A Boat Too Far

In 2005 we bought a 46' catamaran in Thailand as a wreck. We removed the cabin, bridgedeck, main crossbeam and all the bulkheads then completely redisigned and rebuilt her in Phuket over the course of 5 years. It seemed like a good idea at the time..

28 June 2022
18 June 2022
18 June 2022
17 June 2022
17 June 2022
16 June 2022
15 June 2022
15 June 2022
13 June 2022
12 June 2022
10 June 2022
09 June 2022
06 June 2022
01 June 2022
31 May 2022

Sunday BBQ

28 June 2022
We have spent the past few days anchored at Taravai Island, just south of Mangareva. We had a great time snorkling, kayaking and paddling, but the hightlight was a beach BBQ and potluck that we were invited to by a couple who live on the island.  Valerie and Herve have been inviting cruising boats to their beautiful garden property for Sunday BBQ’s for the past 12 years. Herve is a fisherman and farmer born and raised in the Gambiers and Valerie is an amazing artist, originally from Tahiti, whose medium is drawings done with glue and different colored sand and dirt that she collects from her island. Much like the sand paintings of the Navajo and just as intricate and beautiful. They are completely self sustained on their little island. The property is full of avocado, pamplemouse, banana, lemon and lime trees. The island has feral pigs, goats and chickens left by previous owners, which they hunt or trap as needed. Valerie was explaining to me how the hens give away the
location of their nests by causing a rukus after laying their eggs, that’s how she knows where to look. She explained she always leaves one egg in the nest because they can’t count and won’t return to the same nest if all the eggs are gone. Herve knows what fish are safe to eat and where to get them easily. They have a water collection system attached to their roof which empties into a huge tank and enough solar panels for all their electrical needs. Valerie and Herve have two sons both of whom were home-schooled until recently when the younger son decided he was having more fun going to school in Rikitea. Their older son joined the French Air Force and is on his way to France.

We were a small group this Sunday of 5 boats, 13 people total. 3 boats from France, 1 from Norway and us. Lucky for us English is the Language that binds us all. We ate fresh roasted pig from the island and shared creative appitizers and side dishes which everyone contributed. There was a bocci ball game that I sucked at, but most of all after 6 weeks of being in the company of two, it was exhilerating to be in the company of others, swaping stories, exchanging ideas and making new friends. For Mike and I the Sunday BBQ was our first opportunity to meet other cruisers since arriving in French Polynesia. For Valerie and Herve being isloated on a tiny island, it is a way to be social, make friends and expierence different cultures without leaving home.

Life off the beaten path

23 June 2022
Life in the Gambiers is difinately off the beaten path. Except for a handful of cruising boats, mostly from France, we haven’t see any tourists or anything tourist related. There aren’t any resorts or hotels, official restuarants or bars. The old mission style church is the most prominante structure in town and the only other identifiable buildings are the medical clinic, pst office and the Gendarmarie, which also serves as the coast guard, fire department and the police.  The main industry here is pearl farming with the oysters attached to lines suported by thousands of black and blue bouys scattered throughout the lagoon, often just below the surface. These add interest to navigating through the coral heads. 

Since we arrived on a Friday and could not check in until Monday we had to stay in the main achorage just off of Rikitea and, craving a little exercise we decided to hike up Mt Duff, the highest peak on all the islands. It was a difficult, 1400 foot climb, at times so steep that ropes tied between the trees were provided so you could pull yourself up the hill. The trail wound it’s way through palms and mimosa trees, giving way to pine forest as we moved up the hill.  Along the trail we found and were able to forage a bit including a grapefruit-like citrus call pamplemouse, some type of sweet red berry and very spicy red chili’s. Once on top we got a fantastic view of the entire archipelago. We were also directly above the town and were just in time for a birds eye view of a traditional Polynesian ceremony with drums and dancing with the dancers wearing traditional woven headresses and grass skirts. Our little hike turned out to be a full body workout and by the time we g
ot back
down our heads were spinning and our sea legs wobbly. It probably wasn’t the best way to aclimate to land. But the hike was well worth it. 

