We (Matt and Christine) live aboard this magnificent 47′ sailing catamaran.  We have slowly made this vessel our home and are thoroughly enjoying living and sailing around the world.

We spent 6 years sailing Sugar Shack between Trinidad and St. Marteen (2010-2016).  Each year, we spent 3 weeks sailing south for hurricane season (once to Trinidad and the rest of the time Grenada), then we’d spend 3 weeks in the spring sailing North (St. Lucia and St. Marteen).

It was really hard being away from Sugar Shack, so in 2016 we decided to live on the boat and work remotely in St. Marteen from January to June.  It went so well that we didn’t want to go back to the States, but alas, work called us home.

After lots of planning, we decided life was to short to not do what you love.  So, we sold everything and moved aboard Sugar Shack permanently.

We spent the early part of 2017 following the sailing regattas and even had a chance to participate in two of the races.  We sailed on a 70′ Santa Cruz in the St. Barth’s Les Voiles and came in 2nd place.  We also sailed aboard a 55′ Gun Boat in the Antigua Race Week and came in 2nd place in our class there as well.

We’ve sailed from the Caribbean to the ABC’s (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), then on to Columbia, Panama, through the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Galapagos, Chile (down the entire country), Robinson Crusoe Island, Easter Island, and French Polynesia (4 of the 5 archipelagos: Gambiers, Marquesas, Societies, and Tuamotus). We ended up spending 3.5 years in French Polynesia primarily due to the covid lockdown.

Once the lockdown was lifted, we headed toward Fiji where we spent 6 months exploring the islands (Lau, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Mamanucas, Yasawas) before crossing the Pacific to New Zealand.

In 2022 and 2023 we did major upgrades to Sugar Shack including new house lithium batteries, new dinghy and dinghy chaps, new main sail and genoa, new stack pack, new cockpit enclosure, new interior and exterior cushions, new wires/cables, ceiling panels and lighting and new stainless countertops.  Once we finished all of the work we enjoyed the absolutely pristine atolls of Minerva Reef (both the south and north atoll).  Then it was onward toward the Kingdom of Tonga. On our way back, we stopped by Fiji for a few months and landed back in New Zealand for a few more upgrades.

We hauled out at Norsand Boatyard and applied Coppercoat to the bottom, sealed deck/hull seam around the entire boat, caulked all of the new ceiling panels, countertops, and windows inside, fixed a few gel coat scratches, tried to better color match a few old repairs, replaced both rudders (brand new), did general maintenance on both engines, sail drives, damper plates, major maintenance on port engine (replaced hoses, belts, & waterpump, removed rust, repainted, changed oil (both P/S), replaced 4-large Moonlight hatch frames (2-engine, 2-bow peak) and 2 escape hatch Moonlight hatch frames and replaced all exterior graphics, stripes, logos with new, modern graphics.

What’s up next?  We are out exploring the NE tip of the New Zealand’s north island.  Follow along with us.

About us:

Matt & Christine Curacao 2017

In his former life, Matt was a computer geek.  Currently, Matt has a 50-ton captain’s license and handles all of the repairs on the boat including mechanical, technical, electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, and carpentry, to name a few.  He is also the master chef who creates amazing yummy concoctions daily.

Christine is a certified project manager and has worked as a Marketing Director for the past 17 years.  She enjoys an active lifestyle, being outdoors, being on the open water, and living the dream.  She thrives at being at the helm and assisting Matt with odd jobs.  She handles all boat management (accounting, budget, etc…), and is in charge of keeping the boat clean.  Including maintaining all the teak, stainless steel, water line and interior daily maintenance.

As a team, we compliment each other.  Providing support to highlight each other’s strengths, making each other laugh, and truly enjoying this blessed opportunity to live our dream.

How we Got Started:

We acquired several sailing certifications and spent years honing our skills on “svRuthless” (Catalina 47), “What-If (J-30),  and “Sea Flight” in Corpus Christi, Texas.  In addition we spent years on charter boats in the Caribbean.  Then we finally bought Sugar Shack in Turkey in early 2010.

