Phylis and Us

Are you dreaming of a bluewater sailing adventure? Owners of the Spindrift 43 ‘Phylis’ have been living this long-held dream for the past 3 and a half years. Sailing from Houston, Texas, down through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, through the Panama Canal, then onto the Galapagos, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia and currently now lying in Fiji. They have shared their adventure so far with us.



Kym said, “instead of flying home why don’t we buy a boat and sail home.” That’s how it all started. Kym and I were working as consultants in the oil industry based in Houston back in 2008. Our contracts were ending and we were due to be repatriated to England. Ever since I had stepped foot on a Mirror dinghy back in 1975 I had started to dream of sailing around the world. I didn’t need much convincing that the time was right for both of us to take a long sabbatical, but first we needed a boat.

We rapidly realised that for our budget and needs we were going to have to buy an older boat and renovate her. We narrowed our criteria down to a few basics, around 40 to 45 feet, center cockpit, aft cabin, sloop or cutter rigged and above all solid and seaworthy. We soon discarded all the older plastic looking production boats as ugly, flimsy and downright dangerous in any kind of sea. After a few months of looking we were getting quite dispirited until our agent found an affordable Spindrift 43, located some four hours drive to the south of us in Corpus Christi.

It was love at first sight. As soon as we stepped aboard, the boat just took us in and hugged us. I had never felt so warm and cuddled on a boat, she was just perfect. Our surveyor did a great job in pointing out the obvious defects, all age related, but her hull and beautiful teak interior got a thumbs up. We moved her up to Houston in July of 2008 and started work on her renovation.

Both Kym and I are pretty handy with screwdriver and hammer. Kym is a professional electronic and electrical engineer and I’m very mechanically minded so our division of labour was well founded from the start. To cut a very long story short we ripped out everything that was well past its sell by date and replaced with state of the art systems and materials. We customised a great deal improving the functionality of such things like the hatches, companion way with integrated electrical cupboard, davits, and bowsprit. After completing the work, we had the boat surveyed for insurance purposes and I quote: “Since the current owners purchased the boat in 2008 they have been preparing and out-fitting the boat for extended cruising. Almost all systems have been completely re-built and/or restored to like new or above average condition. They have spared no expense with regards to quality of equipment and the quality of restoration. All work observed by this surveyor is of excellent quality and in-keeping with good marine standards. It is the opinion of this surveyor that the boat is very well built and equipped and ready for extended world-wide ocean cruising.”

A revised value of USD 250,000 was placed on the boat and in March of 2014 (never underestimate how long it takes to do a boat up, especially if you’re only working at weekends) we finally set sail across Galveston Bay and into the Gulf of Mexico.

DSCN7499-1Our original intention was to sail back to England. In other words, get into the Atlantic and turn left, but for many reasons we actually turned right and committed ourselves to going home the long way around. This was to be a once in a lifetime voyage and we were not about to rush it and so we started slowly cruising south stopping at all the stops, taking in the sights and savouring the bohemian lifestyle. Our greatest sailing accomplishment after transiting the Panama Canal was the 3,000 mile leg from the Galapagos to the Marquesas, although everywhere we stopped was pretty special.


After some 10,000 miles and four years of cruising we now find ourselves in beautiful Fiji. We have made the decision not to carry on with our circumnavigation and to put Phylis on the market. The primary reason for this is we have simply run out of time and money to carry on cruising at our leisurely rate. If she doesn’t sell in Fiji then we will take her to Brisbane next year which for us, will be her final resting place, but for Phylis, we hope, will be the start of a new adventure.


You can follow Mick and Kym’s adventure on their blog Phylis and Us

Perhaps you’re ready for your own sailing adventure and would like to be the next custodian of this fabulous yacht. Full details can be found here.