Reisebericht in Englisch von Axel K.:
Sailing was always a sport I thought for elder and rich people. My hobby is travelling all around the world bringing with me my own mean of transports like: bicycle, folding kayak, inflatable canoes or simple by foot.
I never even considered that it would be possible to bring with me my own sailing boat.
Once, searching for an inflatable kayak for an expedition in Bolivia, I stoumbled over a folding Katamaran from a famous brand name, but it seemed to me very poorly build and engineered, but the concept intrigued me.
Searching the net I found some high tech folding Katamarans from England, low tech from eastern europe but both were not suited to be brought along oterwise than in a big Van.
Than I discovered the Vario Cat from Germany. It was love at first sight. Every detail seemed to be constructed for ease of use and toughness.
My first phone call with Manfred Rassweiler was very interesting. For over an hour he listed me all the innovative details and the advantages. My curiosity was stimulated.
I did a trip of 1400km to see and try the vario Cat in June 2002.
I spent almost the whole day with Manfred.
It looked really great, much better than the pictures I saw on his homepage. After showing me all the details like:
Rolling fock sail, Mainsail reefable rolling it on the boom, selfturning fock etc. He took me to a lake in southern Bavaria to try it. During the trip Manfred, the only head and builder behind the Vario Cat, made me feel his love for his creature. He was really convincing explaining me all the phisycal principles why his catamaran was better than the others but what really convinced me was the performance on the lake. He maneovered the Cat singlehanded easyly and the speed was much more than I expected for an inflatable boat. He made several 360° turns in a row without loosing too much speed and without having to struggle with the lines. It was incredible.
In september I bought the Vario Cat ‘full optional’ for about 5000 Euro. The learning process was very easy and straightforward. As the handling is very easy, thanks to the central keel the catamaran behaves more like a sailboat than a catamaran, but with greater speed and far greater stability. In fact even in wind force 5 I never risked to capsize.
I added a Honda 2 CV engine and had now my own colapsable sailboat, with my wife we spent even several nights sleeping on the boat which we fitted with mosquitonet and flysheet.
Now the problem was how to carry all this material to Belize where we decided to spend Christmas.
Belize is the ideal country for beginners like me as the sea is protected by a over 200km long bareer reef which means that the waves never gets really dangerous even in high wind.
Again Manfred was very helpfull helping me to solve the problems I had reducing the longest part of the Vario Cat to only 1.50 m which is the maximum Airlines allows on board.
After two month of planning I had evrything ready.
150 Kg of equipment including:
The vario Cat
Anchor and other utensils
To our astonishment they didn’t even comment at the check in counter and I didn’t have to pay any extra charges. We arrived to the little Island Cay Chaulker in the north of Belize, under a thunderstorm which forced the little airplane to fly at not more than 50 mt over the sea. Fortunately the next day weather improved and I assembled the Catamaran which took me the better part of the morning. As we couldn’t wait we made our first trip to the reef in the afternoon. To a place called ‘ The stingray alley’.
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