Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fair Winds and Safe Seas

This week has put me in a bit of a panic.  So much to write about but not enough time or energy to gather my thoughts.  First things first, Martin and Amara are less than a week away from reaching St. Martin.  I had a wonderful conversation with him tonight and he is more than ready to see us and I think maybe even more excited to see land.

While talking to Martin, he told me a funny story.  The other day when he and Garry were sitting at the flybridge, they saw something in the water.  Martin said to Garry, "Was that a television?"  So curiosity got the better of them and they turned Amara around to go check it out.  Sure enough, it was a television!  They hadn't seen land for 11 days or another ship for 4 days, and right in the middle of the Atlantic, a television goes floating by.  They had a good chuckle over it.
Also, Martin let me in on something that has been a bit of a nail biter for them this past week.  About a week ago, Martin noticed a slight change in the engine noise.  Upon investigation, they found that the starboard engine mount was broken.  Then they went to the port side engine and found that TWO of the engine mounts were broken!  I mean these are huge bolts that needed repair and they didn't have any means of repairing them in the middle of the Atlantic.  Lacking the proper sized bolt, they managed to wrap a line around the engines and tighten it by twisting a screwdriver so that it would tighten the line and hold the engines in place.

They finished the repair late into the night and because there wasn't any wind to speak of, they had to motor through the night—making for a white-knuckle watch and little sleep for the crew that wasn't on watch.  They were all very worried that it wouldn't hold the engines in place and found themselves checking the engines often throughout the night.

Upon examining their repair in the morning, Garry said, "We realized that our backwoods, redneck, or rather... our backsea, wetneck repair would hold."  So, they all breathed a sigh of relief and were able to finally rest from all the tension from the night before.  I am so glad that I wasn't there for this mishap. I'm also glad that I didn't know about this until after the fact because I would have stayed up all night worrying right alongside with them.  The good thing is that their sail repair on the parasailor is holding up well.
Their "makeshift" repair.
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This will probably be my last post until I get to St. Martin.  My bags are packed, all the bills are paid, and the house is organized and in good hands.  I really can't think of one more thing that needs my attention other than not missing our flight.

I think pulling Lily out of school was the hardest thing that I have had to do during this whole process.  I cried huge tears when the bus driver pulled up to the house on Thursday to drop Lily off for the last time.  She just loved going to school.  So, to add insult to injury, I loaded Lily up in the car and I took her off to get her Yellow Fever shot.  The last one on her list of needed shots.
Lily at the Travel Clinic.  
Little does she know what's about to happen.
This week has flown by and I am filled with mixed emotions.  I really can't wait to see Martin, but I also feel the tug of the comforts and securities of home here in Utah.  Martin and I have a wonderful life filled with dear friends, and especially family.  My heart is a little heavy in having to leave them.  In the same breath, I am excited for the adventure of seeing parts of the world that I might never have the chance to visit if it wasn't for our decision to purchase Amara.  Life really is an adventure, isn't it?

So, I will take a deep breath and make a leap of faith while I step onto the plane that will take me to my next chapter.  Wish me... wish us all, fair winds and safe seas!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Day In the Life of Amara and Her Crew

The other day when I was checking my email, I got an email from a family that Martin had met while in Canet.  "Gemma" and her family were down at the dock looking at catamarans the day Amara was preparing to pull out and leave Canet.  Martin saw them and invited them onboard Amara to take a look around before she shoved off.  

Gemma was nice enough to snap some pictures of Amara as they were leaving the marina and sent them to me.  Imagine my surprise to get these pictures in my inbox!  I was so excited to see these and really want to thank her for taking the time to send them to me.
There she goes!
Here is a great shot of Garry waving goodbye as they leave that marina.

I really love this shot of Martin steering Amara.
It feels like they left Canet ages ago.
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I bet by now a lot of you are wondering, "What do they do all day?"  I know I did when we were first looking at buying a boat.  What was I going to do with all this time?  Boy did I have a lot to learn.

On Amara, their daily schedule begins at around 6:00 am when Patrice comes up to the flybridge to relieve Garry from the first watch of the day.  Garry then goes to bed for a few hours (unless a sail change is needed—which means "all hands on deck").  At 10:00 am, Martin’s watch starts and ends at 2:00 pm when Garry comes up for his second watch of the day.  Each of them take 4 hour shifts, and in between their shifts, they find time to sleep and eat. 

Patrice probably has the best sleeping schedule among the three sailors; having most of the night and afternoon off to sleep. However, remember that Patrice is on call all the time.  So, if there is even the slightest bit of a problem, he may only get a few hours of sleep a night.  It’s all a trade off, and I would venture to guess that none of them have gotten all that much sleep during this journey. 

As far as cooking, they all take a turn at cooking dinner—trading off every third night.

Garry tells me that Martin can actually cook, but pretends to not like it (I could have told him that).  Patrice is an “excellent cook”, but doesn’t really enjoy doing it either.  Garry says that he “likes to cook" but doesn't have enough spices and seasonings, food that he used to cooking with so it's a little harder to get creative.  
During the day, the crew usually fends for themselves for breakfast and lunch because of their schedules all being different.  

One of the things that I was adamant about Martin buying while provisioning the boat was to get a bread maker.  Bread makers come in really handy on a boat because it ensures that the crew gets fresh bread when they run out of the store bought stuff.  The other night they finally ran out of bread, so Garry took it upon himself to break in my new bread maker and made their first loaf.  Martin said that it turned out great.  Garry said that next time they fire up the generator to "forget the bread, I'm making chocolate chip cookies!"

Their supply of fresh fruits and vegetables are all but gone now and they all worry about getting scurvy.  (I think they’ll survive, but maybe next time they’ll remember to bring some Vitamin C with them).

When Garry was leaving to go meet Martin in Canet, he came over to our house to grab some of the items that needed to go over to Martin.  In the process, I gave Garry a hard drive chalk full of movies to get them across the Atlantic.  However, in the process of doing it and being in an huge hurry, I downloaded the hard drive to another hard drive that I was setting up for me and accidently deleted all the movies on the hard drive that I gave to Garry.  Fast forward to 3 men on the sea, they are left with the 6 movies that Martin had on his iPad to help them to pass the time on the water.  Martin said that he has watched Forest Gump about 3 times and Garry has watched it twice.  When I talked to Martin last night, he was just finishing Secretariat for the 3rd time.  Poor guys.  

When I do get to St. Martin, there will be entertainment because I am bringing lots of movies (on my  hard drive) along with lots of gadgets that will keep them busy and entertained for hours.

Now back to my list.  My ongoing list of things to do before I leave.  Will it ever end?  I sure hope so.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Where In the World is Amara?

Have you checked out our "Where In the World" page on our blog?  If you haven't, click on the big blue map (right under the picture of Martin and me) in the right-hand navigation bar on our home page.  Once you click, it will pull up a page with a real-time map showing the exact location of where Amara is at any given time of the day.  It will even show you Amara's speed if you mouse over the little sailboat icon on the map.  It's a pretty cool gadget and I have been loving it.  I know where Amara (namely, Martin) is 24/7.  For some reason it really helps to calm me knowing her location.  I can't help myself from checking this page about 5 times a day.

If you have already been following this page, you would have probably noticed that for awhile there, it looked like Amara was headed straight for Brazil and she was going to pass up the Caribbean altogether.  However, at the halfway point with 1400 miles behind them and 1400 more miles to go, they were able to finally turn Amara towards the Caribbean and are now headed straight toward St. Martin.

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Halfway down, halfway to go!

It is tradition that once sailors get to the halfway point, there is a ritual that they jump in the water and go for a swim to celebrate.  So in true sailor's spirit, Martin and Garry jumped in to celebrate this huge milestone!
The water was a warm 80 degrees and Amara was a 1000 miles from land in every direction.  Since there was a slight wind that was moving Amara along (even with the sails down), Martin and Garry jumped in with a 75 foot line.  That way they could hold on to it if they thought Amara was getting too far away from them.  It also helped to give Garry a good distance between him and Amara, making for a great photo of her!  
What a view!
Patrice helping to pull Garry back into the boat.
We are hoping that the second half of the trip will go a little faster because now they are traveling in a straight line—whereas before they were having to cut up and down with the wind in their face the whole time.  Now the wind is behind them and should push them along making the trip go a little easier (fingers crossed!).

The countdown for Lily and me is starting to dwindle.  We will be in St. Martin in exactly one week.  Hopefully, Amara will arrive the following day.  If not, it looks like Lily and I will have a little mini vacation while waiting for her arrival.  Regardless of when they arrive, we will be eagerly waiting at the dock at Simpson Bay to welcome them with open arms.  We can't wait.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's Happening On the Water

I just had a great call from Martin.  He was in the middle of the ocean at two in the morning.  He said that the weather has been beautiful, but the water has been so calm that they have had to run the engines for the past few hours because there is absolutely no wind.

Being on the water; the climate, wind, and water can shift in minutes.  This was the case a few days ago when the wind shifted and caused a bit of a catastrophe.  The wind had picked up to about 20 knots and it was perfect weather to put up our new parasailor.  However, a few minutes into launching it, they noticed that the wind had suddenly caused a slight tear in the wing (opening) in the sail.
Martin wasn't too happy and he and his crew took it down to start their first repair.  Sails are notorious for rips and tears, but nothing this early considering that they've only used it three times.  Martin contacted the company, ISTEC, and told them what happened.  They are going to replace the wing when we get to St. Martin, but in the meantime, it had to be repaired since they have 2 more weeks on the water.

So, Amara quickly turned into a repair shop with the sail taking up the entire salon.
Looks like our salon turned into a sailmaker's shop.
Patrice and Garry busily sewing away making repairs to the sail.
I also got a treat in my email today when Martin sent me some great pictures of their typical day on the water.  I thought I would share.
Garry taking in some sun.  
This is probably the part of sailing that I am looking forward to the most.  I can't wait to just get some sun and start relaxing.  I'm afraid that I've forgotten how to relax with all the months of preparation and building up to this new adventure.  Taking a snooze in the sun will be welcomed by me and come without protest.
While sailing, they saw more pilot whales.  
...and Martin caught some Bonita for dinner.  
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The other night, the crew had an amazing experience that I need to share with all of our readers.  Late into the night, Patrice motioned for Martin and Garry to come up to the bow of the boat.  There they saw a pod of dolphins that were swimming off the bow.  It looked as if the dolphins were lit up and glowing because of the phosphorescence in the water.   

Marine phosphorescence is a heatless light generated chemically by marine plants and animals. Movement in the water sets it off and causes marine life’s bodies to glow.

Here are some examples so that you can get a visual of phosphorescence in marine life:
When Martin saw the dolphins, the glow from their bodies trailed in the water for 3-4 inches behind them.  So, while they were all standing at the bow in complete darkness, the dolphins below were glowing in the water.  Patrice had seen this before and was so excited to share this experience with Martin and Garry.  He said that he had never seen or heard record of this happening with dolphins.  (I searched and didn't find anything.)  

It was such a surreal moment for all or them and the experience of the glowing dolphins stayed with all of them for hours.  Garry said that when he woke the next morning, it was the first thing that he thought about—he just couldn’t get the experience out of his mind.  

Of course, in their amazement, none of them took any photos.  However, they did happen to get pictures of another pod of dolphins that they saw today.  This was the only one that came out kind of clear.  (Hold tight. Amara's photographer will be there in two weeks—Me!  Then there will be pictures a plenty of dolphins!)
I can't wait to see the dolphins and promise to take some good photos while on our adventure. 

As always, it was so great to talk with Martin.  At the end of our conversation he ended it with, "After a great week on the water, all is well in the world."  He's right, I do agree, but I think that all will be even more "well" when Lily and I join him in the Caribbean.

Speaking of dolphins...

I'm not sure if you have seen this already—if not, you need to check out this video.  If you don't think that dolphins are intelligent, you may think again after watching this.

This is a friend of Garry's who happened to be diving off the shore in Hawaii.  While in the water, the wild bottlenose dolphin swam up to him as if showing him that something was wrong.  I won't give the story away.  You can watch it unfold in the video below.  It really is so amazing!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Families On the Sea

I think that my favorite part of this whole adventure is having the chance to meet people, especially families.  While Martin and I were planning our trip, we kept talking about how much fun it will be to meet families from all over the world.  It was really one of our motivating factors.  In fact, I am sure that as readers of our blog, you're going to have to get used to me posting about all our newfound friends because this is probably the part that Martin and I are looking forward to the most.  Plus, I adore children. I know that they are and will be the best little ambassadors when it comes to getting to know other families in different ports.  If it was up to me, I would have had a large family.  However, Martin and I got started a little late in life, and we are just so lucky to have Lily. (More about "our story" down the road).  Anyway, whenever I get the chance, I gravitate to the little ones.  So, chances are, we are going to get to know a lot of families on the same adventure as us.

