Don Parkinson

Sailing on “seraffyn”.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going for a sail on “Seraffyn” a 24 1/2’ Lyle Hess-designed sloop patterned after an English channel cutter. She was built by Lin and Larry Pardey in the late 1960s and is currently owned by George Dow. Seraffyn moved well in the light winds of Situate Harbor as we made our way past the breakwater I couldn’t help but imagine what it must have been like crossing oceans on this small simple vessel. 

Thanks to Author Wendy Hinman for including me on this trip it was her friend Dave, George’s neighbor that set the whole thing up. Wendy is in the northeast for the Mystic Wooden Boat show where she will be selling her book TIghtwads on the Loose . A story about her seven years sailing around the Pacific on her 31 foot sailboat.


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National Sailing Hall of Fame

All Inductees > Class of 2022

seraffyn sailboat

Lin & Larry Pardey

August 1, 1944 & October 31, 1939 - July 27, 2020

Detroit, Michigan / Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Two boats, 200,000 miles and no engine!

Larry Pardey Obituary

Legendary Sailor and Adventurer

Blog: Pardeytime

Interview Part 1

Washington Post Article

Lin and Larry Pardey lived the life many sailors aspire to. They circumnavigated the globe two times on boats that they built with their own hands. Larry did most of the boat building while Lin was the writer. Their enviable relationship worked. The boats, “Seraffyn” and “Taleisin” were both wooden boats and were under 30 feet in overall length. Neither boat had an engine. It is a remarkable story. They shared their adventures with many thousands of sailors by publishing 12 books, giving hundreds of lectures and producing instructional films. The Pardeys were popular anywhere they made an appearance. Their talks were laced with important tips on how to cruise efficiently. The couple were engaging and made their maritime adventures fun. In fact, Herb McCormick wrote a book about the Pardeys in 2014 and titled the volume, “As Long As It’s Fun.” They couple’s stories also include humor. At home in California they once had a pet cat that they named, “Dog.”

Adding to the storyline they circled the globe in the opposite direction of the prevailing wind. Few sailors have rounded Cape Horn to starboard. They were brutally honest about their voyages and talked about mistakes, bad weather, the pressure of making financial decisions and dealing with endless problems any cruising sailor can relate to. Lin tells the story that none of her neighbors from Bull Canyon where the Pardeys spent four years building “Taleisin” showed up for the launch of their new boat. A big crowd of sailors were on hand. When Lin said she was going to miss the canyon her mother said, “No you won’t. This right here is your world. Bull Canyon is just one more foreign land you visited.”

Herb McCormick writes in his book on the Pardeys that they were at sea during “monumental, once-in-a-generation storms.” During their stop overs they were present for major international events. They were in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was elected and they were in Poland for the end of the cold war. When asked about their nicest passage, McCormick reports, “Their near mystical 2,500 mile voyage from Mexico to the Marquesas Islands. Not only was the sailing spectacular but, the trip was memorable by a pair of encounters with denizens of the deep, ones that could only be experienced by small-boat sailors.”

Larry Pardey died at the age of 80 following a stroke a year earlier and after suffering with Parkinson’s disease. During his life Larry and Lin spent eleven years visiting 47 countries on their first circumnavigation. The second voyage around the world lasted 25 years and they visited another 30 countries according to an obituary by Richard Sandomir that appeared in the New York Times (August 28, 2020).

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Larry Pardey, Mariner Who Sailed the World Engineless, Dies at 80

With his wife, Lin, he circumnavigated the world twice on wooden boats he had built. And they always took their time.

seraffyn sailboat

By Richard Sandomir

On a perilous westerly course bound for Cape Horn near the southern tip of South America in 2002, Larry and Lin Pardey made their approach into the hazardous currents of the Strait of Le Maire aboard Taleisin, their 29-foot, engineless wooden yacht.

Well after midnight, with Ms. Pardey on watch and Mr. Pardey asleep below, she lost sight of navigation lights but realized, suddenly, that several large rocks were in front of her, not the open water that she had expected.

“I threw the helm and tacked to turn and reached out to sea on a reciprocal course,” she said in an email. “At the same time, I yelled for Larry to get up on deck. He ended up being thrown from the bunk on the cabin sole, then scrambled quickly into the cockpit.”

