Cruising in an Open 60 Racer

The author at the helm of her unconventional new cruising boat

An ex-Vendée Globe racer is an unusual choice as a world cruiser, so why was it ours? Although we already both owned a pair of production boats, my partner, Timo, and I were searching for something to spice up our cruising life. We toyed with the idea of a classic schooner, but weren’t sure we could handle all the varnishing. Another option was to maybe find some kind of an old raceboat. That would certainly make for some exciting sailing! In the end location—or was it destiny?—played as big a role in our final destination as anything else, as we found ourselves anchored just a few boats away from just such a vessel, the Open 60 NV, in Opua, New Zealand.

After doing a little digging, we were fascinated and humbled by what we learned about NV’s history. Designed and built in 1989 by Hungarian sailor Nándor Fa, she took part in four singlehanded around-the-world races in the first decade of her life. Perhaps the highlight of her career was a fifth-place finish in the 1992-93 Vendée Globe with Nándor at the helm, making him the first non-French skipper ever to finish. She entered the Vendée Globe again in 2000, skippered by Russian adventurer Fedor Knovukhov, who sadly abandoned both the race and the boat in Sydney, Australia, due to technical problems. In Australia, the boat underwent further modifications, including having an extra 6ft added to her stern, after which she became a regular competitor in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) many offshore races, including the Rolex Sydney Hobart, in which she came in 8th in 2002…

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