Monday, April 29, 2013
I have never been on the open sea in a little boat, but the ideas is definitely less than reassuring.
But, recently I read about a 74 year old Swede who will soon be embarking on a solo, non-stop sail around the world in a ten foot boat (yes, feet, not meters).
Sven Lundin, who goes by the name Yrvind (whirlwind), has been in the news over the last six months as he prepares his ten foot boat. He is no stranger to really small boats on big seas. In 1980 he was awarded the seamanship medal by the Royal Cruising Club after he soloed a 20 foot sailboat around Cape Horn.
His current project is documented on his Website and in numerous articles and all I can say is that I wish him good luck. The boat is not exactly a rakish beauty - more of an enclosed bathtub. In addition to food, he is packing 220 pounds of books plus a Kindle (to be recharged with a foot operated mechanism). It is also equipped with a seatbelt to keep him safe during rough weather and he says "I'll be completely safe. It's like a ping-pong ball in the sea, it never breaks."
I was intrigued to discover there are a number of brave souls who have gone on long voyages in tiny boats. A good overview is in this list of micro cruisers whose first entry is, very fittingly, Captain Bligh. Admittedly his boat was 23' but still quite an exploit with 18 men.
Another one who really stands out is Hugo Vihlen who sailed across the Atlantic first in his 6' boat April Fool and then in his 5'4" boat Father's Day. He wrote a book about each.
There is some criticism of these ultra-tiny boats - that they are little more than drifting flotsam and not really sailboats.
There was even a race planned called Around in Ten that hoped to organise a race around the world in boats of ten feet, but it never materialised.
I will stick to a Laser close to shore.