About Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III

Shuten-dohji II off the coast of Capetown, South Africa in 1990

Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III is a 56-foot steel-hulled cutter-rigged sloop designed and built in Hawaii in 1989. Originally named “Peregrine,” she had been on the market for some time in Honolulu, and was one of several steel-hulled vessels under consideration by the boat search committee headed by Saito-san.

Thanks to a generous donation by the Nicole Group of Companies, the vessel could be acquired and was renamed “Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III.” Further donations and sponsor support, with strong volunteer help, allowed her to be given a total refit for the planned westward voyage.

“Shuten-dohji” is a name taken from a popular Japanese folk tale and used for a succession of yachts sailed by Saito-san. During the BOC and Around Alone races, the other racers jokingly referred to Shuten-dohji II as “Shoot Your Doggy.”

The vessel was professionally surveyed in Hawaii and pronounced “seaworthy” after a number of improvements, and sailed to Auckland where she underwent extensive modifications.

Upgrades in Hawaii, Auckland, and Yokohama over 12 months included:

All new navigation equipment, including wind instruments, GPS, radar, depth sounder, and automatic locator beacon.

New, lighter but more powerful diesel engine

New drive train, packing box, shaft brake

Taller and stronger mast, with retractable mast steps

Mast stepped to the keel

New, longer and stronger boom

Addition of double running backstays

Heavy-duty “big boat” traveler system for boom

All new winches

Heavier and better placed rigging for improved mast support

Top-rated “survival” quick-release life raft for bluewater use

Bilge pumps for all compartments, both automatic and hand-operated

New Spectra mainsail, considered the most durable sail fabric available

New storm jib, staysail, and genoa (with genoa replacement in Yokohama)

Small solar panel for emergency use

Hand-operated water maker and other emergency equipment

Iridium satellite phone (donated by ClearPoint, including daily comms time)

Inmarsat satellite phone (donated by JRC)

Single sideband radio

iPod-based sound system

New plumbing and manual-flush toilet

New ship’s batteries, redundant charging system (engine and 7.7 KW aux. generator), and new wiring

Reinforced hatches

Redundant hydraulic pumps for steering system

Modifications for single-handed sailing


Built: 1989 in Honolulu Hawaii, cutter-rigged (main, staysail, headsail)

Hull: Steel, full keel

Overall dimensions: 55'6" x 14' 5" x 6.0'

Gross tonnage: 43 tons

Displacement: 50,000 lbs.

Fuel capacity: 5,300 liters in four tanks

Max hull speed: 8 knots

Reefing: Roller (staysail and headsail), jiffy (main)