Phefo - Sailing Catamaran and Lifestyle

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Phefo is about a natural live style based on simple values and ways.  It means living on a boat that can sail without restriction between 50 N and 50 S. It is a leisure activity in which all the participants are involved on a volountary basis.

It is an experience of freedom and independance made by all on board who help the boat reach places that are rarely visited. Sailing on the seas is an unique way to visit places unspoilt by tourism, to meet people in small places there your enthusiasm and friendliness are valued more than your bank accound.

This is neither a charter boat, nor a  hotel, a restaurant  or a mean for the captain to feel important  or get rich. It is also no employment and no sailing school. It is a private leasure activity by like minded people.

A boat by definition is a place where everything renews itself day after day, everyday something new to do, learn, explore, see, understand or figure out.

Living on Phefo means enjoying not having a schedule to adhere to, a set border, a predigested route, but going with the flow of nature and chance. Whether a reef teeming with colorful life, a village where few or no westerner has been before, a new challenge with some boat project, Phefo wants to thread lightly, and everything is done to avoid pollution.

Loving nature, cultures, being excited at a horizon concealing new adventures and questions, making it through the challenges that sea voyaging poses on a daily basis is, makes your time aboard unique and memorable.

Our average day includes a mix of good sailing, swimming, hiking, snorkeling, reading, relaxing,  music, discovering, exploring, tasting and maybe surfing, climbing etc. in some beautiful and amazing location. But it also can be a mix of frenzied action, hard work, hours of tedious slow sailing in a sweltering calm day, hours of gazing at waves, stars, birds or beaches.  It can mean waiting for engine spares, or struggling to fix something with some creative solution.

About  the sailing catamaran Phefo

Phefo (pronounced p'hefo) is a composite sailing catamaran, based the the Tangaroa Mk IV design by James Wharram. She is a fairly dated but also very sturdy and proven kind of vessel. With modern materials, she could prabably be constructed lighter and in less time. But structural strength can be critical.

Phefo has been built in the arid climate of the African high plateau, at 4,000 foot above sea level. Average humidity is below 40 %, ideal conditions for composite epoxy structures. Transport to the sea (a very long way) was in 3 hauls. Everything was built in DIY mode, inclusive masts (glass/epoxy), solar panels and LED's. That explains the extended building time.


  • length over all 39 foot
  • lengh waterline 32 foot
  • beam of each hull 6 foot 8 inch
  • beam over all 21 foot
  • weight lightship 3 tons
  • draft 2 foot 4 inch
  • berths 1 large double, 2 minimal double, 1 single
  • cabins 2 (one in each hull)
  • watertight sections 4 in each hull
  • diesel tranks 4 x 75 liter (2 each hull), epoxy
  • diesel day tank for stove 22 liter
  • water tanks 4 x 75 liter (2 each hull), epoxy
  • water day tank for galley and heads 24 liter
  • galley total 9 foot counter length plus stove, with sink
  • Dickinson diesel stove 'Bering' with central heating of hulls
  • cold and hot fresh water plus sea water in galley and heads
  • fixed table for 6 in deck salon
  • wheelhouse in deck salon superstructure
  • heads with shower, toilette and bidet in deck salon
  • Peltier cooled fridge 2 x 40 W Peltier chips, heat sinks, fans
  • Solar panels 280 W, 500 W wind turbine, batteries 400 Ah
  • day tanks 25 l water, 23 l diesel for stove, 50 l diesel for engine
  • two independent wind vane self steering systems
  • No through hull fitting below water line
  • 2 diesel outboard engines 2 x 10 kW
  • full ship rigging with square sails of 5 courses of 3 m2 on 4 identical free standing masts, total 60 m2 (which is 50 % more than standard workind sail area) with skysails displayed. Will go to windward and can be sailed single handed. Aero dynamics like Maltese Falcon.
  • each mast carries the following sails (each square rigged and each measuring 3 m2): course sail, top sail, top gallant, royal, skysail. Each sail can be reefed independent of all others.
  • construction composite throughout with marine ply, glass and epoxy, epoxy coated and polyurethan finish above water line.
  • building time (from scratch, raw planks) 10,000 hours +
to building Phefo

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test sail for Phefo

The junk rig was one of the sail options tested by the Phefo team

Phefo's starboard hull

Phefo's starboard hull in the early morning sun

dinghy for Phefo

Pefli, tender to Phefo

copyright Dr. Hans Ulrich Hammig