what's it mean? Who knows? Anyway, its better than "Hanky
Panky", the name the boat started off life with.
Hanky Panky's owners were, according to the Certificate of
British Registry that came with the boat when we bought her,
Greek. Apparently, they became bored of indulging in Hanky Panky
and sold the boat in 1987 to a Scottish couple named Alistair and
Christine. The couple was running a charter business of a sort in
Turkey aboard a Moody 34 called REDWINGS (we found an old copy of a charter
brochure for that Redwings among the
ship's papers). Alistair and Christine renamed Hanky Panky (our
Redwings) "Red Sunset". It seems they were going
to try to run both boats at the same time. Perhaps this proved
too difficult as they changed the name from Red Sunset to Redwings
about a year after they bought it. Shortly
thereafter, it appears they went broke and the boat was
repossessed by the bank. This is where the previous owners, John
and Caroline, stepped into the picture:
and Caroline Durville's Ownership
us the following: "Buying
Redwings was quite a sudden affair. I'd been
looking casually at magazines and assembling a list of wants and
must-haves, and had got as far as putting a one-page description
of what the boat had to be like for agents to respond to. I'd
sent out a load of these (50?) and we'd got a lot of junk back,
mostly entire listings from agents. We'd seen maybe three boats,
all unsuitable in one way or another, when I got a fax one
Wednesday evening from an agent in Mallorca about Redwings. He
said it was everything we wanted, but a little bigger (we were
looking for 38-42 feet). A bank repossession, the price was right
(30k sterling). He faxed a surveyor's report, one year old. I
bought the air tickets Thursday, we flew Friday, got drunk until
very late Friday night with friends in Barcelona, and met the
agent in Barcelona airport on Saturday morning. He flew us down
to this little yard in Spain a few miles from Gibraltar in his
private jet, and we got two hours to look her over, hung over.
She was ashore, no batteries, no way of checking the engine,
plumbing or electrics. The previous owners were unknown, and
there was no documentation other than the registration book. We
had to decide on the way back. We said yes. So from hearing about
her to committing was under 4 days."
Caroline then sailed her back from Spain to Italy where John was
working for NATO, cruised around for a bit and substantially
upgraded the boat, and then left in April 1991 for their Atlantic
crossing en route to San Diego where John had a new job waiting
for him. In early December 1991 they arrived San Diego. Within a
year they had another crew member when Casper was born followed
by Alex in late 1994. In March 1995 the family, (two sons and two
cats), and their crew Todd, left San Diego for a Pacific Crossing
enroute to Singapore where John had yet another new job waiting
for him if and when he ever arrived. They sailed through French
Polynesia, down to Australia, through Indonesia, and finally
arrived in Singapore in October, 1995. The boat rested in Sabana
Cove, Malaysia for one year, before I (Aaron) saw her in late 1996.
In early 1996, Colleen and I (this is Aaron here - we are a married
couple) started talking about leaving Asia after almost seven
years of fighting it out in the manic depressive world of
investment banking. But simply moving back to the states and
getting another job in another city did not seem like it would
offer much salvation. Lets take some time out. We've earned it.
sailors, the thought of going cruising greatly appealed to us.
The idea was to find and buy a boat by early 1997, carry out any
necessary re-fitting during the summer, cruise and race the boat
in Hong Kong during the remainder of the year, and then dump our
jobs after bonuses in early 1998 ahead of a planned March
departure via the South China Sea Race (an annual race from Hong
Kong to the Philippines).
We decided what
we wanted in a boat: a 40' to 50' fast yet comfortable
cutter-rigged sloop kitted out for short-handed long-distance
cruising. In late October 96', I started looking and almost
immediately stumbled across an add for Redwings.
From the start, I was pretty sure that this was "The
Wild ride on
a black Triumph
A trip to see
the Redwings was quickly arranged and
on a squally Saturday in November 1996, I found myself flying
over rural Malaysian roads at 100 mph on the back of the previous
owner's new black Triumph motorcycle as we whizzed from Singapore
to Sabana Cove in Malaysia where the boat was moored. New bike.