Once we were officially checked in we were free to roam so we pulled anchor and snaked our way through pearl farm bouys and coral heads to the barrier reef and dropped anchor behind a tiny ilsland called One Palm Motu which was nothing more than a patch of sand and, you guessed it, one palm tree. Unlike in Chile we don’t have to tie additional lines to trees, however, with all the surrounding coral heads we have to suspend our anchor chain with bouys so that it floats above the coral without damaging it. 

Speaking of coral, the snokling is the best we have ever expierenced. The water is crystal clear and beautiful turquoise blue over the sandy areas. When you look sideways underwater it feels like you can see all the way to the horizon. Ciguatera poisoning is a risk throughout the region, particularly here, so the fish are not hunted. As a result they are big, numerous and relatively tame. 

Today we moved to the south side of Taruvai Island as some light northerlies are predicted. We went for a paddle over the reef on our SUPs and saw lots of huge, flourescent blue parrotfish, giant angelfish and a couple of black tipped reef sharks.

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18 June 2022
When I woke up the islands appeared so close it looked as though we would be there within minutes. It actually took another 7 hours. It was deceiving because the islands are surrounded by a reef which we had to skirt around before entering the marked channel, the only safe route to the main village of Rikitea. As we turned into the channel the depthsounder went from no registration because it was so deep to 4-5 meters instantly. The water went from the intense azure blue to a crystal clear aquamarine dotted with coral heads and a white sand bottom.  Hibiscus flowers floated on the surface like rose petels before a bride, and as we rounded the last turn into the Village of Rikitea we heard the sound of Polynesian drums start up in a welcome precussion. The long anticipated destination on the chart is now a reality. 

With the anchor down, there was silence. The boat sat motionless after 5 weeks of nonstop rocking and rolling. It was like someone pulled the plug, our energy completely drained and the excitment of our arrival petered out as our need for a nap overcame us.

As soon as we popped our heads out after our little nap the first of our closest boat neighbors came by with a bag of fresh fruit and a warm welcome. Later, the neighbors on our other side came by to say hello and they too brought us a bag of fresh fruit and homemade banana bread.  Both neighbors spoke english which was a thrill, having conversation with people other than ourselves and a really nice transition from isolation to civilazation. But civilization is was and it was time to check in with officials, so we dropped the dinghy and rowed to shore. After over 5 weeks on the boat our heads were spinning and we were staggering like drunken sailors as we made our way to the Gendarmerie, proudly bearing our passports, bond exemptions, health certificates, visa permissions and clearance papers from Chile.  Of course no one was there, it was Friday afternoon and they were out snorkling.  

We had read in the Gambier guide that there have been times when 35 boats were anchored up in Rikitea and at other times a mere handfull, so it was a mystery how many other cruisering boats would be here when we showed up. There were 4 boats in the anchorage and on AIS we spotted 6 others in the outlying anchorages, making it a total of 11 boats including us in the entire archipelago. We have been reading reports of 50 boats in a single anchorage in the Marquesas, so we will try to spend as much time as we can here before heading North. 

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Day 37/29, Landfall

18 June 2022
Spotted the peaks of Mangareva Island in the moonlight this morning a few hours before sunrise. We have been motoring for the past 2 days, this past night in a dead calm. I have never seen an open ocean sea so flat. The clouds, moon and stars are reflected perfectly, slightly undulating like a funhouse mirror. By a trick of the light the horizon is obscured so that the Gambiers appear to be floating above the water. Every now and then I can catch a whiff of land. Looks like a 10:30 arrival at the pass and a couple hours after that until we arrive in the anchorage off Rikitea.

