In 1997 when we finished three years of working in Europe, we bought Icarus, a seven-year-old, thirty-nine foot sailing catamaran on the French coast of the Mediterranean.
He had been owned by a couple of airline pilots, and thus the name Icare, the French version of the name of the Greek mythic hero who flew too close to the sun and plunged into the sea when the wax holding his wings together melted. There is something in his shape that suggests a flying saucer as well, so we thought the name appropriate and simply changed it to the English version.
He was in need of a good deal of work as he had been somewhat abused in his prior life, so we took him to Gibraltar where we spent about six months refitting and reconditioning him in Sheppards Boatyard, founded in 1832 and famous through a good deal of 19th century naval history.
Icarus was spacious above all—probably equivalent in interior space to a sixty foot monohull sailboat. Each hull had two staterooms and a bathroom or ‘head’ complete with toilet, sink and shower.
We converted one of the staterooms to a storage area for spare parts, extra gear and our two folding bicycles (which did wonders for extending our range on shore). The two hulls were connected by a huge outdoor cockpit
where all the sailing lines led and from where we steered, handled sails and managed the engines. Icarus carried a genoa and a mainsail with a combined area of about 850 square feet of sail. We sustained thirteen knots (almost sixteen mph) in the Strait of Bonifacio between Sardinia and Corsica, but one of the prior owners said that they once sustained eighteen knots in a race.
Since it had a huge ‘bimini’ or overhead awning, this is where we ate most of our meals and spent most of our time when sailing.
Also spanning the hulls ahead of the cockpit was the galley, complete with refrigerator, stovetop and oven and with a door to each side to the cockpit,
and the saloon itself with windows above the huge table and couch that swept across the entire saloon and gave a view to everything forward.
Between the hulls ahead of the saloon was the chain locker with 300 feet of chain and the anchor, and stretching all the way to the very front of the hulls was an enormous trampoline that children loved to bounce on and a certain nephew always slept upon when on board. Hidden under one of the bunks was a water maker that converted salt water to fresh so we were never threatened with thirst. There was an eighteen horsepower diesel engine in each hull that made him extremely maneuverable given his twenty-one foot beam. He could spin in his own length and perform ‘Med moorings’ to the envy of friends with monohulls. He also carried a twelve foot hard bottomed dingy between the hulls to the rear of the cockpit with a twenty horsepower outboard engine. ‘Zipper’ could really fly!
While we usually went into a port at least once a week for supplies, our happiest times were anchored off some beautiful piece of the Mediterranean coast, here Turkey
and here three spots in Italy: