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Henrik's Rudberg interview,
Sweden, Nauticat 43

- Where are you from?
- I am from Gothenburg, Sweden.

- What kind of boat do you have and what year of production is it?
- I have a Nauticat 43. It was produced in 1984.

- How long have you been sailing in general and, in particular, on this boat?
- I have had this boat for 4 years now.

- What area do you prefer to sail in? And what is your favorite place for sailing?
- I do enjoy sailing anywhere. It is very nice in the Swedish Archipelago. It is an absolutely stunning area. Turkey, Greece, Croatia I especially like on the high seas. So, I just cannot pick one favorite.

- How much did you use the sails and how much time did you use the engine in percentages during your trip to the Red Sea?
- In the Red Sea itself you have predominantly NE-winds so there it was basically half-half. On my way down from Gothenburg to Egypt, I traveled September to January, and then I could use the sails 80% of the time. On the way back (April - September), there were many days without wind in the Mediterranean, so about 50/50 there. During the summer months it was likely even around 60% on the engine.
- How often do you spend your time on board during the year?
- When I worked, it used to be only 4 or 5 weeks a year. Now that I have more time on my hands, I spend more time on my boat. I reckon this season it is going to be about 2.5 months.

- Do you prefer to sail alone or with family and friends?
- It is always nice to have company, though I do not mind sailing alone. It is a little bit different. When you are with other people, obviously it is more social, but I actually like to be handling the boat on my own. It is time for great contemplation and meditation I would say.

- Tell us about your trip from Sweden to the Red Sea and how many days did it take you to get from Sweden to the Red Sea?
- I would say it took me about four months one way. I was blown into Brest, France for six days because there was a storm passing, but apart from that and a few overnight stops in places like Porto and Lisbon, I was going fairly fast. In Turkey, however, I stopped for 3 to 4 weeks to deal with that tank issue, but if I had not made that stop, I guess the trip could have been done in one-and-a-half months, maximum 2.
Choice of boat:
In 2019, when I retired, I started looking for boats that would be more suitable to go long distances. I was looking at a bunch of both aluminum boats and heavy displacement boats. I did actually try one boat with a swing keel, as I thought it could be a good thing because of the aluminum, but it turned out to be like a bathtub on the sea and my family members became even more seasick on it, so I decided that a heavy displacement boat would be better.
I had not even really paid much attention to Nauticat boats before, but I really liked the pilot house concept and that it had enough room to share with my family.
After that I had a look at eight different ones until I found one that I felt very comfortable with, which had all the equipment that I felt would be needed in order to go on a long trip offshore. So, we got a boat and I refitted it for almost a year before setting out to sea.

It turned out that I left during the fall from Gothenburg, just when the fall storms were starting, I had some pretty rough weather starting out. I was joined for about half the trip down to Red Sea and to the Suez Canal by some friends, and also some family coming down for school breaks, and, all in all, I would say we were able to enjoy some fairly nice weather in the spots that my family could come down and visit. There was also some heavy weather, especially in the English Channel and in the Bay of Biscay and before entering the Mediterranean, but the bottom line is that I was very impressed the way my Nauticat boat had taken care of us.

There were a few things that happened on the way. We got a rope stuck in the propeller while in the English Channel, and not just a little one. It was about 60 millimeters in diameter, but we were able to stop in Ramsgate, close to London (the UK), and get rid of it. It actually took only 10 minutes before we got back to sea. We also got salt water into one of our diesel tanks and that took a little time to clear up, and eventually I even got a tank replacement while passing by Turkey. All in all, though, it was a really good trip.
- Were you satisfied with your Nauticat boat in hazardous climatic conditions?
- Oh yes, very much indeed. I have felt perfectly safe in all conditions. I experienced a storm of about 50 knot winds, but I have always felt as comfortable as one can feel in those conditions. Certainly, it is hard not to get seasick when conditions are that rough, but the boat has always handled everything perfectly.
The boat I have was apparently Sparkman & Stephens, which was designed for Nauticat, and I know they were building on the type of pilot house for their 42-footers, for example. I think it’s amazing that you can get everything you want in a design, and also from a sailing perspective, and with such quality that, even 30 years later, it stands without competition. Someone might say, if you want to sail really fast, then get a power boat, or if you want to travel really comfortably, then a Nauticat is perfect. It sails really well.

- Could you describe some of the pros and cons of the boat from a personal point of view?
- There are at least 4 advantages of Nauticat I would like to share with you:
  • I think space is very important. When we have been out so long, it is nice to have the three cabins and a dinette area where we can all find privacy.
  • The boat also sails extremely well, and has an engine that I can rely on. I am sure this is important in terms of safety consideration.
  • I can also set the boat to sail reliably in any direction and I never need to adjust until I want to change course.
  • The boat can also handle any kind of weather, and it is very nice to be able to steer from indoors. There is no fun having the wind and rain in your face, and it is really nice being able to steer from a more comfortable position.

- So, given your general experience with Nauticat yachts, would you recommend these yachts to others?
I would certainly recommend Nauticat yachts to everyone. But now I would like to state a couple of things which I think would make things even easier to maintain the boat, although I do not consider them design flaws.
  1. Perhaps having the chain plates more accessible from the inside would make them easier to inspect.
  2. The placement of vents on the starboard and port side for the diesel tank were so low that I was sucking in salt water at times. If those vents were moved up, maybe closer to the pilot house, that would never happen.
Those things, however, are my only complaints. In general, my Nauticat boat has been handling everything beautifully.

- What did you change when you were refitting your boat and why?
- At some point I thought it was time to change the whole rigging and the through and prop shaft strut, the old CQR anchor to a Spade which has been just fantastic. Four new sails and a lazy bag. I changed the Radar and Plotter; the autopilot pump as old one stopped working. I changed the port-side tank to HDPE as the original in mild steel had started to rust. I got lots of extra battery power (15kWh) and a 2kW inverter, and 1,5kW solar panels mounted on the sides, the deck-saloon roof and above the davits, so together with the batteries I didn't need to use a generator at all. I got a modern VHF, a wind instrument, a Depth Gauge, and acquired a little stronger alternator. Radiators were rusty, so I added ones in glass. I also Changed old Webasto to new Eberspächer heater and so on and so forth.

- Let us talk about your plans for the future. Have you ever traveled around the world?
- No, I have not, but I would love to. I have not been over the Atlantic yet, and I hope to be able to take the boat to the Caribbean. The plan is to take it to the Mediterranean, leave it there for a season, and then cross. The problem is that my family is tied up in school and careers, so I would have to take much of this trip alone, so we haven’t quite figured it out yet. My family would love to go to Bora Bora but I do not know if they quite understand that it takes about a year to cross the Pacific ocean as well, but it is worth it.
I would certainly do a round-the-world trip on this boat. My Nauticat boat works perfectly for that. The one thing you do notice, in warmer temperatures, is that the deck layout gets a bit of a greenhouse effect, but we’ve set up a little air conditioner which works great, and will add shade to the exterior for extended trips. My Nauticat boat works beautifully for those kinds of conditions.

- What does yachting mean to you?
- It represents freedom. The ability to go anywhere I want and to bring my house with me. I think that is a huge benefit in terms of travel. I also like being able to travel in an environmentally-friendly way. My family has had to fly back-and-forth a little more than I would have liked, due to the pandemic, but the boat itself has been a very clean way to travel.