I met Beth Leonard after she had been around the world on a Shannon. They were stopping cruising to build an Aluminum boat. I wondered why. After a lot of miles myself I found Mucho Gusto and at that point I knew why.
DB: Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger sailed their Shannon 37, Silk on their first circumnavigation in 1992 for three years and 40,000 miles. For their second circumnavigation, they sailed Hawk, a 47-foot aluminum Van de Stadt Samoa design from 1999-2009 through the high latitudes by way of the Great Capes. They have sailed Hawk 75,000 miles.
The first circumnavigation is documented in Beth’s book, Following Seas.
Stories from their travels on Hawk are in the book, Blue Horizons.
And in my opinion, the best book on outfitting a cruising boat is the Voyager’s Handbook, written by Beth Leonard.
You both a very well known in the cruising community, thank you for taking the time to talk to MBQ.
After a circumnavigation on a fiberglass boat why did you chose aluminum for Hawk?
B&E: Most people guess we chose metal for strength, as we planned to go to the high latitudes. But in fact we picked it because we could make the decks absolutely leak proof. Our experience with fiberglass decks was that after two or so ocean crossings the boat had worked enough that at least a few of the fasteners through the deck would start leaking. There are zero fastener holes through Hawk’s deck. Everything is either welded on, or machine screwed to blind tapped plates that are welded on.
We picked aluminum over steel both because it is less maintenance, and because it can produce a better performing/sailing boat. You just don’t have to keep after rust the way you do on a steel boat.