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..

24 December 2010
24 December 2010
17 December 2010
12 December 2010
11 December 2010
02 December 2010
02 December 2010

Paradise ?

05 December 2019
Annette
Yes we are in another really cool little hidy hole, with glaciers, snow capped mountains and waterfalls but it's not always paradise. Right now we are riding out 45 knot williwaws, strong enough to kick up clouds of spray from the bay around us and to vaporize the smaller waterfalls tumbling down the granite walls, leaving them momentarily dry until the wind dies and they fill in again. Rum Doxy meanwhile bucking and straining on the reins that bind her safely to the trees, while hail beats on the cabin top like shattering safety glass.
But, in between the extreme weather, we go on an expedition. We put on all our warm cloths and then our “dry suits”, launch the kayak, peddle across the bay in a freezing rain and climb to the top of a moss soaked ridge. From the top of the ridge we can see across the channel to the peaks and glaciers on Isla Gordon. Then turning to the right we see the glacier that lies directly in front of Rum Doxy where we live, a huge expanse of thick blue ice from which waterfalls slide down the granite face. Continuing around we see another, larger cascading glacier stepping it's way down to a gravelly moraine which is surrounded by low lying granite domes covered with orange and green moss. Then to our immediate right is a third, impossibly steep, free falling glacier, ending in its own lake. We suddenly hear a deep rumble and watch as an avalanche of ice falls to the lake below. From the lake a river runs to the salt water bay, but not before the beavers dam it up causing the marshy death of the forest that was there before the beavers were introduced. Architecturally crafted wood stick dams creating black water ponds, each with a mounded mud hut off to the side. A Watership Down.

Seno Pia, Canal Beagle, Tierra del Fuego

29 November 2019
Annette
I'm sitting in my bean bag chair, looking forward through our picture windows, gazing up on a frozen river cascading down from the bellies of majestic spires covered in ice. Mike is sitting in his bean bag watching the Lord of the rings as if he were actually in Middle Earth, and I wonder how to describe what it's like to live on a sailboat anchored in front of a glacier, here in the Beagle Canal, Chile. The magnitude of this raw, pristine wilderness is all consuming and a reminder of the powers of nature and our place in it. We are here to observe and experience with all our senses at all times. It is exactly the things that make being here hard that make this place so irresistible and rewarding. A harsh climate, isolation and natural wonders beyond imagination. Living a dream and left completely to you own devices. Photos cannot relay the energy that is so heightened while sailing on the Avenue of Glaciers.
Annette

(The weather sucks, but it's really pretty. Mike)

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Caleta Brecknock

24 November 2019
Mike
We have just spent 3 days tied up in Caleta Brecknock on the far Western tip of Tierra del Fuego. This is a small bay surrounded by 2000 foot granite domes that have been scoured smooth by ice and wind, and dotted with lakes, tarns and waterfalls. There are stunted trees growing in the crevices but wherever a leaf or twig pokes up from the protection of the rock it is sheared off by the wind. There are a few that try to make a go of it in the open, but they are blown along the ground so that a tree may be 12 feet long but never gain a height of over 6 inches, and ending in a tuft of tiny leaves.

We did have a little excitement when a storm passed close by, bringing gusts of over 30 knots into our anchorage. This is normally no concern, but when your stern is only feet from the rocks it adds interest. In addition to our anchor we had half a dozen lines tied to the shore so we did not budge, but we were happy enough when the wind switched and we could get back to napping. On the bright side, the wind brought dry weather and we were able to air out a bit and trim some of the mold growing in the cabin.

Bahia Fortescue

19 November 2019
Annette
We are anchored here in Caleta Gallant, in the Straights of Magellan, 28 miles from the most southern point of the continental America’s. But, looking around, surrounded by alpine peaks covered in snow, we could easily be anchored in Lake Geneva. As we sail down this infamous straight, whether to port or to starboard, whenever there is a break in the clouds you can see ice fields and glaciers.
Since we left Valdivia 6 weeks ago our passage down has been fast and (relatively) easy. The reasons being we've had the wind and current behind us, like a magic carpet, the whole way down. The prevailing winds and current come from the North and West, and since we are traveling Southeast, we've been enjoying this free ride, but emotionally and strategically we are preparing ourselves for the dreaded slog back up against all these obstacles.
You can’t help thinking about the first circumnavigators and imagining how in the heck they even made it through here? For one reason every island, canal and mountain is named after these explorers and their surviving crew. Also, to think a little less than 500 hundred years ago when they began their first attempts at navigating through here, they didn't have charts, gps, motors, weather reports, warm clothing, food, radio, heaters.....sailors chose a life at sea because conditions were worse at home. How they must have suffered!
Which, again, makes me a princess. Not only do I have the luxury of all the things mentioned above, but every night I sit at the best table in the restaurant, with a spectacular view that rotates for my pleasure, eating fresh and delicious food, then crawl under my heated (hot water bottles are awesome!) flannel sheets and down comforter and sleep like a rock!