Day 37/29, Landfall

17 June 2022
Spotted the peaks of Mangareva Island in the moonlight this morning a few hours before sunrise. We have been motoring for the past 2 days, this past night in a dead calm. I have never seen an open ocean sea so flat. The clouds, moon and stars are reflected perfectly, slightly undulating like a funhouse mirror. By a trick of the light the horizon is obscured so that the Gambiers appear to be floating above the water. Every now and then I can catch a whiff of land. Looks like a 10:30 arrival at the pass and a couple hours after that until we arrive in the anchorage off Rikitea.

Modern Cruising

17 June 2022
I want to give a shout out to my dad. Our onshore telecommunications operator, route supervisor, and WORDLE master. Every morning began with a G’ morning text from my Dad. First he let us know if we were on course, how many miles to our destination and our speed. Remember the phrase Do you know where your children are? 
It also was the signal to join in the family WORDLE challenge.  Dad and I would play and after I got a BINGO, Mike got to play. Through my dad we were indirectly connected to all the WORDLE’rs in my family and how many tries it took them, bragging or consoling each other. It was a daily routine we very much looked forward to. 

Cruising today is very different from the first time I set out on an ocean voyage back in 1981. That cruise traumatized my parents and I feel terrible about it to this day. We had absolutely no communication and I was grossly mistaken on our ETA as well as our ability to communicate via VHF Marine Operator, causing them panic to the extent that they had the Coast Guard and ships on the look out for us. 

