Archiv der Kategorie: Family

Things regarding the family

Sailing with kids…

… is definitely possible on the A35 if you  take some simple precautions like children wearing life-vests and life-belts.

Admittedly at some point one of the boys did not wear his life-vest when coming on deck  although he should know better.  We had a chat about this and hopefully repetition is indeed the mother of all learning … let’s see…

We have got a new boat: Archambault A35 review

So, after quite some time the next entry in my blog: We got a new boat – an Archambault A35. In this blog post I will try to give people who are in the process of looking for a fast but family-suitable boat some background on my decision but also compare the A35 with the Django 7.70.

I was pretty much satisfied with the Django 7.70 but for two adults and now three children it started to feel too small. Given the average of boat sizes twenty years back or longer it is maybe quite spacious and would principally work with three children but somehow for us it was borderline – maybe we are already too spoiled.

Again, I (and my wife admittedly a bit less) wanted to have a boat that is faster than it is luxurious but still would be usable with a family. The following criteria were important for us:

Sailing behaviour and sailing-related equipment
  1. Fast boat that still can plane
  2. Better upwind-performance than the Django 7.70
  3. Good-naturedly and thus suitable for single-handed sailing or short-handed sailing with family
  4. Bow-sprit for using asymmetric sails
  5. Tiller steering
  6. Somehow competitive under common rating schemes
Built-quality and electronics
  1. Solid but not too heavy
  2. Good-autopilot and electronics
  3. Not a too large construction site or too much technical debt – thus most likely: Not raced too hard
  1. Enough space for two adults and three children
  2. At least one or better two cabins with a solid doorEnough storage space
  3. Friendly interior (that was extremely nice in the Django)
  4. A larger navigation table than the Django 7.70
  5. Solid door for the bathroom
  6. A toilet that is accessible without having to move around stuff – if possible with electrical flushing
  7. A sink in the bathroom
  8. A cooker with two flames
  9. A fridge
  10. Warm water when in port

The other candidates apart from the A35 I looked into were:

  • Pogo 30 and Pogo 36:
    Definitely nice boats but – even used when or better if available – not within my budget.
  • Any X-Yachts:
    Even older boats are still quite expensive and from what I heard (admittedly I never sailed one) quite some of them don’t behave too nicely if the wind picks up – it seems most of them need some weight on the rail or, obviously, really early reefing. Furthermore, I found the thought of having sandwich under the waterline quite scary.
  • Beneteau First 36.7:
    Definitely a worthy candidate – it seems to be a very fast boat especially when going upwind. No tiller steering however. And somehow I did not like the design and very traditional feeling of it. Usually they do not have a bow-sprit.
  • Elan S4:
    Good looking interior which – if you take a closer look at it – is not very practical for our purposes and offers only little storage space. Fast-looking hull but very heavy and no good ballast to weight ratio.
  • Django 9.80:
    This is a very nice boat and solidly built: If I am not mistaken it does not have foam sandwich in the outer hull but infused Soric. There is also a version with two cabins in the back. But roughly 160 k€ for a raw boat below 10m length and then sails and other stuff on top? Geez,…

So, I ended up with the Archambault A35:

It fulfilled quite some of the criteria we had (more on that later) and maybe as a result of Archambault being bankrupt they are quite reasonably priced. As Archambault built roughly 140 A35 the market for used boats is also quite liquid – at least in France and Britain where this boat is kind of a bread-and-butter racing and training boat.

Up to now in this season I did not have too much time to use the boat for job, weather and family reasons. However, here come some first thoughts on the boat.

Disclaimer: Please always take my findings with a grain of salt – I try hard but I still have to learn a lot about sailing and sailboats.

Sailing behaviour and sailing-related equipment:

In one sentence: This is a very fast, seaworthy, stiff and powerful boat. It behaves really nicely – even with only two persons on board it did not feel like necessarily reefing while going upwind until 5 Beaufort and even an occasional gust above that. The stability caused by the wide transom and the 44% ballast are also nice for the family: You simply take it a bit slower by reefing earlier and the boat sails more upright. My wife – who sometimes gets sea-sick – finds the boat much more comfortable in waves but we did not experience and heavier weather yet.

Up to now I did only use the asymmetric gennakers in lighter wind conditions and I did not even touch the symmetric spinnakers. I have to say that I am still a bit afraid of their size and the additional complexity of the spinnaker boom. But always when I went sailing this year the wind-conditions made me use the Code Zero that came with the boat quite a lot. This is really a weapon in light wind conditions.

I have the double-rudder version which is feeling really, really neutral – obviously this reduces the power consumption of the autopilot but it gives only little feedback if you trimmed the boat incorrectly. I was a bit afraid of handling the double-rudder version in the harbour but up to now that has not been a problem either. Quite often I dock the boat backwards and then it is not very affected by wind coming from the side.

I was not able to get the Django going quickly upwind on True-Wind-Angles smaller than 50° – that felt somehow like the optimal angle. With the A35 it feels the best angle (at least given my sailing skills) is around 45° or lower. This is obviously a huge difference it is really nice in sailing areas like the Baltic Sea where you just cannot follow the trade-winds but somehow have to go home at the end of your vacation.

The only down-side up to now is that as a result of the larger boat-size everything feels more complicated, more difficult and more sluggish than on the Django. But I guess that was to be expected from a boat being that much larger and heavier and I will get used to it … however, obviously still much better than on a Bavaria or anything comparable.

All in all I am very satisfied how the A35 sails.

Built quality and electronics

The built quality feels quite solid in all concerned areas. However, my A35 was on land for almost two years and thus had quite a backlog of maintenance. But it was never raced too hard.

Despite the overall good quality of the boat there are some areas of annoyance that are maybe obvious to more experienced sailor but that I learned the more or less hard way:

The boat has an inner liner with hollow stringers in longitudinal and lateral direction that contribute to the overall stability of the boat. These stringers are connected to each other and are used for the cables of the boat. That they are connected means that if you get some water between the outer and inner hull somewhere (in my case I got some water in the boat from a damaged pipe for cooling water for the motor) you suddenly end up with water in a different place (like e.g. the cupboard under the navigation table). As another A35 owner advised I managed to get rid of the water in the stringers by using a suction pump usually used to change oil in cars and a tube but it was not that simple. Obviously, I am not the only one who had the problem of having water between hull and inner liner but coming from the Django that problem never occurred to me.

Another issue that did not occur to me was the water tightness of the keel-stepped mast: Up to now I did not find a proper method of preventing water from entering via the slot of the mast. As the mast has a plug of Spartite I also cannot simply get a silicone cover over this plug … if you have any good advice please let me know. Again, I and our boat class are by far not the only ones having this problem…

A well working autopilot is in my opinion one of the most important pre-conditions for hassle-free sailing with family. My boat came with a B&G H3000 system – which is still obviously a good system in general but most of the displays had some water ingress so that the displays were not working correctly. This seems to be a very common issue with the H3000 system. There are still improved replacement displays available here but only for an unacceptable high price.So I replaced the system with a combined B&G Vulcan and Triton setup – I will do another post on this later.I had the opportunity to do the upgrade together with Holger Schulz from Ostsee Nautik ( – which I can only recommend to the highest degree. Holger did all the complicated stuff, showed me some of his tricks and answered all my questions patiently. The components I got rid off will be available for sale shortly.


In terms of the interior (and thus the main reason for switching to a larger boat) I feel that we now have sufficient space – but only barely so:

On one had we have now much more living space than on the Django. Especially, it is now possible to prepare two little children simultaneously for the night or in the morning which was an annoying process before. Also the bathroom/technical area on the starboard side is much more accessible than on the Django.

However, the storage space is quite limited at the time being. This for sure can and will be corrected by cleverly using bags on the walls or making currently non-accessible space e.g. under the front bed accessible but it requires quite some thinking and modifications.

The interior is not so nice and friendly like on the Django but still acceptable.

As far as as the (from my point of view) luxurious changes like an electric boiler, fridge or an electric toilet are concerned: We will for now see and push these investments to the next season.

All in all I feel that my wife and children like the new boat much more than the Django as a result of having additional space.

That is it for now – I will update this post as soon as I will have additional findings…


Especially on-board of a small boat you have to organize everything cleanly if you do not want to search things for hours – this is especially valid if you have lots of things for little children with you.

