Saturday, February 25, 2017

Equipment List and Description of Architeuthis

General Description

Architeuthis is a 31ft full keel (with a cutaway forefoot) cruising ketch (here's the listing). Her hull is thick solid (no wood or foam core to take on water and delaminate) fiberglass and she has fully encapsulated ballast. She has beautiful sitka spruce spars, and an interior built largely of African mahogany with a teak and holy sole. She was built by a US company at a Japanese shipyard in 1968, largely by hand, by skilled craftsmen using exotic hardwoods that aren't available these days. More information on the original specifications and history of Mariner Yachts can be found on the owner association's website:

Fully loaded for cruising in Mexico and sitting a bit low in the water.
Image result for mariner 31
Manufacturer's line drawings.



The 12 volt system works really well. The two solar panels are able to keep the house battery topped while living aboard (with the fridge on all the time) even in the cloudiest weather. While making passages with the fridge and the below deck autopilot on 24 hours per day (those are the two largest electrical draws on the boat by far) we had to run the engine once a week or so to keep up with demand, but I've replaced the fridge compressor with a more modern and efficient unit since then. The solar panels may be able to keep up all on their own now.
  1. 2 x 140 watt Kyocera solar panels. Mounted port and starboard on the cockpit railings.
  2. Very large (I think it's this one) Lifeline brand AGM house battery in very good shape. New in 2010. Always kept topped up by solar panels.
  3. Smaller AGM battery for the engine. This one's a bit tired and not holding it's charge very well. But...
  4. Dual battery switches allow you to combine the engine and house systems and/or swap which battery runs which system.
  5. Xantrex LinkPRO battery monitor 
  6. High output alternator (120w I think) and digital smart regulator. Original alternator provided as a spare.
  7. Almost all of the lighting on the boat is low-draw LED with just a few left over halogens in the fixtures that are rarely used.
  8. There's also quite a nice AC charger, several wall outlets, and a small inverter, but they're for US 110v shore power. We do have a large heavy-duty transformer that I believe will work to power the system from 240v AC that we can include with the boat. We've only used it for US power tools so far, but I think it would work. We've never needed to worry about it because the solar panels provide plenty of power for living aboard.


All electronics were purchased and installed between 2008 and 2010. The sounder and radar are fully integrated with the chartplotter. The autopilot can communicate with the plotter as well (go to waypoint, etc.).
  1.  Garmin GPSMap 4208 with electronic charts for NZ, Tonga, Cooks, French Polynesia, Mexico, and USA. Mounted just inside companionway on an adjustable arm so it can be viewed from cockpit or cabin.
  2. Garmin GSD Digital Remote Sounder with Airmar P79 transducer.
  3. Garmin Radar (I need to look up the exact model, but I think it might be GMR 24). Great for watching for approaching squalls at night.
  4. Raymarine below deck auto pilot. Type 1 rotary drive (RAYM81135), S1 corepack (RAYE12114: course computer, compass, and rudder position indicator), and a ST6002 plus controller (RAYE12098P). Installation photos. The installation was a pretty major project, but it's hard to overstate how great this thing is for cruising. The autopilot can be seen steering the boat through some pretty sloppy conditions in the video at the top of the page. It never let us down and, honestly, I think it steers better than I do in nasty conditions.
  5. There's also a nice Ritchie bulkhead compass in the cockpit, but it's balanced for the northern hemisphere. It still works down here but the card is tilted.
  6. There's an old Garmin plotter provided as backup, with wiring and a mount in the cockpit, but it hasn't been used since 2008.


  1. ICOM IC-706MKIIG radio. Uses ham and SSB frequencies. Has an ICOM antenna tuner as well. We were able to check in with sailing nets everywhere we went and receive weather faxes. No problem talking to people on the other side of the Pacific.
  2. West Marine (made by Uniden, I think) VHF 500 dsc.
  3. EPIRB / 406 distress beacon. Probably needs the battery checked and/or replaced.

Ground Tackle

We spent close to a year living on the anchor. We dragged a little bit a few times, but we had less trouble than most. The windlass could use a rebuild and bit of reconfiguration, but it's quite adequate as is.

