1981 Pacific Seacraft Flicka, S/V Kawabunga!

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See how she sparkles?

When I finally set eyes on this little Pacific Seacraft Flicka, I thought it was one of the cutest boats I’d ever seen. Stout and rounded, a pretty shade of blue, with dainty details at the bow, her little snub nose tilted ever so slightly to the sky, this little boat tugged at her lines and started working her charms on me before I even stepped on board. If she’d had eyes, she would have batted her lashes at me. When I opened the companionway doors and looked inside the cabin, all I could think was, “Oh my gosh, this boat is adorable!”.

To be fair, if this boat were a person, she probably wouldn’t be too happy with that description. After all, ‘adorable’ is not generally the word one would use to describe a boat that is built well enough to take you safely and comfortably around the world in all kinds of seas. And yet, that’s what we have in this boat. We have this complete union of the opposites: a well built, well designed serious little boat that is completely cute. Sorry ‘Kawabunga’, you just can’t help yourself. You are Mighty Mouse incarnate. Sort of.

The second thing that hit me as I climbed down into the cabin was, ‘We should have bought a boat like this for Andrew’. Last summer we bought our son, Andrew, an Ericson  25 which he christened ‘Danger Kitten’. It’s a great little boat and he loves it. But even as I wrote the check for the purchase, I knew that ‘Danger Kitten’ was not going to take him to places like Alaska or Vancouver Island’s wild and wooly west coast. Very soon he is going to want to go further, and we will need to rethink that purchase. Oh, how I would love to have bought him this little Flicka, a 20 foot boat that considers itself a tiny ship.

She may be small, but she anchors with the big boys.

She may be small, but she anchors with the big boys.

This particular Flicka has had quite the experience in the South Pacific, so she is already well-proven, as though there would ever be any doubt that she could handle it. The owner of this boat wrote a book about her adventures: Kawabunga’s South Seas Adventure: Blue Water Cruising in a Twenty Foot Boat. I’m going to get this book for Andrew so I can read it. And he can begin dreaming about his next boat.

[amazon_image id=”0966647203″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Kawabunga’s South Seas Adventure: Blue Water Cruising in a Twenty Foot Boat (Microexplorer)[/amazon_image]

Inside the Flicka is spacious for such a small boat. There is good standing head room throughout the cabin, a result of the rounded ‘cuteness factor’ of her cabin top. To starboard there is a long settee that has storage underneath and behind the cushions. Bronze ports all open to give good ventilation and provide light. The companionway doors also have windows in them, which provide quite a bit of light into the cabin, light which reflects off the gleaming wood in the forepeak.

This is a boat that is built to go to sea on the big ocean. There are solid hatch boards for the companion way to use when out cruising. In addition, the anchor locker is completely sealed off from the rest of the boat. This is something that I pay a lot of attention to as we look at boats to replace our Cal 34. I can’t imagine being in big waves and having an anchor chain locker that opened to the interior of the boat. That seems to me like it’s asking for trouble. And yet most boats I’ve seen are made just that way.  Likewise, this boat has a sturdy anchoring system that even larger boats would do well to have.

 

Spacious and versatile interior.

Spacious and versatile interior.

On a boat this small, versatility is the name of the game and this boat is designed with that in mind. There is no bulkhead separating the cabin into sections, which makes the cabin feel very spacious. Privacy curtains are mounted such that when closed, the forward berth is enclosed. These curtains have seen better days but they would be cheap and easy to replace.

Privacy curtains become even more important when one realizes that the fully plumbed head (NOT a porta-potty, thank goodness) is situated at the front of the boat. Later models of this boat apparently were offered with an enclosed head, but that’s hard to find on a boat this size. With all cushions in place, the forward berth is large enough for two people to sleep comfortably, but with the head basically situated underneath the bed, this is not a boat for middle aged women unless they sleep alone. With cushions left out of the middle, the forward berth offers two nice singles, with that head fully accessible.

Another versatile thing in this cabin is the fold down table, which doubles as extra work space in the galley. Yep. There is a galley. It has a two burner alcohol stove, a deep icebox, a small sink and cabinets for storage. There is also storage underneath and behind the settee.

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It’s not often that you find what amounts to a regular galley in a boat this size. A little lemon oil would fix those cutting boards right up.

I noticed that the quarter berth, just aft of the galley, was stuffed full of sailbags. Indeed this little boat comes with a pretty full complement of sails, including a storm jib, storm trisail, genoa, and cruising spinnaker in addition to the main and roller furled jib. These owners did some serious sailing on this boat. There is even a drogue anchor should you need to slow down a bit in big seas.

This settee is long enough for a grown man to stretch out on and nap.

This settee is long enough for a grown man to stretch out on and nap. Notice the zippered headliner and windowed companionway doors.

The boat is a gem with a lot of experience under her hull, but will need some cleaning up and maybe some updating. The interior needs only a spit and a polish to be great just as it is. And she already has all the right ‘stuff’ like the solar panels, a gps, and even an autopilot.  This would be a perfect ‘first boat’ for someone, or would make an excellent small pocket cruiser for just about anyone. But if you have a young adult or older teenager in your family and you’ve been considering that they need a project as part of their ‘growing up’, you could do worse than to take a look at this little boat.

Her provenance is excellent. There is quality in every aspect of her from her stout hull to her convenient zippered headliner. She has many years more life in her and with her full keel, shallow draft, and newer engine, she could take you anywhere you want to go in the whole wide world. And you would definitely have the cutest boat in the bay!

This boat is available through Capital City Yachts, in Olympia, WA.

 

 

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