Last updated 10/16/02.
Rafiki means "Friend" in Swahili and is the name of a line of sailboats designed by Canadian Naval Architect Stan Huntingford. Built in Taiwan in the 70's, the Rafiki line consisted of the R-35 model like ours, and the R-37, a deep draft cutter rigged model. There were 32 of the R-35 model imported into the U.S. and about 50 of the R-37.
Horizon is our Rafiki 35, a mast-head sloop sailboat. She is 34' 10" on deck, has a beam of 10' 10" and a draft of 5' even. Her as-built displacement was 17,000 lbs but her last measured cruising weight was 23,000 lbs which gives some idea of her voluminous storage space. As you can see from the photos, Horizon has lots of teak inside which makes her feel very comfortable and cozy.
Constructed of fiberglass, her hull is molded in a lapstrake style with curlicues on her bows reminiscent of Choy Lees for which she is often mistaken. Double skinned throughout, her hull is Airex cored and her cabin top is cored with end-grain cork. Unlike her R-37 cousins with canoe sterns, the R-35 series have a flat transom. On deck, 8" gunnels all around improve safety at sea and 10 opening portholes give good ventilation. She has a low profile which reduces windage but makes for somewhat wetter passages. A decent dodger is a must for the R-35!
I am her second skipper having purchased her in February 1988 in Alameda, California. It was an estate purchase however, and unfortunately most of her original paperwork was unavailable. So far as we can tell though, Horizon was born in 1978 at the Ta Shing Yacht Building Co., Ltd., Taiwan, ROC and, like most of the Rafiki line, was commissioned in Alameda, California.
Horizon is hull #12 and we were lucky to have met many of her sister ships while sailing San Francisco Bay. One of the first we met was Loren and Hillary of Galatea, hull #16. They left to go cruising 2 years before we did and we finally caught up with them in the Sea of Cortez. Unfortunately, they have since retired from the cruising life.