Copyright 2017 - Woods Designs, Foss Quay, Millbrook, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL10 1EN, UK
  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

 

These are short postcards/letters (no emails back then) from Jorgen Kruger who built a Mira in Germany in the early 1990's and then sailed it (almost) round the world. The first Woods design to do so. (You can also see these reports on the Newsletters page, but they are collected here for convenience)


"I launched 'Timena von Sylt' on the 26th July 1992. After 2300 hours in 8 months (single-handed). I spent approx 60000 DM (£20000) including sails, but without an engine. A small handicap was the very small workshop (just 3.5m wide). But we had an excellent summer, over two months without rain, perfect for assembling the two hulls. After the first 400 miles I can say that she is a perfect little boat. Everyone is happy with the smooth motion, even in rough weather. Normally she goes along at 8-10 knots. In a surf we measured 20 knots (In fact a little bit frightening for a monohull sailor). I think she is just the boat I want for ocean cruising. Thank you for the excellent plans. After a few problems at first I found working with the plans was no problem. But 1000 times more pleasant than working is sailing with this little cat. I will try for a South Pacific cruise in 93 so we may show up in Torpoint!"

And indeed Jurgen and girlfriend Ines did visit us that summer, enroute for the sun. It is a beautifully built boat, built in an amazingly short time (8 months singlehanded) . Whenever we go on a Mira we are always amazed at the amount of room and the load carrying ability. Even with 2 dinghies, surfboards, bikes etc, Timena still floated above its marks. We sailed out to the Eddystone in the Wizard to see them off, and later heard that they had arrived in the Canaries, in fact Jorgen wrote

"when we left Plymouth we had two days variable head winds, followed by 2 days calm. But from Cape Finnisterre to Porto Santo we found real tradewinds, up to F7. The boat was often too fast even with the 3rd reef and no headsail" (In a postcard they reported sailing nearly 300 miles in 24 hours, not bad for a home built cruiser!)

"After 9 days at sea we reached Porto Santo which is a very nice small island; which is not over-crowded with tourists. After 8 days there we sailed on to Maderia. On this trip our Autohelm broke after 1990 miles and 2 months. We sent the junk back to Hamburg. It was then 45 hours/280 miles to Fueteventura, mostly in tradewinds. Nice. Now a holiday and painting the boat and of course some sailing between the islands with friends. I don't have to tell you that everyone is amazed about the nice motion on this boat. The cockpit is perfect here in the sun"

Timena has now sailed quite a distance from it's home port of Sylt Germany - over 10,000 miles in the last year visiting Maderia, Canaries, Caribbean and Venezuala. Then feeling a little "island sick" they wanted to see "some real civilisation" so sailed north to New York and Maine.

Reporting on his self steering Jurgen writes:
"The trim tab(on the rudder) is controlled by the Autohelm 4000 and steers the boat pretty well with very little power consumption. It's far better than the expensive servo pendulum wind vane gear which we used in the Atlantic trip. And its also 30kg lighter and more elegant. After Venezuala we sailed to Grenada and met Alan Nixon on his Windsong (built in Millbrook). Then up through the islands to the Bahamas. On the way there (630 miles) we had everything from force 0 to 8 including really big waves. But, since we had visited many other multihulls in the West Indies we know that we sail on a very strong and safe boat.

We saw many production catamarans with real structural problems after only a few years sailing. We are very surprised by the Bahamas. The islands are very nice with beautiful white beaches and good coral reefs for snorkling. The sailing is marvellous, especially going north with the SE trade winds. Often we sail in only 3-6 feet of water over white sand. Going in and out through the cuts in the cays and islands is no problem with only 2'9" draft. With a multihull you always find nice places without any other boats. Sailing between the islands is exciting and good fun for shallow draft cats with experienced crew. We like the Bahamas much more than the West Indies. Well, there is a small catch. Everything is very expensive.

We reached New York on 18th June. We anchored just in front of the Statue of Liberty, free mooring and good holding! But we've had lots of "English" weather, ie fog etc. Very often visibility was only 20m. Thank God for the GPS! Navigating in the New York harbour with 100 metres visibility is very exciting. Especially with all the big ships, tugs, high speed catamaran ferries and barges. But the city of New York is marvellous! It's worth all the hassle! But these cities are very expensive, so we sailed further north..."

In January Jurgen wrote: "We spent 6 months in the States and enjoyed the Western civilization. Now we are back in the Bahamas which are one of our favourite cruising grounds. The islands are nice and the people are easy and friendly. The lohsters are quite good and very easy to catch. Even the fish are easy to catch, and so are the coconuts. You see life is good in the Bahamas. But we plan to leave here in 2-3 weeks".

Then in April he wrote "We arrived in the Marquesas without any problems. From Balboa, Panama it took us 26 days, which is not very fast for the 3950 miles but we had some calm days which is the reason for "only" averaging 6.1 knots. The Pacific was not as nice as the Atlantic and we never had the "real trade wind weather". But the cat and crew were all right, except that we had some very nasty (3cm long) barnacles. After all the weeks at sea we really like to be in port again. The Marquesas are a very nice place for a land-fall because the islands are absolutely gorgeous and the people very friendly and laid back. We plan to spend the next few months in French Polynesia, Cook and Tonga before we sail in October to New Zealand."

Later "We are sailing again! Day sailing along the east coast of Australia is very good fun. Plenty of good anchorages and always S.E.trade winds (downwind). All the nice islands along the way do slow us down a bit. Our visas are running out in Australia so we may go to Bali for the surfing season. At the moment we do enjoy the sailing life so much that we will take it very easy on our way west." Latest news is that they are now in Thailand.

The Mira "Timena of Sylt" sailed by Jurgen and Ines Kruger nearly made it round the world.
"The boat was sold in Sicily. Tacking up the Red Sea and through the Med was not always fun. March and April in the Med was horribly cold for us "tropical softies". We were not very keen on sailing further to Gibraltar and home to Germany, especially as Ines is 7 months pregnant. We sold the boat for a very reasonable price. After 35000 miles the boat is still in perfect shape, actually as good as new and we never had any real problems with her.

Thanks again for the nice design job of the Mira. It was for us an almost perfect boat for the tropics. Fast, easy and cheap to build and safe, easy and fast to sail. What else can you ask for?"