Bareboat Catamaran Review Saba 49.9 Fountaine Pajot

Sail this Saba 49.9 Christophine II out of Tortola, British Virgin islands after reading our bareboat catamaran review.

We had one week sailing onboard Dream Yacht Charters Christophine II. Christophine II is a six-cabin and six washroom model with six washrooms.

White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, Bareboat Captain Review
White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, Bareboat Captain Review. Come hang out!

Dream Yacht Charters Base Review

Located at Scrub Island, just East of Trellis Bay and the airport on Beef Island ( EIS) in the British Virgin Islands, Dream Yacht Charters is one of the larger charter companies offering bareboat chartering in the world.

H2O Luxury Yachts had three weeks sailing the British Virgin Islands. You can read the review of our previous Lagoon 500 catamaran here.

Our previous yachts had been out of Roadtown on the main island of Tortola. The location of Scrub Island is a bit problematic.

One of the negatives for me is the location of the base. It entails taking a ferry that comes approximately every hour or so from Trellis Bay to Scrub Island.

Trellis Bay is not CLOSE to much besides the airport and the ferry. That means you have to provision elsewhere and take cabs and if you are staying overnight but not at the base, you have to consider that as well.

Scrub Island Dream yacht Charters Base
Dream Yacht Charter Base, Scrub Island, British Virgin Islands, Bareboat Catamaran Review

Most people may not have fishing gear, SCUBA tanks and gear and more that they need to consider from this location as we did.

Our group ended being behind seventy-five people for the ferry. Then the rain came! (Of course, it did)

Scrub Island is lovely; what a pleasure of a tropical setting and a great trip started here.

The water was crystal clear and azure. Here at the base, you pay your cruising taxes, etc. in cash as well as any extras you may want on board. There were no paddleboards left the day we went out.

A good thing to consider is you cannot rent kayaks through the base because of liability issues, so going through one of the coastal toy rental stores like BVI Watertoys is helpful.

Overall Impression of the Saba 49 catamaran compared to the Lagoon 500 catamaran

You could certainly tell the higher quality throughout this yacht comparatively

In most ways, I like the Fountaine Pajot better than the Lagoon 500 for my comparison bareboat catamaran review

  1. I loved having a counter that separated the galley from the living saloon area. The cook did not have to move as much to let guests in and out.
  2. The Lagoon had better counter space as far as laying out the food buffet style.
  3. The showers on this boat were a mixture of wet and dry. Dry means they have a separate shower stall, and the entire washroom does not get wet. Don’t get too excited though, as there still is not that much water storage, however, with this yacht having a water maker that worked all week adequately; we did not notice it.
  4. This yacht did not have an ice maker. That was a bummer, and again, the cockpit coolers don’t last that long.

More Impressions of this Bareboat Catamaran Review

  1. The flybridge is more extensive on this model.
  2. The tender does not come up to “hide the views” on the davits from the cockpit. That makes a huge difference in enjoyment while sitting in the cockpit. Cocktails and sunset from the back deck work much better with a view.
  3. The Saba catamaran has more variety in Cabins. Still, the same situation where the two cabins in the middle of the boat were more suited for children or a small couple; however, each cabin did have its washroom.
  4. Christophine II had manual winches for the tender and headsail. The main had a power winch.
  5. The visibility on the Saba, once you had the headsail up, was worse than the Lagoon Catamaran. You had a much better range of vision from the upper helm on the Lagoon.

Christophine II has three fridges and just one smaller freezer on it. The Freezer on the Lagoon 500 was better. The one of here was quite piddly! (Is that a word?)

Christophine II could improve with the addition of an ice machine and a larger freezer. The small fridge in the cockpit would have served us better if it was an ice maker, as it did not fit much in it as a fridge.

How do I get booked on this or a similar catamaran?

Let’s talk and see whether a bareboat catamaran is right for you! We can even supply a Captain if you require or want one for these larger catamarans.

Take a look at our sample itinerary for ideas on where you can sit with a pina colada in hand.

Read our review on a Lagoon 500 Catamaran here

Contact us on US + 1-954-271-3005

We hope you enjoyed this Bareboat Catamaran Review and look for our other yacht reviews!

Bareboat FAQ

7. Bareboating

What should I pack for a bareboat charter?

