© Tony Gooch

Taonui was built by Dubbel & Jesse in Norderney, Germany in 1988/89. She is probably best described as a pilothouse sloop built on traditional lines, with moderate overhangs, a full keel and deep bilges.  The rudder is hung on the back of the keel.  The propeller is in an aperture between the keel and the rudder.

She was designed to make comfortable long ocean passages, particularly in high latitudes.  The hull is aluminum, 10mm at the keel, 8mm below the waterline, 6mm above the waterline and 5 mm on the deck. There are three watertight bulkheads. Length overall 12.44 meters; Draft 2.22 meters; Beam 3.46 meters; Displacement 14-15 tons, LWL @10.31 meters.

     © Tony Gooch

The keel-stepped Selden mast is 16.6 meters above the deck.  It is fitted with double spreaders and mast steps.  Twin poles are carried on the mast.  They are used to pole out the genoas when running down wind. The upper shrouds and outer forestay are 10mm, the lowers and the inner forestay are 12mm.  There is a detachable staysail shroud of 8mm, and 8mm running back stays that are used with the staysail and the inner genoa.

The mainsail (38.2 SqM.) is fully battened (Harken BatCars) and fitted with three reefing points.  There are 4 part boom vangs on either side of the boom that are attached to the toe rail and lead aft to spinlocks on the outside of the cockpit combing.  Taonui has two roller-furled genoas (Harken).  The outer is 135% with an area of 54 SqM.  The inner is 110% and has an area of 40.5 Sq.M.  On the wind, the outer genoa can be carried in winds up to 16 knots apparent.  Above that the inner genoa is used and can be furled as the wind increases.  The staysail is used in winds above 35 knots.  There is a "bullet proof" reefable storm jib for extreme conditions. For light-down-wind sailing there is a 160% drifter and cruising chute that tacks down to the bow roller. All of Taonui's sails were made by Sanders Sails, Lymington, U.K. With a fine attention to detail and performance, Sanders make excellent cruising sails. Taonui's sails now have 80,000+ miles on them, and the wearing has been minimal. The # 2 genoa was shreaded when it wrapped around its stay in 60 knot winds in the Southern Ocean. It has been replaced with a new Sanders genoa. You can visit Sanders website at

       © Tony Gooch

Taonui is tiller steered.  Self-steering is by means of a Monitor wind vane or by a Simrad AP2000 electric/hydraulic auto pilot that connects directly to the rudderstock. The motor is a Bukh 46HP Turbo 3 cylinder diesel, with an in-keel cooling system.  800 liters of diesel can be carried in twin tanks above the engine on either side of the pilothouse.  There are four 98 Amphr batteries charged by a 50 Amphr alternator on the engine.  There are two solar panels above the pilothouse.  Although these are of little practical use on a passage, they do provide a steady 2 - 3 amp charge when at anchor.

Instruments:  Raytheon GPS (plus 2 spares), Icom VHF, Ham/SSB radio, Thrane and Thrane Inmarsat C transceiver, IBM laptop used for weather faxes and Inmarsat C emails, a 110-volt inverter (used to power the laptop), wind speed and direction indicator, Furuno 1712 Radar. In the main cabin there is a gravity fed Reflex diesel heater.  There are two water tanks in the keel with a combined capacity of 700 liters. Cooking is on a Force 10, 3 burner propane stove and oven.  There are two 20 lb tanks of propane stored in a sealed box in the stern with a vent overboard. A 20 lb tank lasts about 7 weeks.

  © Tony Gooch

Taonui carries two dinghies.  One is an 8-foot fiberglass rowing dinghy that is carried on deck, aft of the mast.  The other is an Avon inflatable that is stored in the anchor locker.  A 2.5HP outboard is carried on the pushpit. There are three anchors on board; a 66 lb Bruce, a 45 lb CQR and, as a spare for the Bruce, a 65 lb CQR.  There is 260 feet of 3/8th chain and a powered windlass.  Stored in the anchor locker are two 250 foot 3/4 inch nylon lines and one 300 foot 1 inch polyprolene line. We use these to secure Taonui to the shore in anchorages subject to high winds. If we can't get lines ashore we use two anchors in tandem. The first anchor down is the 45 lb CQR which is connected to the head of the 66 lb Bruce by 25 feet of 3/8th chain. Kelp grows in profusion in the high latitudes.  An essential piece of equipment is a long handled machette used to cut away kelp that inevitably accumulates on the chain and anchor. 

The best piece of safety equipment is Taonui.  She is very strongly built and rigged and can take all kinds of knocks and bad weather.  There is nothing complicated about her construction, her rig or any of her equipment and systems. 

With three watertight bulkheads she can survive a certain amount of damage from a collision, but being run down by a ship is probably the biggest danger.  A knockdown or rollover that breaks the mast is another potential danger.  The present mast and rig is much stronger than the one we lost in a knockdown off the coast of southern Argentina (see
Cruising in Taonui 1996 - 2004).  .

There is a four man liferaft on the stern.  As a last resort, the EPIRB could be used to summon rescue.  The Inmarsat C transceiver also has a distress call capability that includes the yacht's position.

As a "defence" against really bad weather (winds over 45 - 50 knots and big seas), Taonui carries a 300 foot series-drogue that is deployed off the stern and slows her down to about 1.5 - 2 knots.  The drag of the drogue comes from 130 small cones sewn along the line at 18 inch intervals.  They exert a steady pull on the stern as opposed to the snapping action of a parachute drogue.  We've used it about 8 times in the past 6 years and it's a great way to "stop the world" when things are getting a bit out of hand.

We will be using Winlink winlink.org to send and receive emails and to send the weekly reports to Victoria for posting on this website.   The system sends and receives text messages via SSB or Ham Radio stations that are in turn linked to the Internet.  The system is subject to the vagaries of radio propagation and is slow compared to satellite communication, but the price is right i.e. free except for the cost of the onboard equipment. 

We have an Inmarsat C system on board that can send and receive emails via satellite. A line of type costs about 25 cents US$ so we will only use it if the Sailmail system is in-operative.

The HF radio is also used to down-load weather maps into a laptop, and to listen to short-wave radio broadcasts from Radio Canada, BBC, etc.  The VHF radio has a range of, at most, 20 miles.  Itís useful for talking to passing ships, if they answer.  Usually they donít.  The EPIRB is for use as a last resort to summon help.  It transmits a coded signal up to dedicated satellites and down again to earth stations that are in contact with Search and Rescue Authorities around the world.  The message code indicates the name of the transmitting ship.

© Tony Gooch

For more info visit:  www.taonui.com

Return back to list of solo-circumnavigators