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Tanjung Puting

Katharina Liveaboard


Katharina Liveaboard


We invite you to embark on a truly adventurous cruise of a lifetime exploring the exotic islands of the ‘Southern Seas’ on board the sailing schooner Katharina. Our scheduled leisure expeditions will take you to the unknown and the extraordinary, to dragons in Komodo, whale hunters in Lembata and to warrior tribes in Papua. We retrace the ancient spice routes to the gorgeous Banda Islands, follow in the wake of historic adventurers and admire the treasures of the underwater world.

Your home-away-from-home is a spacious sailing vessel and you have a comfortable air conditioned private cabin with your own en-suite bathroom.

Our meals are professionally prepared with the freshest and best ingredients available: vegetables, fruits and poultry from the highlands of Flores, fish freshly caught by local fishermen and bread specially baked by a master French baker in Bali. Our cruises are of course on a full board basis. We serve a hearty breakfast and abundant lunches and dinners plus snacks throughout the day. Bottled water, coffee and tea, as well as soft drinks and fruit juices are complimentary and available on self-serve basis 24 hours per day. There is a well-stocked bar on board from which you may purchase a selection of alcohol and wines at reasonable rates. Our numerous well-trained and gracious crew members and tour leaders provide for your every need, to insure that your time on board is truly extraordinary.

The Katharina Story

When in early 1998 the founder of Seatrek, Dick Bergsma, paid a courtesy visit to some old Buginese friends who had moved to Batulicin, he spotted a hull under construction on the riverbank that was much more slender than most of the others. Dick has an eye for beauty and was attracted to the elegant curve of her deck line, (what sailors call the 'sheer' of the hull).

He found out that the person who had commissioned the construction of the vessel wanted to remain anonymous but was ready to negotiate, based on the Buginese principle that all boats are always for sale, even before they are launched. This story, how a beautiful virgin was rescued from a hard life of carrying cargo became an important chapter in the history of Seatrek Sailing Adventures....She was baptized 'Katharina' and a French naval architect redesigned the superstructure and the interior of the hold....


As a result of the seasonal shift from the East to the West Monsoon and the change of the general sea conditions during the course of the year, we vary our sailing itineraries in order to offer the best possible combination of islands to visit and a comfortable voyage while at sea. From April to October we mainly cover the Bali – Komodo – Flores route with an occasional foray into the Savu Sea. In October we move to the Eastern regions of the archipelago to explore the Spice Islands, the Moluccas and the Papua region, including Raja Ampat. In February we take the vessels into dry dock for annual maintenance and refurbishing.

Incomparable crews

When you ask the inhabitants of the many islands in the eastern Indonesian archipelago about the sailing ships that come calling at their shores, there are two names that come immediately to their lips: Ombak Putih and Katharina. Both are operated by our and their graceful beauty makes them instantly recognizable. More than any other traditional "Bugi Schooners," they are a familiar sight from Bali to Papua and from Sulawesi to Savu. Between the two, these ships have logged untold nautical miles since they were launched and their captains and crews know as much about the remote islands of Indonesia as anyone alive. Through the years they have competently navigated hundreds of remote bays and anchorages in the region.

Deserted beaches

Our’s formula is as simple as it is attractive. Your home-away-from-home is a spacious sailing vessel or a luxurious motor yacht and you have a comfortable private cabin with your own en-suite bathroom. Travelling with like-minded companions for the voyage who come from all corners of the world contributes to convivial and spirited exchanges, enriching the entire experience. Whenever possible more than six hundred square meters of sails are raised, though we also rely on our engines to safeguard our schedule. An attentive but discrete crew takes care of everything. Most of the travel is done at night and while you sleep, the captain is on the bridge to take you to yet another splendid anchorage or another lovely harbour. Every new day you will wake up to yet another surprise.   

