Here it is December 29th 2016 and I finally have a moment to update my blog. Thanks for waiting!
Background on the video clip above
Well at least I did it, the pilot error thing that is. Five years of work culminated in the loading of my boat into her ship crate November 6th and 7th. It was harder than I thought and mid load, which was going well actually I pulled a rookie move and drove over Southern Crosses mizzen mast, which had been buried in a pile of leaves after a sudden wind storm. I didn't even feel it. Four hours later I picked it up to load it and discovered it was crushed beyond repair. I was stunned, shocked and for a brief moment I too was crushed but then it dawned on me. I was already voyaging and had to just get on with it for these things happen.
I immediately bucked up (as in seconds) and went into full voyaging "Ad lib mode." The crushing of the mast was a blow but the knock on impact on my overall program was huge. Because of it many other things that had to happen on that day could not happen. I knew I would face an even more complex challenge once in Patagonia with few resources. I tossed the broken spar in the crate and set off to source sitka spruce, more epoxy and the tools necessary to build a mast in the open conditions I would face once south. In the end I had to forego other elements of my plan such as the unassembled small trailer, a bag of navigation gear and about 40% of my provisions. I simply ran out of time to go and get them for shipping. I had less than 12 hours to make the truck and in the end after an all nighter I made it with 30 minutes to spare.
Now here in the cold and windy far south my pal John Welsford and I have built a mast in the open, in the shipping crate and in a magical shed on the shore of the Strait of Magellan in the shadow of a replica of the HMS Beagle and we did it in less than eight man hours. The spar is not as refined as my original birds mouth beauty but it will more than do. Yesterday I stripped fittings from the original spar and cut it into pieces, so long dear friend. As sappy as those words sound it is how I felt for I have poured care and thoughtfulness into every aspect of the build of my little yacht. Her mizzen was a work of art, a work of art I took a hand saw to in order to get it into a garbage can. So it goes.
The photo above was snapped yesterday at the shed where the new mizzen mast for my boat is being shaped. My pal John has offered to stay on here in Chile and I am glad for his company as he and I tend to laugh a lot and work together in the smoothest fashion. My boat shipped all the way from Michigan without a scratch but needs a new mizzen mast due to pilot error (ha ha). Thats a painful story for another day suffice to say I had a challenge loading the boat in the crate as time was short and ended up breaking the mizzen mast.
I finally completed Southern Cross this past summer and launched her into Lake Michigan for initial sail testing and my first overnight aboard. I was very pleased and glad to have finally gotten her in the water. September found me in Austin texas with my new boat for a film shoot and fitting of cameras for the documentary film. From there I drove west and north to Port Townsend for final fit out and sailing. Finishing the boat took a lot longer than I expected because she has a number of systems that had to be figured out before hand. I attempted to develop new concepts and incorporate older ideas from a life time afloat into the boat so that on launch she would essentially be ready to go. Finishing her also took longer because of my working schedule coming and going to and from Micronesia. I would find a few weeks here and there to work on the boat between ten months or more of work in the islands, this made for slow going. In the end I was pleased with how she ended up and am glad I took the time to work thoughtfully.
October found me in Port Townsend where I sailed some and spent numerous nights aboard, a good but incomplete test period. Time was short as I had work and the voyaging project to juggle.
Another night aboard a proper yacht, small but proper.