Special Features
Rig, Sails & Deck


David Lockwood, in a review of the Seawind 1200 written for

"The latest evolution in the 1200 series of cruising cats from Seawind is a laid-back, feet up, chatty kind of boat with the comfort factor set on high."

Brad and Pat from Windsor, Canada - owner of “Somerscape”, a 37 ft Trojan, express cruiser.

“My wife and I have visited Bella Via on three separate occasions over a period of several years, spending two weeks on each visit. It was a pleasure to be a guest on a vessel that was as clean and comfortable on our last visit (Oct. 2011) as it was the first time we boarded (Mar. 2007). The main cabin is spacious and airy. The guest quarters are comfortable and private. I was also happy to travel with a sailor who was as conscientious with the engines as he was with the rigging. We always felt secure on Bella Via.”

Julia and Bob from Tin Can Bay, Australia – previous owners of “Kinta”, a modified 38’ Crowther catamaran

 “We first saw ‘Bella Via’ in 2005 when we anchored beside her in our own 38’ catamaran. We now know her very well, having spent many wonderful days with Paul and Mary, both cruising in company and sailing on Bella Via including a passage to Papua New Guinea and cruising in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

We whole-heartedly agree with all their other guests as to how special these times have been but as ex-owners of a similar sized catamaran we would like to add that to present a boat to Bella Via's standard is no small task and is not something that can be addressed just before a sale.  The maintenance and attention paid to this boat on a continual basis, the upgrading and replacement when necessary shows everywhere you look both inside and out.  The condition of this boat after nine years has to be seen to be believed and is a credit to the diligence of her owners.

Anyone looking for a well-equipped, beautifully appointed catamaran will not be disappointed.”

Robin Smart from Auckland, New Zealand - owner of “Windshadow”, a 40 ft. catamaran.

 “I spent a fabulous 3 weeks on Bella Via in June 2012. I crewed for the ocean passage from Marsden Cove, New Zealand to Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga, 1100 miles, then stayed for another week enjoying the idyll that is Vava’u and Mary and Paul’s fabulous hospitality. Before the trip I had only known Mary and Paul for a few months having met them while cruising in my own catamaran at Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. I have some sailing experience, having been involved for almost 60 years, and have owned several keelers as well as the cat over more than 30 years. This was my fourth major ocean crossing. Therefore I offer any prospective purchaser my own independent view of Bella Via.

Firstly she is a very strong boat. She is quite heavily laden, being Mary and Paul’s home of 8 years, with a lot of gear. But there is no sign I could find of structural damage after many ocean crossings. She is a very comfortable sea boat, has a kindly motion easy to take on a long trip. We averaged 6.5 knots for the trip, I thought good in the conditions with the load. In heavier conditions going to windward there was some bridge deck slamming as expected but she took it in her stride effortlessly. On all other points of sailing she was great. She motorsails very well, aided by the fantastic diesel capacity of around 800 liters, and the Gory props.   

Secondly she is very well and sensibly equipped with all the gear needed for anxiety free cruising, including comprehensive high quality electronics, sailing and domestic gear. The big alternators and big inverters and large battery bank make life on board at sea luxurious, with microwaved meals on watch, autopilot doing all the steering and watermaker meaning no water restriction.

Thirdly she has been kept in excellent condition by Mary and Paul, almost as new in most places. Especially the interior surfaces are as new. I think she is so much better than a brand new boat because of all the wonderful gear she comes with, the changes made as a result of experience over several years.

I am sure whoever buys her will be delighted. If a purchaser would like to contact me that would be fine on”

Al from Windsor, Canada – past owner of many small fishing boats

“I was fortunate enough to spend a three week vacation aboard Bella Via in the spring of 2009. Before arriving in Australia to board Bella Via, I thought it would be 3 weeks hunched back, in cramped quarters, with little room to move about. To my surprise it was quite the opposite. I can't recall ever having to duck my 5' 11" height, with spacious sleeping accommodations and shower facilities that more than handled my large body frame. Bottom line, this was a luxury vacation I wasn't expecting. With such a boat, capable of going anywhere in the world, they were able to take me to places that I'd never dreamed of going - from swimming the white beaches of the Whitsunday Islands, to snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, not forgetting to mention, climbing the highest peak in the Whitsunday's. Bella Via truly is a Dream Catcher !!! While aboard, I was able to assist Paul in many of his routine preventative maintenance duties and with me being a millwright I was able to tell how meticulous he was about the boat being in tip top shape with special care of never damaging the appearance of her while fabricating even the smallest bracket. I can see how Bella Via could 'Sail Away' trouble free for many, many more years to come.”

Bill from Brisbane, Australia – yachty
and avid fisherman.

