BOB SADLER subsea engineer

cruising sailor

enthusiastic cook

hopeful fisherman 






A fifth generation European New Zealander, born New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1950 - a fully paid up baby boomer.


I attended New Plymouth Boy's High School and then Massey University where I graduated Bachelor of Science. I later obtained a Diploma of Engineering. My interests during those days were, in no particular order: fishing, free-diving/spear-fishing, surfing and drinking beer.


During my university years I qualified as a scuba instructor.


I dropped out of university for a year and went to the Chatham Islands working as a paua (abalone) and crayfish (spiny lobster) diver for one of the local fishing companies. The Chathams are an island group about 400Nm off the east cost of NZ?s South Island. They have weather more like the UK's Shetland Islands than any tropical paradise that might be imagined. I found out from National Geographic a couple of years ago that they also have the one of the greatest concentrations known of great white sharks.


Post-graduation I worked briefly in New Zealand while saving to go overseas and then in 1975 headed for Los Angeles and attended the Commercial Diving Center in Wilmington (top end of LA harbor basin). I graduated from CDC with a Professional Diver's Diploma. These CDC courses aimed at providing working divers for the offshore oil industry rather than for tourism or sport related activities.


One of the high points of the CDC period was the time spent training - as part of the Emergency Medical Technician course - with the paramedics at the fire station in Hollywood. It was, to say the least, a bit of a culture shock going from the rural idyll of NZ to the mean streets of central LA - we students worked with the night shift.


After CDC I went to Louisiana where I underwent further specialist training and then it was off to Brazil to work for Oceaneering do Brasil as a saturation diver and diving medic. Oceaneering was then the world's largest commercial diving company. We worked in depths down to 200m (650ft). This work for Petrobras - the national oil company - was predominantly in the Campos Basin, north east of Rio de Janeiro. 


Rio was a great place to live for a young, single man with money in his pocket (and probably still is!)


I ended up as a Diving Supervisor.


In 1980 I was recruited as a Field Engineer by Vetco Offshore (now GE Oil & Gas). Vetco Offshore was a California head-quartered engineering and manufacturing company. Vetco was, and is, a major supplier of equipment for the exploration and development of underwater oil-fields. I worked for Vetco for 5 years travelling to the UK, Brazil, Tunisia, Denmark, Singapore, and even back to NZ, to provide technical support to their oil company clients.

In 1986 I moved to Norway to take up a senior position with an engineering consultancy - Kongsberg McDermott Engineering - located on the outskirts of Oslo. I remained in Norway for 3 years finishing up as a subsea engineering consultant to the oil and gas division of the Norwegian industrial conglomerate Norsk Hydro.


In 1989 it was off to Scotland to take up a position on a Shell Expro North Sea development project and since then I have worked for a variety of oil companies, large and small. This has led to me living in Australia (Perth), the USA (Houston), Singapore, Vietnam (Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City), Korea (Seoul), the UK (London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen), India (Mumbai), Azerbaijan (Baku), Nigeria (Lagos) and now, finally, China (Shenzhen).


Since Norway I have always worked as a self-employed, free-lance consultant.


The work for oil companies has covered everything from generating subsea field development concepts, through equipment design and specification, managing procurement and construction contracts as an engineer and on to installing, commissioning and bringing on stream the subsea field hardware as an offshore construction supervisor or project manager.


It's been an interesting career.


In addition to messing around on boats I've added gardening - I have a small-holding in New Zealand - and cooking to the things I enjoy doing and one of the great things about the Karen M is - thanks to Peggy Moran - that she has a superb galley. The copious beer drinking has been pretty much replaced by copious red wine consumption.


I've been lucky enough to have sailed with friends over the years doing coastal cruises in NZ (New Plymouth to the Sounds and New Plymouth to the Bay of Islands a couple of times each), one real oceanic passage (Fiji to NZ), coastal sailing in the Channel Islands off southern California and more coastal sailing on the the UK's South Coast and France's Britanny and Normandy.


I've completed my RYA coastal skipper theory qualification and a two week sailing school in Croatia (May 2008) which included the RYA coastal practical course. I have an International Certificate of Competence.


After buying "Karen M" in 2007 in North Carolina (USA) I sailed her across the Atlantic (see blog - 2009) and, until recently, have kept her moored in Jersey (Channel Islands).


Since arriving in northern Europe we've voyaged as far south as Porto (Portugal - 2012), as far north-west as the Skye Bridge (Scotland - 2013) and as far north as Oslo (Norway - 2014). In 2015 we went back to the Baltic via the Kiel Canal and visited eastern Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Distance covered was around 3200Nm - it was quite a trip.

In 2016 we visited the Biscay coasts of France and northern Spain and again made our way down the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal ending up on the Algarve coast of Portugal where the boat was lifted out for the northern winter.

In 2017 we entered the Med and visited the coasts of Spain, the Balearic Islands and Tunisia. The boat over-wintered in Gibraltar.

In 2018 we traveled eastward from Gib cruising the Med coasts of Spain and France and the W coast of Italy. We passed through the Straits of Messina, around the toe of Italy and crossed the Adriatic to Greece. We passed from the W coast of Greece to the E coast via the Corinth Canal and then made our way southward to Kilada where the boat was lifted out for the N winter. This was another long, all-summer, passage.

In summer 2019 we departed Kilada and made our way to Athens and then across the Aegean to Turkey. We returned from Turkey to Kilada, Greece, in September 2019 and again lifeted the boat out.

Unfortunately with the Covid-19 virus planning a trip from New Zealand to Europe simply isn't feasible for 2020 and so the boat will have an extended stay on the hard.



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