Delivering a Strictly Sailing Cat to Miami

Jimmy and Ivan Cornell aboard Kitty Cat, a two-year-old Outremer 49

Jimmy Cornell reports his trip from St Martin to Miami via Iridium satellite phone.

Happy coincidences have been the story of my life, and this voyage on Kitty Cat is a good example.

It all started at the Paris boat show in early December where I had set up a meeting with Kevin Murphy of Strictly Sail at the Outremer Catamarans booth to talk about my forthcoming series of seminars at the Miami boat show. When Xavier Desmarest, the owner of Outremer, stopped by to say hello to Kevin and heard about my plans, he said, “Jimmy, as you are going to Miami anyway, how would you feel about sailing on one of our cats being delivered from St Martin to Miami for the show?”

So here I am, or more correctly, here we are, son Ivan and I, being part of the delivery crew of Kitty Cat, a two-year-old Outremer 49, normally based on the half-French, half-Dutch Caribbean island of St. Martin.

Passing Virgin Gorda
Passing Virgin Gorda

The trip so far could not have been better. We have had steady ESE trade winds from the moment we left, zipping by the British Virgins at a fast clip, reeling off the miles towards our nominal landfall at San Salvador in the Outer Bahamas. This landfall was chosen not just for its convenient location, but for its historic association with one of the most significant landfalls in history: Columbus, aboard the Santa Maria in 1492.

To follow in the wake of Columbus, I have called there with every one of my boats and, in 1992, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to the New World, I persuaded the owners of 146 boats taking part in the America 500 transatlantic rally to follow that historic route all the way from Palos in mainland Spain, via the Canaries, on to Gaunahani, as San Salvador was called by its original discoverers.

So there is something very special to look forward to, especially for Ivan as he was only seven when we first called there in 1977.

Jimmy Cornell

Next report: A Good Old-fashioned Spinnaker Wrap

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