The remarkable ability to communicate with such ease and fluidity with texts and phone calls while in the middle of the ocean has truly changed the dynamics of cruising for me and my family. Being able to communicate instantly eliminates the worry of the unknown, gives us peace of mind and allows us all to relax and enjoy the journey together. I appreciate and am so grateful that my parents, both pushing 90, have kept up with comminications technology, especially my mother for whom the tech world is completely alien yet who is able to keep in touch via text and email. As always I am grateful for the enthusiastic support my parents have given Mike and I as we continue our circumnavigation around the world. 
Vessel Name: Rum Doxy
Vessel Make/Model: 46' Custom Catamaran
Hailing Port: Santa Barbara, California
Crew: Mike Reed, Annette Reed
Extra: A "rum doxy" is 18th century pirate-speak for a woman of remarkable character and ambiguous virtue
Rum Doxy 's Photos - Main
After storing the boat for the Austral winter in Valdivia, we headed south in early October, arriving in Puerto Williams in early December.
83 Photos
Created 16 December 2019
We arrived in Puerto Montt in mid-February and spent a hectic week repairing broken stuff, re-provisioning and adjusting to the cold. We then headed south with the goal of visiting the Laguna San Rafael and it's tidewater glacier before making our way back to Valdivia to fix more broken stuff and store the boat for the winter.
79 Photos
Created 15 March 2019
We didn't know what to expect at Easter Island. There is no real anchorage or harbor and we heard and read accounts of boats getting chased around the island by the changing weather and the crew never making it ashore before being run off by the weather. Some cruising guides mention that if you do make it ashore, you must leave at least one crew member aboard to move the boat if the weather changes. Even the Sailing Directions published by the US government say "The weather is never good for more than a few days at a time at Isla de Pascua. Ships anchoring off the island should be ready to sail on short notice. There are abrupt and violent wind changes....". So we were a little surprised to find gentle trade winds blowing offshore and a relatively calm anchorage off of the (only) town of Hanga Roa. When we arrived the port was closed due to swell and it was 2 days before we were checked in and able to go ashore, but after that we were able to relax, take care of repairs and do some exploring ashore. We rented a car one day and a quad on another and did a lot of walking as well. The island is roughly 12 x 6 miles with a population of about 6,000 so it doesn't take long to cover it.
45 Photos
Created 27 January 2019
After the 8 day bash down from Costa Rica we arrived in Ecuador and got a slip at the Puerto Lucia Yacht Club. After a few days to regoup, we flew to Cuenca to meet Sabine and Alan, who had been roaming around Ecuador for the past week or so. We spent several days in Cuenca, looking at buildings and taking a trip up to Las Cajas National Park. S and A then left for the Galapagos Islands while we headed north to Otavalo where we hiked the Las Mojandas lakes and visited the market downtown.
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Created 17 December 2018
It seems that our time in Costa Rica has been mostly about the wildlife. We visited the cloud forest, several national parks and some private ones. Here is a rogues gallery of the critters we saw.
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Created 25 November 2018
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Created 21 March 2018
We spent almost a month in the La Paz area and Isla Espiritu Santos, discovering new little anchorages and enjoying the comforts of old stomping grounds. On February 13, we finally cut the ties with the Sea of Cortz and set off for new adventures, beginning with Isla Isabela.
18 Photos
Created 24 February 2018
Over time we have become insufferable beer snobs. As such we found that we could no longer abide the marginal brews we find when abroad and were compelled to take matters into our own hands. We brought a brew kit and grains back to the boat with us after a Christmas visit home (see the blog post for 1/21/18), tied to a mooring in Puerto Escondido and got busy.
11 Photos
Created 21 January 2018
We left the boat on the hard in Puerto Penasco for the summer while we returned home to Ventura to work. We returned to the boat in early November and, after 2 weeks of work on the boat in the yard, we launched and headed straight for Isla Angel de la Guardia, where we took up where we left off in the spring.
27 Photos
Created 7 December 2017
We got a late start heading south this year, our mainsail warranty replacement having taken much longer than anticipated. Our plan, as we headed south, was to get to Ecuador this season so that we would be poised to head to Patagonia in the fall. Somewhere along the way, though, we realized that this would mean traveling every day; more of a delivery than a cruise, so we decided to spend another season in the Sea of Cortez, store the boat in Puerto Penasco or Guaymas for the summer hurricane season, and head to Ecuador next year.
24 Photos
Created 4 March 2017
39 Photos
Created 30 March 2016
After a quick haul-out in La Paz we headed out to the local area to do some exploring. We spent most of January and february sailing up and down the coast enjoying the Islands of Espiritu Santo, San Francisco and San Jose as well as some of the anchorages on the mainland.
34 Photos
Created 13 February 2016
We left our slip in Channel Islands on November 7th, bound for Mexico with stops at Santa Barbara Island, Catalina Island and San Diego. We arrived in Cabo one month later having harbor-hopped down the coast of Baja.
23 Photos
