Maitairoa in Antibes, French Riviera

Maitairoa is a custom boat we designed and built to be used by the Barros family in radical sailing adventures. In 2012 Maitairoa is completing the thirtieth anniversary of her launching. In spite of the long time since its completion, and the many ocean crossings she had accomplished, she still looks as good as in the day she was inaugurated.

Maitairoa sailing in the South Atlantic having aboard Roberto Barros, his family and their friend Roberto Fuchs. This photo was taken from Maitairoa’s tender, the 1.70m long dinghy nicknamed Mother’s heart, (there is always place for another one) during a lull at some five hundred miles offshore in the latitudes of Patagonia.

Being a double-ender of classic lines, but sporting a modern under-body with fin-keel and spade rudder, the boat is a wolf in a sheep’s skin. While she belonged to Roberto Barros, she accomplished several offshore passages, like sailing to Patagonia and crossing the Austral Ocean from South America to South Africa, rounding the lonely Inaccessible Island, and Tristan da Cunha, this cruise being one among many other sailing passages aboard her.

In 1990 Maitairoa was sold to the Polish geologist Jerzy Palka, who for personal reasons sold her to the young Argentinean physicist Sandra Sautu, at the time a single woman, who since the acquisition elected the boat as her permanent dwelling, at the first moment stationed in Marina da Gloria, Rio de Janeiro.
In the late nineties Sandra changed jobs, being appointed to be part of the team of a renowned research laboratory in Trieste, Italy. Guess what means of transportation Sandra chose to take her to the old continent? Of course it had to be aboard the good, old, Maitairoa.

This trip she made in the company of Axel, a friend of her who is also a kin sailor. They chose the traditional route, sailing with the wind trend, first to the Caribbean, and then to Azores, and from there to the Mediterranean, bound for Trieste, their final destination. When her contract expired, a couple of years later, they sailed to Antibes, in French Riviera, where Maitairoa is stationed since then. After some travelling and increasing the family in number, Sandra returned to her only true home, and is living aboard with her family since a long time.

Our friend Max Hammers was a crew during the crossing from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town. This trip took place during the summer of 1985.

About twenty years after her acquisition Sandra sent us this photo of Maitairoa showing that the boat is looking as in good state of upkeep as when she was new. Sandra, who was a single woman when she bought the boat, now has her family established. Both kids, Calypso and Sansom were born aboard. The elder daughter and the toddler Sansom found living aboard Maitairoa to be as snug as a bug in a rug.

The thirty foot Maitairoa thirty years later. Sandra takes care of her boat with the same passion the Barros family did when the boat belonged to them. The canoe stern is her trade mark, being proven as a seaworthy arrangement, especially when she crossed the Austral Ocean, when on occasions she sailed bare pole at eight knots or more without a drop of green water flooding the cockpit.

Calypso, Sansom and Sandra toasting their happy life aboard Maitairoa. The photo shows that the boat looks practically the same as when she belonged to the Barros family. This photo was taken in 2012. It can be noticed that even the table drawers’ knobs are original, and the two oil paintings decorating the saloon bulkhead were kept in the same place.

Calypso and Sansom doing their home-work. This couple of sea kids will have a strange feeling if they happen to stay on land without the rocking of the boat.

Since we are specialists in cruising sailboat design intended for families to live aboard, it’s quite rewarding for us to know that our friend Sandra does just that. And if we add to this story all that the boat had already endured, then it is reason for great pride.
Our main concern when we develop a project is that the boat we are designing will be long lasting, requiring the minimum maintenance possible, no matter if it has to endure heavy duty missions. We believe a cruising sailboat shouldn’t be a disposable consumer’s good, and this Maitairoa is proving to be absolutely possible.

In time, Sandra retired from the physicist career, obtained a captain’s license and now is giving sailing lessons and doing an occasional charter with Maitairoa. Sandra’s e-mails are ou