David and Kris: “How to Sailing in Pairs for 15 years? Sharing the Dream”

David Frost and Kris Adams are sailing in pairs since 2011. They left Perth Western Australia in July 2004 aboard Taipan, a 50 foot, GRP, sloop-rigged, Kaufman-designed yacht. This is their story.

You have been living aboard since 2001. How it started your sailing in pair adventure?

Kris and David sailing in pairs
Kris and David

We both sailed prior to purchasing Taipan. David had a Sparkman and Stevens design S&S 39 which he purchased in the early 80’s as a hull and deck and then completed. Turkey Connection with David as navigator and skipper, competed successfully in many offshore races on the West Coast of Australia and into Asia. He also did the Sydney Hobart Race. The West Australian coast is a good training ground as it provides lots of difficult conditions.

Cape Leeuwin can be notoriously unpredictable and as he had to round this cape regularly so Turkey Connection could compete in offshore races, David was very conscious of the need for a good seaworthy, boat which could “sail” and was not prepared to sacrifice too much speed for comfort when we started looking for a cruising boat. We raced a Beneteau 21 for a few years on Perth waters while we looked for a suitable cruising design as a liveaboard and in which we could cruise around Australia.

Which kind of boat is Taipan and why have you chosen it?

Taipan is a Kaufman 49 Cutter with encapsulated fin keel drawing 2.2m. She has a big skeg-hung rudder, a 4.2m beam and 20m Air draft. Weight 16ton. She was selected after searching for the perfect boat for 3 years. We wanted a fast but robust, well-built GRP boat with pleasing lines. A flat underwater exit, fine entry and not too flat forward of the keel to prevent pounding in strong upwind conditions. The rudder had to be skeg hung and she must go to well windward. We preferred a cutter rig for its ease of handling as we would be just 2 up. Other considerations were a good size cockpit, a good size refrigerator, plenty of storage and a pleasant interior.

The above photo is a brochure photo of a sister ship.-Before the stern modifications.
The above photo is a brochure photo of a sister ship.-Before the stern modifications.

In 2001 Taipan was located in Sydney, designed by Kaufman and Ladd of Annapolis Maryland USA and built in the Kha Shing Shipyard in Taiwan in 1987. Her sweet lines caught our eye and then we realized she was an S&S thoroughbred. Mike Kaufman worked for Sparkman and Stevens for many years. After purchasing her we sailed five thousand miles around the top of Australia and back to the west coast to undertake the first refit. Remove the Teak decks and replace with a good nonskid and instal a washing machine. We wouldn’t choose Teak decks again.

Which are the five most beautiful places where to sail?

Our favorite sailing destinations are The Kimberley region of northwestern Australia for its incredible beauty and remoteness, Tasmania’s west coast also for its rugged beauty and isolation. Both of these destinations have endless anchorages in good protection and un-spoiled wilderness. Tasmania also has some amazing secret historical sites.

Postcards from Thailand sailing in pairs
Postcards from Thailand

Thailand’s west coast features highly as a sailing destination because of its beauty, culture and food and although the wind for sailing is usually light, there are endless opportunities to explore some beautiful and quiet secluded anchorages. We also love that you can sail in Thailand all year. As for two more places. I think we are still looking for them.

Ten years around the world… What about the money to live?

To enable us to sail for so many years we’ve had to be pretty frugal. We do all the work on the boat ourselves and we limit the time we spend in bars and restaurants. We are rarely in marinas. Some property has been sold and we have two rental properties which provide a modest income.

taipan-in-melaluka-inlet-port-davey-tasmania-west-coast sailing in pairs
Taipan in Melaluka Inlet, Port Davey Tasmania West coast.

What’s the “trick” to live fifteen years in a boat with the Partner?

We share the dream. We both believe its imperative not to think of cruising as camping on water. The boat is our home and we expect to function within it, as much as possible, as we would in a house. We have a good power supply so we have the basic mod cons like a washing machine and electric kitchen gadgets. A water maker ensures we are not always scrimping with water. Good computers and access to the internet are important to reduce the feeling of isolation. David has a workshop aboard so he can have his space for projects and a good wardrobe full of tools. I have a good computer workstation, cameras and creative tools. We both have fulfilling roles aboard.

Taipan in the distance at king George river Kimberley, Australia sailing in pairs
Taipan in the distance at king George river Kimberley, Australia

What are your future plans?

We hesitate to make plans too far in advance but we have a loose idea that we will explore the Waterways of the Netherlands as far as it is possible with a 20m mast, in a 15m yacht drawing 2.2m. The Baltic looks inviting as does Scotland, the Caledonian Canal, Wales Ireland and perhaps the French coast south around the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean. How long this may take we do not know.

Our classic final question: what does it mean “sailing” for you?

Sailing means self-reliance, creative and innovative problem solving and best of all new people, places and cultures. We experience immense satisfaction from arriving in a new country, crossing an ocean or just making landfall knowing we did it by ourselves, leaving a very tiny footprint on the planet.

You can discover more about Kris and David here.

One Comment

  1. A very well written article and an interesting story. I was at collage with Kris and share her passion for sailing, also we have kept in contact over the years. My wife and I waited for retirement before setting off on our own journey in a Duncanson 34. We have traded the Duncanson in for a Cavalier 43 this year and will continue our adventure into the Pacific. My wife keeps a blog on our travels, listed below.

Back to top button