ABOUT OUR BOAT
Infinity is a 120 foot ferrocement ketch built in 1977, as far as we know it is the largest ferro yacht ever built. Her captain, Clemens Oestreich acquired her in the 1990s and she has been his home ever since. Captain Clem has raised five children onboard Infinity and sailed countless miles on this character-drenched, homemade gypsy ship which over the years has seen hundreds of people call her home for a day, a week, a month, or in my case, a year. Infinity operates as a community where costs, work, chores and responsibilities are shared by all those onboard.
At 200 tonnes you would assume Infinity would sail like a floating pavement but powered along by her huge sail area and long waterline, we will regularly sit between 6-9 knots of boat speed under sail alone if we have a decent breeze of 15-25 knots. Often we find ourselves having to shorten sail to de-power her and I have seen Infinity sailing full pelt down a big North Pacific wave at 14 knots which is a sight to behold!
While we have a lot of space onboard, Infinity is all manual, with no autohelm or no electric winches. All our sails are hanked on so we must raise them manually which takes a lot of hard yakka and a lot of teamwork. We have no hot water or no heating except for our diesel stove in the galley which means bathing in polar regions involves a hot water bucket shower or a ‘refreshing’ polar plunge in the ice-cold sea and warmth onboard can be found by the stove, in the engine room when we are under motor or simply by rugging up in many layers. To anyone who has spent time on a modern expedition yacht, Infinity might seem pretty rough around the edges but she is strong and filled to the gunwale with character, while it takes a bit of adapting, she is actually a very comfortable vessel and perfectly capable of taking her eager crew to any far corner of the planet.
And that is exactly what her captain has done, having spent over 20 years sailing through the Pacific, Captain Clemens has sailed Infinity as far as the Ross Sea in Antarctica, all the way over to Tierra Del Fuego in Chile and I doubt there’s an island community in the Pacific that doesn’t recognise the sight of this big red-hulled ship and it’s long-haired captain.