They were, for a short time, lost. Mr. Pardey took the helm as his wife studied their charts to determine the safest course back to open water. They eventually passed through the strait and headed to Cape Horn.

By then, the Pardeys were more than 30 years into an adventurous life at sea, twice circumnavigating on boats that Mr. Pardey had built. Their voyages brought them renown among cruisers: sailors who take their time on long trips, often to foreign parts.

“Without exaggeration, Larry is one of the greatest small boat sailors of any era,” Herb McCormick, executive editor of Cruising World magazine, said in an interview. “The degree of difficulty — of sailing boats without an engine for 200,000 miles — is an amazing thing.”

Mr. McCormick, who wrote the book “As Long as It’s Fun: The Epic Voyages and Extraordinary Times of Lin and Larry Pardey” (2014), added: “Larry’s little motto was, ‘If it was easy, everybody would do it.’ He almost went out of his way to make it harder: building the boats, engineless, and sailing upwind around Cape Horn.”

Mr. Pardey, who embarked on his final long ocean voyage in 2009, died on July 27 in a nursing facility in Auckland, New Zealand, near his home. He was 80. He had a stroke last year and had learned five years ago that he had Parkinson’s disease, his wife said.

Life aboard their boats, first the 24-foot Seraffyn, then the Taleisin, was simple. They had a compass, a sextant and a radio transmitter but used no GPS. systems, and no engines.The lack of complexity suited Mr. Pardey’s facility for navigation and reduced their costs.

“When we first set off, we could live in Mexico for $200 a month,” he told The New York Times in 2000. “The way we looked at it, a $3,000 engine cost 14 months of freedom. We never dreamed of going cruising and being comfortable, we just dreamed of going.”

They fulfilled that dream many times over. Their first circumnavigation, starting in 1968 on an eastward route, spanned 11 years and took them to 47 countries. Beginning in 1984, they spent 25 years traveling west on their second circumnavigation, touching land in 30 more countries.

Lawrence Fred Pardey was born on Oct. 31, 1939, in Victoria, British Columbia, and was raised in Shuswap Lake and in Vancouver. His father, Frank, was a butcher, and his mother, Beryl (Peterson) Pardey, was a homemaker. Earl Marshall, his grandfather, who worked in sawmills and construction, preached to Larry that he should earn enough money to do what he loved.

As a boy, Larry had a dugout canoe and then a rowboat rigged with a wool blanket for a sail. But his serious interest in sailing did not peak until he was about 17, when he bought an eight-foot sailboat while working for a waterfront sawmill in North Vancouver. He then purchased a keelboat and, in 1959, a sloop, which he called Annalisa.

“She was built in Sweden for the Crown Prince of Denmark as a diplomatic gift,” he was quoted as saying in “As Long as It’s Fun.” “She’d been built from a single mahogany log and varnished inside and out.” He added: “She was perfect.”

By late 1964, Mr. Pardey had left British Columbia for Newport Beach, Calif., and was working on a schooner when it went to Hawaii so that the crew could film background shots for a TV series, “The Wackiest Ship in The Army .” Mr. Pardey, in a hula skirt, appeared briefly in the show.

He was soon skippering a ketch and, in May 1965, meeting his future wife, Lin Zatkin, in a bar. She was working at the time in the corporate office of the Bob’s Big Boy restaurant chain in Pasadena but craving adventure, Ms. Pardey said. Sailing, she felt, would satisfy her wanderlust.

Three days after they met, they were together for good.

“I guess he was pretty romantic back then,” she told The Sailing Channel in 1993 , “but what was even more romantic was what he offered me: a way of getting out of the 9-to-5 syndrome, seeing lots of the world.”

They married in 1968 and three days later, Ms. Pardey launched the boat they had built, Seraffyn, by smashing a bottle of Champagne against its bow.

The two were rarely, if ever in a hurry. They did not adhere to a schedule and worked only enough to finance their sailing. Their circumnavigations took so long because they spent a lot of time exploring 15 of the countries they visited and using them as income-producing bases of operations, repairing and restoring boats and ferrying them to their owners.

