“We love everything about our boat. It’s a proven bluewater cruiser, capable of comfort without sacrificing safety and performance… Hylas has a great reputation and we also liked the fact that they are still making boats today.“
SV Noulli, Hylas 44′
Interview with the Captains — Stuart and Brooke McFarlane
On Long Range Cruising
Can you share a bit about yourself and how you came to live-aboard the SV Noulli?
Ahoy! We’re Stuart (31) and Brooke (29) McFarlane, and we’re originally from Johns Creek, Georgia. Stuart works in Technical Sales, and Brooke is a Freelance Online Teacher. We have a Jack Russell Terrier named Kuda, and he is the best boat dog! Stuart has raced/sailed since he was 8 years old, but Brooke began sailing in 2009. We spent our time sailing on Lake Lanier in Georgia with our 1996 Beneteau 321. We made a plan in 2016 to live aboard a sailboat, and the planning actually began with our wedding. We decided to have an unconventional, tiny wedding with only 13 people. By design, our honeymoon cost more than the entire wedding itself! For our honeymoon, we chartered a 51.5 Beneteau in St. Lucia through The Moorings charter company. We proved to ourselves that we could handle a large boat with just the two of us. After that successful honeymoon trip, we decided that our first “house” would be a sailboat. We made many sacrifices and moved in with the in-laws to save as much money as possible. January 2019 we sold our Beneteau on the lake, and began boat shopping. By June 2019 we found our Hylas in Annapolis and sealed the deal.
We know people usually purchase their boat and begin cruising right away, but we wanted to give our cruising kitty a boost before moving aboard. From July 2019-October 2020 we continued saving money while the boat was stored on the hard until we were ready to move aboard. As much as it killed us to put our newly purchased baby in storage, we are so grateful we purchased her when we did; pre-coronavirus. Once coronavirus hit, it raised the prices of many boats we were considering, and limited the supply of bluewater boats we were looking at. Stuart’s job became remote and Brooke was already teaching online, so we saw no need to “quit our jobs” before moving aboard.
Driving 5 hours from ATL to HHI to work on the boat wasn’t ideal, so from October 2020 – November 2020 we lived in our parent’s fifth wheel camper in Hardeeville, SC and began the process of restoring our boat back to its original glory. A year and a half on the hard took a toll on our gal, and she needed some work done before we could splash. On December 7th, 2020 she splashed and we moved aboard immediately! We’ve been loving boat life ever since. We have the sailing part down, but are still new to this wild and fulfilling cruising life.
Where have you sailed so far, and where are you heading next?
With our current vessel, her biggest adventures still await! After we purchased her, we sailed her from Annapolis, Maryland to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. After getting out of the Chesapeake, we spent 3 days offshore, rounded Cape Hatteras, then pulled into the ICW at Moorehead City, North Carolina before continuing down the ICW to Hilton Head. Pre-coronavirus, we planned to begin sailing the Caribbean, but now with the uncertainties of travel and safety we’ve decided to spend 2021 exploring the east coast. Eventually, once travel restrictions become a little less intense, we plan to slowly circumnavigate.
Before we bought our Hylas, we spent every day possible sailing on Lake Lanier, and went on several bareboat charters to the Caribbean. We are grateful for the experiences we’ve had, and know that we are lucky.
Charters we’ve completed together:
-2011 BVI touched almost every island – on a Beneteau 51.5
-2013 St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Barths – on a Leopard 4800
-2016 St. Lucia, Bequia, St. Vincent, Union Island, Tobago Cays, Mayreau, Petit St Vincent on a Beneteau 50.5
-2017 St. Martin, St. Barths, St. Kitts, Nevis – on a Leopard 3900
-2018 Grenada, Ronde Island, Frigate Island, Carriacou, Petit St Vincent, Tobago Cays, Petit Tabac, Union Island, Mayreau – on a Benteau 48.4
We can’t wait to get back to the Caribbean with our own vessel, hopefully during the 2021-2022 season.
Could you share a memorable story from your sailing adventures so far?
Pre-Hylas days: On our honeymoon trip, we decided to anchor in Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent. We met a local named Jeffrey. Jeffrey took us in like family and brought us to his mother’s house. He serenaded us with music and his mom fed us the best homegrown meal I’ve ever had. Everything on our plate was grown in their yard and tasted heavenly. Jeffrey took the time to explain to us how St. Vincent had no speed limits, and not many laws were enforced on the population. He explained the carefree way of life to us and we were ready to buy a plot of land (kidding, but not lol). It was an eye opening experience, and we learned so much in our short time hanging out with Jeffrey. We look forward to the day when we can visit him again, this time with our own vessel-not a charter boat.
With our Hylas: On the way from Annaoplis to Hilton Head Island, after a brutal 3 days offshore, we were both seasick and sleep deprived. We decided to pull into the ICW at Moorehead city. We were so thrilled to be still and anchored, that we didn’t even think about the fact that it was the 4th of July. By chance, we ended up anchoring right in front of the firework display. It was magical!
Most under-rated piece of equipment for long-range cruising?
Having a water maker, solar panels, and the ability to be self sufficient/off grid was important to us. Safety was also crucial and we purchased the proper life jackets, harnesses, and medical equipment. Our families were able to sleep at night knowing we would ping our location with our Garmin inReach every 4 hours when we changed shifts. I also love my WonderWash hand crank laundry “machine.”
Do you have any other notable resources you use (apps, devices, etc)?
-The facebook group called “ICW Cruising Guide by Bob423” We downloaded Bob’s tracks onto an app called AquaMaps. AquaMaps is awesome and you can pay for extra features.
