Adventures of Bucephalus

The preparation for moving aboard and turning to the cruising life. Yo Ho and a bottle of good red wine.

Moving toward the cruising life

Who: Steve Twitty
Port: Phuket, Thailand
28 November 2010 | Phuket, Thailand
17 July 2007 | Phuket, Thailand
17 July 2007 | Phuket, Thailand
06 January 2006 | Phuket - Langkawi - Phuket
05 July 2005 | Bangkok, Thailand

A belated update

28 November 2010 | Phuket, Thailand
Steve Twitty
Since my last entry I've been busy on various projects, unrelated to sailboats and the sea. Time has been limited but I've made another trip to the Similans and several trips to Langkawi and the islands twixt here and there.

The following photo was taken by a good friend, Larry R., just last month. He sailed his boat, Brisa Del Mar, and I, Bucephalus, to Langkawi. This was my first single-hand trip and it most certainly was an adventure. We ran into squalls all the way down, my cruising chute halyard became entangled with the roll-furler for the jib and I learned how to jump start my engine. As for the cruising chute halyard incident, I had read somewhere that by turning the boat in circles you can roll up the jib and yes, I did try it. The first two "rolls" were successful but after that, the jib sheets were keeping the jib from furling more. Cutting the jib sheets was an option but I ended up attached to the bow with a safety harness and man-handling the jib around the forestay. Once on anchor, I went aloft and freed up the problem.

Langkawi was quite, a bit of a relief after my trip there last December. That is when I was on the dinghy dock when a sailor in a dinghy was towed in by another boat. The sailor was yelling about someone being run over by a fishing boat. I then noticed someone was lying in the bottom of his dinghy. This person turned out to be the man who had been run over, hit and run, by the fishing boat. His left arm was nearly severed and he had deep cuts across his chest and right arm. It nearly took an act of God for me to get the Malays who where there to call an ambulance. After what seemed an eternity, medical assistance arrived and the injured man was taken to a hospital. According to the incident was reported to the authorities but nothing was done, even though the other man in the dinghy got a good look at the driver of the fishing boat. I'll let you take away from this whatever you want.

The photo is Bucephalus riding the waves on our trip south, last month. She is such a sea-kindly boat. Kudos to W.I.B. Crealock and her builders.

About Bucephalus

17 July 2007 | Phuket, Thailand
For those not familiar with Alexander the Great, "Bucephalus" was his horse, a steed that carried him through many battles. In keeping with the tradition of that same reliabiltiy, I am now riding its namesake.

Bucephalus is a cutter rig and was built in 1983 in the Philippines by Seacraft International (Philippines). She is known as a Creala 36 and was designed by W.I.B. Crealock. There were only six (6) Creala 36's built and Bucephalus is hull #1, numero uno. She was designed and built as a cruiser and everything about her is strong and functional, not like so many high production boats constructed of flimsy fiberglass and wood veneer interiors. Every bit of wood on Bucephalus is solid, like her hull and deck.

Her specifications and gear include:

- LOA of 39 feet
- draft of 5 feet 9 inches
- beam of 11 feet 2 inches
- 7,400 pound of ballast (fiberglass encapsulated iron) and a gross tonnage of 13.1 (12.64 registered tonnage)
- 34 hp Yanmar 3HMF diesel with 35 gallon 316 grade stainless steel fuel tank
- 100 gallon capacity fresh water tanks constructed of 316 grade stainless steel

- Norseman quick-release staysail stay
- 130 Genoa on roller reefing
- 1,387 square foot cruising spinnaker with sock and turtle
- 35 pound CQR anchor on 160 feet of 5/16 BBB chain and 250 feet of 5/8 nylon rode
- 30 pound high tensile Danforth on 30 feet of 3/8 chain and 300 feet of nylon rode
- 20 pound Bruce

- Fleming wind-vane
- Auto-Helm 6000 auto-pilot
- VHF radio
- SSB radio

- 110 V and 220 V shore-power capabilities
- transformer
- 120 amp alternator
- 440 amp hour AGM house batteries
- separate flooded-cell battery for the diesel

- Isotherm refrigerator/freezer
- gimballed 3-burner stove with oven
- "Endless Breeze" fan
- Alpenglow lights in main cabin
- full emergency gear with Avon 4-man liferaft
- Raymarine radar and multifunction monitor
- Garmin GPS
- energy monitor and oodles more.

