Ross Barnett believes his Arends 33 is the ideal vessel for a couple to cruise the east coast of Australia in.
In the late 1980s after 14 years sailing a Boomerang 20 trailer-sailer Sue and I went looking for something bigger that would allow us to cruise farther and in more comfort. I had my heart set on an Arends 33, designed by Jim Swanson for John Arends, the shipwright, as his personal boat.
It proved so popular that John, on the urging of friends, made moulds and went into production. We used to see them sailing around Pittwater crewed by what appeared to be middle-aged couples. “That's us,” we thought, but we didn't want an Arends because our boat had to be in survey for charter work, to allow extending our sailing school activity to skippered charters in Pittwater.
About this time my son arrived back from sailing the Pacific as crew on the Bounty replica. He was appalled that we were trying to buy a big “Tupperware” and ð carried along with his enthusiasm (and knowledge) of traditional boats ð we ended up with a 1930s-designed 13m Alden schooner, and a few years later added a 1950s Griffin 15m schooner to the fleet (I still have a soft spot for schooners). The next 11 years were spent in lots of rebuilding, lots of maintenance, lots of local sailing and meeting lots of nice people, but no serious cruising.
Retiring to Ballina
In 2000 we sold our schooners and retired to Ballina. We went looking for an easily maintained, safe, reliable, roomy and comfortable boat easy for a couple to manoeuvre under sail and power, to sail north each winter and to Pittwater each autumn. The first enquiry on the net located a broker who knew of an Arends coming onto the market. We bought Moontide that week and over the past seven years we have spent an average of five months a year cruising and now want to sail other, more distant waters. We know of several Arends that have circumnavigated, but we know we are not as sturdy as the boat and have reluctantly decided to sell her and to fly and hire instead.
The basic Arends is the almost perfect small coastal cruising boat that with only a few changes turns her into an ocean cruiser, capable of weathering the Tasman in winter and making fast passages along the east coast. Having moderate draught we have been able to find anchorages each night in our trips south to Pittwater and to North Queensland, visiting marinas occasionally only to stock up.
Features we sought in a cruising boat and found in Moontide:
* Solidly built with simple but very strong mast and rigging.
* A traditional shoal-draught keel able to take the hard.
* Designed to heave-to in any conditions.
* Balanced rudder with prop close, which enhances control.
* Able to forestall broaching when surfing is unavoidable.
* Large deep bilge and pumps capable of keeping any accidental water below deck sole.
* Reliable and powerful diesel with shaft drive.
* Large storage lockers with sufficient fuel and water for extended journeys.
* Two eutectic refrigerators.
* Cabin designed to allow extensive views from inside, especially the galley.
* Deck hatches and dorade vents rather than ports.
* Well-appointed head and shower.
* Heavy-duty high-level dinghy davits.
* Gas stove with griller and oven.
* Pressure hot-water service.
* HF and VHF radios, GPS, self-steering, radar, depth, wind and speed instruments.
* Strongly mounted solar panels.
* Australian registration (essential for trips to Noumea, NZ etc and positive proof of unencumbered ownership when selling).
* New standing rigging.
* Easily sailed by one: we have rigged her as a cutter with all three sails on vertical furlers, able to be set, furled and reefed by the helmsman without leaving the wheel.
* No-nonsense anchor windlass and locker.
* Two water tanks (150 and 300L) and fuel tanks (2 x 80L).
* Pressure saltwater deck, anchor and sink outlets.
* Sewage holding tank and macerator (new Queensland regulation).
* Enhanced engine access.
* Attractive interior with all new furnishings.
* Cupboards and drawers fitted for ocean conditions.
* Lee-cloths fitted to bunks.
* Stormboards for saloon windows.
* Bilge heel reinforced to prevent possible grounding damage.
* Large cockpit protected from wind, rain and sun when sailing, anchored or in a marina facing the wrong way.
* PC navigation and HF weatherfax communication.
* Hi-fi stereo system and TV/VHS player.
Proof of the pudding
Since 2001 Moontide has cruised between Pittwater and Ballina seven times and Ballina to the Whitsunday group four times and has made one ocean trip from Ballina to Lord Howe Island and then 300nm farther east, returning via Middleton Reef, with a crew of Greenpeace sailors as part of the July 2002 Nuclear-Free Seas Flotilla. We encountered three gales; the worst forced us to heave-to for 15 hours in winds averaging 50 knots, reaching 70 knots during the storm front. The only damage we sustained was a shredded #3 headsail when we thought it would be safe to move up from the storm jib.
The forward cabin boasts a double bed that required the agility of young gymnasts to use, so we made it into a comfortable larger single with a seat. The stern quarter berth is also a double and it serves as a very comfy sea berth while for overnight guests there is always the convertible dinette and/or single saloon berth.
Entry to the cabin is classic Swanson and put me right off when I first hit my head. Never happened again, and it has since proved to be a very safe access at sea: we have not had one mishap, in contrast to friends on high-sided boats who have fallen heavily down their companionway ð and not always at sea.
There were 51 Arends built by John and 50 are still sailing; some are more than 30 years old, so at 17 Moontide is a youngster. The Arends have the look and feel of a Swanson, designed well for the demanding conditions encountered on our east coast. I can never be quite as comfortable with designs that require demountable fin keels so they can be squeezed into a shipping container and intended to be sailed in the Med or Caribbean, where there is little or no tidal range. I have only grounded Moontide once ð on a sand bar ð and it was a comfort to know the keel would still be there intact when the tide returned.
Ross and Sue moved to Ballina in 2000 from Scotland Island, where they had run a yachting school and charter schooner business. By a quirk of fate they have recently bought back their original trailer-sailer and are restoring her for use with the grandchildren. Moontide was still on the market at the time of writing ð enquiries to email@example.com
Ballast ratio 44 percent
Designer Ron Swanson