Masts

  We reached another milestone in the construction of MV Strannik yesterday and are closing in on the delivery date. Yesterday a crane lifted the main and mizzen masts into position. Some of the work of securing them was completed before the start of a week long holiday in China. There is not a lot left to do now, sea trails will begin on the 9th October and the final commissioning of he suite of electronic gear will also begin about the same time. Our plans for post-delivery are firming up and we expect to release an “Expedition Calendar” within the next couple weeks. I know many of you have been wondering where we are going what we are planning, hopefully this will answer your questions.    

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Typhoon Mangkhut

  Communications are almost back too normal here at the shipyard in Zhuhai (Southern China) after the destruction left in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut. We can report the we are safe and that Strannik survived without a scratch due in a large part to the early warning that we received allowing us to make extensive preparations.  What properly gave us most the protection and saved us from the worse of the wind and sea was a ship that was deliberately sunk/scuttled ahead of us before the typhoon arrived.  This ship, which you can see in the photo acted as a breakwater and also allowed us to secure extra lines. Four extra anchors also helped.  We stayed on board throughout the storm, adjusting lines to compensate for the two metre storm surge that accompanied the typhoon.  Several buildings near the yard were completely demolished and a couple other yachts that were under construction broke their moorings and were washed ashore, fortunately there were was very little damage and they will be re-floated on the next high tide. Work on commissioning Strannik continues albeit a little behind schedule, probably even a little further behind now because of Typhoon Mangkhut.      

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August 12

  On the highest tide of the month (it was even higher than forecast because of a typhoon to the east pushing extra water into the river- every few extra centimetres of water helped, but the rain that accompanied the typhoon didn’t help) MV Strannik slowly slipped stern first from the cradle that has held and protected since construction started and into the Pearl River. The launching operation began the day before on the 11th August. The ship yard crew had worked over night to lower the cradle as far and as deep into the river as possible to assist the launching. The entire ship yard crew were on hand and in time honoured Chinese tradition fireworks were lit to celebrate the event. Rodney, Simon (engineer) and Connor (Chef/Deck hand) were also there to witness and join in the celebration. Strannik is now tied alongside at the ship yard and over the next few weeks, the mast’s will be stepped and the final fit will be completed before sea trials and testing. When this has all been completed Strannik Ocean Voyages will take delivery of MV Strannik in Hong Kong and a new era in genuine expedition travel will begin.    

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June 2018

  Sea Horse Marine has successfully relocated and work has recommenced on the vessels they had under construction. If anything the new yard is probably better laid and better equipped than the old yard. This leads to greater efficiencies which is obviously a win win for everybody.  Strannik is getting a lot of attention. The propeller and rudder are fitted and the finishing touches are being made to the steering gear.  The masts (main and mizzen) are just about complete, the rigging is all on site so we expect some action there soon. While at the yard recently I met with the team responsible for the installation of all the electronic gear, the bulk of this gear has been shipped to the yard and a team will start installation very shortly. We are planning a mid-July launch with extensive sea trails taking us into August.  Watch this space.   

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April 2018

We have lost a couple months due to the relocation of the ship yard to their new premises’. I was impressed with the new yard and its facilities on a recent visit there. Strannik has been pulled out on one of the slips and work has recommenced. I recently appointed Simon Truebridge as Engineer/Mate for Strannik and he accompanied me to the yard. He stayed on an extra 10 days familiarising himself with the vessel and reading operators manuals for the serious amount of equipment in the vessel.

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December 2017

The day we had all been looking forward to, Strannik was officially launched or floated out of the Dry Dock yard where she had been built. She had been floating within the Dry Dock since early September when the tropical storms brought extensive flooding to the region. (see entry for September 2017) She was moved to a pontoon near the yard so she could be towed to the new yard where she will be finished. There has been some unforeseen delays in completion of Strannik. The Chinese government has evicted the business from its current location (a former communist ship yard) because they want the land for redevelopment. Sea Horse Marine had purchased a new yard nearby. Work on all vessels (there were 5 under construction) has been suspended while the workers shifted all the equipment and relocated the boats to the new yard.

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September 2017

In Late August early September, the ship yard was battered by a very severe weather system. On Aug 23rd Typhoon Hato swept across the Guangdong Province bringing heavy rain. The Pearl river on which the yard is situated flooded and the yard was under water. Strannik was built in a graving yard (dry dock) this flooded and caused Strannik to float. Fortunately, preparations had been made to launch it and she was strapped to special pontoons and so she simply floated (launched herself … probably sensing my growing impatience) in the graving yard. Fortunately, there was no damage to her or the other vessel in the graving yard.