“I have been fortunate to have been a guest on Bella Via many times (I think I may still hold the record!?) since Mary & Paul began their adventure. I was also able to make a fast blue water passage with them from Coffs Harbour, NSW to New Caledonia, with my eldest son, Sean. Sean also did Vanuatu to Bundaberg with Mary and Paul. Beyond the sailing experience, which has been incredible, I have always been in awe of the attention to detail in their safe and expert handling of the yacht and its care and maintenance. In my time in Australia, I have sailed on and owned several yachts including an S&S 34 and a Ross 780, and I don't believe I have ever witnessed better ongoing care being taken of a vessel throughout its entire history, than on Bella Via. You just have to experience first-hand Paul's enthusiasm about his spares inventory and his total knowledge of every technical and operational aspect of this yacht and you will feel totally comfortable that the vessel and all its equipment has been masterfully fitted out and maintained in excellent condition. There is no doubt in my mind that a new owner will be getting a pearl. (Only wish it could be me!)”

James and Di from Kerikeri, New Zealand - owners of “Bellatrix” a Hunter 33.

“Paul and Mary: What a boat! - Of all the boats we have travelled on, Bella Via is by far and away the very best in so many ways. Mary's wonderful hospitality is a match for the beautifully maintained ship that Paul skippers. To have done so many weeks on board and thousands of miles at sea has been one of the pleasures of my life. Di described the passage that she shared from Tonga to NZ as, "like being on a cruise ship". She still feels like 2 or 3 years old (Bella Via I mean...). Mary and Paul, you certainly have lived out the dream that you described in your original web site introduction. It has been great to see such a wonderful boat meet your expectations and still be in such wonderful condition. Thank you for letting me fulfil some of my life dreams travelling the “Beautiful Way”.

Rod and Jan from Windsor, Canada
Rod has built his own 14’ fibreglass Canadian canoe

“The photographs of Bella Via are great - but barely capture the spacious rooms and amazing improvements Paul and Mary have made to this beautiful catamaran. We loved our visit onboard, touring the coast of Australia around Sydney. Friends comment on my photographs of the Sydney Opera house and amazing sights one can only truly appreciate from the water. I was impressed at how well Bella Via handled in the busy Sydney Harbour area around Darling Harbour - and how smooth the ride was through the choppier waters as you pass the headlands and enter into the Tasman Sea. From relaxing at quiet moorings in secluded bays to exploring the sites along the way to meals of freshly caught seafood (grilled to perfection onboard), our time visiting on Bella Via was magical - and we relive our wonderful memories every time we look at our pictures or read about the latest adventures and travels of Bella Via on the blog.”

Dave and Margaret from Whangarei, New Zealand - owners of “Freespool”, a 40 foot power cruiser.

“After meeting the Bella Via crew in 2009, I've completed two passages between NZ and Tonga and a third from Fiji to New Zealand. On a separate occasion, Margaret and I have spent a two week holiday on board. After my first passage, I was a catamaran convert (stressful as a mono hull power boat owner). The stability and room on Bella Via is amazing. After many questions, the skipper was able teach me to handle the sails easily. The electronics are simple and easy to use, even for a novice, such as me.”

Jenn from Nelson, Canada - owner of “Small Wonder”, a 22 foot Catalina.

“Watching your videos gives me goosebumps, as it reminds me of the all amazing adventures I've had when visiting Bella Via. I've been lucky enough to be on board several times now in New Zealand, Australia, and Tonga, and nothing compares to the experience of living aboard a boat while in such beautiful places. Daily life consists of fun, adventure, relaxation, great food (often fresh out of the ocean), and the best sleeps of your life. It truly is a dream to live this way, and if you can - do it! I got to crew for the crossing of the Tasman Sea from Hobart, Tasmania to Nelson, New Zealand aboard Bella Via in 2009. Spending 8-10 days in confined quarters in the middle of the ocean was a bit daunting, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much privacy & space this catamaran offers. As an inexperienced sailor I was also relieved to learn how well equipped the boat was for the open ocean and how I could easily learn to use the navigation equipment, all top of the line with backups. Comfort, quality & performance!” In 2013 I returned to Bella Via while it was in Tonga with my 9 month old son, who had only just learned to crawl. I was anxious about how he would do aboard a sailboat on open water, but he thrived! This catamaran has so many open areas & space compared to a mono hull that he had total freedom and he even learned to stand in the big sunken cockpit with its lovely padded surfaces. He slept beautifully in the aft cabin which was easily converted to a crib (yeah for the fan!). Best floating family home out there!”

Shirley from Windsor, Canada – owner of both a touring canoe and a touring kayak

“Oh Bella Via - how beautiful to see you! I remember so well my week-long visit aboard you. You were moored in Sydney Australia. Your guest room is so comfortable and private. I enjoyed spending time on your deck visiting my friends, doing needle work, drinking wine and movie nights in the dining room. I even got to sit at the helm and steer you for a while - it was all so exciting. It was breath taking when you sailed us past the opera house ! Stay beautiful Bella Via”

Daphne and Geoff from Rockhampton,
Australia – owners of an Irwin 52.

"It was the first time we had been sailing on a catamaran, being used to a mono-hull. The boat handled well. The motion and speed of the boat was very easy to get used to.
We were impressed by the spaciousness of Bella Via. The cockpit area is quite large, with plenty of deck area, and our cabin had heaps of space.  We noticed that maintenance is a high priority on Bella Via.  Everyday something was polished or checked or lubricated.  You knew Bella Via was well taken care of and was therefore a reliable seaworthy vessel.  We had a most enjoyable holiday on board this lovely yacht.  It’s a great vessel."  


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