A bit about Distant Drummer



Distant Drummer in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu in 2016

Distant Drummer is a Liberty 458 built at the Shin Fa yard in 1984. Some mystery surrounds the provenance of the hull of the boat and the question of who designed it is open to interpretation but the story we like goes something like this:



Liberty 458 with a cutter rig and a 3/4 keel and skeg

The Kelly Petersen 44 was an enormously successful yacht built at the Shin Fa yard in the early eighties. After some dispute between Jack Kelly and the yard the mould for the KP44 hull was ordered to be destroyed. Sometime later the mould was resurrected and the design extended by a German company. The new 46’ hull went in to production asa  Delta 46 for the German charter boat market.



Our boat has a wider bed in the aft cabin and the portside chairs have been replaced by a couch

In the meantime another couple of designers Peter and Jo Hoyt had bought a Formosa 47, also built in Taiwan, and had taken it to Seattle. Although it was it was badly constructed it was a great design and everybody loved it. Peter and Jo redesigned the interior of the Formosa 47 and went back to the Shin Fa yard to see if they had a hull that it would fit.



Sailing our new toy in Phang Na Bay, Phuket

And so the Liberty 458 was born from an extended 44’ hull and a much reduced 47’ interior! Distant Drummer is one of only thirty one yachts built to this specification before the designers were at it again. They extended the hull (and the interior) to create a 49’ boat of which thirteen were made before production finally ground to a halt.

Our boat is hull number 7 but did not start life as Distant Drummer. She was launched as Yvern, then changed to Nightwatch and she was finally named Distant Drummer by her third owner.



Sitting warm and dry behind our new dodger built in Nelson, NZ

We bought her in Phuket in March 2006. In fact we found her in Phuket but actually bought her in Langkawi, a nearby Malaysian duty-free island. The return journey to Phuket was not without incident, first of all we “parked” her on a coral bombie at Ko Rok Nai (known to us as Ko Rok Thud). We managed to kedge her off then the next day, as we were approaching Yacht Haven in Phuket, we ran aground again on a sand bank and had to wait for the tide to lift us off.



Distant Drummers new owners, March 2006.

Since that ignominious start we have sailed about 22,000NM, we have wended our way through SE Asia, criss-crossed the Tasman Sea three times and traversed the Pacific from New Zealand in the SW to Alaska in the NE. Distant Drummer is a great boat to sail and a lovely home. Neither she nor we are greyhounds but we move at our own speed which is in tune with the weather and the seasons.

  1. Brooke Bolin’s avatar

    Hello – I found your through your article in Sail magazine. It was a great read! Just over two years ago my wife and I purchased a Liberty 458. We have hull #6 Charissa. I sailed her up from San Fransisco to Anacortes where we live. After sailing her around for the last couple years we are starting her restoration. I would be interested in what equipment you have found you love and what you didn’t need over the years. Anything specific to the Liberty that would be helpful to our retrofit would incredible information to learn. Our five year plan is to sail the west cost and South Pacific for 5-10 years. Thank you in advance for any insight you can share. On a side note there is another Liberty 458 in Anacortes, hull #1. I have yet to find the owner.



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