While in Gibraltar, Martin, Garry and Patrice got to know a wonderful family from Finland.  Their names were: Ari, Hannah, Kaisla and their son, Kaius.  They arrived in Las Palmas the same day as Amara did.  Martin said they were just wonderful and it was so fun getting to know them.
Below is their boat, Talisman.
The next picture is of another family that was parked next to Amara.  Be prepared to say to yourself when you see the picture below, "Ahhhh!" or, "THAT is so adorable!"  Because it is!  No lazy kids here.  I really can't take my eyes off how cute these little ones are playing out their roles as deck hands.
Laundry day for this little mate.
If you notice the railing that this little one is hanging her socks up on, it is called, "lifeline netting."  It helps give parents a little piece of mind that their little ones don't go overboard.  Of course, eyes still need to be fixed on their littlest mates at all times regardless of safety precautions, but it does give the children a little more freedom on board.  In fact, if you see this kind of netting wrapped around a boat, it is a sure sign that "babies are on board."

This is actually something that Martin and I will not have to do because Lily doesn't walk. However, we are taking tons of other safety precautions since Lily is with us.

Once I get out on Amara and get her organized, I'll spend one post on all the safety set ups that Martin and I have installed or purchased to ensure Lily's safety on the boat.  We aren't the first parents with a child on board and we have really researched everything that is available to make sure Lily is safe.  More than anything, as laid-back as Martin and I try to be with Lily's parenting, you can be assured that Lily will be attached to one of us in some form or another.  Lily's safety on the boat is priority for both us, so we have spared no expense.  
Looking at the photos of these families makes me want to get out on the water and join in on the fun. The countdown has begun.  Lily and I are less than 2 weeks away from seeing the one we love.  Watch out Martin, we can't wait!

Meanwhile, on the home front, we're finally home from the hospital.  This little princess is getting the royal treatment.  Three cheers for Lily!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just When I Thought We Were Sailing Along

So, I thought everything was going to be smooth sailing from here on out.  I mean, Martin is on his way and crossing the Atlantic, while I am wrapping up items at home.  All we had to do was wait, but somehow on Saturday night, we ended up waiting in the emergency room.
Lily has been a little sick this past week.  This weekend though, she got really sick.  Not taking any chances, I drove her straight to the emergency room yesterday and she was quickly admitted into the hospital.

I had told the doctor about Lily's symptoms of vomiting non-stop and not wanting to eat or drink.  Lily never had a fever and was quite pleasant in the midst of the unpleasantries.  The doctor ordered a x-ray amongst other tests.   What we found was that she was severely "backed up", dehydrated and well, we also found this when viewing her x-ray...
We've yet to find out whether it is a penny or a quarter, but we did have a second x-ray today and the coin is moving along and down the intestines.

While visiting with the radiologist, I expressed how I couldn't believe what a terrible mom I was to have not seen her doing this.  To reassure me that they have, "seen everything", he began to list out all the items that they have seen.  For example: nails, nail files, bullets to guns, open safety pins, a toothbrush and then he showed me this...
Yes, folks, that is a Christmas tree ornament!  Okay, so at least I didn't let Lily swallow a Christmas tree ornament!  I laughed so hard when I saw this and I just had to share.

Lily should be discharged tomorrow and then hopefully everything will get back to normal...  Like packing and making lists normal.  Amara normal.  Sailing normal.  However, as I type this, what I have realized is that this means that our new "normal" will be nothing normal at all... and THAT sounds pretty grand to me.

I know I promised dolphins... next post.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Good bye, Gran Canaria
Life got the better of me this past week and I haven't been the best blogger.  Martin called me on Wednesday (they left the Canaries Wednesday afternoon) and I got all jittery inside and went into panic mode, "This is it!  We're doing this!"  It is all I could say to myself all day after getting Martin's text that they had just left.  I don't know why this single event made this all real for me.  I mean, my husband has been gone for ions.  I've been packing for two months and I've gotten all our bills automated.  I've been getting our house handed over to my family and touching base with our landscaper to make sure our lawn doesn't turn into a jungle because someone forgot to mow.  You'd think that with all this planning that this one single event of leaving the Gran Canarias wouldn't put me into overdrive, but it did.  It all became real to me because it signified no more waiting.  No more waiting for a part.  No more waiting for a weather break.  No more waiting and wondering when I was going to see my husband because in 2 weeks (I've got a date!) our little family will be together again and this time aboard Amara.  I. Can't. Wait!

Now for the good news.... wait.... hold it...  I shipped all of our boxes down to St. Martin!  It felt like giving birth.  It was so nice to come home to a box-free kitchen and feel a little normal again.  It was no easy task.  I ended up shipping seven boxes.  SEVEN HUGE boxes.  In fact, if Martin was in the Gran Canaries this week, I think I would have packed up Lily and we would have taken off to the Canaries, because we are ready to go!  Bummer that the timing didn't work out for us, but at least I feel ready.
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I had a great call from Martin yesterday.  I was in the middle of a store wrapping up some last minute details when he called.  So, I found a couch in the store and just sat and talked to him for a good 20 minutes.  After the first night from leaving port, the swells were so high that Martin was suffering from some pretty bad seasickness.  When I talked to him, he sounded miserable.

I have this habit of asking Martin every time we are on the phone with each other, "Are you still glad we bought a boat?"  He then replies, "Yes, of course!  This is going to be great!"  When I asked him the first night after leaving the Canaries and while he was feeling the bad side-effects of the sea I asked, "Are you glad we bought a boat?"  He replied, "Ask me tomorrow."  So, when he called me while I was shopping and he was in good spirits, I had to stop what I was doing and just sit down and talk.  The seasicknesses had passed and Martin was excited to be doing this again.

When I got off the phone with Martin, I said a little prayer for his safety and got on with what I was doing.  However, I felt an extra spring in my step because I know, we ARE going to do this!  I couldn't be more happy.

More updates on their travels tomorrow.  It has to do with dolphins... so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Talk to Me

I just got off the phone with Martin and unfortunately the trip was postponed until Thursday.  The swells are too high and they want to wait it out before they attempt to cross the Atlantic.  Better to be safe.  Of course, I would have liked to have seen Martin sooner rather than later.  It will be almost 9 weeks by the time we see each other again.  Way too long.

Even though Martin and his crew weren't able to shove off today, it was nice to have a long, relaxed conversation with him tonight.  A lot of the times that we talk, it's late into the night for Martin and he is on his cell—which isn't cheap.  As much as he wants to talk, he's exhausted and in the back of our minds, we know the bill is quickly racking up charges.  Today, Martin went to an internet cafe and we were able to do some much needed Skyping on our computers.  Lily especially enjoyed seeing her dad on the computer screen.
When traveling, if you see something that says, "Zona Wi-fi"  you stop and pull out all your gadgets and start downloading.  Martin and Garry couldn't look happier to get in contact with the outside world.
Because of Lily's disability, she doesn't talk.  She does most of her communicating through her eyes.  When Lily meets someone she usually takes a good 15 seconds and looks deep into their soul with her eyes.  It's disarming and so tender.  During our Skype time with Martin, Lily nuzzled up to the computer screen and looked deep into her daddy's eyes, as if telling him that she loved her daddy.  It really was so special to see her responding to her dad and wanting as much as she could to communicate with him.  I am so grateful that she could have some much needed daddy-daughter time with him.
Projects.  Constant projects.  
It seems that every time Martin and I talk, he is hard at work on the boat and elbow deep into a project.  Martin said that they worked almost 14 hours on the boat just fixing things today.  I asked him if this was going to be a "constant" and all he could say was, "I sure hope not."  Luckily we will always have crew there to help us.  However, the ongoing joke with cruisers is that projects never end and lists just get longer.  Hopefully those lists will lessen by the time we reach the Panama Canal and we will have most of the kinks worked out and be able to just enjoy one another AND Amara.  Maybe we'll even be able to enjoy all those sunsets that I keep reading about.
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While Amara has been tied to the dock, Martin said that he has seen some beautiful boats.  This one for example.  This is one gorgeous BIG sailboat!  What a beaut!

He has also seen a family carrying on with their daily life... just on a boat.

What Martin has come to understand is that regardless of the things that we see as impressive when it comes to boats is that a man's boat is HIS boat... or HERS.  Everyone loves their home, because that is truly where their heart is.  The size, the luxury and the sails—it doesn't matter.  A love for one's boat is truly a labor of love.  Take for instance, José and his boat...
The entire time that Martin, Patrice and Garry have been busily fixing and maintaining Amara these past 5 days, José has been working just as hard on his.
I love that José has the same pride for his boat that Martin and I have for Amara... perhaps he even has a little more.  I'm always impressed when I see someone living out their dreams.  I would hope that everyone we know doesn't let circumstances hold them back and that they can shoot for the stars and live out their dreams.  That means YOU!
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Now for a tour...

While in Las Palmas, Martin and Garry have had a chance to take in the sights of the city.  Here are some great photos that capture the essence of the Gran Canarias.

