Saturday, November 29, 2008

Interview on Furled Sails Podcast

A few months ago I posted this article about the Furled Sails podcasts that I enjoy listening to so much on long road trips. While putting together the article, I corresponded with the hosts, Christy and Noel Davis, to ask them about the program and how they came up with the idea to start this series of interviews with sailors, boat designers, boat builders, kayakers and other nautically obsessed individuals.

When I wrote this piece about listening to some of my heroes of small boat voyaging and boat design, I had no idea that Christy and Noel would want to interview me for the program. But my interest in their podcasts led them to take a look at these pages and to read my book, On Island Time, and shortly after I was answering their questions and talking about my kayak trips and other boating adventures in a telephone interview.

The interview is currently posted as the most recent one at the top of the Furled Sails website, accompanied by the photo below of me and my Tiki 26 project. The direct link is at for those readers who want to check it out. I was talking on my cell phone and the sound quality on my end is rather poor compared to the interviewers, but hopefully you can understand it. Like all the Furled Sails podcasts, this interview can be downloaded in MP3 format or you can stream it directly from the page on the site.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Working on Pangaea at Bay Ship and Yacht

As most of the readers of these pages know, my boating interests are focused on simple, obtainable vessels within the reach of almost anyone who cares to find their way to the water. My approach has always been to select the smallest, least complicated craft available to do a particular job, whether that job is to cross a protected bay, descend a wilderness river, or complete a bluewater passage.

My work, however, has often introduced me to the other extreme in pleasure boating, and as a marine carpenter I've worked on many multi-million dollar vessels from Palm Beach, Florida, to Sitka, Alaska. I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days working on one that tops them all when my friend and sometimes employer, David Halladay invited me to help him out on a job in Alameda, California.

Below is a photo of the Pangaea, a 192-foot steel megayacht that David had contracted to add some new teak decks and covering boards to while she was hauled out at Bay Ship and Yacht for repairs and refit.

The Pangaea is an expedition yacht, used for long-distance voyaging to the South Pacific. She has a range of 12,000 nautical miles at a speed of 11 knots, thanks to her generous fuel capacity of 65,000 U.S. gallons. Top speed is 14.5 knots, cruising speed 12.5 knots, and she accommodates 12 guests in 6 staterooms and 12 crew in 6 cabins. Her beam is 36' and she draws 10'.

I was surprised to learn that this huge vessel was built in my own home state, at the former Halter-Marine yard in Gulfport, now owned by Trinity Yachts. Here is link to more details about the Pangaea on the Trinity Yachts website:

The discrepancy in LOA from 184-feet at time of delivery to 192-feet now is due to the swim platform that the present owner recently added. This change was one of the reasons David and his Boatsmith crew went to California to work on the yacht. The new swim platform, with it's enclosed rails, looks more like the cockpit on a smaller sportfishing yacht. This entire area needed teak decks and covering boards on the rails and doors.

Below is one of David's photos, taken from about the middle of the swim platform and showing the new covering boards they installed. After he and his crew returned to Florida, there were some checking issues with the teak in the curved inside corners of the coamings. This was caused by the extremely low humidity of the California climate, and had never been an issue on similar corners David had done in south Florida. When David asked for my help in changing out the corners, I jumped on the opportunity to work a few days at Bay Ship and Yacht and to get to the West Coast for a change of scenery.

Here, you can see a close-up of one of the corners. The problem pieces were the vertical parts of the coaming right inside the 90-degree curve. David finally solved the checking problem by extending the straight adjoining parts and making the curved parts shorter.

While we were working, we lost a half day while the engineers conducted a sea trial try to determine the source of a harmonic vibration in one of the prop shafts. I took this shot of Pangaea in the ship channel as she returned to the yard.

Cruising on big boats like this does not interest me, but working on them is another matter, and there is always a lot to learn on such a project. Big yachts mean big budgets, so no expenses are spared in fitting them out. This makes for a great opportunity for a marine carpenter to work on projects that just wouldn't happen on smaller, more reasonable vessels. More about the teak decks and other jobs David and his crew did on the Pangaea can be found on his Boatsmith Shaving's blog here:

"A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal."
Bernard Moitessier - A Sea Vagabond's World


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