When thinking about what you pack for a bareboat charter consider it a hotel room suite with kitchen facilities and you will get the idea. If you wouldn’t find it in the hotel room your not going to find it onboard.
When bareboating, you need to provide everything you are going to consume. Many items we take for granted in our daily life or would expect to be on a crewed boat do not seem important until we don’t have them. If you are going to the Virgin Islands, everything can be bought locally, albeit at a steep price. For many things, it just does not make sense to purchase. What about your favorite brand of coffee? Take, for example, that favorite dish that you intend to make that requires four different spices. Do you want to go out and buy them? Perhaps bring a small amount of each in a small ziplock. We have provisioners and online ordering locations that can make it very easy for you. We can help you with answers on how expensive the food is in the area.

Provisioning Bareboat Charter
Provisioning Bareboat Charter. The joys of doing it yourself!
Things like there will be a flashlight on the boat, but more then one is helpful. Perhaps playing cards or a board game. If you have a cruising guide of the area, then take it along, fishing gear, maybe?  Talk to us about the area you are chartering in
It takes a little planning, the time to find out that you forgot to get bug spray is not when you’re on the beach with the bugs having you as a snack.

Packing List for Bareboat Charters

Here is a list you can consider if you are heading for a bareboat charter in the Caribbean. It would apply to the South Pacific, as well.
  • Two swimsuits, 6 t-shirts, and underwear. If you are female, you probably want a sundress or two that can double for going out for dinner. Males may wish to have a short-sleeved nice shirt again for going out to fancier places for dinner.
  • Two pair of shorts plus the ones you are wearing when you get to the islands 🙂
  • One pair of clean gloves (if you are on a bareboat participating in the sailing)
  • One pair of sandals or flip-flops, perhaps only the ones you wear on the plane. Need to be able to get wet. You will mostly be barefoot on the boat. Make sure your footgear won’t leave black sole marks on a ship. If you have shoes that are not good for getting wet, then bring a pair of water shoes as well. It will come in handy, getting to beaches.
  • Sun Gear which consists of 2 pair of sunglasses. (1 spare) Must be polarized. Have a lanyard with them, so they don’t disappear even better!
  • A light rain jacket. If we get in some squalls, you can cool off quickly if you get wet + wind. Your rain jacket also doubles as a light coat if you get chilly in the evenings.
  • Beach/Sailing Music (my phone) + a UBS cable
  • Flashlight
  • Reading material (Kindles, books)
  • Mask & Snorkel (If you wear prescription lenses or have your own comfortable, well-fitting mask and snorkel, bring it. Although most of the bareboat companies will put on snorkel gear for you or tell you were to rent it, I don’t find them the “best quality.”
  • Towel – Bring one of those “light skinny towels” Even though your yacht will have towels, they don’t dry as quickly.
  • Earplugs. If you have problems sleeping, a disposable pair of these for boat noises may come in handy.
  • Refillable water bottle. Insulated preferred!
  • Hat – to keep the sun off your head all the time.
  • Chargers/batteries for electronics
  • Non-Deet bug spray (DEET stains the fabrics and cushions on the boat. Many people like skin so soft too)
  • Cel Phone/ International Roaming Package/ Local SIM card as you prefer. Quite a few of the restaurants and beach bars will have complimentary WIFI, and many of the bareboat companies now have modems you can rent for the week. Not cheap, I have found them fairly fast in the last couple of years.
  • Motion sickness? Get a prescription for Transderm Scop or bring Bovine, ginger, or the wrist bands. Generally, this settles down if you are prone after the first 24 hours.
  • Money and credit card: All but the tiny beach bars take credit cards. Not much American Express, though. Although there are  ATMs on significant islands, there is not a lot, so they are often out of cash on a Sunday. You will need some money for gratuities for people.
  • Passport. Even if you are American going to the US Virgin Islands, you will require one to go into the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
  • The cockpit will have a good shade cover. But everywhere else you’re getting direct sun plus the reflection. It’s like being in a sun broiler.
  • -Non-spray on sunscreen. Spray-on sunscreen on the boat makes it slippery for everyone as most ends up in the air or on the decks. Look for a sunscreen that will not harm the reefs.

