Enrico Tettamanti: “I tell you how our trimaran life has changed.”

(Pictured: “Tettamanti’s family” poses at the dock, in Carloforte, the first stop after departing from Marina di Ragusa for the third round-the-world boat trip. Enrico Tettamanti (44) holds son Kai (4), partner Giulia Azzalli (32) holds the stroller with second-born Aua (two years old in July). In the background is their trimaran Kamana 3.3, a Neel 51)

I have been sailing all my life and living in a boat full-time for 23 years. Way back in 2000 I started building my first Kamana, the name comes from the fusion of two words and means “pleasure of the soul.”

The name Kamana not only represents the name of all the boats on which I have sailed, for me and for the many people who follow us over the years, by sea or via the Internet, it has become a word that encapsulates my sailing philosophy: the pleasure of extreme sailing within everyone’s reach.

I have always tried to give anyone who wanted to, even without experience, the opportunity to join one of our adventures, sailing and exploring the most remote places on the planet, from tropical to polar destinations.
The first Kamana was a Cigale 16, a very successful design by Finot, who had initially conceived that 54-foot jewel for himself and then decided to build it in a reduced series at the Alubat shipyard. With Kamana, I sailed around the world for 7 years without stopping: North Atlantic, South Atlantic, islands of the South Pacific Seas, Patagonia, Cape Horn, Antarctica, complete circumnavigation of Tierra del Fuego, ….

Having concluded that ambitious project aboard Kamana, I made a brief stop on land to sell her; during those months not only a new boat, but also the person I would marry nine months hence and with whom I would set off on a new round-the-world voyage, made its way into my seafaring heart.

Together with Giulia and aboard Kamana 2 (a beautiful Solaris 72 named “Plum”), I decided to follow a similar route as in the past, wanting, however, to carry out a more articulated project with several funding partners.

The program has been a great success, and for eight years we have sailed the oceans far and wide: Greenland with its ice giants, wild Labrador, the Galapagos Islands Integral Reserve, the unexplored fjords of Alaska, the rugged atolls of the Pacific, the isolated and unspoiled archipelagos of Papua New Guinea and Indonesian Papua, Myanmar, and many other wonderful destinations…

Meanwhile, in 2016 our firstborn son Kai was born. At the age of two months he and Julia joined the boat, which was in Alaska at the time, and started living full-time on board with us.

The next year we decided to return to the Mediterranean to put the boat up for sale, and we chose to return by trying to do so through the Northwest Passage.

I could go on and on in endless tales about this wonderful adventure…surely the fact that we had as many as five children on board, including our barely one-year-old Kai, is what made the passage undertaking a real life experience, unforgettable and priceless. At the end of the passage we were able to say that we were the first Italians in history to complete the passage “against the grain,” heading from West to East.

Back in Italy we discovered that the feat of the Northwest Passage had given us something far more important than a record-we were in fact expecting our second child Aua (his name in honor of the traditions of the Inuit people)!

While pregnant, we began planning a new project: a world tour (my third) in tropical latitudes that would try to reach the lesser-known places, this time not only to enjoy them from a natural point of view but more importantly with the intention of getting to know the communities that inhabit them.

After going through two monohulls, which were undoubtedly the best the international market had to offer for that type of boat, I decided to switch to the multihull.

Multihulls have always appealed to me despite the fact that I never considered them because they did not fit best with the challenging destinations and sailing that characterized our adventures until 2017. For a tropical round-the-world trip, there is no doubt that they are very efficient means, not to mention the comfort of life aboard in carrying gaits.

Before choosing I evaluated several catamarans, but I could not find an interesting compromise: the catamarans are either very charter oriented, and therefore uninteresting for our needs, or designed more for performance and therefore with rather small interior volumes but very high costs!

Trimarans, which I have always preferred over catamarans mainly because of the more monohull-like way of sailing, are generally better performing and safer, but actually until the release of the Neel 51, no vehicles had yet been designed that had the interior space needed for our project.

