Project Manaia

A New Season and A New Boat

SY Waya Waya graphic

Saying Goodbye to the SY Independence

Here at Project Manaia, we are always excited to see the start of a new season of research, but this year is extra special as we have a brand new sailboat. 

As the complexity of our projects increases, what we need from our boat changes as well, so sadly we have grown out of the SY Independence. Core crew member, Pinar Marinelli tells us the issues they were having.

‘With our previous boat, SY Independence, we were having great seasons but we realised that space was an issue. We had many applicants wanting to join us onboard and had a long waiting list for that reason. It was personally and also professionally necessary to upgrade what we had. We wanted to host small university groups with professors to run their own research and also have more independent researchers and their teams onboard.’

Pinar and Manual live on board all year round and they had another, more personal reason, for wanting a bigger boat.

‘We live and work onboard and welcome researchers, in a way, into our own home. We wanted to have a bigger family in the future, so that was the other reason for the need to upgrade.’

Finding the Waya Waya

SY Waya Waya

After a lot of research, hard work and emotional upheaval, the Project Manaia team found the ideal boat. The SY Waya Waya is a Joubert 21 meter schooner rigged steel sailboat with two equally long masts. She is able to cross the ocean and is equipped for ice navigation.

‘We needed at least 10 beds and there were only two options in the Mediterranean area. Firstly, we went to see an Israeli flagged boat in Turkey and unfortunately it was a disaster. We still regret that decision. Second was the Belgium flagged boat, SY Waya Waya in France. She was ticking lots of boxes on our list such as size, solidly built steel in a good state, quality woodwork, 13 beds, big deck space and room to build new storage to fit our needs.’

Pinar explains how the Waya Waya has some unexpected advantages.

‘She was built in France in 1987 and renovated in 2010 by the previous owner who wanted to run sailing and diving expeditions with people in a wheelchair. That is why she has a wide flat deck inside and out and elevators to enter the boat. Right now she does not have a platform in the stern of the boat. This was the missing part when we got the boat, but we are going to fit a hydraulic platform in the future.’

Customising the Waya Waya

For all its advantages the SY Waya Waya still needs work. She has one large bathroom/toilet, a 500lt water tank, 2.3 ton fuel tank, 13 sails and 13 beds, but is not a finished boat. The decision was made to invest the time and money into customising it for Project Manaia’s work. Core crew member, Manuel, has built a second bathroom and toilet in the common area, because with the potential of 13 people onboard the team will need it. They’ve added a cabinet to house all the recycling machines and everything related to it, but storage was still a huge problem. Pinar explains the changes that are to come.

‘If you check the boat plan you will see that after the bathroom in the front there is a chain locker which has lots of storage space, so Manuel installed shelves for our recycling bins and extra sails (did I mentioned that she has 13 sails and we can only use seven of them at the same time). The bathroom also has a cabinet now for sheets etc. and a hanger for wetsuits. We’ve also recently got a diving compressor. We might add more fittings for masks and fins too. It is still in progress and so far everything is about the woodwork.’

More water tanks have been installed as well as more batteries, solar panels and an inverter/charger so the boat can be self sufficient at sea all the times. The cable system has been upgraded and a water maker will follow shortly. Pinar says,

‘We want to be able to vanish off the grid for extended periods of time – with food the only limit’.

Launching the Waya Waya

All these projects will be finalised in April before the season starts and whilst the boat is ready to go on expeditions the team are trying to make her as comfortable, efficient and functional as possible. Manuel and Pinar still have a long list.

‘So more storage, a library and custom shelfs have been added already. A small laboratory area, more storage options and the “IT-corner” are still on the To Do list. But that being said, we always love to hear from participants about what it is they would like to have on board. We’ve learned a lot over the last years of running these expeditions, but we are still happy to learn .’

When Manuel founded Project Manaia, he wanted to provide an affordable research platform for independent researchers, nonprofits, universities and other organisations. They continue to work in this direction as the target market hasn’t changed. 

Growing with the Waya Waya

Pinar explains the advantages of the new boat.

‘We can host more people and this allows us to work with university groups or bigger research groups. And size is also a factor for the speed of the boat. With Waya Waya we can extend our range, increase our speed, which also means we will be able to cover more ground within a season. And as we are able to host more researchers at the same time, we can work a lot more efficiently and focus on different projects at the same time.

While we were able to get a lot done on Independence already, we will be able to be a lot more efficient with the new boat, and also have a chance to continue growing and upgrading equipment and fitting out the vessel in the future.’

Interview with Pinar Marinelli from Project Manaia, written by Caroline Anderson for Project Manaia, March 2023

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