AVE MARIA… travelling the world in a old Bently at 7 knots

dsc06590.JPG Remember those fiends from the Santiago Yacht club, who ripped off the America’s cup, then cheated their way through rulings that mismatched giant cats vs slower monohulls, almost destroying the America’s Cup in the process? Well, about 40 years ago, the seeds of that committee were out in their whites, starting and finishing races aboard the then, mega yacht Ave Maria.

Today, the gracious Ave Maria has more in common with a rusted Bentley, than Dennis Connor’ s carbon fibered scheming. Left dejected on the edge of Mexican desert, in late 2007, she became the home of Aussie’s heading to sea, but not before many hard working months in Mexican Boat yard.

50 foot from the world’s most prominent schooner/ketch design house Alden, she was built in 1967 by Cheoy Lee in Honk Kong, and remains to this day, a fine example of quality boat building. No Taiwanese pop-out, Ave Maria is a seriously fitted, ocean going luxury pad. It won’t be long, if not now, that yachts like Ave Maria will become the temple of varnished restoration that is the penchant of some yachty enthusiasts.

The old Perkins is as solid as they come, albeit the Perk bit of the Perkins is not the donc’s forte.

Blessed with heaps of freeboard, this boat is palatial inside, with more storage than a 2 hectare Walmart. In wet season weather like this, a dozen generous opening ports feed us air, whilst the rain keeps the hatches closed.

Unlike most modern boats, my old Fullmoon included, Ms Mari has a living room with a view, and you can make a cuppa whilst keeping a hand on the inside helm. Noice.

No aft berth, means no sleeping in wet, greasy, tight, ah, er, afterbirth. Instead, the main bedroom is more a spacious library, than pokey hole. And she does not have useless added bathrooms for daft guests to block the toilet in private before secretly slipping on deck.

Most cruising boats of 2008 are covered, from arse to nose in added with targa frames with stupid gismos everywhere, surfboards, antennas, solar cells, wind turbines, blab la bla…ah..but not Ms Maria, looking positively simple in here minimalist deck clutter.

Most of the running gear is a collector’s piece…the mast winches are a classic.

A weeks or so repairs has meant my maiden voyage is yet ahead, but Ms Maria is more about truck’n than tacking. No panicking when it gets heavy, as heavy means hunky, which means happy.

My cabin is a happy forward V berth gig, which shall soon also house both me and my bicycle.

It’s a huge, and cute front cabin, with shared head access, and 4 funky ports.

There was a once a water maker. Now there are buckets and rain. There’s 110volt of power with motors on, as well as my donated inverter for small loads. A powerful 110volt refrigeration , replaced here in Golfito, was our major task. We sit here nervously awaiting the delivery of $500 worth of circuit boards, so the autopilot can be resurrected. Sailing without an autopilot is like flying without wings, as far as this ocean sailor goes. Steering wheels are simply for the last 100m before the dock. But sure enough, paying $100 for a 3 day courier stuffed up, and here we wait.dsc06593.JPG

The inflatable dinghy has all the integrity of a recycled condom in Mexican bordello, and I have add more patches to the fuca than dirt poor depression seamstress could add to ganddad’s 20 year old bib and braces. If the cursed thing stays afloat more than 10 minutes, it will be a testament to either one of three things. One being a week of my labour. The second being the power of cheap vinyl flooring to substitute for unobtainable zodiac patches. But more likely, it will be a testament to a new gunk-the fuck-out of it glue called 5200. In 5200, we trust. But maybe not. I eyed a two man , blow up, chinese kayak, at the duty free zone today, and with little confidence in the above three options, I plan to own plan B tomorrow.

And with it….a $50 push bike..hey presto…land and sea access of the DYI kind.

You could write pages about Ms Maria, but it can wait until she does more than just stay afloat at the dock.


This entry was posted on Friday, November 28th, 2008 at 10:00 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “AVE MARIA… travelling the world in a old Bently at 7 knots”

  1. jeannette Says:

    Hi Roddie,

    Looks great. Jazzy is on her way over to Sth America in the Chrissy holidays to. Seems like the place to be.

    Have fun.


  2. anna bananna Says:

    wock on wod

    miss you love anna

  3. Dehmer Says:

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  5. Pehmer Says:

    Great One…

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