  1. 15 kg Claw (a.k.a. Bruce) anchor on the bow with about 30 meters of 10mm chain and around 40 meters of nylon line. Chain was bought in NZ in 2012 and has seen very little use. 
  2. Lighter (around 10kg) danforth anchor on the stern with around 10 m of chain and a lot of nylon line. Maybe 50 or 60 m? I can't remember.
  3. Massively oversized 20 kg Claw anchor stored on stern rail for use as storm anchor. Approx 12 m of heavy chain stowed separately. Never had to use the storm anchor but it was nice knowing it was there.
  4. Manual Hyspeed Windlass. It's currently frozen up from lack of use. While cruising, I generally just pulled the anchor up by hand. It was faster, it was a nice bit of daily exercise, and the anchor is light enough that it's not too big a chore. The windlass is supposed to be pretty easy to rebuild and spares are still available online.


  1. Genoa (around 130) on a harken mkIII roller ferler. Tan, made by UK sailmakers.
  2. Main with two reef points. Made by UK sailmakers
  3. Mizzen. Two reefs. UK sailmakers
  4. Mizzen stay sail. Hardly used.
  5. Asymmetrical spinnaker with sock. New in 2011. Nearly new condition.
  6. Oversized telescoping whisker pole.  


I'm not sure how old the rigging is, but most of it predates my ownership. My impression is that the boat was fully refitted (decks, rigging, sails, everything) around 2001 or so, and then it just sat in the marina until I bought it. We replaced some hardware (spreader tangs, bobstay and bobstay chainplate) in 2010. The rigger we talked to in California before we left said that, according to industry guidelines, we should've replaced it then due to it's (assumed) age, but that based on it's condition he'd personally keep it. It's been a while since I've been up the masts, but everything I can see still looks good. Here's a photo album of the work we did on the rigging back in late 2010.


The engine is the original 40hp Perkins 4-108. If I remember correctly, it's got around 2500 hours on the clock (I need to look to be sure). It always starts and it's never smoked. I replaced the water pump, strainer, and hoses in 2014. I also pressure tested the heat exchanger and transmission oil cooler and painted it. It's big, low-tech, and sounds like a tractor but it keeps on going and I've never had a problem getting parts for it. We typically burn about half a gallon per hour while motoring.


The ply-wood decks on these boats can be a source of trouble. The decks were completely replaced by a previous owner around 2001 or so. We've been quite vigilant about tracking down and fixing any little leaks (with epoxy), and we pulled all the stanchions, re painted the decks and non-skid, and resealed everything in 2014. So the decks are in good shape for a boat this old.

General Good Stuff

We love this boat. So, when we've been able to, we've gone to extreme lengths to do things right. For instance, see this rebuild of the main hatch or this build-out of additional storage. These projects are representative of the care we've taken with this boat.

The Not So Good Stuff

The past year and a half or so has been a very busy time for us so we haven't been able to take care of Architeuthis the way we'd like to. Specifically, we've let some of the exterior varnish go. The toerails and drip rails are pretty well bare wood now, but they're teak so the wood itself is fine. You could revarnish it or leave it bare. The bottom paint has needs to be redone. It's lost its anti-foul abilities.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Architeuthis For Sale Q & A

I haven't had time to post more details about the boat yet, but a potential buyer asked some questions on TradeMe. I think my answers will eventually show up on the listing, but in case they don't, I'll post them here. The potential buyer asked:

