The first time I sailed across the Pacific was in 1975. This is a much younger me in Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas.
We navigated with a sextant and a chronometer that we kept in a velvet-lined box. Paper charts and pencil. The only pieces of electronics gear on that 44-foot sailboat were a Heathkit home-built digital depth sounder and a battery-operated multi-band short wave receiver. No radio, no refrigeration, and for entertainment, we usually read books by the light of a Coleman lantern.
My, how things have changed in 45 years.
While I’m really glad I got the opportunity to experience those early days of cruising, I have never longed to go back to the “good old days.” Rather, most of my life I have been an early adopter of technology, from Loran to Sat-Nav, to GPS, to computer navigation, to iPads and navigation apps. So it just seemed right when Wayne was finding himself a bit overwhelmed with the work of ordering equipment and overseeing the build, and not finding enough time to work on our beloved Mr. Gee, that the job I could most likely help out with was in the area of electronics and networking. So I dove in to the deep end of the research pool and quickly found myself over my head. But, hey, I find it really exciting to learn new stuff, and that’s a huge part of what this building Möbius is all about for us.
Over the next few weeks and months, I hope to write several blog posts covering my journey of learning and decisions we have made about our various networks, from NMEA 2000 to ethernet, to our Victron smart management system of our batteries, chargers and solar panels. Today, I’m going to start with our decision to go all-in on PCs.
Multifunction display chart plotters, or MFD’s have become the standard on most recreational boats. When I met Wayne, he had a single Raymarine E7 chart plotter on Learnativity, the boat we sold before starting this project. He had fitted that boat out 15 years before, upgrading the original electronics. Then he upgraded again many miles later when that plotter failed. Each time, it was rip out the old and stick in new hardware.
Today’s multifunction chart plotters show radar, AIS targets, depth, fish finder graphs, sonar, and night vision cameras. Some interact with the boat’s stereo system, can switch to internet browsing, and even take control of the boat’s drones! They are amazing, but essentially, they are closed black boxes that need to get sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.
As versatile as today’s MFD’s are, there is still much they cannot do. You cannot install any other software on them. At the very least, we knew that we wanted to have a pretty big and complex Maretron monitoring system on the boat, and we would need to run N2K View software. Plus, we wanted a permanent ship’s entertainment system with all our collection of photos, music and video on a Synology NAS hard drive system. We were going to need a ship’s computer anyway.
So then we started to look at the navigation equipment we wanted to use because that would, in part, drive our decision as to the navigation software we would use. Early on, we made the decision to go with Furuno for most of our electronics on the new boat. We started with what radar we wanted and Furuno won on that count, and their customer service is very good, their equipment extremely robust. So initially, we were looking at Furuno MFDs.
But one of the problems we faced was that we wanted lots of screens to see all those different systems all the time at two different helms. And given that we both wear glasses and are not getting any younger, we wanted decent-sized screens. Each MFD chart plotter has a powerful computer inside. These days most manufacturers also sell Black Box chart plotters allowing customers to connect them to their own monitors, but the Furuno TZT2BB while it has two Windows computers inside, only allows two monitors. And the 15” TZT2 MFDs we were looking at started at an MSRP of over $5000.00 each.
In the end the main reasons we decided to forego MFDs and go as a strictly PC boat were:
Another thing we liked about Furuno was the fact that their navigation software that runs on Furuno MFDs is also available from Maxsea Nobeltec for PCs. Today, the program is called TimeZero, and while Furuno licenses the software for their MFDs, we can also run it on a Windows 10 computer. We considered OpenCpn, a free, open-source navigation application, but we read too many posts about people having the application crash, and it only will work with some radars, not all. When we investigated the TimeZero software, we were sold. The interface is beautiful and it works with Furuno radars. TimeZero comes in two version, Navigator and Professional, and while it’s not cheap, we decided to go with the Pro for all the extras, and we bought two licenses for just over $2000.00. Yeah, ouch.
Our first plan was to have our two computers be a permanent ship’s computer and then Wayne’s laptop would stand in for the second. It would give us redundancy, and we could do planning on the laptop.
Some folks are adamant that the ship should have a navigation computer with no other software on it, while others use theirs to navigate AND watch movies and check email, and they’ve been doing it for years.
Some swore by powerful machines, while others were happy to run OpenCPN on Raspberry Pi computers. Some said they would never trust a home-built, hack-job, while others said that nearly everything on their boats was DIY so they could fix it when it died. Some said you could buy a computer, but you’d save lots of money if you built it yourself.
When I talked to a Furuno rep about what specs they would like to see in a computer to best run TZ, I was told, “Our standard currently is an I7 CPU, 8/16 GB ram, gtx1060/1070, and a 250gb solid state HDD.”
In the end, I decided to do a bit of all of it. We will have two ship’s computers – in addition to our laptops. For the skybridge, we will buy a fanless industrial computer that will be kept pure as a ship’s computer and will run only TimeZero and N2K View. On the more powerful one at the main helm, we will not worry about contamination, and we’ll run whatever software we want. It will be our entertainment center as well. And this Apple fangirl decided I would build this Windows 10 box myself. While you can run TZ on older i7 processors, I didn’t want our system to lag while outputting to multiple monitors and running the graphics intensive charting software. So, I decided to spend the money on the 9th generation Intel processor in part because it can support up to 4 monitors, and that is what we have planned for the lower main helm: two 15” monitors at the helm, one 43” monitor to port and a 49” TV to starboard. TimeZero Pro only supports three “workspaces,” but we will want a permanent display for Maretron N2K View.
I really enjoyed the learning for the build process. I made heavy use of the website PC Parts Picker, and I started reading the forums where the gaming guys talk shop. I built this back in December 2019, and I decided to pay for a newly released processor so we could get some years out of it. When I opted for the “small form factor,” I thought it would be smaller than it is, but it doesn’t really matter. We have room on the boat for a full-size tower.
Crucial P1 1TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive. $99.00
Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120mm Computer Case Fan $15.99
CORSAIR TX-M Series TX550M CP-9020133-NA 550W ATX12V Semi-Modular Power Supply. $89.99
Windows 10 Pro $129.00
Total price: $1281.89
As you can see in the photo above, I’m not sure how they get away with calling this a MicroATX Mid Tower. For someone who is used to laptops, this thing looks huge. And when I compare this to what you can buy that is similar in power and design, I’m not convinced I saved much money. But the big advantage I feel is that I learned so much, and as time goes on, I can easily increase the RAM if necessary, add a more powerful graphics card, or switch the built-in power supply from 110 to 24 volts. In the photo, you can see it is running on an AC converter since we are in Turkey with 240V and the computer currently runs on 110V. The 24V power supply I looked at was $330, and since we don’t have the batteries hooked up yet, I went with AC for now so I could actually tell if my creation worked and start up the learning curve on Time Zero Pro. Perhaps I will pop for the other power supply in the future.
This Mid Tower computer will reside in the cabinet on the port side of the main helm behind the TV in the main salon. You can see that cavernous area on the far left of the photo above. The TV will be mounted on a swinging door that can be opened to access the air handler and the computer, as well as other networking bits and pieces.
Here’s the sort of computer we intend to buy for our second computer:
Fanless PC Industrial Mini PC Windows 10 Pro 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD Intel Whiskey Lake i7-8565u, TDP 15W8M Cache, up to 4.60 GHz, Quad Core 8 threads Desktop Computer with HDMI/TPC/EDP Ports, M.2 WiFi, BT 4.0, 4K HD, RS232 / 485 COM, SATA 3.0 for 2.5 Inch HDD/SSD
Total price on Amazon: $917.00
And the size is quite different! It has an 8th generation Intel Processor, so it will still support three monitors, but that does push the price up. At the moment, we only intend to have two monitors at the upper helm, but it is nice to know we will have room to grow.
