The Fyrstyx ex–Phinisi Ansar Bangsa: An Indonesian Heritage Vessel on the BC Coast

by Drew Clarke 2017

Fyrstyx

The Fyrstyx moored in Ganges Harbour alongside the Norking in 2014. (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

I recall that this vessel was part of the Expo ’86 Indonesian pavilion in Vancouver BC. She was shipped to Vancouver as raw teak lumber in two containers on a freighter and the vessel was built on site by Indonesian shipwrights using traditional construction techniques.

After the World’s Fair closed she was given to the Vancouver Maritime museum – an unwwanted and unplanned acquisition unrelated to their collection mandate. Apparently the vessel was quietly de–accessioned either by sale or gift. Her early ownership history seems to be unknown and she was not registered in Canada but perhaps was licenced.

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

After Expo the pretty little ship suffered through neglect from several owners and unknown to me she wound up at the head of Long Harbour. She sank several times filling with water. At this time she was owned by Enzo Ferrari who was unable to keep her maintained and afloat. After sinking several times and repeated visits to pump her out the the Coast Guard had had enough and decided to scuttle her.

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

I was asked if I’d like to accompany them for the sinking as they knew I was really into old boats. I think that they knew that I would ask them not to sink her which of course I did. When I looked at her I saw more than they did and convinced them to transfer the title to me. With my friend Rory Munroe we cleared out the garbage inside and removed all the white paint on the decks and hull. I used a floor polisher for the sanding of the decks.

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

We salvaged the mast and booms from the wreck of the Robertson II to create masts and booms. We put Cetol on the hull and decks and in no time she looked terrific. Her hull would pick up the sun and reflect off the water like fire in a most spectacular way off the huge teak hull. At sundown she put on an amazing show from reflection from her hull. Many people came to see her and were stunned at her beauty. Her original name was Phinisi Ansar Bangsa but we called her Fyrstyx (pronounced ‘fire sticks’.

The engine was a Gardner diesel which was badly misaligned with a haywire shaft and coupling system. The stainless shaft had snapped once before and been replaced. There was a 30’ disassembled teak vessel inside, as well a lot of teak lumber offcuts.

However, we did not get the standing rigging completely in place before a bad winter storm hit and the masts came down. There was little structural strength to support them and they were not part of the original build. After this I did not consider the vessel seaworthy enough for anyone to operate her on a voyage so I looked for an owner who had the interest to keep her together some other way.

Fyrstyx

Below decks in the Fyrstyx were spacious and comfortable for a live aboard. Rory Munroe lived there for more than two years after his tug boat, the Leslie Ann sank. (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Below decks in the Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Rory Munroe

Rory Munroe in the skiff. He deserves a lot of credit for what we achieved in saving the Fyrstyx from certain destruction. Rory and I are still working together now as partners in our new interest – prospecting. (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx under tow to the dock. (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

That’s me on the Fyrstyx in the hat, with my friend Ralph Blake following in the boat. (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

About one year ago she was acquired by a new owner from Alberta who had purchased 20 acres of land on Mount Maxwell. He had the vessel removed from the water, trucked to his property and placed in a trench there. The move was expensive but went well.

Fyrstyx

That’s me with my back to the camera watching the vessel being removed from the water, and placed on the trailer. (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

That’s me standing at the stern of the Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

The fellow in the blue T–shirt is Brian the new owner of the Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )

No longer strong enough to be truly seaworthy we took her to the top of Mt. Maxwell on Saltspring and installed her in a gravel filled trench where she is now a ship safe from all nasty fates as a mountain top retreat.

Fyrstyx

Fyrstyx (Photo from the Drew Clarke collection. )



To quote from this article please cite:

Clarke, Drew (2017) The Fyrstyx ex–Phinisi Ansar Bangsa: An Indonesian Heritage Vessel on the BC Coast. Nauticapedia.ca 2017. http://nauticapedia.ca/Gallery/Indonesian_boat.php

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