Got to break her in. You know... Hey I wasn't scared in the
least. Right. However, I did feel that if God meant for me to
live through that ride it must be fated that I would live to sail
Although a bit
run down aesthetically, I could see that Redwings
had the fundamentals we were looking for. That previous owners
John and Caroline, also a husband and wife team, had successfully
sailed her 2/3 of the way around the world and lived comfortably
on her for almost five years, further boosted my confidence.
John's enthusiasm to help "us poor kids" get to know
and love the boat, and his offer to assist in a delivery to Hong
Kong, sealed the deal. We married the first girl we kissed. Not
always the safest and most logical approach, but I believe that
if it feels right, go for it.
Colleen and I
returned to Singapore in February to help bring Redwings
from Sabana Cove to the NatSteel Marine yard in Singapore where
basic work would be done ahead of the April delivery to Hong
out over job after bad day in the office
trip from Singapore to Hong Kong, which was shared by myself,
Colleen, and John, was a huge success and is well documented by
John in his Chatty Log
II. The weather was almost idyllic and the
fishing excellent. Bit of excitement, but not too much. Learned a
lot, read a lot, ate well.
As we pulled
into the dock at the Hong Kong Yacht Club, I started wondering
how I was going to survive another year of writing fixed income
research now that we truly had the bug and the boat to boot. Fate
again seemed to be pushing me to go cruising. On return to the
office, I learned that several key things I had been pushing
management for had fallen through. The next nine months would be
miserable without the resources to do the job and a poor outlook
for the markets. All of a sudden, it dawned on me. Leave now.
What's stopping you? As soon as the seed was planted, there was
no turning back and it relatively easy to give my notice.
already sensibly dumped her job as a Thai equity broker (before
the market and currency completely melted down) before the
delivery. My last day of work was 27 June, ironically the last
working day in Hong Kong under British colonial rule.
The original, original cunning plan
1) Start work
on re-fit in May. Work expected to be completed by the end of
July, August at the latest.
2) After a
to Nepal and Tibet in early July, spend second half of July
moving out of our apartment, shipping our stuff to the States for
storage, and move into to a room at a friend's house.
focus on pushing through and finishing up re-fit.
take a few weeks to go to the States to visit friends and family
before setting off.
5) Return in
late September for three final weeks of sea trials and
provisioning ahead of a planned 11 October departure. Our crew
Kerry (a university friend of Colleen's) to join us during the
first week of October.
6) First port
of call Philippines (Subic and then to Palawan) before continuing
on to Borneo and Singapore.
refit: welcome to the real world of yacht ownership
returning to the water at the end of July, the boat did not get
back in until 25 October, exactly five months on the hard!!!!
Needless to say the fantasy trip to the states was not taken. Its
now 28 October as I write this and the last 5%-10% of the re-fit
work is still not complete.
The rainiest summer in recent Hong Kong history combined with an
untimely management vacuum at the yard, an expanding job profile,
and several major "unexpected" difficulties.
