Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Voyages of Zen

After Shirahae's return to Japan in 1992 she was sold in 1994 to Mr "Zen" Nishikubo.  Zen renamed the boat to Zen and had her topsides repainted, changing from white to a gorgeous dark blue.  The information below is a summary (and translation) of some of the information on Zen's web site at

In June 1995 Zen sailed from Yokohama to Victoria, Canada.  Zen sailed this passage single-handed, taking 53-days and having an encounter with a hurricane and suffering severe fresh-water shortage.

Zen's arrival at Victoria, Canada, 1995
From Canada, Zen sailed south along the Canadian and US west coasts.  Zen departed San Diego in February to commence her 1997 South Pacific cruise.  Zen visited Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Tonga and New Zealand, arriving in New Zealand in December.

Zen in the South Pacific, 1997

After spending the cyclone season in New Zealand Zen continued in June 1998 to Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and on to Mooloolaba, Australia, arriving in November.

Zen stayed in Mooloolaba until June 2000 when he departed single-handed towards Darwin.  Zen visited Rosslyn, the Whitsundays, Townsville, Cairns, Lizard Island and Night Island.  Sadly, Zen ran aground while approaching Turtle Head Island to anchor at 0830 on 9th August.  The boat was very badly damaged, with the aft end of the keel fracturing the hull and frames above it.

With help from other sailors Zen managed to sail to Thursday Island, where the boat was loaded onto a freighter and shipped to Cairns.  The damage was repaired there and Zen sailed south back to Mooloolaba where he decided to sell the boat.

It was a very sad end to a great voyage.  Zen's five year adventure covered 20,000nm port-to-port and probably substantially more on the log, with large parts of the voyage sailed single-handed.

After Zen sold the boat and returned to Japan the next owners used the boat to import a large quantity of drugs into Australia in 2001.  They were arrested shortly after returning to Mooloolaba from collecting the drugs offshore since topsides damage was noticed and reported.  Zen became the property of "the Crown" until she was sold at auction.

The next owner John refitted the boat, repairing the topsides damage and improving the grounding damage repairs.  Zen again had white topsides and her Aries vane gear was removed.  John sailed in Moreton Bay, Brisbane and owned Zen from November 2001 to November 2003.

The final owner prior to us was Rex.  Rex raced Zen on Moreton Bay, winning an inshore series and completing the 2007 Brisbane to Gladstone offshore race.  Rex replaced standing rigging, most sails and upgraded various equipment.

Zen on Moreton Bay, 2009
All in all, our boat has had an interesting life.  She has sailed well over 50,000nm, survived encounters with hurricane and Cape Horn storm, survived a major grounding, and at all times looked after her crew.  We'll try hard to look after her.

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