Claus, owner of a First 36

“Cruising suddenly became more fun“

Claus is originally Danish, but has been living in Monaco since the age of seven. This is also where he keeps his new boat – a BENETEAU First 36.

Claus is a lifelong sailor, but racing was never his thing. Instead, he enjoys the Mediterranean waters for other reasons.

"I was a bit bored – I have been windsurfing a lot throughout my life, so I know the feeling of planning and wanted a boat that could bring some more excitement – you know, this special feeling. Also, I like to extend my cruising radius to be able to reach more places. I wanted to go faster. I knew that my new boat should not be any bigger, I appreciate the size, partly because I sail alone a lot and partly because a boat this size actually has everything I need."

"And now I have found a good boat for exactly this. So far, I haven’t been sailing above 20 knots of wind, but I have already reached a boat speed of 13 knots. And the feeling is similar to windsurfing; it feels like a giant windsurfer with a sail area of 100 square meters. And at the same time, it’s a very safe boat. You feel comfortable, even at high speeds like that. Maybe the twin rudders help, but whatever it is, the boat is really easy to control when planning. Since I sail a lot singlehanded, I love to follow the Vendée Globe, there’s a lot of focus on the race here in Monaco. It’s very inspiring, and I feel like I can have a little taste of it myself with this boat. It’s obviously not an IMOCA, but I feel that I have access to sailing experiences that otherwise has been available only for professional sailors. And to have that in a boat with a full cruising interior below deck, well, that is something really special. As I said, I feel that I have found everything I want with this boat."

Claus’ style of sailing is a combination of cruising over a few days and shorter day sailing.

"Actually, I do quite a lot of day sailing. I can easily do it all alone. Sometimes I have friends coming along, and sometimes we don’t even leave the harbour; we just use the boat for a nice evening in the cockpit, having drinks and enjoying the boat and the surroundings."

The boat is still new and the boat/owner relationship still young, but so far, Claus has made two longer trips. One was sailing along the coast to Porquerolles, probably his favourite island: “It’s very beautiful, lying outside of Hyéres”, he says. “It’s 70 nautical miles to go there, and I had around 15 knots of wind – upwind as well as downwind, all of it very enjoyable. Porquerolles is my favourite place when I’m there, I see no reason to go to the Caribbean. It has crystal clear water, beautiful nature, the people are nice… so now my ambition is to make the trip in less than ten hours.”

"Another dream is to sail to Corsica. The nearest port is Calvi, about 90 nautical miles. My personal best so far is 14 hours, and I’d like to beat that time with this boat. The longest trip I took with my last boat was from Monaco to Sardinia, about 250 nautical miles, passing Corsica on the way… I could imagine doing that again on this boat. But I love short trips too, I really like sailing all day and then finding a nice bay and dropping the anchor. We use that a lot here: To spend the evening and night on the hook and move on the next day. That’s actually my preferred way of sailing."

Claus usually sails his boat with a Code Zero rigged and ready. With this setup, he can handle everything from the cockpit, no matter the wind angles. Especially when singlehanded, that’s a huge advantage.

Usually, I rig the Code Zero while I’m still in the harbour, and when sailing, I just unfurl and furl it as needed. I have to say, this is an amazing experience for me! Before, I had a classical spinnaker, and I rarely used it, it was just too much trouble getting it up and down. Now I use the Code almost every time I sail, and it’s always great fun and very easy to do. I see this as no less than a revolution. It really makes a big difference.

So what else is it about his boat that really stands out in his experience?

"I love standing at the wheel, with the open transom just behind me. It feels like the following wave is just below my feet. When the conditions are good, it kind of resembles the feeling I get when I’m windsurfing. I can steer up and down the wave as I, please… it’s fantastic to be able to do that in a boat this size. Also, as a cruising boat, it’s well thought out. There’s everything you need and even a lot of storage, especially in the cockpit, where it’s most needed. I have to say, I also like the vibe around the people who created this boat. They seem to be really happy and proud of what they have achieved. You can sense the passion behind it all."

And the future? Claus stops to think.  

"We all have a dream of sailing around the world”, he says, “but I have been happy sailing in this area for 30 years. And if I can expand my range a bit, maybe get to Greece or around the bigger islands, I’d be very happy. There’s no need to go far away, the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. Actually, I find great pleasure just being on board, maybe sharing a bottle of wine with friends in the evening and seeing the sunset over the mountains. The way I see it, that’s about as good as it gets."

Published on 02.01.2024