Puerto Profundo

16 November 2019
Mike
Once again we are tucked away, waiting out the weather. We are paying special attention this time around as we are getting ready to head into the Straights of Magellan, which, due to its size and NW orientation, can focus the wind and become particularly snotty. We are fortunate in that there is a lighthouse nearby that broadcasts the conditions twice daily and will relay the forecast if asked. It has been raining steadily for the past day, but in the brief moments between chubascos we can catch glimpses of the ice fields and mountains across the sound. We are backed into a slot in a small island with mooring lines ashore. The rock walls are no more than 30 feet away on either side with what look like giant bonsai sprouting from their tops and sides, reminding us of the temple gardens we saw in Japan. While the wind indicator at the top of the mast reads 25 knots, it is calm at deck level and we are perfectly snug in our little caleta, waiting for a series of fronts to pass so we can sneak down the Straights. We were planning on exploring in the kayak today, but, between the wind and the rain and the cold, it is looking like a better day to brew a batch of our Patagonia IPA instead.

Speaking of cold, when we arrive in a new anchorage we are usually visited by a small hawk called the chimango. These guys are very curious and will spend hours walking around the boat, checking things out, before crapping on the deck and flying off. The other day, one discovered that there was warm air coming out of the smokestack for our heater and settled in. Sweet! It wasn't long, though, before he jumped up and started picking up his feet, one after the other, and looking at them with indignation, wondering why they were so hot while the rest of him was enjoying the draft. He would do this dance for a while, then jump off to continue his inspection of the boat, only to return a few minutes later to repeat the process. Down here, with no TV, no internet and out of contact with the rest of the world, we take our entertainment where we can find it.

Oh Sunny Day!

10 November 2019
Annette
Yesterday we woke up to a cloudless sky and ice on the decks. It was a day to brighten our spirits, warm our bones and dry our clothes. As the result of captain Mike carefully monitoring the forecasts and strategically planning our stops, we were anchored just around the corner from the glacier, Pio XI, for this beautiful day.
We struggled into our matching red dry suits, filled our back packs with a camera, binoculars, the drone, snacks and water and piled into our dingy. The 4 miles we motored over to the face of the glacier were glorious. We got to behold and enjoy the unobstructed view above and beyond the massive blue ice field flowing out of the mountains, which are normally shrouded in low lying clouds and fog, but today was clear as far as the eye could see. And not another soul in sight. Our hearts were singing praises for this reward, after the relentless clouds and rain.
Pio XI is no longer the tidal glacier it, until very recently, was. There are wide mud flats and gravel mounds built up in front of almost the entire glacier face. We were careful not to get to close to the ice face but did pull the dingy up on a mud flat in order to get off and explore around. We didn't get far before Mike sank knee deep in quicksand. He was lucky to pull out with both boots still attached to his feet, thanks to lessons he learned from watching westerns on TV.
After that it was decided we would explore with the drone instead. Mysteriously the drone malfunctioned in midair then crashed landed into the mud. Surprisingly after a hard impact and a few tumbles it landed upright and made its way back home to us on autopilot, but the gimballed camera was trashed. After countless crashes and close calls, sadly the damage this time is beyond repair.
Since the tide was coming up quickly and our attempts to go exploring were foiled we gathered up some margarita ice and made our way back to the anchorage. With plenty of daylight and blazing sunshine we raised anchor and carried on back down the canal, taking in the many glaciers and pinnacles that were hidden from us previously by clouds and fog on our way up. By the time we arrived to our next anchorage, 4 hours later, it was overcast and rainy once again, but we had had that rarest of things in Patagonia, a sunny day, and we were able to toast it with margaritas made with glacier ice.
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
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.
63 Photos
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.
27 Photos
Created 25 November 2018
11 Photos
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
30 Photos
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.
36 Photos
Created 5 June 2013
19 Photos
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.
26 Photos
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.
24 Photos
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.
60 Photos
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.
57 Photos
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.
50 Photos
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.
11 Photos
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