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The Crew

Linda & Pete

1st Chinese Hats.jpeg

We bumped into each other in 2017, while at loose ends in New Zealand. A seeming coincidence resulted in us sailing together for 10,000 nautical miles that year, alas not many more since then as we’ve been busy building this boat. Our escape to the sea is an imperative, more than ever. 

Pete sailed all his life, clocking up over 200,000 nautical miles mainly in boats he built, until he met Linda and his life changed for good!  Linda sailed here, there and everywhere packing in a few sailing adventures. She temporary swap her exciting life at sea with boatyard and will soon be a vagabond sailor again. 



  1. "Mantis" National 12 racing dinghy

  2. “Stormalong” Wharram Tane 27ft (Built)

  3. “Shilla” 1921 Vintage 6m yacht  (Restored with Annie Hill)

  4. “Badger” Benford 34ft Junk Rig Dory (Built with AH)

  5. “Missy Lee”  Westcoaster 20ft  (Restored & converted to junk rig)

  6. “China Moon” Catamaran 37ft junk rig - (Designed by Pete and built with AH)

  7. “Moonshine” Dufour 27ft (Converted to junk rig)

  8. “Shanti” Kingfisher 20+ (entered in first Jester Challenge, 2006) 

  9. “Pelican” Freedom 33 (Converted to JR)

  10. “Oryx” Bernt Kohler KD280 (Various modifications to 33ft, built)

  11. “Blossom” Pearson 367 JR (Converted to Aero-Junk)

  12. “Kokachin” Le Forestier JDP 12.5m (Bought hull & decks, completed with Linda)

  13. “Last Penny” Hurley 20ft Felicity - bermudan rig!

I built my first boat at the age of 22 with a plan to sail across the Atlantic. Since then I have sailed in all the oceans and anchored in some very remote places. I love to try new things and it is not surprising that I built and had quite a few boats.  The list might not be finished yet!  I like all aspects of seafaring: boat design and building, testing different rigs,  sailing and pilotage, as well as charting unexplored places. As an active proponent of junk rig I am perplexed by so many cruisers failing to appreciate the numerous and important advantages of this simple and inexpensive rig. 


Linda said: "He is an old salt young at body, mind and heart, with a finest mix of adventurous spirit and childish joy, whose life is building, converting and sailing junk rig boats. Despite weathering many storms, and entertaining an occasional mermaid, he  remains  composed, unperturbed and at peace with himself and the world.  I call him Neptune!"



I spent magical 30 years living on a houseboat in Little Venice.  A trivial episode showed me the futility of working to pay for things I realised I did not need, which changed the course of my life.  I left London and landed in New Zealand. To my great surprise I bumped into Pete. A tiny sweet boat that I had just bought in NZ was temporarily abandoned for a sail on Oryx.  After seeing  Pete single-handedly tacking to the  tunes of yet another gale while performing what looked like Brazilian capoeira in the cockpit, I thought it might be fun to dance  a tango with him!

My love affair with the sea and the boats began in early childhood, on the island of Korčula in Croatia, where I was taken to the sea regularly. My father’s heavily loaded boat was caught in a strong afternoon wind. The waves began filling the already full boat. When my father hurryingly started throwing large stones into the sea to avoid sinking, I remember wondering with astonishment  at the huge seas surrounding us.  Many decades later I was looking at the threatening Southern Ocean with the same awe.  The sea became and remains my life’s dream, something that fulfils me, and where I feel that I belong.


  • "Užežena I" Canal-Houseboat, steel, built 1979

  • GP14 - sailed with Russell Crew-Gee

  • "Užežena II" Canal-Houseboat, designed by Linda, fitted out with RCG)

  • "Li Ti" Colvic Contesa 28 (renovated with RCG)

  • "Gipsy Moth IV" shipwrecked in Tuamotus 2006, fortunately did not drown!

  • "Tecla" Converted herring fishing vessel, built in 1914. Crewed from Auckland to Falkland Islands. 