“We never set off the circumnavigate,” Ms. Pardey said in her email. “We just wanted to sail, explore and meet interesting people, do some racing in interesting places. But at some point we ended up halfway down the road, and logic led us to complete the circle.”

They collaborated on books and videos that chronicled their adventures and offered how-to advice to sailors. Ms. Pardey had the narrative skills, Mr. Pardey the technical knowledge.

In his review of “Seraffyn’s European Adventure” (1979) in The Times, Raymond Sokolov wrote that Ms. Pardey “has, in her deceptively simple and fresh-faced style, told the story of an unusual and appealing marriage partnership, a special way of life.”

In addition to his wife, Mr. Pardey is survived by his brother, Marshall.

Their final big voyage in 2009 took them from Southern California to New Zealand, via the Line Islands and Tonga, where they met a goddaughter named Linlarry.

“Although he was aware of his diminishing physical abilities, he attributed this all to normal aging, saying, ‘What do you expect after you’ve used your body so hard for 70 years?’” Ms. Pardey said of her husband. “‘Boats wear out. So do people!’”

Richard Sandomir is an obituaries writer. He previously wrote about sports media and sports business. He is also the author of several books, including “The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper and the Making of a Classic.” More about Richard Sandomir

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The Real Deal is an intimate profile created by Mike Anderson, video producer and boatbuilder and a longtime friend of Larry Pardey. The crux of the tale is the Pardeys’ voyage to and around Cape Horn, the so-called ‘Mount Everest of Sailing.’ Along with at-sea footage, interviews with a variety of friends and associates, and archival film clips and photographs, the story is narrated via quotes from sailing writer Herb McCormick’s critically acclaimed biography of the couple, As Long as It’s Fun.

Lin Pardey provided access to dozens of hours of previously unseen video footage shot by her and Larry during their voyages, including from their record-setting, engine-free passage east from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Straits of Le Maire and around the Horn.

“Mike has done an amazing job of gathering photographs from Larry’s earlier Newport Beach escapades,” Lin stated. “And he used some great ones of his own, taken when we were building Taleisin in Bull Canyon, our hideaway in the hills behind Lake Elsinore, California. But best of all, Mike has gathered video and interviews from some of the people Larry encouraged and helped along the path to their dreams. This doco has definitely caught the sometimes wild, always adventuresome, warm spirit of the man who shared his life with me.”

The Real Deal will be released on October 14, 2021, to coincide with the opening of the Annapolis Sailboat Show. DVD and flash drive versions will be available at The Boat Galley, booth M5. The Real Deal is available now as a pre-order download or streaming rental from .

To view the trailer and pre-order page click here .

Let us know in the comments below how Cruising in Seraffyn and the Pardeys inspired your sailing life.

seraffyn sailboat

It was in the pages of their book (“Cruising in Seraffyn”) – that I first became aware of the Larry and Lin Pardey.

Their stories inspired me – as I worked to prepare my own boat (2002-2003) for a voyage in 2004.

I happened to run into them in Seattle one year – as they happened to visit the Pike Place Market one evening.

Such a joy to share with them, face-to-face, what their writing and adventures meant to me.

seraffyn sailboat

I believe that I met the Pardeys in Oak Harbor, Wa. marina in ’78 or ’79. Unfortunately I was unaware of important that event was in my personal list of significant lifetime events.

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Lin Pardey / Seraffyn

Interview with Legendary Cruising Sailor Lin Pardey (Part 1 of 2)

By: Pat Reynolds Cruising Tips

Legendary cruising sailor Lin Pardey talks about engineless cruising, big adventure, how times have changed and… love.

Lin Pardey

In Part 2 we continue the interview and discover how Lin & Larry began sharing their cruising experience and knowledge with the rest of the cruising world… Go to Part 2 ⟩⟩

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Few boats are built today that will withstand many years of punishment from blue water cruising. Lyle Hess designed boats just for that purpose. His designs have been proven by Lin and Larry Pardey aboard Seraffyn and Teleisin and the many Bristol Channel Cutter owners who have ventured across the oceans. Everything about the Bristol Channel Cutter’s design exudes seaworthiness. Not only is she stouthearted but will surprise most with her sailing performance both in light and heavy airs.