After we enjoyed a few weeks of sailing off the Turkish coast, the boat was moved to the Canary Islands where we joined the crew to cross the Atlantic which took 18 days to get to St. Lucia.

Details on the Boat Equipment

Sugar Shack is a highly sought after owner version Catana 471, with very low engine hours and all the cruising gear a distance voyager could ask for. Her first owner sailed her lightly, just 10,000 miles, from the Med to Thailand. Her second owner sailed her back to the Med, where she was located in Turkey when we bought her.  She only had 1,500 engine hours, a clear indication she was lightly used and therefore shows excellently. She has an SSB with Pactor modem, updated electronics, a large Spectra water maker, plenty of solar, high output alternator’s on both engines, an electrical system that enables her to plug into just about any dock in the world, Raritan Marine Elegance Electric fresh-water Heads, and Frigoboat refrigeration.  The interior woodwork on Sugar Shack is an excellent condition and her headliners were replaced in 2023. She is truly one of the cleanest 471’s on the market, turn-key in every respect.

Additional Specs, Equipment and Information:

Builder: Catana Designer: Barreau
LOA: 47′ (14.3 m) LWL: 45.3′ (13.8 m) Beam: 25.3′ (7.7 m)
Displacement: 22,000 lb (10,000 kg) Draft: 3.5’/7.6′ Bridge Clearance: 70.6′ (21.5 m)
Engine(s): Twin MD-22 LB Engine(s) HP: 50 ea Engine Model: Volvo
Hours: 4600 Cruising Speed: 7.0 knots  
Fuel: Two 400 Liter Tanks Water: Two 300 Liter Tanks Holding: Two 50 Liter Tanks
Interior Accommodations

  • Main salon with extra large wrap around dinette that seats 8, with extensive storage underneath
  • Aft linear galley (see below)
  • Complete navigation station forward
  • Separate full size chart drawer under raised seating area
  • 12v LED lighting throughout, all with dimmers
  • Accommodations linked to cockpit by large sliding window above galley counter and adjacent sliding door
  • Starboard owner’s hull with king size berth aft (storage underneath), very large private head and shower area forward, wide hall with bench with storage, bookshelves, custom rails for shoe storage and laundry, and 3 linear meters of hanging and shelf lockers
  • Owner’s head has Raritan Marine Elegance electric head, with Sealand odor-safe house
  • Portside aft office with single berth that converts to double; office includes 2 desks, 6 desk drawers and 1 file drawer
  • Port forward cabin with double berth, bench seat, plus hanging and shelf lockers
  • Portside hall providing hanging and shelf lockers, plus common guest head and shower with Raritan Marine Elegance electric head
  • Total of 12 meters of bookshelves throughout the boat
  • Ventilation ports, with screens, in forward bulkheads

  • Aft galley with large kitchen stainless steel counter top (2023)
  • Two silent, highly efficient Frigoboat water-cooled refrigeration systems; 200 liter fridge and 100 liter freezer, each with its own independent compressor; 17 cm insulation in both boxes
  • Double stainless steel sink and stainless steel faucet (2023)
  • Stainless 3-burner Force 10 stove and oven with two 20-lb US propane tanks, one aluminum and one fiberglass
  • Ample storage under/above counters
  • Galley equipped with dishes, flatware, pots and pans, cooking utensils
Sails and Rig

  • Espace composite carbon fiber mast
  • North Ocean 370 3Di main sail (new June 2023)
  • Full batten main with Harken Battcars
  • North Ocean 370 3Di genoa sail (new June 2023)
  • Roller furling Genoa with Profurl
  • Forestay and main shrouds stainless wire. (April 2016).
  • All other shrouds stainless rod rigging with discontinuous terminals. (April 2016).
  • Tri-radial spinnaker with sock
  • Asymmetric spinnaker with sock
  • Parasail (125)
  • All reefing lines lead to cockpit and electric winch, thru array of Spinlock stoppers
  • Stackpack bag & dynema lazy jacks (June 2023)
  • Sunbrella winter mainsail cover
  • Halyards and reefing lines of Vectran; main halyard
  • Jib furler, topping lift, and spin furler (2017)
  • Jib sheets 12m double braid (June 2023)
Anchoring and Mooring

