Bagpuss was a 2003 Fountaine Pajot Belize 43 (13m) in an owners configuration. She was Hull number 108.

We named her Bagpuss after the kids TV show from the 1970's, "the most Magical, saggy old cloth cat in the whole wide world...".

Bagpuss the TV Show

We found her to be comfortable and she looked after us well on our voyage from La Rochelle, where she was built, to New Zealand.

What we liked about her was the space, storage, lack of significant problems with the main systems, visibility from the saloon, decent bridgedeck clearance, nice owners bathroom and the fact that when we sold her we didn't loose too much money.

The things that were a disappointment is that she wasn't as fast as we had expected, that could be down to us having too much weight on-board. I also originally ordered the 40 HP motors, but was unable to get them due to a stuff up with the dealer. If I was doing it again I would want the 40's and also folding three blade props for better "grip" when manoeuvring.

Arch installed


In addition to the basic owners specification, we added the following:

Bimini - a must have. On ours the canvas wasn't a particularly good fit on the frame, should not have let this go during handover.

Gennaker - we really liked this, especially in downwind light airs. It tended to unravel on its own in over 20 kts, so when we weren't using it we would lower it in a furled position and tie it down to the deck.

50lt/hour Aquabase Watermaker - we didn't use this until we hit the Caribbean, when it was invaluable.

3KG candy washing machine - I had expected a nice galvanised Austrian washing machine per the brochure but they fitted this unit instead. Only useful in marina, lots of vibration and was starting to rust after only two years.

Raymarine Electronics - 2kw radar, SL70C, autopilot, GPS, Wind/Depth. Was all good and reliable, I liked that you could pick out the squalls on the radar.

ICOM 504 VHF, 804 SSB and Pactor 3 modem. Also waterproof handheld. The Icom gear has a nice feel to it. We got some great range on the SSB modem for data transfers despite only having a whip antenna. The waterproof handheld wasn't.

Maxsea PC charting software. We bought this and a bunch of electronic charts at considerable cost. The software was great but I didn't like, at that time, you needed a dongle to use it which was a single point of failure. Also rubbed salt in to the wounds that just about every other cruiser we met was using ripped off software that whilst it wasn't as good as Maxsea, it had full worldwide detailed chart coverage.

Avon 3.1m rib - this was a premium hypalon model with a hard double fireglass floor and small locker in the front. It oozed quality but was really heavy, it would have benefited from some wheels on the transom for hauling it up the beach. Buying again for this size of cat I would have gone slightly longer, with bigger tubes and probably a single aluminium floor.

Yamaha 8HP - i bought this because it was the lightest 8HP I could find. It had decent power but we had a few starting problems caused by some of the two stroke petrol drying out in the carburettor. The paint also started to peel on the drive leg. Buying again I would be tempted by a 15HP motor with the forward and reverse control on the control arm, like the Mariner 15HP.

ICS Navtex - waste of time on our trip, a few message in Portugal but pretty silent after that. 

Honda portable 2KVA generator - I bought this as a standby means of generating power and to use with the washing machine. It required us to stand it on deck. Probably only used it once or twice.

Mastervolt Inverter Charger 2.5KW/100 Amp - this was an excellent piece of equipment, particularly helpful that we had the remote control panel installed for it. Buying again, I would probably go for the smaller and more compact version as the reality of running 2.5KW appliances using batteries on this size of boat is a bit scary.

Kyocera Solar panels - Great investment, but expensive by the time you have built an arch to house them and keep them out of shadows.

Air X Wind generator - great to see those amps going in to the batteries, but it is a noisy beast and can impart a bit of vibration in to the boat if you are not careful about mounting. On Bella we have a German made version of this which is much quieter.

Iridium 9505 satellite phone. We bought the whole package including docking station, data kit and outside antenna. I thought this was a flexible option as we could take the phone into the liferaft if the worst happened. We got ripped off to the tune of 1,000 euro by an Ebay seller would sold us a stolen phone. Iridum were hopeless - only buy from dealers they said, which pretty much means any second had phone has zero value. We had to buy a second phone. We made a few voice calls on it, but the data speed was pretty woeful (2400 baud). We conserved our minutes then tried to use the phone later in the trip and they had expired !! Over $200 down the drain. Time has moved on and nowadays I would be looking for something with a higher data rate.

Hella 12V fans - we had the yard put these in all the berths, two in the master. Made a real difference in areas with high humidity and little wind.

Spade anchor on 60m of 10mm chain - really dependable. So good it was the first thing I bought for Bella.

Freiberger Sextent - unused, ornament.

Seagull water filter - I don't know if this made any difference, but we didn't get sick through drinking the water, and it didn't taste bad either.

Gas / CO detector - used a bit much power for my liking. It did go off one time when I sprayed some deodorant (contains butane).

Bose 131 marine speaker - we installed 4 of these. One developed a fault and was replaced under warranty.

Echopilot forward sonar - I had some crazy idea that this would help avoid submerged containers ! Of course the range is short and you are moving so fast (on autopilot mostly) that it was never going to be any good for that. It was a little helpful when anchoring to see how the bottom shoaled ahead of the boat. The frequency of this unit interfered with the Raymarine sounder so I could only use one at a time. The Raymarine had a greater depth range than this unit.

Muti-purpose marine antenna - this was a huge expensive piece of gear. Worse it required a couple of very thick coax cables to be run up the mast. It promised VHF, TV, Mobile Phone and Wifi. I would not go this route again. Probably more effective to have some king of powered hub or repeater at the mast head. We found TV of little practical use to the cruising yottie, but maybe if you were living aboard for a while, somewhere where you could speak the local language.

Goiot hatch mesh screens - wonderfully simple solution to leaving your hatches open without letting the mosquitoes in.

Sami Ropecutters - its hard to know whether these were helpful, certainly we did foul the prop when crossing the Atlantic but the net and thick rope would probably have defeated any device.

Bagpuss at Ahe