Take careful note of her lines and how the water will flow undisturbed from her stem to the transom. The flat buttocks and flatness of the hull at the stem prevent her from squatting as she reaches hull speed.

The generous sail area and long water line give her remarkable speeds in even light airs. Large headsails may be carried due to the long “J” measurement created by the bowsprit. Combined with the staysail, slot effect is exceptional providing excellent windward ability.

Her spiritual aunts, 24-foot Seraffyn (1969 to 1980) and 29-foot Taleisin (1983 to the present), both also from the Hess’s board and from similar models, logged many tens of thousands of blue water miles. These included an 11-year circumnavigation for Seraffyn and some 40,000 miles and five passages of the Tasman Sea for Taleisin through 1994.

seraffyn sailboat

A BCC was first overall in the 1978 Newport to Ensenada Race and first in class in the 1979 running. A BCC named Xiphias logged a 13-year, two-ocean, 50,000-mile odyssey, during the 1980s and 1990s. It sailed 3,150 nautical miles from Dana Point, California, to Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, in 22 days, 10 hours, averaging 140 miles per day, with a best day’s run of 180 miles, on a 26’3′ waterline.

The accommodation of the BCC is so intricately laid out that most owners find that even the smallest modifications have implications elsewhere below. Sea berths abound, and stowage is everywhere. One owner catalogs 44 different stowage areas. Fuel and water tanks are below the waterline for low center of gravity.

The BCC’s fine entry and maximum beam well aft combine for good windward performance. Her flat run aft enhances speed and adds buoyancy in following seas. The angle of her quarter-beam buttock (23 at the transom) gives her stiffness under a press of sail.

seraffyn sailboat

Much has been written about the Bristol Channel Cutter from the Sam L. Morse Company, and we will let these articles speak for themselves:

Boat US Review, May 2005 Cruising World

Seraffyn's European Adventure by Lin & Larry Pardey

March / April Issue No. 297  Preview Now

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Sailing America’s Great Loop on a Small Boat

  • By Bianca Dumas
  • June 13, 2023

Clark Street Bridge

We were cruising down the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, the canal that links Pickwick Lake in Mississippi with Mobile Bay in Alabama. It was November. The sky was gray, and some of the raindrops were starting to resemble snow flurries. The captain was dressed head to heel in gray wool. I was in pink, equally bundled. We stood in the open cockpit of our Nor’Sea 27, insulated mugs of coffee in hand, and sang sea shanties while the captain steered by tiller.

We’d taught our kids these songs on a weekend trip through the desert when they were little. We had sung “Farewell Nova Scotia” as we pulled away from Hovenweep National Monument, chanted “Cape Cod Girls” as we passed through Monument Valley, and learned every line to “All for Me Grog” as we gazed at the red rocks of Moab, Utah. At that time, my husband was a newly obsessed sailor, and we kept our first sailboat on the Great Salt Lake.

Thirteen boats passed us that day on the Tenn-Tom, but we were the only sailboat. The rest were trawlers and motoryachts, all of their captains steering from enclosed and heated flybridges. We were all flying the swallow-tailed burgee of the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association, and we were all going to spend the next year or so on the Great Loop, a 6,000-mile route around the eastern United States. 

Panorama of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River from high up on Lookout Mountain

That is where the similarities ended. Ours was not the kind of boat—an open-cockpit sailboat with its mast up—that most people expected to see on the route. Most Loopers didn’t know what to think of us, and most other sailors were headed to the Bahamas, not to Chicago the long way around via the Intracoastal Waterway and the Erie Canal.

But Sonny got it. He waved and honked from the enclosed flybridge of his Mainship 40 trawler as he passed. Later, when we met on the docks in Columbus, Mississippi, he told us how happy he had been to see us. 

“My wife was worried about you two,” he said. “She told me, ‘Sonny, don’t you think they’re cold?’ I said, ‘Phyllis, they don’t even know they’re cold. They’re having the time of their lives.’”

