La Chica's Story
La Chica is a Tahiti Ketch designed in 1932 by American John Hanna of Dunedin Florida, who like myself was also deaf. Being deaf he was often bad tempered and was known to have a vitriolic pen. He often crossed swords with L. Francis Herreshoff in the yachting press. If you look at the boats Hanna designed verses what Herreshoff did you will see that their philosophies were quite different. Hanna's Tahiti Ketch was one of the dreamboats of her time, it is believed that over 700 where built worldwide with most of the boats being built in the states. Of the 700 at least 15 are known to have circumnavigated and most of them have left books behind to tell the tale. This is a remarkable record by any standard.
Well when it came to my turn to fulfill my life's dream and build my own boat, there was only one boat for me, a Tahiti Ketch it had to be. La Chica was built over four years from 1989 to 1993. Sometimes working full time and sometimes not. She was the first boat I personally built and she was, and still is, a labor of love.
The Cutter rig did not work out, as she carried to much weatherhelm on a reach and the Monitor wind vane could not steer her. She was converted back to a Ketch in St. Martin in 1995, one not very different from what Hanna gave the original but she still sports over 650 Sq.Ft. of sail. She also has proved not to be slow having averaged over a distance 14 000 sea miles 4.5 Knots, all of it in superb comfort owing to her truly lovely motion.
La Chica has confirmed the reputation of the originals and is a superb sea boat. In all respects, I remain truly happy with her.
If the above sounds like an accolade to my boat - it is.
After more than 14 000 deep sea miles, under all weather conditions, I am well satisfied with my boat La Chica, and to John Hanna - Thank you!
Note - As of January 2004, La Chica is being converted to the Chinese Junk Rig. More details will be following.
La Chica - General details
La Chica is a re-design (for steel) of John Hanna's Tahiti Ketch. Her vital statistics are as follows :
L.O.D 31' 11 " L.W.L 27' 9 "
Beam - 10' 4 "
Draught - 5' 2 "
Displacement - 17 500 lbs.
Ballast - 4 500 lbs.
Material - Hull & Deck are steel
Rig - Junk Rig Schooner
Sail Area - Total 685 Sq.ft. Main 407 Sq.ft. Foresail 278 Sq.ft.
Spars - Main and Fore mast are steel
Engine - Vetus M3.10 - 22 HP
Propeller - 17 x 12 self-feathering Kiwi Feather Prop
La Chica is a very traditional type, a heavy displacement, long keel design that is very similar to Sahaili, the boat in which Sir Robin Knox-Johnston did the first single-handed nonstop circumnavigation in the 1968-69 Times Golden Globe. Her chief advantage over Sahaili is that being built of steel, she is considerably tougher.