Also, these are just basically Intel NUC computers, so I know they are expandable in terms of adding a larger SSD or more RAM.
This one will go into a cabinet that is just to port as you go down the steps into the main salon. Both computers will have dual LAN ports. Furuno is fussy about insisting that their hardware needs to be on its own isolated network. We will have a FAR 1523 radar, BBD-S1 bottom discriminating depth sounder, and the Axis camera encoder for our FLIR camera, as well as some exterior cameras on that network. All the wifi, additional cameras, Synology NAS, and other non-Furuno stuff will be on the other network.
For monitors, after a fair amount of research, we chose Litemax Navpixel marine displays. At first, I searched and searched for regular monitors, but since we only had room for two 19” displays at the lower helm, the choices were few. We didn’t really need the waterproof aspect, but I wanted them to be able to dim almost to black easily, preferably with a hard knob, and I wanted them sunlight readable, even for inside. We have so much glass in our salon, and our eyes aren’t getting any younger. By going direct to the supplier in Taiwan, we were able to get two 19” displays, two 24” displays, and one regular non-waterproof 43” monitor for about $8000.00 including shipping.
This is a photo of one of the 24” monitors from Litemax. This is a full multi-touch,1920×1080,1000 nits sunlight readable, IP65 sunlight readable Marine Display.
One 19” TZT3 ChartPlotter sells for $8,495.00. To be fair, that includes the sounder, and we will have to buy the sounder module ($500) for our TimeZero software.
In addition to the TimeZero software, we will also have Rose Point Coastal Explorer software. We will have CS on our laptops for planning purposes, and for back-up in case we lose both of the ship’s computers. In addition, we have tablets and phones. For redundancy and back-up, we feel we are covered.
In the end, we won’t know until we get out there, but we’re both pretty happy with our decision to make Möbius an all-PC boat.
We will carry very few paper charts, just a few large area ocean charts, but we will have paper pilot charts. And in the event we lose all electricity, we both have sextants, a copy of the tables, and a nautical almanac on Kindle (with a tiny portable solar panel).
If I have to break out the sextant, I think it will be just like riding a bike.
Stay safe and healthy everyone. We’re on a long passage with this Pandemic, but as Wayne and I always say to each other when things blow up on us — This too shall pass.
I’ve been here before. This is not my first time taking part in a new boat build. It was 1978, and I was 23 years old when my first husband Jim and I decided that we wanted to build a bigger boat, so we could make a living doing sailing charters. Jim had built boats before, and he had been working at Kehi Drydock in Hawaii just before I met him. He was a professional, so I figured, “How hard can this be?” Ha!
We named her SUNRISE, and she was a 55-foot cutter, but it took many, many long hours in the boatyard to get her there. We considered building the hull ourselves, but when we found a company in Costa Mesa, California building a Bruce Roberts design that suited us, we put our money down. We rented their mold and had their crew lay up the hull to our specs. We wanted solid fiberglass, not a cored hull, and we paid extra money to leave it in the mold to cure for 30 days.
I remember the day the boat mover truck arrived at the DIY boat yard in Ventura, California. We arrived at first light, and there was the truck driver asleep in the cab. When he climbed out, I was standing there, gazing up at the boat admiringly.
I said, “She sure looks like she’ll go fast.”
Without so much as a pause, the truck driver said, “Well, she did about 50 on the way here.”
I can’t begin to explain how different that experience was from what Wayne and I are doing with Mobius today. In those days there was no such thing as CNC machinery, and everything in the boat was cut to fit. We did everything ourselves, and there was no lovely boat shed to protect us from the sun and the rain.
We had no yacht designer to get us from that huge bare hull to a completed boat. We designed our own deck, cabin structure and interior. The price of lead was high at the time, so we bought scrap steel rods from the companies doing off-shore oil drilling, cut it into 3-foot lengths and stood them end in the keel–ten thousand pounds of them–then poured resin in to lock them in place. We built integral tanks, fabricated the mast step, and laminated the deck beams.
I worked as a waitress the whole time, but nearly every day of those three long years, I went to the yard and worked before or after my shift. I fiberglassed in bulkheads, sanded and filled surfaces for the overhead and the shower stalls, and I held the other end of the wood as Jim worked his magic on it. We did the interior in solid black walnut and cherry wood, no veneer, and I must have made tens of thousands of plugs, including for the teak on the decks.
SUNRISE was a special boat. Jim was a master woodworker, and he did all the inlay and carvings, while I did all the finish work and the stained glass. Most anyone who ever saw the boat, remembered her.
We sailed her from California through Panama to the Caribbean, up to Florida and back to the Caribbean a few times. By the time we sold her in 1996, we had owned and sailed SUNRISE for 15 years, and raised our son, Tim on board until the day we sold her and got divorced. Sadly, Jim died a couple of years later.
Recently, I dug up lots of old photos, some of them very damaged after years of storage on board boats, and I made this little slide show about those years we built SUNRISE.
These days, Wayne and I are enjoying watching several of the YouTube channels that feature the new generation of young cruisers chronicling their lives afloat. Recently, one of them said, “I really wish I could find the original owner of this boat. I would have so many questions for him.”
That comment got me thinking. I wondered if SUNRISE could still be afloat today, 38 years later. What if her current owner would like to see that video and know more about her construction and her story? So, I went to the US Coast Guard Documentation database and looked up SUNRISE. Now, there are 90 some vessels in that database named SUNRISE, but only one of them is 55 feet long and was launched in 1981. It’s got to be the same boat.
So, I have decided to see if I can use Facebook and the Internet to track him down and get photos to see what she looks like today. Here goes.
I am trying to locate the boat owner by the name of Jonathan Wright and the boat’s hailing port is Fairhaven, Massachusetts. And below here is the most recent photo I have. It’s one that a previous owner sent me about 15 years ago. He added the hardtop and bimini and some big davits on the stern.
If any of you have seen this boat or if you know of anyone who has, please send me an email at email@example.com.
When we were going through the process of choosing a boat builder, we knew that the location mattered a great deal to us. We didn’t know for sure how long it would take to build the boat, but we knew we would be measuring the time in years, not months, so it had to be someplace we would enjoy. That played a big part in why we chose Turkey. When we first announced we were moving here, lots of people ask us if we weren’t worried for our safety, or were concerned about the standard of living over here. So many people don’t know what a gem this country is. The archeological sites are extraordinary, the nature is stunning, and it’s a modern, well-developed and tolerant country. Even more so, lately, lots of folks have written asking if the political and economic situation is impacting us. I hope that by sharing in this post a little of what our day to day lives are like here, our friends, family, and followers will understand better why (aside from the great boatyard at Naval) we like it so much here.
In February 2018, we signed a year’s lease to rent a three bedroom, two bath,1900 sq. ft. fully furnished apartment, and after more than 6 months of living in the place, it has become home. We are on the 9th floor of a 12-story building, and there are only two apartments on each floor. The three buildings in our complex are arranged around the enormous swimming pool and a small playground you see in the photo above. There is 24-hour security on the gate supplied by three very kind gentlemen who smile indulgently at our attempts to greet them in Turkish. One of the three bedrooms is set-up as my office and out the corner window, I can see a small strip of the blue sea over the rooftops in one direction and the imposing granite mountains in the other. For this, if we count rent, maintenance fees and utilities, we are still under $500 a month.
Our apartment is located about six blocks from a long gorgeous beach that was nearly empty in the winter, but is now covered with tourists from elsewhere in Turkey, and primarily from Eastern Europe. It’s not unusual here to find restaurants with tourist menus in English and Russian. The Free Zone where Naval Yachts is located is a kilometer or two from the apartment, and for the last month or longer, Wayne has been riding his bike there every day.
I stay at the apartment where I get to work on my book business. I’m drafting a new novel and running advertising for the existing books. I take the dogs out, go shopping and visit the pool. And every day, I try to spend at least one hour studying Turkish. It’s a tough language, but I am determined. I’ve got apps on all my devices and I listen to vocabulary as I walk the dogs, cook and do dishes, and I practice with Duo Lingo, Babbel, Monday and Memrise. The language is unlike any I’ve learned before and Wayne teases me about my fascination with the grammar and structure of the language, but I will be able to speak by Christmas. Maybe.
Every Tuesday, there is a neighborhood market selling fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, fish, olives, dried fruits and nuts, and various household goods. I take my little rolling trolly just like the other Turkish housewives and walk the few block to fill my shopping cart with all the healthy makings of our Mediterranean diet. The market spills out of the main structure and for two blocks on every side street, people are selling honey or homemade yogurt or bath towels and T-shirts out of the trunks of their cars. We eat what’s in season, so we were enjoying the winter squash and Brussel sprouts back in March, and now it is all about peaches, cherries, grapes, melons, and figs. There are so many different types of peppers, I can’t keep track, but surprisingly few of them are very hot. And tomatoes, a staple of Turkish cuisine, come in every size, color and shape.
I look forward to my Tuesday market days as the place is crowded and loud and wild, but loads of fun. The men are always shouting and joking, the Turkish ladies are squeezing the produce with a skeptical look, and the tourists are wandering around showing the whites of their eyes. The fish vendor is also the waiter at our neighborhood restaurant and the young man at one of the olive booths always practices his English with me. The prices you will see in the photos of the market are in Turkish Lira per kilo, and today the TL trades at about six to the USD. It’s hard to beat a kilo of fresh cherries for about 85 cents.
Because there is so much good inexpensive food here, we eat very little processed food. I have even taken to making my own granola cereal. I use oats, coconut oil, Turkish honey, and walnuts, hazel nuts, almonds, chia, dried cranberries and whatever else I can find at the market. Bake it in the oven to crisp it up and with sliced peaches on top, it’s yummy.
All over Antalya, there are loads of small neighborhood parks, and most of them have playgrounds for the kids and exercise equipment for the adults. With all the good Turkish food here, and no longer living a boating lifestyle, we found our waistlines growing. Back in May, we decided we had to do something about it. We don’t see too many people using the equipment, but for the last three months, we have been getting up at 6:00 a.m. and spending about 60 minutes working out. We take the dogs for their morning walk around the block and we stop at the park for our workout. I had been noticing so much loss of strength in the last few years, and I didn’t think I would ever get it back. Surprise! I’m feeling stronger and healthier than ever.
Since we are going to be living here for a long time, we haven’t been in a rush to see all the sites, but in six months we have managed to get out and about a bit.
In March, for my birthday, Wayne took me to the top of Mount Olympus Teleferik(Tahtali mountain) via the cable car.
The temperature outside the car as we drove the seaside road past Kemer was in the 70’s. We drove up through a fragrant forest to the cable car base, and after a long ride in the cable car, we found ourselves in snow at 2365 meters height. The views were stunning and the whole cable car structure was a feat of engineering.
In late June, friends aboard an American cruising sailboat, Chuck and Patty on Soulmates came through Antalya on their cruise along Turkey’s southern coast. We shared some meals, and I spent one day showing them around a few of the local sites. We visited the best-preserved Roman theater of the ancient world at Aspendos where they still hold performances since Ataturk had the theater restored in the 1930’s.
We also stopped to see the ruins of the huge Hellenistic city at Perge built in the 2nd century BC with its baths and market and stadium. The volume of archeological sites within a day’s drive of our apartment is stunning. And they are continuing to find more. People have been living in this area for thousands of years through dozens of different cultures and civilizations.
Finally, we stopped off at the Duden falls park right here in the city of Antalya where a waterfall drops into the sea. We ate a late lunch at a restaurant along the river and watched the guys taking rafts up the river so folks could do a mini raft trip down this stream. It’s a good thing they have a good net at the end. You wouldn’t want your raft to go over these falls!
Recently, we also got the chance to go up on our local Antalya cable car with our friends, Baris and Dinçer Dinç, the brothers who are the owners and the brains behind Naval Yachts. Though the climb was not as high as Mount Olympos, the views of the city we have come to call home were stunning. From the marina, the port and the Free Zone in the foreground, to the miles-long Konyalti Beach along the shore, you can see why Antalya is a favorite for us as well as tourists.
We ate gözleme and talked of travel, family and politics. And we had the opportunity to talk about what the impact of the drop in value of the Turkish lira is having on the average Turkish citizen. They explained that in the marine business, almost all prices now are quoted in US dollars (such as our contract). They also said that as employers, they try to help their workers with bonuses to make up for the loss of buying power. And while we haven’t really seen prices change much at the market, the supermarkets, or even at the gas pump, inflation is coming. Right now, Antalya is brimming with foreign tourists, and people here are not perhaps feeling the impact yet, but when the customers have gone and the city returns to the sleepy town we saw last winter, things are going to get tough for some of these folks. Yet, not once in all my time here in Antalya has anyone ever made me feel unwelcome when they found out I was American. They have reason to. I know Turkey has had economic difficulties for some time now, it’s not new. But there is no doubt that the severe drop in the lira one week ago was brought on by the war of words between the USA and Turkey. In spite of that, I have been treated with nothing but courtesy, kindness and respect.
And I often don’t get that back in the USA! Is it any wonder we are loving life in Turkey?
In July 2016, we launched LEARNATIVITY, our 52-foot steel cutter back into the water after nearly a year on the hard in Fiji. The boat was looking better than ever after a new paint job, and while we loved cruising in our sailboat, we had also been working for more than a year on the plans for our new power passagemaker. As the design had progressed enough, we’d decided it was time to look for a yard to build her in.
Wayne and I knew from the beginning that we would prefer to build our new boat overseas. While we were really looking forward to getting back to cruising as soon as possible, we also were aware that the journey is as important as the destination to us. I know from experience that building a boat always takes longer than you think. We wanted to enjoy living in the place we chose to build, and since we love travel so much, we expected it probably would not be in the US or Canada. Since we would be living there for years, we hoped to find a place where we could learn a new language and culture. Also, we were hoping to find a place with highly skilled workers, but also with labor rates we could more likely afford.
Ever since we had traveled to Turkey in 2014 to do research for a book I was writing, we had had our eyes on Turkey. We loved the people, the culture and the food, so it would be a great place to live. We’d read about this area in Antalya called the Free Zone in an article in Power & Motoryacht Magazine. We knew they had skilled workers for building in wood and fiberglass, but we weren’t certain about aluminum. But we didn’t want to narrow our search too much at that point, so we researched aluminum boat building all over the world. Eventually, we came up with a list of builders.
Our yacht designer, Dennis Harjamaa of Artnautica, put together an estimation package for us that he sent to the boatbuilders on our list. In the end, our list included builders in New Zealand, Holland, Tunisia, Turkey, and later, in Louisiana, USA. We are also cold weather wimps, and while we looked at several builders in the Pacific Northwest, both in the USA and BC (where Wayne is from), we knew they could build us a fabulous boat up there, but the cost of living was high and we were hoping to find a place with a warmer climate.
Wayne decided to travel to meet with some of these boat builders and meet them face to face. In our estimate package, we had defined four stages of the build, and we were asking builders to bid on any or all of the four stages. Stage 1 is the hot works: all the aluminum hull, tanks, decks, and superstructure. Stage 2 is power away. Stage 3 is all boat systems installed with rough interior. Stage 4 is turn-key finished boat. For this trip, Wayne had scheduled meetings with two builders in Turkey, one in Antalya, one in Izmir, and another in Bizerte, Tunisia.
