Boat Type: 24 meter Dutch Trawler
Owner: Ken & Christy Donnelly
Yacht Club: San Diego YC
Ken came from the technical side of boating experience, although I was introduced to cruising and sailing by my father when I was 14. Prior to Varnebank I have owned sail and power boats, however, I always preferred the mechanics of cars, boats or planes to driving, sailing or flying. I trained as an aircraft mechanic and was also a corporate pilot prior to flying as a pilot for United for 25 years. Christy is a sailor at heart and is known as one of the better navigators of her era. She navigated and sailed from 1975 until 1994 with some of the “best of the best” with such people as Tom Blackhaller when they won the Bermuda Race in 1980 , navigating for Kialoa in the 1979 Fastnet Race, and for Dennis Conner for 4 years where she became the first woman to sail as crew in the America’s Cup. We met inworking on the 1983 America’s cup program as we both worked for the Freedom campaign. Christy and I participated in the Cubar 2015 together on Varnebank. We had a great adventure, staying until February 2106. It worked so well, we got married in July 2016.
Favorite Cruising Destination
Although there are so many great destinations, we enjoyed the Sea of Cortez so much that we returned to La Paz in Dec. 2016 and stayed until June of 2017; a 2,850 mile round trip. Several boats from the Cubar 2015 were still there and we were able to spend some great time with them. While in Mexico on out most recent trip, we went to the trouble of obtaining the required licenses for legally chartering in Mexico. Not a simple task, but we will enjoy showing others the magic of the Sea of Cortez.
Favorite Boating Experience
Ken’s Pacific Crossing on the S&S sloop Orient from Honolulu to St Francis Yacht Club. Also the adventure of actually purchasing Varnebank in Holland and bringing her home to California. My sweet wife, Christy, keeps talking about her years cruising the canals of France and Belgium even above all her sailing miles. I think we are going to have to go barging again!
About the Crew
Fast Forward: Although for Cubar 2015 there were just the two of us, we are planning to do the Cubar 2017 with a crew of 6.
Jim and Leslie Reynolds: Over thirty years we’ve weathered clear skies to hurricanes cruising in the Bahamas, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia and France. Owned sabots, Bertram, Grand Banks and A racing catamaran. We currently own a 40′ Bill Garden express cruiser and recently added a 31 foot day sailor to our portfolio. Boating has been a part of our family from the SDYC junior program, being part of Team Dennis Conner and the Stars and stripes team for 3 Americas Cup campaigns to just anchoring out in La Playa Cove. We feel privileged to have raised our boys at SDYC and watch their families learn to love the lifestyle.
We look forward to this Cubar experience.
Robert and Darlene Spriggs: Having sailed in numerous countries, we can say without hesitation that the six week cruise aboard our friends’ 65’ Tollycraft “Great Escape” from Anacortes to Glacier Bay, Alaska and return was the most enjoyable trip. The vastness and tranquility of the magnificent scenery and the abundance of wild life and nature is an experience never to be forgotten. Also, at the top of the list was a 1978 family vacation aboard our 60’ cutter “Jonathan Swift”. It was a 12 month, 6,000 mile cruise from San Diego, with numerous anchorages in six countries with our two children 7 and 5. It was an experience that was truly educational for all of us. It is not until you have experienced the calms and the times of discomfort that you realize the strength and spirit of little people. In all, a magnificent twenty-four hours a day family bonding that will last all of our lives. The opportunity to be aboard “Varnebank” on a leisurely run down the Pacific Coast of Baja, together with the comradery of like-minded friends and the opportunity of meeting new acquaintances.
What’s in a Name
VARNEBANK, was named by the man , the queen’s surveyor, who completely rebuilt Varnebank from a true Dutch fishing trawler into a beautiful yacht that accommodates 10 from 2004 -2007. The Varne Bank is a sand bar in the Dover Strait well known by navigators in the North Sea. The British call it the Varne Bank, and the dutch call it the Varnebank. The Varne Lightship warns navigators this hazard to navigation. We brought it from Holland in 2010 and have cruised the California coast and Mexico since then.
Reason to Buy This Boat
Ever since I was a teenage in Newport Beach, I had admired the beautiful North Sea Trawlers Yachts created and imported by Romsdahl or Norway. Searching the internet I found the Varnebank for sale, a true displacement long range steel North Sea trawler yacht. Varnebank is an extremely seaworthy trawler, very long range, oceangoing yacht conversion from the original North Sea fishing trawler configuration. With berths for 10, five heads, four showers, and a bath tub, there are plenty of creature comfort. We cruise at 960 RPM’s at 8.5 knots for about a 5,000 nautical mile range.
Previous Boats Owned
Many different boats from the 6 of us. Just a few:
82′ Topsail Schooner SHEARWATER ( Donnelly)
65′ Rhodes ketch built by Lester Stone ALERT (Spriggs)
41′ Maine lobster boat style (Young Bros.) EASTERLY (Spriggs)
32′ Diesel Trawler LADYBUY, built for John Burnham Sr. SDYC ( Donnelly)
60′ 1938 DeVries Lentsch racing boat built for the Fastnet Race JONATHAN SWIFT ( Spriggs )
60′ Steel Dutch Chalk in France ( Christy)
42′ Bill Garden express cruiser – WE’LL SEA ( Reynolds) – many others
Westsail 32′ SVEA ( Donnelly)
Cal 40 EMILY ANN ( Christy)
Interest in CUBAR
We have come to know and love Mexico, and particularly the Mexican people. We are looking forward to again making lifelong friends while enjoying the marine paradise called the Sea of Cortez.
Oh my… some Pusser’s Rum needed to really recap all these stories… We are looking forward to the shore side parties and many many sea stories!