My much-loved “Calypso” has been sold!
Introducing “Calyps0 II” – an Island Packet 38
I know, I know, she looks very similar to the first Calypso (even the same off-white colour) but that is a good thing because there was much to like about Calypso and I have not fundamentally changed my philosophy as to what constitutes a good voyaging boat. Calypso II still has the necessities of a good voyaging boat as laid out in Get Real, Get Gone and embodied by the original Calypso (and Marutji before her). Namely:
- A decent, long integral keel.
- A fully protected rudder (No dreaded, exposed and vulnerable spade rudders. See here why they are such a rotten idea on a voyaging boat)
- A heavy lay up – built to get you there, not win races
- Small, tough portholes
- Strong rigging and sails
- Relatively short, sturdy mast
- The ability to heave-to quietly in foul weather so I can stay cozy below and watch Downton Abbey on the BBC iplayer
Calypso II also has some other things that I would recommend to other voyagers.
- Less external wood. I know it looks lovely, but at least half my maintenance time on Calypso was taken up with keeping the wood nice and insect-free. If you ignore that task in the tropics, then trouble will soon follow.
- Oversized rigging and chainplates. In 2014, the nice chaps at Port Townsend Rigging whipped out the old chain plates and replaced them with a heavy duty version and did the same to the entire rig. Gives one a great deal of confidence.
- Monitor Windvane. Don’t get me wrong, any windvane is an improvement on an
electric autopilot and they all work their magic. Yet only Monitor (and some Aries models) have solved the ‘big wave problem’. (To be fair, Hydrovanes have solved this too, but they are not servo type systems). This is where a big wave slides under the boat and knocks the servo blade out of the water so it is no longer steering the boat. The Cape Horn on Calypso (although a fantastic system in many ways) was vulnerable to that, as are all the others). Monitor’s stainless cage prevents that from happening – it weighs a bit more than others, but it is good to know that it will continue to steer in all conditions particularly as it would seem that (however unplanned) some solo sailing is likely to feature in my future.
- Hard Sailing/Rowing Tender Say goodbye to the endless bullshit that comes with dinghy/outboard maintenance and have a heap of fun too. Also serves as my sail training vessel for new crew. A much easier and fun way to teach the basics – chuck the new crew out with a copy of “sailing for dummies” and go and have a beer. A great trolling vessel too because you can scoot quietly across the water dragging a lure at a decent speed under sail alone which doesn’t scare the fish off. You can really fight with the bigger ones as there is no possibility of holing your dinghy landing any fish that is less than keen about becoming lunch. Say goodbye to hunger and boredom and much expensive maintenance all in one go. Of course, I still have my favourite Advanced Elements Kayak (can’t imagine sailing without it) but I don’t have to use it so much for the ruff stuff (I once transported advocado trees in it!)
Having said all the above, I did not start the complicated process of selling a boat I knew well (and immersing myself into the heavily mined arena of buying one I did not) for any of the above reasons. The motivation came principally from the desire to accommodate the many readers who contacted me asking if they could join the boat for a while and get a bit of a taste for the lifestyle. I did try it a few times with Calypso, but she was just too small. So I set out to look for a boat that was about the same size overall as Calypso but had an aft cabin and better interior volume, but did not sacrifice any sea-going ability to achieve it. A very tall order indeed! The Island Packet 38 turned out be a very good answer to this problem. Whilst less than a foot longer (LOA) than Calypso, she has excellent interior volume with two decent sized cabins and voluminous storage. In other words, all the advantages of a charter yoghurt pot but with top of the line build quality,
The aft cabin can fit two singles or can be turned into a romantic double with the addition of a center infill piece. The forward Pullman berth is truly the most comfy bed I have ever slept in. The forward head has been removed and turned into a man-cave. Oh yes! how many sailors are lucky enough to have their own man-cave! A second head is rather excessive on a small boat and the man-cave means that all my tools, gooey stuff and fasteners are all in the same place rather than strewn out all over the boat getting lost and pissing off my partner (should I ever be of a mood for another) as grease and oil finds its way into the potatoes and her favourite strappy top. I am still sorting it out and I wish to add a permanent vice, stand drill and grind wheel, but it is a real life -changer. Makes me smile just looking at it :).
Generally, the bones of the boat were in excellent shape, but she had been neglected for long enough to make her a bit of a bargain. The gel coat had gone dull and chalky, the windlass and one furler had seized and the varnish was peeling off exactly to the extent that it was difficult to remove and impossible to repair. The overheating problem in the engine had been cured by removing the wires from the temperature alarm. (sometimes known as the “Hillbilly Tune-Up”) and the head was leaking and making the boat smell like the toilets at Millwall Football Club. This of course was my first job and proved fairly easy to repair and then I moved on to all the other jobs in more fragrant surroundings.
With the help of three really funny Fijian guys, I have now removed every single scrap of varnish from the exterior of the boat and I will be replacing it with Semco – a non-varnish, non slip coating that is both pretty and virtually mainenance free.
I have been slowing going through the boat stem to stern and fixing whatever I don’t like and cataloging the enormous amount of spares the previous owner was kind enough to leave me with (thanks Daryl!) but generally speaking I am absolutely amazed with the build quality and presence of mind that Island Packet put into these boats – almost every time I think “wouldn’t if be a good idea if…” Island Packet seem to have already done it.
She is a delight to sail and surprisingly close-winded for a long-keeler. Johnny (friend visiting from Tonga) and I were amazed how smartly she tacked and at tight angles that were beyond anything I had hoped for (certainly much closer winded than Calypso).
So my friends! In a few weeks I will be ready to sail and I look forward to meeting you all out here later in the year when I have (inevitably) bounced back a bit and am closer to my usual fluffy, fun-loving self! Despite upgrading the boat, I will still be running on a ‘not for profit’ basis so I expect a decent bottle of wine (or two bottles of cheap Londis plonk)!
As always, any questions stick them below in the comments or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers Everyone and Fair Winds to All!
Rick Calypso II Fiji Feb 26th 2019