Building a Gunboat 57

We weren't entirely sure how to sail around the world, so we thought the best way to learn about boating was to start by building a boat.  That led us down the path of working with a boat builder called Gunboat on developing a new series of catamarans built right here in the USA.  We thought it would take us 9 months.  Three years later, we found ourselves living in a boatyard, pregnant with our first daughter, and still not very close to finishing our boat.  That year, through a lot of sweat and manual labor in the yard, we barely got our boat south to Florida just before the boat builder crumbled into bankruptcy. 

Vandal is our home, our adventure wagon, and our first (and most ornery) baby.   Conceived by renowned multihull designer Nigel Irens ( and delivered by builder Gunboat International in Wanchese, North Carolina she was, and continues to be, a labor of love.  Like all newborns her first 3 years involved a good deal of teething and a vast amount of parental education, but 8,000 miles later she’s ready to leave her East Coast nest and stretch her legs in the Pacific!

When we launched in Wanchese, NC we had to cruise out of the Outerbanks in the middle of winter with icicles on deck.  By the time we arrived in Ft Lauderdale, we had lost or broken a number of important functionalities.  But we got to work, and spent then next month getting everything fixed (or so we thought).  At 7 months pregnant, we took our first cruising voyage to the Bahamas for a month before our daughter Zelda was born.  We've made many improvements over the years, but see below for a quick summary of Vandal's current design, layout and functionality. 

The Gunboat brand has since been revived under new management, and while you can no longer build a 57, Gunboat 68s are being made in France.  They are truly dreamy if you get the chance to check them out.


  • Dimensions:  57’ LOA, 25’ beam, 5’ fixed draft, 86’ air draft (note: boat does not fit under the bridge in Nassau, Bahamas; ask me about that story…).
  • Cabins/Heads: There are three queen berths on-board and two full heads with *real showers* and electric pump toilets.
  • Sail Package:  North 3DI main sail with three reefs, furling staysail, furling solent, and furling J1.  Aramid masthead A5 Gennaker (deep reacher) and fractional downwind chute (the big pink one).
  • Diapers:  7 per day for 215 days = 1,500!!  And wipes…  (trust me, we tried using cloth diapers for 6 works until it definitely doesn't work due to water-maker constraints on laundry and water filters being a precious commodity).
  • Power:  720 amp hour Mastervolt Lithium Ion battery bank (24volt).  2700 watts of Solbian solar panels on the coach roof (its good to be green!).  10 kilowatt Phasor genset.  Twin 140 amp hour (24 volt) house alternators on the Yanmars.
  • Propulsion: Twin Yanmar 39hp 3HJ5E diesels, running Seatorque shaft systems.
  • Fuel:  4 x 80 gallon tanks.
  • Water:  2 x 50 gallon tanks.  Spectra Catalina 300 water maker (12 gallons per hour).
  • Navigation:  B&G Zues chart plotter (touchscreen is amazing!), B&G 4G radar, and 2 x B&G H5000 autopilots.
  • Comms:  KVH V3 satellite connection, 4G cell booster, wifi booster, ICOM VHF.
  • Safety:  Revere valise packed 6-person offshore raft, ditch bag packed with everything from EPIRB and MRE’s to pirate eye patches and costumes (to keep the spirits up!).  Fire suppression systems in engine rooms and battery space, and handheld fire extinguishers everywhere.  A med kit that could supply a mini hospital.  Giant pink inflatable flamingo in case the liferaft malfunctions.
  • Tender:  Affectionately known as Vixen, a 12ft Highfield RIB with a 20 hp Yamaha on the back.  Really like this combo because its powerful enough to wakeboard behind but at 3375 lbs fully loaded it can still be dragged up and down the beach.
  • Wrap: Designed as a collaborative art piece by graffiti artist Mark Maher, creatives/furniture makers Ohio Design, and Bill Macgowan of Mac Designs who also did the installation - its basically a 3M sticker!

Charter Vandal

Vandal has never been available to charter...until now.  There may be the chance for a handful of lucky families or groups of approx. 4 people to charter her weekly or monthly with a Captain/Chef during the winter/spring of 2018/2019 in the New Zealand area.  If you are interested in being notified when Vandal is available for charters, please provide your contact with the inquire link below