All posts filed under “Costs

Entry, Constellation for sale

Nearing Australia, I saw another sailing vessel and radioed to ask if they knew whether Customs ran 24hrs or not. The radio crackled, “Customs? Where are you coming from, over?” … “Tonga” … “Tonga? Please repeat, over”, “Tonga, in the south Pacific” … “Oh.”

The message was relayed to the VMR station, and thankfully Customs awaited my arrival, as we flew into port at 7kts with a racing tide behind us. I radioed again to await direction, as you must be invited into harbour, you cannot simply sail in. I was given the all clear, and sailed in. Several people saw the yellow quarantine flag, and for those that knew, they realised I had come a long way. Some waves from other boats and many strange looks. I motored around and berthed, the Customs agents said “where is your welcome party?” and I said “You’re it, make some noise!” … And so after nearly two and a half years, Constellation was firmly tied up in Australian waters. There was no one I knew in Coffs Harbour, and so my arrival was like an arrival anywhere else… Somewhat lonely. In fact, it was much like my “official” departure from Holland, where I simply slipped the lines, said goodbye to the dockmaster, and began my 28,000km voyage to Australia in a small boat. Maybe it sounds a little sad to some, but actually, I think there is something mildly romantic about the idea of departing and arriving quietly, as if by secret from long voyages. It reminds me of Bill Tilman, undertaking enormous trips through Greenland, only to arrive as if nothing had happened a few months later and tying up at his berth in Lymington.

As Customs searched my boat, removed a lot of my food and a few trinkets, I watched on slightly nervously. Not because I had anything to hide, but because it’s strange having someone go through your home. Everything was wet or rusty, but eventually the paperwork and search was over, and my latest problem arose: The tax and import duty on Constellation. I hadn’t planned for such an expense – I thought I had 12months to go through the process, but apparently that wasn’t the case. So the very next day, I was on the phone, calling, emailing, and researching the problem. By 4pm I had a customs broker working on the case, and 4 days later Constellation was imported. I had no money for such a thing, but, through the graciousness of friends and their credit cards… Constellation officially became Australian (well, from a tax perspective!).

Jack the filmmaker arrived some days later to sail south with me and film, but after all the tax problems and stress of the whole ordeal, I had to get off the boat and go home… So, on a train we went, and rather quickly, we arrived in Sydney. It’s amazing how much faster you can get places, when you travel at speeds faster than 4kts…

So what’s next? I don’t know. Well, that’s not entirely true, but, in regards to Constellation I’m not sure. I sent out a Twitter update a week ago exclaiming she was for sale – And she is. Many people messaged and said ‘No, you can’t sell her!’ But unfortunately, that’s really how things must end. I can’t really justify the expense of putting her in a marina so she can be sailed around the bay on sunny weekends in summer… It’s sad, and I wish I could just build a museum for myself, and put her in it, but alas, unless the six figure book deal and equally profitable film distribution arrangement appear from nowhere, that’s it. The sale from Constellation is also what will fund part of my future ideas and projects… So for anyone interested, you can contact me, or just out of general interests sake you might be interested to see what’s onboard in her for sale listing. Presently she is on the east coast of Australia, tax paid and would be suitable for an Australian, New Zealand or European buyer because there is nothing else you need to hand over for governmental revenue collection…

Tomorrow I will fly sail at 600kts upwind, and be in Melbourne for a month while I sort myself, my finances, and everything else out…


We’re going west, Overland trip abandoned

Campaign Progress

of the required users
of the required placemarks

I’m still rallying people to help Bluemapia support my voyage across the Pacific – ! Click here to find out how to help Bluemapia support my Pacific crossing, and also learn how to win a brand new SPOT messenger. If you haven’t already, please read this post and help me get across the Pacific!

There is an awful lot going on. To summarise, Constellation is being trucked mid-next week! So it’s all go go go… ! Unfortunately my dreams of riding that enormous bike Lee Winters gave me, have fallen through. It’s a long story… But, it basically came down to bureaucracy and time, so we’re heading west as per the plan next week without further delay. Remember, I need to be ready to make for Hawaii by early May. The boat will need to be re-assembled on the west coast, which will be quite a big task alone, and I suspect there will invariably be some teething problems due to the modifications and added gear that’s now onboard.

Jack the filmmaker arrives tomorrow from Germany, to keep the (figurative) celluloid rolling, and Monday week I fly out to Denver, Colorado… After which we will drive the rest of the way to San Francisco to meet Constellation on the other side. I had such grand and wild plans for this overland voyage. Remember, I was going to ride a bicycle… Do work for charity… There was a big list of things I had planned. But reality caught up with me, and those things fell through. It’s disappointing on the one hand, but on the other, it just means I’ll have to come back at some stage, and stay true to my word.

Constellation is coming along beautifully. I’m getting so much help with everything, it really still amazes me… I will write a proper parting letter detailing what wonderful things have been going on before I leave, but in short, John the engine mechanic (who has since been given the name ‘the engine whisperer’) managed to get ‘August the mighty Yanmar’ running again. There still seems to be some starting issues, however John, being a true engine whisperer, believes it is fixable. Personally I’m getting close to the point of throwing it in the trash, and buying a sculling oar, however, I will give the whisperer the benefit of the doubt, and let him whisper… Poor ‘August’, the tiny one cylinder diesel… He just wasn’t built to go around the world… Thank you John, I hope the next time we meet in earnest, all engines will be perpetual motion machines with only one moving part. Until then, keep whispering.

Mari, a true gentlemen and endless supporter of fine boating electrics, my antics, and this entire project, continues to help out on anything and everything. I’d be lost without Mari, but he requires an entire post (soon to come) to even scratch the surface of his extraordinary spirit and assistance.

Instead of writing to you from the cold port bunk of Constellation, I’m actually living in luxury. I came back to Long Island in winter, and Walt the Salt has put me up in a little house just minutes from the marina. I have a big warm room all to myself, in a nautically themed cottage. Not only that, but more often than not, Walt cooks a big dinner to keep the fat on me, for the upcoming period of month-long ocean passages, powered by cheap pasta. Everyday I come home and ask him questions, or get advice on the best way to do things. Imagine having a boating magic eight ball in your back pocket… That’s Walt…

I turned 28 last week, and today marks 550th official day this voyage has been underway. That doesn’t include the year I spent paying for, and working on the boat in England… Jack wrote me a funny email the other day, and said I’d told him on camera that I expected the voyage to take between ‘six and nine months’ … I nearly fell off my chair in laughter! But here I am, on the greatest adventure I will probably ever have, propelled by the nicest people I’ll probably ever meet… And what crazy hard fun this all continues to be…

I recently had an opportunity to talk with Peter Mello as part of his podcast. It was a fun interview, and I really appreciate him taking time out to talk to me. You can listen to the interview here. Peter also gave me time to discuss the Bluemapia sponsorship proposal, as well as an opportunity to talk about Bluemapia as a whole, which was very nice.

So, as always, thank you to everyone, and I’ll try to write again before we keep heading west.

Always west.


Sailors, I need your help – Win stuff!

Campaign Progress (read below to see what these numbers mean):

of the required users
of the required placemarks

As avid readers will already know, I went back to Australia for a couple of months to see family, and also to work in order to pay for all this madness. I managed to get quite a lot of work done, and was able to put together enough money to truck my boat across America, as per the plan. However, past that… The budget doesn’t allow for much else. That all being said, there is a way out of this, thanks to the founders of – The same company I’ve been working with, for the past several months. They’ve put together a sponsorship package which will provide me with the much needed funding to cross the Pacific this year – However, in return I need to achieve certain goals on the website. To briefly explain, is an online web application which allows users to freely sign up, and contribute sailing related media and information. The concept hinges around user-generated content, termed ‘placemarks’. A placemark is a piece of information (photo, text, video etc) directly related to a specific point on the earth (a waypoint). My goals are to get 300 new users on, and 600 new placemarks. That might seem like a lot, but it’s not – There are thousands of monthly viewers reading this website, and a large majority of them are sailors – You already have the knowledge, and I’m kindly asking you to consider putting it on to help me out, and also to help build up a phenomenal sailing resource. It costs nothing to signup, and everything you submit is Creative Commons licensed – That means it’s yours forever.

For all your help, and if these goals are met… I’ve organised some cool stuff to give away: Through my own volition and unrelated to the sponsorship arrangement, I’ll be giving away a prize each to the top three placemark contributors. They’re all solo sailing related, and will be shipped to wherever you are in the world (including the three great capes!):

First prize – A SPOT Messenger – Update your position via the push of a button, to notify your friends and family, while also publishing it live to the web.
Second prize – Four sailing books every solo sailor (or, for that matter, every sailor!) should own: Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum, Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi, The Long Way by Bernard Moitessier, Alone through the Roaring Forties by Vito Dumas.
Third prize – Sailing the world alone – A DVD documentary on the 1994 singlehanded BOC Challenge.

To take part, assist in my passage across the Pacific, and contribute your sailing knowledge to – Sign up and start adding placemarks. A counter will be added showing how progress is going in the coming days.

Thank you Bluemapia, and to everyone who continues to read this site, write comments, emails, and just show an interest!