Great sailors are said to be rough, minimalist and to love hard, pure and tiring life on board, without the comforts we are used to in our homes. So either Andrea Mura, who has just launched his super-catamaran Privilege 515 “Vento di Sardegna Explorer” in Arbatax, equipped with every comfort, is not a great navigator, or we are facing a myth that needs to be dispelled.
Looking at the CV of the 57-year-old Sardinian sailor (the only Italian in history to have won the Route du Rhum and the only sailor in the world to have won two Ostar and a Twostar, with a record that is still unbeaten, as well as a Québec – Saint Malò, again with a record. He was also a mainsail trimmer on the Moro di Venezia and winner of world, European and Italian titles in Olympic and other classes), we opt for the second hypothesis.
The super catamaran ” Vento di Sardegna Explorer” that Andrea has chosen as a home for himself and his family (his wife Daniela and their children Lucas, almost 3, and Marvel, 18 months) is a true floating villa and Andrea took 10 months (and 4,000 hours of work) to transform it into his definitive boat. “With this investment we’ve shot ourselves in the foot with the cartridge of a lifetime,” jokes the Cagliari native sailor.
” During the Covid-19 pandemic, last year – Andrea Mura explains- when I could not join my Open 50 Vento di Sardegna, my wife and I we did a lot of thinking together and realized that there is only one life and it has to be lived. I wanted to live by the sea, my wife did too. We wanted to bring up our children at sea and use the Cat as a support boat for my Open 50 so that we no longer had to take the car to get from the house to the boat but could simply climb over the stanchion to change boats! After initially looking at monohulls, we found this super catamaran in Spain and it was love at first sight. While the world was at a standstill due to the pandemic, especially in Spain, we took the bold step of checking it out in the middle of Covid: we left by plane and came back by boat.
“My wife Daniela- Andrea Mura explains- is a former Alitalia long-haul flight attendant (the most beautiful and coveted of assistants). She wanted to live in a boat, so we had no choice but to get married, but only after we had successfully passed the return test, after winning the second Ostar, from Manhattan to Cagliari over 4,000 miles (her first ocean crossing), on board the Open 50 Vento di Sardegna with no bathroom, no cabins and no bed, sleeping on the bottom of the boat… and that’s where you can see true love!”.
“Lucas is almost 3 – Mr. Mura says – we left with him on board when he was only 10 days old for the Cagliari – Saint Malò transfer on the occasion of Route du Rhum. He’s very keen on sailing because he was imprinted on the VDS after sailing 5,000 miles in the first 6 months and perhaps it’s because of his good fortune to have been able to experience the sea that he’s now developed, as several paediatricians have said with amazement. I think I’ll soon be taking him out on the dinghy to start playing with sails and rudder and the super catamaran, thanks to its space, allows it to be loaded on the bow”.
The cat is a 2009-built Privilege 515, 14.74 meters long and 7.98 meters wide. “The boat has been round the world: with the first owner it travelled as far as Polynesia, with the second it returned to Europe. It’s a truly robust and comfortable “off-roader of the sea”, of which there are only 21 examples in the world. It’s a rare commodity, of absolute quality,” says Mura, who has spent the last 10 months working like a madman to modify the boat to suit his needs.
“This boat will be our home and will act as a support boat for the Open 50 Vento di Sardegna, on which I plan to start again with a programme of ocean races. My goal is still the Vendée Globe (non-stop round the world race). If I don’t make it, there’s Plan B. To sail around the world on a super catamaran. Keep in mind that Vento di Sardegna Explorer is prepared as I like it, as if it were ready for a Vendée Globe and without compromise, and it is almost ready to sail around the world in self-sufficiency without ever stopping like Kevin Kostner’s cat in the film Water World”.
The equipment has been completely overhauled and implemented. It includes 35 UNEL electrical sockets, 12V on-board computers with Max Sea routing software with a 24″ HD screen, lighting implemented everywhere, displays, ammeters, voltmeters, etc.
” I installed 18 walkable, flexible 90W solar panels on deck by Enecom, a Florentine company that uses Sun Power cells. I’ve also installed two wind generators of 300 W each by Osculati (a lot of the equipment on board is from the Italian company)”, Andrea Mura explains.
“The renewable energy sources are supplemented by a 14 kW Cummins Onan generator – Andrea Mura explains- We also have three 180 litre stainless steel refrigerators/freezers, four separate inverter air conditioners, a washing machine, a dishwasher, a stereo system with a DVD player connected to two TVs, custom HDMI and USB wall sockets throughout the boat for a centralised high-definition connection, and a 220 V desalinator with a capacity of 200 litres per hour, as well as a second Osmosea watermaker capable of supplying 100 litres per hour. Thanks to these two watermakers, which are equipped with active carbon filters at both the saltwater inlet and the freshwater outlet, we can drink desalinated water without having to ship bottles of water to go green”.
” Only desalinated water flows in the catamaran’s water system: in the boiler, in the tanks, in the toilets. This is the only way to ensure that the water is 100% pure and that there are no problems with bacteria, mould, limescale or oxidation.
Propulsion is traditional. “Two Yanmar 75HP engines with S-Drive and Ewol 3-bladed propellers, enough for a boat that displaces 20 tonnes at full load. Together with the generator, we disassembled, overhauled and reassembled them. The boat is all vinylester, so it will never have osmosis problems.
I had the two drives reinforced with a multi-axial structured coat to further stiffen them. I replaced all the sea intakes and sluice gates as well as the evaporators on the refrigerators and recoated the rudders.”
“The master cabin is a true suite, full-beam and almost 8×3 meters large. The interior layout also includes two other cabins, one for our children, each with its own shower box and separate head.
The catamaran also has about a kilometre of split halyards, sheets, 5 lines of Dyneema drapes, etc., produced by Armare to my specifications.
On the Super Cat Vento di Sardegna Explorer, I applied 100 kg of Veneziani’s Eurosprint Pro antifouling with HD rollers for less peel, and then sanded it down so that I could leave the boat in the water for the next 5 years until the expiry of the Certificate of Appropriateness, which lasts 5 years.
What equipment does Andrea Mura use on his Super Cat? “Being a Raymarine Ambassador, I had to use the full Raymarine equipment, with hydraulic pilot and Navionics cartography of the entire planisphere installed on the Max Sea software”.
Designing sails for the sea is a great source of inspiration for me to create the best sails in terms of performance and resistance. Following the movement of the waves while designing and hearing the shrouds whistle opens my mind to new horizons and immerses me in solo ocean sailing, making me experience emotions that push me towards new solutions and design innovations.
I’ve been working for my own sailyard www.mura.it in Smart Working for 15 years now with a tried and tested, very close-knit and reliable team. For me, the best thing has always been being able to design at sea, and today more than ever I can do it in the best possible way, and technology helps me a lot in this.
On to the sails on the super catamaran: “You know how much I care about this, given my background as a racing sailmaker (designer/mechanic and tester) for over 36 years. The sails that I designed directly on board the Cat with my sailmaker include a Square Top Mainsail with 3 coats and custom battens designed by me in tapered carbo/kevlar, a furling foresail, a furling genoa and a furling Reacher for the headsails mounted on a specific custom anti-twist high load cable by Armare. Speaking of materials, I made them as if I were going on a Vendée to win.
First of all, sail by sail, I designed a fabric with a multi-axial structure in Dynema SK99 incorporated inside a double anthracite taffeta anti-mould and anti-UV (single for the Reacher), so as to guarantee maximum lightness and resistance to loads with durability to make this sporty Cat run at its best. For example the mainsail contains 110 km of Dyneema thread brushed between the countless invisible lines of force, then I designed the wing shape of the 4 individual sails taking into account the aero elastic deformation of each sail, for the best oceanic performance and finally my sailmaker after partially cutting them with the latest generation carbon plotter made them with the best finish.
And now? “We are now involved in long sea trials here in Arbatax to fine-tune the complex equipment, but at the end of the summer we should move to Cagliari to resume training with Vento di Sardegna and, as I said, my objective is still the Vendée Globe. I‘m a pure competitor, those who know me know how I stop at nothing and how much I love extreme challenges.”.
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