Thank you For Visiting My Blog
I snapped the photo above as I descended a cliff down to my wood canvas sailing canoe on Cape Horn. About thirty minutes later I was underway into the Southern Ocean to sail around the Horn. This was the best day I had after waiting for more than a week on Cape Horn, a bit of a lump in the throat sort of day. During this rounding I capsized and was sure glad I had been so thorough in my preparations.
I wish to note that what I pen here is not meant to be an act of self promotion as this is not my intention. I decided to post this blog to let friends know how the project is progressing and simultaneously to assist Dave Nichols with his documentary film "Below 40 South."
I believe Dave's film initiative is a worthy effort.
Perhaps a film about a small boat voyage, the human aspect of going solo, the challenges faced and solutions, etc may serve as inspiration for others, many of whom might not be able to do such a thing for any number of reasons.
Each of us faces life with all of its freeing opportunities, limitations, fears, dreams and personal challenges. I am acting on my dreams and throughout my life have tried my best to live my them as best I can, so far so good.
So I hope what you have read over the past weeks has at a minimum been informative, perhaps inspirational and at best of some value.
Sterling Hayden best sums up my personal why for any adventurous endeavor I have had and will have in my life of aspiring to be "Out There."
"To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. "I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone. What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?"
- Sterling Hayden (Wanderer, 1973)
Cape Horn as up close and personal as can be. Large yachts never have this sort of experience, only a well found small boat can manage it.
Please check out "Below40South.com." If you are interested enough to read here about an unfolding bush league adventure and if you might like to see a "real" not contrived or reality TV style documentary film then Dave needs a hand.
Apologies for sounding commercial, any support generated for the documentary is strictly for getting the film footage shot and back in the hands of editors, writers, sound people, visual effect folks, etc. I am not involved in the film other than agreeing to shoot film as I voyage and none of the funding he raises goes to me in any manner. All of it will be for cameras and video support gear for the boat (SD cards, multiple hard drives, lap top, etc) plus getting a small film crew to Chile.
In Chile the crew of two or three will record the arrival of the boat, un-crating, launch, provisioning, final sea trials on the Strait of Magellan, the set off and a number of interviews of Armada personnel and others. John Welsford will be coming back again out of his own pocket to join me in final prep of the boat, hows that for a pal!....................friends, Wow!
I have promised myself I won't let, can't let the film crew be a distraction before I set sail. Once underway I will attempt to record a daily video diary with the stipulation to the film crew that I am 100% on my own. There is a very real possibility if all goes well that they will be able to go up in a helicopter to film my setting sail. More on that via the "Below 40 South" web site. There will be no support boat, film boat or meet ups with a film crew during the voyage. Should be an interesting experience as I will be exploring one of the last little corners of the planet virtually unseen and untouched by humans, the Southwest Islands of Tierra del Fuego.
Above is a video Josh Colvin shot of the first day of capsize testing the prototype, SCAMP #1.
I offered a series of capsize test scenarios and feel fortunate to have been a part of the testing team (Josh Colvin, Simeon Baldwin, Kees Prins, Eric Wennstrom). March 2011
In the video above we are learning, which is why the conditions are so calm. We are gently playing with stability. Before this video SCAMP had been sailed twice, once for an hour on launch the previous November and next by me in a two day test.windy cold overnight.
I believe the video above is illustrative of one of the main reasons why I selected the SCAMP design out of the wide array of boats I could have chosen from. She is stable and if over easy to right and re- board. I had chosen SCAMP as the development platform for a voyage in Terra del Fuego. I may have been part of the team but I was also quietly proving to myself whether my purchase of two kits before the prototype was launched was a good decision. Intuitively I knew it was but wanted to prove it for if the boat was the right one then spin forward to a day in the future when my own modified SCAMP would be put to the real test, a test my life would depend on.
The video above is day one of testing, day two was open water and both March days were a bit on the cold side.There is another video of the second day (open water) testing (Russell Brown joined me aboard for some of the 2nd day testing). Always good to start in controlled waters such as a slip or near shore. This 2nd video can be viewed on tube by searching "SCAMP Capsize."
Get To Know Your Boat
Respectfully, I suggest anyone sailing a small boat consider capsize testing starting in a slip or near shore on a calm day. Have fun, get to know it by climbing all over it. Then with new knowledge in hand, self rescue gear set up head out into open water preferably with a good breeze and a standby boat and get to know your boat even better.
