Here is a little insight into what we might just ‘do’ all day when we are not sailing, diving, snorkelling, relaxing or socialising with other cruisers. And another story to add to the little known fact that cruising and boat ownership sometimes feels like endless repairs and maintenance in exotic places.
My grandmother fondly refers to me as her little bird, flitting from branch to branch and migrating with an inbuilt instinct. Perhaps this translates to our sea life as we are nomadic sailors, exploring the globe however the seasonal or Trade wind dictates. I guess that’s the best way to describe the grand plan, although anyone who knows me understands my plans are often scratched in the sand of a beach with a rising tide.
Trade winds are amazing. We purchased a beautiful chart of the tall ships trading routes which inspired dreams long before we moved aboard Tiki and has become my go-to map when dream planning our global course. Normally we would be sticking closely to these seasonal highways, after all we are nomadic and want an easy cruising life. But sometimes we go against the wind, turn on the engine and reverse course. Why?
It irked me as we sailed south away from the idyllic turquoise waters and palm fringed islands of Terengganu state. I’m green with envy talking to other cruising boats in the area which are generally headed north or east as it’s the SouthWest Monsoon season with consistent fresh winds from the south. Their destinations include Cambodia, Vietnam, Borneo and the Philippines. Oh boy am I jealous! (read inspired)
Not us we’re going south, motoring not only into a headwind but a 2-3knot opposing current and swell. It seems like madness and after a few nasty passages into wind through Indonesia Captain Crackers and I looked each other in the eye, spat on our palms, shook and swore never again! yet here we are.
Ahh but this time the madness has an olive grove gold and mountain peaked silver lining. This time I’m not complaining at all. Because this time for all the queasy seasick, thumping discomfort associated with this beat to wind sea leg there is a huge reward at the end. We are off on a land based awesome adventure in the form of GR11 hiking in Spain, woo hoo!
So why am I sailing south into the wind? In boatlife any long departure from our salty home means Tiki needs to be looked after in a secure yard or marina. Mediocre ones simply offer a pontoon to tie to. A good one in addition has security, will check her mooring lines, watch her waterline, listen for alarms and tie down anything which works itself loose in a storm. Tiki is my home, she’s got soul, I talk to her, we’ve got sand-scratched plans. She HAS to be in a good one and unfortunately there isn’t a big choice in this area, so back south towards Singapore we go.
Sailing into the trade winds? Normally would never recommend it, but this time it’s all good and the distances not too far. The real beauty of the trades to this nomad is that they will be here around the same time every year so my sand scratchings are free to follow them when we return.
We have attended a few naming ceremonies and heard of superstitions surrounding the changing of a boat name. In our case we bought our Young Sun 43 already named Tiki and saw no reason at all to change it, actually we embraced it and who wouldn’t? Tiki or a Tiki hut conjures up images of turquoise waters, white sands, palm trees, tropical flowers and plenty of rum drenched cocktails complete with umbrella sticks. Mai Tai anyone? Oh yeah…
On a more spiritual side (no pun intended) Tiki is revered and honoured with magnificent carvings, statues, masks and ornaments throughout Polynesia and the Pacific. I was fairly ignorant of this and after lots of on line searching for a definitive meaning, settled on something between God and Creator. This may not be accurate but it is my take any hoot.
In Maori there are many Tiki progenitors – one each for the birds, fish, mankind and even the kumara. Yes, kumara as in sweet potato. Being a nature & plant and food loving freak I’m very cool indeed with this side to our Tiki name meaning.
We were so lucky to be able to meet the original owners who (over lots of rum, lime and sugar-based cocktails!) told us they named Tiki from the 1960’s TV series “Adventures in Paradise”. Three seasons and over 90 episodes took viewers aboard the 85’ schooner ‘Tiki’ with Captain Troy – a Korean War vet cruising the South Pacific looking for various ways to make ends meet in order to finance the live-aboard sailing dream. Paul and Gise had acquired her in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989 and demasted her ketch rig. After re-rigging her as a sloop they named her Tiki and proceeded with their own adventure in paradise, working as delivery skippers and cruising the Pacific for 8 years.
Well that sealed it, she really was meant to be ours – original name and all.
Do you have a story to tell about the name of your boat? We’d love to hear it!
The beautiful carvings or lucky charms often worn as neck pendants are called Hei Tiki.
Kon-Tiki was a raft built in 1947 by Norwegian Thor Hayerdahl for an amazing 100 day journey across over 3,700 nautical miles of the Pacific.
Contiki is a tour operator for 18-35 year olds with the great motto #NOREGRETS.
Hiya! it’s no secret I’ve been awol a few years from posting here and so many wonderful journeys and events happened in that time. Neil has captured some fantastic anchorages and bits of Tiki’s ongoing refurbishment on our site at SY Tiki – Adventures on a Young Sun 43 Both sites need updating and overhauling and it’s on the nice job list for me now I have the time.
A quick summary is we journeyed up and down East Australia spending 2011 between Queensland’s coral coast down to Sydney and all of 2012 on Sydney Harbour. 2013 started in Tasmania for a haul out and refit before cruising to Pittwater, getting married (yippee!) and then north again to Brisbane where we stayed until May 2014.
The adventure continues as our route takes us further north and over the top of Australia to Darwin and into Indonesia. Let’s see how I go this time with the updates… I’m more consistent with Twitter – @saltygardener or Instagram – @saltygardener if you’d like to follow me.
Wishing you fair winds and rich soils.
Tiki showcase, a set on Flickr.
Everyone has been asking for some more Tiki Pics so here she is – enjoy!
I’ve been on the hunt for crabs ever since we arrived in Australia as they are right at the top of my list of favourite sea foods. It all started with family fishing trips to the Swan River and Mandurah Estuary as a child. I have wonderful memories of a massive copper pot of freshly scooped Blue Manners boiling on a campfire – newspaper laid out on the foldout table with bread buttered and white pepper and vinegar at the ready for the gourmets amongst us. We’d stuff the warm crab meat sandwich to bursting and the buttery juices would run down my hands with each delightful bite – heaven.
All grown up and living on the other side of the world in London they were not so easy to catch – I’m no contender for the “Deadliest Catch” series that’s for sure. I resolved to them being caught and prepared for me, which tended to leave me somewhat disappointed. When I first met my partner and planned to move onboard a boat for a large part of the summer I straight away called home and asked mum if she would bring me over a couple of drop net pots on her next visit. Strange thing to ask for I guess, but she didn’t even blink. They arrived as priority in her luggage (what a great mum!) and I couldn’t wait to get crabbing again.
Sailing Brittany in northern France each summer and learning from the locals I would head ashore on the low tide to set my pots near rock and hope for a selection of small rock crabs. They never yielded much meat but really added that essential oomph to any stock or our staple seafood bouillabaisse. The divine brown and spider crabs which could be purchased cooked or live from the fishmongers were brought up from a depth that my simple pots could never reach and so became a regular treat for us when dining out.
Which is why I am so excited to have the larger crabs back on my catch list here in Eastern Australia. Whilst we are in northern climes with mangrove-fringed shores it is the mudcrab I’m after as they will not be around as we head south. My first beauty crawled into the pot I had thrown off the back of the boat just yesterday and the cooked version of him is starring in this blog header – gorgeous isn’t he? The hardest part is deciding how to cook them – an online search for recipes returns a huge list. Not only was he the first “muddie” I’d ever caught, it was the first caught crab in such a long time for me that he got the royal treatment. Half was consumed warm and unadorned and was eye-rollingly delicious. The other half was chilled overnight in the fridge and meat was extracted to be served tossed through spaghettini with olive oil, lemon juice and a few chilli flakes.
The same pot and bait caught a couple of blue swimmers today which are currently going zzzz in the freezer. Until I get used to the fact that they are here in my life again with abundance I will be treasuring these guys steamed naturally, buttering the bread in anticipation, a little vinegar and black pepper at the ready.
I can’t wait to try our luck at catching a few spanner crabs, or Moreton Bay bugs as we head south to explore the coast towards Sydney. Whatever we catch I’m very glad to say that crab is back on the menu!
I came across a good review of Young Sun 43 yachts by TalkoftheDock. My SY Tiki was a ketch rigged centre cockpit, twin cabin version of the Young Sun 43 built for a US owner. She survived a de-masting in Hurricane Hugo Sept 1989 and is now cutter rigged and with some ballast removed weighs a mere 20 tonnes – a lot lighter that the original specs. Her revamped rig was designed so she sailed like a dream in the lightest of winds (view the superb results of our light wind Parachute trials) She also has a refurbished Perkins 4.236 engine located under the centre cockpit and accessed between the galley and workstations.
When researching her history it was difficult to sort through all the conflicting posts of information and the review has certainly shed some light and helped clarify a few things.
The first Young Suns were designed by Ron Amy, built in 1978 in Taiwan and sold into both the US and Australian markets under different names. It was available as either a center cockpit cutter or pilothouse cutter and there were four interior layouts available. The little sister was the popular Perry designed Young Sun 35.
In the US market the design morphed into similar versions built at the Formosa Boat Builders yard. She had at least three cousins – the Formosa 44, Spindrift 43 and later, a Hampton 43 that was built in China.
via Young Sun 43 Review.