Congratulations on your PhD. Interesting yacht, rare to see proper mooring bitts/post nowadays - couplea questions: 1) How does such shallow draft affect AVS and sailing ability? 2) How are spruce masts, ply decks, wooden rudder holding up against water penetration/rot? 3) Condition of engine? 4) Age of rigging? 5) Lead or iron ballast?
Here are my responses:
  1. I don't know the exact AVS, but I looked up the capsize screening ratio (1.71) when I was buying the boat. Subjectively, I found the Mariner to be a little more initially tender than boats of similar size and displacement, but quite good with even a small heel. So, basically, just a bit wobbly when motoring with no sail. We just make sure to put up the mizzen and sheet it in tight when motoring on lumpy water. There were a few knock-downs of other boats that were crossing from Mexico to the Marquesas at the same time we were, but we hardly even dipped our rails (but that might have just been because we shortened sail early and often). The blue-water cruising potential and stability of these boats is well documented. See this book about the first single-handed female pacific crossing in a Mariner 31, or the forum on the Mariner owners webpage.
  2. The spars and deck are in really good shape. We took the whole rig down in 2010. We stripped and refinished the masts with AwlBrite, upgraded the spreader and spreaders on the main-mast, replaced the bobstay and bobstay chainplate, and inspected all the standing rigging and consulted with a professional rigger (photos). The AwlBrite is probably about due for a few new coats as preventative maintenance, but (impressively) it's not showing any signs of blistering, cracking, or water penetration of any kind. The decks were completely replaced by a previous owner around 2001 or so. We've been quite vigilant about tracking down and fixing any little leaks, and we pulled all the stanchions, re painted the decks and non-skid, and resealed everything in 2014. So the decks are in good shape too. The rudder has never shown any sign of water penetration. I'm not even sure it's got a wooden core. If it does, it's got a whole lot of glass and gel coat over it.
  3. The engine is the original 40hp Perkins 4-108. If I remember correctly, it's got around 2500 hours on the clock (I need to look to be sure). It always starts and it's never smoked. I replaced the water pump, strainer, and hoses in 2014. I also pressure tested the heat exchanger and transmission oil cooler and painted it. It's big, low-tech, and sounds like a tractor but it keeps on going and I've never had a problem getting parts for it. We typically burn about half a gallon per hour while motoring.
  4. I'm not sure how old the rigging is, but most of it predates my ownership. My impression is that the boat was fully refitted (decks, rigging, sails, everything) around 2001 or so, and then it just sat in the marina until I bought it. We replaced some hardware (spreader tangs, bobstay and bobstay chainplate) in 2010. The rigger we talked to in California before we left said that, according to industry guidelines, we should've replaced it then due to it's (assumed) age, but that based on it's condition he'd personally keep it. It's been a while since I've been up the masts, but everything I can see still looks good.
  5. I've never been able to find any definitive information on what the ballast material is. There's definitely a steel lifting eye (presumably used to lower the ballast into the hull when it was built) that sticks up out of the ballast below the cabin sole but, aside from that part, I can't get a magnet to stick to anything at all so I'm pretty sure it's lead. And I've never heard of these boats suffering from the water intrusion, rusting, swelling, and cracking thing that seems to afflict some of the Chinese boats from the same era.
I hope this answers your questions, and I hope trademe lets me include this much text in an answer.

P.S. Thanks for the congratulations on my PhD. It was pretty painful, but I'm glad I did it. ...mostly.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Architeuthis is for Sale!

Christine has finished her master's degree. I'm wrapping up the final final revisions to my PhD. And, most importantly, we welcomed this guy to the family (and to, you know, life) last June:

So all of that adds up to this: Architeuthis is for sale. We love her dearly, but it's time to let her go. If the next owner gets even a tenth of the enjoyment we've gotten out of her, she'll be well worth what we're asking. Please have look at the advertisement and contact us through trademe if you're interested. I ran out of room for details on the boat in that ad, so I'm hoping to follow up with a post here in the next day or two.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Not really updating the blog

This blog is unlikely to get updated. We're still living in NZ. Christine has finished her master's at Leigh Marine Lab and I'm still working on my PhD (almost done). Anyway, feel free to look back through the blog. ...just don't expect much in the way of updates until we get around to selling Architeuthis.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Road Trip with the Donahues

In this long overdue blog post I will be covering the highlights of the visit and road trip with my parents, Peter and Marilyn, way back in February.

After a couple months of exploring the east coast of the North Island by boat it was time to do some exploring by land. My parents rented an SUV and we met up with them in what was soon to be our new home base north of Auckland in the Rodney District.

After a couple of days exploring the area and getting over jet leg we headed south for Rotorua, also know by Kiwi’s as Rotovegas. My dad took to calling it Rotorooter, and this comical interpretation of the Maori language soon became a common theme on our trip. I must admit that New Zealand place names do take a while to get used to. Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity and the tourism industry has really gone all out to capitalize on it, hence the Rotovegas nickname. The city literally smells like rotten eggs because there’s so much sulfurous bubbling going on. We quickly realized that once you’ve seen a couple bubbling smelly mud pools you’ve seen them all. While it was quite fascinating at first, but we soon lost interest. There were many brochures advertising colorful pools and giant geysers to go see but they were all contained in fancy parks that wanted around $50+ per person to get in. We settled on a short soak at a geothermally fed bathhouse type spa and a night time show and feast at one of the several Maori Cultural parks. The soak in the hot mineral pools at the spa was nice with a variety of pools and temperatures all over-looking a cafĂ© latte colored section of Lake Rotorua. All the other tourists there seemed to be speaking a different language. After trying out a few different pools we settled on the one that was the right temperature for us and there were at least 4 different languages being spoken in that one pool. Later that evening we saw a great Maori show that began with all the Maori men arriving in a big waka (war canoe) on a crystal clear spring fed creek lined with ferns, fern trees and other native bush. After the show we were treated with a huge buffet of food including pork that was cooked using a geothermally heated ground oven. After dinner we got to visit the neighboring kiwi park and see some real live Kiwis and Tuataras, a couple of creatures unique to New Zealand but almost impossible to encounter in the wild anymore. Both have been greatly reduced in numbers since the arrival of rodents. Kiwis are large, flightless, nocturnal birds reminiscent of a character from a Dr. Suess book. The Tuataras are a threatened species of reptile that can live more than 60 years and are the only remaining species in the group called Sphenodontia which has been around since the age of the dinosaurs. After writing this all down I feel confident that we achieved the complete tourist repertoire during our short stay in Rotorua. Jared and I even went mountain biking in some pine forests while we were there. It was a real treat to mountain bike on trails made by mountain bikers for mountain bikers for a change.

On our way to the wine region of Napier, we had a chance to stop at some scenic spots along the way including Huka Falls, Craters of the Moon park, and Lake Taupo. This country really caters to tourism and as a result everywhere we stopped we saw well signed, well maintained parks and trails complete with souvenir shops, toilets, and tourists. This in no way detracts to the beauty abounding all over this country and I love learning about every spot we stop by reading the detailed signs and being able to go pee in a toilet instead of the bushes or a stinky outhouse.

Napier is famous for its wine and its art deco. Back in the 1930s a big earthquake leveled most of the city so they had to rebuild. Art Deco was big back then so the whole city became a relic of that bygone architectural era. It was cool to see but I guess I’m just not that in to art deco because I lost interest pretty fast. The wine tasting on the other hand was a ton of fun! There are enough wineries in the surrounding area to keep a wino busy for at least a month. We only took one day and only hit up 3 winery/vineyards but that was more than enough for us non-wine experts. I really loved picking a bottle or two to buy at each place and then getting to drink it later on during our trip.

Next we zipped down to Wellington and caught the tail end of the rugby sevens madness (drunk people in costumes wandering around the streets) as well as the Super Bowl (go Giants!). We went to all the great museums and gardens and had some very nice meals out. Wellington has a lot more to offer than eating, and museums but that’s all we could squeeze in while we were there. It seems like a really cool city and we definitely need to spend some more time there in the future. There's something about it that reminds us of San Francisco, our favorite US city.

On the way back north now, our day in Whanganui was spent on the famous Wanganui River on a jet boat tour and a short hike to the Bridge to Nowhere. We went back and forth for a while on whether or not to do this trip and boy are we glad we did. It was beautiful and a really great way to see a lot of the river in a short time. Our jet boat driver was really knowledgeable and we learned a ton of cool stuff about the history of the region, both human and natural. Even though we were on “scenic” tour, the jet boat was quite exhilarating and we even got a 360 at the end. Of course I was the only one who got wet! Did you know that the guy who invented the jet boat is a Kiwi?

Tired of always being on the move, we decided to book a house in Raglan for the next 4 nights but the weather was so nice while we were driving up there that we stopped in New Plymouth on the way up for a quick look at the surf, I mean beach. It was our first black sand beach of the trip and boy was it hot! New Plymouth is in the shadow of the picture perfect cone volcano of Mt. Taranaki which has been used in movies as Mt. Fuji since they look so alike. It was yet another very beautiful corner of the country yet distinctly different than anywhere else. I really look forward to going back to “the naki”, as New Zealanders call it. I would love to hike up the mountain and surf all the surf breaks!

