Tom, I’m from New York and Nantucket.
Which Tiwal model do you have?
We have the Tiwal 3 boat with the larger sail. We’ve had it for about two years now.
How did you know Tiwal?
We found out about Tiwal inflatable sailboats because we were in Mykonos on vacation two years ago, and we were invited to a mega yacht by a friend of ours, and he had the Tiwal dinghy on his boat because of the ability to deflate it, and because it handles large waves so well. A lot of the big boats don’t get to find a calm harbor. So he had this on it and my boys were envious of it. They asked him to borrow it and they took it out and they loved it, and I told them we would get one when we got back to America, just took me a little while to find it once I got home.
Where do you sail?
We primarily sail off Nantucket, which is an island off in Massachusetts.
There’s a large harbor there that you can sail in which is a protected harbor. We do sail in the harbor but our home is on the ocean on the east end of the island and we basically look right out in the Atlantic Ocean. So we have full large waves right off of our house we’re on a cliff about 75 feet high, so you have to go down the stairs to the beach. And so the Tiwal is perfect because we fold it up, we carry it down the stairs, and then we inflate it at the bottom of the bluff and then we sail it in the large waves out in front of the house and we leave the hull inflated, and we just stake it at the bottom of the stairs and then we bring the sail and the rest of the equipment back to the house to wash off and we maintain that up at the house but the hull stays down by the beach. We’ve had it out there all summer now for two summers, and there’s been no problems at all. The hull looks in beautiful shape still.
How do you use your Tiwal?
Because it’s pretty rough, it’s pretty tough, you got to get through a relatively big surf break to get out, it’s primarily sailed by my two teenagers. I have a 13 and a 16 year old. They are the primary sailors. Occasionally they’ll have a friend to join them but it’s relatively dangerous out there. There is nothing between you and Portugal, so it’s just the Atlantic Ocean. Now we have very good visibility of them from the home from the house so what we do typically is the boys do a lot of the sailing out there and I keep an eye on them from the top of the bluff.
How is it going so far?
It’s going great! It’s going great! I will say that I noticed that you recently added a new component. A mainline break in your product line, so my boys had already two years ago created one, built one of their own. That was the most important thing they missed out in the big waves was some ability to lock down the main line, mainsheet line. I think they have a great time they sail a lot out there, my older one is a big sailor on the wooden ships in Nantucket but he still loves taking the Tiwal out, whenever he can, particularly the bigger the waves and the bigger the wind the better. The one thing I won’t let them do is if there’s a real offshore wind they don’t let them take it out there because we don’t know if we’ll ever get them back again! But on a cross shore wind it’s fantastic for them. And they have a wonderful time with it. You almost can’t have waves that are too big for it. It handles the large waves very well and and they just have a blast.
Which characteristics did surprise you?
I think the ease of install. It’s very very easy to install. I think the other areas that we really loved about it is, how well it handles waves. I’ve not sailed it in a very calm lake, so I wouldn’t know how well it handles on a lake, but I can’t imagine any other small sailboat handling the waves the way the Tiwal does out in the ocean. It’s I think why we first saw it on the yacht in Mykonos because they’re out in the big oceans out there too, but off the east coast the United States it’s the perfect, perfect sailboat for the waves. We’ve had no problem with the salt, we’ve had no problem with the sails, with the mast, we’ve literally not had a single thing break in two years of using it, it’s been wonderful.
What’s your best memory with your Tiwal?
My best memory is generally with me, and both of my boys on it which is way too much weight, and then yelling at me that I’ve got to get out of the way and that I basically am always in the wrong place! It’s really a two-person sailor. And I would say even maybe not even two big adults depending on how fast you want to go and how big the waves are. Off our house it’s really perfect for a 16-13 year old, or maybe an adult and a 13 year old. We have a great time… you know so by far my favorite times you spent with my boys, and it’s a little hard for all three of us, but we make it work, and I get yelled at a lot.
Where would you dream to sail your Tiwal?
My wife is from Indonesia, and we spent a fair amount of time there, and I’d love to get one over there. Obviously the weather is warm, it’d be a beautiful place to go sailing on it. It’s an easy sailboat you can move around the challenges there are getting things in and out. I don’t know if I can get it through customs on the way in, but it’d be a really fun place.