching school children and adults alike how to enjoy the water safely.
Mark & Jane set up Learn2Sail in 2008 “We specialise in teaching those completely new or with little experience in sailing the joys of sailing a cruising yacht and in a fantastic location that genuinely offers a 12 month sailing season”.
Jane & Mark have been a “team” for over 40 years but the relationship with Broadblue began about 6 years ago at the Southampton Boat Show. Mark and Jane were exhibiting and began chatting to Mark Jarvis, Design and Production Director and owner of Broadblue.
They were looking for a small cat and wanted to have the boat as part of a shared ownership programme. After some further discussion over spec and design their plan came to fruition in 2019.
They bought a Broadblue 346. They saw it as being a good transition from a monohull to a catamaran. “At 33 feet it is not intimidating, it’s stable and open and importantly gives you a different sailing experience to a monohull”.
“Sailing the 346 enhances the learning process, she is stable and is ideal for beginners to grasp the basics of sailing in a steady and comfortable environment. The 346 is known for its maneuverability and space, allowing learners to handle the boat effectively while gaining confidence”.
She sails fastest on a close reach as you would expect, and to windward she sails well at 45 degrees to the wind, she is very capable. She is also in Marks words a “good looking boat and turns heads in Portimao”.
Mark and Jane shared a few other highlights of the boat: they include good hand holdings, a solid foredeck, great storage, and the seats in the cockpit that allow the crew to see forward when underway.
Inside he points out the three-burner stove, the big berths and the 2-meter headroom – saying “it’s great for living onboard while we are teaching, and it’s surprisingly spacious given that she’s only 33 feet”.
The 346 was supplied with a 15kg anchor but they have upgraded this to a 22kg Rocna for added peace of mind when they are anchored.
He summarized the boat as robust, reliable, stylish, comfortable and “bullet proof” – ideal for their own use, and great for people stepping up from a monohull.
And, of course, being in the Algarve certainly helps, especially for new sailors. “Varied wind conditions allow sailors to experience different scenarios and develop a comprehensive set of skills. They get to understand wind patterns, tides and navigation as well as boat handling and sailing skills. And at the same time seeing picturesque coastline, discovering pristine beaches and hidden coves only accessible by sea”.
Being on the 346 clearly combines the thrill of sailing with the stunning beauty of the region.
That sounds difficult to beat!
And Mark gave us a few tips too.
Top tip 1. When going for a tack, always have plenty of speed on, cats have two hulls to drag through the tack so speed is king!
Top tip 2. Work out your man overboard procedure in advance. On the 346, we round up head to wind immediately and down both sails. Pick up under engine to windward of casualty and allow her to drift down. As casualty comes alongside switch off the leeward engine - BEWARE OF THE PROP.
Top tip 3. Practice berthing manoeuvers frequently. You just have to get lucky and the more you practice the luckier you’re going to get!
Top tip 4. Reef early, especially the mainsail. Try not to use the reefing lines on winches, especially electric winches, (the reefing mechanism within the boom is easily damaged if excessive force is used). You should reef by hand only and then tension the halyard by winch.
Our thanks to Mark and Jane for their thoughts on the Broadblue 346.