Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Webb Chiles is currently undertaking his fifth circumnavigation, well, 4&3/4 if you want to get technical, but he doesn't and I won't, so fifth it is. The 3/4 one is definitely the one he is most known for, his cruise almost around the world, solo, in an 18' open Drascombe yawl named Chidiock Tichborne after the 16th century English poet. Actually two of the same boats, as he lost the first the first after being falslely imprisioned in Saudi Arabia, as a spy. A truly epic voyage, and a capable boat and sailor. This from Webb,"Chidiock Tichborne was a great boat, who did more than I had any right to expect, and was a pleasure to sail. My best day's runs in her were around 145 miles, and I often completed long passages only three or four days slower than boats more than twice her size".Webb is not only a sailor, he's also a writer and photographer and a very good at both. I find his writing elegant and lucid, lean and clear as glass. He is also very generous. Four of his books, numerous articles and photographs and poetry are all available on his website, which is also clean and elegant. Today Webb responded to my email queries and let me know that he's recently arrived back in the US, leaving his latest boat in Darwin but will be returning to it in January to resume his fifth. Circumnavigation. You can follow his wanderings in his Journal. Here is the poetry of Tichborne, which Webb read to those seeing him off at the beginning of his journey in the Drascombe.
- My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
- My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
- My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
- And all my good is but vain hope of gain;
- The day is past, and yet I saw no sun,
- And now I live, and now my life is done.
- My tale was heard and yet it was not told,
- My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green,
- My youth is spent and yet I am not old,
- I saw the world and yet I was not seen;
- My thread is cut and yet it is not spun,
- And now I live, and now my life is done.
- I sought my death and found it in my womb,
- I looked for life and saw it was a shade,
- I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
- And now I die, and now I was but made;
- My glass is full, and now my glass is run,
- And now I live, and now my life is done.
- The photo at the top is called "Dante". The next two are of Moorea, Webbs favorite island and anchorage, eight miles from Tahiti. The third down is the drascombe leaving San Diego, the fourth...somewhere along the journey. Go to this website, read Webbs books, follow his journey.
- Listen to his interview with furled sails here.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Frank and Margaret are perhaps the ultimate Microcruisers. They have taken their little Wayfarer dinghy (15'10") to some places and on some cruises most folks wouldn't or couldn't do in a larger boat. Seemingly fearless, they have not been , but have believed that adequate preparation will see you through most eventualities. And so it has been for them. The first book I ever read about sailing adventures was Ocean Crossing Wayfarer and I was electrified by it. I am currently reading Margaret's book on dinghy cruising, with an eye to prepping the Daysailer I'm working on. I recommend it. To anyone sailing a small boat. Frank made some amazing voyages to Iceland and Norway as well as on the Atlantic Coast of the USA and elsewhere.You can find here a great video of the voyage from northern Scotland to Aalesund, Norway. I will warn you to turn down your volume as it's very loud. Margaret has also done phenomenal cruises on her own and together with Frank. A very interesting couple who have given great inspiration to the cruising community in general and dinghy cruisers specifically. Their achievement, together and individually, is immense. The top photo is not the Dye's boat but does show the kind of boom tent Frank and Margaret designed for the Wayfarer.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Serge Testa currently holds the world record for circumnavigation in the smallest boat, his Acrohc Australis, which he designed and built himself. 11' 10". He set out from Brisbane in 1984 and returned to Brisbane in 1987. He chronicled his amazing feat in a glorious little book titled 500 Days. The boat now resides in the...Museum in Brisbane ( all photo's courtesy Bill Seargent@ SmallSailboats UK.) I've written Serge to find out what he's up to these days but haven't heard back, yet. At least I know this: After his circumnavigation, Serge and his brother Silvio built a proa in the true Polynesian style in the Phillipines and attempted to cross the Pacific to prove that ancient migration to the "new" world could have been made by boat as well as by land. Plagued by underfunding, the trip was abanonded 1/2 way to it's destination in Japan. serge continued his sailing pusuits, crewing for other's and made his way to an Francisco where he met and married his wife Robin. Together they built a new boat, a 60' steel yacht named Encanta, in which they sailed around the world between 1993 and 1997. Serge's record is set to be challenged by some folks building super/micro cruising boats. Maybe. If they actually do it.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Dave and Mindy Bolduc are exemplars of microcruising. They have a website devoted to microcruising and do quite a bit of it themselves. Little Cruiser, a Matt Layden design, also built by him, top two photos, they own and have cruised to the Bahamas from their native NC. at least 7 times. Swamp Thing, a much smaller design, they now own and are restoring, if I've got it right. They have an update on their restoration and other interesting bits here. They also are the conduit for Matt' plans if you want to build a Paradox. Their website is the main portal to Laydens work and has great links, cruises they've done, study plans, sketches,news and forums.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Bill Seargent has a very informative, information rich website for small sailboats and cruising them. He's owned a lot of boats over his lifetime but seems to currently be most taken with Matt Layden's Paradox design. That's Bill with his self built "Faith", and cruising the Suffolk coast, his home cruising ground. Alastair Law, also in the UK, built and sails "Little Jim", the interior of which we see at the top. These and other Paradox can be found in a special section devoted to the boat on Bill's website. This site is full of useful info for microcruising, extensive lists of boats and other resources, building process of several builders of different boats, with photo's, and more.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Kevin O'Neill has a very nice wiki, called Wikiproa, wherein he has a group of proa enthusiasts and builders publishing the fruits of their building labors and commenting on the results (and the process). It's fun. There are accounts of the building processes and performance of the boats as well. Very relaxed and conversational. Many to Gary Dierking designs, and some indigenous archaic reference material. Highly recommended. For home build proa lovers, a feast.
"Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract
attention―and yet they vouchsafe our very existence.
The beginnings of life are shrouded in myth: Let there water and air. Living phenomena
spontaneously generated from water and air in the presence of light, though that could
just as easily suggest random coincidence as a Deity. Let's just say that there happened
to be a planet with water and air in our solar system, and moreover at precisely the right
distance from the sun for the temperatures required to coax forth life. While hardly
inconceivable that at least one such planet should exist in the vast reaches of universe,
we search in vain for another similar example.
Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view
the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a
voyage of seeing."
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I spoke to Grant Gambell of Gambell & Hunter Sailmakers up in Camden, Me. I had written about them before in connection with an electronic exhibit on them at the Maine Memory Network (see earlier post below). I was talking to Grant because I wanted to buy his sail repair kit. I've been looking around and his is not only a good deal, but I would be supporting a traditional sailmaker as opposed to West Marine, who offers 1/2 as much and charges twice as much. We were discussing my article and he asked if I'd seen the website he put up on A.P. Lord, the original sailmaker in this loft. I wasn't sure. So after the call I checked, no I had not seen it, and it's deep and rich and well worth a look. I'll let you find it as I did, click the link above for the repair kit, go to the bottom of the page. By the way, the sewing machine is Mr. Lord's, still in use and making the products on the canvas page. Enjoy.
This is the new Beta 20HP diesel engine — made in England and modified for an Atomic 4 footprint that replaced a Westerbeke 26HP gas engine (22-years old). The Westerbeke needs some gaskets replaced but is available. Interested parties email me and I'll put you in touch with Jasper.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I've been reluctant to post James Wharram as most of my readers are already aware of him. You may not be aware, however, of this little beauty, a tacking proa with crab claw sail which he initially designed for the Melanesians with an eye to conservation of the trees the Melanesians typically use for creating dugouts: "The 'MELANESIA' is to be used in the traditional manner as a small inter island sea truck, for daily commuting to their gardens, for out to sea fishing or just paddling around to see friends, families or nearby islands." I'd love to hear from anyone who's built or sailed one of these and also a Hitia 17.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Peter Mirow has posted an answer online to a question I put to him about the meaning of the name Arpex. He also posted a portrait of the landscape in question, done in his singular style of making artwork with iron oxide stains on dacron sailcloth, if I've got it right. The example I've included here is of another point and mountain range. You can dig into more of Peter's work here.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tiki in Thailand. Creed had sent me the full text, unpublished, shortly after I first posted about him. I've been mulling it over ever since, because I wanted to give it the right treatment and tie it in with something relevant. It's half rant half academic research and completely compelling. I am posting it with some photo's of the Moken, a semi nomadic group of Thai "seasteaders" as that's the one extant group that I'm aware of pursuing this lifestyle. The Moken or Mogen are not true seasteaders in that they are tied to land based communities about 6 months in the year, but they still embody this ideal more than any group I know of. James Wharram has suggested intentional communities of self builders living on the sea and organised around a mothership. This has yet to occur according to my information.The Moken achieved instant notoriety after the big tsunami in Thailand because, due to their culture and awareness of the sea, they knew the big wave was coming before it hit. National Geographic was all over them, among others. Their lifestyle is of course threatened by the pressure resulting from exposure to modernity and rising fuel prices. Most of their canoes have been converted from sail to fuel.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
That's the blurb and there's some really interesting conversation between Scott and Reuel on Scott's blog. It's good. Scott is a boatbuilder himself, an adventurer with a personal exploration of the Caribbean in a kayak under his belt and the author of several books on kayak exploration of his native Mississippi, the Caribbean, and general rants about culture and disaffection with modern life. Look.