PRE-LOVED - 48 Farr Maya 3

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Following two trips to the USA, COLIN GOLDSWORTHY is forced to look closer to home for his ideal cruising yacht, and lucks upon the 48 Farr <I>Maya 3</I> in New Zealand

PRE-LOVED  - 48 Farr Maya 3
PRE-LOVED 420 — 48 Farr <I>Maya 3</I>

After sailing the southern coasts of South Australia, Victoria and circumnavigating Tasmania in my Saga 34, an incredibly strong and capable high-latitude boat, I wanted to experience tropical sailing. I purchased a Hans Christian Cristina 43 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and sailed the Central American coasts through the Panama Canal, returning to Australia through the Pacific.

After these adventures I knew exactly what I wanted in my next boat. The strength of the Saga, the luxury of the Hans Christian, but most important to me was and the light-wind performance that neither of these beautiful boats possessed. It is amazing how, when loaded, many boats must turn on the engine at anything less than 10kts of wind to make any decent headway on a voyage.

After two unsuccessful trips to the USA searching for the perfect boat, I finally succumbed to looking in NZ, where some of the world’s best boatbuilders and sailors exist.
Here, I found Maya 3. A handcrafted, no-expense-spared 48-foot composite sloop constructed by master boatbuilders Chris Robertson and his two sons. It was to be their family boat.

When I found her near Wellington, she had never left the Cook Strait or the Marlborough Sounds since her delivery from new. I remember how impressed I was performing my own preliminary survey. How solid and well-built her construction was. The subsequent professional survey confirmed my initial observations. She was the blank canvas I was looking for. I could now begin fit her out with all the new goodies I needed to cross the globe again. My plan was to sail her to Spain. Solo.

A six-month, money-no-option, total refit at the original builders’ yards began, supervised by myself.

The end result was a high-latitude boat that could withstand anything thrown at her. Her Bruce Farr designed hull is easily pushed and she would sail exceptionally well in a 7-knot breeze. The modifications are too extensive to list but did include extending her keel and tankage, new electronics, pumps, sails, autopilots, feathering prop, shafts and seals, davits, running rigging, wind generators, massive anchor, extra chain, and all the safety equipment required for an ocean voyage.

When the time came to leave, it was obvious the direction I had to go. Although tropical sailing does have its charms, nothing, and I do emphasize nothing, will ever compare to the higher latitudes. What a unique privilege it is to sail through Hells Gate into Strahan (Tasmania) to sail up the Gordon River, into Port Davey to feast on massive abalone or anchor off Maatsuyker Island and play with the seals. Moving on from Tasmania, the South Australian Islands of Spilsbury and Wedge would have to be some of the prettiest and most pristine and the best kept secrets around.

So was it to be over the top and through the Red Sea or bite the bullet and depart from Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty, passing the smoking volcano of White Island, direct to the Patagonian channels in Southern Chile? I had the boat, I had done the talk, and there were no excuses.
Chile it was.

Maya was perfect for the voyage. Her super-strong hydraulic autopilot kept me on course all the way, and set to wind angle, I could get my much needed sleep for the 5000nm of solitude. The Eberspacher diesel heater kept me warm down below and in the companionway, and ensured the boat’s interior was nice and dry.

The full head-height hard dodger allowed me to stay dry during the many boarding waves I experienced. The dodger’s crystal-clear toughened glass wraparound windows allowed perfect vision for a good look out and laughed at the waves trying to enter the cockpit.

Maya’ roller furling mainsail and headsails allowed me to handle this 48-foot boat alone and with confidence, reefing all sails from the safety of a deep, well-drained and dry cockpit. The massive deep freezer kept me well fed with NZ delicacies, and her easily pushed hull allowed 180nm days to be common and 205nm the best I achieved.

I arrived in Chile with half a tank of diesel; safe, sound, fully fed and rested — a credit to the designer of this boat.

A thousand miles of fiords, mountains, glaciers, ice and wildlife welcomed me. What a playground. Because of the wind tunneling effect of these fiords there is a lot of motoring to be done. The massive 100hp motor came into its own lugging along at a quiet 1800rpm and giving a respectable 8kts at 4.5lt/h.

I had every confidence in Maya’s exceptionally strong construction approaching the calving ice from the face of the glaciers. And her oversized Manson anchor coupled with 350ft of high-tolerance chain never let me down. It was fully tested in some of the deepest anchorages I have experienced, during the williwaws that descended from the mountains.

Maya took me into the Straits of Magellan (Tierra del Fuego) for a bit of civilisation at Punta Arenas, before heading through to the Atlantic. The Magellan Straits sent me off with one night at anchor in an open roadstead with 80kts of wind.
By this time, I had complete confidence in Maya and slept like a baby… almost. (See Colin’s YouTube videos and

The leg from the Magellan Strait took me out to deep water, to the north of the Falkland Islands. The Argentinian coast is very shallow and to get a comfortable voyage it is best to go wide. This is where I experienced the biggest seas. So I just reefed the sails from the safety of the cockpit (the electric winch helps) deployed the drogue from the safety of the aft cockpit, and went to sleep again.

Buenos Aires was one of the most welcoming cities I have ever visited. Although there have been some amazing Argentinian sailors, in general, they are not that adventurous on the water. So I was a bit of a talking point. It was very special to entertain these wonderful people in Maya. They could not believe that you could sail so far in such luxury.

Maya then took me on to Africa where landfall was made in Senegal. From here it is necessary to sail out to the spectacular Portuguese islands of the Azores to get favorable winds for the last leg to the northwest coast of Spain. (No matter how well your boat goes to windward, it is best to listen to the old pilots and stick to the well-known routes. Cruising author Jimmy Cornell’s waypoints are amazingly accurate.)

Travelling north to northwest Spain, Maya took me safely into La Coruna and all the Rias Bajas along the Atlantic coast. She then retuned me safely to Australia via Morocco, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Galapagos Islands, French Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Tonga, New Zealand, and finally through Sydney Heads.

I wish I had some drama in my voyage so I could tell my grandchildren how I battled the elements in a leaky boat. But Maya robbed me of this privilege. She is a great boat.

Tim Stranack, from MDBS Broken Bay brokerage, says that the attention to detail in this blue-water passagemaker is quite exceptional and far superior to today’s production yachts that are built to a price. At $325,000, we’re told Maya represents very good value in today’s market and about a quarter of the boat’s current replacement cost. To arrange an inspection, phone Tim Stranack on 0418 619 700, and for further details, go to

Maya is a true blue-water sailor’s delight, capable of fast comfortable and safe high-latitude sailing. The deep centre cockpit with magnificent ‘fixed’ deckhouse offers full protection from the elements. The separate aft cockpit has a private entry to the rear double cabin and easy access to the dingy and swimladder with an opening transom.

The boat is exceptionally well setup for shorthanded sailing with a roller furling mainsail into the boom and roller furling headsails. The autopilot and electric winches make up for crew. This is a truly custom-built composite yacht by a master craftsman.

Robertson 48 Farr
Maya 3

FOR SALE: $325,000
BUILDER : Robertson Boatyard, NZ
MATERIAL: Timber fibreglass composite
Type: Round Bilge Long Fin Keel
WEIGHT: 12 tons
LENGTH: 14.6m (48ft)
BEAM: 4.3m
DRAFT: 2.1m
FUEL: 700lt
WATER: 600lt (plus watermaker)
ACCOMMODATION: Two double en suite cabins
ENGINE: 100hp Volvo Penta turbo-diesel

* Photos include Maya 3 in Chile.

From Trade-a-Boat Issue 421, Nov-Dec, 2011


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