Mana has been officially launched at Devoran on 20th August.
This was not her first launching as we had taken her by trailer to the Brest and Douarnenez traditional boat festivals in July. She was not fully finished then, still in white undercoat, but she first floated in the sea off the slipway in Brest. After a couple of days of fitting windows, raising masts and rigging her, we first sailed Mana with the fleet of multihulls in the ‘night parade’ off the quays in Brest.
Mana and James Wharram had been specially invited to Brest by the ‘Golden Oldies Multihull Group’ to be part of their ‘classic’ multihull fleet, consisting of many restored racing trimarans from the 1980s as well as Tiki 31 ‘Brillig’ sailed from Cornwall by Tino Rawnsley and family. James, who sailed his first 23’6” catamaran ‘Tangaroa’ across the Atlantic 60 years ago, has been honoured by being appointed the ‘Father’ of this group. Mana, at the same length as Tangaroa, had been designed to celebrate this 60th anniversary.
While moored in Brest, Mana received her first blessing by the retired ‘sailing’ vicar of Devoran, Mike Palmer, who also blessed Spirit of Gaia at her launching in Devoran in 1992. He now lives in Brittany where he owns a beautiful classic yacht.
First sails on Mana were successful in spite of a mainsail that was not setting right (this has now been corrected by the sail maker). After a couple of trial sails, we sailed in the 25 Nm parade from Brest to Douarnenez, which was windward sailing all the way. Mana averaged 6 knots (1.3 x √WLL) to windward in a force 4 and we read 7.3 knots on the GPS (this is 1.6 x √WLL !). We are sure she will be capable of greater speeds in the right wind conditions, like the Tiki 21 and 26. She was light on the helm and kept her course when letting go of the tiller. She also tacked easy without a headsail. We are looking forward to further sail testing in the next weeks.
On return from France, Mana was returned to our workshop where Hanneke and Pierre-Yves, a French yacht design student doing an interneeship, worked hard on the finishing painting and final details. A date was set for the official launch on the spring tide when there is enough water in the creek behind our workshop in Devoran.
The forecast for Saturday 20th August was strong, gale force, Westerly winds with possible rainsqualls, but turned out sunny in the afternoon. At noon an impromptu group of volunteers started to gather to help us with moving the boat and clearing the shop for the party. It was wonderful to be helped by such a lovely, enthusiastic group of young people, all involved in traditional boatbuilding and sailing. It was like a continuation of the atmosphere of Brest and Douarnenez. The crew of the Dutch sailing trading ship ‘Nordlys’ heard about the launch on their arrival in Brixham from Portugal and jumped into a van and drove all the way to Cornwall to be there. Many of our old sailing friends came, some remembering past launchings of Spirit of Gaia (1992) and Amatasi (2012).
At around 7 o’clock, after a short delay while a rain squall passed over, Mana was named by Rory McDougall, who is famous for sailing his Tiki 21 ‘Cooking Fat’ round the world in the 1990s and coming in second in the Jester Challenge of 2010. Last year he was awarded the ‘Jester Medal’ by the Ocean Cruising Club.
Many people have been asking us for a price for the kit. With all the building work we have not had much time to finalize this, but we do know that the cut plywood (partially epoxy coated), timber, platform panels and full epoxy kit (i.e. all you need to build the basic boat) will be priced at approx. £6,500 (ex. VAT and transport). Additional packages will be available later for paint, sails, masts, ropes and fittings, though some people may prefer to source some of these themselves. We expect the final price for the completed boat to be around £10,000.
In the coming weeks Hanneke and Pierre-Yves, the French design student, will be working on finalizing the kit details!
Do contact us if you are seriously thinking of building the Mana. The first kits could be cut very soon.