Exceptional hospitality

Whether remote cruising on our magnificent sailing schooners or enjoying the five star comforts of our motor yacht, we dare say that our galleys offer the very best on-board cuisine that can be found east of Bali, a reputation we have enjoyed for many years that we are determined to keep. Our meals are professionally prepared with the freshest and best ingredients available: vegetables, fruits and poultry from the highlands of Flores, fish freshly caught by local fishermen and bread specially baked by a master French baker in Bali. Our cruises are of course on a full board basis. We serve a hearty breakfast and abundant lunches and dinners plus snacks throughout the day. Bottled water, coffee and tea, as well as soft drinks and fruit juices are complimentary and available on self-serve basis 24 hours per day. There is a well-stocked bar on board from which you may purchase a selection of alcohol and wines at reasonable rates. Our numerous well-trained and gracious crew members and tour leaders provide for your every need, to insure that your time on board is truly extraordinary.

Cruising Indonesia

Travel into the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago is an unforgettable and rewarding experience and always an adventure, but without unlimited time it can be frustrating as well. The transportation infrastructure has not changed much in the past fifty years and there are no scheduled ferry services to the smaller and more remote islands. The few ferries that link the bigger islands are often scary rust buckets and departure schedules are generally subject to the famous Indonesian "Jam Karet" or "rubber time". On most islands the roads are in poor condition. At the end of a day of travelling, accommodation can be quite primitive. Yet this vast area of beautiful sceneries and extremely friendly people is one of the most charming parts of Asia. It has an incredibly rich and varied cultural life and wherever you go, you find yourself as safe as can be.

Satellite data from the Indonesian Aviation and Space Institute have shown a total of 18,108 islands within the archipelago. Only about 6,000 of these islands are inhabited, with Java accounting for more than half the nation's population. Indonesia has a coastline of 108,920 kilometers (68,075 miles) and a total of 20,731 square kilometers (82,924 miles) of reefs. The entire Indonesian archipelago is a dream world for travellers, but it is in its eastern half between Flores and Papua, far from the crowds of Java and Bali, thousands of undisturbed small islands await the explorer in search of "an untouched world".  There are few air strips, so the remote Eastern Indonesian islands are mostly accessible by sea.

Our cruises are a spectacular way of discovering a world that is totally “off the beaten track”. We use our own wooden sailing schooners, recently built in the tradition of Indonesian Phinisis. These small capable ships are sturdily built and have a comfortable motion. From the very moment you step aboard one of our ships you will know that you have made the right decision by booking a cruise. Like the seafarers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries you will discover untouched sites of astonishing natural beauty where traditional life is little changed.

The Indonesian climate is tropical, warm and humid; the general sea conditions are pleasantly calm as Indonesia is outside of the latitudes where cyclones occur, such as in the south of the Philippines and the north of Australia. The south-easterly trade winds are most favourable in June, July and August and it is during these months that we often travel under sail alone. Yet it needs to be said that our leisure expeditions are not primarily yachting or boating holidays. Most of the actual sailing will be at night-time, to create maximum opportunity for daytime excursions or leisure activities on the islands that we visit. Whatever your interests, our agenda is one of daily exploration of seas and lands and our cruises truly offer activities for everyone.


Vessel Specifications

Construction :
Registry :
Beam :
Draught :
Engine :
Rig :
Cruising speed :
Top speed :
Cabins :
Water tanks :
Watermaker :
Fuel tanks : 

Auxiliary Power :

Navigation :

Safety :

Tenders (2) :

Outboards :

Kalimantan - Indonesia 1998
33 meters
28 meters
8,5 meters
3,5 meters
10 cyl. Mercedes Benz OM 403
Gaff rigged ketch - 600m2 of sails
8 knots
10 knots (under engine and sail)
7 air conditioned, with private en-suite heads
6000 liters
4 tons per day
9,000 liters

49 KVA generator MWN
59 KVA generator Mitshubishi
MWM 24 volts emergency supply
Solar panels and Wind turbines

Furuno Radar (range 24 NM)
Depth sounder, GPS
VHF and SSB Radio
Satellite phone

2 Life rafts (20/25 pax)
36 life jackets
EPIRB beacon

15 HP Yamaha & 50 HP Tohatsu

Vessel Description

The deck area of Katharina is dominated by the 25m tall main and top masts and a large central table around which we enjoy our meals alfresco. Just aft is the main lounge and bar, accessible on the port side. On top of this main cabin there is a sun deck, where you find several additional deck chairs and comfortable day beds.