Read more on Bareboat Charters

No unfortunately, as great an idea as it sounds to get some inspiration to write that novel. All companies require at least 2 persons on board.
Nope, no company allows it. There are some crewed yachts that will allow small breed dogs and cats. send us an email and we can point you in the right direction.

With all power yachts and most sail yachts, you start with a full diesel tank and have to refill it before you return the boat.

Moorings sail yachts are an exception within the Caribbean; they usually include fuel for a fee. For both Sunsail and TMM non-generator yachts, they have a pre-pay option, so you don’t need to refill the tank if you don’t want to.

Read more on Bareboat Chartering

Yes. If the yacht does not have a generator or inverter large enough to support an electric coffee maker then a stovetop model will be on board.
There are a few options for scuba diving while on charter.
You can have us organize rental gear for you, tell us what you need and it will all be delivered the morning of your charter. You are then free to go dive at will. Air fills are available all over the place. If you are on a larger catamaran, then you could also rent a compressor.
Going it alone does not get you to the secret spots that only local knowledge brings. If you want to do some severe diving, then I would highly recommend looking at a dive dedicated crewed boat. We know which ships offer diving and which ones have a keen diving crew.
Another option is rendezvous diving. That is where you arrange with a dive store to either meet you at the dive site or meet your boat elsewhere and take you to the site.
Rendez Vous Diving is a good option if the skipper is a nondriver as he can take the rest of your party elsewhere.
When you finish, the dive boat will drop you back off in your boat’s new location.
You can always walk into one of the dive stores and see what they have going on! If you are bringing your reg or computer with you and are heading to the Caribbean, make sure you pack them in a carry-on if you don’t want them to disappear mysteriously. Don’t forget your dive card.
We have run a dedicated dive crewed charter boat for 14 years in the BVI and can be a wealth of information.
There are some National Park areas throughout the world where it is illegal to dive with a local divemaster.

Many charters are all about getting together with old friends. Often this is all the guys, but it is also sometimes just the girls. There is no reason at all why it can’t be all the girls either. If you intend to have a rented captain on board please make sure to mention if you specifically want a female. There are many of them available but if you don’t ask, you may end up with a guy!

You sure can. Many bareboat companies organize race weeks. Teams get together and rent a specific type of boat; each day, another leg is raced from one perfect anchorage to the next. You don’t have to be good to enter, just willing. Many are super keen, and the top place getters are cutthroat. Many, though, don’t care where they come, its more about the comradery. All the boats are the same, so the competition is close. No spinnaker or poles are allowed.
Racing Regattas is a prevalent activity in Australia per se.
Many of the Caribbean islands have regattas every year where bareboats can enter.

There is nothing more annoying than being thousands of miles from home, and having your credit card company freeze your account, thinking there is fraud going on. Generally speaking, if you use your card away from home to purchase something unless it’s for a considerable amount, it will not raise a flag. However, put your card into an ATM away from home to get even $10 out. Bingo it’s flagged. The best bet is to call the number on the back of your card before you leave home, tell them where, and how long you will be gone. Then everything should be ok.

Read more bareboating FAQ (opens in a new tab)

The bareboat industry has always had some great off-season last-minute deals. At a couple of weeks out from a charter date, they know exactly how many boats they are going to have sitting at the dock, not earning money. They can be very motivated to shift those unused boats of the pier to earn some revenue. If you’re planning to get away in the next few weeks, give us a call, and we can “do the rounds” and see what we find.
Some say its too hot, others say, “but what about the hurricanes.” Yes, it is hot in summer, But the ocean is still beautiful. The winds are generally much lighter to even nonexistent. No wind makes sailing difficult, but either a powerboat or sailboat under power moves quite quickly when the seas are flat. There are so many fewer people out boating that this alone would be enough to draw me in. Summer is by far the best time to come if you are a scuba diver. The water is in the mid to high 80s, and the flat seas allow for exploration on more remote sites.
During September and October, the Caribbean goes into offseason mode. Many of the bars, restaurants, resorts, etc. close down completely. Many people who are in the boating industry go away on vacation, and the islands become ghost towns. I like it. Summer is not the time to come if you are going out every night to the wee hours.
Yes, they are the months that hurricanes are most likely in the islands. However, they are few and far between. We see a dozen or more every year on the news, but a particular island is not likely to feel the full effects of one for more than a couple of days every 3 or 5 years.
Yes, it could be the week you decided to go on vacation if you are super unlucky. Buy trip insurance! Insurance generally costs about 7% of your total vacation cost. However, at this time of year, the price of airfares is as low as can be, and the amount of renting a boat can be as little as 50% of that in peak season. The math looks great.