  • Lewmar Ocean v5 vertical windlass-capstan with remote control and additional extra-long remote control (2017)
  • Primary anchor: 30 kg Spade stainless steel (Oct. 2017)
  • Manta stainless steel swivel (Oct. 2017)
  • 100m 10mm stainless steel chain (Oct. 2017)
  • Secondary anchor: Fortress FX-37 w/ 15m chain and 50m black 3-strand nylon
  • Third anchor: additional 30kg Spade stainless steel
  • Hathaway Reiser Galerider drogue
  • 10 large mooring cleats
  • 6 large cylindrical F4 fenders with covers, 4 large A4 round fenders with covers, & 1 dinghy fender
  • Remote receptacle and control with long wire to activate windlass
  • Wireless remote control for windlass
  • Wired remote for windlass at Stardboard helm
  • 4 x 16mm x 10m black braided nylon mooring lines
  • 4 x 20mm x 12m black 8-plait nylon mooring lines with springs and chain loops for long-term moorage
  • 1 x 16mm x 40m black 3-strand nylon
  • 2 x 16mm x 25m black 3-strand nylon
  • Davit lines for dinghy (2016)
  • 2 mooring bridles with stainless chain hooks, (2023)
  • Extendable mooring hook with Happy Hooker mooring ball threading device
  • Boat hook 
  • Remote foot buttons to lift/lower anchor chain (not installed)

  • 8-person Viking Offshore liferaft
  • 8 life preservers
  • Floating horseshoe buoy with strobe and cover
  • Stainless lifelines (2016)
  • Teak grabrails & hand holds on ceiling of bimini
  • Standard Horizon waterproof hand-held VHF
  • Emergency tiller
  • Radar reflector 
  • (5) Fire extinguishers and (2) fire blankets
  • Floating Abandon-Ship bag includes:
  • ACR Rapidfix 406 GPIRB
  • Spare GPS (incl’d in electronics)
  • Complete set of flares
  • Plastic sextant
  • Complete first-aid kit
  • Signaling equipment
  • Drinking water container and bottles

All electronics were replaced in October 2017 due to a lightning strike.  Owners have a complete updated list.

  • CZone AC/DC System w/ 10″ and 5″ touch displays
  • B&G Zeus 3-7″ GPS & Plotter & Radar
  • ICOM M802 SSB w/ ICOM AT-140 antenna tuner with Shakespeare 23 ft whip, tied into twin Dynaplates
  • Pactor P4 Dragon SSB modem
  • B&G V90 VHF w/ remote speaker and handset at stbd helm
  • Fusion stereo system
  • Wet Sounds amplifier
  • Wet Sounds tower speakers and cockpit speakers (2023)
  • Raymarine ST60 wind (speed, apparent, true), depth, speedlock; remotes at helm stations and in cockpit
  • Raymarine Tridata ST60+ autopilot with remotes at both helm stations and nav station.
  • B&G 4G-19″ dome and R110 interface
  • Raymarine RS150 GPS
  • Vespermarine Watchmate Vision2 AIS
  • Airmar DST810 triducer: depth, sound, water temp. (2023)

Anything with a circuit board and most electronics were replaced in Oct. 2017.

