BOAT OF THE MONTH - 13.2 Schionning Waterline sailcat

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The 13.2m Schionning Waterline 1320 <I>Aussie Oi</I> is a fast cruising sailcat looking for another family to live the dream. MERILYN MACKENZIE reports

BOAT OF THE MONTH - 13.2 Schionning Waterline sailcat

"Optimism is a powerful quality because it allows you to do things you might not otherwise have attempted." So says Kerry Alexander of the years her family spent building their 13.2m Schionning Waterline 1320 catamaran Aussie Oi, then sailing her to New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia. The average cruising speed under sail is an impressive 9kts.

Aussie Oi is now sadly up for sale and Kerry has just one request of a potential new owner. "I would like our beautiful Aussie Oi to go to another family who can go on similar adventures and get as much pleasure out of her as we have," she says.

The Alexander family’s priceless experience all started 12 years ago when the idea to build Aussie Oi was born.

"Big ideas can be hatched from crazy dreams and a couple of glasses of wine," said Kerry. "I gave birth to Thomas on the day my husband Jim started cutting his first roll of fibreglass."

Molly, their daughter, was two-and-half years-old at the time.

Jim and Kerry took seven years, five months and four days to build Aussie Oi, in a shed in the mining town of Moranbah, in north Queensland.

Jim was pedantic about the construction. After all, he was building this floating home to keep his family safe during their highly anticipated, extensive coastal and international cruising odyssey.

Kerry is full of praise for her husband. "I have been inspired by Jim’s skill, determination and problem-solving ability because if he wasn’t such a smarty pants we could have been in trouble," she said.

Then in 2006 after many thousands of hours of hard labour had been invested into Aussie Oi this impressive catamaran was ready to be painted and launched and was trucked 200km from inland Queensland to Mackay Marina.

Not inclined to do things by halves the Alexander family’s maiden voyage on their stunning new catamaran was to Percy Island. They did the 67nm journey on a single tack from Mackay Marina.

"On our first sail in 15kts of breeze she slid along effortlessly at 13kts and then coming back from Percy Island with the wind reading 18kts to 22kts, we got up to 16.9kts," said Kerry. "We found she floated beautifully on her lines and really picked up her skirt when the sails went up."

Since that first sail, the Alexander family has turned their landlubber friends green with envy.

When they sailed the Pacific their landlocked friends call them "lucky bastards". Some were so envious they drop the lucky title and just used the latter name. But Kerry knew how to comfort them.

"When under attack from jealous landlubbers you can try and make them feel better by pointing out that cruising isn’t that great," she said. "You have to survive in the wilderness with only basic supplies such as crayfish and [coral] trout for dinner and you have to live in close confinement with the ones you love."

During their sailing adventure the Alexander children Tom and Molly were home-schooled by Kerry. They had an education second to none.

Molly and Tom have explored the East Coast of Australia; they’ve seen ancient aboriginal paintings in the Flinders Islands and been snorkeling on the pristine Great Barrier Reef.

In New Zealand they discovered Maori culture, spouting geysers and bubbling mud. They swam with the whales in Tonga and witnessed a less-complicated lifestyle.

In Fiji they have visited remote villages, and on his birthday Tom went to see Yasur, an active Volcano in Vanuatu.

"It was fantastic," said Tom. "It sounded like fireworks and thunder together."

For children and teens like Tom and Molly, who along with their parents join the sailing community, the learning isn’t confined to the classroom — it happens every day.

Jim says one of the best things about owning a Schionning is that not only does the boat look good it can perform when the going gets tough. He said on ocean crossings Aussie Oi could keep ahead of the weather and that kept his family safe and happy.

The Alexander family is sad to part with their water-bound home Aussie Oi. And after a four-year cruising holiday it’s back to the coal mines for Jim, high school for Molly and Tom and a successful art design business for Kerry.

Now it’s their turn to be landlubbers and to listen enviously to stories of high seas adventures while dreaming of eating crayfish for dinner.

The Alexander family says they couldn’t have asked for more over the years from Aussie Oi. They are pleased with the design thanks to Jeff Schionning, the sails thanks to Gary Martin and the finish thanks to John Sticklan and the crew at Vindaloo Multihulls.

This luxury family home has everything a discerning long-term cruising sailor could desire. Aussie Oi is a proven performance-cruising catamaran with the ability to win races while still providing a comfortable liveaboard home or weekender. She is Australian registered and set up to take the new owners overseas. With a liferaft, VHF radio, generator, desalinator, huge shade cover, sat phone and extensive list of charts, personal safety equipment and Navman instruments she is ready to go. This vessel has a fixed aluminium mast by Allyacht Spars and a furling headsail and screecher for ease of handling. Other extras include hydraulic steering, Smev gas cooktop and separate grill, 130lt fridge and separate 60lt freezer. Aussie Oi was designed for a family to go on extended cruises in comfort. She has two double cabins aft and two queen-size cabins forward, a galley and spacious saloon and navigation station. Dual helms offer good visibility for berthing.


FOR SALE: $535,000
TYPE: Sailing catamaran
MATERIAL: Durakore
LENGTH: 13.2m
BEAM: 7.2m
WEIGHT: 5000kg
ENGINES: 2 x 20hp Honda four-stroke outboards
CRUISE SPEED: 9 to 14kts
TOP SPEED: 20kts
CONTACT: For sale through the owners in Mackay, phone 0427 044 485


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