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Stratosphere Found

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The Napier built C2 ?? was called Double Vision. Was built by a fibreglass factory called Tropicana Fibreglass who mainly build pools and the like. The owner Trevor Cambell obtained the moulds from DB (he told me he bought them). Trevor was extremely scathing about the quality of the moulds, I think he epected to be able to mould a complete hull from one mould not make half a dozen pieces and have to stick them together. The boat was as someone said above overweight as it was built using a chopper gun. But it did have balsa core in the cabin top. It also had two volvo diesels in it.

It was fast by Napier standards holding an unofficial record for the Napier to Gisborne race. I think the time was around 7hours but I am not sure now. Trevor sold it overseas, I thought Florida and delivered her across the Pacific and through Panama Canal. The trampolines were a pulp dewatering fabric (like tough nylon fabloc with smaller holes), which I know beause I gave them to Trevor, I worked at the local pulpmill at the time and had a couple of the fabrics and was building my Tennant Firebird (for the first time) at the same time.


Rgd Timb

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I found the following online on a cruising log circa 1983.(http://www.michaelandnorma.com/cera_part2.html).

Christmas Island


Our guide introduced himself as Rieb, from Holland. He had been skipper of the wrecked catamaran, “Stratosphere”. With owner and crew aboard, the cat had lost both centreboards and rudders on passage from Panama; out of food and water, they had finally been driven over the reef ashore on Christmas Island. Rieb had stayed with the boat, with the intention that he should repair and, if possible, refloat her.

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Ah ha, I was sure she'd done a fair few miles inc up to the US via Tahiti, which was her 1st trip, before she must have ended up there.


The night before leaving drinkies was an epic affair. 2 got grabbed by the constabulary for stopping and having a piss off the top of the harbour bridge in the very wee hours. One being a well known local sailmaker.

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NZL521, did you get anymore information from Rieb about why they lost all their foils on Stratosphere, presumably as they came over the reef but maybe earlier if they had been drifting around out of water and food. Strat would have been a bastard to sail without appendages. I believe the daggers and rudders were foam core and laid up in a female mould. If snapped they'd be hard to bodgy up. I sailed against Stratosphere in the Bay of Islands when I had Supplejack. Gordon had problems with mainsail falloff and couldn't seem to counter get it; therefore she didn't point very well and we beat her.

Hey Squid fisherman, we're not squabbling, just want to get the record straight.

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Email received today from David Barker


Hi Phil,


Thanks for forwarding photos of STRATOSPHERE on Christmas Island. Also for giving information of the catamaran's history.


The yacht was 18m overall and was built by Gordon Miller on his farm near Warkworth. She was sold in Florida to a new owner who lost her en-route the Pacific to the Philippines.

STRATOSPHERE left Honolulu and found anchorage inside the Christmas Island lagoon. She was left to unattended to drift back onto the inside of the reef.


A realistic (substantially financed) plan to salvage the catamaran, then almost entirely undamaged, was proposed by a Honolulu businessman via me. However the proposal was refused both by the owner and his insurers. She was, as you know from the same mould as SUNDREAMER. This may be of interest to the team that have just noticed her.


best regards




PS: This summer we must sail together!



On 2010-09-07, at 1:40 AM, Philip Hart wrote:


Hi all


the boat is stratosphere. she was built in the late 70's. and was sailed in NZ for several years before sailing to the USA where she was sold. She was subsequently wrecked


I have copied this and the original email to the designer, David Barker


I own her sisterhip Sundreamer.


There is an article on Stratosphere along with drawing on my website. www.sundreamer.co.nz


This is very exciting, she looks almost intact





Philip Hart

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You're probably right, as I mentioned above Trevor didn't place much value on them and if SD is correct (or was it coxcreek?) he never paid DB for them, so they will have been dumped. I had a poke around the back of what was Tropicana Fibreglass a couple of years ago but they were not obvious. Double Vision was moulded after Sundreamer but built like Stratosphere with vertical hulls .... and very blunt bows I thought.



