View Full Version : Phils New Ride

02-14-2011, 10:14 AM
Phil MacFarlane has been sailing his Ericson 35' "Sail La Vie" for quite some time but has been "looking" for quite a spell as well. When he finally found his dream boat, a Mini Proto residing in Tejas. That was only the beginning, as Phil found out of the voyage. Phil picks up the story here:

Deep in the Heart of Texas she lay hidden

Ok let’s see. I wanted an Open 60 but couldn’t afford one. Then I wanted a trimaran until a raced a few times on my friend Darren’s “Ro Sham Bo” Corsair F31 R. I realized that you couldn’t push those boats to there limit single-handed. My boat has to be a single handed boat, like my Ericson 35. Then I wanted a Class 40 until I figured out that I couldn’t even afford a sail for one of those. But before all of this I was attracted to the Mini’s. For about ten years I have thought about Mini’s.

In the spring of 2010 I started to look seriously for a Mini. In the Mini world there are two types, Series and Proto. Series boats are a design of which at least ten are built and they are all built the same. They must have fiberglass hulls and aluminum rigs. They must have fixed keels and are not allowed water ballast. You really can’t make any modifications to a series boat.

Hull 577 well slung

In the Proto class you can have carbon hull and deck and rig. Canting keel and water ballast. You can change the boat around as much as you like to try to get better performance. The “box” for a proto is also larger, meaning they draw more. Have a taller mast and longer boom and sprit.

I like to modify things and besides, I figured this is the Ferrari of tiny boats so I don’t want a detuned one. I may live to regret that. Only time will tell. So I decided to get a proto Mini.

There aren’t to many proto’s to choose from in the US and even fewer on the West Coast.

So my search was mostly taking place on European Mini forums. It was there that some one, I think it may have been Jay Sharkey told me I should see if Drew Wood still had Wafi for sale. I got a hold of Drew who has given up mini building and racing to become a farmer in Arkansas. He still had Wafi for sale and she was located just outside of Galveston Texas. The day after talking to Drew about Wafi I flew out to Texas to take a look at the boat. She was sitting on a cradle under a tent. Her keel was over there, her mast was over here, the foils were inside a building and all the other bits and pieces were here and there. I’m not sure how long she had been under the tent in the hot and humid Gulf Coast weather, but she had green mold growing in her cockpit and she was pretty dirty. The poor thing looked like a lost puppy.


I flew home after spending 40 minutes looking at her. The next day I called Drew and we made a deal. That was way back in November 2010. The fellow who had possession of Wafi is in the marine business. He offered to arrange a trailer for me. He quoted me a price and I sent him a check. Month’s and months went by. Phone calls emails promises and promises on and on and on.

Finally on January 16th I emailed this guy and told him I was leaving the Bay Area on January 31st and would be driving out to get my boat. He assured me the trailer would be ready. So I left on the 31st at noon. I made good time. By 07:00 the next morning I was on the far side of New Mexico. By mid morning I had passed through El Paso and stopped for gas in Fabens Texas. It was really cold 6 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact and the wind was howling. I held the door of the gas station for a guy. He was wearing a Lakers jacket and a beanie cap with a marijuana leaf on it. I asked him “is it always this cold and windy here? He said I don’t know I’m from LA. Oh I said. He asked where I was going and I told him Galveston. He said “Oh man you don’t want to go there! We just came from there it’s terrible! There’s ice and snow and cars spun out all over the road” Hmm I said well that’s where I’m going.

After I gassed up I went across the street to the café for some breakfast. I picked up the El Paso news paper and the front-page story was the big storm blowing in that afternoon. There was lots of news on the department of emergency service getting ready, and how you should wrap your pipes and bring the animals inside. I wondered if you were supposed to bring the horses inside too. So, I was kind of tired. Except for two hours at a rest stop I had been driving non stop. I don’t have much occasion to drive in the snow and my wife would not be happy if I wrecked her Tahoe. So I decided to wait out the storm in beautiful Fabens Texas.

The next day I hit the road again. It was a little icy but all went well. Before midnight that night I was standing next to my Wafi. I went and got a motel room had a hot shower and got a good nights sleep for the big day tomorrow, towing Wafi home.

