Frank and Cynthia Robben
This 1993 photo was taken in Seville,
Spain in the gardens of the Alcazar, a famous Moorish style palace. We were
working in Portugal and had Kialoa in Cadiz for an insurance haulout and
We met through a series of somewhat interesting events - following is a
brief summary. In 1991 Kialoa II and I were on the way to Portugal, and
from Darwin, Australia had headed West into the Indian Ocean. On the way
from Christmas Island to the Cocos Keeling Islands, in the middle of the
night and in moderately rough seas, the main mast on Kialoa broke (due to
the failure of the backstay adjusting screw) and the upper third of the
mast broke off. We jury rigged the broken mast in Cocos Keeling and proceeded
to the Port of Galle, Sri Lanka, where I repaired the mast. This took 5
months, from December '92 to May '93, with many interesting experiences.
I liked the country and the people. Through a set of circumstances I met
Cynthia, who lived in Kandy, an ancient capital and a 5 hour journey by
train from Galle. We got to know each other a little - I perhaps blanched
a bit when I found out she had four children - but desire rules all and
we made plans. And children are a blessing. Cynthia joined me on Kialoa
in Portugal in August '93 with her youngest daughter Maria, then 6.
Cynthia is from an English speaking,
Catholic family and had a Scottish grandfather (who she has never seen).
In recent years she travelled twice to England, working there to pay for
her way, and also visited Germany. She lived in a very simple house in a
small village near Kandy; they had only recently obtained electricity and
water (piped outside only).
I was born in Dixon, California, a small (at least it used to be) farming
town in the fertile Sacramento Valley. My great-grandfather was one of the
original settlers in the early 1850's, and my father raised barley and sheep
on our farm.
As a child I was very interested in mechanical devices and scientific subjects.
The opportunities for research in the 50' and 60's were very good and I
carried out fairly basic studies in fluid mechanics, the physics of ionized
gases and, later on, combustion (burning of gases). When I reached 50 years
of age I must have reassessed what I was doing, I had too much management
and administration and neither liked it nor was particularly effective,
and further I lost a project in which I was very interested. Would you like
to see my professional resume?
Somehow I developed the idea that it would be both fun and personally rewarding
to own a sailing yacht and take out guests interested in the experience
of living and travelling in these rather unique machines. The idea turned
to action and I ended up purchasing Kialoa II in 1985. (More
I did not really understand many things about boats, regulations and people
and my plans for Kialoa II did not work out as intended. But we limped along
and in spite of the difficulties I enjoyed the experiences. I originally
chartered and took guests in San Francisco Bay, then ventured to Mexico,
then Hawaii, and then had a charter to Japan in the 1989 Hiroshima Cup Race.
Sailing is not a carefree life and much of my time (and $) have been spent
on Kialoa in maintenance and repairs. It is a never-ending task, but demands
a discipline that is both real and rewarding. I have never regretted the
For the record, I was born in 1934, have one brother and my mother is living
(that is why I am here in Dixon). From my first marriage there are three
children, Michael, Katie and Pippi, all now on their own. Cynthia was born
in 1950 and has 4 children, Anthony, Dalreen, Adian and Maria.
Home Page: http://www.kialoa2.com
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Permanent 1285 Stratford G-163
Address Dixon, CA 95620