The photo above-Debra Colvin


So it's game on in the life of the little ship Southern Cross and her best friend.

The photo above of me and my young friend in Puerto Williams, Chile. The photo was taken by his father and my friend John Cano. I like it and think it is a great way to introduce a unique project I have a role in along with my boat Southern Cross. Read on for a glimpse of the ongoing adventures we are planning. This is now the official blog of the Voyage of Southern Cross Elementary Education Program.

This is an experientially based live stream education program offering great benefit to students and teachers. Perhaps more appropriately put this is a program of "education made better' through real time adventure.

Stay tuned for the soon to be publication of "Voyage of Southern Cross" web site and support campaign, both of which will explain the Little Ship's ongoing mission.

The Voyage of Southern Cross project is about a "Little Ship and Her Best Friend" circumnavigating the globe via sail, oar and ship to 14 countries in just over three years, while delivering live stream classroom lessons and adventures to as many elementary school classrooms in as many countries as feasible.

Leg One Complete: One Down and Thirteen To Go!

Chile and my voyage down the Strait of Magellan into the southwest islands of Tierra del Fuego was leg one of what has now become a direction and a driving force to continue a great idea that has been field tested and deemed success by teachers, students and parents alike.

What I envisioned while preparing to set sail in Chile and through interacting with elementary school classrooms was the desire to do more and I thought of a simple way to do it, a way to make a tangible difference. The Voyage of Southern Cross is a big idea for certain. It is often the case that it takes a big idea to capture hearts and minds and to make what a short while ago seemed impossible, possible.

My desire to continue on was fueled by the students enthusiasm for their involvement with me live from the wilderness. I taught structured content from pre-prepared and shared lesson plans (the teachers taught the same material in preparation for the broadcasts) and the students were engaged and following my course via shared live tracking. I ended up having a fantastic experience working with the students from the three schools. Thank you all again for being pioneers!

So I thought and thought and decided that if I finished the voyage I was embarking upon that I would dedicate my time and energy to sharing the world of science, sustainability, math, humanities, culture all spiced with a major dash of real time adventure, nothing staged, all true in field and on the water experience as it unfolds. This to be broadcast live through our central web site and offered for free to any and all classrooms in the world who might benefit from such an experience.

So I sketched out a different kind of circumnavigation. Under sail, oar and ship to 14 countries all the while sharing the voyage via live stream broadcasting. That done, whew, now what? Assemble a team and find some financial support!

What started as  the Strait of Magellan, sail south south and done became a bit of a life and focus changer. Through the challenges I faced I learned many things. I changed my world view in some respects and discovered a tangible way to actually make a measurable difference for good.

This is in my wheel house so to speak. As a former college professor and program director I know the value and the challenges of delivering real engagement in the classroom. I have done this for years and have witnessed first hand the tangible student learning outcomes that come from these types of experiences. Like all well intended ideas this one requires thoughtfulness, creative thinking, a gathering of like minds, refining and defining what the purpose of such an endeavor will be, how to offer it at no cost, so many questions and yet how fascinating to simply try.

Use The Little Ship For Good

The little ship and her best friend (that would be me) are continuing the scheduled classroom interactive teaching I engaged in while in Chile. As it turned out the satellite phone calls to classrooms, the face to face interactive exchanges were one of the highlights of my voyage.  Through our central web site and by log in and pass word teachers and their classrooms can access and participate in or simply watch the classroom broadcasts from around the world. Lesson plans, resource materials as well as archived lesson videos are available to teachers through the web site.

To reach school kids around the world the "Little Ship and Her Best Friend" will continue on and visit 14 countries over the next three and half years. Some of the adventures on water and on land will be available at no charge to elementary school teachers who can hook up and share the live stream broadcast with their 3rd through 6th grade classrooms. We hope the "Little Ship" can provide a point of contact for young people to allow them to share in an experience and adventure not only with the ship and sailor but with each other.

Our aim is clear and is focused on reaching out, engaging young minds by offering a unique view of the world. We aim to bring sustainability and environmental ethics into the classroom discussions when appropriate. There are lessons to be learned and information to be shared from positive sustainability programs from around the globe. We hope for much but at least to inform young minds infusing each with a sense of adventure with a nod to the possible in life.

A noble cause? Yes! Impossible? No! We, a group of friends have banded together to make this happen will need lots of help and support as the project comes together. Please note this internet URL, it is the address to our soon to be published web site. I will be posting here when the web site is published, which is planned for about two weeks from now or about July 1st, 2017.

On our web site you will be able to learn about our vision, mission, goals and objectives plus the nuts and bolts of making such an ambitious project work and how you as a teacher, parent, arm chair sailor or kindred sailing and adventurous friend can help us bring this no cost program to fruition. You will be able to read about how you can be an actual part of the project, offer advice and even how you can join us in one of the thirteen planned countries as "part of the crew."

A Brief On The Project:

Who is bringing this project to reality:

Southern Cross-    The Little Ship
Howard Rice-        The Little Ships Best Friend and Project Director.
John Welsford-      Designer of the Little Ship and Project Logistics Director
Gary Gnade-          Creative Design and In Field Technology Director
Kate Ebert-            Education Director

and we have a knowledgeable Advisory Board to help guide the way.

Where is Southern Cross now and where is she headed next?

The "Little Ship" is in her dedicated shipping crate sitting near the shore of the Strait of Magellan north of Punta Arenas Chile. Winter is coming on there and her crate is covered in snow. At the end of June she will set forth on the next leg of her round the world journey. In her crate she will be placed in a container and put aboard a ship bound for Seattle Washington. She is scheduled to arrive in the Port of Seattle on about August 6th, 2017. She will be refit in Port Townsend and a new (used) shipping container will be modified as the VoySC HQ and global shipping container. We plan to ship on to Leg 3 in October but we also have lots of money to raise and hope our project is deemed interesting enough, effective enough, popular enough to gain friends who can help make it a reality.

Here is an old but important video clip shot by Josh Colvin. I flew in to Seattle and on to Port Townsend in March 2012 to assist the SCA team with capsize testing. I believe they thought I was there just to help them and I was but I also had another reason.

Since I was an early adopter of the design (I purchased two kits #2 and #3) before the prototype was finished or launched I wanted to know if my hunches about the boats stability were right. So I became the chimp in the capsule so to speak and went out in very cold breezy conditions and proceeded to test as one member of a team. What a boat! I learned what I wanted to know after numerous capsizes including full turtling (upside down) and from there proceeded to build and modify my boat for the voyage below 40 degrees south in Chile.

Through the ensuing years I developed classes to teach safety aboard SCAMPs and have taught many sailors (both SCAMP sailors and others) how to prevent capsizes and how to manage them should one happen. It is tough to flip a SCAMP over although during my just concluded voyage it happened to me. I faced down a three day ordeal that culminated in cyclonic wind events the Armada de Chile also witnessed and stated were in excess of 100 knots, the base wind varied between 60 knots and 72 knots. Fair enough.

The video clip above shows the boat builders hut I lived in for a week as I recovered my boat from it being blown off anchor on the Strait of Magellan. At the side of the hut you can see the next James card under construction.

I had waited for several weeks preparing and waiting for a weather window. January was one of the stormiest on record according to the Armada, December the film crew was in town and the wind and weather were just as bad. Finally I decided I would wait no longer and the day I planned to leave I could not reach the Armada de Chile for the required radio check in. It was calm and I had been living aboard at anchor for one week without issue. I tried calling, my friend Juan Matasse tried radioing and nothing.

So I was forced to hike the seven miles into town to see the Armada face to face and during this time in and back out of town the wind blew up and my boat was driven ashore. I am not pointing fingers just stating facts. I did what I was supposed to do. Communications were always a challenge. My boat was a mess and I had a very difficult time rescuing it. It was a disheartening experience but pulled it off and the next day winched her up the beach to empty her out and do repairs. I was there for one week and lived in the small boat builders shack/shop sleeping on the floor and it was really cold but great for acclimatizing.............always looking for silver linings. I reckon there is no future in looking back, looking down or being a pessimist. I took the beaching as a lesson and benefitted from it although I was a major stumbling block.

Departure day from north of Punta Arenas. In this video details of my boat can be seen including the sea anchor set up (gray bag sport side deck, some folks have asked about it). This was the best day I had after waiting for several weeks and it is a typical day weather wise on the Strait of Magellan. The further south I sailed the windier and more unpredictable it became. I set up and launched right after filming this and made good progress south on one of the most challenging sails I have had in my life, all great learning and I consider learning as one of the prime reasons I voyaged south. 

 Friends...........The Armada de Chile inspection team. Southern Cross passed with flying colors.

On the ready.

