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..

17 March 2019
11 March 2019
08 March 2019
05 March 2019
03 March 2019
24 February 2019 | Bahia de Corcovado
21 February 2019 | Puerto Montt
14 February 2019
13 February 2019
12 February 2019
11 February 2019
10 February 2019
09 February 2019
08 February 2019
07 February 2019
06 February 2019
05 February 2019
04 February 2019

First 10 days in Fiji

30 September 2023 | Drawaqua Island
We arrived in Savu Savu on Vanua Levu Island 10 days ago and got a mooring at the Waitui "Marina" which was not much more than a dock and a shack, but nice folks nonetheless and we were happy to moored in a calm bay right in front of town. We spent the next 6 days resting, drying out, stocking up on supplies and taking advantage of the many cheap and good restaurants within walking or dinghy distance.
Out first stop was the Namena Marine Reserve, famed for it's diving and snorkeling. unfortunately, by the time we got there it was raining and blowing 20 knots, so, after a rolly night we headed west through a couple of reef passes and into an area known as "Bligh Water" in honor of the good captain who sailed through here in a 25' open boat with 19 of his closest friends after the mutiny aboard the Bounty. We made landfall on Yandua Is. after 58 miles. It was rainy, with 25 knots of wind so we made good time, but not much to do by the time we got there but enjoy the calm anchorage and get an early start the next day.
Our next stop was Sawa-I-Lau Island in the Yasawa group. We had a beautiful sail under sunny skies which was helpful as there were a lot of reefs along the way to watch out for. All of the land and all of the water in Fiji belongs to someone and sailors are welcome to anchor pretty much wherever they please, but first you have to check in with the local chief to ask permission in a ceremony called "savusavu" which involves bringing a gift, traditionally a bundle of kava root, and receiving permission from the chief to anchor, snorkel, visit the village etc. We made our way ashore immediately after anchoring and were met on the beach by the chief's representative who took us to meet the chief. When he was ready the chief met us and brought us inside his house where we sat cross legged on the floor and formally presented our kava. The chief clapped 3 times and gave us his blessing to do as we pleased while in the area. After visiting for a bit we made our way back to the anchorage where we met some of the other sailors who invited us to a beach barbecue that night. Finally feels like we are doing something besides shopping for provisions and moving to the next spot.
Which we did the next day, anchoring near a pass where it is common to be able to snorkel with mantas up to 18' wide. We only saw one and it was more modestly sized, about 6', but the sun was out and the coral was beautiful. Later, we went to a local resort for happy hour with our friends aboard the French cat "Molipa" who we first crossed paths with at sea on the passage from Raiatea. We'll give the mantas another try tomorrow before heading south along the Yasawa chain of islands.

Salted Sailors

19 September 2023
Day 11
LAND HO, we just passed our first Fijian island; Wailagilala. Tomorrow morning we will make landfall in Savusavu after passing through the Lau group of islands where it is forbidden to land before checking in. It is September 20, a day ahead and 5 hours behind California time. Happy Birthday Sabine, we get to celebrate you for 2 days.

For the record, last night on my watch, while Mike slept peacefully down below, I took the brunt of the evil seas and winds. Up top in the main cabin the boat felt like a walnut being tossed around on the ocean, waves breaking over the portside cabin top, filling the rear cockpit. It really is not dangerous but things that go bump in the night cause quite a fright. All the while as I am bracing myself for the next impact, I spot 2 AIS targets on the charts. One is 14 miles NW of us, a Chinese Fishing boat. I can see it will pass well in front of us on its way to Suva, where the tuna canneries are. The second AIS target is a 46 foot sailboat, 8 miles directly behind us on our exact course rapidly approaching. I saw on the chart that they were under sail doing avg 7 knots, while we traveling with bare poles at 4 knots in order to time our arrival in Savu Savu in daylight. It was not long before I saw their red running lights blink when it crested the waves. As they crept up behind us
I was tempted to put up the jib because any two boats within sight is a race.  We could have easily left them in our wake, because we were regularly hitting speeds of up to 11 knots surfing down waves with the sail up. But I resisted, erring on the side of caution, High speeds in the dark are no fun.

Day 10

17 September 2023
Annette and Mike
Or is it day 11?
We are still out here sailing towards Fiji, at an avg speed 6 knots. People jog faster than that
but on a boat with 3.5 meter seas it feels like we are flying and doing aerials. As of day 10 we only have 390 miles left of our 1700mile passage. We have crossed the international dateline and moved 1300 miles to the west, but time is irrelevant to us out here. It is breakfast time, lunch time, happy hour and dinner time and then alone time when the night shifts begin. Other than that I do not have a lot of exciting news to report.

Oh, except yesterday we nearly avoided 2 frightening situations. First, the jib turnbuckle unscrewed itself and came off causing the jib boom to go flying. Then shortly thereafter the spinnaker blew out and shredded itself. Poseidon was looking out for us because neither were troublesome. The winds were light only 16 to 18 knots when both incidences happened.  The jib sail was not out at the time as Mike was making alterations to the rigging of the jib sheets and we were able to get the flogging spinnaker sail remnants down before they got tangled up in the rigging.


We passed Samoa yesterday and are passing through the Tonga Islands today. We had one of our longest day's run the other day with 171 miles. Once the wind filled in on day 3 it has been from the same direction, varying only a little in strength. Although, last night in the wee hours a trough passed us bringing rain and winds up to 30 knots. By the time I got the main down and everything squared away the sun was up, the sky was clear and the wind had dropped to 15 knots. Bugger.

One thing that has been consistent on our passages is that we usually make landfall with the boat in better shape than when we left. Maybe because we are actively sailing and have nothing else to do but fix stuff. Since leaving we have fixed a air in the fuel problem and leaking water pump on the port engine and improved our jacklines and jib running rigging so all in all better than when we left. Except for the spinnaker. That sucker is toast.


Day 7 Passage to Fiji

15 September 2023
Our blog also serves as our ships log, sort of, so we write things that are not exactly news worthy for most but significant to us.

Day 7 on our passage to Fiji, 1000 miles done, 700 more to go. Once we reach Fiji we will have logged 45,000 miles on Rum Doxy, And we have not even left the Pacific. We will be passing between Samoa and Tonga in the next couple of days and crossing over the Tonga Trench which is 35,000 feet deep. Yesterday we covered our furthest 24hr stretch, 171 miles with an average speed of 7.1 knots. This really is not a very fast speed or a very long distance for a lot of cruising boats but for us it is a big deal. Our average speed is 5 knots, and we get excited when we cover more than 100 miles a day as we value comfort more than speed.

So far we have had two guests join us for short stays on the boat, a petrel that came and hung out on the surfboards for a couple of hours, crapped and than left, and a Boobie who landed on the same spot, got bored and left shortly after. The only other appearance was seeing a tanker on the horizon en route from Taiwan to Chile. We first saw it on AIS so it was not a surprise.

We were lucky, even though we left on a Friday, to begin our passage with really light winds, it gave us time to re-aclimate to being on a sailboat both physically and mentally. But when the winds came on the 4th day, it came with a vengeance and has not let up much since. It is a whole 'nother level of acclimation. Like I said before we keep life really simple on board but when the boat feels like a never ending roller coaster, rising and dropping out from under our feet, our tasks are reduced to the bare necessities. Even the accomplishment of ones Daily Duty is a major task.

First few days

12 September 2023
We left Raiatea in the morning 5 days ago, motoring in light air and sailing when we could. We quickly left Tahaa and Raiatea in our wake, then soon after Bora Bora and Maupiti dropped below the horizon. The next day we passed Maupihaa and Manuae atolls, officially leaving French Polynesia behind. The next land we should see is Fiji, another 1500 miles away.

After 3 days of light to no wind a low pressure trough came up from the south and we were off and running with 20 to 25 knots of wind from behind. By nightfall it was 25 to 30 and we were surfing at 15 knots. We dropped all sail and were still doing 7 to 9 knots under bare poles. As we were finishing dinner I saw a wall of white water headed for the port side of the boat and had just enough time to say hang on and to grab my beer before it hit, sending everything not strapped down flying. Annette was taken by surprise as she assumed I was talking to my beer, but both survived unscathed. 

The wind continued to build during the night with gusts to 38 knots on Annette's shift. By the time I got up at 0100 it had settled a bit and by sunrise the jib was back up with life proceeding on a more even keel.

We are now sailing wing and wing in 20 knots under cloudy, rainy skies. Should have mellower conditions tomorrow and we are looking forward to some sunshine for the solar panels and to dry out a bit. 

Sailing off to Fiji

10 September 2023
Yesterday, French Polynesia faded into a memory as we sailed out the pass into the open ocean. We set a course 270 degrees due west for Fiji. The sun was shining and the wind was light, 10 knots and less, perfect conditions for setting out on a 1700 mile passage. The variable winds required us to shake out all our sails in order to find the right combination for optimum comfort and speed. In doing so we discovered that every sail had either a mechanical or foul line issue which we were able to correct without stress. 

Once the sails are set I begin to melt into the motion of the ocean shedding the anxiety and tension that I impose on myself or is put on me by the convenience of technology. Also, the transition of leaving our lives in Ventura, saying goodbye to family and friends, is always, for me, very difficult especially now that we are grandparents. But once we are out of the boatyard and out on the open ocean, I feel a familiarity, I am home again. With the horizon stretching out as far as I can see in every direction, my mind is free to relax and shifts into the present moment. My heart opens up embracing the joy and beauty all around me. I am consumed with the love from my husband, my family and all my dear friends in a way that I don't experience when I am at home. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  Out here on the open ocean the reality of what we actually have control over becomes really apparent. Not much. Our needs are very simple, and everything we have is all we have. So be it.
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
33 Photos
Created 28 May 2023
In early May, 2022 we reluctantly left Chile and headed for French Polynesia with a stop at Robinson Crusoe Island on the way. We here not allowed ashore on RC Island as Covid restrictions were still in effect. Nevertheless, we spent 5 days there waiting out some weather and were able to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of the Island from afar. We then carried on to the Gambiers, taking another month due to light air. The Gambiers were beautiful with the best snorkeling we have had to date, but winter was catching up and we made our way north to the Marquesas where we enjoyed warmer water and swimming with manta rays. By mid-September it was time to head home for work and we left Rum Doxy on the hard in Hiva Oa where she awaits our return in after hurricane season.
53 Photos
Created 1 January 2023
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.
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