  • Two 115 ah engine-starting batteries
  • (2) Mastervolt MLI 6000 Lithium House Batteries (Jan. 2023)
  • Heat Interface Link 1000 battery monitor
  • ChargeMaster battery charger, w/ seperate 230v shore power inlet and 25-meter heavy duty power cable (Oct. 2017)
  • Mastervolt Combi Master 12v 3000 watt inverter combined with 160 amp 115v battery charger, with separate 120v shore power inlet and 25-meter heavy duty power cable (Sept.2023)
  • Complete digital electric panel with all AC/DC functions (Oct. 2017)
  • Water and fuel gauges (Oct. 2017)
  • Eight Solara Ultra 150 watt solar panels, delivering up to 80+ amps in peak sunlight; located on hard bimini
  • Portable 2KW 230v/12v Honda generator (2016)
  • Smart plug
  • Junction box added in 2016
  • Two 60 amp alternators for separate charging of engine start batteries (Oct. 2017)
  • Two 130 amp Mastervolt alternators combined with Alpha smart regulators for charging house batteries (Oct. 2017)
  • 7 115v AC outlets, two 230v AC outlets, 5 interior and 1 exterior 12v outlets
  • 6 Hella 12v two-speed fans
  • Splendide combo washing machine in starboard hull
  • Two 20-liter hot water tanks with electric and engine heating
  • Two Eberspacher D10 Hydronic heating units, with fan radiators supplying warm air to all parts of the boat
  • Spectra 380 55 liter/hour watermaker with Zbrane, complete serviced 2012
  • Two Jabsco SensorMax VSD water pumps, 4.5 GPM 

  • Whitlock (Lewmar) mechanical steering
  • All winches black aluminum Harken self-tailing
  • Two 53 STA primaries for genoa
  • One 53 STA (electric) for all mainsail controls except mainsheet
  • Two 48 STA mainsail sheet winches
  • Two 44 STA winches for daggerboards, genoa furler and spinnaker sheets
  • One 44 STA winch for headsail halyards
  • Harken ball bearing blocks throughout
  • Two genoa travelers with moveable blocks
  • 21 Spinlock XC stoppers
  • 22 opening deck hatches and portlights of varying sizes, with screens
  • 2 large cockpit lockers, two large forward anchor lockers, 2 large sail/fender storage bow lockers
  • Teak toerails and handrails
  • Stainless steel pulpits and stanchions with stainless wire lifelines, and 2 lateral boarding gates with ladder-attachment receptacles on port side
  • Teak seats in bow pulpits
  • High comfort woven trampoline (spare, dynema trampoline, unused in storage)
  • Pressurized deck pump with selectable valve for fresh or salt water (2022)
  • Stainless steel swim ladder, teak steps
  • Transom shower (2022)
  • Aluminum davits with Spinlock stoppers
  • Highfield 360 CL and sunbrella chaps (June 2023)
  • C-Level outboard lifting strap with 6-part tackle

  • Bimini hardtop of sandwich construction mounted on white lacquered aluminum arch
  • Cockpit LED lighting with dimmer
  • Masthead tricolour navigation light, with strobe
  • Standard deck running lights as alternate
  • Combination foredeck/steaming light
  • Double thickness (80mm) PVC surface closed cell foam filled cushions for cockpit and nav seats
  • Exterior cushions recovered with Sauleda waterproof, stainproof fabric (June 2023)
  • Interior cushions recovered with macrosuede waterproof, stain resistent fabric (June 2023)
  • 2 folding deck chairs
  • 2 Sportaseats
  • 2 bean bags
  • Dress flags
  • Owner’s Manual for boat; original manuals for on board equipment
  • Folding aluminum passarelle with removable stanchions; can be used from starboard stern or either bow
  • Stainless steel side boarding ladder
  • Custom aluminum screens for main salon sliding window
  • Magma Catalina barbecue with adaptor for camping gaz and Sunbrella cover
  • Numerous electric and hand tools
  • Various spares
  • Remote control to activate electric winch in cockpit
  • Various fins, masks, snorkels
Interior Upgrades

Starboard hull

  • Interior bench cushion recovered (June 2023)
  • Ceiling panels and LED lights (June 2023)
  • Extra ventilation port in forward bulkhead

Port hull

  • (2) Interior bench cushions and (2) desk chairs recovered (June 2023)
  • 2 teak convenience shelves in forward guest cabin
  • Ceiling panels and LED lights (June 2023)
  • Fans in both cabins
  • Extra ventilation port in forward bulkhead
Main Salon