Raglan was epic. We stayed in a sweet house called the “Lava Lounge” complete with ocean views, hot tub, and surfboards. We surfed every morning and explored or chilled every night. I only regret not being able to convince my dad to rent a board and surf with us, but he had a ton of fun body surfing of course. Another place I can’t wait to go back to!

Since we skipped it on the way down, we zipped over and up to the Cormandel Peninsula for a couple of nights and had an awesome sea-cave tour aboard a mid-sized RIB. The owner/operator was a local guy with a ton of great knowledge to share about the region. We thought we might get rained out, but instead we had beautiful weather. We even got a quick snorkel in at a reserve and saw some of the biggest snapper we’ve seen yet! We hope to do some cruising in the area on Architeuthis next summer (your winter).

For the last two nights it was back up to our boat and out to Kawau Island which is only a short distance off-shore. We tied up to a mooring right outside the bed and breakfast type lodge my parents had booked and had a rainy but relaxing last days there. The owners of the lodge cooked us some great meals, including the fish Jared speared, and we became fast friends. They even helped us find the place we are now living! We had a lovely sail back to the mainland and a final goodbye under sunny skies overlooking the bay. It was a full and wonderful adventure and it was so so great to spend time with my parents. I can’t thank them enough for spending all that money to come out here and to treat us to so many wonderful things along the way. Can’t wait till next time! There’s still so much left to see and do!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Sorry I Brought My Sharks to Your Beach Outing

There are big sharks in New Zealand. I'd heard about the bronze whaler sharks and how they're attracted to spear fishing but now I'm a firm believer. We headed out to Great Barrier Island on January 15 to check it out while we still have time to do that sort of thing. I shot a couple of smallish fish (a butterfish and a blue cod for those of you keeping track) at one anchorage on the east coast with no shark sightings. A couple of days later at Rakitu island (a small island off the east coast of Great Barrier), a 7 foot bronze whaler startled me a bit by surfacing about three feet behind our dinghy while I was leaning over its transom to clean the blue moki I'd shot earlier.

A couple of days later we were anchored in Miner's cove on the west coast of Great Barrier. There was a nice little pinnacle right outside the cove so we rowed the dinghy over and got in the water. Christine had her camera and I had my speargun. I eventually found an 80 cm kingfish to shoot. He was a little reluctant to die so there was a good deal of stabbing going on and that resulted in a good deal of blood in the water. We didn't want to put the bloody fish in our little dinghy with the two of us already in there so we decided to tow the (mostly) dead fish back to boat. Given the proximity of the large group of people playing on the beach just inshore of Architeuthis, that may not have been the most thoughtful decision.

We started to think about sharks about halfway back to Architeuthis. My plan was just to stop briefly at the boat to pick up my knives and whatnot and then head in to the beach (with the kingfish still in tow) and clean it there. That would minimize the mess in the dinghy and on the boat. As I was on deck getting my stuff together Christine said, "Hurry! Get the fish. Shark's coming!" I had to drop what I was doing and jump back into the dinghy. The shark - probably 8 feet or so - was only a foot or two from the fish when I yanked it out of the water. At that point I just had to accept that the dinghy was going to get a little bloody because storing the fish in the water was no longer a viable option.

I looked over at the group on the beach (around 10 to 15 people). They were at least 500 feet from us but some of them were in the water. One guy was looking over at us so I gave him the international hand signal for shark (a hand sticking off the top of the head like a dorsal fin). He seemed to understand because the kids all got out of the water in fairly short order. In retrospect, I should have just put the fish in the dinghy to begin with. There probably wasn't any real danger in the whole situation but I think it was kind of rude of me to unnecessarily chum the water near someone's beach outing.

Bronze whalers are big but they're not particularly dangerous as sharks go. There are somewhere around 30 recorded cases of these sharks biting people and I don't think any of the bites were fatal. From what I understand, these sharks have only bitten people who actually had a dead fish attached to them. People used to (and I guess some people still do) clip the fish they've speared onto their weight belt and then continue to swim around. In that situation it's not too surprising that a hungry bronze whaler might try to eat the fish and accidentally get a chunk of human along with it. When I spear a fish, I put it on a float line as quickly as possible and make sure that it's trailing out a long way behind me. If a large shark wants to take the fish before I have a chance to get it out of the water, I won't argue.