Everyone who travels the Great Loop has the time of their lives, but most Loopers choose trawlers and motoryachts in the 40- to 50-foot range. These boats make sense for the route. They provide all the comforts of home for those who cruise on mostly flat water. They’re air-conditioned and heated, with multiple staterooms, large galleys, washers and dryers, multiple heads with showers, and sprawling decks full of furniture. As one Looper said, “It’s like boating in a luxury condominium.” 

Eerie Canal

Our decision to cruise the Loop on a sailboat was a compromise of sorts; not just a compromise between captain and first mate, but also a compromise with life itself.

Guy, the captain, wanted to do a big sailing trip, but he has a small business. He needed a route that would offer predictable Wi-Fi and cell service, and allow him to be in US time zones, give him quick access to airports, and make no requirement for a work visa. I was plenty willing to live aboard and sail, but I needed to ease into the idea of big water and passages. I had sailed only on inland lakes.

Also, we wanted to travel cheap. A small diesel engine would beat any motorboat’s 1-nautical-mile-per-gallon rate, and we’d travel for free under sail. That was a real necessity for people saving for retirement. 

Gold Looper burgee

Our boat would need a draft less than 4 feet to anchor out along the shores of the Florida Keys, get through the shallows of the Southern tidal flats, and make countless skinny marina entrances along the route. And we’d have to be able to step the mast for low bridges on the Erie Canal.

All these factors led us to purchase the Nor’Sea 27 we found parked in a gravel driveway in southern Utah, another place where you might be surprised to find yourself humming sea shanties. The boat was designed by Lyle Hess, who created Seraffyn and Taleisin for Lin and Larry Pardey, a little bit of pocket-cruiser royalty. And the boat is trailerable, which was a necessity considering where we found it. The Nor’Sea 27 is also bluewater-capable, a quality that would let us choose big water anytime we had the chance. The 8 hp Yanmar diesel would push us along at 4 knots on motoring days, and would get us 33 miles to the gallon. The sailboat has an on-deck tabernacle that would let us step the 40-foot mast ourselves. 

Map of boat route

The sailboat had not been modernized, and we weren’t going to spend our time trying to change that fact. We stowed our cold food in the ice chest, spent our nights in sleeping bags in the V-berth, and scrounged onshore for luxuries such as showers and cold drinks. Cruising on a Nor’Sea 27 would be camping, plain and simple. And we didn’t mind. We christened the boat Jackalope and hired a truck to drive her to a marina on the Tennessee River to start our trip. 

In late fall, we emerged from the ­Tenn-Tom ready to cross Mobile Bay and skirt along the Florida Panhandle to Carrabelle. From there, we would make our first open-water passage. 

The conversation on the Looper chat groups was all about the weather. When would it be calm (preferably glassy) with wind under 5 knots? Tall boats don’t do well in the waves, and most Loopers wanted to make the smoothest and shortest possible crossing across Apalachee Bay from Carrabelle to Steinhatchee.

In contrast, the crew of Jackalope was well-practiced and ready for some wind and a long Gulf passage. We left Carrabelle at sunset and crossed 150 miles to Clearwater—and it was perfect. Nothing but dolphins leaping in the moonlight. We stayed a few weeks in Clearwater Beach so that our kids could meet us for Christmas, then motored down the Intracoastal Waterway to our next jumping-off point.

Sunset over the Folly River, in Folly Beach, South Carolina.

Rather than follow the ICW from Fort Myers Beach to Marco Island, and then motor the yacht channel along the Everglades to Key Largo, we cut out on the Gulf again. This time, we sailed 90 miles from Fort Myers Beach to Key West. After waiting out a storm on anchor in the “bowling alley” between Fleming Key and Wisteria Island, we sailed out of the Gulf and into the Straits of Florida to take a swim at Alligator Reef Lighthouse.

The captain always felt like sailing, so we sailed—on the outside of the Keys, on the inside, in Florida Bay. Sometimes, when the wind was right, we sailed a mile or so on the Florida ICW. Even when we got to Georgia’s Lowcountry, down in the muddy water between parallel banks of salt-grass marsh, we sailed. A lot of times, that narrow and skinny sailing was done just with the jib, to give the one-lung Yanmar a little oomph, but sometimes the wind was steady and the course was straight enough to put up the main and take a bit of a ride.

