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The Boat

About Seafire

Seafire is a Jim Brown designed Searunner 40 trimaran, measuring 41' length on deck and 24' wide. She has a centerboard, with her mast and cockpit located amidships over the centerboard trunk. She has a transom-hung rudder, and is rigged as a cutter. She was first launched in 1979. The name 'Seafire' comes from the 56th hexagram of the I Ching:

Fire on the mountain: The image of The Wanderer… When grass on a mountain takes fire, there is bright light. However, the fire does not linger in one place, but travels on…

Seafire is our second trimaran. The first, Sorceress, was a Nottingham-built Piver Victress, forty feet in length and twenty-two feet wide. We owned her four years, from 1968 until 1971 (from the time I was seven until I turned eleven), and during that time lived aboard on Seattle's Lake Union for a year and spent two years cruising in the Pacific. The boat served us well during that period, but had three major weaknesses - first, because it lacked lateral resistance (no keel of any kind), the boat wouldn't go to weather particularly well; second, there was no significant protection for the bottom in case of accidental grounding on coral (only ˝ an inch of plywood); third, the aft cabin had only teeny little berths, which would ultimately necessitate my older brother and I moving into the main cabin and sharing sleeping accommodations with my parents (a prospect they found unacceptable).

While we were cruising we met Frank Werz and his brand-new Searunner 37, Calafia, in Hilo, Hawaii. The Searunner series seemed to address our Victress's weaknesses very well: a centerboard, a mini-keel (1'x1' laminated log on the bottom of the boat), and an accommodation plan which enabled the builder to have as many as five double berths spread among two cabins. After returning to Seattle in 1971 we spent some time sailing on Hugh Foulke's Djarvana, a Searunner 37, and this further solidified our belief in Jim Brown's designs.

We started building Seafire in 1975, when I was fourteen years old. Mindful of the attractiveness of having a 'professionally built' boat, we incorporated as Tahoma Marine. We launched her in 1979 after four years of construction, during two of which my older brother, Joe, completed the merchant marine program at Seattle Central College. She is built from marine plywood with inner layers made of fir and outer layers made of a very hard variety of mahogany. She was put together and coated with West System epoxy (a new technology at that time). Her construction is pretty much true to the original design, having the planned sail area and much of the layout. The only departure we made was to the aft cabin's interior: we sacrificed two of the potential five double berths in order to make a seven-foot long galley and a second dinette.

During the two decades that Seafire spent in the Pacific Northwest, she spent her time cruising (from Puget Sound to Desolation Sound, with much time spent in the San Juan and Gulf Islands) and racing. At various times she has been moored at Des Moines, Sandy Point (near Bellingham), and Lake Union and Shilshole (both in Seattle).

We've spent a year and a half working full time to get her ready for this trip, and have modified virtually every system on the boat. We've set things up to be reliable and simple (more towards the Pardeys' philosophy) rather than easy (the Dashews' philosophy - high dependence on electricity, power winches, remote controls, furlers, etc.). In doing this, we've chosen to minimize our dependence on diesel-generated electricity by installing solar panels, foregoing refrigeration and incorporating LED lights wherever appropriate. Also, because the boat was designed as a cutter, we chose to exclude roller furling from the boat's equipment (the cutter rig makes it possible to change headsails with minimal foredeck time). Since starting, our major projects have been: autopilot, windvane, radar, septic system (head, 50-gallon holding tank), watermaker, inverter, new standing rigging, mast overhaul and repainting, SSB radio, new deck and hull paint, new ground tackle and anchoring system, revised electrical system, larger battery bank, high-output alternator, new stove and grill, new hard dodger, new stanchions, bow pulpit and stern pushpit, new seacocks and hoses.

Our permanent crew includes myself (Bill), my wife Karryn (who grew up sailing with her family on Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts), our son Jackson (nine) and daughter Naomi (six). At various times, we've been joined by my mother, Yvonne, and friends.


More details to be added soon...........................

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