Below decks there are 4 double cabins (with one extra single upper berth) and 2 twin cabins (upper/lower berth). In addition there is one family cabin on the aft deck behind the wheelhouse. This cabin has one king size bed (1.80m wide), a normal single upper bed and an additional smaller bench/bed). All cabins are air-conditioned (individually controlled) and have private bathrooms with warm and cold water. Obviously, we provide all hotel amenities you may require.

Each cabin has a wardrobe, a built-in mini safe, individually controlled cooling systems and soft lightning. All cabins have their own private bathroom with (warm & cold water) shower and toilet. Unlike typical ship accommodation, your cabin provides ample space to store your stuff and still move about with ease.

Katharina is a mix of traditional and modern design. Her hull and rigging are traditional, while the deck house and interior were custom designed to adapt to Western tastes of space, privacy and comfort. While Indonesian traditional sailing vessels are customarily referred to as Bugi Schooners, strictly speaking Katharina is rigged as a Ketch, the foremast being higher than the aft mast.

We know from experience that during a cruise in the tropics some of our guests discover the pleasure of sleeping under the stars and there is plenty of room to sleep on the upper deck. Mattresses as well as light blankets are available for that purpose.

Safety and Seaworthiness

The vessel is fitted with all internationally required safety and communication equipment such as SSB and VHF radios, life jackets, life rafts, and satellite telephone. Experienced navigators consider it an axiom that the seaworthiness of a vessel depends on the seaworthiness of the crew. Our ship has a well trained and well seasoned Indonesian crew of sixteen,  We are proud of the fact that several of the crewmembers who joined us when the vessel was launched are still on board today.

Services Profile

  1. Spacious twin shared cabins with twin bunk beds or double bed
  2. Each cabin has a private bathroom with toilet and hot shower
  3. Washbasin and soap toiletries in your cabin
  4. Cabins have individually controlled air conditioning
  5. Towels and beach towels that are regularly changed
  6. each cabin has an individual minisafe for valuables and travel documents
  7. Free tea, coffee and mineral water
  8. Excellent food and snacks (vegetarian food on request)
  9. Excellent wine selection, cold beer and other alcoholic drinks for sale
  10. Chilled towels and a welcome drink upon arrival
  11. Outdoor sleeping facilities
  12. Unlimited use of our snorkeling equipment and 2 sea canoes
  13. Television, DVD and music centre in lounge

The Bugis Boatbuilding Tradition

The Bugis people of south Sulawesi, once feared as pirates, have always been the most skilful ship builders and sailors of Indonesia. Their vessels, perahu and phinisi were and still are hand-crafted entirely from timber.

While the smallest perahu are fishing boats, the proud Phinisi or Bugis Schooners have been used for centuries as cargo-carriers, plying the ancient trade routes between the islands of the Malay Archipelago, carrying anything from lumber to coca-cola crates. The phinisi are elegant two-masted schooners with mainsails, top-sails and three jibs. Today, while still hand-built by native craftsmen from tropical hardwood and still with traditional rigging, they usually hold an engine in addition to the sails.

The construction of of a Phinisi hull always follows age old and well established design principles. What is most remarkable is that these huge handmade structures (in the case of Katharina a total weight of 300 tons of wood) are made without any drawings, fully relying on the intuitive craftsmanship of its builders as passed along through many generations. Contrary to western boatbuilding practice, the Bugis method of hull construction is to start with the planking and fit in the beams later.