Created 8 December 2015
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Created 19 September 2013
We made an unplanned detour to Alaska when the wind sent us there. Rather than spend time in the Salish Sea as we had planned we have been sailing from Kodiak to Prince William Sound and down to the Inside Passage with stops at icy Bay and Yakutat.
97 Photos
Created 1 September 2013
After leaving Yokohama we headed southeast to get below a series of lows coming off of Japan. This worked to some extent as the wind was always behind us, even if a bit strong at times. As we approached the Pacific High the winds lightened and we were pushed northward which gave us the idea to head for Alaska instead of Canada, a move we have not regretted. The great majority of the trip was spent under cloudy skies, rain or fog so there are regretably not many photos. On the other hand, Kodiak is having their best summer in 75 years with daily temperatures in the 80's.
17 Photos
Created 25 July 2013
43 Photos
Created 13 June 2013
We made our way from Luzon to Okinawa with a detour to Taiwan due to weather. from Okinawa we sailed directly to Shimuzu where we based ourselves for a week while we did maintenance and land travel.
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Created 5 June 2013
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Created 20 April 2013
We made our way from Miri, Sarawak to Kudat, Sabah where we hauled out for a bottom job and a few odds and ends. Then we headed north up the west coast of Palawan, spending some time in the El Nido area, where we met our friends from Miri, Roger and Jane on "Wings and Strings". We have been buddy-boating with them for the past week as we make our way through the beautifull Busuanga group. We are really enjoyin g the Philippines as the people are very friendly, the beaches clan and the water clear. The scenery is spectacular as is the snorkling.
60 Photos
Created 30 March 2013
Nearby Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for it's caves. It sports the world's largest cave system, largest cave passage and largest chamber (100m x 400m x600m!). The BBC series "Planet Earth" filmed it's "Caves" segment here (think mountain of guano seething with cockroaches). We took a couple of days off from boat work and flew out to have a look.
39 Photos
Created 8 September 2012
We had an uneventfull passage from Singapore to Borneo, though a bit tiring as we had to hand steer for 3 days and 2 nights. We arrived in Borneo just after dark on the 3rd day, anchored and awoke to a scene from a Tarzan novel. Over the next week we made our way to Miri, just short of Brunei, traveling during the day and achoring at night as we didn't want to run afoul of the many floating logs in this area. Typically we would sail all day then drop a couple miles off the coast to (mostly) avoid the bugs. We were lucky with the weather and apart from the hydraulic steering exploding as I tried to avoid a log, we had a good trip.
19 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
After 2 years of working on the boat and migrating back and forth between Phuket and Langkawi, we finally moved. The trip down the Straights of Malacca was uneventfull but at times difficult due to the opposing wind and current. We did not travel at night for fear of fishing nets and buoys and so had long days between anchorages. The sky was a uniform dismal brown due to forest fires in Sumatra and the shoreline was mostly mangrove flats so not much to see.
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Created 27 August 2012
With the dinghy done we set sail for Langkawi, leaving Thailand for the last time. We lingered a few days in the Butang group to take advantage of the clear water, then made our way to Langkawi, where we have been working non-stop on the boat ever since.
27 Photos
Created 25 July 2012
We've been knocking around for a couple of years now without a dinghy so we took the time to build one this trip. We got a spot on the "work dock", picked up some plywood in town and got busy. The rowing/sailing boat is from plans but heavily modified. It took 2 weeks all in. It might have been less, but when the wind wasn't blowing a gale, it was raining. Some people do this inside garages or sheds, but they don't know what they're missing.
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Created 3 June 2012
After launch we did a "circumnavigation" of Langkawi to put the boat through it's paces and see if all our work was for naught. As it turned out, the leaks are all a thing of the past and the boat now makes a pleasant "squish" instead of "bang" when beating into a sea. After our spin around the archipelago we picked up Annette's parents, Gordon and Grete, in Langkawi and made our way up to Phuket where we met Sabine and her boyfriend Josh. Another spin through Phangnga Bay and it was time to button up the boat and head back to Santa Barbara for another 4 month work stint.
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Created 22 January 2012
Annette's plastic cardboard fix allowed us to continue work despite the rain and we were able to launch after 2 months and 3 weeks. It's great to be out of the boatyard but we will miss all of our friends who we left behind, hoping we will see them on the water.
24 Photos
Created 29 December 2011
