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That's a pretty cool yacht you've got there kids...

Name of Ship Teleport
Design North Atlantic 29
Length 8.93m (29'4")
Max. Beam 2.87m (9'5")
Draft 1.68m (5'6")
Displacement 4.2T (9300 lbs)
Rig Junk
Average Speed
Max. Speed
9.7kn (yikes!)
Engine SABB 8 hp diesel
single cyliner!
Awesomeness 110%
Home Port Sydney

Yep it sure is...

'Teleport' is one of only six North Atlantic 29's around. Designed by English offshore racing designer Angus Primrose and Blondie Hasler himself, this 29 foot junk-rig (a.k.a Crazy Chinese Fan Sail - perfect for cruising) was lovingly built by Jim Creighton, in Canada from 1976-88, and then painfully rebuilt by us in 2010. Her hull is optimised for fast, comfortable, long-haul passages; upwind and down. She tacks through 90deg to windward (ie she can point about 45deg into the wind) and is actually superior to conventional rigs at reaching and running due to her large sail area and unrestricted boom positioning. These yachts (like many others) are made from a mould, and in this case, Teleport was cold-moulded using six layers of Western Red Cedar timber & epoxy, and then the hull was sheathed with fiberglass, and painted green. Weighing in at 4.2 tonnes (9300 lbs), she's no featherweight, but for her 'long keel' form, this is typical. An original Hasler windvane self-steering system keeps her pointing in the right direction (Hasler actually invented wind vane self steering!), and driving her forward at a blinding 5.5kn when the wind stops blowing is an 8 hp single cylinder SABB diesel inboard engine - you know the ones: *tonk*, *tonk*, *tonk*...

Why the name 'Teleport'?

Teleportation is defined as "When an object disappears from one place, and reappears in another" - and that, in a nutshell, is what sailing is all about...

Why would anyone use a 'Junk-Rig'?

Because they are awesome! "Sail enthusiasts all over the world are showing an increasing intereest in the Chinese, or 'junk', rig. This is because the rig is incomparably safe (no deck work required), seamanlike, and easy to handle. It is particularly suitable for small boats and for short-handed or family sailing, in open water and in unpredictable weather conditions." (From 'Practical Junk Rig'). While only tacking through 90deg, when hard into the wind the optimum sheeting angle leaves a junk rig's sail further out, resulting in the yacht not being blown downwind so much and thus, over the long haul, we can track with less leeway than a conventional rig to windward, and as mentioned above, a junk is actually far superior to conventional rigs at reaching and running due to her large sail area and unrestricted boom positioning (we can set the boom & sail out at 90deg!). Appart from the classic fan-shaped sail, the other interesting thing about a junk-rig is that the mast is free standing - it does not have any rigging! Pretty cool hey! And as far as junk rig's go, the 'North Atlantic 29' is the ultimate - it has a real pedigree! Read on...

What's so special about a 'North Atlantic 29' anyway?

The 'North Atlantic 29' has its origins back in the 60's, when sailor 'Blondie' Hasler challenged Sir Francis Chichester to the first ever 'Observer Single-handed TransAtlantic Race' (OSTAR). Blondie converted his little yacht - a Nordic Folkboat called Jester – into to a junk rig, which proved amazingly easy and safe to handle. Jester famously crossed the Atlantic Ocean fourteen times, and Blondie spent the last 20 years of his life carefully refining the principles behind junk rig sailing, ultimately co-writing “Practical Junk Rig” – formally introducing the traditional junk rig to modern yacht design.

Jester gained enormous popularity, however she was a little small, and Blondie was asked to design a larger version that could comfortably accommodate two persons for ocean cruising. He teamed up with naval architect Angus Primrose to produce the “North Atlantic 29”. A total of six were built, including Teleport (formerly Marco Polo III).

Teleport, like Jester, is easy and comfortable to handle. For her size, she's very spacious and the interior is light and welcoming. All lines lead back to the cockpit (there is no need to go on deck at all - except to anchor), and she has a unique steering cabin - separate from the saloon – from which she can be merrily sailed in a dry and sheltered environment – perfect for cold weather sailing!

The junk rig really comes into its own, 'off' or 'down' wind. The battens hold the sail firmly, presenting a large well supported area to the wind. The junk rig's main weakness is close windward performance, especially in light airs, however, the harder the wind blows however, the better the performance becomes as the battens bend the sail into a more aerodynamic shape.

So how'd we end up with her?

After Jim Creighton finished building her in 1988 (The same year Jess was born!), he sailed it casually around parts of Canada, competed in a few races (with great results!), and then due to family illness the yacht (then Marco Polo III) was lifted onto a cradle, shrink wrapped for protection and left in hibernation, waiting for a chance to sail again.

She was put on the market in Canada, at which stage good friends of mine Don and Margie McIntyre (who have sponsored me on various expeditions, and are well known Aussie adventurers themselves), bought the yacht in 2007, with Don intending to enter the 'Jester Challenge' and sail her solo across the North Atlantic. Unfortunately Don got tied up in another adventure, and so he offered the yacht to me at a price I could not refuse, and I bought her in 2009!

In 2010, with our minds already set on sailing Teleport home via the arctic, my girlfiend Jessica Taunton and I flew to Halifax, Canada to check her out and get her ready for serious sailing. Unfortunately when we got there, having sat abandoned for three years, Teleport was not in good shape at all. Lots of the wood was rotten, the coach roof leaked and she had about a foot of water inside - which during the freeze-thaw cycles in Canada had wicked in and done serious damage, even delaminating part of the keel. Over three soul-destroying months we worked flat out day and night, helped my unbelievably friendly and generous locals, and practically re-built her, inside and out. Now, at last, she's ready, and we're off on a series of adventures onboard this little yacht!

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