Lowcountry on the ICW

After the mud of the Deep South ICW, it was a pleasure to see the blue shores of North Carolina. In Albemarle Sound, we put up the main and jib, and sailed in the wake of the pirate Blackbeard all the way from Oriental to Elizabeth City. 

From Elizabeth City, we motored through the Great Dismal Swamp to Norfolk, Virginia, gateway to the Chesapeake Bay. We’d been looking forward to this since the Tenn-Tom. Back then, in that chilly fall air, we had encouraged each other by talking about it: “We’ll get through this, go all around Florida, through the Carolinas, and then we’re going to sail on the Chesapeake Bay!”

Tenn-Tom locks.

Our first day out of foggy Norfolk cleared into the sunniest skies and the glassiest water imaginable. It was ideal weather for the motor Loopers, but our sails went limp, so we pulled them down, bundled them and sighed. That sigh was not enough breeze to propel us forward, and we had to motor all day. But the wind always comes back, and we ended up with seven days’ worth of sailing on the bay. We zigged and zagged, south to north, past Victorian lighthouses and alongside local crabbing boats. We even nosed into the bakery dock at Smith Island for some of its famous 10-layer cake. 

And then, there was Annapolis, Maryland. It was a thrill, and a little bit intimidating, to arrive in American sailing’s home port. But once we docked, Jackalope got her due. One sailor told us that ours was the prettiest boat on the docks. Another leaned close and said, “That’s a cult boat.” Jackalope blushed at the rare but deserved compliments.

black and white photo of Chicago's Michigan Avenue Bridge

Beyond the Lens

If we were excited to sail on the Chesapeake Bay, the thought of sailing ­into New York Harbor was surreal. And yet, we did it, slightly loopy after an overnight Atlantic passage from Cape May, New Jersey. We were planning to anchor out at Sandy Hook and sleep the afternoon away, but the wind was just right, so I made cups of strong coffee, and we headed toward the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and up the Hudson River.

We tacked east toward Coney Island, west toward Staten Island, east again toward Red Hook, west toward the old Bayonne marsh. Dodging a Norwegian cruise ship, we tacked east toward Brooklyn, and then, in the culminating moment, the captain brought us right up next to the Statue of Liberty—our sails up, her torch held high. He had to manage tour boats, personal watercraft and more, but he did it without the engine or bow thrusters. Just the magic of being hove-to.

Esopus Meadows lighthouse

We snapped a few pictures of ourselves looking relaxed while we were ­actually keeping an intense watch in every direction, and then sailed off toward Manhattan so we could tack into the marina on the Jersey City side of the Hudson. 

After spending two days in New York City, we aimed ourselves north. By the time we got to Yonkers, New York, the cityscape had mellowed into ­countryside. We anchored out under the Bear Mountain Bridge and, the next day, gave West Point a salute as we floated past. Then it was time to unstep our mast at the town dock in Athens, New York, in preparation for cruising the Erie Canal. When the work was done, we went ashore for beers at the brewery.

The narrow, ­skinny sailing was done with just the jib, but ­sometimes the wind was steady enough to put up the main and take a bit of a ride. 

We put our mast back up after the Erie Canal so we could sail the Great Lakes. Our long journey had prepared us for the challenge. We crossed Lake Erie, skirted up Lake Huron, and rounded the top of the mitten state under Mackinac Bridge. At that point, we were concerned about the changing seasons. Weather windows on Lake Michigan are short, and a lock on the Illinois River was scheduled to close for maintenance soon. We made our way, businesslike, down Michigan’s west coast. From Frankfort, we made an overnight passage to Milwaukee, cutting many miles off the route, then sailed south to Chicago. 

Cruising through downtown Chicago, every building gleaming gold in the sunrise, was the highlight of the trip. We kept saying it: “This is incredible. This is the best part.” Then we headed down the grimy Illinois River, squeezing through the Brandon Road lock just in time. We made our way down the Mississippi with the current, up the Ohio, and finished where we started, on the Tennessee.

