” Sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sail…
Explore Dream Discover ” ~ Mark Twain
A Mighty Prodigy Of The Sea ~ How She Found Me.
My love of sailing and being out on the open ocean has whet my passion for restoring a beautiful unique boat, which has inevitably led me to uncover this mighty and majestic little prodigy of the sea known as the Flicka 20!
Welcome to my Blog! I am Chris Vassiliou, professional consultant, sailing enthusiast and passionate world traveler. These are some of the tales and adventures of Wookie – Pacific Seacraft’s spirited Flicka 20 sailboat designed by the infamous naval architect Bruce Bingham, and the loveable Wookie – my dearly departed but never to be forgotten furry companion and loyal globe-trotting friend of 5 years.
When I first saw the Flicka 20 on that breezy spring day (at that time named Goliath) for sale at a small marina in St Petersburg, Florida in February 2016 I was uncertain as to whether the restoration was worthwhile. Even though her hull seemed in fair condition this little vessel appeared to be quite worn and tired and in desperate need of some serious TLC.
The hull color was beautiful, however after further inspection, I noticed numerous unsightly and poorly installed electrical wires strangling her stern rail leading not only to a VHF antenna but also to two sets of rear running lights. Additionally, there were another two sets of forward running lights, her mainsail cover was torn and a pair of long travelers running the entire length of the teak on either side of her hatch cover. This was a strange sight for me as I considered this space would be an ideal mounting area for a dodger. I could only surmise that these must be there for the staysail.
Back To The Future
I wondered how old this vessel was and began hunting for her hull identification number (HIN) and after a few minutes located it on the port side, on the stern above the water line. What I read was PCS201330280 (Pacific Seacraft 20 the 133rd boat built in February 1980).
Her sheets and running lines looked dry and chaffed and filthy fenders draped on either side of her gently swayed in the wind. Her cockpit bulkheads were loaded with old superfluous equipment, dangling power cords and a cracked compass. As the mainsheet traveler was located on the stern rail and the cockpit bulkheads were loaded with all sorts of add hock equipment I wondered where on earth the owner had been able to rest comfortably to even enjoy an afternoon drink. However, this was going to be nothing compared to what I would uncover on her a little later!
STORY CONTINUED…> A few minutes later I walked away accepting the reality that this little vessel was 36 years old. However, no matter what shape she was in she still looked really good.
A few days later I found myself once more staring at this Flicka and to my amazement noticed ‘For Sale’ signs had now been placed on her bow and stern rails. This time I sat on the dock box and carefully looked across the deck. Her plumb bow, elegant bowsprit, pudgy hull painted a royal blue all made her look classic, seaworthy, salty and just plain beautiful.
Aaah the Flicka 20 !!!!! The boat designed by Bruce Bingham in 1976 and built by Pacific Seacraft in Dana, California, which for the past 30 years had sent my mind wandering across oceans was there bobbing in front of me – tugging at my heart. I sensed this boat was in need of some restoration and I was not fond of the name. The unsightly wires strapped all over her stern rail irritated me, as did the torn sail cover and cracked compass. This all seemed so undignified for this little sailboat. Thirty minutes later I had called the broker and made an offer. Two weeks later the boat was hauled out in a local boatyard and was mine.
Bruce and I enjoying a cup of coffee, while having an in-depth discussion about sailing, his Flicka Sabrina, which he sailed over 13,000 miles (I had the great pleasure of meeting Bruce a few weeks after buying my Flicka in Florida).
THE “WOOKIE” LEGEND
The first thing I did was change the name to Wookie. Now I realize there will be those that will question the choice of this name but there was a reason for this. I had a pup called Wookie, a Lhasa Apso, that was very cute, small but tough, loyal and had bravely traveled from Sydney via Singapore to Frankfurt – a journey of over 30 hours in the baggage compartment of a 747. Once in Frankfurt and after a rather teary reunion, he traveled to many parts of Europe.
Sadly a few years later he would die unexpectedly in Nice, France. Wookie was loved by many people and was a constant companion to many wine-bars, restaurants, hotels and even formal business meetings. Always well-mannered, regal, handsome but with a level of confidence, which made one believe this little fella was above everybody else. The similarities with Wookie’s qualities and my Flicka seemed obvious hence the name.
In Memory of:
In days to come, when I am sitting lonely and old over a cup of coffee, a waitress, kinder than the others, will say “penny for your thoughts”. I will gaze at her, but at the same time beyond her, to another time, and the name WOOKIE will escape my lips in a small rush of air, much in the way that ‘Rosebud’ fell from the lips of Charles Foster Kane, and she will draw close, take my hand in her trembling grasp and, wide-eyed, say “You knew WOOKIE? ”
Written by: Ken Burnett, lead clarinetist for the Willoughby Orchestra, Sydney, Australia who, with so many others in various parts of the world, loved and admired Wookie’s personality and courage.
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