Setting off from the anchorage the wind was light and right behind us, the sun was setting gloriously in front of us – what better time to trial the new parachute sail?
We obtained a standard 28ft ex-army parachute from the US and set it up for the first trial sailing by dividing the lines equally and tying them off onto two steel rings.
One ring was attached and raised on the spinnaker line towards the top of the mast. The lower end was attached to a line and ran it through a shackle on the bowsprit then back to the cockpit.
The results were fantastic! Without a breeze to mention we were being gently pulled along at just under 3 knots. The type of breeze from behind and changing direction that would require lots of work using a spinnaker or any other poled sail was a wonderfully relaxing event with the parachute. We both lay on the foredeck with our arms folded behind our heads, looking up as the parachute changed direction with the wind as required – and it looks so peaceful.
The current setup which requires some tweaking causes it to manoeuvre with a jelly fish like motion. Meaning the vertical sides accordion in and out and a bit of maths is required to calculate how to alter the various cord lengths between the top and bottom sections of the chute.
We will adjust as we go to see the best setup – but a wonderful result for first trial.
Sand engine instrument panel, repair joins and oil teak
Refurb main skylight hatch. Remove teak trims and old window and replace with new. Sand and stain the trims and hatch base. Polish steel bars. Re-assemble and remounted.
Sew spray hood patches where fabric has worn. Replace old broken clears with new clear vinyl.
Align and install the spray hood frame mounts on deck. Design and install a mount for the foot-rail of the spray hood to attach to.
Put up the spray hood and test for sturdiness, attach webbing straps where needed.
Glue and repair the interior drawers from the aft cabin.
Test out new 3.5HP Yamaha engine on the dingy. Check out all the other boats in the Marina whilst doing this :0)
Complete overhaul of the engine fuel system – fuel tank emptied and cleaned, fuel filter lines replaced, manual lift pump removed and cleaned out (noted – need to buy new one). Primary and secondary fuel pumps removed, cleaned, filters replaced. Electric fuel primer pump & filter cleaned.
This buying a boat malarkey is pretty stressful. The emotional pull of a potential new home that has all the credentials to make our blue-water cruising dreams come true adds to the excitement, and to the level of impatience.
I am amazed at how quickly this boat grabbed hold of us and continues now to engage us entirely. We had looked at so many – over 30 in 3 months. There was an immaculate Ganley, a beautiful Morgan 38, run-down William Gardens, several Roberts refurb projects, Swanson 42’s, a long list of custom built steel and ferro varieties and even a selection of multihulls to balance us… we even got to placing offers on a couple which thankfully did not eventuate as, well, our hearts were definitely not in them.
And then there was Tiki, a Young Sun 43. Described by Greg in the Brokers office as “not on the market yet but nearly finished – fully refurbished just waiting for the new cushions that have been ordered”. “Let’s go take a look and see how she looks” says Rachael our Broker and we jumped in the car to add another to the long list viewed over the Xmas week.
The rain was falling and the tidal creek which cut the boatyard off from the road was rising as we pulled into Edge’s boatyard situated in the depths of the mangroves in Airlie Beach. There on the hard-ground was a beautiful double-ended canoe hull complete with full cruising keel, cutter rigged with sexy bowsprit and, well, what more do you need?!
We climbed the work ladder leading up tyro the centre cockpit to find a slightly different boat to the one we were expecting. She was nowhere near completed and our hearts sank. The timber decks had been removed and left unfinished. The teak railings had been smashed during transit in several places. There was abandoned rubbish and rusting tools everywhere we looked. Oh lordy-me what a mess.
The hatches were rotten and unsecured so it was easy to open her up and look inside. The rain was as torrential inside as it was outside due to the number of large leaks. It was like exploring a magical wet cave, with rainwater filling the bilges up to the solid teak floorboards which were all exposed. There was tropical mould everywhere and the spoils of the previous owners belongings which had succumbed to a “submerging event”, including the galley supplies so various critters had happily moved in and made the place their roach-ey new home. Nice.
This is where I re-iterate the part where a boat ‘grabs you’, as even in this terrible state I thought she felt absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t get the smile from my face. I could see through the superficial to what was truly important to us. Her spacious sleeping areas forard and aft each with their own heads, a light and airy space to relax in the saloon, a great galley, amazing solid teak carpentry, she even had a separate workshop area crying out to store dive tanks and more.
Here is where Neil would add in the important observations about engine / sail inventory / seaworthiness etc which were duly noted as we rushed around trying to take it all in. Heavy rain and rising creeks and the realisation that this boat was nowhere near ready to be on the market meant the visit was very short. I never thought that it would be exactly one month later we would make an offer to buy her, and a month after that before she was all ours.