Katharina is different from most traditional Phinisi's because she became a joint effort between western naval architects and traditional Bugis skills. The superstructure and the interior were redesigned to accommodate small groups of passengers for cruising in the Indonesian archipelago, offering an excellent standard of reliability, safety and comfort. Our spacious air-conditioned, en-suite cabins, the dining/ recreational area and the large deck-space with comfortable deck chairs and sun beds make the Katharina perfectly suitable for extended passages and leisure cruises.

Much attention is given to the vessel's maintenance, heeding to an annual docking period and periodical checks of all the technical installations on board. Two years ago we did a complete overhaul of all auxiliary systems and equipped Katharina with solar panels, wind generators and deep cycle marine battery systems. We wanted to make sure that the vessel would have the smallest possible carbon imprint.


Safety and Health

Paramount for us is the safety of all aboard. The vessel is fitted with all internationally required safety equipment and all crew members have received comprehensive safety training. Shortly after the departure on the first day of the cruise the Cruise Director will do a safety drill with all the participants. The vessel is stocked with a well appointed first-aid box to treat all kinds of minor ailments. It is however always advisable for guests to bring their own first-aid box. We have an agreement with an air-charter company in Bali using a sea-plane in case of emergency evacuation. We recommend that all participants take out a personal travel insurance that would cover such evacuation.

The tropical sun in our cruising area is hard on white skins, all the more so because of the additional exposure due its reflection by the sea. Guests must make sure to protect themselves with a hat, sun lotion and we advise wearing a t-shirt when snorkeling. Never let even the tiniest cut or coral bruise untreated as it can quickly get infected in the tropical climate. We have all that is needed on board to treat such cuts.

Guests should not be overly worried about seasickness. Waters in our sailing area are generally calm. Even in case of swell, seasickness usually passes quickly once one gets used to the motion of the boat. We do not recommend the use of any prophylactic for malaria prevention. Malaria has very little incidence offshore. Besides, our guests will spend the better part of the voyage on board, where mosquitoes do not venture at all. Insect repellent is sufficient when going ashore.

What to take

Temperature in our sailing area varies little - 27° to 33° Celsius year round – with mostly blue skies and light wind. We suggest you take light cotton / linen clothes – including a pair of long trousers for visits in the villages - as well as the following items: water shoes (booties or plastic shoes), hiking shoes, a plastic bag for your camera when disembarking, high protection suntan lotion, a hat, insect repellent, dive / snorkeling equipment if you have your own (we have plenty on board, too), as well as a sweater for cool evenings.

Special dietary requests
We can cater to special requests such as a vegetarian menu, children’s fare, diet dishes etc. However we must be notified in advance of any special dietary requests.

Insurance and Liability Release
It is important that all passengers contract personal travel insurance in order to be covered in case of accident, sickness, flight cancellation, evacuation etc… We do require all passengers to sign a strict and comprehensive liability release and scuba divers to sign an additional declaration of good physical condition. Copies of these liability releases can be sent on request.

Visa and Travel Documents
Guests have to make sure that their passport has a minimum of 6 months validity when entering Indonesia. Most foreign nationals can obtain 30 day tourist visa on arrival but the citizens of some countries do not enjoy this privilege and have to apply for visa in the country of origin or elsewhere outside of Indonesia. We recommend that all our passengers double-check on the requirements as they are in force at the time of their arrival.


Voltage on board is 220 volts. There is a socket in each cabin suitable for European type plugs, but we do have a selection of adaptors for non European type plugs. Additional sockets are located in the saloon.

During the cruise you will enjoy the incomparable service of 16 well-trained, efficient Indonesian crew members. It is a time-honored tradition on all cruise vessels of the world to tip the crew at the end of the voyage, provided of course the guests have been satisfied with their services. On the last day of the cruise, a special box will be passed around out for that purpose and its contents will be distributed evenly among all members of the crew. We believe that about 50 USD is an appropriate amount; however, this remains entirely up to the judgment of the guests.




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