A Brief History
by Capt. Eric B. Forsyth


FIONA is a Westsail 42. My wife, Edith, and I saw the first hull of the series under construction at Costa Mesa, California in 1974. The salesman was very pressing and for a small deposit we arranged to have a hull delivered in 1975. We had sold our beloved Dutch boat, IONA, a couple of years before. On that boat we had cruised the Caribbean with our son Colin, then 3 years old, for 15 months in 1968-69. Both IONA and FIONA have the old-fashioned long keel of the genuine ocean cruiser and when Edith first saw the Westsail 42 on the stocks she exclaimed, “My God, another f-ing IONA!”. This is how FIONA got her name.

Our daughter Brenda arrived on the scene in 1971 and it was clear our cruising days were over for a while. When I saw the Westsail 42 I figured I could complete her in about 3 to 4 years. In fact it took 8 years; she was launched in 1983.

The interior is mostly mahogany and teak. The head liner and most bulkheads are made of white Formica glued to plywood. I added some structural re-inforcing in the form of 1 ½ inch diameter stainless steel poles between the hull and cabin top. These are also very handy to grab for when the boat rolls unexpectedly. The engine is an 85-hp Perkins diesel. The engine room is lined with 1/16 inch thick lead sheet for sound-proofing. There is an engine-driven cold-plate freezer . Eric originally built this using the compressor off a Chrysler Newport air conditioner but in 2004 he installed a 'Sea Frost' freezer kit which uses the newer R134A refrigerant. Electric power is generated while sailing by an alternator coupled to the propeller shaft.

Fiona rides at anchor in the San Blas Islands, Panama, March, 2007



Fiona -- Vital Statistics

LOA (Not including bow platform) 42' 9"
Clearance Length, Panama Canal 49'
LWL 37'
Beam 13'
Draft 6' 3"
Displacement, empty 37,000 lbs
Internal ballast (in keel) 11,000 lbs
USCG Net Tonnage 24 T
USCG Gross Tonnage 25 T
Sail Area, working Main 470 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Genoa Jib 500 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Staysail 150 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Storm Main 310 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Yankee Jib 280 sq. ft.
Sail Area, Spitfire Jib 40 sq. ft.
Engine Perkins, 85 horsepower
Fuel Capacity
xxxxxxxxCenter tank 85 gallons
xxxxxxxxPort tank 50 gallons
Water Capacity
xxxxxxxxPort tank 50 gallons
xxxxxxxxCenter tank 100 gallons
 xxxxxxxStarboard tank 50 gallons
Mast, Aluminum (deck stepped) 4 x 7.5" x 50 ft.
Air clearance 59 ft.
xxxxxxHeadstay and backstay 3/8" 1x19 stainless wire
xxxxxxForestay and 8 each shrouds 5/16" 1x19 stainless wire
Ground Tackle
xxxxxxChain 7/16" x 280 ft
xxxxxxFisherman Anchor 65 lbs
xxxxxxCQR Anchor 45 lbs
xxxxxxDanforth Anchor 45 lbs
xxxxxxDanforth Anchor 25 lbs


Fiona's Sailing History



Distance, Nautical Miles
May-Aug, 1983 Long Island, Block Island 271
Aug, 1983 Long Island to Bermuda and return 1,576
Oct, 1983 Long Island 144
July, 1984 Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, St Pierre and Miquelon 2,540
Aug, 1984 Block Island 46
Sept, 1984 Long Island 146
July-Aug, 1985 St. Martin, Virgin Islands, Bermuda 4,008
Aug, 1985 Block Island, Long Island 197
July-Aug, 1986 Azores, Bermuda 6,120
Sept, 1986 Block Island, Long Island 210
July, 1987 Bermuda and Maine 1,900
Sept, 1987 Block Island 45
Oct, 1987 Long Island 125
July-Aug, 1988 Caribbean and return to Long Island 4,530
July-Sept, 1989 Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Maine 3,014
June-Oct, 1990 South Pacific via Panama Canal 8,073
Nov 1991 -Apr 1992 South Pacific to Bermuda via Cape Horn 16,500
June-Aug, 1992 Bermuda, Block Island, Long Island 844
July-Sept, 1993 Newfoundland, St. Pierre & Miquelon, Maine 2,739
June-Sept, 1994 Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Is, Newfoundland, Labrador, Maine 3,332
July, 1995 -Sept, 1997 Circumnavigation of the globe via Panama and Suez Canals 38,183
July, 1998-May, 1999 Caribbean, Panama Canal, Chile , Antarctica, S. Africa 21,784
Sept-Oct, 1999 Maine 1,064
June, 2000-May, 2001 Newfoundland, Iceland, Spitsbergen, Norway, Scotland, Caribbean 14,761
Aug-Sept, 2001 Maine 963
June, 2002-Sept, 2003 Circumnavigation of the globe via Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn 32,869
June, 2004-May, 2005 Ireland, Scotland, Baltic, England, Portland, Brazil, Falkland Islands 21,522
Aug-Sept, 2005 Maine 1,072
June, 2006-May, 2007 Canary Is, Brazil, Falkland Is, Antarctica, Chile, Peru, Panama, Bahamas 19,819
Sept, 2007 Maine 1,128
June, 2008-Oct, 2008 Azores, Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Maine 8,058
June, 2009-May, 2010 Greenland, Northwest Passage, Alaska, California, Mexico, Panama 16,333
July, 2011-April, 2012 Nova Scotia, Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, Brazil, Caribbean 12,513
Sept-Oct, 2012 Maine 910
July, 2013-May, 2014 Canaries, Cape Verdes Brazil, Uruguay, Falklands, S. Africa, Ascension, Caribbean 22,391
Sept, 2014 Maine 871


These distances are culled from eight successive logbooks. Failure of the distance log is not uncommon due to mechanical or electronic problems, or weeding. In this event the distance was calculated using GPS or Loran waypoints, which is always less than the distance actually sailed, thus the numbers are conservative.

Voyages, 1983 to 2007

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