I did this sort of testing before my first 3 month solo voyage to and around Cape Horn in a sailing Klepper Aerius 1. My friend Ann Carolan (Hi Ann) let me bring my boat into a particular high school pool after hours ( we sort of snuck it in) and I did everything possible aboard it, capsizing, righting, climbing all over it.
Real World Testing
Later I took the boat out in winter gale conditions on Lake Michigan and fully loaded conducted capsize tests on my own (on one day with the boat deck coated in ice and very top heavy) without support. My friend Eric Stiller and I also did tests on the east coast. He and I also experienced deck icing. Eric has been reading this blog and I hope (hint, hint) that he might post some insight/experience comments. He and I learned so much together as we trained and tested.
One of the most important lessons I learned from this mid thirty degree temperature testing was the hand issue. Hands and the ability to work with them in wet freezing conditions is a challenge. As odd as it sounds I began a regimen of sitting and soaking my hands in ice water for periods of time in the two months before departing for Chile. This sounds like the acts of a crazy man and it was often excruciatingly painful but I am glad I did it. Still my hands took the biggest hit of all during my three months out and they were constantly an issue due to wet, cold and salt water. This time the wood stove should help them dry. Not sure how often I will be able to use the stove but even occasional use should help.
When I arrived in southern Chile I was ready because I knew my boat and what I had to do to self rescue, glad I did because I self rescued twice. In a capsize situation moves cannot be thought through or done in ad lib mode they should be imprinted muscle memory steps.
Beagle Channel on a good day. It is blowing in excess of forty knots, I am in the lee of a cove. Photo by a german paddler I met.
Very soon I will conduct solo fully loaded capsize tests aboard Southern Cross, again on my own because that is where I will be soon. It's time for unassisted tests because I have now purpose capsized and righted SCAMP's in teaching situations more than fifty times, I have actually lost count. I have also taught many people how to prevent capsizing and how to recover including the use of a re-entry system I have developed.
Every one of these experiences has been new information for me, I try to stay open and learn every time I go out on the water. I have learned from sailors with skills far superior in skill to mine and from students I have taught. I wish I was an innately talented sailor but I am not so I stay open.
I was also involved in one surprise capsize with my friend Dana Holsclaw in a windy scenario. After we managed to gather ourselves from fits of laughter we had the boat up and underway in something like a minute. Yes she is a chuckle head!!
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
* John Welsford- The pesky Kiwi who penned the boat and co-
designed the rig with
* 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,
* Mauricio, Karla and Tony,
Punta Arenas, Chile
* Keith Nasman- Tiller
* Derek Gries- Tiller
* Dale Simonson- Tiller
* Lloyd Westbrook- A fine
* 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
* 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
* 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
* 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
* Scott Jones- Spar stave
cutter and a true boat builder I have
learned so much from.
Spar stave cutter, friend and a talented boat
builder I have learned so much
* 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
* 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
* 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
* Dave Scobie- Assist on
* Sal Glasser- Assist on
* Bob Pattison- Assist on sail
* 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
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
Painting above- Rounding the Horn....artist unknown Thursday April 14th
Thoughts about training to sail a small boat in a cold windy
I will need to have a high level of fitness before I set off for Chile
including muscle strength, flexibility and cardio vascular endurance.
my life I have worked to maintain a relatively high level of base fitness so
that on short notice I can amp up training and be fit for any opportunity that
might come my way.
I adhere to a belief that maintaining a base level of fitness is important for a happy life and to simply function a bit better every day whether lifting, walking stairs, carrying groceries, doing yard work etc. The benefits accrue over time. Benefits of spending even a little time each day doing some sort of exercise include: * Building endurance and a stronger heart. * Helping to lose weight and keep it off. This works better than any strict diet if exercise is combined with healthy meals made up of simple low fat, low carb foods in small portions. * Regular exercise can help change a focus on alcohol, smoking or other unhealthy habits. * Promotes feelings of well being and a good self image. * Helps some folks with anxiety and can even help with depression. * If done under the advice of a doctor gentle regular exercise can help with slightly elevated blood pressure.
