A Thank You to Figure 8 Virtual Voyagers!

31 Oct

It began as a simple enough idea–to solo circumnavigate the Americas and Antarctica in one season. A boat, a sailor, a big sea, some ice and a double loop of the globe in roughly the shape of an eight.

But as time went on and as the idea developed, it came required the help of more and more people until, in the end, this ostensibly singular endeavor took an entire village to pull it off.

Though I am eager to express my gratitude to everyone involved, it is with some trepidation that I sat down today to publish a list. It’s a long list; it looks complete, but I fear it has left out someone, maybe you. If so, please forgive me.

One issue has been where to start, as there are so many people to recognize.

So I’ll start here…

First off, thank you to all those who followed the Figure 8 and enjoyed experiencing the adventure as it happened. By now it is probably clear that I am someone for whom telling the story is half the fun of having it, and it was doubly fun for me to see that the unfolding tale struck a chord with so many. I especially appreciated the comments you sent in throughout the Figure 8, which Joanna often sent to me in email form while I was at sea.

Friends gathered to meet Mo as she arrived at the Sausalito Yacht Club, 2019.

Secondly, my deepest thanks to all those who participated in the Figure 8’s two GoFundMe campaigns. These contributions bought the high-tech communications equipment for the first Figure 8 attempt and then bought it again when the Indian Ocean knockdown sent the first satellite computer to an early grave.

A list of contributors is below…

A number of companies participated in the Figure 8 Voyage, and some even participated in both attempts. I am grateful to all of them.

I’d like to call out my special appreciation to the following.

Sponsors

  • Wide Orbit, Eric Mathewson for exemplary support through two Go Fund Me campaigns.
  • KKMI in Point Richmond and especially Paul, Ralph, Kevin, Janice, Joel, Marianne, and Caleb.
  • Scanmar International, the makers of my best friend, Monte, the Monitor Windvane; special thanks to owner, Mike Scheck, for his tireless support.
  • HOOD Sails, Robin Sodaro, Joe Cooper, and David MacMillan.
  • Cliff Bar, Marjorie Martin.
  • Amphora Winery, Rick Hutchinson and Jim Walter for the sparkling wine used to celebrate key Figure 8 milestones.

Thank you to the Ocean Cruising Club for the extension of aid during my emergency stops and specifically to the many port captains: Roxanna Diaz, Captain John Solomon, John Van S, Ted Laurentius, and Rick Whiting. Thank you to Tony Gooch for introducing me to this great cruising resource and to Daria Blackwell for several articles and participation in the PR campaign.

John Solomon, Port Captain for the Ocean Cruising Club aboard his Sole Mio at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

The Figure 8 had a number of mentors without whom the project may not have succeeded.

  • Tony Gooch, owner of Moli when she was called Taonui and in which he and wife, Coryn, explored the nether regions of the world for 16 years; then, to cap that off, Tony set out from his home in Victoria to sail solo around the world via the southern capes, logging an average of 137 miles a day in Taonui–a record I did not break. To him I owe thanks for endless assistance with the learning of the boat and the route, for arranging aid during emergency stops and for finding Caleta Oja, the only safe haven for miles when I nearly came to ruin off Cape Horn.
  • Gerd Marggraff, president of the Metal Boat Society for advice on metal boats and boat mechanical systems and for being my emergency engineer while I was underway.
  • Dustin Fox of Fox Marine for help with electrical systems and patiently troubleshooting with me from sea.
Tony Gooch aboard Mo for the 2016 boat show in Point Richmond.
Gerd and Melissa aboard their aptly named THOR, 2018.

Thank you to those I met along the route of Mo’s 2016 Pacific Shakedown Cruise.

Homer, Alaska

  • Adam Lalich for friendship and the use of his truck during the winter and spring.
  • Mike Stockburger and the whole crew at Homer Boat Yard for renewing Mo’s barrier coat.
  • Eric Sloth of Sloth Boats for use of his shop to repair the spreaders.
Homer Boatyard Crew enjoying lunch after successfully stepping Mo’s mast, 2016.

Port Townsend, Washington

  • Howard and Stephanie Conant of Holy Grail for helping dock Mo that blustery day and for continued friendship.
  • Cory Armstrong of ACI Boats for consulting on Mo’s Monitor install.

