18 December 2017

10 Questions for Tika

Russel, Greer, Kai (13yrs) and Jaiya (10yrs) began cruising in 2015 aboard SV Tika, a 2008 Outremer 55 hailing from Fremantle, Australia.

After purchasing Tika in Panama, they cruised the Caribbean for 7 months before heading across the Pacific in 2016. They have spent a second season in the Pacific after visiting New Zealand and are now in Australia.

They say: "We plan to sail to Tasmania early next year and then across the Great Australian Bite to Perth mid 2018."

You can learn more about their voyage on their website or by email.

Finish this sentence “One thing I’ve learned about navigating is…

…to cross-check with each other. We check one another’s assumptions, route planning, waypoints and logic whether we are miles from anywhere, navigating reef strewn atolls or entering a major harbour. It is easy to misjudge (especially when you are sleep deprived during a passage) and two people cross-checking helps to minimize human error. We try to cross check even basic, simple aspects of navigation. 

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising? 

Cruiser years are like dog years- you need more time!! For every year you think you need cruising- you need seven ….especially when cruising with children and doing school for 3 or more hours of the day.

What mistakes did you make in your first year of cruising? 

  • We moved too fast and got too hypertensive about home-schooling. 
  • We went through a stage of leaving lines (the dinghy painter, fishing line, sheets) in the water and getting them wrapped around the props. It happened about 6 times in as many weeks and we got so annoyed with ourselves! We set up a few systems and it hasn’t happened since. One simple thing we do is to put a peg on the ignition whenever we put a fishing line out to remind us to bring it in before we start the engines. 
  • We didn’t have the right anchor initially- it took a major dragging incident before we upgraded to a beast of a Rocna. 
  • We used to leave our dinghy down at anchor, lost a very cool dinghy and learnt to pull it (the replacement) up every night without fail (not only to avoid loss but also to be ready to move at any time if a crazy wind picks up or another emergency transpires)

Describe a drool-worthy perfect cruising moment

We had an encounter with a pod of humpback whales between Va’vau and the Ha’apais in Tonga… an absolutely incredible experience. They surrounded us, dived under Tika’s hulls, breached right next to us and gave us a once in a life-time encounter. 

What is something about the cruising culture you like and what is something you dislike?

Like/love: The community. We form friendships quickly and often and meet super- interesting people. We get to enjoy and share everything from help and advice with maintenance, radio nets, pot lucks, recipe’s, school materials and (for us) windsurfing gear!

Dislike: Constant conversation about boats and sailing (that tend to get a little same-same) and the drinking culture.

Tell me your favorite thing and your least favorite thing about your boat

Favourite: combination of speed, comfort and safety. We think sailing performance can be under rated. We are able to take narrower weather windows due to our speed and we can also sail quickly and comfortably in light winds.

Least favourite: the concept of having to sell her at the end of our cruise (sob!)

What are some of your favorite pieces of gear on your boat and why?

  • DC water maker means we can make water off solar and wind power without having to run a generator
  • Code zero sail and self-tacking jib
  • Shaft drives
  • Skegs
  • Centerboards
  • Running back stays
  • Huge forward toy lockers for our windsurfing gear (we have 4 boards: two inflatables, two hard and 7 sails aboard)
  • Our gorgeous dinghy Tika-Taka that we love love love… she is a gig harbor lobster boat (a sailing dinghy with a reefable main and jib, a rowing dory with slide seat and two-up rowing and a planning dinghy with our 15hpr outboard)

What is your most common sail combination on passage? 

Downwind passages: code zero 120sqm on windward hull.

Upwind: jib and main.

Are you attracted more to sailing itself or cruising-as-travel and has that changed over time?

Russel: both. He loves sailing in all conditions and loves the destination. 

Greer is a little harder to please and needs time to enjoy the destinations. Likes being at sea but finds being on the go and on a time frame challenging. Prefers long, delicious stops in gorgeous anchorages and really getting to know a place to seeing as many countries as possible in the blink of an eye. She has serious ‘schedule envy’ of cruisers that spend entire seasons in some countries! 

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

Probably a question around cruising with children and what unique rewards and challenges this entails.

Cruising with our two kids defines us as cruisers and has us make decisions that cater to their needs as well as the family unit as a whole. A chunk of each day is spent doing school and boat maintenance and R and R must fit in around this! Sometimes, we look at childless couples and single-handers and think what it must be like to have all that additional time! But showing the kids the world through cruising and boat-schooling has also been one of the most rewarding aspects of our trip. On a big picture level, we like that we are showing our kids what it takes and how it feels to set a big, hairy audacious goal and then to achieve it.  This is real world life coaching at its best.

The time as a family living within 55ft has at times been intense, but we have got to know our kids on a whole new level and have watched them grow into confident, competent, resilient young people through life on a yacht.