-2 iPads, 2 phones with 1 sim card on Verizon and 1 sim card with AT&T, 2 laptops, 2 chartplotters, handheld GPS, AIS, EPIRB, tons of paper charts and guide books in the nav table, SSB radio, Garmin inReach, VHF and handheld VHF
-Other facebook groups have been helpful too, such as the “World Sailing Cruising Routes” group
About Your Boat
Why did you choose to buy a Hylas?
We love everything about our boat. It’s a proven bluewater cruiser, capable of comfort without sacrificing safety and performance. It has a keel stepped mast, a full skeg hung rudder, and modified fin keel. Hylas has a great reputation and we also liked the fact that they are still making boats today. After we purchased her, we registered our ownership with Hylas on their website and received an email from the company telling us to call them if we ever need anything. Here’s a snippet from their website:
“At Hylas, we value our owners and see them as members of an extended Hylas family. After 40 years of building award-winning yachts, we recognize the importance of using quality materials and proven construction techniques, along with strict quality-assurance controls during the boatbuilding process. We understand that we need to exceed the demands of an increasingly sophisticated and educated customer with quality, durability and fresh design in each yacht. We also pride ourselves on our reputation for customer service. We are committed to your satisfaction during a lifetime of ownership. We value your experience as a Hylas owner. We invite you to register so that we will have a closer connection, whether it’s sharing company news, feedback on your yacht, or even ways we can improve our company.”
What other kinds of boats did you consider before buying this model (and how did they compare)?
Our requirements: 1980s-early 1990s, full skeg rudder, keel stepped mast, proven bluewater boat, no leaky teakys (no teak deck), cutter or ketch rig
-Tayana 42 CC
-Hans Christian 40
-Sparkman & Stephens 47
-Hardin Ketch 44
The other boats we looked at were seaworthy, but not in the greatest shape. We wanted a boat that already had most off-grid systems installed (water maker, solar panels, davits, etc). Also, previous owner boat maintenance was at the top of our list. It was obvious when a boat was not maintained well. When we walked onto our boat, she was just about pristine. The survey came back with very minimal issues – rebedding hardware, and installing a vent for the battery bank was about it. The previous owner was an electrical engineer and took excellent care of it. When we watch the video we made of us stepping aboard for the first time, the word you hear us say over and over is “immaculate.” It took our previous owner only two and a half weeks to sell the boat (precovid) and we felt extremely blessed to find her and snag her.
How did you come to find/locate her before purchasing (and what’s the boat’s history if you know it)?
We used websites like sailboatlistings.com, yachtworld.com to search for boats we liked. Finding a boat north of the Mason-Dixon line was a plus, but not necessarily a requirement. If a boat was located in Florida for most of its life, we weren’t as interested as a boat that lived most of its life in colder climates. We used the previously mentioned websites to figure out what we wanted, then we used a broker out of Annapolis (John Albertine- Highly recommended!) and he listened to our wants and needs. Before we took the trip north, he sent us all of the boats that fit our requirements located in Annapolis at the time: there were 8 boats he took us to and the Hylas was the 8th boat! I think our previous owner was the 2nd owner. Him and his wife owned the Hylas for 15 years. They sailed it up and down the east coast and to the caribbean. When we joined the facebook group for Hylas owners, people recognized our boat and knew the previous owners. They all said the same thing: “You found a good one.”
Who first introduced you to sailing?
Stuart’s father introduced Stuart to sailing when he was young. Stuart caught the sailing bug right away and knew at a young age he wanted to sail around the world. I started sailing when I met Stuart in 2009 and was hooked!
What boats have you previously owned?
1996 Beneteau 321
What are the features you like most about your boat?
Center cockpit, centerline queen, galley style kitchen, solar panels, water maker, dinghy davits, outboard lifting crane, water heater, excellent engine access, lots of storage. Also, this Hylas in particular has more interior wood than other Hylas 44’s we’ve seen, which we love.
What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
We added a solent jib with a continuous line furler, new standing rigging, and new sails. We plan to add a wind generator, and a mount for our Big Green Egg (minimax size). We also have radar that just needs to be installed. We’ve decided to install the radar on the back of the boat rather than up the mast.
How do you typically use your boat over the summer, and where do you go?
We plan to stay around the Hurricane holes in South Carolina and Georgia. If we feel adventurous, we can explore the east coast all the way to Maine. With covid, our plans are written in the sand.
Do you belong to a yacht club or other boating organizations (and what’s your homeport)?
Stuart and his dad used to race with the Southern Sailing Club and Lake Lanier Sailing Club on Lake Lanier in Georgia. Our homeport is Savannah, GA. We currently belong to the Hylas Yacht Owner Association and to the Young Cruisers’ Association (YCASS).
What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
The usual learning curve that comes with a new boat. We knew our 1996 Beneteau 321 like the back of our hand, so moving to a different boat was a fun challenge. It’s always a challenge finding high quality services for diesel engines. Our Hylas is a 1987, and our engine is a Perkins Prima M50. She’s old, but she runs well!
Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a Hylas like yours?
Whew! We really felt like we found a gem. The timing was divine intervention- we had another interested party trying to buy our boat at the same time, and the owners took our offer instead of theirs. Now that coronavirus has increased boating demands and increased prices, it’s a different world. I did a quick search for Hylas 44s for sale and currently there are only two, and one has “sale pending.” 🙂 We feel like we found the perfect boat for our budget and our cruising needs.
What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
Noulli is a shortened version of the name “Bernoulli” and it comes from a mathematician in the 1700’s named Daniel Bernoulli. Daniel Bernoulli (along with Newton) is considered the “father of lift” and his principles explain how airplane wings work. Since a sail works the same way as a wing, it made sense to us! Stuart is a mechanical engineer and when he learned about Bernoulli at Georgia Tech, he knew that “Noulli” was the name for our boat.
Check it Out
Click the gallery below for more photos and information about Noulli!