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Sailing from Australia to Sausalito Aboard Andiamo

In previous issues of Latitude 38, we’ve shared stories from Paul Eichen and Susan Flieder aboard their Buizen 48, Andiamo.  Originally from Sydney, Australia, Andiamo is now docked at her new home port in Sausalito.

Andiamo at anchor somewhere in Alaska (the white patches are foam from a nearby waterfall).
© 2022 Andiamo

To bring the boat to the Bay was quite the adventure. Paul and Susan found the boat — sought out mainly for its comfy pilot house — in Australia in 2018. The initial plan was to ship it back to the Bay on a freighter, but longtime friend Henning Kather convinced Paul he’d probably never have another opportunity to sail back. With the die cast, the first year was spent refitting the boat at the builder’s yard in Pittwater. Paul, Henning, and two more friends finally departed for the start of the big journey in December 2019. In the last issue, they’d just made it to Papeete through a labyrinth of pandemic rules, restrictions and quarantines. On April 17 this year, they finally cast off the docklines for the longest leg of the trip: 2,400 miles to Hawaii — which is more like 3,000 once you figure in all the easting you have to do first.

The story goes like this …

If you follow Henning on watch, you must wait patiently until he turns in before letting out the mainsheet, which means less heeling, and slowing down a little. Henning is an expert and utterly devoted ocean racer and cannot bear to see any puff of wind go to waste. He carefully trims the sails for maximum boat speed; only the threat of no supper will get him to slow down to allow use of the galley to cook.

Nine days out, with more than 1,500 nm remaining, we crossed the equator. With a little prodding, I got Henning to participate as a polliwog in a traditional equator-crossing ceremony — he is now officially a Shellback!

‘Neptune’ paid a visit to the boat at the equator to initiate Henning into the Loyal Order of Shellbacks.
© 2022 Andiamo

Once inside the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) — aka the Doldrums — we were grateful that we had waited for our weather window, because we did not find the typical low-wind conditions that can keep boats stalled for days, or sometimes weeks. After a bit of light breeze, we soon reached the northeast trade winds — along with rainy, squally conditions, and a washing-machine sea with steep swells coming from multiple directions. It was a lumpy ride while it lasted.

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