In the last couple of years, the internet options have improved while you are out on the sea.

Not only has it improved, but the cost has come way down too. There are not too many areas of the world where you will not have an internet connection.

Purchase a local SIM card for your phone, and you are good to go.


You have two choices here. Either you can do it yourself, or the Bareboat company can do it for you. If you get the company to do it, they will send you an email of what’s available. You tick off what you want, and they get it and put it onto the boat for your arrival. There is, of course, a fee for this service.
If you choose to provision yourself, you still have options if you are bareboating in the Caribbean or elsewhere. We send you the contact information to the major suppliers.
You can go to their website and place an order.
It will be delivered free of charge to your boat. Provisioners typically give a small percentage discount on your order.
Of course, the other option is to provision yourself. Provisioning does take some time and effort, but for many, it’s the best option. Ask yourself whether it is worth it to spend a day of your vacation provisioning.
When you are sleeping aboard your yacht charter the night before, it often makes sense.
Generally, most will buy too many provisions. You’re not likely to take any leftovers home. You will probably have more unplanned food ashore than you thought you were, so stock up on snacks and remember that you can top up on provisions as you go along.

Bareboat sizes range from low 30 feet monohulls up to catamarans ( power and sail) and monohulls in the high 50-foot range.

The size you are allowed to bareboat becomes larger every year though!

Read more on Bareboat FAQ


The best time depends upon where you are thinking of chartering. The high seasons for the Caribbean and Mediterranean are directly opposed. The busiest time in the Caribbean is from Xmas to the end of March.
Winter is also the time of year when the wind blows the strongest in the Caribbean.
April, May, and June are a bit less busy, and winds are more pleasant. Summertime of year that is favored by many.
July and August, as well as November, are my favorite time of year in the Caribbean. The winds can be light, and the sun can be intense during these months. The days of very light winds make for some beautiful diving and snorkeling. I have gone a whole week in these months with only seeing a hand full of other boats. The rates for bareboats can be cheaper than in the prime months. The months of September and October are the two months that the Caribbean is likely to see a hurricane.
Hurricane season does not mean that you can’t take bareboats in these months but do have trip insurance. If a hurricane is on the horizon, your bareboat company will call you back to base, take care of the boat for you with advice on hotels, shelters, or plane changes. These months have exciting weather. Typically you get 2 or 3 days of dead flat weather; then, a substantial electrical storm passes that will last a half day then go back to dead flat seas — not a good time to sail but a great time to rent a powerboat. If you are a scuba diver, then this is a perfect time to boat. Super low bargain prices can be had at this time, like pay for seven nights and get 10.
In my books, the best time to bareboat is when I have the time!
The briefer will spend an hour or 2 with you. Your first mate should also be present for your briefing.
Topics covered are:
  1. Safety Equipment
  2. Dinghy Usage
  3. Operation of Anchor and Windlass
  4. Back up Anchor
  5. How to use and care for the heads (washrooms) on the boat
  6. Refrigeration and oven usage
  7. VHF Radio usage
  8. How to call back to the base
  9. Emergencies
  10. How to run the engine and check oil levels
  11. Navigation Equipment including GPS and Charter Plotter
  12. Daily Weather updates
  13. If you are sailing, instructions on all sailing controls and lines
Do not be in a rush, if you’re not 100% sure on what was just said, ask them to repeat it. There is no such thing as a dumb question!
You will receive a separate chart briefing. Chart briefings are done at a set time in the morning before your departure and done with all the other captains who will be heading out that day.
You will get a thorough description of the area, its anchorages, where not to go, what to look out for, and a weather forecast for the week and what that forecast means to you.
With having other captains present, many questions will come up that you have not thought about, so the group meeting is very beneficial.
Some tips on the itinerary will be given based on the weather forecast, but remember it is your vacation to do as you please.

You can rent a boat up to about 10 feet longer than you are experienced in. It does not matter if you’re experience is in a monohull and want to charter a multihull or vice versa. Having a bareboat certification or recognized captain license may get you a larger boat.

