April 22nd, 2016

Life Is Short- Be Inspired, Go Sailing!
Two days ago I was talking with the film director Dave Nichols and expressed how fortunate I feel to be admittedly a bit out of step with the modern world in that what I seek and aspire to is definite different drummer stuff. I suppose my life in developing countries often in remote villages, sleeping on the ground, attending traditional ceremonies, living amongst the people has reinforced my already strong predilection to seeking a basic truth about living, we are all living close to the edge but many of us don't acknowledge it. My life in Micronesia for the past twenty years and time I have spent working in other developing countries has uniquely prepared me for the rough life I will soon be living in Tierra del Fuego. There will be little adjustment needed.

I told Dave I have in a sense lived my life backwards always aspiring to action and adventure so that when the day came and I found myself looking back that I would not regret anything. This philosophy has taken me around the world and put me in places I dreamed about as a boy and for sure in a few places I would have preferred not being in but that's the nature of adventure.

Life is short and sometimes it catches up to us before we know it so I try very hard to keep dreams alive for in so doing I have discovered a sort of fountain of youth. This fountain of youth manifests itself every day if I let it. Most of the dreams I aspire to require a high level of fitness, fore thought and planning. They are like food for my soul, I feel purpose in my work but also purpose in my dream states and vision. To me the act of having a complex project and goal are life giving and a darn good replacement for inaction, television, general laziness and wheel spinning.

Southern Cross begins with the help of friends!

Here it is nearing the end of April and I am about to launch for sea trials. The process has been long, interesting and very enjoyable. The build has been one of fits and starts as I commuted back and forth to Micronesia and Japan. Finally I have been here long enough to bring the build to finish, exciting times.
My soon to be home

My own sea trials will cover everything possible including capsize and recovery. I feel privileged to have had a small part on the capsize prevention and recovery test team after the prototype SCAMP was launched. Now its time to do my own testing across the wind range and in as many different  situations and conditions as I can. manage before she goes in the shipping crate.
Southern Cross rides to Tierra del Fuego in this custom built crate made by Marty Worline and Dave Chase. Thank you!!!

Static testing SCAMP #1 in a slip on a cold March day, Port Townsend, Washington

Hope you will consider visiting Dave Nichol's web site "Below 40 South" and supporting his film. None of the proceeds come to me as my voyage is being funded by me and built/supported by the hands of many friends.
Dave presenting to an audience of 150 fifth graders, a class I am helping to follow my voyage.

Here is a list of friends who have had a hand in the build of my boat or have supported the effort in other ways.

There is an old saying that goes something like this: 
"If you want to travel fastest travel alone, if you want to travel farther travel together. "

It seems I may have struck a nice balance of both. I reckon it's the spirit of the boat, the hint of adventure and possible dreams fulfilled that has pulled us all together.

The names of these fine folks are not in any order or order of importance as each and everyone is a special friend and all deserve much more than this mention and recognition.

* Keiko Fuketa- My dear wife and meal planner for the voyage
Josh Colvin- Friend and supporter 
* John Welsford- The pesky Kiwi who penned the boat and co-  
   designed the rig with me.
* Simeon Baldwin- Merino wool shirt and ideas I have used
* Richard Rasmussen- Had a hand in hull and spar construction 
  during SCAMP Camp 2
* Marty Worline- Had a hand building her hull and spar in SCAMP 
   Camp 2 plus crate
* The Ortiz family, Santiago, Chile
* Mauricio, Karla and Tony, Punta Arenas, Chile
Keith Nasman- Tiller
Derek Gries- Tiller
Dale Simonson- Tiller
Lloyd Westbrook- A fine host
Bob Miller- Good friend and provider of an In Reach Delorme
* Mike Galvin- Had a hand in building her hull in SCAMP Camp 2
* Demos Lorandos- Had a hand in her hull build during SCAMP 
  Camp 2
* Al Steadman- (the Big Swede)- Had a hand in SCAMP Camp 2
* Lorri Worline- Cleaned much epoxy out of my hair
* Dave Chase- Epoxy mixer and crate builder with Marty Worline
* Ed (sorry I cannot recall your last name), epoxy mixer, SCAMP 
   Camp 2
* Dave Mergener- Wood stove mounts and wood stove window 
* Chris Mergener- Boat flipper extraordinaire and wonderful host
* Nick Mergener- Boat flipper
* Becky Mergener- Boat flipper
* Della Mergener...for the delicious pies and breads!
* Pete and Helen Leenhouts- Marvelous hosts
* Russell and Ashlyn Brown- Excellent hatch builders and you 
   helped to prepare me for the first overnight n a SCAMP in the 
   dead of winter!
* Melissa Denny- Dear friend and marvelous host
* Mara Denny- Dear friend and host
* Scott Jones- Spar stave cutter and a true boat builder I have 
   learned so much from.
  Jason Bledsoe- Spar stave cutter, friend and a talented boat 
  builder I have learned so much from 
* Craig Wagner- Helped launch the SCAMP concept and all that 
* Dave Lesh (Your missed by all and I wish you fair winds)- Boat 
* Matt Nienow- Centerboard assist
* Kirby Snively- Dear friend, assist on spars and soundtrack for 
   Dave Nichols film
* Chuck Leinweber- Friend and assist on gear
* Jim Gillespie- Dear friend and film sound track for Dave Nichols 
* Bob Schneider- Film sound track
* Terry Carolan- Dear friend and assist on many small elements 
  of my build
* David Nichols- Friend and film maker who has also had a hand 
  in the build
* Candy Nichols- Friend and wonderful host
* Dave Scobie- Assist on knives
* Sal Glasser- Assist on knives
* Bob Pattison- Assist on sail rig
* The many sailors on the SCA forum who have offered ideas
* Jack- boat shop dog- Just being Jack is enough
* Maggie- Boat shop dog- By my side as I build, bribed with milk 
Here are some random photos from different stage of my voyaging project.