However, IKEA offers a number of products that help you do this and they are light and do not cost much (especially if you compare them with any Seascape or Jeanneau textile bags meant for storing clothes).

See for example the SKUBB-Series, the SLÄKTING-Series or the STICKAT-Bags.This how it looks on my ship:


Sailing seat for little children

My daughter is now 18 months old and she can walk very well. Furthermore, she is curious and would not just like to stay under deck while sailing and climbs basically anywhere. So, what to do if you would like to have a save and comfortable place for her on deck where she can’t go over board?

What I came up with is this construction:


It is asymmetrically mounted in the cockpit in order to allow for easy access to the autopilot being mounted next to the entrance of the cabin and to the entrance itself.

As you can see it is also portable – so it can be either used under deck or be completely removed if you go racing with your friends:


So, how did I build it:

  • First of all I used an old Römer Jockey Comfort bike seat for children (which you can buy used for very little money).
  • Then I sawed off the two leg-supports of the seat so that the base-plate of the seat could be mounted on a piece of water-proof boat plywood. Please note that the seat is exactly mounted on the edge of the plywood so that my daughter can have her feed dangling down while using the seat at our cabin table.
  • You can use the two integrated nuts in the bottom of the seat to attach the seat to the plate but I decided to put two additional screws through the wholes in the seating area of the seat.
  • In the cockpit I glued two self-made stripes of wood with Tikalflex (sorry for the look being a bit shabby – it was easily possible to remove the glue later on).
  • It is possible to push the base-plate under these stripes and the seat is fixed and can be secured with screws or anything comparable that is pushed through the holes in the stripes.
  • I painted the whole wood white.

Please have a look at the attached gallery. The whole thing works really nice – however and obviously I do not take any guarantee for the safety of your children while using this setup.

On modern boat shapes and why the Django 7.70?

First of all some general thoughts:

I do come from windsurfing and though I always considered sailing boats as kind of nice I always found them a bit slow and boring when compared to a windsurfing board.  However, given the fact that I have a family now windsurfing is not so much of an option anymore.

Instead I converted to sailing when I had the opportunity to buy a used sailing boat from friends of ours (a Dyas).  After two years on the Dyas (which is a great boat) I changed to a Seascape 18 (which I find to be an even greater boat).

On the Seascape I learned some of the advantages and dis-advantages of the modern  wedge-like boat-shapes:

  • They are fast. And they do plane! Almost like windsurfing…
  • They are stable (which is nice for family sailing – however, the Seascape 18 can capsize)
  • They offer a lot of space in the cockpit (again great for families)

However, as always there are also some disadvantages:

  • At least with my sailing skills these boats are not as fast upwind as other comparably sporty boats
  • Some people find them ugly (I don’t)

After some time on the Seascape 18 the Alster lake in Hamburg became somehow too small. Furthermore, we got a second child and we felt it was time to look for a larger boat which was also suitable for the Baltic sea and a family with small children.

In principle I considered four other boats apart from the Django 7.70:

  • Pogo 8.50
    Never managed to sail one – they were difficult to get hold off when I was looking for a boat. Whenever I found a used one they were / looked too old or were very far away.
  • Pogo 30
    For sure a dream-boat but definitely over budget.
  • Saphire 27
    Saw one on the Boot-Messe in Düsseldorf and somehow did not like it on first sight. Felt flimsy…
  • Seascape 27
    Saw it as well on the boat fair and liked it. Did sail it and it is extremely well-performing and nice to sail. But somehow it felt less solid than the Django 7.70 and most important of all: I found the seating position to be very uncomfortable – at least I personally would not like to take a longer ride on it. My wife found the cabin too small.

When I test-sailed a used Django 7.70 I decided to buy it right away. Reasons being:

  • It is not as fast as the Seascape 27 but also well performing and again: It can plane!
  • The interior is large enough and nice enough so that you can spend a rainy day inside (okay, not my favoured solution but it is possible)
  • The boat is really stable.
  • The boat feels solid – it is definitely no toy.
  • Mine has CE class A.
  • It is still light enough so that it is relatively easy to handle in the marina (at the time being I have limited skills in maneuvering larger boats under motor)

These are obviously my personal thought – maybe they help you in choosing your boat…