View from the cockpit

Hello Friends
The photo above was taken during the capsize testing I assisted the Small Craft Advisor test team with. Honored to be able to offer a little insight and experience to an experienced team consisting of Josh Colvin, Simeon Baldwin, Russell Brown, Eric Wennstrom and Kees Prins. Nice to be included in such company.

The photo above is of Southern Cross early in her build. In the back ground you can see the cabin (upside down) of my other micro mini cruising boat Tinker Bell and exact duplicate of Robert Manry's Atlantic solo boat Tinkerbelle.

Right now Southern Cross is crated and sitting on the shore of the Strait of Magellan awaiting shipment back to the US (Seattle) so she can begin her next voyage and if all goes to plan it could be a good one.

The posted photos below can be viewed as a bit of a place holder until I have more real information to post about the conclusion of my recent voyage and the plan ahead. In hope you enjoy the photos.
Southern Cross crated and awaiting shipment to Seattle Washington and on to Port Townsend where she will be readied for her next voyage. This site in the photo belongs to my friend Patricio and is right on the Strait of Magellan almost adjacent to the Nad Victoria Museum where I set sail from.

In about two to three weeks I will explain where she is headed as planning is now underway. The little ship is headed off for a very intriguing adventure and I am glad I will have the opportunity to be at her helm.

It was just weeks ago that she was gone, capsized and captured by the Southern Ocean in the most remote and loneliest of places, one of the remotest on earth. In spite of the longest of odds I decided to not give up and by not giving up she will sail again and her purpose is to do good in the lofty as that sounds. I know this sounds sappy and perhaps even empty but what she is about to embark upon may be a life changer for others, I hope so.

I had a revelation as I struggled to survive in the ocean after being blown off of Southern Cross by a cyclone and it was a good one, life changing. Many things about life became very clear to me during that long time in the water with just a thread of hope. Since that time I have been acting on what I learned.

I invested so much heart, soul and resources into my voyage and so it will continue on in a profound act of giving to others. Watch for news in early June when a web site dedicated to the project will go live. I am honored to be part off a small team of friends who are working hard to make this project come to fruition.
Southern Cross sail plan. I configured her rig to match the conditions I would face on the Strait off Magellan and in the Southwest Islands. It was ideal even though I wish it had been even smaller.
This little yacht worked almost flawlessly in the most extreme of conditions. So glad I put the time and thoughtfulness into her build. Many many friends had a hand in her build and in a sense all were with me as I sailed and explored.

Heres a short update:

I arrived in the US on March 31st a little worse for wear and bone tired. I am doing quite well theses days after finally getting a little rest. I flew into Austin Texas so the images I shot for the film Below 40 South could be transferred over to the film maker. The transfer took some days and it seems the images I shot are quite "Fantastic" as stated by Dave Nichols.

Dave and John Welsford are producing a film about my voyage and its good to know the images are good. My role was not quite complete at the point of turning over what I shot. I also agreed to do several sit down filmed interviews of my experiences. from conception of the idea to sail the far south to my arrival in Austin. I was also interviewed several times by Boat radio International. These interviews were done over a few weeks and hours of film was shot to add to the bank of images.

So my commitment to their film project is complete. Now they need to find a way to  fund post production as the best film footage in hand does not mean there will be a film. I wish them well as they fund raise and involve a script writer, audio expert, editor and a graphics expert.

I also worked in Austin to help complete a SCAMP for a "How To Build" video. It was good to get moving on a bit of physical labor as it helped me get back to a semblance of where I had been physically before the voyage. I arrived in Austin a bit skinny, stiff and with a few healing injuries sustained during my three day fight at Isla's Clementine and Georgiana.

March was a whirlwind of activity as I managed to find a way to go back into the deep south of Tierra del Fuego and rescue my boat Southern Cross. Now in retrospect I believe this part of my voyage may be the best of all of it. It was an incredibly difficult, nerve wracking yet rewarding chapter. Not to sound dramatic but I have to say it was a mission impossible and pulled off by the slimmest of margins. No wonder I came back to the States dead tired.

Thats All For Now
I will be visiting back here a little more regularly to report on my coming voyage and the two books I have been working on.