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So who here has spent an hour or so coasting around Christmas island in their macroscope, er... I mean google earth, on the chance of spotting Stratosphere?



unsucessfully but man.. what an interesting place.

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I've carefully circulated Christmas Island twice with G earth ... seen a couple of sort of straight lines ... but pretty certain they weren't Stratosphere. There is some cloud over some areas, maybe she is hidden there. It would be good to know roughly what position Strat landed on the island, N, S, E, or W - anyone have ideas?

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Is Christmas Island correct, the one in the India ocean or is there another in the Pacific?


From the photos there appears to be flat land all round the boat, but Christmas Island is mainly cliffs and not many beaches.


Just read the article again, there is something fishy Christmas Islands is not 660 miles from the Cooks.


"Christmas Island

The conditions we faced during this passage were being spawned by one of nature’s most malignant children, El Nino. The world would later learn that the 1982-83 El Nino caused countless millions of dollars-worth of damage; the trade winds stopped, ocean currents reversed as warm water swilled from the western Pacific to the east, tropical storms raked French Polynesia and violent seas destroyed parts of the north American west coast. And although we could know none of all this at the time, we were soon to experience at first hand just how much El Nino could change a tiny atoll in the central Pacific, and thus give us perhaps the worst few days of our voyage that far.


It had been a rotten passage from the start, as I have just recounted. So we hungered for landfall and a safe haven, which we expected to find at Christmas Island, one of the Line Island group just north of the equator and now part of the Republic of Kiribati. We knew that good friends of ours had been there a couple of months before, and had found good protection adjoining the main settlement, in the deep anchorage shown in our chart and reached from the outer lagoon through a seven-foot deep channel. This would be just passable for our draft, we hoped.


Six days and 660 miles out of Penrhyn, we approached Christmas Island with even more than our usual caution. The Pacific Ocean chart has “low and dangerous” printed under its name; the chart of the island itself warns of two-knot west-going currents, suggests that the Bay of Wrecks on its eastern shore is “very dangerous”, and records the position of several sunken vessels scattered round the reef. And as further signal reminders to take care, two recently-wrecked yachts lay high, dry and clearly visible on our approach to the fringing reef. One was a ketch we had visited in New Zealand, and the other was a supersonic-looking racing catamaran. On final approach the towering clouds cleared as we closed the coral on the west side of the island, and the wide pass through it was made only slightly awkward by a steep westerly swell.


Christmas Island is the largest island of purely coral formation in the world, partially enclosing in its northern part a large but mostly very shallow lagoon. Just inside the lagoon we handed sails and made ready to anchor, before venturing further and searching for the channel into the anchorage off the village called London. We could see none of the channel markers shown on the detailed Admiralty chart of Christmas Island, but there was nothing strange or unusual about that; few islanders in remote Pacific atolls bother to maintain markers set by their colonial forebears. To our dismay, we found the waters of the lagoon to be as opaque as milk; there could be no conning by eye. So we were relieved to see a little inflatable skimming out towards us. “Great, we exclaimed; “someone’s coming to show us the way in”.


The little boat zoomed alongside. “How much do you draw?” yelled its European driver. “Two metres”, we replied. “Sorry, there’s no way you can get through the channel. It’s been silted in by these westerlies; a whole sand island beside it has just disappeared!”


Norma and I exchanged miserable glances. Oh, no. We were tired, and now frustrated. Would we have to go straight back to sea?


“I can show you a place to anchor further in, just at the end of the channel, if you like?” “Great. Come aboard and guide us. Thanks a lot”. This alternative would mean we were still a long way from shore, but far closer than we were now, and maybe out of the worst of the swell. In we groped and on the way our guide showed us where the channel had been, as a Gilbertese canoe glided out.


Our guide introduced himself as Rieb, from Holland. He had been skipper of the wrecked catamaran, “Stratosphere”. With owner and crew aboard, the cat had lost both centreboards and rudders on passage from Panama; out of food and water, they had finally been driven over the reef ashore on Christmas Island. Rieb had stayed with the boat, with the intention that he should repair and, if possible, refloat her."


:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:


Kiritimati / Christmas Island / Kiribati

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