While Wayne was off meeting with the builders in Tunisia first, I was in Nadi, Fiji aboard LEARNATIVITY at Vuda Point Marina. We had a young Fijian man working for us to complete the last bits and pieces of our refit. He was installing the new insulation in the engine room and painting the bilges. In addition, I was writing a new book, which is my real day job and helps to keep us in provisions. As I Skyped each day with Wayne and got more and more excited about our new build, I decided to post on the Trawler Forum website about Switching from Sail Cruising to Power Passagemaker. I was asking if anyone had information about building aluminum boats in Turkey.
Those of us who read these posts on this forum know that it is an international group. There is a vast amount of knowledge among the group, and I was a bit tentative when I posted. I was hoping mostly about making a connection with another cruiser who knew of boats that were being built in Turkey. It never occurred to me that builders would be reading my post.
The difference in the time zones between Fiji and Turkey is huge, and Wayne and I could only Skype in early morning or late evening. I remember checking my email at the same time Wayne was in Antalya, and there was an email from a builder I’d never heard of who was also in the Free Zone: Naval Yachts.
I saw your ideas about your plans to build an aluminum boat in Antalya in a forum. We are aluminum boat builders in Antalya Free Trade Zone, center of boat building industry, and also we give engineering and design services as well. We are currently building our aluminum hybrid motoryacht: GreeNaval 45. I don’t know what is your status now about building a boat but please feel free to ask your questions. Your contribution is very well appreciated as a sailor with enthusiasm.
please find us : www.navalyachts.com and www. greenaval.com
Talk about serendipity! Wayne was in Antalya at that very moment. He had finished his two days of meetings with the other builder, and at that time he was asleep. His Sunday morning would soon be dawning, and he was expecting to leave in the morning to start the drive up to Izmir. I forwarded the email to him and somewhat doubtful that they could make a connection on such short notice – and on a Sunday, to boot.
When Wayne awoke the next morning, he saw the email and wrote back to Baris:
“My wife Christine just forwarded this Email from you and as luck would have it I am in Antalya right now and very close to the Free Zone. However I am about to leave and drive up the coast to Izmir to meet with some other boat builders up there. I am almost out the door and going to leave Antalya in a few minutes however I would certainly like to take advantage of being here to meet with you personally if you happen to be around this morning?”
Amazingly, Baris checked his email a few minutes later and answered. He arranged for Wayne to go to their yard that morning, and they showed Wayne around their sheds and the different projects they had underway.
They next time we Skyped, Wayne was bubbling over with enthusiasm for both of the yards in Antalya. We felt so fortunate that he had been able to connect on such short notice with Baris and Dincer, the partner brothers who own and run Naval Yachts.
It was months before all the bids were in, and we continued to work with Dennis on all the thousands of small design details that go into making a boat. In October, we left Fiji and sailed to New Zealand where we met with Dennis and had a meeting with the New Zealand builder. Eventually, we narrowed it down to the two builders in Antalya, and one year after the first visit, Wayne flew back and met some more.
In the end, on March 15th of this year, my birthday, we signed a contract with Baris and Dincer Dinc of Naval Yachts, the builder we chose due to serendipity and the help of the Trawler Forum.
In early September of 2016, Wayne was off on his second boat-building-related trip to Turkey with his bidding package from Dennis in hand, while I returned to LEARNATIVITY in Fiji by myself. We had left the boat in a hurry( to return for the birth of a grandchild) just days after putting her back in the water, and things on board were a mess. I spent my first night back aboard sleeping on the settee because our bunk’s mattresses were removed and the plywood half pulled up while the rest was covered with tools, paint cans and boat bits.
