31 July 2017

10 Questions for Tainui

John Vallentine cruised from 2005 until 2016 aboard SY Tainui, a Formosa 46 hailing from Mooloolaba, Australia. He had various crew, especially Maxine Maters, Ian Allan, & David Lucas.

You can read more about his cruise on his website.

Over the time that you have been cruising, has the world of cruising changed?   

Yes. The remote world is shrinking. We have always pursued remote cruising grounds, preferably in high latitudes where they can still be found.

Follow-up question: Any examples of the remote world shrinking?

The Galapagos, Lord Howe Island, Trinidad, Tahiti, Marquesas and Cuba all come to mind.

In the Caribbean, I wish I'd been to the Windward Islands 50 years ago.

I don't want to give you the wrong impression though. We cruised many places in solitude - Patagonia, Haiti, Newfoundland, Labrador, Iceland, Faroe, Arctic Norway and Svalbard, virtually all of Russia, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. The list is still long enough for a lifetime's sailing.

Having cruised both the Atlantic and the Pacific, how do they compare?

The Atlantic is excellent for high latitude cruising – Labrador, Iceland, Svalbard, Patagonia etc. But the equatorial milk runs are boring.

The Pacific islands are becoming quite crowded but even as late as 2015 we found empty places – Tuamotus, Niue, Beveridge etc. The sailing is grand if you are going downwind.

What is a cruising tip or a trick you learned along the way?

My favourite trick is to break my travels with trips home.  It is great to leave the boat and great to return. And you can stash the boat in cyclone holes or snow-bound ports.

In your own experience and your experience meeting other cruisers, what are the common reasons people stop cruising?

There are many reasons why people stop cruising. Boredom, aimlessness, financial distress and partnership  breakups are all common.

Cruiser rant: What is something that drives you crazy?

More than anything else, I am driven crazy by fleets of Bavaria and Beneteau charter boats – what Ian calls “Eurovision Song Contest” boats. These are worse in the Med, of course.

I am also very irritated by boats which run generators at night, boats which anchor stupidly  too close ahead of me, and those wind generators which whistle noisily.

Have you ever felt in danger and if so, what was the source?  

Not really. Perhaps in a southern Ocean gale when we were surfing under bare poles at 18 knots I felt we were on a bit of a knife edge but our Aries coped effortlessly.

What is your most common sail combination on passage?

I like having the boat pulled along by the nose. Obviates the danger of broaches and gybes.

In the high latitudes, poled out storm staysail with/without poled out yankee.

In tropical grounds, poled out #1 and genniker. Sometimes with the main as well

What piece of gear seems to break the most often?  

Our 40 year old Ford Lehman engine needed regular coddling. Sheet chafe is a constant danger which can be avoided. Sail wear and tear is inevitable.

With the benefit of hindsight, what are the boat selection criteria you would use to purchase a boat for long term cruising?

Solid, simple, seaworthy and with good sailing ability. There is no better boat than the Peterson/Formosa 46 for this.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?

What next?

I don't have a specific answer to this, but my future will always include the sea and boats.