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April 2017

One of the criticisms I have of the Expedition Industry I that the ships are getting larger and larger and as they get larger they restrict themselves (and their Passengers) to where they can visit, because of their draught. One of the many factors that drove the concept of Strannik was the desire to explore further and to go places other vessels can’t because they are simply too large. When she is complete Strannik will draw approx. 2.450 metres, opening up a whole new world for us to explore. We have also purchased the latest generation of 3D forward looking sonar to help us explore the unexplored. When the road runs out (the water gets too shallow) we will simply launch our tenders. We will carry two tenders, a fully inflatable boat and a 4.8 metre Naiad or RIB (Rigid inflatable boat). These are designed and built in NZ and are known as the “4 wheel drives of the sea”.

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January 2017

Having lived and worked in the Southern Ocean for the last 45 years, I know how uncomfortable and how unpleasant rough seas can make an expedition. Fortunately, rough seas don’t affect me too much. Don and I explored the option of fitting fin stabilisers to Strannik. There are drawbacks if you want to work in areas where there is ice (which we do) but the more research we did the more convinced that they would be a great investment. We have fitted Naiad stabilisers to the vessel. They can be removed if we are planning an expedition to areas where we could encounter heavy ice. In addition to the Fin Stabilisers we have fitted “flopper stoppers” to make anchorages more comfortable. We also have sail which will give us both extra stability and fuel savings.

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November 2016

I visited the yard and Strannik on my way home from leading a series of Expedition’s in the Russian Far East recently. Work continues on Strannik, after cruising the magnificent Russian Far East coastline and enjoying some incredible wildlife encounters, I am impatience to get her launched and go exploring. The team at Sea Horse are involved in the “Fit out” .. this is time consuming and you don’t always see or appreciate the progress, but Don assures me the team is working towards a launch date in late 2017. Anyway I am fully committed at Heritage Expeditions until April 2018.

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May 2016

Don and Jane visit the yard regularly to monitor progress and answer questions . Jane grew up only a few hundred metres from the yard and is well known by almost all of the workers there. I have made a number of visits to the yard myself since construction started. I have got to know some of the key employees. I don’t speak a word of Chinese but watching them work I have gained an appreciation for their many and varied skill sets. Many of them have university training in their area of speciality. It was a pleasure to take the entire work force out to dinner on a recent visit.

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October 2015

Along with a name, I wanted a Logo, something that was unique and symbolised our goals and dreams for Strannik. I commissioned a Christchurch company Plato Creative to do the work. It has taken some time but after a lot of talking, power point presentations and lectures they understood my goals (and dreams). The logo incorporates our mascot, the Orca. I simply can’t imagine a better mascot (and logo), Orca are found in every ocean in the world, they are powerful and magnificent animals. What is more they are admired and loved by everybody, they are a symbol of “freedom”. That is Strannik.

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March 2015

Opinions are divided on when and if you should release the name of a vessel while it is still under construction. I had had a name for this vessel for some time and it really wasn’t a secret. It is and forever will be known as “Strannik”. Strannik is a Russian word (perhaps reflecting my love of this amazing country especially its wildlife and wilderness) it doesn’t translate easily into English, probably the best or easiest translation is “Pilgrim” or “Wanderer, with a purpose”

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September 2014

A project like this is a logistical challenge as much of the gear and equipment off shore was sourced and purchased offshore. I appointed Don McIntyre as Project Manager, Don not only knew the ship yard (his yacht had been built there), his partner Jane was Chinese and had worked at the yard. Don oversaw the selection and ordering of all of the equipment, Jane keep in touch with the yard and building supervisor(s). The engine (Strannik is a sail assisted Motor Vessel) is a 425HP John Deer with a Twin Disc MG5114 Transmission was ordered from Australia.

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May 2014

The design brief was very simple. A maximum of 12 pax with comfortable private facility cabins. There was to be accommodation for a maximum of 8 crew/staff. The overall length had to be kept under 24 metres for compliance reasons and it had to have spacious public areas inside and out. There had to provision for two zodiacs, dive compressors and importantly it had to have a cruising range of about 5,000 nautical miles. It also had to be built to International survey standards and the logical choice there was RINA as they had considerable experience in this size of vessel.

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December 2013

It is sometimes hard to know when a dream takes root and starts to grow, but for Strannik I know exactly when and where it began. It was in Hobart talking with a good friend of mine Don McIntyre. We were both involved in the Expedition Travel Industry and we were bemoaning the changes that were sweeping through the Industry, bigger ships, larger groups, risk adverse and predictable itineraries with increasing compliance costs for more and more regulations and red tape. Don had recently commissioned a new private yacht, I loved the lines and decided there and then build a new true Expedition Vessel. After a period of design work (taking the plans for Don’s yacht and “putting them on steroids”) the Keel was laid at Sea Horse Marine’s yard in December 2013.

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