  • "Francis H" Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 14 - converted to Aero-Junk with Pete

  • “Kokachin” Le Forestier JDP 12.5m (Bought hull & decks, completed with Pete)


2 Mars 2023 Kokachin sous voiles-4.jpeg

Finally Kokachin was launched. She sails well, easily driven and fast. Sailing to windward she tacks through 90 degrees in flat waters and goes about easily, especially when centreboard is down, even in big seas she tacks very well. It is often difficult to assess sailing performance, especially to windward, as there is not another boat to compare against, Recently we sailed in company with friends on a Nicholson 32. They sailed the boat well and had a nice suit of sails. The course was dead to windward for 11 miles, wind 20 to 25 knots and a very rough sea. We were pointing equally well, tacking through about 100 degrees, and making 10 degrees of leeway. The Nicholson was a bit faster, but not by much. We were impressed and so were they. Kokachin is very stiff and even driving to windward she heels no more than 15 degrees. She is spectacularly dry in the cockpit, while we only had a couple of small splashes on the above sail, our friends were drenched. Sailing downwind she doesn't roll until the wind and seas build up, but by then the foresail will have been reefed and sheeted flat, which dampens the rolling to a certain extent. Because of our vulnerable self steering gybing requires sheeting the main in and then out on the other side and in strong wind this may include dropping a few reefs first.   


On the downside we found that the tiller steered rudder was very heavy work especially as the wind got up. As Kevin Cardiff said: “Not a problem, but a design characteristic”. So far we have tried to tame the heavy steering with a three part handy billy, using the trim-tab to dial out any weather helm and finally steering with the trim-tab. We now cut a chunk at the lower part of the rudder. We need to wait for sea trials to see how effective that is going to be to reduce a  heavy helm. These are only partial solutions and we may well have to resort to wheel steering, which would be a disappointment. But at times, in rough seas the tiller becomes almost uncontrollable. 


Self steering is a very important consideration on long passages.  From the outset the self steering was going to be a challenge! Self steering is with Bill Belcher OTG II wind-vane driving a 20% trim tab on the trailing edge of the rudder. We also found that in lighter winds the wind-vane (3' x 1' / 90cm x 30cm)  was not powerful enough to turn a trim-tab. This was a major setback. Kokachin's rig extends the whole length of the hull and the main sail is sheeted to the aft end of the davits. The wind-vane is placed on the stern rail, inside the main sheet. There was no room to make the windvane bigger so the only solution seemed to be to make the trim-tab balanced.  This necessitated a quick haul out and moving the trim-tab somewhere behind the rudder with 20% balance. This solved the self-steering problem and it now works very well. However the wind-vane is very vulnerable to being swept away by the main sheet (which has happened on our Channel and Atlantic crossing, resulting in a broken wind-vane). We now have installed a strong hoop over the stern rail to give it more protection. We need to see how this will work.

The main sail is 50 sq metres and the fore 30 sq metres, built with Weathermax 80 cloth using Arne's camber sail design. It has taken a while to get the sails to set properly without too much friction on the mast, also because we had so many other things to focus on – and she sailed well anyway. Originally we were against Hong Kong parrels as we wanted to keep the rig as simple as possible, and they do have a bad press. However, Arne persuaded us to give them a try. So we did. They do work well and do not seem to cause any problems. The sails are set up with a four part halyard, a yard hauling parrel and a fixed throat parrel. There are also batten parrels. Still trying to work out the compromise between creases in the sail and too much tension on the Hong Kong parrels.


The yards are 4 ½ inch X 3mm alloy tubes and the battens are all 50mm x 2mm alloy tubes. During our transatlantic passage the top sheeted batten on the main bent after a couple of involuntary gybes in strong winds, and then broke, otherwise they seemed strong enough.


We are often asked: Has she met our expectations? Actually when we bought her we had no expectations or dreams.  We wanted to try something different and she has definitely surprised us – by how well she sails and how comfortable she is at sea in rough conditions down below, we never strap up in the galley and we don't have lee cloths. While she can roll a bit when sailing down wind or in a rolly anchorage, she heels little and does not slam. She is fun to sail and is surprisingly manoeuvrable despite her long keel and 13 tons displacement. However Linda struggles with the 

big, heavy rig on her own and finds that the lovely spacious cockpit in harbour becomes very exposed at sea when the going gets rough.  


Pete Hill


Kokachin website has not been updated with the latest modifications to the rig and trim tab yet. Work in progress!

For an occasional Kokachin video on YouTube - link:   @kokachin-junkrig-bl3vl

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