Our New Boat

By Derek On October 10, 2012 Under Post

Well, if you’ve been reading the “Tehani-li Logs” you will notice they are dated. In fact, they are seven years old because we finished the honeymoon voyage and, sadly, had to sell Tehani when we hit Barcelona, Spain. They say the second happiest day in a sailor’s life is when he sells his boat. I can’t say it was true for me. I was sad to let her go but we needed the money to return to the US, buy a house (right at the top of the market!) and start a family. Selling a boat overseas is a difficult task and I will write a post about it another time.

Seven Lean and Hungry Years

So, we did sell Tehani and buy that house and get a job and had two wonderful children and all that good stuff. And we have been boat-less for seven long years. I couldn’t stand it anymore! I spent many idle hours (more than many) scouring the internet for our next boat and saving my pennies in the ensuing sailor’s purgatory of seven dry years. Keeping in mind that you always buy the boat for the trip, we decided we wanted another 50 footer, cutter-rigged sloop that we could take the family on safely through the S. Pacific.

The Decision

I didn’t want a one-off, or a custom job, or any small unknown brand that would be hard to resell. In real estate they teach you that you can paint your house any color, as long as it’s white. Purple may be your absolute favorite but purple houses don’t sell and neither do weird boats. And the day will come when you either want to, or have to, sell your beloved vessel. After years of research, we decided two brands fit our parameters: Hallberg Rassy and Oyster. Both produce well built, world class, ocean crossing yachts and both have a ready secondary market.

We found and made an offer on a Hallberg Rassy 53. She was lying in Turkey with an American owner who accepted our offer, let us pay for the survey, and then welched on the deal and ran off. That was a bit of set back and very disappointing. However, you always have to leave a few crumbs for the rats and if it weren’t meant to be, it weren’t. We moved on to look at Oysters and flew to “Oyster HQ,” or, Ipswich in the UK in April. Ipswich is an unremarkable town on the SE coast of England near Woodbridge but they have a lot of boats. We spent two days looking at their various models in brokerage. We didn’t want to buy a new boat and were looking for something that was around 10 years old and in good condition. The Oyster 53 was everything we desired and more (pricewise!).

Love at First Sight (both of them)

Features We Wanted

GRP – fiberglass is the most common material for boats and the easiest to take care of. With wood you have rot and worms. Steel gives you rust and electrolysis and with aluminum you have similar issues as well. Thinking resale means thinking fiberglass.

Center cockpit – better visibility, less likely to get pooped and it gives you a nice stateroom aft. Tehani was aft cockpit and had less livable interior space.

Moderate displacement – we wanted speed and stability and a moderate displacement craft is where you compromise. Although she is GRP, she is well built and displaces 50,000 pounds empty.

Long waterline – the longer the waterline the faster the boat. The Oyster 53 has a waterline of just over 45 feet which mathematically gives you a hull speed of nine knots.

Cutter rig – more sail combination flexibility, especially when it really blows.

Teak decks – I love the feel of teak underfoot – except noontime in the tropics! But it looks great and gives good grip. Somewhat controversial, I know, but ….

Skeg hung rudder – the rudder doesn’t hang there, unprotected like balls on an eagle, ready to be ripped off on the first log you hit but has a massive skeg molded to the hull in front. All proper cruising yachts should have this feature, in my opinion.

There are a ton of other features, some we liked and others we weren’t sure about, like the in mast roller furling. Hmmm. Time will tell on that one. Slab reefing a mainsail that size is heavy going and can be scary but at least it is simple and almost foolproof.

We made an offer on a 2002 model that was in mint condition, then a counter-offer and then I flew back to the UK for the survey and sea trial in May, which was a two day process. Happy with everything I saw, we completed the sale and then shipped her to Seattle in September.  In fact, we just got back from Seattle after clearing US Customs, putting the mast back in and settling her down in to her new marina. That whole process is worth another ten posts which I will get to later.

We are currently re-naming her, “Asmara Sky,” following Norwegian fishing tradition, (almost) where the boat is named after the captain’s youngest daughter. We have two, daughters that is, and didn’t think it would be fair to use the name of just one, so we took the first name of our oldest and the middle name of our second and, voila! “Asmara Sky” it is!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Curt Kwak
    March 2, 2015
    5:35 am #comment-1

    Impressive boat Derek!!!

    Keep the website up to date so that we can track your progress. Also if there’s anything we can do for you from now until your departure, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Ariel has been a Godsend for Julie and her recovery. I truly appreciate all the support for our family.

    Take care.


  2. Joe O'Rendy
    February 20, 2016
    11:14 pm #comment-2

    Had lunch with your Dad and he gave me your website. What a gorgeous boat you have.
    I used to follow your travel years ago, I think that was your honeymoon trip.
    I don’t know if you remember me, been a friend of your parents for many years, you met our son-in-law Dan White in Hong Kong several years ago . Keep up your website and I want to follow your adventure!
    All the best,
    Joe O’Rendy

  3. Paul Johansen
    April 22, 2016
    11:20 am #comment-3

    Hardly a Huck Finn life style Derek, as your fabulous vessel is like a veritable floating palace and also a visual delight! A friend I sail with is buying a larger boat, (probably another Ray Beale but this time a 42) and as I was spellbound by your’s, I sent him the Trademe link, at which he was suitably impressed! His response was, yeah she’s really nice, but you’d need to be in the 10 million dollar league to own a yacht like her. Whilst I may be able to afford to buy her myself, sadly I couldn’t afford to keep her!
    However, I do hope you enjoy living in NZ, over run by migrants though it may be. This is how our shallow minded government makes our economy “look” so good. They have to buy their way in.

    Best wishes with the sale of your amazing yacht, Paul Johansen.

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