Thursday, June 16, 2011

Roger Taylor and Mingming prepare for their summer cruise

Mingming and Roger

Approaching Jan Mayen

Jan Mayen Island


Roger and Mingming arrive at Praia da Vitoria, Azores, in the 2008 Jester Challenge

all photos courtesy Roger Taylor

Those of you familiar with this blog will recognize Roger and Mingming. For those new to70.8%, you'll find some background here and here. I knew Roger would be preparing for his annual cruise and hoped I hadn't waited to long to write. I wrote him a couple of days to ask what he's planning for this summer and here's his reply:

"Hi Thomas
Just caught me in time! I leave with Mingming for Scotland, by road, on Sunday, bound once more for Whitehills on the Moray Firth. Another northern voyage this year, the target being 80°N, to the north-west of Spitsbergen. On the way I intend to visit Jan Mayen once again, with the hope that I might be able to catch the island in clear weather and get a proper view of the 7000’ volcano Mt Beerenberg. If things go well I should have plenty of time in hand, and may also nose around the islands of south-east Svalbard and stick my nose into the Barents Sea.

The other main news is that both my books are coming out soon in Russian. Voyages of a Simple Sailor is now at the printers, and the Russian translation of the second book is almost complete. I’ve had great fun working with the translator, a retired Russian merchant master mariner (fortunately I am reasonably fluent in Russian). Looks too as if both books will be published in French before long.

Have a good summer (I should be back mid-August)."

Roger's boat, Mingming is a tiny vessel for the enormously ambitious cruises he undertakes. His ability to cruise to such destinations and come back safely is a testament both to the seaworthiness of Mingming as he has modified her and his consummate seamanship, won at great cost. Look for a lengthy report on this summer's cruise around the end of August.

Luck be with him.

Roger's website is here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jack Tar #5

Cold Is The Sea provided cover art for this edition

all images courtesy Jack Tar Magazine

Kim Carver, editor of Jack Tar Magazine sent me an email alerting me to the fact that the 5th issue of her magazine has been published. It's available as a free pdf download here. There is also a print version but at $100.00 a copy I declined, though it will likely accrue value as a collectors item in the future for those who can spare the funds now. So, if you can, do and support this worthy endeavor. Here's an excerpt of Kim's editorial:

"Six years ago I created this magazine to educate green hands and entertain maritime enthusiasts of all ages. Stephanie Robb and I were encouraging more dialogue between sail training crews around the country, and Samantha Levens took it upon herself to write a thorough article on mariner rights. Without being inspired by these two passionate women I would have never started 'Jack Tar'.

Several folks did not like the name, and others did not like that I had no plans to focus solely on "tall" ships, where the bulk of my friends and experience lay. But what is the purpose of sail training? Certainly not to support thousands of young sailors to become captains of schooners and barques. Sail training exists to encourage teamwork, communication, and community and a good work ethic. For those who choose a career in the maritime industry, traditional sail training vessels provide the very best platform where one can learn enough navigation, meteorology, bosunry, basic diesel engine maintenance and general operations to set them on a course toward any maritime career. For hundreds of years, anyone could find a berth on a sailing vessel somewhere in the world. No money, no college degree, and often skills were necessary. This still holds true today; many vessels welcome green hands who are working their way up the hawse, and the use of these boats as easily accessible trade schools for future merchant mariners is invaluable. I encourage every American sail training organization to put up fliers at high schools, Job Corp campuses, community colleges and youth centers around the nation. Take on at least one green volunteer per season that might benefit more than most from the communal and educational experience a sail training vessel can provide.

Jack Tar continues to exist for these purposes:
Informing mariners about educational and employment opportunities
Promoting women and diversity in the maritime industry
Bridging the gap between different maritime subcultures (research, sail-training, leisure, shipping, building, etc.)
Documenting modern maritime culture, and serving as a forum where those in love with the sea can share their creativity with others"

There's more of Kim's inspired and passionate editorial to be found at Jack Tar. Download it and contribute as you are able. If you can spread the word or make a monetary contribution it'll help keep this valuable resource 'afloat'.