So the next morning I go back to the place where Wafi is under her tent. It’s daylight now and I can take a look at “my” trailer. It had four tires one of which was flat. None of them matched and they were all dry rotted. The cradle that would hold the boat was not done and wasn’t even attached to the trailer. The guy said “Oh that will be fine like that” ah, yah, no. It was supposed to have surge brakes, it had no brakes. He says “Oh I have them I’ll send them with you” ah, yah no. He says, “I have all the rest of the steel for the trailer too. I’ll ship it out to you” Are you kidding me? Four months wasted.

"Were going to California"

He gave me all my money back. He was very apologetic. I went to U Haul and rented an auto trailer. Went back to Wafi and loaded her up. Got on the freeway with my ten foot wide load and headed for Houston. It didn’t take long before the cradle Wafi was on collapsed, the straps loosened up and the trailer began to fish tail. I mean within four miles of leaving the tent. I thought how in the hell am I going to tow this thing like this. I found a home depot and bought more straps, a ladder so I could get up on Wafi and some tools I thought might come in handy. It was hailing while I was strapping Wafi down in the home depot parking lot. I got some looks. Crazy California dude with a yellow boat.

It was now rush hour and I had to get through Houston. The forecast was for more snow and freezing rain so I decided to spend the night where I was. I posted my plight on Face Book and my friend Bob J. advised me that I needed more weight forward on the trailer. Another Face book friend from Seattle Geoff P. said he was flying out to help me get home. Social networking! I love it.

The next morning I cant budge the 1000lb keel so I go back to home depot and by 400 lbs of sack concrete. I stack it on the front of the trailer. That night my friend shows up and the next morning we hit the road.

We drove only stopping for gas and food and made it from Houston to San Mateo towing our illegally wide load in less than forty hours.

Svendson's in Alameda

The boat is now at Svendson’s Boat Works. With the help of several other friends we got the canting keel on the other day. Tomorrow Drew the Builder / seller fly’s into town to help rig the mast and sort things out.

I had planned on dry sailing out of Alameda Marina but since I don’t have a trailer she will go in the water for a few months at least. If all goes well I will sail her down to Redwood City latter this week then find a slip closer to the Gate in a few weeks.


I plan on doing some of the SSS races including the Long Pac this summer. We will do the OYRA with Ronnie Simpson being my primary crew. And hopefully the races that go down the California Coast this summer. I plan on doing the SSS Trans Pac next year in Wafi. I don’t have plans to go to Europe but hey, you never know!

By the way, everyone wants to know what Wafi means.

Wind Assisted Fucking Idiot slang used by ships captains in the English Channel to describe sailors.


What A Foolish Investment slang my wife uses to describe what I do with my money


Wafi is a popular Arabic name that expresses multiple good characteristics such as “reliability”, “trustworthy”, “perfect”, and “loyal”

Take your choice.

02-20-2011, 01:36 PM

First delivery on USA 577 "WAFI", a prototype Mini Transat which has competed in the Bermuda 1-2. Singlehanded Transpac veterans Phil MacFarlane and Ronnie Simpson plan to campaign the boat on the West Coast in 2011 and Phil plans to race the Singlehanded Transpac in 2012 with it.

02-20-2011, 02:29 PM


Mascot? On the battle flag?

Charlie Tuna
02-20-2011, 09:49 PM
South easterlys coming down the south bay?

PD Staff
03-01-2011, 10:35 AM

Prototype Mini Transat "WAFI" sailing from Redwood City to Alameda on February 28th. USA 577 was sailed by Phil MacFarlane and Ronnie Simpson, and will be campaigned doublehanded during the 2011 OYRA season.

Phil MacFarlane
03-08-2011, 01:03 AM

and will be campaigned doublehanded during the 2011 YRA season.

Should read "OYRA" season

03-29-2011, 05:39 PM

Unless it's like really cool...


The swing arm connection for bow sprit


The pointy end of the sprit, Phil can splain...


The lines that make the dagger board go up and down


Custom carbon tiller and back stay adjusters right where you can find em...


It can't stay this neat under way


Aforementioned tiller connection


All lines lead aft and one winch to make em work!


The hatch you will need to crawl out in case you are trapped and boat capsizes...
the interior is all business and Phil plans on sleeping outside

Alan H
04-01-2011, 04:40 PM
I got a good look at her in the pouring rain a few weeks ago. All I have to say is SEX-eh.

PD Staff
04-04-2011, 10:25 PM


Some W.A.F.I ness for your viewing pleasure