I eventually took my fish to shore and cleaned it. I went ashore as far from the other people as I could get and I didn't throw any of the fish parts in the water until they'd already left. Christine said that there were two sharks that circled Architeuthis for a while after I'd gone to shore. I'm sure they were quite disappointed.

We weren't quick enough on the draw to get pictures of the sharks but here are some other photos of Great Barrier:

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Hanging out in the Bay of Islands

When thanksgiving time rolls around in New Zealand nobody gives a crap. Well, nobody except for the Americans who are over here. ...and of course that makes perfect sense because it's an American holiday. We had enough Americans around us here in Opua to necessitate some sort of thanksgiving dinner so the crews of Piko and Britannia went nuts and decided to organize dinner for around 13 people on a 36 foot boat. Aside from Amanda, Krister, Lauren (girl), and Lauren (boy) from Britannia and Piko, we had Alex and Ryan from Shalimar, Ivan and Josefin from Kuheli (they're Swedish but we explained that thanksgiving was all about eating too much food and they seemed game), and several members of Krister's family that were visiting from the US. Anyway, we all enjoyed the traditional thanksgiving chicken (turkey is really expensive here) and had a good time. People were distributed throughout the boat so the pictures don't really do justice to how many people there were in a such a small space.

After thanksgiving, Christine and I took Architeuthis out to the islands to check things out. We spent several days on our own. I spent as much time in the water with my new speargun as the water temperature and my insufficient wetsuit would allow. So far, the fish here in NZ seem to be a lot larger and easier to shoot than the fish in the tropics. In fact there are several species around (like the Red Moki) that are large and fairly tasty but they are just too damned easy to shoot with a speargun. After taking one of those "execution style" (basically setting the spear tip on the back of its head before shooting), I have decided that I'm going to leave them alone (unless I'm really hungry and feeling really lazy and really shameless). Aside from that, Christine and I just did some hiking and general relaxing.

After a few days on our own, we ran into Kuheli in an anchorage on the south side of Urupukapuka island and, after being there for a day or two, decided to follow them over to another island called Moturua. Motorua had a really nice hiking track all the way around it that we went and checked out with Ivan and Josefin from Kuheli. After that we went back into Opua to buy some groceries and get ready for some friends that were coming to visit.

On the weekend of December 3rd, my friends and former coworkers Will and Chad came to visit and brought their new friend and coworker, Evan. They had all come to New Zealand for some meetings down in Auckland and I talked them into come up to have a weekend out on the boat. Chad is really into the whole spear fishing thing so that became the main goal of the outing. Chad really wanted to get a kingfish so we chose to head out to a place called deep water cove (or Maunganui Bay depending on who you ask). Maunganui Bay is actually closed to fishing right now so we anchored Architeuthis in there and took Squib (our dinghy) out around the corner so that we were to the north of the closed area. While Chad, Evan, and I went out fish killing, Christine and Will hiked out a little way on the trail that goes out to Cape Brett. Sadly, we didn't see any kingfish but we got a bunch of other fish including Chad's delicious John Dory.

When we got back to the boat the New Zealand police had anchored right near us and came right over to see what we were up to. They had a guy filming the whole thing too and we forgot to ask why. They wanted to make sure we knew about the fishing closure and luckily we did. They were pretty darn nice about the whole thing, just like all the Kiwi's we've met so far, and it was pretty funny that a boat full of people who work on marine reserves were out killing a bunch of fish only to then get lectured about marine reserves. It would have looked pretty bad if we had been fishing in the closed area and I am really glad that I went through all the trouble it took to find out exactly where it was (since it's a new closure, the information on it was not readily available on the interweb yet).

As forecast, the weather got a little bit unpleasant on our trip back to Opua the next day. The first part of the trip was open to the ocean swell and managed to make our guests feel pretty uncomfortable. Fortunately, we were able to alter course and get in the swell shadow of some of the islands and make everyone feel better. Then, also as forecast, it started raining. It rained a lot. The guests all hid out in the cabin while Christine and I got test out our foul weather clothes (again). We spent the night tied to the guest dock at the Opua Cruising Club trying to dry ourselves out and get ready to take a ride down to Auckland the next day.