Downtown Chicago

The Loop was 10 trips in one. We cruised canals, mastering locks and tying up to town walls. We had access to bars, restaurants and beaches along the ICW. We cruised past a big bunch of American cities and right through the center of Miami and Chicago. And in just one incredible 6,000-mile, 12-month cruising season, we sailed on the Gulf of Mexico, the sound side of the Outer Banks, up the Chesapeake Bay, on the Atlantic, and in three of the Great Lakes—all of it without worry of hurricanes, encroaching winter weather and customs officials. 

A jackalope is an improbable little creature: a mythical combination of jackrabbit and antelope. Sailing the Great Loop was an improbable adventure for an improbable boat. And we had the time of our lives. 

Bianca Dumas and her family spent eight years traveling the US by sailboat, canoe, kayak, bicycle and on foot. She plans to settle down and write about all of it.

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Taleisin of Victoria

seraffyn sailboat

Copyright Eben & Annie -

Lin and Larry Pardey dreamt of Taleisin for many years before building her, indeed the conception and securing of some core materials are documented in the Seraffyn series of books (check them out at the Buy BCC Goodies page). Sailing Seraffyn and exploring the world over 8 years gave Lin and Larry a real sense of what works and what doesn't on a true bluewater cruiser.

One of the main things that convinced Larry and Lin to upgrade was the need to be even more self sufficient - namely with the installation of bathing facilities (to minimise reliance on marinas) and a heater for exploring the colder climates. Interestingly, when they came to commission Lyle Hess to design a bigger boat, they chose an almost identical layout for the floorpan.

Essentially Taleisin looks identical to Seraffyn only larger (29' 9" as opposed to 24' 4"). Interestingly Taleisin was originally designed by Lyle Hess with a much shorter bowsprit - but Larry extended it to cure weather helm and improve light air performance.

The boat was built in Bull Canyon, CA, USA in the early 80's, and Lin's book also entitled Bull Canyon details that time of their lives and the build of Taleisin.


We all owe a debt of gratitude to Larry for documenting (in such amazing detail) the boat construction methods he used in the build of Taleisin's hull in his book Classic Boat Construction - which is also available on the Buy BCC Goodies page (shameless plug), and deserves a place on every wooden boat builders shelf (and on-board Ubique too !!!). ‍

From memory (and please correct me on the BCC Forum if I'm wrong), the boat was built primarily from swan black locust and white oak main frames and keel timbers, with teak planking. The boat took 3 years to build.

Eben and Annie have owned Taleisin for almost 3 years now, after Lin and Larry sold the boat in Oct 2015. The wonderful thing about the new owners is the similarity to Lin and Larry when they were in their 30's - albeit perhaps without Larry's sailing experience. Reading their frank and honest blog is a breath of fresh air, where the yachting scene (especially the classic yachting scene) is often fraught with ego's and one-up-manship. The dynamic duo talk candidly about the successes and failures they've had since owning Taleisin, and for that we applaud them. To our knowledge Eben and Annie hadn't sailed a 29' keelboat before, yet they went on to learn and gain confidence.

It must be difficult knowing that Taleisin is such an important boat, but by the sounds of things, Lin has been very supportive explaining that Taleisin is one tough old boat! You can follow the exploits of Eben, Annie and Taleisin at their blog

Taleisin has obviously been the subject of considerable sea miles, with an east to west circumnavigation (round the world the hard way) via Cape Horn. Lina nd Larry wrote a book cronicling their 28 year voyaging history, and it forms the best and most comprehensive narrative on the places the boat has visited.

As a quick rough guide, here's a few locations Taleisin has explored:

  • Baja California
  • French Polynesia
  • Friendly Isles
  • New Zealand
  • Tasmania (yey...!!)
  • South Africa

What do you think?

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seraffyn sailboat

Ubique of Hobart

Built in 2002 in the world famous Franklin Wooden Boat School in Tasmania, Ubique is a 31' 8" BCC built to the highest craftsmanship standards using the exotic and fabled Huon Pine.

