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 the last 7 1/2 years sailing Sugar Shack between Trinidad and St. Marteen.  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), Columbia, Panama, through the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Galapagos, Chile (down the entire country), Robinson Crusoe Island, Easter Island, Gambiers Archipelago (Mangareva, Totetegie, Taravai), and the Society Archipelago (Tahiti, Mo’orea, Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a, Bora Bora).

What’s up next?  We will sail from Tahiti to the Tuamotus then the Marquesas for Cyclone Season.  We look forward to sharing our adventures with you.

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, 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 2017. 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: 3300 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, 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 heads, 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 with 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 counter top
  • 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 sink with covers
  • 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
  • Forestay and main shrouds stainless wire.  Replaced April 2016.
  • All other shrouds stainless rod rigging with discontinuous terminals. Replaced April 2016.
  • Full batten main with Harken Battcars
  • Roller furling Genoa with Profurl
  • Tri-radial spinnaker with sock
  • Asymmetric spinnaker with sock
  • All reefing lines led to cockpit and electric winch, thru array of Spinlock stoppers
  • Sunbrella lazy bag with lazy jacks
  • Sunbrella winter mainsail cover
  • Halyards and reefing lines of Vectran; main halyard new 2007
  • Jib furler, topping lift, and spin furler new 2017
  • Mainsail, genoa and spinnaker sheeets of pre-stretched polyester.
Anchoring and Mooring

  • Lewmar Ocean v5 vertical windlass-capstan with remote control and additional extra-long remote control (new 2017)
  • Primary anchor: 30 kg Spade stainless steel (new Oct. 2017)
  • Manta stainless steel swivel (new Oct. 2017)
  • 100m 10mm stainless steel chain (new Oct. 2017)
  • Secondary anchor: Fortress FX-37 w/ 15m chain and 50m black 3-strand nylon
  • Hathaway Reiser Galerider drogue
  • 10 large mooring cleats
  • 6 large cylindrical fenders, with covers, 4 large A4 round fenders, and 1 dinghy fender
  • Remote receptacle and control with long wire to activate windlass
  • 90 meters stainless steel 10mm chain (spare)
  • 30kg Spade (stainless steel) anchor (spare)
  • 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 replaced 2016
  • 2 mooring bridles with stainless chain hooks, replaced 2016
  • Extendable mooring hook with Happy Hooker mooring ball threading device
  • Stainless boat hook new 2017
  • Remote switch to lift/lower anchor chain at Starboard helm station
  • Remote foot buttons to lift/lower anchor chain at mast/bow

  • 6-person Winslow Offshore liferaft
  • 8 life preservers
  • Floating horseshoe buoy with strobe and cover
  • Stainless lifeline replaced 2016
  • Teak grabrails on ceiling of bimini and above main salon entry door
  • Standard Horizon waterproof hand-held VHF
  • Emergency tiller
  • Radar reflector 
  • 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 with salon, cockpit speakers, bow speakers (Wet Sounds Tower Speakers)
  • Wet Sounds amplifier
  • 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

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

  • Two 115 ah engine-starting batteries
  • Eight OEM 12 volt AGM batteries 115 amp/h each (new Oct. 2017)
  • Heart Interface Link 1000 battery monitor
  • ChargeMaster battery charger, w/ seperate 230v shore power inlet and 25-meter heavy duty power cable (new Oct. 2017)
  • Mastervolt MASS Combi 12v 2000 watt inverter combined with 100 amp 115v battery charger, with separate 115v shore power inlet and 25-meter heavy duty power cable (new Oct. 2017)
  • Complete electric panel with all AC/DC functions (new Oct. 2017)
  • Water and fuel gauges (new 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 (new 2016)
  • Smart plug
  • Junction box added in 2016
  • Two 60 amp alternators for separate charging of engine start batteries (new Oct. 2017)
  • Two 130 amp Mastervolt alternators combined with Alpha smart regulators for charging house batteries (New Oct. 2017)
  • 7 115v AC outlets, two 230v AC outlets, 5 interior and 1 exterior 12v outlets
  • 6 Hella 12v two-speed fans
  • Splendide washing machine in stbd 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
  • 3 large cockpit lockers, two large forward anchor lockers, 2 large sail/fender storage 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- new in 2010
  • Pressurized deck pump with selectable valve for fresh or salt water
  • Stainless steel swim ladder, teak steps
  • Transom shower
  • Aluminum davits with Spinlock stoppers
  • Avon 3.4 RIB with custom-fitted chaps
  • C-Level outboard lifting strap with 6-part tackle

  • Bimini hardtop of sandwich construction mounted on white lacquered aluminum arch
  • Cockpit 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
  • 2 folding deck chairs; 2 Sportaseats
  • 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
  • Stand up paddle boards (2)
  • Bean bags (2)
  • Folding Chairs (2)
Interior Upgrades

  • Starboard hull
  • Interior bench cushion replaced 2010
  • Extra ventilation port in forward bulkhead
  • Port hull
  • Interior bench cushions (2), desk chairs (2) replaced 2010
  • 2 teak convenience shelves in forward guest cabin
  • Extra ventilation port in forward bulkhead
  • Main Salon
  • Interior cushions on dinette and nav chair replaced 2010
  • Teak paper towel holder
  • Teak binocular holders
  • Four stereo speakers replaced 2010
  • Teak magazine rack near nav station
Exterior Upgrades

  • Cockpit
  • Sunbrella exterior cushions (3-bench seats, 2-helm seats) replace 2010
  • 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
  • Dinghy
  • Installed custom-designed stainless steel heavy-duty lifting gear
  • Custom-fitted Sunbrella chaps
  • Vinyl “winter” cover, Sunbrealla daily cover
  • Filtration system for fuel
  • 10mm stainless steel chain
  • Stainless steel cable locking fuel tank to dinghy
  • Stainless steel lock block locking outboard to dinghy
  • 2016 25hp Enduro 2-stroke outboard
  • 2007 8 hp mercury 2-stroke outboard (spare)
  • Deck
  • Sunbrella “winter cover for main sail
  • Trampoline replaced in 2005
  • Trampoline spare (new, never installed)
  • Sunbrella window covers replaced 2013
  • Stainless G50 10mm short link chain replaced 2017 (100 meters)
  • Bridle with stainless chain hook
  • Stainless bow guards
  • Wet Sounds Tower Speakers (under princess seats) New Oct. 2017
  • Bottom
  • SeaHawk Micron 99 blue (New Oct. 2017)
  • 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 “new Oct. 2017) replaced due to lightning strike
  • 2 Eberspacher D-10 Hytronic heaters with 6 fans to heat entire boat
  • Sunbrella dinghy cover i
  • Sunbrella complete boat sun cover 
  • Boat sun cover
  • New mainsail cover i
  • Renovate and resew genoa- 2009
  • 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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