Re: Spray 33 in
Kemer/Turkey mentioned to you by Suat Zeybek
S/Y Blue-Belle, British, Bermudan
Cutter, Homeport London, build 4mm steel, owned and sailed by Derek and
We arrived at Park Kemer Marina/Turkey
in July 2004 after our return trip across the
Atlantic from Florida/USA. My
wife is Turkish, and, being one of the few Turkish girls to sail the
Atlantic twice, is attracting a lot of media attention here, needless to say
so is the boat. Our Spray was featured on national TV in august and created
enough interest to warrant a repeat showing. Since then we have been
featured in four Yachting Magazines- the Antalya Regional Magazine- and a
video of Blue-Belle crossing the Atlantic was shown at the Antalya Boat Show
to a very enthusiastic audience. The Turkish Chamber of Shipping have also
conducted an interview to be featured in their commercial publiCATAMARANion
'Turkish Shipping World'. We have a constant stream of visitors and Suat
Zeybek of the Dive Centre is one of our regulars. He is keen to build a
Spray 36 and I believe he has already purchased the boat plans.
Anyway, so much for the present, let me
give you a brief history of Blue-Belle to date. In 1987 I was looking for a
long distance load carrier, big enough to cross an ocean comfortably, but
small enough to be easily maintained. I purchased the boat plans of your Spray 33
and began building on the south coast of
Due to working abroad, I
didn't launch her until 1992; I would probably estimate that as a full time
build project to high standard of finish, she would take 2 to 2, 5 years for
one man to complete. She is built in 4 mm steel and is hot metal sprayed
with aluminum both inside and out. She is as per your version B boat plans a part
from lengthening her to 34 feet on deck, in order to incorporate a double
self stowing anchor roller assembly. Upon completion she was then stored
ashore for a further four years while I was away earning the cruising fund.
Her maiden voyage was in the autumn of
London to Antalya/Turkey aprx.
3500 miles single handed. I hadn't fitted any self steering as yet, so this
first long passage was a good test of the Spray's legendary self steering
qualities. If you take care to balance the sails she will steer herself for
amazingly long periods of time.
Antalya my Wife and I were
married and we moved on board to begin our full time cruising life style.
Now I really did begin to appreciate the Spray's load carrying capability, I
have never seen so much stuff poured into just one boat.
We spent two full
seasons cruising the Med and in September 2000 departed Portugal for the
Cape Verde Islands via the Canary Islands. December the 1st found us leaving
Mindelo/Cabo Verde and bound for Barbados. We still didn't have any self
steering fitted, but then again neither did Slocum. No problem. Blue-Belle
took 16 days to make the 2037 mile crossing, that's an average of 127 miles
per day. Her best days run being 147 miles. For a heavily laden cruising
boat with a 28 ft water line she could certainly turn in a decent passage
time. We were delighted with her. We also found that running downwind she
didn't roll as much as other boats I'd sailed under similar conditions.
Maybe the chines have
something to do with this. We spent the next 2,5 years cruising the
Caribbean, Bahamas and the US Intracoastal Waterways. The Spray's shoal
draft was paying dividends. June 2003 and we were on our way back across the
Atlantic. We did purchase wind wane steering gear in the states, but were so
busy being tourists, we didn't have time to fit it. I think that only the
crew of a Spray would contemplate carrying their self steering gear as deck
cargo prior to an Atlantic crossing.
Our North Atlantic Passage was the
usual mix of gales, calms, and occasionally some decent sailing. However we
ate well, slept well and apart from blowing out the genoa suffered no
Spain my wife had to fly home
to cover a family emergency. So once again I single handed to Turkey,
finally arriving to the fabulous reception mentioned earlier. This winter we
intend to haul out and I will finally get round to fitting the Wind vane and
steering gear. For as my wife says "It will look so much nicer dear, hanging
on the transom".
In conclusion we find the Spray to be a
wonderful sea boat, and is a lot faster than she looks. When running in gale
force conditions we find that our heavy weather staysail, sheeted flat
amidships (a technique used by Slocum in his book) works well. The bow
showing no tendency to dig in despite all the weight we carry up forward.
One mistake we made in the early years was in reefing her down too early;
the boat is very stiff and sails well in heavy weather. In storm conditions
when it is more prudent to stop and we either heave to or lie to a parachute
anchor streamed from the bow and attached to a bridle led back to a cockpit
winch. In this manner we feel safe and secure. So, would we part with our Spray? Would
we change her for something else? No - not ever. After 8 years and 35.000
miles we finally have our ultimate cruiser. Thanks Bruce, you gave us a great boat.
Derek & Hulya