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Potpourri, fisherman's basket, goulash, insalata mista, mélange, assortment…

by John Curnow, Global Editor, 16 Sep 2020 10:00 UTC
Simon and Carla go diving © Sailing Ocean Fox

I'm not sure any of those work entirely, but it certainly was fun to get the word goulash into a heading. At any rate, the conglomeration we have collected here should have two things going for it. One: The sum of the whole is greater than the parts. Two: If you were seeking inspiration, then they provide it, just like when the kite fills to power you along towards your next destination.

Desperately seeking...

Well if it is all about inspiration, not Susan, then Ocean Fox is the go for you. I was particularly taken by this video of theirs when Erin Carey 'introduced' me to Simon and Carla Fowler of Sailing Ocean Fox. Mainly it was for the way they are taking it on.

So just what made a couple of newlyweds buy a boat, and set off on a journey around the world? More importantly, this was despite Carla having no experience whatsoever, and Simon having only slightly more?

"Simon always dreamt of spending a summer afloat, but had never had an opportunity to do so, let alone the money, or the time. We were both at the beginning of a new wonderful relationship, and I wanted to make it truly special," said Carla.

While sailing YouTube channels are a dime a dozen, there are not exactly a lot of retirees getting on the bandwagon, which is yet another reason I was so impressed. Perhaps it's because of Carla's background as a VA or Simon's experience as an events manager, whatever it is, these two are taking on the challenge head-on. "We would like to share this lifestyle and inspire others to follow, take the plunge and go and do something with their lives, regardless of their age."

"We hope our viewers, and our family, will be inspired to make life-changing decisions, because if we can do it, anyone can. We tend to find reasons not to follow our dreams, or accomplish our goals, but life is just too short not to do something special everyday."

The couple, who sold everything to buy their boat, will remain in Portugal and the Atlantic Coast of Spain for the remainder of the year, before heading east through the Mediterranean, eventually sailing through to Egypt and the Red Sea. So what advice do they have for others hoping for a sea change?

"As long as you are active, it's never too late to enjoy this lifestyle. The only regret we have is that we did not do it earlier. So, if you are thinking about it, start making plans, not for ten years time, but sooner, rather than later. Travelling the world by boat is beyond your wildest dreams, better than you can ever imagine."

Anyway, the result of our introduction is a special video directly from Portugal. They show you how they have been able to continue cruising the west coast of Portugal aboard their Lagoon 400, Ocean Fox, despite the global pandemic, as life in Portugal seems to have returned to some semblance of normality.

Many citizens around the globe are facing border closures and travel restrictions. Erin Carey is one of those. They are keen to get back to the Azores where their Moody 47, Roam, is on the hard awaiting their return.

Carey commented about it all, "This news may be useful for those hoping to cruise the Mediterranean in the near future. It appears that life afloat may still be possible, despite what has been happening in the world. We, for one, will be applying to the Australian government for permission to return to our floating home early next year and I wonder how many others are thinking of doing the same?"

The Doyens

Now this next couple certainly are the Doyens. They have been doing the cruising life for over 40 years. Jack and Jude Binder have done more than most can contemplate, and then written, videoed, and photographed - see - for all to enjoy. Theirs really is a life less ordinary, and we at Sail-World always feel blessed to have their authority to share.

Their latest book, Around the World in a Homemade Boat, follows their sons as they matured into men before the mast, tackling oceans that test the bravest sailors. "That three-year voyage explored locations known only to the wild creatures as we sailed to the world's greatest attractions. Meeting along the way, a swirling mix of everyday people everywhere we landed. Statistically, we slept one in four nights at sea aboard a tiny dot of a sailboat about the size of a Winnebago. All of this before GPS satellite navigation."

"Raising our two children afloat from infancy to their last years of high school gave us a plethora of hard-earned experiences that gave our sons terrific values to take forward in their lives. And for us, it gave Jack and Jude an intense desire to encourage parents and youth that adventure still abounds and the planet needs them to end species decline and climate change."

Binder finished by adding, "We are delighted to be working with to bring our words and images to a much larger audience." As for us, well we are thrilled to read their material each time. Freely available on the website are short stories and videos, as well as access to published books and full-length films of the adventures, plus a dedicated webpage to Save Earth Now.

(BTW This scribe is continuing to get through Around the World in a Homemade Boat. It is well worth the read.)

Barn find? Maybe more like Barn Dance...