The Mast Saga
gives a good idea of the whole re-fit experience. Here is an
excerpt from an e-mail I sent to the previous owner John seeking sympathy:
I was planning to have the mast hardware simply reconfigured to
handle a spinnaker and replace the lateral shrouds. Probably a
week of work max with the help of an expert rigger. But, hey, if
your going to rig for a spinnaker you need to add another winch
on the coachroof and more spinlocks so might as well lead the
genoa and staysail halyards back to the cockpit as well. If you
are going to do that, might as well remove the winches and cleats
on the mast as they will just be extra weight, windage, and get
in the way of all the new strings. If your are going to replace
the shrouds and be drilling holes at the top of the mast for
spinnaker halyards, it probably makes sense to take the rig out
as net net, the cost of poping it out will probably offset the
value of the extra time spent to do the work from a bosun's
chair. Out pops the mast. Gee see where the foot of the mast was
stepped in just a piece of marine plywood, might as well take the
opportunity to make a proper aluminum mast step and bolt it into
the keel (an easy sell as a boat in HK without a proper mast step
was recently sunk on the way back from Vietnam in a typhoon as
the mast worked out of a dodgy step fitting and punched a hole in
the hull). Look at how water in the mast and the fact that its
been sitting in bilgy water has pitted the foot - better cut off
1 1/2 inches. With the rig down, might as well re-wire the electrics. Never have a better opportunity. There was not a
steaming light fitted before. Should probably have one. What
about adding one of these permanent bubble radar reflectors. Hey,
someone actually gave me one for free as they have two. Lets
stick it on. One of the spreaders has a hareline crack. Better
re-weld it. These halyards are definitely going to need replacing
within the next 18 months. In fact, the staysail halyard is about
to go. Might as well replace the lot now and reduce the cost of
shipping the new spinnaker halyards, sheets and guys. Never have
a better chance to fit mast steps all the way up the rig. How
much are they? #@% $ a piece for a bit of aluminum? Well, I'll be
cursing the day I'm up at the top of the mast trying to cut a
stuck main halyard with the wind a 40 knots and building... lets
do it. Hmmm, now that the rig is out, and as the rest of the boat
will look so smashing with its new paint job, might as well paint
the mast. Half the hardware is coming off anyway. Won't take long
to remove the rest. Lets say a day to strip it of bits, a day to
strip it of paint, a day to prime it, and a day for the final
gloss coats. No more than a week's job. Try 2 day to get the
stuff off (I've learned the joys of the impact driver, blow
torch, drill, and hack saw - no rivet or screw will ever stand in
my way again), 3 solid days of bathing in skin dissolving
stripper to get the paint off and mast sanded, rain, rain, rain
(no priming) oh a bit of sun two coats etch primer and two coats
of base, day of putting epoxy filler in holes and pitted areas,
sand back, replace worn rivets - might as well add some more at
points where the head of the sail is when reefed. After sanding
back, adding new rivets (with a few resultant scratches as the
gun jumped out of the hands of this amateur), makes sense to sand
back again, wash again, base prime again. Well some of the holes
I thought I filled really need some more epoxy - gone this far
might as well make it look good. Fill, fill, dry, dry, sand,
sand. Ok finally ready for painting - two weeks after its out!
Typhoon! Four days later, cleaning again, ready for paint...
afternoon showers. Ready again..... rain, rain. Ok now its today.
This is it. Cleaned it again. Its sunny. Its dry. The first coat
is sprayed on. It dries. The second coat starts. The wind picks
up. Dark clouds form. We spray faster. Half done. 75% done - it
starts to sprinkle. Just for 5 minuets. Just enough to pock mark
the job. Then the sun comes out. I've got to sand the damn thing
again tomorrow morning and try again. I feel sort of like the
mythical guy in Hades who has to keep carrying the same stone up
the hill over and over...
there's more. The above was written in late August. The mast was
not successfully stepped until mid-October! An excerpt from
It turns out the bottom
20% of the rig is fundamentally twisted to starboard by about 10
to 15 degrees. Seems to have been a permanent feature. We
originally built a mast step that would put the mast back in the
boat lined up on the centerline. But it went back in and you
looked up, the port spreaders were shifting to stbd and the stbd
ones to port. So the mast had to come back out (about six weeks
ago) and the new step altered to account for the twist and also
to make it adjustable. The lower spreaders had also been chopped
up a bit by us, and previous owners as well to apparently try to
get them to line up better. More cutting and drilling would have
been required so I opted to get new spreaders. These were custom
made by Allspar and hand delivered at the end of September by an
Allspar employee participating in the China Coast Series (a big
regatta here that we hoped to participate in). Only problem was
that instead of being the ordered 96 cm, they were 69 cm...
Arrgh!!!! Another 10 days to get a new pair made and sent up, two
days to etch prime, gloss, and dry, two days to fit them.
Finally, we got the rig back in earlier this week. It is actually
right and looks really solid and well tuned.
find out how things have progressed, go to Ship's Log
to The Boat
©2001 All Rights Reserved by Aaron Henderson and Colleen Duggan