Friends, the only measure of wealth!

Friends discussing Southern Cross with me. Peggy, Adam and Thom. Thanks!

Ah the Ortiz's..........what can I say, other than Thank you and see you soon!

Maggie the boat shop dog (she thinks I have a milk bone and I think she likes me.........hmmmm)

Lilli from Chile, one sweet encounter in a bake shop, Punta Arenas

In Dave Nichols studio, cameras running. Calculating and trying tent pole options for the new tent design.

Thom Davies playing the concertina, Marty Worline enjoying

For the Eaton Rapids 5th grade class, Santiago

Javier, Valparaiso. We had quite an adventure together and became friends. Looking forward to returning, John too

Sofia Ortiz and I at the Military Mapping Institute, Santiago as I purchase topo maps of Tierra del Fuego. Thank you Sofia!

Yes a Bill Clinton restaurant in Santiago, go figure

John filming in Patagonia. Not only is John a sailor and designer but now he is second camera for the film crew

Here I am test sailing the SCAMP prototype. Thanks Josh!

Keiko cooking at SCAMP Camp

Helping Josh, Simeon, Kees and Erik test the SCAMP prototype. I set the test protocol aimed at 11 different capsize scenarios. In the end due to very cold conditions we did a total of three this day in the slip and eight the next day in open water. I breathed a sigh of relief as I got on board early with SCAMP (purchasing two kits before the prototype was launched) and she came through as I had hoped.............colors flying

Go Greyhounds, John in Punta Arenas smiling for my fifth grade pals


  1. Please continue posting! Your posts have been most informative, interesting, and even entertaining! You've even helped me to determine my next boat build. And your videos on righting and rebording SCAMP are a great tutorial on self-rescue. Wishing you continued success in your preparations.

  2. Hi Jonas
    Most kind of you, Thank you. Being a bit new to the social media thing I am careful not wishing to come off as full of myself or as trying to self promote. Your feedback is noted and means something to me as I make the decision about continuing. Your the reader I wanted to reach, someone looking for what little good information I have or for a bit of inspiration.

  3. Hi Howard, Your blog is far from self-promotion. You have shed light on your profound preparations, including your healthy life style. Those are crucial for anyone to acknowledge before even dreaming of having a similar voyage. Your blog is about a small craft adventure in a breath-taking environment by an experienced and unpretentious sailor. That's why I'm interested in learning more. SCAMP is the true superstar of your trip. Please, keep on posting!

    1. Hi Timo
      Thanks........I understand your words and mean Thanks. You have it just right, the story is not about me its about one very cool little boat named SCAMP. There are all sorts of promotional opportunities arising almost daily now and they all go to dave for his film. Unfortunately or fortunately they also require me. So we'll see what next week brings. I really;y do appreciate your comment!
      Best to you,

  4. Keep posting. You're providing inspiration for people to live their dreams on their own terms. Your distinction between voyage and film is a personal one you need to be comfortable with. I love reading about and thinking about the preparations and contingencies you're making and trying to plan for. I, personally, don't want to sail cold waters. But, I like knowing it can be done.

    1. Hi Dana..............Thanks. Miss you two. FYI, Southern Cross is shipping out of Miami and I am planning to drive her south to the shipping terminal, looks like we need to hatch a stop and hang together plan.

  5. Howard - Best wishes on the upcoming sea trials. Stay safe!

    1. Hi Simeon. Thanks. Still hope we can collaborate on the HF radio. Let me know.

  6. Fascinating! I would love to see the ancient fire rings and shelter stones should you have the chance to record them, Howard.


  7. Wow, you have an outstanding vessel. I am beyond impressed that you hand crafted the Southern Cross. Your story is quite inspirational, and the images you added completely drew me in; I almost felt like I was there. It appears that your philosophy on life is working well for you. You have a great group of people to help, godspeed.

    Steve Burgess @ Atlanta Yacht Sales


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