Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Dix 38 Pilot "Spailpin" Antarctic Voyage

The yacht "Spailpin" is a steel Dix 38 Pilot, owned and skippered by Barry Kennedy. She is currently in the Antarctic, on her second voyage to that wild and very remote part of our world.

She was built in South Africa by Luke Fisher as his family cruiser, named "Bryana". He competed in the 1700 mile Governors Cup Race from South Africa to St Helena Island in 2012, with his wife and two teenage children as crew. Barry Kennedy bought her from Luke, renamed her "Spailpin" and made upgrades to ready her for more vigorous sailing adventures than she had done with Luke and family.
As "Bryana, when Luke Fisher owned her.
Wikipedia defiles a spailpin as a wandering landless labourer, an itinerant or seasonal farm worker in Ireland. Others also offer a rascal or layabout as alternatives. Seeing where she is now and how hard she and Barry have worked to be there, I don't think that the "layabout" handle will fit. That said, she did hang out for most of 2019 in the Falkland Islands between her two voyages.
"Spailpin" hanging out in the Falkland Islands this year.
Prior to her Antarctic voyage a year ago, Barry and "Spailpin" cruised the fjords of Patagonia. These photos are from that voyaging to some of the most incredible scenery in the world.

Look carefully and you will see "Spailpin" in the middle of that sea of ice.

Moored to ice.
Serene but very cold near to the bottom of the world.
Two weeks ago Barry and I exchanged emails when "Spailpin" was in port in Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southern city in the world. Barry was preparing and stocking her for her voyage back to Antarctica while waiting for two crew to join him. Since then they have reached Antactica and are anchored in the sheltered waters of Enterprise Island.
Wind patterns over the Southern Ocean on Christmas Day 2019, showing the track of "Spailpin" from Ushuaia, at the top, to her location at the red dot, at Enterprise Island.
Their crossing last year was very rough. This year they had much calmer weather, with only a few hours of gales. When passing Cape Horn it was calm enough for them to anchor and go ashore to visit the lighthouse and memorial. You can follow the travels of "Spailpin" at

See more about the Dix 38 Pilot and our other designs on our main website or our mobile website.


  1. This is a blog to watch for sure. I think you have a really awesome writing style by the way. Very easy to read. Your blog design is so clean too! Thank you all the hard work!

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  2. Good Day Barry. We first made contact on HAM Radio when you were sailing up to St Helena. We lost contact on radio ,conditions very poor but every morning and afternoon I checked your position and followed you to Virginia and looks like you just missed that tropical . I am glad you and crew are safe.You were the talk in SA on Maritime mobile weather-Net. I send you some messages on F/Book .I am still doing the weather on 14.316 USB everyday.
    Anyway Barry take it easy and hopefully we will speak again.
    Best Regards Kelvin Killian
    South African ZS5IW 73 Barry take care.

    1. Hi Kelvin, I don't know if Barry watches this blog, so I have forwarded your message to him by email.

      Dudley Dix