Kanui & Russell setting off on their travels from Alaska

Kanui & Russell setting off on their travels from Alaska

V106 Kainui was another Cheoy Lee Vertue, built in Hong Kong in 1960.  She was originally owned by Brian Lowe  (apparently still living at 102 in 2013), then by Peter Kinsey (who now owns a steel Giles custom design doing charters out of Fiji), then Russell Heath and now Steven Garrand, who keeps her in Belfast, Maine, USA.

Russell Heath wrote to me in May 2016 to give me some of her back-story, which I reckon deserves entry to the Vertue Hall of Fame!

In the Cheoy Lee Association web site, Russell wrote:

Kainui and I sailed from Juneau, Alaska in 1985 and completed a four year, 37,000 mile circumnavigation.K J Grid3

When I left Juneau, I had sailed all of two weekends and hadn’t a clue what I was doing; I was, however, in good hands – Kainui’s – and she never let me down. In the trades our noon-to-noons averaged 130 miles, her best day was 154 (she did not have an inboard and so had no prop to drag). She was a bit slow to weather but she could take a beating that would have pounded other boats to bits.
Kainui was Cheoy Lee built in 1960 and the yard did a fine job — my only complaints were the iron floors fastened with copper rivets which caused some galvanic rot in the ribs and her chain plates, which were doubled 1/4″ mild steel . They had completely rotted out when I reached Australia — scraping off the rust scale with a chisel one day, I poked a hole clean thru the port plate. I replaced them with 5/16″ stainless steel plates that were mounted on the exterior of the hull.

Sighting the Pitcairn Islands, after crossing the Pacific from Equador

Sighting the Pitcairn Islands, after crossing the Pacific from Equador

I sold her in 1992 and her new owner has rebuilt her from the hull up. He and his sweetie hope to take her off shore sometime in the next few years.


Russell started his journey in Alaska, with no motor or electrics aboard, using only a sextant for navigation.  He initially, unexpectedly had severe sea-sickness, which improved as he sailed down the West coast of America, to Equador.  He then struck out west, crossing the Pacific and managing to pinpoint the Pitcairn Islands, which are only 1 mile wide, using only a sextant.  From there, he travelled to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand.  Fiji14


On the crossing to Australia, he encountered a severed storm, and was Kainui was knocked down while he was below sleeping, causing damage to the coachroof and deck, so he had to repair her extensively in Australia, where he met the original owner and her builder,  Brian Lowe.



He then continued across the North Coast of Australia, to Sri Lanka and India, crossing the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, up the Mediterranean, and across the Atlantic back to Maine.

Kainui's Haslar Vane

Kainui’s Haslar Vane









IN 2013, Russell gave an excellent talk at the New York Exporer’s Club about his journey – I highly recommend taking the time to listen to it; he’s a truly great speaker:

There is a slightly different ending to his story which he has also uploaded below, as he felt the Explorer’s Club talk was cut a but shorter than he would have liked – so this version below provides a better ending: