In 1999 my then wife and I were looking for a boat that would take us anywhere. We were looking for a boat that would look after us. Our plan was to sell up and sail away. We had a limited budget and anything that was new and capable of crossing an ocean was way out of our reach. We were looking for a second-hand boat, which was basically sound and could be handled by one person in any conditions. We looked at a lot of boats and were getting quite depressed by what was on offer in our price range. We looked at a Super Sovereign afloat in Falmouth, but she was in quite poor condition, though we liked her lines. Then we saw Lutra II ashore at Pin Mill, and she seemed to be just right. She needed quite a lot of work to bring her up to scratch, but she felt right.
I am over 6 feet tall and headroom is a problem with many boats. Being able to stand up in the saloon without touching the ceiling was a big plus.
Lutra was refitted in 2000/2001 and we cast off from Portishead in the late summer of 2001. From then on she was home, on and off for 8 years. We cruised the Atlantic coast of France, Spain and Portugal, the Mediterranean coast of Spain and the Balearic Islands. From there we worked our way Eastwards via Sardinia and Sicily to southern Italy, then to Greece and through the Corinth Canal to the Aegean. She worked her way through the Greek Islands to Turkey, from where we cruised the eastern Mediterranean for a couple of years.
In 2008 Lutra took part in the 2008 Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally (EMYR) and we visited Northern Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt, finishing back in Israel. From Israel I sailed Lutra single handed westwards through the Mediterranean to Gibraltar and then on to the Canary Islands.
Lutra II in La-Graciosa, Canaries
The ARC 2008 left from Gran Canaria whilst I was replacing the standing rigging, but after spending Christmas in La Gomera, I set sail first for the Cape Verde Islands and then to Barbados. Spring 2009 was spent sailing northwards through the Windward and Leeward Islands from Grenada to Antigua.
Close-hauled on the way to Bequia
In April I was joined by a professional skipper and we sailed to the Azores. After a couple of weeks exploring the islands, a friend sailed with me to England, and from Falmouth I was single handed again to Amsterdam. From there my new partner and I sailed Lutra to Stettin in Poland and after having the masts taken down, motored through Poland then Germany to Berlin, where I now live and work. This year, 2010, we cruised Denmark and Sweden for a few weeks.
During these 8 or 9 years of cruising we were generally one or two on board, occasionally three.
She sails very well to windward in light to moderate conditions, and she will cope with quite rough seas. The V shape of her hull cuts down through the waves. She also sails very well with a stiff wind on the quarter. From Flores to Faial in the Azores, she continued sailing under proper control in winds that exceeded 50 knots.
When sailing she is easy to handle, and when single handed too. All sheets can be controlled from the helm. Both the Monitor windvane and Raymarine autopilot work well in all conditions. When crossing the Atlantic Westwards, single-handed, I could sleep as long as I liked, unless there was a change in wind strength that required taking in or letting out sail.
A reasonable cruising speed is 5.5 knots. 4 to 5 knots is the most economical speed under power, but she can just reach 7 knots. Sailing between the Caribbean islands she was able to hold 7 knots under sail for a couple of hours, but that was exceptional. Sailing back across the Atlantic from Antigua to the Azores she was hard on the wind for much of the time, but she averaged 5 knots over a distance of more than 2500 miles. (21 days from Jolly Harbour in Antigua to Flores).
In heavy weather she is very reassuring. She can continue sailing in storm force winds under good control, or she can heave to effectively. On a number of occasions I have hove to for the night in strong winds, and after 8 hours she has only drifted 5 miles or so.
The saloon is light and airy because of the good sized windows, but it is cosy too. Entertaining with four people for dinner works well. Less formal parties with guests sprawled around the cockpit are usually a success. There is a barbecue that clamps onto one of the stanchions and we have had many pleasant parties at anchor.
Lutra is now up for sale because I have achieved my sailing ambitions in her. I have lived aboard and cruised the Mediterranean, crossed the Atlantic twice, cruised the Caribbean and the Baltic Sea. My work commitments now prevent me from taking long periods of time off work and Lutra is not a suitable boat for the lakes around Berlin. I shall be very sad to see her go, but it is better that she finds a new home than deteriorates from lack of use.
Looking back, Lutra proved to be the right choice of boat. We sailed together for 23,000 miles or so during the last 10 years, in all kinds of weather. During that time her forgiving nature kept me out of trouble.
[ Lutra II ]
For further details or to arrange to view, please contact Adrian Espin at: - Astonbury Marine Services
19 Colne Road, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 0DL Tel: 01206 305 996 or +44 1206 305 996
or email to: adrian@EasternYachts.com
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