Neel’s concept immediately struck me on paper, but because it is such a new product, I could not find sufficient technical information and/or sea trials done by professionals. The solution to figure out whether it would work for our purposes or not was to go and try it out for ourselves in La Rochelle, France.

After just an hour of sailing it was clear to me that I was helming what would become Kamana 3 (which we called Kamana 3.3 because of its three hulls). I was fortunate enough to be able to work with the shipyard and intervene in various aspects of the boat, given the use we would put it to, I made some modifications to the proposed model.

So we put a super energy-efficient vehicle on the water: we have no generator but several state-of-the-art solar panels, a hydroelectric generator, and a lithium battery system designed in detail to provide the best performance using the boat full time.

Sails and mast/rigging were evaluated for the best performance and passage over the wave, but the real difference was trying to keep the boat as simple as possible, with a variety of tricks on the systems and choices of specific materials that would drastically lower maintenance labor hours.

Right now we have been on board for over 9 months, we have sailed over 10,000 miles, and I can say that everything we had hoped for, in terms of efficiency and comfort of life on board, we have achieved.

On the topic of comfort, I would like to say a few more words…. we certainly expected a radical change from the monohull, but our expectations were far exceeded. Cabin spaces, kitchen tasks, maintenance work, life on board in general, all the more so with two small children running around, have become easier, manageable, practical. I would say that sometimes you almost forget you are on a boat!

If sea conditions change and you are sailing upwind in a fairly formed sea with a bow wave, a monohull sails significantly better. But if you have the right timing, with proper study of the weather forecast, it is really difficult to find yourself in complicated conditions. And anyway, the medium is absolutely capable of dealing with these conditions as well.

We sailed from Marina di Ragusa in early October with destination Nassau (Bahamas), which we had set out to reach around December 15/20.

The stops we made were the classic ones, although after a stop in beautiful Carloforte we set course for Palma de Mallorca and were stranded eight days due to a succession of storms with intensity out of the ordinary for that period.

After Palma, taking advantage of a favorable weather window, we decided to sail beyond Gibraltar, stopping in Barbate de Franco, north of the Strait of Gibraltar on the ocean side. During that sailing our little Aua gave us a great thrill…he took his first steps between waves crossing the entire dinette to run into Julia’s arms.

The curious thing, probably due precisely to the fact that he has always lived on a boat since he started walking, is that he has always been much more secure and balanced while sailing than on our walks on land.
From Barbate we then sailed to Lanzarote: wonderful sailing with little wind, although thanks to the efficiency of the boat we maintained averages close to 10 knots.

There we prepared everything in the smallest detail, various technical checks, shopping, and again sailing to Cape Verde in mid-November. Cape Verde is a destination that, for those with time, should not be skipped.
The islands and its inhabitants are wonderful; they literally live in time to the music that resonates in every street and carries in their DNA. They are also islands that offer unsurpassed spots for kitesurfing and surfing, which are two great passions of ours. This leg then allowed us to “break” the crossing, which, having Nassau as its destination, which is 1,000 miles farther than the classic Caribbean arrival destinations, would otherwise have been very long for the children.

From Ragusa and Nassau, fortunately we had no surprises, no inconveniences.

As always I devote a lot of time, effort and all my experience in order to prepare the boat as best as I can before setting sail to then fully enjoy the wind and sailing. Sailing from one continent to another, although it is an experience I have experienced over and over again, fascinates and excites me as much as the first time…

Enrico Tettamanti

GALLERY – ALL THE PHOTOS FROM ABOARD KAMANA 3.3 (photos by Enrico Tettamanti and Giulia Azzalli)

Coming soon, all of Henry and Julia’s tips for life on board…


Kamana 3.3 and Henry’s family can be followed on their adventures through the Instagram account @kamanalife. Enrico Testamenti also works as a consultant for anyone wishing to plan crossings and world tours or expeditions to extreme destinations. From boat purchase to project implementation. If you would like to contact him, you can do so at enri.ttt@gmail.com


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