A rare sailing machine

The Deerfoot 63 Kailani

In 2005 Harley and Jennifer Earl were sailing around the world in their Hans Christian 41T, Manu Kai, when they stopped at Cocos (Keeling) Island in the Indian Ocean. While there they saw a voyaging sailboat at anchor that Harley said “looked fast just sitting still.” It was a Deerfoot 62 named Emma, one of the series of light displacement boats designed by Steve Dashew. For the Earls, the die was cast. When they returned to Sausalito, Calif., they sold Manu Kai and began a search for their own Deerfoot.

According to Harley, there were only about 14 Deerfoots in the 60-foot range that had been built and many of the boats they looked at were not in good shape. They were able to find a Deerfoot 63 in Marmaris, Turkey that was in good condition after having been refitted in 2004. Plus, the boat, named Astra, had a deck and cockpit layout they liked. After purchasing the boat in 2010 and renaming her Kailani, Harley and a crew he put together sailed the boat 10,000 miles in five legs to his homeport of Sausalito. They sailed through the Med without getting much of a look at it, sailing upwind most of the way. “We did not enjoy the Med,” Harley said. “The wind was always blowing from the same direction the boat was pointing.”

Back in California and after some refitting, Harley and Jennifer and their daughter, who was four years old at the time, departed for the South Pacific in 2012. It was the first leg of their subsequent second circumnavigation — Sausalito to Tonga, 4,600 miles in 23 days.

Harley and Jennifer’s experience of that first passage was that Kailani is, as Harley put it, “…a sailing machine, like a J105 on steroids. She wants to go.” Harley reports that Kailani once did 26 knots surfing on autopilot in the Indian Ocean and has reeled off a 24-hour run of 259 miles.

Kailani is narrow of beam and is not built for lavish hosting of guests, “You’re not going to entertain a lot of people in the cockpit,” Harley said. But it is a true voyaging sailboat. “Everything is well thought out for that kind of sailing.”

The Earls have reached the age where they are thinking of slowing down and possibly buying a power voyaging boat to do more exploring at higher latitudes. So they have put the boat up for sale on Boathouse Auctions (https://boathouseauctions.com/auctions/kailani-63-deerfoot-1990), a boat auction site with a variety of boats available in both power and sail. Kailani has a new rig, new refrigeration, new air conditioning and virtually every system has been overhauled or replaced. The bidding opens on April 25 at 4 PM EDT. So if you’re looking for the ultimate sailing voyager, you may want to take a peek and put in a bid.

By Tim Queeney