1988 Sigma 362, Moon Shadow
by Paul Little
(Exeter, Devon, UK)
Following the death of my father in 2017 I came into a small inheritance and decided that the best thing to do with it would be to fulfil an ambition set in place by my father over forty years ago - to sail around the world. I learnt to sail with my dad in the early 1970s in dinghy racing - we had a Wayfarer and later a small (22') coastal cruiser.
My knowledge of larger sailing boats was fairly limited but I started scouring the usual websites - boatshed.com, apolloduck.com etc. I wanted a boat big enough to be comfortable as a "home" for the two to five years I envisioned my circumnavigation to take but small enough to be easily handled either single-handed or with a small crew - me and one or two others. So something in the mid 30s seemed ideal.
An old friend had a Nicholson 32 which he loved and he swore by long keels for the comfort in a seaway. So thats where I started my search. What I found though was that all these types of boats had very "cosy" interiors.
I had done my RYA Day Skipper course in 2002 aboard a Sigma 362 and remember her being very comfortable inside with enough room for the five of us on the course. Her sailing ability was very good and she was quite fast - having the same hull as the Sigma 36 racing boat but with a different internal layout and a different coach roof.
As luck would have it I found Moon Shadow on the Isle of Wight and arranged to view her whilst visiting the Southampton Boat Show in 2019. She'd been out of regular use for a few years and need some TLC but following a satisfactory survey and some haggling I managed to purchase her for a very reasonable sum.
I've done some small mods to her so far - replaced the old (and unservicable) Stowe instruments with NASA Clipper ones. Installed a tricolour masthead light. Swapped the old stuffing box with a dripless seal. Had the engine fully serviced (I'm toying with the idea of removing it and doing a full overhaul before I set off). Installed a fridge. Installed (well, bought!) a Neptune windvane self steering system. Bought a new 15kg Rocna and 70m of 10mm chain along with 25m anchorplait (one slight side effect of this is that she now sits a bit "nose down" which I'm trying to figure out what to do about). I also want to replace the unknown age standing rigging - probably with Dyneema.