Q&A: Christiaan Arns, owner of Notorious
Westhaven customer Christiaan Ams owns the Beneteau 44.7 Notorious. The 44.7 is a Farr designer cruiser racer that is a popular and well known boat on the Westhaven racing scene, and Christiaan has sailed it far and wide.
Tell us about yourself and your sailing career so far
I’ve done lots of local cruising and racing over the past few decades. Highlights are racing on the Young 88s and general club racing around Auckland. It’s some of the best in the world.
When did you first see Notorious? What made you choose this boat?
I bought Notorious in 2008 in Pittwater (RPAYC) Australia. I looked at all the 44.7s on the market at the time and she was the best equipped for racing and least used for cruising - not that there is a lot of cruising over there. It was a bit of an upgrade from the 88 but a great challenge and adventure to sail her back to NZ. All electronics failed and we sailed her back under compass - old school.
What are some of the adventures you've had so far? What is the furthest you have been?
As a sailor I have sailed from Tahiti to NZ, done the two handed around the North Island, many SSANZ triple series - with double wins (on line and handicap), to Fiji and New Caledonia, around New Caledonia in the Groupama race and so on. The funniest stunt though was when I bought a foiling moth in 2014 - only to find out that for an old bugger like me that is mainly swimming training.
Who are your crew? What do you look for in crew when you are recruiting people?
Crew come and go. There are friends and people who fill slots onboard. We always have one thing in common - the love of the sea and wind. I have sailed with sailors who are new and sailors who are legends - in the end we are only as good as the last sail.
What makes sailing in Auckland so special?
Auckland is unique for its beauty and access to so many islands. A typical Gold Cup race will take you around the Hauraki Marine Park to many Islands - dolphins will join you and the corners will always see some lead changes and provide great stories in the bar after the races.
Offshore racing has been challenged in recent years with fleet size. What makes offshore racing special - why do you keep going back?
Offshore racing is the heaven for sailors. Steady breezes for hours or days on end, merging with the environment and testing the crew to everyone's limits. Its tough, its beautiful, its honest and you find out your limits. You see a whale broach - it might be the only extraordinary event in a day - but it made your day. You surf down 5 meter waves and get a Beneteau First 44.7 to surf at 23.7 knots - true - during a 30 hour downwind kite run - sailors heaven. Compliance cost have made this a more challenging event to enter as it is quite regulated now - the gap between true racers and cruiser racers has widened. In the recent Auckland Noumea race, Notorious was the "slow entry"!
Any scary moments or exciting stories to tell us from past races?
Things happen when you are offshore - the stainless tack ring of the #3 blows in 30 knots - you take the sail down and repair it by replacing the stainless with a dynema splice. The gooseneck explodes half way across the Tasman - you get string out and make a soft goose neck. The spinnaker halyard comes ondon while the kite hoisted in 20 knots - you climb up the rig and get halyard back down for the next hoist. This is all stuff that makes you feel fantastic, because you can survive in the environment you love.
What do you see yourself doing in the future as far as yachting goes?
I will continue to improve my sailing and will sail with great people and enjoy adventures and the sea.
I am worried however that the pollution of the oceans will change the way we are part of the sea. We have to clean, and ensure that we will leave the sea in tact for our children. This is a very big task and I am afraid that we left it too late. The only way to understand the urgency with this task is to get out there and see what is happening.