* I suffered a broken back from a 40 foot fall three months after my last trip by small boat in Chile. I survived this as well as I did because I was in such good condition at the time. Exercise has been my savior (I chose it over surgery) even though I have still have serious issues at times. Staying thin and fit is the answer to maintaining what I face with my back.
The Broom Stick and the Rack;-)
To this day I use a long push broom handle to do a series of stretches based on dynamic tension of muscle against muscle, a superb exercise routine and so simple. I'd be happy to post photos and a better description later if anyone is interested. In college I designed and constructed a hiking bench
that mimicked the moves I would make while racing a Laser. I thought
the design unique at the time and recently discovered a photo of other benches
that are similar to the one I designed and used to inflict so much fun on my
being. I would work the bench for hours and it paid off.
2x4 constructed set up was in my apartment and for long sessions I would with
feet under a hiking strap and fully extended work two dual pulley systems with
3 gallons of milk jug water bottles suspended from each. This was a serious
upper body, back and arm work out. Once on the water I was able to
hike without tiring for long periods of time while easily trimming
no longer have photos of the bench I built but here a few examples of other
modern types. These days I am able to accomplish the same sort of work out in a
This home made hiking bench is very similar to my design but without the up rights and water jug pulley system.
If you add this photo to the photo above that would be it.
Here is a modern commercial hiking bench with integrated arm pulley system. He looks to be having fun but for sure these are effective torture devices.
To successfully sail an open boat in Tierra del Fuego will require a high level of fitness. The last time I voyaged there I worked with my pal Eric Stiller as a training partner. For several months before I departed for the south he and I worked out in the basement of the Klepper shop on Union Square in New York City where Eric worked with his father Dieter importing and selling Klepper folding boats. We set up a heavy bag in the basement of the shop and a variety of weight lifting apparatus in the back of the shop.The building was New York old and the basement dark, dirty and more than a bit ominous. I would do long stretches on the heavy bag wearing a dust mask. After we worked the shop each day it was training time and this meant weights set up in the stock room.
Mornings would find us with two Klepper Aerius 1 kayaks on folding boat carts often crunching through snow hiking across town to the 11th street pier where in the pitch black of pre dawn we would hand over hand lower them into the icy Hudson River and put in two hours at the paddle. One morning channel 7 news sent a chopper out to film the two crazy kayakers paddling on the coldest day on record for that date, 15 degrees below zero. This hard time training served me well a few weeks later when I arrived in Chile.
Later Eric and a friend paddled and sailed a Klepper Aerius 2 half way around Australia (Eric's book, Keep Australia On Your Left) and in turn I helped prepare him.
Training at15 Degrees below zero
My fitness was tested from day one.
I recently wrote about this particular incident in Small Craft advisor magazine after having kept quiet about it for all these years.
Strange things happen in remote places and I was involved in the swimming rescue of a man who in a drunken state (New Years eve at the Chilean navy base Puerto Williams) took my fully loaded kayak and set to go out for a 2am spin on the ice cold Beagle Channel. He capsized, was separated from my boat (the boat was found later missing much gear) and was flailing in the water with my spray skirt draped around his neck.
I was awakened and ran out to join the navy personnel searching the shore line for him. I ended up swimming out to rescue him and because I was fit made it back to shore with him in tow. The water was extremely cold, numbing by any measure. Neither of us could stand up at the end of the rescue, which must have taken 3 to 5 minutes at most and had to be helped back indoors to hot showers. Not to sound dramatic but if I had not been fit I believe the rescue would have failed and both of us could have drowned.
The next day he was dismissed (he was a civilian contract cook for the navy) and sent back to Santiago and I feeling shaken to the core reflected on what had happened and what I was about to do, set off into the wilds of Tierra del Fuego. I recall feeling fortunate I had valued fitness so much in the run up to arriving in Chile.
