Multichine 28 Fiu now with a third owner

The MC 28 Fiu was built by me with the help of my wife Eileen. The work took a few years to be concluded and the boat was launched in 2000. Our intention was returning to the South Pacific where we lived the best years of our lives. However things didn`t happen as wished and the boat was sold in 2007 to Roberto Roque, a Brazilian/Canadian sailing enthusiast who spends his summers in both hemispheres, never needing to endure the freezing cold Canadian winter. The season he stays in Brazil, where the boat is stationed, is spent cruising in tropical waters.

In 2015 he acquired the MC 34/36 Gibraltar, which is just Fiu`s larger sister, what confirms that he was pleased with his first boat, only missing more room for the family.

The history of the MC28 class is familiar among our followers, since we are regularly publishing notes of the many boats built to date and their owners` accomplishments. The older stories are saved in "Club link" in the MC28 page. Now with the class getting close to two hundred members, reporting the news doesn`t depend exclusively on us, and there are many stories that we don`t know. However we learned about Fiu having a new owner by e-mails sent to us by the characters of this event.

The MC28 Fiu was sold in 2007 to the Brazilian/Canadian of Italian heritage Roberto Roque, who changed her name to Stella del Fioravente. Now, in April 2015, the boat changed hands a second time, and the new owner will rebaptise her with the name Fiu. Courtesy: Roberto Roque

The transaction was informed to me by this gentle e-mail sent by Roberto Roque:

Hi Roberto Barros
" Alexandre, the new owner, will take good care of the boat. I was glad to find a buyer like him. In spite of the distance, since he lives in Salvador, about one thousand km north of Florianópolis, the present port of register of the boat, he has shown absolute commitment to keep the boat in Bristol fashion, and for that matter I`m ready to give him all the technical support he may need in the future. He is a young army officer, and so is his wife.

His case is similar to mine. He acquired the stock plans and from then on he found to be in a logistical dilemma because of his professional and family obligations. Then he tried to find a second-hand MC28 for sale, a task as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Who owns a MC28 doesn`t want to sell, except in a case like mine, when I just upgraded boats, going from the MC28 to her bigger sister, the MC34/36. He almost purchased a second-hand series produced single-skin fibreglass 26 foot sailboat, a huge coincidence, since I went still farther purchasing this very same model before acquiring your MC28

Two days after my advertisement was published in a specialized brokerage site, I received an enthusiastic phone call from him. For the chat we had in the occasion I am convinced he will take great care in upkeeping the boat, since the purchase is a dream come true for him.

Alexandre is a low profile person, and has a great respect for you, but I would like to tell him that you can become a good friend of his, as we became, in spite of the geographic distance between us, Canada, Brazil and now Australia. We never lost contact since we met in Rio when I went to deliver the boat to Florianópolis. I`m sure Alexandre will contact you despite being a shy person. Actually, more than shyness it is a large amount of respect for your work.

Roberto Roque".

MC 28 Fiu ready for receiving friends for a happy hour in Fernando de Noronha Island, during the 2003 Refeno Offshore Race. Eileen and I lived aboard Fiu for unforgetable two and a half years when we felt like being installed in a comfortable apartment.

The saloon in 2015. Nothing changed during the time the boat belonged to Roberto Roque. The dining table is large enough for six person to have a meal without feeling cramped. Courtesy: Roberto Roque

Fiu was designed to require the minimum upkeep possible, what is essential for me, since I consider that the cruising sailboat is conceived to give us pleasure and not to enslave us. This is the main secret of the boat. The photos inserted in the article alternate some taken when the boat belonged to us and equivalent ones taken in 2015. The boat practically didn`t change along the eight years since Roberto Roque bought her. They are so much alike that at first glance I thought Roberto was using my old ones. The only thing that showed some wear was the heads oval polished brass vanity basin, which is protected with a metal varnish. The basin flange varnish is a bit worn-out. Only this! The two Dutch art old tiles that decorate the galley counter lockers doors, a touch of decorative motif which is part of Eileen`s talent for making a cosy ambience, are there untouched. It seems as if the clock stopped ticking!