Now at one stage, 'Commodore Manni' had three square metre boats. Many of us would think that one wooden vessel in a usable state was more than enough. The 30 Square Metre Lady B (Bacchante RF1939) is still splendiferous after undergoing a full restoration, but the other two had been saved from the chainsaw, a match - or both - and then barely at that!

Joyous, another 30 square metre, was the second, and she now sits in the same shed as the soon to be completed and then definitely for sale 22 square metre, Flame. Joyous found a new owner a while back, and just like Flame, she too is nearly ready for the barn dance.

Flame has a Jarrah frame with pine planks over her. There is a new teak deck, a new timber rudder has been returned to the trailing edge of the now fully faired keel (as per the original design), and there is also a new alloy rig with 316 standing rigging. Down below there are fully painted bilges, and a pump to keep them dry. A 6hp electric sail drive will make her even more effortless to own, as too the new Anderson, Harken, and Ronstan deck hardware, and after all of that you can grab some time out on her new bunks.

Restoration began in 2015, and apart from the works above, the seams have been machined and splined, and the hull epoxy sheathed. The timber below the waterline and the lead keel are all very sound. Now all of that sounds fantastic, but it still doesn't really complete the picture. So what is it?

Well in terms of specs it looks like this: Flame is a Knud Reimers penned 22 Square Metre Sailing Yacht built by Vic Leggatt in Bicton. LOA 11.50m, Beam a very narrow 2.1m, Draft just 1.35m, 22m2 of sail area obviously, and then we start to get more of an idea with displacement - just 2.45 tonnes. Pretty tidy work for 1953, which is when she hit the water in Perth.

Yet it wasn't until I came across this curiously titled item by an anonymous author, The Lure of the Square Metre, that things started to gel. "Close hauled to reaching they will outsail most everything you will meet on the water. In real style. Healing over a bit (or a bit more) and then accelerating. Winning 15 to 20 minutes per hour on your average weekend racing cruisers. They don't go over waves, they (at least partially) go right through them. Call it wave piercing. Far more comfortable motion than any lightweight flat bottomed whatever."

"Someday, you may see one of the remaining ones. You will ask someone: 'What boat is that beautiful one over there?' You may get the answer, 'A square meter.' It's your decision if you step closer, or just turn and run."

In all seriousness though, it is these very boats that do take some people all the way into their soul to be their current custodian. It is their allure, so do yield if it is in your blood, for, to quote a famous science fiction race: resistance is futile. Flame is up for sale, so contact us if you're interested, and we'll place you in touch.

Grunt Up (take it on)

Talking of restorations, this here is the Margaret Pearl. Her owner went away another similar and restored vessel, the Jane Kerr, with Tim and Sally Phillips from the Wooden Boat Shop (WBS). Now it might have been the islands of Bass Strait, or perhaps Tasmania's wild and rugged West Coast, and certainly a large part of it had to be the wonderful flavours of a true crayfish that gave the sailor in question the taste. So much so that he went out and bought one, and has been doing a lot of the work himself, ably assisted by the WBS crew.

Like Flame she is nearly done, with her WBS built rig being one of the last major items. Installing her plumbing and electrical systems is under way, so we think she'll be on the water soon and we'll definitely come back for a better look then.

Rolly Tasker Code C for cruising

Take a Code Zero and then combine it with the A-Bag. That's the Rolly Tasker Code C, and it makes for a versatile reaching and running sail, ideal for a lot of modern cruisers. It is on an endless line furler, and flies from your kite halyard, and works from the moment you go past cracked sheets. The radial cut nylon gem is capable of deployment from 65 to 135 degrees and will go to 180 of your spin pole. It has a straight luff for even easier furling and uses a Dyneema cable.

Like for real

Many a good angler always reminds me that it is called fishing, not catching. Well.... As you can see here, that may not always be the case. As the S/Y Vilja narrows in on her circumnavigation, Ingrid Slungaard Myklebust sent these images in from Greenland.

"Yes, sailing in Greenland IS spectacular! We were catching fish with our bare hands, plus a picture of Vilja among icebergs. This has been a unique experience, and possibly an inspiration for other sailors to sail in northern waters!? We're so glad the pictures reveal some of it. Now we set sail for Iceland and Norway!"

So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please use the search window at the top of the website if you are after something specific, as only the latest news appears on the homepage as you scroll down. We enjoy bringing you the best stories from all over the globe.

If you want to see what is happening in the other hemisphere, go to the top of Sail-WorldCruising and use the drag-down menu on the right, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

In the meantime, do you love being on the ocean? Well remember to love them back too. They need our help. Now more than ever! Until next time...

John Curnow
Global Editor,