Monday, October 13, 2008

Sailing On Beat's Tiki 38 in San Francisco Bay

I almost made it to the launching of Beat Rettenmund's Tiki 38, Aluna, back on September 21, as David Halladay of Boatsmith had a big job going at nearby Bay Ship and Yacht in Alameda and I was invited to help. That trip didn't work out, but as it turned out there was some additional work to be done on the job a week after David took his crew back to Florida, so he asked if I could fly out and meet him to help out for 2 or 3 days. This time I was able to make it happen and I'm glad I did. Not only was the project last week at Bay Ship and Yacht an interesting learning experience, but I also got a chance to meet Beat and go for a sail on Aluna.

Aluna is the first Tiki 38 I've seen up close. It is a big boat compared to the Tiki 26 or even the Tiki 30. Beat has done a fine job of building her and Aluna is beautiful without the flashy high-gloss yacht finish many builders fret over. There are lots of nice artistic touches like the axe-shaped stemheads (see below) and the sunburst rays of non-skid applied to the decks.

Aluna has lots of slatted wood deck space and a protected steering station in the pod. Twin motor wells are fitted near the port and starboard hulls forward of the pod. You can see the open motor wells below. That's Beat sitting to starboard and David Halladay standing in the port motor well. At the present time Beat is using a couple of older model gas outboards for auxiliary power. He plans to switch to electric power as soon as he works out the details.

To go sailing in the bay, we motored out a long channel, straight into the wind and chop using the one functioning outboard. It sputtered and cavitated, but got us out to deep water, where at last we could shut it off and bear off on a reach under the unique crab-claw rig.

The crab claw rig requires a lot of fine-tuning and adjustment, and Beat still does not have the final version of the spars, which will be made of bamboo, nor sufficient turning blocks for adjusting the sheets. Despite this, Aluna quickly got up to speed off the wind, feeling much like the smaller Tikis I've sailed. Tacking and pointing into the wind did not go so well, but the rig is an experiment and will take some time to iron out.

It was a great afternoon sail and we were able to return to the dock without using the engine. I needed this, as it has been too long since I've been sailing and too long since I've been on the water anywhere besides the Gulf of Mexico. I'm back at work on Element II today, looking forward to that great feeling Beat must be experiencing now that he is enjoying his new creation finally in her element.

For more about Aluna, visit Beat's website here: