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Sina on the Ways at Packer's:
Veteran circumnavigators from New Zealand visit the Vineyard.

Martha's Vineyard Times November 10, 1999

 

Veteran cruisers Noel and Litara Barrott and their daughter Sina, 17, have had their 53 foot yawl Sina hauled out on the railway at R.M. Packer, Co. in Vineyard Haven for routine maintenance and a few minor upgrades. The Vineyard is a stopover on their current circumnavigation of the globe.

The Barrotts are well known among cruisers the world over for their seven-and-a-half year circumnavigation beginning in 1972 aboard Masina, a 38 foot Bermuda-style cutter. Masina's construction was the backdrop for the Barrott's early courtship, and upon launching, the newlyweds set off from New Zealand. They covered 80,000 miles in Masina, which was very sparsely fitted out below.

"We just had a bunk, a single-burner primer stove and a bucket," says Mr. Barrott.

And they were no fair weather sailors. When they set off in 1972, Mr. Barrott had years of off-shore experience under his belt, and had found in Litara, a Samoan-born nurse, an able and willing partner. The couple took their time cruising the Atlantic and the Pacific, where their high latitude sailing was noted as remarkable by many a sailor. They chose to dwell in the notorious Southern Ocean where they were knocked down (pushed over so the masts hit the water), not once, but twice. Apparently, both boat and crew were up to the challenge.

During this first circumnavigation, the Barrotts met British naval architect Colin Mudie, and Mr. Barrott and Mr. Mudie worked together closely to develop the design for Sina.

Back to New Zealand to "have a couple of kids and build a bigger boat."
The Barrotts made landfall back in New Zealand in 1980, ready to build their family and a new boat from Mr. Mudie's lines.

"It was all planned to have a couple of kids and build a bigger boat," says Mr. Barrott, "It all came true, except we thought we'd be in New Zealand for six years."

"Noel was busy building boats for other clients," says Mrs. Barrott.

They bought a plot of land near Whangarei, New Zealand, "toward the warm [north] end" on the North Island. Mr. Barrott made ends meet and bought boat construction materials for Sina (the boat) by boatbuilding. Mrs. Barrott raised their two children Walter and Sina (the daughter), and when they were both in school, she worked nights as a nurse.

Sina (the boat) was launched in November, 1994, 14 years after Mr. and Mrs. Barrott returned to New Zealand in Masina.

The new vessel was touted as "close to perfection in wood" by the editors of Classic Boat Magazine (the British counterpart to WoodenBoat). Built stoutly of native New Zealand timbers and trimmed and decked with teak, she has a deep lead keel. Her masts are spruce from Vancouver Island, British Colombia, acquired through contacts made while cruising there aboard Masina. She is fastened with copper and bronze.

"It's a very traditional boat," Mr. Barrott says of Sina's construction, "There's very little glue."

Sina is fitted out more comfortably than Masina was, with roomy bunks, a full galley and a head. However, the Barrotts initially shunned electronic navigational instruments. They have come half way around the world relying on the compass, a taff rail log (a device for measuring distance traveled through the water) and a sextant for off-shore navigation. To find depth near shore, they used a traditional lead line. Recently, however, they have relented--somewhat. A friend has given them a GPS, and they are installing an electronic depth sounder during the current haul-out.

In the cozy main cabin, it is hard to believe that the vessel has already sailed thousands of miles, and has been home to a family for five years. It is exquisitely neat and comfortable, everything cleverly stowed. The bilges are bone dry...

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