I give credit to my friend Eric Stiller:
For the friendship borne training and pushing me so hard for months through a range of brutal exercises. At the time I sometimes complained and wondered but did everything he called for and on reflection had I not specifically trained for shivering (his idea) amongst other strength work I likely would not have been able to handle a desperate drunk in the freezing cold Beagle Channel who was much larger than me. Thank you Eric Stiller and Thank you to Dieter Stiller for the next day the Chilean Armada patched a radio call through to the Klepper shop in New York as I needed replacement parts lost during the capsize on the Beagle. Unfortunately the parts needed could not arrive in time given where I was so I set off without these key parts aboard a research ship bound for 6 months in Antarctica. The Armada got cold feet on my voyage given that I was honest with them about what went missing when my kayak (loaded and ready for navy inspection the next day) was capsized. Later at Cape Horn I needed some of the missing parts. The second big issue was the Pelican box with 80 of the 85 rolls of film and both hand held vhf radios I had brought to record my experience. The Armada was concerned about the loss of the radios, rightfully so. I suppose to this day the film and radios sit on the bottom of the Beagle Channel.
The Range of Fitness Needed Sailing an Open Boat in Tierra del Fuego
2. Strength for sail trim, rowing and hiking out.
3. Dead lift strength needed for hauling the boat through surf and up on land using a block and tackle system.
4. Endurance fitness for long periods under sail.
5. Overall core strength to help counteract shivering from cold.
6. Balance exercises to help with walking over slippery boulders and to avoid injury by falling on land.
The Challenge of Age
I keep hearing how aging is such a bad thing, I get it but don't put much stock in giving in to it. I humbly state I feel great for my age and attribute this to continual cardiovascular fitness centered around bicycling, running, fast walking, swimming, boat building and a lean diet made up of small portions. As a much younger man I was a competitive runner preferring the 10k distance. I decided to get away from long distance running to save wear and tear on joints and given that I have been in a love affair with biking the switch was a natural.
For years I have been in the habit of bicycling daily (when I can given the seasons). While living in Micronesia my daily routine was up at 5am, roast up for a cup of coffee and bike one of seven different routes through the mountains ranging in distance from 10 to 22 miles. My Kiwi pal Glenn McKinley (Hi Glenn) was often my partner for many of these mountain rides at speed. More often than not it was just me on the bike and many days after teaching at the College I would do a second ride in the evenings or go out on the lagoon to sail my canoe "Sylph."
Few exercises are better for sailing than sailing. Having formerly been involved in international yacht racing regatta management including the Olympics I gained an inside track to inside information. I read a physical fitness study many years ago that concluded with the fact that of all Olympic athletes the sailors ranked at the highest end of the overall fitness level. This was a very big surprise but does make some sense when sailing small boats is viewed as demanding full body fitness and endurance.
Trimming sail aboard a Yapese outrigger, great exercise
Summer training for Cape Horn by folding boat
Swimming From Sea Kayaks
In Pohnpei I maintained a varied exercise routine that included not only biking but long distance paddling/swimming. Typically solo I would go out to paddle the inner lagoon or the open cuts in the fringing reef to the open ocean. Again my Kiwi pal Glenn joined me for many of these forays out over the years. We would launch my two solo boats with 30 foot lines attached to the bows with snorkeling gear strapped on the foredeck. After paddling to any reef of interest or out to sea it was a quick line around the waist, drop in the water with mask and fins on, give the kayak a tug and do a mile or more swimming and exploring. This was superb exercise when coupled with bicycling.
Preparing for Tierra del Fuego
The boat I will be sailing during my upcoming voyage has been carefully thought through and built to purpose. The sailing strategy I will employ is to sail as fast as I can when I can and to in a sense wear my boat. There will be few opportunities to sail at controlled speed during my voyage as it is such a windy place and this means many days will be spent bivouacked on shore or at anchor waiting for weather windows. When I get one I will sail as far as I can as fast as I can foregoing sleep and other luxuries in order to get to the southwest islands, my hoped for area of exploration. Once there I plan to spend time on land hiking, climbing, exploring and filming what I see, a place so few humans have ever seen.
The video below demonstrates how I use my full body to control SCAMP #1 and sail effortlessly.
This is an unstaged video shot by Dave Nichols.
I am sailing Josh Colvin's SCAMP #1...............Thanks Josh
As odd as this sounds this is how I sail.
When I select the smallest of
sailing boats I think in terms of a “thirds performance and control equation”
where hull, rig and sailor are in some level of power/control parity based on
weight, sail power and a kinetic sailing style often used by dinghy racers.