During my first days back as I tried to get the boat sorted out and get our Fijian helper Ben back to work putting insulation in the engine room, I noticed a post on the Dashew’s Setsail website saying that they were heading up to Fiji in their own newly launched FPB-78-1, COCHISE. There are only a few places to clear in to Fiji, and I suspected they would soon be coming my way. Two days later, that proved to be true. On my evening walk out to watch the sunset with my dog Barney, I sighted COCHISE anchored outside the entrance to Vuda Point Marina.
The next day, I kept watch, hoping that I would be able to meet them if and when they came ashore. Finally, the yellow inflatable RIB came ripping into the harbor, but instead of tying up and staying, Steve dropped off Linda and a couple of other people, and he took the dinghy back to the boat alone.
I decided it was now or never. Our dinghy was out on loan with a friend, so I ran back to LEARNATIVITY and pulled out the bag containing our inflatable tandem kayak. Quickly, I put the bits in to support it, and with the help of the foot pump, I managed to get the boat and seats inflated.
I didn’t really think I would be able to meet Steve, but I knew I could get close enough to take some photos that would make Wayne so envious. I grabbed my little Olympus underwater camera, a hat, a paddle and my dog, and we took off on our little adventure.
There was no sign of anyone on board when I first arrived. I figured since they clearly had guests on board, he was probably enjoying having the boat to himself for a few hours. With Barney as my scout on the bow, we paddled in closer, and I began to take some photos. And then Steve appeared out on deck. He climbed down onto the swim step aft and then stepped into the dinghy. He wasn’t happy with the way the small boat was tied up and bouncing in the wind chop.
Now normally, I am fairly shy and not the most social person, but I figured this was a moment I couldn’t afford to pass up. I paddled in closer, he looked up and smiled, and I shouted hello. I told him I was admiring his boat. He sat down on a pontoon, and when I paddled alongside, he grabbed my kayak’s lines.
What struck me most at first was how unassuming he was. Clearly, there I was as a fan, but he made me feel comfortable right away. While he does speak with self-assurance and authority, he was also open and friendly and kind to this stranger. Fortunately, I know someone who knows Steve from way back when they were young men sailing outriggers off Malibu Beach, and when I told him about our shared friend, Steve recounted a story about a delivery they had done together in winter sailing south from New England. And so we began swapping sea stories like cruisers do. We laughed together when I told him that I had first sailed to Fiji in 1976 on a boat with no electronics, not even a VHF radio. He said something about how his RIB —rigged with forward facing sonar, a GPS chart plotter, VHF, etc.— had more nav gear than early boats he had sailed around the world. After a while, he graciously mentioned how much he was enjoying our talk. He explained that it had been four years since they’d been cruising, and he missed swapping sea stories with other cruisers, especially one who had been around back in those old days.
I mentioned that we had met Stedham on the FPB-64, ATLANTIS, too, and we talked for a while about how many miles the owners of the different 64s had covered. Eventually, I worked up to courage to tell him that my husband was off on a trip to Turkey and Tunisia with bid proposals for a long slender passagemaker we planned to build for ourselves. We talked for a while about building in different places in the world, and he spoke about all the US materials and supplies that he had brought into New Zealand because he preferred certain American suppliers. I asked him if he knew of Artnautica and the designer Dennis Harjamaa. He said he had heard of the LRC 58 being built by Dickey Boats that had recently been in the Auckland Boat Show. And of course, because he is Steve Dashew, he went on to explain how much better the FPBs were. For Steve, the FPBs will always be the best boats on earth, and he certainly does have the experience to back that up (and the marketing expertise). But, by the same token, I think he respects that we will learn so much through this building process just as he has learned from every boat build.
After we said our good byes, and Barney and I paddled our way back to the marina, I made myself a little wish. I hope that one day MÖBIUS and COCHISE will be anchored side by side in some far off bay, and we can invite Steve and Linda over for a drink. I would like to think that he would be rightly proud of the impact he’s had on the design of ocean-going powerboats.