molds was the 57-foot Fine Romance. I joined Parkinson
and the owners in delivering her from Seattle to Victoria
on a foggy winter day and wrote about her in the
December 2001 issue of PMM. She was elegantly,
skillfully, and thoughtfully finished, a fruit of the
owners’ planning and the yard workers’ craftsmanship.
Fine Romance looks like Shamal’s big sister.
At 65 feet, Wanderbird is an even larger Royal
Passagemaker, launched several years later. Again the
result of design work by Monk and Marshall, she is the
much larger sister of Fine Romance and Shamal. The
woodworking skill of the Park Isle crew is evident in
the extensive mahogany cabinetry on Wanderbird.
I visited Wanderbird while she was under construction
and at a boat show but never spent time aboard under
way. She clearly was fitted for serious ocean cruising,
with paravane stabilizers and auxiliary sails. But I thought
her interior, finished according to the owner’s wishes,
was just too elegant.
Parkinson used traditional fiberglass layup techniques
to mold Fine Romance, but he went high tech with
the next Royal Passagemaker. Wanderbird was the
first boat he built using vacuum infusion for molding
On one visit to the Victoria-area yard to watch a
demonstration of vacuum infusion, then a relatively
unknown process in the Northwest, I found Parkinson
confident but a little nervous about using the new
technique on a grand scale. On a later visit, I saw
the perfectly molded hull and deckhouse of the
65-footer. It was a gamble, but Parkinson won, and
he successfully used the same process to build Shamal.
The entire hull of the 52 was infused at one time in a
female mold with vinyl ester resin. (Hulls built by the
traditional handlaid technique often are molded in two
pieces that are bonded together.) Shamal’s hull below the
waterline is solid fiberglass. Above the waterline it is
cored with 1-1/4-inch Corecell. The deckhouse and