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.