More updates tomorrow.  As always, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday Best

Martin at the top of the Mast.  I really love this photo of Martin.
Sunday proved to be a fruitful day.  Martin and Garry started out the day looking for a place to go to church.

Luckily, there was a local LDS branch (congregation) in the Canaries.  Unfortunately, Martin forgot to pack a white shirt (No worries. I got that covered).
Martin at the local Mormon church in the Canaries.
While Martin and Garry were there, they met a wonderful missionary couple from Colorado, Elder and Sister Buhler.  The Buhler's are serving an 18-month mission for the Mormon church in the Canaries.

Of course, once Martin met the Buhler's, he invited them over for dinner on Monday night.  This would be Amara's first hosting event and the crew cooked up a fabulous meal of fresh tuna, potatoes, and a green salad.  Martin said that Patrice seared the tuna just right and as I type this, it's making my mouth water. Tuna happens to be one of my very favorite meals!
Elder and Sister Buhler
Martin really enjoyed his time that he spent with the Buhler's.  He was especially glad that they were the first ones of many more fast friends to help break in Amara.  One of the reasons we are going on this adventure is to meet lots of people from all over, and all walks of life, to help us enjoy Amara and all the lovely sunsets we foresee her bringing.

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Today, along with preparing dinner for our first guests, Martin and his crew did some more provisioning. This time they had to make sure that they would have enough food to last them for the next 17 days.  I can't even imaging shopping for 3 hungry men.  Martin admitted to me today that Lily's allotted bedroom on Amara is now a storage and provisioning room stacked with spare parts and food.  (I was afraid that was going to happen.)
After provisioning the boat, Martin and Garry took off and went on a tour of the city and visited Christopher Columbus' home and saw the route that he took on his first voyage in 1492 to the New World. It goes without saying that I would have loved to have seen the Canaries.   I served a LDS (Mormon) mission to Madrid, Spain 24 years ago, and it was always my desire to get the Canaries.  Bummer that I'm not there and couldn't take advantage of seeing the sites.
It looks like the team will be taking off in the morning.  Patrice thinks there will be a break in the weather, but it's still not set in stone.  I hope it happens because that means that Lily and I are a few days closer to seeing Martin.  Finger's crossed!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Like Flying a Kite

A first look at our new parasailor.
When Martin and I bought Amara, it was evident that we were going to need to buy a few new sails for her—especially a new spinnaker.  A spinnaker is a special type of sail designed to sail off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind, with the wind 90° — 180° off the bow .  For you non-sailors, it's usually the big, fancy, colorful sail that gives your boat a bit of personality.

When Martin and I were doing our research on catamarans, we had heard a lot of opinions about using a parasailor in place of a spinnaker.  A parasailor is lighter in weight (made out of similar material to a parachute) and known to be able to take on more wind.  It is also a lot more stable and easier for a smaller crew to handle than a heavier spinnaker.  What makes a parasailor unique is that towards the upper part of the sail, there is a hole.  This helps prevent the parasailor from collapsing or rolling and lets the wind pass through and fill up more easily with less stress on it (unlike the big "bang" that you hear when the wind fills up a spinnaker).

Doing our research on the pros and cons of a parasailor, Martin and I put out feelers and went into online forums asking other cruisers their opinions between a spinnaker versus a parasailor.  After receiving lots of positive responses on the pluses of sailing with a parasailor (Jimmy Cornell swears by his)—we decided to get our feet wet and purchase one.

In the process of purchasing a parasailor—the purchaser can choose from the manufacturer's (ISTEC) designs, or pay a little more and submit their own design.  Since I always love the idea of being unique, Martin told me that I had complete creative license to come up with my own design.  I knew that I wanted ours to look like the stars in the night while sailing against the sky.  I also added the red to the lip (below the opening in the sail) to give it some depth.  Then I showed my final design to Martin.  Of course, he loved it and submitted the design to the manufacturer.

After much anticipation on my part, I give you our end product...
Since Amara is on the bigger end for catamarans, the parasailor ended up being 252 sq meters.  It's interesting to note that I thought our mainsail was huge!  Check out this post showing it's size.  Now look at how much bigger the parasailor is compared to the mainsail in the photo above.  That's one big sail!

These are the first photos of Martin sailing with our new parasailor.  I think it definitely gives Amara some "personality" and really "classes up the joint."  I can't wait to sail on Amara and see her sailing with the parasailor for myself.

Martin checking out the parasailor in full bloom.
If you are a fellow cruiser, here is more information on ISTEC—the company that manufactured our parasailor.