Building 1: 1979-89
Building 2: 1998-00


The dream began with Shanachie’s builder and captain, Joe McKeown.

After earning a doctorate degree in dentistry from UCLA in 1971, he worked as the assistant director of the dental clinic at the LBJ Memorial Hospital in American Samoa in 1974. While there, he first met the Whiting family who had stopped in Pago Pago on their way sailing north from New Zealand. He fell in love with their boat, Tequila, designed by the late Paul Whiting for his father, D’arcy to sail in the Sydney-Hobart race of 1972. Joe also realized, then and there, that being outdoors and building large projects (like boats and houses)—as opposed to the miniature building projects that dentistry entails—would be, for him, a happier path full of the kind of adventure and exploration to which he had always been drawn.

Thus began Joe’s dream and vision to build his own boat, like Tequila, and eventually go blue water sailing himself.

Boatbuilding is well beyond the scope of this website. However, building Shanachie was such a huge part of Joe’s dream (definitely a road less taken) that we’ve included overview sections with photos of the original building project, Building 1: 1979-89, and, Building 2: 1998-00 which covers the story of later work and why it was done. (Both are also linked in the dropdown menu, above).

PHOTO ABOVE: Original line drawings by New Zealand yacht designer, Paul Whiting

PHOTO BELOW: Tequila today.

Tequila—Shanachie’s original sister ship
Tequila—Shanachie’s original sister ship