A boat that fits the theory
perfectly is one that in roughly equal parts, hull weight, sail rig power and
weight of the sailor allows for kinetic based control across the wind range. I
often sail standing up and steer with thighs, knees, elbows, lower back etc,
for hands are often in short supply when sailing solo as they may be hard at
other critical tasks. Sailing in this manner I can over power and muscle the boat into greater control if over powered by a gust, breaking sea, etc.
Southern Cross has been set up with built in hiking seats (both padded) and a hiking strap/jackline combination, which will enable me to get my weight out board and keep her flat, sailing most small boats flat is fast and stable if the sailors skill level is tuned in and he is physically able. Hiking out for extended periods of time can be extremely taxing and relies on physical fitness preparation in advance of setting sail.
Here is an example of sailing flat. In the photo above taken at a sailing academy I instructed I am hiking out and the skipper as per my instruction is standing while we speed up to catch and pass the larger over powered boat to weather of us. What a hoot.
(The SCAMP I am sailing belonged to Mike Monies. He graciously made it available to any participant in the class.)
Hiked out on Hugh Horton's sweet riding Bufflehead. This is a good example of the "Thirds Theory" I am counter balancing against the power of the sail rig and managing to control the hull weight. If I release the sheet without simultaneously moving in board the canoe will capsize to windward. However if the sailor is tuned in this is a very fast way to sail.
The coaming top hiking seat built into Southern Cross can be seen in the photo above. There is a pad that velcro's onto the seat for long term comfort as I intend to sail the boat from the rail much of the time.
I will be sailing engineless as this is what I prefer for any boat I sail other than my wood cutter Blueberry, which came with a nifty diesel engine. Sailing engineless aboard a SCAMP is not much of an issue as where I will be there will be wind just about every day and even in light air the SCAMP design excels. When the wind is down to nothing or when I need to maneuver close to shore I will go to oars. Although it sounds like rowing won't be relied on much I will be rowing hundreds of miles this summer in order to be ready. I believe the best training for rowing is miles at the oars.
Aboard Southern Cross her oar sockets are embedded into the hiking seats. All I need to do is pull off the seat pad letting it hang down inside the coaming (each is on a lanyard). The oars I have selected are extra lay up carbon fiber 2 piece from Gig Harbor Boat Works. Both oars fit behind the coamings.
I will be sailing as conservatively as possible and with full protection from injury, well to the extent possible. This means I have padded the cockpit of my boat including the cockpit sole and inside the cuddy cabin. This to avoid bruises. I have tried to eliminate any sharp edge or object on the boat, except mounted safety knives. I will also be wearing knee pads, a full vest Mustang life jacket, dual tethers to a backline and bronze padeye (at times), padded gloves, a helmet (at times for certain shore landings), ski goggles (for driving rain or snow) and a full Ocean Rodeo dry suit.
However this may not be enough. A pulled muscle, a finger cut in camp as I prepare food or slipping on boulders as I come into shore could spell a real disaster as once I depart Punta Arenas I am on my own. So fitness and smarts are the call every day because I have learned the hard way in life, it's the left hook out of no where that can spell disaster.
To this end the Armada de Chile made one requirement of me when John and I met with them in Punta Arenas and that is to carry an HF radio. The reason? In the event I am injured and need to call for help they want the ability to put a doctor on the radio with me for two way conversation until they can get there. Fair enough. I really have no intention of putting Armada personnel in any danger by being careless, it's not fair to them. Once I set out I plan to 100% be on my own and willing to take the consequences of my actions. I plan to disappear into the southwest islands and not be an issue for anyone. It's 100% on me to go to Chile quietly and to sail without incident. Game on!
Thank you for Joining Me Here
Thanks for joining me here and I do hope readers will consider checking out Dave Nichols documentary film web site. I support his effort and he is on his way to rising the funds he needs to both set my boat up with cameras and support gear and to get himself and another person to Chile to film the arrival of my boat. While there they will film the arrival of the crate, film interviews with the Armada and others, provisioning, final sea trials and the set off to voyage.
From there it's me filming a daily video diary. So I support Dave and hope the film he makes might be an inspirational piece for others. As a sailor I would like to see such a film. Knowing how he is spending what he raises (no salary or income for his time, no kidding!) I have purchased a T Shirt and Below 40 South hat and made a small donation to the film. He has been in discussion with a number of larger sponsors and hopes these might pan out. So in the interim I hope sailors of all types might see the value in a film about a small boat in big waters!