Kokamo is our companion for the
year. A 39 foot New Zealand design
yacht, called a Ganley Tara. It was
clearly meant to be, as she is exactly the same age as me (Tom – ie. old). She
was professionally built for the boss of an Auckland steel firm by his own
company out of corten steel (which means she is both more corrosion resistant
and lighter than mild steel boats, and being steel is somewhat reef resistant –
not something we mean to test).
But why Kokamo? After arriving in NZ in early January,
we spent five weeks travelling around the country, and looked at about 25
boats. Most were non-starters, and
it came down to just 3 that were pretty ready to head offshore and were in our
price range. We then asked a
boatbuilder and maritime inspector to join us on our second look and help us
decide. Kokamo came out on
Her biggest attraction was that she
has done it all before and, fundamentally, was ready to do it again. All her past owners had taken her up to
the Pacific Islands and sometimes Australia (all ocean passages of 1000 miles
plus) – so she could certainly do it.
The lovely couple that owned her had just sailed back from Oz, but were
reluctantly selling because an injury meant offshore sailing was no longer a
good idea. She is very solid and
safe, and with our relatively short timescale, the fact she was currently an
offshore boat being sold with most of the necessary gear on board made her the
For those that are into boats, some
more details about Kokamo. She is a
masthead sloop rig, although a previous owner did convert her to cutter rig, so
she has an (detachable) inner forestay.
She 11.9m long, displaces about 8 tonnes (weighing 12 tonnes gross) and
draws 2m. She is one of the earlier
designs by Kiwi Denis Ganley, who apparently said he designed the Tara to in
particular “go well to windward in gale force conditions.” Being built for the MD of the steel
company that made her, she has a mahogany interior, and used to have teak decks
(which only remain in the cockpit).
Each owner has added their own bits, the last making a very cosy hard
dodger and impressive stainless steel frame over the cockpit to take a fixed
bimini (vital in the tropics).