The M28 Fiu ten years ago. My wife Eileen preparing a fancy dinner for guest friends. We already published an article about the MC28 reporting that this project was developed around a galley sketch drawn by Eileen

The boat`s galley in 2015. If something changed, it was for the better. Where we had two sprouts for running water, now there are two residential taps for pressurized hot and cold water. Courtesy: Roberto Roque

One day after receiving Roberto Roque`s e-mail the new owner wrote me:

"Dear Roberto Barros

I don`t know you personally, however I had been following the steps of the Barros family, now Barros and Gouveia. It was when I was a teenager that I read "The fantastic adventures of the Maitairoa". After reading that book I decided I would build a boat to sail round the world.. I got enchanted by then for the `Cabo Horn 35`project shown in the appendix of the book as the "would be" successor for the Maitairoa design as the ultimate offshore cruising sailboat.

I was born and brought up at the city of Rio de Janeiro. When I was in my twenties I used to visit the legendary `Ajuricaba` joint venture, where a group of amateur boat builders constructed a series of yachts from your design studio, getting deeply thrilled with possibility of joining that group. However it was in 2000 Rio Boat Show, which took place in Marina da Glória, that I saw the MC28 Fiu, and being more realistic decided that the MC28 was the boat I would build. I only watched Fiu from the outside that day. Notwithstanding, not being worried of using a commonplace expression, I can assure you it was love at first sight!

In 2002 I had to change address, moving to Salvador in the Brazilian Northeast. Among the options I had at the time I chose there for being a coastal city where I could nurture my nautical aspirations, which were restricted to countless tipping over mishaps aboard my Laser dinghy when racing in Araruama Lagoon in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. By then life followed its destiny; I found my better-half, got married and now I have a son.

It was only in 2010 that I decided to purchase the MC28 stock plans so I could learn everything possible about the project, so I could in a more serious way to make plans for building it. I received the plans from Luis Gouveia, your son in law, sent on-line by e-mail. I studied very carefully every single detail of the plans, made endless accounts, only to conclude that it would require a radical change of course from my part, so I could manage to fulfil my dream. I neither had a place where I could built it, nor had the means to order the building to a renowned boatyard. So I decided to save the money necessary to make an acquisition of a second hand MC28. But I didn`t expect it was so difficult to find one for sale, especially here in the Brazilian Northeast. On the other hand it isn`t easy to accept a boat from another design once my decision was already made.

Two years ago my parents retired and came to live in Salvador. Now it is aboard his tiny day-sailer Krill. a Delta 17 kit which he just finished assembling that we enjoy gunk-holing in Todos os Santos Bay. These weekend sailings helped to make my wife a sailing addict. From then on we became totally committed in the search of our dream boat. After a few attempts to acquire anything the closest possible to the boat we had set our minds for, after almost purchasing a Delta 26 when we were starting to lose the hopes, we found the Stella del Fioravante advertisement. Without believing it could be true, I vacillated. The amount asked was a little above my means, the boat was too far from here and most probably it should be in other hands by then. I only made a phone call the next day, and even though because of my wife insistence for me doing so. The boat was still available! Thanks to an uncle, another sailing addict, who prompted himself to fly to Florianópolis to inspect the boat, we made the deal with Mr Roberto Roque, who was very polite with us.

I still can`t believe I found the model I had chosen, and besides, the boat having the pedigree of being built by her designer, a yacht that was object of desire of many dreamers like me. What responsibility that fell on my lap! The boat is in Bristol fashion! It will be a challenge to keep the high standard of upkeep that Mr Roque managed to attain. I take upon myself the commitment of keeping her in the same conditions without a blink, since for me sailboats aren`t simply consumers` goods available in shops, but friends whose loyalty require being conquered by means of attitude, and as so needing care and attention. I`m quite sure Mr Roque thinks in the same way.