Each fleet has different requirements which we will be happy to advise you on.

Read more about Bareboat Yachting

There is an official bareboat certification available. It is available through the ASA. It requires you to do some pre-study at home of items ASA101 ASA103 and ASA104. The course materials cost about $100 per person.

The method followed by most to obtain this certification is to take a 10-night bareboat charter. In the first seven days, you have an ASA instructor on board. Some of this time must be on a monohull yacht. If you have rented a multihull, then often, the instructor has a small monohull sailboat available for this part at a small charge.
The instructor will cost about $250-300 per day plus food plus gratuity. You will also need to allow for a berth on your boat for him. After the seven days, you get your certification, then drop off the instructor and spend the next three days honing your skills and gaining confidence. This certification will allow you to bareboat anywhere and will let you go into areas that non-licensed skippers can’t. Once again, because of the perfect weather conditions and abundance of facilities, the British Virgin Islands is the best area to obtain a bareboat certification.

You will need to show that you have experience in a similar sized yacht. Typically the bareboat fleet will let you take out a vessel up to about 10 feet longer than your experience.

If your experience is in a monohull, they will allow you to take out a multihull and vice versa.

Usually, the Caribbean requires no Captain’s license. Maybe you would like to combine your bareboat vacation along with obtaining your ASA sailing license?
Your yachting credentials will need to show the experience of skippering, anchoring, and boating skills in a similar setting to the area you intend to charter. Of all the charter areas worldwide, The British Virgin Islands require the least amount of skills.
You can bolster your ability to charter by taking on a paid captain for the first day or two or by joining up with one of the bareboat flotillas.
These flotillas travel as a group, they anchor together at the same spot each night, and the flotilla leader will make sure you anchor safely. They are there to guide you through any questions that may arise during your vacation. Next morning, all captains in the flotilla have a meeting and discuss the day, then as you’re ready, you head off on your way and meet up again that night. There is a small extra charge to be in a flotilla. It is customary to tip the flotilla leader at the end of the week.
In the Mediterranean and some other areas of the world, you will need to have an Internationally recognized Captain’s License and a VHF certification.
Don’t worry; we will help you sort through the requirements.
Absolutely. It is a great way to start your first bareboat adventure.
He will help and mentor you on everything you need to know to have a successful bareboat vacation.
Some fleets even rent the captain for the whole duration of the charter.
Renting a captain is a great way to hone up your skills, give you confidence in yourself and perhaps give other members of your party a piece of mind that “we can do this.” Captains usually run about $250 per day. You are expected to feed them and tip them as well. Gratuities can be from $500 per week up to 10 to 15% of the boat rental cost.
On a crewed charter yacht, you sit back and relax. The chef prepares your meals, drinks are blended, and the boat is kept clean. All you need to do is relax and enjoy it. The crew will do everything to do with the ship. Think of it as an all-inclusive resort.
On a Captain only charter, the yacht comes with a captain. He/she will take care of the boating aspect of things. He will drive the boat, anchor, and moor the boat. He will do all the daily checks and do the worrying if the wind picks up.
Your duties on a captain only are everything else, cooking, cleaning, and all aspects of day to day vacation life. Think of it as renting a vacation apartment with cooking facilities.
On a bareboat, everything is up to you; you have no outside help at all. You get to charter your destiny. It’s not as daunting as it may sound. In areas like the British Virgin Islands, the whole area is set up to make bareboating as easy as possible. You will need to be able to either anchor your boat overnight or pick up an overnight mooring.
I have spoken to bare boaters who have visited the BVI for a week vacation every year for 12 years and never anchored a boat in their life. They always use moorings and, therefore, didn’t need to learn how.
A bareboat yacht charter is just as it says — a sole boat with nothing or no one it.
They usually come with linens and towels, although in some parts of the world you are required to bring your own.
Bareboats generally do come with a starter kit that contains dish soap, dish sponge, etc. The rest is up to you.
You need to provision the boat yourself, drive the boat yourself, and cook and clean yourself.
You will fill out a boating resume in advance to show that you have the experience to take out the yacht you want.
Generally, they are looking for experience within about ten feet of the boat that you want to rent on a bareboat charter.