I'm proud to announce that her rather dated Groco marine head has been replaced with a Lavac head, making Bucephalus a bit more user friendly.

She is hull #1 of nine hulls laid. As the first of her sisters, she is solidly constructed and fitted out with the best, after all, she was going to represent the builder's reputation and marketing efforts.

Her first owner named her "Kealoha" and she graced the California coast and Pacific Northwest for about ten years. Her second owner changed her name to "Emma B'lu" and being a bit more ambitious, steered her south to Mexico and then across the Pacific, seven years later arriving in Phuket, Thailand.

In 2003, after returning from a bareboat trip with a friend, I strolled the docks at Yacht Haven Marina looking for a boat to buy and found myself hovering around one particularly beautiful cutter. Not only did she have the lines I was looking for and the appearance of a well-built vessel, there was a "For Sale" sign hung from her bowsprit. A quick call, an on-board inspection and a test sail a week later and I knew she was what I wanted. In November of 2003, after a very positive survey, she became mine.

During the spring of 2004, Bucephalus was hauled out at Boat Lagoon and for the next three months she was given a full refit. The original fresh water tanks and diesel fuel tank were replaced with ones fabricated of 316 grade stainless steel. The teak deck was replaced, the mast inspected and painted, all standing rigging replaced, the mast head annodized, the bottom anti-fouled and the topsides repainted. She even received a new Windex and Horizon depth-sounder and knot-meter. She is, you might say, ready for anyone's bathtub.

Bucephalus is an impressive boat and I'm looking forward to putting her through her paces.

Current work in progress includes recovering the headliners which had yellowed over the years, replacement of the sink manifold and the replacement of a "dripless" packing gland with a "drip" type. The dripless design I had previously installed was more headache than I wanted and the more basic drip design is far more reliable.

In December '07, I will be sailing to Langkawi with friends and then in January, two other friends will join me in Langkawi for a sail north. My previous crew will return to Thailand via air.

Andaman Rally

17 July 2007 | Phuket, Thailand
Steve Twitty
Preparations for the Andaman Rally from Phuket to Port Blair went well. After a two year hiatus, the event was scheduled for 14 to 28 January, 2007. Bucephalus was registered and had a great trip over and back. My crew of two, Colin and Robert, are the same two friends who had planned to join me in 2005, when the event was cancelled due to the tsunami.

It is popluar belief that starting a trip on a Friday is bad luck and thus, as captain, I decided we would leave port the following day which, unfortunately, was Saturday, 13 January. The accompanying photo shows just how far we made it out of Boat Lagoon Marina. This is not an easy marina to enter or leave in the best of times and the fact they were dredging a new channel and had not marked the "dredged" part did not help matters. Fortunately, the bottom was mud and the only damage was to my ego. We were certainly popular with the tourists on the dive boats as they passed by on their way to the islands.

The race started with more of a fizzle than a bang as there were very light winds. Of the three days over to Port Blair, we motored two and half of them. It took us a day and a half to get checked in but after that a visit to North Cinque Island and Havelock Island was well-worth the wait; great diving and beautiful beaches.

After five days in the Andamans, we checked out in one day and set sail that evening. We had chosen to use an agent to assist in the check-in and check-out formalities and this proved to be beneficial. A few bottles of Johnny Walker doesn't hurt either.

The trip back to Thailand was almost all motoring with the wind dead on the nose. Still, we made it to the Similan Islands in three days and found the water to be clearer and the fish to be more spectacular than in the Andamans.

After two days in the Similans, we headed south and arrived in Phuket in 26 hours. The end to a great trip and my first blue water passage but certainly not my last.
Vessel Make/Model: Creala 36, cutter rig, WIB Crealock design
Hailing Port: Phuket, Thailand
Crew: Steve Twitty
About: As for late 2005, no crew.
Extra: The next phase will begin when I become a liveaboard in early 2006 - lots to learn, lots to do.
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Album: | Adventures of Bucephalus

Moving toward the cruising life

Who: Steve Twitty
Port: Phuket, Thailand