He found out that the person who had commissioned the construction of the vessel wanted to remain anonymous but was ready to negotiate, based on the Buginese principle that all boats are always for sale, even before they are launched. This story, how a beautiful virgin was rescued from a hard life of carrying cargo became an important chapter in the history of Seatrek Sailing Adventures....She was baptized 'Katharina' and a French naval architect redesigned the superstructure and the interior of the hold....
The Bugis people of south Sulawesi, once feared as pirates, have always been the most skilful ship builders and sailors of Indonesia. Their vessels, perahu and phinisi were and still are hand-crafted entirely from timber.While the smallest perahu are fishing boats, the proud Phinisi or Bugis Schooners have been used for centuries as cargo-carriers, plying the ancient trade routes between the islands of the Malay Archipelago, carrying anything from lumber to coca-cola crates. The phinisi are elegant two-masted schooners with mainsails, top-sails and three jibs. Today, while still hand-built by native craftsmen from tropical hardwood and still with traditional rigging, they usually hold an engine in addition to the sails.
The construction of of a Phinisi hull always follows age old and well established design principles. What is most remarkable is that these huge handmade structures (in the case of Katharina a total weight of 300 tons of wood) are made without any drawings, fully relying on the intuitive craftsmanship of its builders as passed along through many generations. Contrary to western boatbuilding practice, the Bugis method of hull construction is to start with the planking and fit in the beams later.
Katharina is different from most traditional Phinisi's because she became a joint effort between western naval architects and traditional Bugis skills. The superstructure and the interior were redesigned to accommodate small groups of passengers for cruising in the Indonesian archipelago, offering an excellent standard of reliability, safety and comfort. Our spacious air-conditioned, en-suite cabins, the dining/ recreational area and the large deck-space with comfortable deck chairs and sun beds make the Katharina perfectly suitable for extended passages and leisure cruises.
Much attention is given to the vessel's maintenance, heeding to an annual docking period and periodical checks of all the technical installations on board. Two years ago we did a complete overhaul of all auxiliary systems and equipped Katharina with solar panels, wind generators and deep cycle marine battery systems. We wanted to make sure that the vessel would have the smallest possible carbon imprint.