An exquisite example of fine craftsmanship from the US, Phalarope was designed primarily for single-handing, and has cruised extensively off the east coast of the US and Nova Scotia - right up to the ice!

seraffyn sailboat

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Lizzy Hawker

Lizzy Hawker is a Lyle Hess Bristol channel cutter

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  • Sailboat Guide

1983 Bob Darr Lyle Hess Renegade/Seraffyn

  • Description

Seller's Description

Bene Velle is a 1983 Lyle Hess Gaff Topsail Cutter The quality of build and materials of this boat are excellent. It was hand crafted by Bob Darr in Sausalito California beginning in 1979 and completed in 1983. Bob Darr now runs the Arques School of Wooden Boats, in Sausalito, CA, and is know for a deep commitment to careful craftsmanship and focuses on traditionally built boats using locally harvested woods and high quality fittings. This boat is a gem. Obviously not a boat for anyone, but between the design and the build, a really lovely boat. Capable, easy to manage, very seaworthy, and without vices. And this boat hooked me on the gaff rig, really versatile, fun to sail, and mild mannered in a squall.

Hull: This boat is sound, solid, and seaworthy, and built stoutly, and elegantly. Her keel is Douglas-fir, with a lead ballast keel. Her keelbolts are silicon bronze (I pulled one in the fall of 2017 and it showed at least 95% life left, most of it was barely tarnished and the worst of it showed only the slightest discoloration). Her forefoot is California bay laurel, as is her rudder-post, and rudder. Her stem is black locust, as is her horn timber. She is framed in a combination of sawn black locust frames for all frames in the fore and aft sections, and sawn black locust frames every third frame in the mid section, with steamed frames in between (I believe these steamed frames are California white oak, but I dont know for certain). Her Floor timbers are California bay laurel, and fastened to the keel with silicon bronze bolts (or perhaps drifts, I have no way of reasonably checking that). She is planked in Port Orford cedar, and her plank fastenings are of monel ring shank nails (yes, so re-fastening schedule every 100 plus years, or more? There might be many reasons I regret selling this boat, but the fact that I’ll never find another boat fastened with monel that is remotely in my budget is bound to be one of them…). This boat is solid, and ready to sail.

Equipment: Custom nesting dinghy.

Rig and Sails

Auxilary power, accomodations, calculations.

The theoretical maximum speed that a displacement hull can move efficiently through the water is determined by it's waterline length and displacement. It may be unable to reach this speed if the boat is underpowered or heavily loaded, though it may exceed this speed given enough power. Read more.

Classic hull speed formula:

Hull Speed = 1.34 x √LWL

Max Speed/Length ratio = 8.26 ÷ Displacement/Length ratio .311 Hull Speed = Max Speed/Length ratio x √LWL

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the power of the sails relative to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the harder the boat will be to handle. This ratio is a "non-dimensional" value that facilitates comparisons between boats of different types and sizes. Read more.

SA/D = SA ÷ (D ÷ 64) 2/3

  • SA : Sail area in square feet, derived by adding the mainsail area to 100% of the foretriangle area (the lateral area above the deck between the mast and the forestay).
  • D : Displacement in pounds.

Ballast / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the stability of a boat's hull that suggests how well a monohull will stand up to its sails. The ballast displacement ratio indicates how much of the weight of a boat is placed for maximum stability against capsizing and is an indicator of stiffness and resistance to capsize.

Ballast / Displacement * 100

Displacement / Length Ratio

A measure of the weight of the boat relative to it's length at the waterline. The higher a boat’s D/L ratio, the more easily it will carry a load and the more comfortable its motion will be. The lower a boat's ratio is, the less power it takes to drive the boat to its nominal hull speed or beyond. Read more.

D/L = (D ÷ 2240) ÷ (0.01 x LWL)³

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds.
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet

Comfort Ratio

This ratio assess how quickly and abruptly a boat’s hull reacts to waves in a significant seaway, these being the elements of a boat’s motion most likely to cause seasickness. Read more.

Comfort ratio = D ÷ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x Beam 1.33 )

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
  • LOA: Length overall in feet
  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet

Capsize Screening Formula

This formula attempts to indicate whether a given boat might be too wide and light to readily right itself after being overturned in extreme conditions. Read more.

CSV = Beam ÷ ³√(D / 64)

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  4. Bristol Channel

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  9. The Real Deal

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  10. Interview with Legendary Cruising Sailor Lin Pardey (Part 1 of 2)

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  16. Nor'sea 27

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  17. Falmouth Cutter 22

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