We discovered on our last trip that the boat pounds quite a bit when going to windward due to the flat bottoms on the hulls. The boat has a unique contruction in that the hull and deck both come from the same mold. The deck is just flipped uside down over the hull and they are joined down the middle. A clever idea, but it turns our what makes a good deck does not necesarily make a good hull. We also found that the Thai workers had sanded the hulls a bit too thin in some areas which allowed water into the core when the boat was working. Ungood. Our solution was to see if we couldn't improve things by adding a bit of "vee" to the forward sections of the hulls to help with the pounding and encase the whole mess in a layer of glass with a proper barrier coat of epoxy for the leaks. A side benefit is that we get a "minikeel" encased in the vee so that we can beach the boat if need be. It also would provide a crash compartment along the length of the bottom. We hauled out in the village of Chebilang outside of Satun in southern Thailand and dug in. The yard is on the rustic side and is used by the local fishing boats and ferry companies, but it is endlessly fascinating and the staff are very accomodating. We will also be doing work to the interior, adding bunks and a head, making spare rudders, working on the mast and fixing up the forward cockpit.
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Created 18 September 2011
We came back from Thailand to meet our shipment coming ocean freight from Long Beach. 2 pallets of wire, rope, tools, materials and toys. Once we picked it up I was able to install the 12 volt electrical system which freed us from shore power. Now we are able to work on the boat at anchor and have been taking advantage by exploring the Langkawi Archipelago as we put the boat together.
24 Photos
Created 15 March 2011
A quick root canal and we headed back to Phangnga bay to pick up where we left off.
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Created 26 January 2011
Between dentist appointments we took a spin up into Phangnga Bay for a couple of days. We were surprised to find a lot of solitude here as it is high season and a popular destination. There were a lot of tour boats but from 4pm to 10am we had even the most popular anchorages to ourselves.
24 Photos
Created 26 January 2011
As the major construction on the boat progressed, it occurred to me that I could move things along a bit by building some of the smaller bits at home and shipping them to Thailand. Even with shipping costs this saved a lot of time and money. We had rented a small cottage in Carpinteria that had an attached deck. Sabine lived in a tent on the deck and I set up a work area under some tarps supported by bamboo next to the tent. It worked out really well and I was able to build the dagger boards, rudders and rudder drums, hatch bases, stanchion supports, trampoline supports, nav station, galley and steps down into the hulls. After we launched in March, 2010 we had to return to SB to work for 7 months. We were living on our Catalina 30 in SB Harbor to save money but I was able to build a refrigerator/freezer, settee, lavanette, cabin beams, battery box and other small bits right there on the dock. I was not popular with the next door neighbor but again, it worked out well.
45 Photos
Created 9 January 2011
Just after the New Year we went back to phuket to get some dental work done and see Phang Nga Bay, which we had to skip the first time around. We had great sailing, taking 3 days to do the 160 miles to Yacht Haven Marina at the north end of Phuket. We had broad reaching conditions the whole way and got to put the boat through her paces.
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Created 7 January 2011
Once launched we had to take the boat out of the country as the visa had expired. We took a week to leisurely sail down to Langkawi, the first stop in Malaysia. The boat was nowhere near ready to sail but you do what you have to do. There was no electrical system, plumbing or furniture. I had pre-fabbed the nav station and galley in SB and shipped it to Thailand, but it was still in the crates. The boat did motor well, though and we got to sail a bit, at one time doing 9.4 knots in about 16 knots of wind. Once in Langkawi we had to haul out again after only 2 weeks as there were some leaks around the daggerboard cases. We were now out of money so we had to return to SB where we got our old jobs back and worked for seven months.
44 Photos
Created 24 December 2010
After over 4 years in the boatyard, countless setbacks, redoes and hand wringing we quit our jobs and flew to Phuket New Years day, 2010 for the final push to get the boat in the water. The date was not arbitrary. The boat's visa ran out March 27, so we had less than 3 months to get the boat in the water and out of Thailand or customs would impound it. The worklist included fabricating and installing fuel tanks, installing the engines and controls, installing the hydraulic steering, glassing in the rudder drums, building a mast step, painting, rigging and stepping the mast, building and hanging doors, making and installing windows and hatches, installing the trampolines and all the deck hardware, scuppers, and prepping and painting the boat. This is just a partial list but gives an idea of what we set ourselves up for. We rented an apartment in the marina and got to work. In the end we were able to slip out of Thailand 2 on March 29, two days late, but who's counting.
37 Photos
Created 24 December 2010
From August 2006 to December 2009 the boat was on the hardstand at The Boat Lagoon in Phuket Thailand for a complete refit. As we had to stay home and work to pay for it we had contractors do the work under the supervision of a Marine Surveyor. I would send plans and money and visit the boat for a week or 2 every 4-6 months.
50 Photos
Created 16 December 2010
We bought this boat "as is" in January 2005. The idea was to replaces some bulkheads, do some hull repairs and sail it back to California to finish. After over 30 years around boats I knew better but what can you do? These are the "before" pictures. As you view the photos try to imagine the sweet tang of mildew and cockroach scat and the delicate sound of millions of tiny termite jaws feasting on the bulkheads.
13 Photos
Created 4 December 2010