  • Gally counters replaced with stainless steel countertops, sink, and faucet (June 2023)
  • Interior cushions recovered with macrosuede (June 2023)
  • Ceiling panels and LED lights (new June 2023)
  • Navigation seat replaced, recovered (June 2023)
  • Teak paper towel holder
  • Teak binocular holder
  • Teak magazine rack near nav station
  • Four stereo speakers 
Exterior Upgrades


  • Sauleda Cockpit enclosure (June 2023)
  • Sauleda exterior cushions (3-bench seats, 2-helm seats) (June2023)
  • Sunbrella convenience bags and mooring line bags
  • Modified helm seats to improve comfort
  • Sunbrella covers for all winches
  • Front wind screen
  • Remote plug and control for main electric winch


  • HIghfield CL360 (June 2023)
  • Custom-fitted Sauleda chaps
  • Vinyl “winter” cover, Sunbrella daily cover
  • Filtration system for fuel
  • Installed custom-designed stainless steel heavy-duty lifting gear
  • 10mm stainless steel chain
  • Stainless steel cable locking fuel tank to dinghy
  • Stainless steel lock block locking outboard to dinghy
  • 25hp Enduro 2-stroke outboard (2016)
  • Deck
  • Sunbrella “winter” cover for main sail
  • Trampoline replaced in 2005
  • Trampoline spare (new, never installed)
  • Sauleda & phifortex window covers replaced Nov.2023
  • Stainless G50 10mm short link chain replaced 2017 (100 meters)
  • Bridle with stainless chain hook (new June 2023)
  • Stainless bow guards
  • Wet Sounds Tower Speakers (under princess seats) New Oct. 2017


  • Carboline barrier and anti-foul paint (May 2022)
  • Blue boot-stripe International hard scrubbable

Additional Upgrades

  • All electronics, including anything with a circuit board, batteries  (house and stater), alternators, solar panels, lights, ground tackle, and anything noted (Oct. 2017) replaced due to lightning strike
  • 2 Eberspacher D-10 Hytronic heaters with 6 fans to heat entire boat
  • Sauleda dinghy cover 
  • Sunbrella complete boat sun cover 
  • Boat sun cover
  • All lights are Led’s including masthead anchor and navigation lights 
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9 thoughts on “About

  1. Bianca Berends

    Hi Matt and Christine!

    We saw you guys enter the Spanish Water this morning when we were chilling on the beach and we immediately noticed your boat . Currently we own a motor home in the States but sailing a catamaran might be a next adventure on our list 🙂

    Thomas, my husband, googled the name and that’s how we found your blog.

    If you’re planning on staying on Curacao for a while, we would love to meet up, cook you a nice meal and maybe pick your brains a bit about your sailing adventures. We live just a few minutes from the Spanish water, so practically neighbours 🙂

    Let me know!


  2. Christine

    Hello Bianca!

    Thank you for reaching out to us. I apologize it has taken me so long to get back to you but our wifi connection has been spotty. We will be here for several weeks and would love to meet up with you. We have company on board until Sunday, but could meet with you early next week if that works for you both?

    We typically park our dinghy by Fisherman’s Harbor and can walk to meet you at a convenient location if you wish. You can reach out to me via email – christine@SVsugarshack.com

  3. Paul Swan

    I worked at Matt’s Mom’s house today, and we started talking about Costa Rica, and from there I shared that my wife and I have a sailboat, and Voila! Here we are. I’m registering for your blog, and am anxious to “catch up” with your journeys!

  4. Christine

    Hello Paul, welcome to Sugar Shack’s blog. Just so you know, our blog posts are usually 6-8 weeks behind real time. Partly because we don’t always have access to internet, but also because it takes awhile to get everything together. We hope you enjoy it.

  5. Melissa W Kenshalo

    Hello Sugar Shack, We met in 2017 in Bonaire and I have followed your journey–eagerly. We suffered a lightning strike in Chiapas, Mexico, where there are no services. We would like your document “Prevention and Preparing for a Claim.”
    Our boat is Dancing on the Edge, an Island Packet. We look forward to hearing from you. Melissa and Dan

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