Back in 1980's, New Zealander Murray Yeoman dreamed of a yacht that would take him to Antarctica. Murray turned that dream into reality, launching Crystal Blues (then called Aslam II) in Auckland early in 1988. We're very glad he did.
The hull and deck were professionally built at Greenhithe, then shipped to Murray's home where the fitout was completed by a shipwright Murray hired from Ireland. She was designed by fellow New Zealander Dennis Ganley, who had made a specialty of metal yacht design (Dennis was tragically killed in a car accident the year we purchased Crystal Blues). We tracked Murray down in Auckland in 1998, and he kindly provided photographs of the construction (above and at left). He also spent a weekend sailing on Sydney Harbour with us a couple of years later, and had some great stories to tell.
Our connection to those early days in the boat's history became a little stronger this year. During this refit we demolished the lining of the forward hold, where we found a tiny pine cone wedged in the steel frames up forward. This is clearly a blow-in from the trees in Murray's front yard. Though banged about and marked a little by primer and high-build paint, it sits safely on the desk beside me as I write these words, a tiny link with the past. Besides entering Australia illegally on many occasions, that pine cone has travelled to some wondrous places !
Just a few weeks ago we shared a lunch table with a recently arrived cruising couple, at the local Thai cafe. An hour or so later they were crawling over Crystal Blues with some joy - the world is a very small place. Our new friends are Garth and Janine Ganley. Garth, brother to the yacht's designer Dennis, had sailed to Phuket in another of his brother's designs, a Tara 39. That's Garth and Janine (on the right) with us in the image at right.
So, for the past few weeks I've been trying to track down Murray Yeoman, without much success - if you know where he is, I have a tiny little pine cone I'd like to send him.