Silver Fern is a beautiful, comfortable blue-water yacht, that can be handled by only two people!
Design and Build History
The original design was developed by Beau Birdsall, a noted New Zealand designer. It was designated as a Birdsall 60, for its sixty-foot length. The fabrication of the steel hull was completed in 1983 by Dave Molesworth.
In 2001 the yacht was sold to the current owners. We then engaged Brett Bakewell-White, a well-known designer of high-end yachts, to update the design of the boat to a “raised salon” style. Having a raised salon allows you to see all directions outside while sitting in the complete comfort of the cabin. The new design also extended the hull to a length of 70 ft (21.3 m). Other upgrades were made, including a large engine room with standing headroom and a workbench, and the interior was completely rebuilt. The yacht was almost completely new and ready to go in 2004.
We sailed Silver Fern around in New Zealand waters with delight. We found she was easily managed by two people due to the 3 electric winches, and to the fact that the boat can be reefed completely from the cockpit. She was comfortable, slicing through the waves that bounced smaller boats around. She had a huge amount of storage, and was really comfortable, even for six people. And she could be fast — on one of our first days out we hit 12 knots, and we found her capable of 200 nautical mile days.
Then we set off for what was to become an amazing 11-year circumnavigation! We arrived back in New Zealand in late 2016, sad for it to be over. Over the past two years, we have had the boat exterior completely repainted, have installed a new generator and have updated and refreshed other systems. Silver Fern is ready to go again!
In 2005 we set off for a trip to Tonga. We found that we could not quite lay Tonga due to a wind shift, so headed for Fiji instead. We didn’t really have a sail plan, but decided to just do some exploring in our new boat. Eleven years later, we finally reached Tonga, having gone “the long way round!”
On our voyage we visited something like 69 countries and territories, in many geographical regions: the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, the USA, Panama, the Galapagos, and finally back to the South Pacific to French Polynesia and Tonga. Silver Fern has been through both canals: the Suez and the Panama!
It was an amazing and fabulous time. The variety of cultures and history and physical surroundings; the closeness to nature; the snorkelling and diving; and the wonderful community of other cruisers made it a life-changing experience – one that enriched us forever.
Now this experience can be yours! Age has caught up with us, and it is time to pass Silver Fern on to people who will enjoy the comfort, speed and lifestyle of this unique boat as much as we did.
There is one thing you will have to get used to, though, and that is that everywhere you are anchored, someone will come up in a dinghy and shout out, “What a beautiful boat! What is she?” It’s a nice way to meet people!