Hawaii

  • Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Haffner of International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii, for an introduction to ocean plastics research and the privilege of doing some citizen science. 
Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Haffner at the Waikiki Yacht Club, Honolulu, 2017.

Thank you to those who came to Mo’s aid during the first Figure 8 attempt.

Ushuaia, Argentina

  • Roxanna Diaz, Ocean Cruising Club Port Captain.
  • Laura and Federico for taking Mo’s lines and for the hospitality aboard Ocean Tramp.

Hobart, Tasmania

  • Captain John Solomon, for climbing over Mo’s rail a second time to help guide her in and for introductions to everyone at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
  • Darryl Ridgeway and Ursula, for friendship, assistance with repair jobs, endless trips to town and for excellent lamb roasts at anchor in Barnes Bay (Sorry, Mo is still not for sale).
  • And other friends at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
  • Sally Errey for an introduction to meat pies and for expressing concern regarding fiber in my at-sea diet.
  • For last-minute help with Mo’s VHF radio, John and De Deegan of Storm Boy and the couple on John Barleycorn.
Darryl Ridgeway helping Mo with new storm shutters at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Thank you to those Mo and I met along the route of the Figure 8 second attempt.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Wayne Blundell, Dockmaster at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, for guidance many introductions.
  • Rob Kuder, for running me all around town for spares and supplies and excellent troubleshooting skills. 
  • Sandy MacMillan, for sail repair quickly done.
  • John van S, Port Captain of the Ocean Cruising Club.
  • Rich on Wabi, for dinners and discussions.
  • Sebastiaan Ambtman and Rhiannon Davies of Dutch, for companionship and a gift of the word’s best powdered milk.
  • Ben Garvey, for the use of his dock.
  • John Harries of Attainable Adventure Cruising, for a fun afternoon discussing the Jordan Series Drogue.
  • Tony Gibb and Connie McCann, for buying that first beer and for continued friendship since our meeting in Cabo San Lucas in 2011.
  • And other friends at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.
Rob Kuder demonstrating the use of the world’s smallest sextant.
Wayne Blundell, Dockmaster Extraordinaire of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.

St John’s, Newfoundland

  • Ted Laurentius, Ocean Cruising Club Port Capitan.
  • Jerry Veitch, “Marine Insultant” for work on Mo’s Buhk engine.
  • Alisdair Black for interest in the Figure 8 and sailing in company as Mo departed for Greenland.
  • Dennis Hanlon for shopping runs to town.
  • Ed for interest in Mo’s videos and for dinner at the club.
  • Greg Horner and Rick Austin for friendship and an excellent video.
  • To the manager, Kathy and the dockmaster, Steve and other friends at the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club.
Alisdair Black and Jerry Veitch, Marine Insultant.

Nuuk, Greenland

  • Jens Kjeldsen for help with the acquisition of bear protection and for the invitation to his wife, Dorthe’s, birthday party.
Jens aboard his Kiqdlua in Nuuk Inner Harbor.

Sisimiut, Greenland

  • Mantas Seskauskis of Ilen for help diagnosing engine oil leak.
  • Vincent Moeyersoms of Alioth for bringing a new engine seal up from Nuuk.

Northwest Passage 

  • Les and Ali Parsons, for a very instructive first run at the Northwest Passage in 2014 aboard Arctic Tern.
  • Victor Wejer, Mo’s ice pilot, for daily weather and ice maps and for encouragement (“it is time to take your difficult bite”) when the going got tough in Peel Sound.
  • To friends made during the struggle through the ice, especially, 
    • Olivier, Eric, Leila, and Josh of Breskell.
    • Pablo and Pablo of Mandragore.
    • Amanda and Robin of Morgane.
    • Anton, Guillom, and Elouise of Mirabelle.
    • And most especially to Vincent Moeyersoms, his brother, Olivier and friend, Jean, of Alioth for assistance, companionship and airmailed fresh baked bread!
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Victor Wejer (photo credit UpHere Magazine).
Olivier, Jean, Pablo and Vincent in Cambridge Bay.
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The crew of Olivier’s Huin’s Breskell: Eric, Miguel, Josh, Leila. Sadly, the photo is missing skipper, Olivier.

A great number of people were hands-on both before and during the voyage.

