South Pacific Adventure

In 1994 I decided to go to sea in my 20-foot sailboat, Tikaroa. Actually, I had purchased the boat with the idea of doing offshore sailing in it. To my mind, with a few improvements, it would be "the perfect" twenty-foot offshore boat.

A boat as small as Tikaroa takes a bit of invention to fit in all the things one needs on offshore cruises (feet of bookshelves for those novels, loads of space to store charts of the entire width of the Pacific Ocean, extra clothing storage for temperate clothes as well as for tropical wear). An important item is a spiffy paint job, so "they" can see you coming.

This is the boat with Kelly Green paint job. The initial leg of my "cruise" - the bit between Portland and San Francisco - was done at 55 MPH on the boat trailer. This picture taken before departure.

Here is my galley. The big pump is for fresh water, the small one for salt water. While I was sailing, I used salt water for washing dishes, fresh water for the final rinse. The Nissan thermos is my "pressure hot water" system. The water is boiled on the stove (at left under cutting board) and is stored in the Nissan pot for dispensation in teas and dishwashing. To the right of the sink is the ice box which I use exclusively for dry food storage.

The v-berth has long bookshelves (handy for all those novels, logbooks and cruising guides) but they made sitting on the berth uncomfortable. I solved this by having soft hanging bags fitted under the shelves. These bags became my closets as well as my backrests.

Charts are stored in special pockets built into the seat backs of the settee.

This device, in particular, saved my boat many times. The fuel tank vent on Tikaroa was originally located in the front of the bow. This caused the fuel tank to fill with salt water in choppy weather. Before I departed on my cruise, I relocated the vent, but the tank had bad things in it (including water and corrosion) from years of sea-snorting. The Racor fuel filter makes sure nothing but fuel (in some cases nothing at all) got to the engine!

The extra-big gel cell batteries are the heart of my power-management system. They are fed by a 100-amp alternator with intelligent controller. The controller allows me to run the alternator at any level I choose, which is important since the little Yanmar engine does not have enough power to run the propeller while the alternator is charging at full rate.

It is important to have a few comforts aboard. In my case, a nice Chinese rug that came out in port but spent sea-days rolled up in the v-berth.

A stuffed basilisk is good for hugging when things get tough.

Here I am, having made it all the way to Bora Bora.

Solo sailing is a bracing adventure. It's also an excellent way to lose a few pounds!

Party Time!

Here we are, me on Tikaroa, Charles on Virtue, and some crew of Mahina Tiare - all rafted up in paradise!

Text by TC Vollum, pictures courtesy of John Neal