The beautiful name Stella del Fioravante will remain being Mr Roque property. Even though he very gently informed me that if I wished to keep the name, that was up to me, I learned that the origin of the name is undeniably linked to his personal history. It came to my mind the possibility of going back to her original name, Fiu. Besides knowing its meaning in the Maori language, and feeling that it has everything to do with the boat, it would be a deference to her creator and builder. I bet that many supporters of the class would agree with my wishes. Besides, even though I`m not superstitious, it would be respectful to the nautical tradition about not changing a boat`s name. You never know...contradicting the rules of the marine entities might be a poor idea! I would do that only with your consent, anyway.

Excuse me for the long text, but it happens that I was a long time follower of the B & G Yacht design forum, and this time I`m contacting you directly. The key of the boat will always be at your disposal. I wish all the best for you and your family. Who knows if one day we can meet each other?

A big hug
Alexandre Rabello".

Such a kind e-mail deserved an equivalent response. I feel embarrassed for the gentle words, but I must admit Eileen and I worked hard to make Fiu a good boat to live aboard. My reply follows next:

"Hi Alexandre

I was glad to receive your e-mail and I`ll be honoured if the boat will be called Fiu again. It`s nice to know that the project was your personal choice since 2000, the year Fiu was launched. She has been designed and built having in mind an ambitious adventure, to return to the South Pacific, where I and my wife Eileen had been so happy during the most unforgettable experience of our lives, highlighted by the birth of our daughter Astrid in Papeete, Tahiti, a milestone in our lives. The whole preparation for the trip was done with no hurry, since professional obligations and the lack of funds obliged us to advance in a slow pace. The delay in concluding the work was prejudicial to us, since Astrid, our Tahitian daughter, was invited to work as engineer in a multinational specialized in oil production in Perth, Western Australia. The office from then on was run by my son in law Luis Gouveia, who you contacted when acquiring the MC28 plans. It was then that Eileen, felt that her age was starting to weigh and that she wasn`t fit enough to endure a journey of this magnitude. It was then that I decided to sell Fiu, being Roberto Roque the person who bought her.

I and Roberto Roque built a durable friendship along this time, for sure the ambassador being the brave MC28. Roberto Roque sold the boat to you because he fell in love to a larger sister of your boat, the MC36 Gibraltar, an enlarged version of the MC28. In November 2014 Eileen and I moved to Australia and now we are living at a stone throw distance from where the rest of the family lives. Your acquisition is reason for toasting from our part. Reminding the stories of the boat brought us good memories.

Just out of curiosity and for you to laugh a little bit. In the very day the advertisement was published I received an e-mail from a person telling me he wanted to buy the boat and asking me if he could count on me if he needed any information.. I answered him it would be a pleasure to assist him, if I could afford to answer it. It happens that Perth is eleven hours ahead in time from Brazil. When he opened his mail box Fiu had already been bought by you. Since the class is sort of a club, and as owners are interested in knowing what is going on with the sister-ships, I believe our tribe will enjoy learning about this latest news. Anything I can assist you in case you want to exchange opinions, you can count on me. It would be fantastic if one day we meet each other. Just to point out, there is a sister of your boat not so far from us. The MC28 Access is in Bay of Islands, New Zealand, and I wouldn`t be surprised if she calls at Fremantle in the near future.

Roberto Barros"

The MC28 principle was conceived aboard the boat I owned before building Fiu, the good old double-ender Maitairoa, a classic design I made for my own usage, which is now in Sèttes, French Riviera belonging to my friend Sandra Sautu who lives aboard her in the company of her two sons. At that occasion we were sailing in the Austral Ocean, having my family and a friend, Roberto Fuchs, on board. During the chilly night watches our interminable chat was about the ideas we wished to incorporate to this new design, with the intention of producing the best cruising boat we could think within the reach of the amateur builder, measuring less than thirty feet. This boat is the MC28!

Click here to know more about the Multichine 28.