About Tahina

This page describes the sailing vessel Tahina – our home and mode of transportation. Since our trip will last five years, we will be selling our house and cars – our boat is now our real home. We had previously owned a nice sailing catamaran and found it to be the ideal boat type for cruising and blue water travel. I should point out that sailing is an incredibly “green” mode of transportation. The primary means of movement is wind – you can’t get much greener than that! Here is a photo tour of Tahina.

About the Name

Our boat was named something else by the builder since they were using it as a demo boat. But, we had a better name planned for our boat. So, we had to perform a boat renaming ceremony when we put the boat back in the water. This is something that must be handled very carefully as we want the gods to be happy with our vessel as we sail the oceans. After performing the ceremony our boat is named Tahina. We looked long and hard for a name which sounded nice, was unique, and meant something positive. I first came across the word while reading about a new type of palm tree discovered in Madagascar. The word “tahina” means “blessed” or “protected” in the language of Malagasy (the language in Madagascar which is derived from polynesian origins – note the similarity to Tahiti).

Buying the boat

For the past few years we attended each of the Miami and Annapolis Boat Shows, did a lot of reading, and communicated with many boat owners looking for the right boat. We ultimately settled on a St. Francis 50, by St. Francis Marine built in South Africa. South Africa has a reputation of building some of the best catamarans in the world. Our last boat was also built in South Africa. This boat has 4 queen-sized staterooms with a private head (bathroom) for each room (we plan to have friends and family visit along the way). There is a nice galley in one of the hulls; between the hulls there is a large salon area with a dining table suitable for up to eight people , lots of windows, a navigation station (and large desk area), and a TV entertainment center. There’s also an outside dining area suitable for eight, and the helm station with instruments all protected by a large “roof” area (called a bimini) giving protection from the sun and ocean spray – and there are solar panels on top (another important “green” element). The boat has two engines for times when you can’t sail, or while maneuvering in a harbor. And, it has a generator for charging the battery systems when solar power can’t keep up. See specifications including floor plans.

The boat we’ve just purchased was used by the builder at the Cape Town Boat Show in the fall of 2007, and then at the Miami Boat Show in February 2008 (where we first saw it). Then, it was taken to the St. Francis Resort in the Bahamas where their sales representative lives (which is why we went to the Bahamas back in June 2008). Here is a Google Earth file which shows where the boat was built, and the approximate route it took to get to the Bahamas along with the two boat shows. The boat had nearly 8000 nautical miles on it when we picked it up as a “new” boat. But, that’s often the case when a US citizen buys a South African boat. These boats are designed for long-distance travel. Here are some pictures of a St. Francis 50 from their web site (no, it doesn’t come with the cheerleaders). And, here are some pictures of it under sail.

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