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A sense of adventure

A sense of adventure

Tenaz (40m, Pendennis/1996)

A year-long cruise through the Indian Ocean, via the Far East, and on to Australia proved that having a young family is no barrier to global adventure. For the owners of the Dubois-designed sloop Tenaz, it was a chance for their three daughters – aged 9, 10 and 12 – not to miss a year of school, but rather to enhance their education.

‘We had a crew of six and a married couple to tutor our girls,’ say the owners, ‘and alongside the adventures, the girls went to school, with formal lessons in the morning covering the regular subjects of maths, English, languages and the sciences.

‘In addition they did regional modules to learn about the area we were exploring – the culture, languages, geography and history. Often a dive or a visit ashore would be thrown in, adding so much to the rich learning they were getting throughout the year.’

There was also a further module for the girls: IMO Competent Crew, with sea time, of course. In this they had a special role model in Amy, the lady captain of Tenaz.

Halfway through their voyage, they were in the Maldives, and from here _ Tenaz _set sail for Thailand, the family’s first taste of Asia. ‘We were delighted by the friendliness and energy of the local people,’ they say. ‘At a sail loft a group of Thai women flaked, rolled and carried our 400kg mainsail like a group of butterflies moving a stone.’

From the Andamans, they returned to the Asian coastline before heading south for the Straits of Malacca – for centuries feared for its pirates – which now provides a demanding revision course in night pilotage thanks to the heavy traffic of everything from small fishing boats to aircraft carriers.

Singapore was the crew’s last contact with city life for four months; shortly afterwards Tenaz reached latitude 0. From this point on the plan was to get as far from modern life as possible.

In Borneo there was a wonderful opportunity to get close to orang-utans, and a reliable tender made many adventures possible, such as a lengthy trip up the Amut River to stay overnight at a Dyak village where they received an enthusiastic welcome that gradually turned into an all-night party.

The longest non-stop passage was from Sorong to the Solomon Islands which took 12 days and enabled everyone on board, including the girls, to stand watches.

After visiting Vanuatu, four more days of brisk sailing brought the Tenaz to Brisbane, where she glided up the river at dawn, completing a deeply satisfying voyage of discovery that lasted a full year.

Tenaz was joint winner of the inaugural Voyagers Award in 2010.

Originally published: March 2011

Images courtesy of Christian Fevrier/Bluegreenpictures.com, S/Y Tenaz, S/Y Red Dragon, Max Cumming, S/Y Shenandoah of Sark, Teresa, Resare-Jaffe, Andy Brown, Luke Feeney, M/Y Sense

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