Here a few memory photos that I will take time to explain later. I hope you enjoy them. I will post update photos of the Voyage of Southern Cross soon.
From my career as a college professor in Micronesia. This fuzzy photo was taken in Tokyo with a group of Micronesian students I took there on a cultural exchange/education program. Fun taking island kids (most of whom have never been further than 20 miles from their island villages) to a place like Tokyo.
Sailing a Yapese outrigger canoe. What an honor and experience to be able to sail with some of the greatest star navigators and natural sailors on the planet. Here I am sheet in hand proving to the crew that flying the Ama is OK. They never fly the Ama (outrigger hull) but did on this day.

My sailing canoe Sylph anchored out after a peaceful night aboard. I have just roasted green coffee beans. I made a fresh cup of coffee aboard and stepped out in knee deep water to snap the photo.
Rigged up for night snorkeling, Pohnpei Micronesia. I often sailed out into the lagoon, dropped over the side with a 25 foot line around my waist and swam for miles towing the boat, which was hardly noticed but always there to hop back into for a rest or to sail off to the next magic spot. Micronesia should be on everyone's must see list.
Set up, loaded and ready to cross open ocean from Pohnpei to Ahnt and Pakin atolls. 
This chapter of my life has closed but the memories are fresh. An amazing place, beautiful warm gin clear waters, serious adventure at every turn. In this photo Sylph is geared up with a ten day supply of food, live aboard tent, survival gear and running lights. Running lights got me out of the harbor. At sea I crossed over the horizon to pain and didn't need them as there is zero traffic. The atolls are remote and Ahnt is untraveled, no one lives there. Pakin has about 100 hearty souls in a small village.
Photo by Hugh Horton. I am on a cruise with Hugh and Slyph is moving nicely. 
Living large in a small space and yes I do cook and sleep aboard.

My friend Hugh Horton snapped this dawn scene.

Morning after a great nights sleep. The ultimate water bed and far more stable than one would think.

The ancient water city of Nan Madol. A very magical dare I say haunted place where I would spend days exploring by canoe and a number of nights anchored out. I have been to and through nan. Madol too many times to count. Magnificent and mysterious hardly does the place justice. 

My speed machine able to be pulled behind a small car.

Now that my recent voyage is behind me I am off on a new project and deciding what boat I will soon begin sailing when not on the extended Voyage of Southern Cross. This is one choice, fast, very fast. 
Or Blueberry


Here a few more photos for fun. Hope you enjoy them..........again please consider this posting a sort of place holder. Thanks for reading! Check back often.

Roasting coffee beans aboard Josh Colvins SCAMP #1 during a very cold winter overnight (wind chill at 10 degrees Fahrenheit). I was warm sleeping and enjoyed a hot breakfast supplied by my friends Ashlyn and Russell Brown complete with fresh roasted coffee at anchor off Mystery Bay.

Since retiring as a college professor I have been teaching boat building classes (a life long dream) and here is one at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend WA. I was part of a four person instructor team for this build. Scott Jones, Jason Bledsoe, John Welsford and me. Great fun!

I had a small role in the team that conducted capsize testing of the SCAMP prototype. In this photo you can see why I chose the design for the voyage I have just completed. My version SCAMP hull #2 was highly modified but this does not imply the design is not brilliant, it is.

Early on sketch of my live aboard concept for SCAMP #2 Southern Cross. I always sketch before I design changes.

SCAMP designer and my dear friend for life, John Welsford. This photo shot in Punta Arenas Chile during our initial scouting trip for my my voyage. Thanks as always John!
John and I teaching boat building together.

Jaime Gallardo famed Chilean sailor and boat builder. We happen to have bumped into each other and hold the same certificate of merit presented to us by the Armada de Chile for rounding Cape Horn solo.
19 years old on an attempt to circumnavigate the world on an 18' 6" boat of my hand. Yes that is a Hasler SP self steering gear in the background.

Southern Cross, my sailing canoe Sylph and the only other authentic Tinkerbelle (Manry's boat) in existence. My "Tinker Bell" is an exact "Tinkerbelle" built from a mid fifties Old Town White Cap dinghy and detailed exactly as Manry's boat. 
In this photo she is under construction (rebuild) and I have a plan for a voyage aboard her in the near future. I feel very fortunate to have Tinker Bell and look forward to experiencing Tinkerbelle as Manry did. His boat is gladly/sadly in a museum and her sailing characteristics are unknown to all but him and he left us long ago. This boat is a very exciting project for me and I can hardly wait to get her in the water.
Sailing John and his wife Denny around aboard SCAMP #1
One of the sailing classes John Welsford and I teach.

SCAMP concept creator Josh Colvin doing what he loves best, talking about boats!
Check out Small Craft Advisor magazine and Duckworks.
1994 and one of there many small boats I have set up as dinghy cruisers. It's been an evolving process.
Another of my evolutionary models. The Mirror Dinghy African Queen. Aboard her I had many adventures, many great nights at anchor, meals cooked, books read and memories to last a life time. She is now owned by my friend Gary Gnade.
One of the 72 SCAMP's I have had a hand in building. This one belongs to my pal Melissa Denny of Port Ludlow Washington.

Long ago training for Cape Horn solo aboard a Klepper Aerius 1 sailing canoe. This is a summer shot of course, Cape Horn is cold. I trained diligently for more than a year for this voyage.

The Beagle Channel 

Hello Friends
Video clips are was pilot error!

I am just back in the United States and will once again be posting on my blog. This one will be short with more to come. I have been very busy since returning and hope to come back here regularly to keep friends informed of the new plans for sailing and voyaging aboard the little boat.

Spirits. I sailed into and through one of the remotest places on earth and anchored where I could. This meant at times in places where the Yaghan anchored. It was always interesting to hear the screaming winds and to feel these places in the black of night.

I know a place...............where I am certain................... What people they must have been to live in such a place.
Selecting topographic maps last year in Santiago. 
I carried both nautical charts and topographic maps. I used only charts, compass, a watch, topo maps and pencil on paper. I did not use a GPS, nor carry a calculator or electronic nav program/chart plotter and carried no recorded music or radio other than a VHF. I had a satellite phone for communicating with school kids and an In Reach Delorme for use in keeping the Armada current on my course. Daily updates and tracking is a strict requirement by the Armada for any vessel private or commercial sailing their waters. 

I sailed for solitude, to learn new skills and to experience the grandeur of the place. The challenge of navigating old school has always been my way and I was fascinated by the inherent challenges in navigating the islands, which are by any measure extremely difficult to understand. Joshua Slocum and many more have become lost and disoriented in the Southwest islands. Daily navigation was an excellent brain exercise to augment the small library of books I brought. Fortunately my navigation was spot on with the exception of one five hour period one day.

The El Decano

The David family. Owners of the best place to stay in Punta Arenas. I look forward to staying with them again. In December a film crew was along and all of us stayed there, excellent! 
These people became close friends.
The photo above is my boat crated and ready (well almost) to she out of Punta Arenas. I did tack down the cover tarps a bit more. Today is April 6th and she sits awaiting pickup and delivery to the customs dock and ship.
Here she is with my friend Marcelo (Armada de Chile). Marcelo and his daughter were with me on several occasions and Marcelo has become quite the friend. 

On the beach, Strait of Magellan
View from the fishing boat ElDecano as we made our way south to rescue my boat.
We got her!

John and me in the wheel house of the ElDecano

My brothers John, Patricio and their families. Also Marcelo and his daughter. Great folks.

On the beach prior to departure on the Strait of Magellan. Sailing the Strait of Magellan was one of the more difficult sails I have made in my life.

Once I crossed the Strait to the infamous Dawson Island and south then everything became quite complex and even harder but I was OK with that as I knew coming in how hard it would be. I feel quite good about having sailed such a small boat south on the Strait. According to officers in the Armada they have no smaller boat in their records, so either I am just plain odd or perhaps crazy but I have to say I had a fantastic challenge and resultant experience.

My boat was everything I expected of all 11' 11" of it. SCAMP like many small boats is not designed for such a voyage but I did my best to modify her to work and work she did. I was very pleased. Southern Cross is not meant to be the fastest, the best looking, most able, toughest, but I have to say for such a tiny boat she did everything I wanted her to do and I am very glad I took the time to develop her as I did.

The recovery of Southern Cross. This was somewhat of an ultimate challenge as we not only raced the weather and long odds but we also raced another larger, faster better equipped boat that seemed bent on salvaging Southern Cross. Here we are in the Beagle Channel.

We got her and it was an almost impossible job! Here we are headed to Puerto Williams in some very cold weather. This is about 7am. We anchored near the base of a glacier on the Beagle Channel and it snowed during the night. We pushed hard the day before and came into the anchorage in driving sleet/rain mix and absolute pitch black. It was a piece of work to get in and anchored.

Please check back here often as I will now make time to continue the story of my experiences.

Thank you to all of you who have followed my trip, I am not done yet!