Unlike the Caribbean, where you can rent a yacht on your experience alone, many parts of Europe and Asia expect you to have an Internationally recognized Captain’s License and an in date VHF certification.
We have gathered up a few tips here from around the internet, which you may find helpful to share with your crew members when you get on board.
With everything stowed, and a cold beer in hand, spend about 60 minutes taking the crew through the initial safety briefing covering the following:
Safety Discussion items that you may want to go over….
1. Please take care of the boat like it was your own. The goal should be to bring it back cleaner / better than when you got it. Do not force anything, and ask if something does not work the way you think it should.
2. Location of life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, plugs, throwable flotation devices
3. Electrical panel, batteries (isolation switch), shore power, generator, battery gauge
4. The lighting of the charcoal grill
5. Proper use of VHF radio, and the importance of weather (mayday procedure)
6. Docking, mooring, and anchoring procedures (never use your hands – roving bumper)
7. Winch instruction and hand placement while operating sheets (ongoing training throughout the week)
8. Toilet operation and water conservation (only things that come out of you go into the toilet), if you plug the head, you will need to pay to get it unplugged. Shower off the back of the boat
9. Hats, sunscreen, sunburn and hydration (the wind will make it not seem as hot)
10. MOB situation, roles, and responsibilities, what to expect as you may see the boat moving away from you initially. Always keep 3 points of contact with the boat, tell someone if you are going to sit on the back steps while underway
11. Proper shut off of propane gas and solenoid switch. How to light the stove.
12. Use of the spare tiller if steering goes out (not a real need with a twin-engine catamaran)
13. Use of the manual bilge pumps on deck.
14. Buddy system for snorkeling, never leave your buddy in the water alone when snorkeling
15. Buddy system for going ashore – never leave you, buddy, alone onshore, be courteous – let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
16. Dinghy operation (secure all lines – watch elbows when starting engine), outboard motor operation
17. Expectations before getting underway (shut all hatches, all laundry inside, everything stowed and put away. Look around and use your eyes. If something does not look right, say something, ask for help
18. Right of way: Portly / Windy always give way, the motor gives way to sail (ongoing training throughout the week, also check out the free “Rules of Sailing” App on your I-phone)
19. In an emergency, the captain makes the call, follow the directions immediately, as it could save someone’s life.
I hope this helps; safety considerations will bring down your worry level on your first bareboating trips.
The most common causes of property damage are:
* Docking accidents and hard docking the boat. Usually involves fiberglass dings (or worse) or possible damage to a rub rail.
* Grounding the boat
* Wrapping a line in the prop. Multiple ways to do this, but most common is running over the dingy line while backing up because you didn’t bring the dinghy up short during mooring/anchoring/docking.
* Sucking up a line or debris into the bow thruster
* Hitting rocks/coral with the dinghy or dinghy outboard prop
* Swamping the dinghy while attempting to beach it in the surf
* Having an agenda instead of intentions. You should never have a set sail agenda because that makes you less likely to take into account the weather/boat/crew conditions, and you try to force something to happen that would not otherwise.
If conditions are not favorable, then a day at anchorage is a perfectly fine place to be.
The most common personal safety/discomfort things to watch out for when sailing are:
* Sunburn
* Drinking enough. You will be sweating more than usual. You need to drink plenty of liquids to make up for it. In between the rum drinks, anyways!
* Staying dry. If you are wet – especially with saltwater – and have any clothing rubbing, you might chafe. Gold Bond may help those who get that problem. Make sure you wash after coming out of the ocean with fresh water; there is always a shower on the back deck.
* Rope burns. If you don’t know what you are doing sailing, this can happen. Gloves. And listening to the Captain when they tell you how to handle a line on a winch.
* Smashing some body part. The boat weighs 10 tons. If it’s moving, you are unlikely to stop it by putting your body part between it and an unmovable object.
* Getting enough sleep. This will not be too bad of an issue on a boat if it has a generator and AC. Without it, it’s hot/stuffy and hard to get to sleep. Make abundant uses of all fans and hatches to get a cross breeze! Even with the temperature under control, the boat is moving around a bit, which at first may cause you some less than ideal sleep.
* Tenderfeet. Are you used to going barefoot at home? You will mostly go barefoot on the boat; perhaps you want to toughen up for feet for a couple of weeks before you get there? Or boat shoes.

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