23 April 2012

10 Questions for Happy Monster

hm1 Hans and Dory sail on Happy Monster, a 36 feet Najad made in Sweden. The inside is not original Najad, but made by the first owner. They bought the boat in 2002 and left Holland in May 2005. They crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific and arrived in 2007 in New Zealand. There their plans to sail around the world changed and after a year working in NZ they continued sailing up and down in the Pacific. You can learn more about them on their website.

What are some of your favorite pieces of gear on your boat and why?

Wendy, our wind vane. She is a Dutch made Bouvaan and steers most of the time. Our new hard dodger we put on in New Zealand, the lights underneath and the solar panels and hand grips on top are very helpful. The Spectra water maker with Z-brain now two years old and never failed. The Z-braine keeps it clean so that we don't have to flush or pickle when we don't use it.

What is the next piece of gear you would add to your boat if it were free?

An AIS transmitter, so that other ships with AIS will always see you. (if they look) Of course there are some fancy chart plotters with worldwide maps, we really don't need them.

What mistakes did you make in your first year of cruising?

Not knowing we had to grease our rudder shaft often.

What type of watch schedule do you normally use while offshore?

We do a 3 hour watch starts at seven. Every three hours we change, so we have both two time three hours of sleep in the night, on the day we sleep mostly both two times an hour.

hm2 Do you have any specific advice for couples cruising?

Start with loving each other very much and you have to like to be together 24/7. Try to do things together as much as possible so that both know how things work.

What is a tip or a trick you have picked up along the way?

Never be lazy if it comes to prevent accidents, like reefing, taking your shoes out of the dinghy while you still can (next morning they were gone). Learn to be patient if you deal with customs and immigration. It takes often a lot of time and if you plan that it will cost you a day, you are feeling good if it is faster.

What is something about the cruising culture you like and what is something you dislike?

We like the fact that the cruisers world is one big family, you all do the same and you help each other with whatever problem. We like the freedom we have and the friends we make. We don't like the goodbye's, and we have to say that a lot.

Have you found "trade goods" to be useful on your cruise? If so, what kinds?

Before we left we had made many lighters, balloons and t-shirts with our Happy Monster on it and they still are very good give aways. We also ordered some inflatable globes to give away on schools and we point out on these globes the trip we made. For the rest we have the usual pencils, flashlights etc to trade or give away.

Where was your favorite place to visit and why?

We have visited many many favorite places. Sometimes it is nature and sometimes it is the people that makes the place special. We are now in Fiji and we think that as well the people as the nature as the climate is so good that we call this our most favorite.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?

What is a good reason to go cruising?

You can sleep in your own bed and cook your own food while you have a new backyard every time after sailing. You have the one million view on a very low budget. If you want it just do it.