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I first crossed the Atlantic in 1975 aboard 'Stormalong', a 28ft Wharram-designed catamaran. Back in the UK, Pete and I bought an ex 6-metre racing yacht, 'Sheila', living on her for 4 years. Wanting to do more and go further with a boat we could completely trust, we built 'Badger' - the best boat in the world - sailing her 110,000 miles, into the Arctic and the Antarctic, around the Atlantics North and South and into the Baltic. She had junk rig - the only rig I ever want to cruise with. Pete wanted to build again - a 38 ft junk-rigged catamaran, 'China Moon' - which he designed. But before the project was finished, we went our separate ways. A year later I joined Trevor Robertson aboard his 35ft 'Iron Bark'. We explored the Canadian Maritimes, crossed the Atlantic twice, wintered in Greenland and crossed the Pacific to Australia and New Zealand. I fell in love with NZ and jumping ship, bought my own boat while Trevor carried on voyaging. I put a junk rig onto ‘Fantail’ and, having decided that N Island offered better cruising opportunities than S Island, sailed up there in 2012. Looking for a boat to see me out, I am now building a 26ft, wood/epoxy junk in Whangarei.

Monday, 30 April 2007



Porlamar anchorage is safe, but rolly. Anchor in 4 to 6 m, sand. Land your dinghy on the long jetty, being aware that there is less than 1 m of water at its end.


Clear in using ‘Juan’ at Marina Juan, at the base of the jetty. We were told that the cost is B140, 000 (US $1 = 2,100 at bank rate; 2,300 on the street.)


Rum and beer are both very cheap and off good quality. Rum was B400/ltr (Superior), beer B9900/case of 24, 250 ml (Polar).

Diesel fuel B200/ltr, delivered to the boat. Less than B100 ashore.

Taxis anywhere in town are B5,000.

The best vegetables that we found were sold by C M (Centrale Margarita) Supermercado. Rattan, on Ave 4 Mayonnaise is the best all-round supermarket, but with the exception of fuel and alcohol, Porlamar is not particularly cheap and Panama would be a better bet for boats Pacific-bound.

Visa credit card was widely accepted, but it was necessary to supply additional ID, preferably a passport. A photocopy of the passport also works and saves the risk of carrying a passport ashore.

Getting cash from a credit card via ATMs is difficult or impossible and very risky: thieves and con men lurk around these machines. We were told that Banco Provinciale accepts foreign credit cards, but we couldn’t get cash from their machines or from anyone else.

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