Cruising Profiles:

Homebuilt Steel 35'


Skippers: Dan and Joan Shepard

Vital Statistics:

Cruising History

Fascination with the sea must have started early in life - Dan's father was a lighthouse keeper on some of the most rugged and remote coastal areas of New Zealand. He learned that self-sufficiency was the rule not the exception. So, it was natural for him to develop into a first class mechanical engineer and boatbuilder on New Zealand's South Island.

'Golden Legend' is a 35 foot Steel sloop built over a period of 11 years. In 1983 Dan and Joan set sail for the islands of Fiji and beyond. Dan's skill brought him into contact with lots of folks who needed things repaired! Yacht skippers and 'locals' all sought his expertise. Golden Legend entered Pelicula Bay on the island of Espiratu Santo (Vanuatu) in 1984 - a picturesque paradise of white sand beaches, beautiful blue and turquoise water, and few inhabitants.

During World War I I, the island became an important staging area for the push north into Guadalcanal, and both the American and Kiwi forces built airfields here. After the war, the small town of Luganville became the center of commerce on the island. Commerce in this case means 'coconuts', 'fish', 'beef', and some wood products. Industry has machinery. Machinery breaks down. And, Dans' reputation preceeded him. No sooner had the anchor gone down, than someone on the beach was inviting Dan and Joan for a 'drink' and 'could you take a look at my ...' Eight years later ( ! ) when for a brief moment in time when everything on the island was working, they were ready to raise the anchor again.


In 1995, 'Golden Legend' set sail from Darwin Australia heading north to Indonesia - a place that we don't hear very much about. Here's what they report:

"We had heard all sorts of storied about pirates, etc. But we found the people to be great, friendly and helpful. Each island has different people and different sorts of boats; most of them are fishermen. Their villages were very overcrowded, with the biggest building being the Mosque. If we happened to anchor too close, then we were awakened at 4:30 in the morning by some very loud chanting."

"Banda Island is very small, but very rich in history. Fort Belgica was built in 1609 by the Dutch. We were able to climb around inside and out. Ther is also some great snorkelling off the ialand and we managed to keep ourselves busy there for over a week."

Boat Building without Power Tools or Plans?

"Bone Rane is another interesting place - especially if you are a boat builder. There are about 100 boats being built on the beach ranging from 20 feet in length to over 80 feet. And, there are NO electric power tools! All of the wood is hand sewn and planed - then fastened by wooden dowels. The frames are natually bends. All of the boats just grow without plans, but they make beautiful jobs of them!"

Real Dragons!

"We visited 'Ringi Island National Park' which is the home of the Komodo Dragons. These dragons are huge, 4 meter long meat-eating lizards! They live on wild goats, pig, deer, small grey monkeys, and according to our guide, the occasional yachtie!"

Local Industries

"Lombok Island had all sorts of hand craft factories - weaving, cane baskets, pottery. Everyone seems to be able to make something. We hired a motorbike and explored this beautiful place full of rice fields and waterfalls. One side of the island is rich and green, the otherside is dry and barron."

"Then we got to Bali. Very Touristy (and probably the destination for all of those Lombok Island handcrafts). Bali is very crowded - 3 million people all trying to make a living from the tourist, one way or the other. Bartering is a way of life, if they won't sell to you at the price you want to pay, just go to the next shop and get it for even less!"


"Night sailing here keeps one on edge. Thunderstorms. Small fishing boats with no lights (they shine a small white light at the last possible moment if you get close). A large amount of very large shipping. Plus, about 180 foreign yachts - all heading for Puhket, Thailand for Christmas. The winds are light. Diesel is cheap (about 20 cents U.S. per litre ). So we do a lot of motoring."


Nothing 'really' dangerous has happened to us. Early on in our crusing career we did lose our mast when the forestay parted, but that was more of an inconvenience than a disaster. We patched it up in Suva, Fiji and things have been fine ever since.


'Golden Legend' was one of the participants in the original study of marine electronic failures. Over the last three and a half years, Dan's electronics have been protected by a STO.P Protector. There have been no power-induced failures since it was fitted!

CONTACT: Dan and Joan can be reached via email at GOLDEN LEGEND

Disclaimer: The above is not necessarily the opinion of Arretec, nor any of its associated Distributors, Dealers and Resellers.

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