July / August 2024

From Norway to Tahiti

Building a catamaran…and shipping it to paradise

Anne Nygren

The plan came to fruition in 2019 with BAREBARE’s arrival in Tahiti.

In February 2015, my husband, Leif Erik Irgens Ellingsen, and I were weather-bound in Cape Verde in our little ship, DVINA, a traditional gaff-rigged 43′ jakt anchored by the barren island Sao Nicolau. It had been blowing a gale for almost a week. One of our three anchors had failed, and we did not dare go ashore. It had, in fact, been almost a week since we had last left DVINA, and life on board was getting dull. We were halfway into a yearlong cruise and having a fantastic time. The trip was fun, hard work, and full of adventures. We had met like-minded people and had fascinating experiences.

I was engrossed in a very exciting book, sitting in the corner of the settee, and Leif Erik was at the other end of the table working on a project. I glanced up from my book now and then and saw cardboard, paper, pieces of wood, and glue slowly filling the table. After a while I looked up from my book. He looked back at me. “What are you making?” I asked.

“I really want to go to Tahiti,” he said. “Everyone says it’s so beautiful. “But it is so far away from Norway—halfway around the world.” Indeed, sailing there, and continuing on around the world in DVINA would take a long time—at least three years. “Let’s build a boat, in Norway, put her in a container, and send her to Tahiti,” he said. “We can then start sailing in Paradise.”

“What a crazy idea,” I said. “Let’s do it!”

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