I have sailed many boats over my career from dinghys to folkboats to a three masted schooner and the 74 foot maxi yacht Apollo and they all have different characteristics and need different methods to encourage the best from them. My first ocean voyage was on a ‘Hartley 32’ designed by Hartley’s. It was skippered by Max Dorfliger, a climber already famous as the first person to solo ascend the north face of the Matterhorn in winter and a member of the first team to ascend the North face of the Eiger in winter and the first solo ascent of the Caroline face of Mt Cook. I had met him rock climbing in Tasmania and he was looking for crew to help him get his boat “Sunshine” (I’m pretty sure that was her name) to Oban in the Bay of Islands. Max subsequently sailed around the world, stopping of at India to go to the Himalayas and made a solo ascent of an 18,000 foot mountain there. The last I heard from Max was just before I sailed from New Zealand on board Laivina. I was at PortLyttleton getting a seaworthiness certificate prior to sailing to Nelson to get customs clearance for Brisbane. Max was living in Greymouth (I think -or on the west coast near there) with his wife Brenda, a veterinarian. He spoke of wanting to do a solo sailing trip to Antarctica, but as I haven’t seen him since I don’t know if he did undertake such a trip.
When I sailed across the Tasman with Max, we left on the tail end of a
depression passing south of Hobart in late August 1976 and about a week out we encountered a gale with some very large swells sweeping up from the south west. It was during these conditions I came to recognize the incredible seaworthiness of the ‘Hartley32’. Max told me that he had build it himself and showed me the book that Hartley’s sell. I spent the rest of the voyage reading that book and dreaming…….
One and a half years later, I think it was January 1978, I had saved up
enough money to start, so I ordered the plans from Hartley’s and I was so excited when they arrived. I’ll enclose the photo my wife took on that day. This was to be the start of whole new set of adventures.
(editors note: The plans in those days were blueprints. Peter went on to launch his boat and subsequently break several world records for ocean sailing, including his circumnavigation of the world).
from Peter Freeman, Canada.