Family and Friends

  • Mother, Evon Reeves, for support and for keeping watch over the Figure 8 tracker (back-end analysis shows that she checked the tracker every 8.5 minutes on average for the two years I was on the course).
  • Lavonna Reeves and Bruce Janke for many things but especially for building Mo’s robust First Aid kit.
  • The entire Reeves—Vietz, Kellar, Shaeneman—and Bloor—Carlisle, Bates—families.
  • Lucy Bloor, for each month sending to my wife one of the cards I had written for her prior to departure. 
  • Kelton Rhoads for a supply of homemade jam, the battery charger, the flashlights, the knives, the compass.
  • Jim Walter, for homemade jam and for helping get the shoe back on the rudder.
  • Kurt Lorenz, for the stove.
  • Joan Fallon, for a lifetime’s supply of Figure 8 socks.
  • Mike Kayton, for his day of work on Mo’s winches.
  • Laurence Boag, for the custom bookshelf.
  • Ben Shaw and Lindsey Keane, for friendship and a lovely dinner in Halifax.
  • Eric Moe for interest and enthusiasm and for testing the sliminess of Mo’s bottom paint.
  • Schubert Sarkis for help with Mo’s lifelines.
  • Skip Dubrin for the celestial navigation book.
  • Bruce Allen for a boatload of superb coffee beans.
  • John Woodward for the winch handles.
  • Diane Hayford and Joe Geary, for replenishing the supply of Madeira that Monte had so thoughtlessly consumed.
  • Mary Spadaro, for dinner in Honolulu and a fun evening of conversation.
  • Shana Chrisman, for allowing the Figure 8 adventure to be a part of her daily exchanges with her father, Don.
  • Phil Hoag of Fine Tolerance for advice on high latitude boats.
  • Rick Whiting, Ocean Cruising Club Port Captain, San Francisco Bay Area, for a crisp new OCC flag upon my second departure.
  • Nick Stewart, for his support via Randall Blue Ink and a most amazing ink drawing of Mo.
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Momma–happier than the day I departed.
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John Woodworth and Schubert Sarkis out for a test sail in San Francisco Bay, 2017.
Bruce Allen supplying Mo with Iolana coffee, 2017.
Diane and Jon presenting me with a bottle of Madiera (not to be shared with Monte), 2019.
Nick Stewart’s pen and ink drawing of Mo departing Hanalei Bay, Kauai.

For correspondence, often daily, while I was at sea

  • Kelton Rhoads
  • Jim Walter
  • Matt Jensen Young
  • Jessie Vietz
  • Tony Gooch
  • Gerd Marggraff

For Early Exposure

  • Charles Doane of Lunacy for entirely unwarranted, early exposure on his blog, Wavetrain, and in SAIL.
  • Matt Rutherford for interest and interviews on his Singlehanded Sailing Podcast.
  • Tim Henry, Editor Latitude 38, for consistently great reporting throughout.  
  • Andy Schell of 59º North Sailing/On the Wind podcast for an early interview.
  • Ben Shaw for his many interviews on his Out the Gate Sailing Podcasts.
  • Joe Rosato Jr. of NBC for first and still best video reports.

The Figure 8 Land Ops Team

  • Kylie Teele
  • Freddy Bunkers
  • Lauren Pfenninger
  • Brad Kellar
  • Lucy Bloor
  • Joanna Bloor

For Mo’s Arrival Logistics 

  • All the above Land Ops Team plus,
  • Heather Hawkins at Elevation Strategy.
  • Daria Blackwell at the Ocean Cruising Club.
  • Heather Richard of Carodon, Mike Dodson of NoSnow, and Gary Pursell of Jessie’s Girl, for hosting media on their boats during Mo’s arrival.  
  • The Sausalito Yacht Club, for hosting the party.
Mo and Heather Richard’s Carodon at Angel Island, 2017, two of the best aluminum boats in the Bay area (photo credit, Heather Richard).

Thank you to Moli, my 45ft Dubbel and Jesse aluminum expedition sloop, for making the miles and for, month-in-month-out, standing up to the best of sea and ice. I cannot imagine a more fitting yacht for the task of venturing poleward.

And most of all to my enabler, my lovely wife, Joanna Bloor, without whom this project of sailing solo around the American and Antarctic continents in one season would have never gotten past the idea phase. 

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage

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