All posts filed under “People

Sailing with Tobias Fahey

Last week I had the great fortune of getting a sail in with Tobias Fahey, aboard his IOOD50 (International Open One Design 50), in Tasmania. This year, Tobias will be attempting to become the fastest Australian to circumnavigate the globe, singlehanded and nonstop around the great capes. The boat he will be sailing was originally built specifically for voyages such as these, designed by Graham Radford and built by infamous Australian adventurer Don Mcintyre ten years ago, as part of planned one-design circumnavigation race which unfortunately didn’t happen. Just a few weeks ago I also had the great pleasure of meeting Don in Melbourne, when he visited me at the new co-working space I built with my pal Marty. Don was flying through Melbourne (metaphorically), on a mad trip north to pickup some kind of inflatable flying boat. Don has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met, and so many great stories, one could just sit there and listen to him recall his life for hours, if not days, without closing an eye. He’s an amazing ambassador for encouraging adventure to young Australians, and everyone should take a minute out of their lives to zoom around Google and read up on his various projects and adventures, spanning oceans and frozen continents.

Sailing with Tobias was a fun experience, as I’ve never been aboard a large, highly strung offshore racing boat before, as generally I toy around on small, slow, full keeled boats where 5kts is deemed ‘fast’… Tobias is a true waterman, living in a house of his own construction over looking a beautiful bay, where he sails and catches lobster, abalone and fishes for food. A sailor, surfer, diver, and really nice person, Tobias is taking on a huge personal challenge and dream to depart this October, at the young age of just 26. Take a look at his website, send some words of encouragement, and watch his undertaking unfold at tobiasfahey.com.au.

Below are a few photos, and a short sailing vignette as we sailed around Frederick Henry Bay, not far from Hobart.

Nick.

The Bristol library elevator is broken, I bought a harmonica.

I get a lot of emails from people saying ‘cool trip, I’m doing my own… Xyz’ … Which is awesome. Some of them are more interesting than others, and some peter-out after just a few months – Reality, other commitments, and often finances bring the house of cards (dreams) down. But this one piqued my interest… A proposed sailing voyage that starts off with a roadtrip around America, living on burgers, and discussions on camera with his dog, beside rivers & truckstops… Fast forward to today, and it’s a familiar story of being broke with a busted van, an old boat, and no one to help him out… Floating around a bay in California, looking for a way to survive, and live out a dream of sailing off over the horizon. This is the kind of adventure I can appreciate.

His name is Jordan, and he left Oregon last year, to drive around America with his dog, shoot video, think about sailing, and maybe prove to some people (and probably himself), that he’d make an interesting story & an interesting individual to support his ultimate aim of leaving the docklines, on the dock.

“So today I wake up in my broken van out front of Cat Womens house. Nora chases the cats for a while and I get a hot shower. Later we stroll down to moss landing, about a mile from Sally’s. I talk with the Harbor Guys, they’re cool. They have slips available, they don’t run credit checks, and can get me in whenever I’m ready. Now I just have to come up with the slip fees and deposit, much cheaper than Monterey Bay Boat Works. Still lots of money for a guy who just bought a boat, and broke a van…”

He has 180 videos on Youtube from his adventures so far, and I hope he keeps up the video and writing – I’m looking forward to watching the transition from the road to the water… Aboard his Pearson, in Monterey Bay…

And if you’re curious about the title of this post, it’s an old Twitter update from Jordan – The fact he cares about the library elevator being broken, is because he’s paralysed from the waist down. Check out his website here

See you on the sea sometime Jordan!

Nick.

The loss of Wild Eyes

Now that we’ve heard that Abby is ok (she is still floating out there, but, according to all reports doing as best as as one can in such circumstances), the question I have now, is what will happen to her boat? Reports indicate that other than a dismasting, the boat is actually fine – No water is entering, and the keel is still attached. All good things. As a French fishing vessel approaches Abby and her boat, I can’t help but ponder the fate of the Scot Jutson designed Open 40 Wild Eyes, formally known as BTC Velocity and raced by Alan Paris in the 2002 Around Alone – Fun fact: Wild Eyes is Canadian designed, Australian built, Australian patrolled and French rescued! Will a salvage be attempted? Will the family ask the fishing vessel to attempt some kind of insane crazy southern ocean tow? Will they leave a beacon onboard and hire a salvage team?

It’s highly unlikely the boat is insured, and if under charter I imagine an agreement was made, whereby the vessel would be paid for in full, at its former asking value of $150k (as advertised by Regatta Management of New Jersey when Wild Eyes was for sale last year). She was under charter for $60k / year, which is less in comparison to the S&S 34 purchased by Don & Margie McIntyre, which was given/leant (I don’t know which) to Jessica Watson… That is however an apple & orange comparison, and next to useless since the cost of a boat is actually only a fraction of the overall cost of such an endeavour…

Adding up Abby’s ‘Platinum level’ of sponsorship request yields a sum total of $430,000. Comparatively, Jessica Watson asked for $205,000 for the naming partner (who ended up being Ella Bache), and four principle partners at $20k / each, bringing her asking sum total to $365,000. Who actually knows whether these goals were reached, but those were the asking numbers. I should think the maintenance and costs of maintaining an Open 40 would far outweigh the tried and true Sparkman & Stevens… And the whole point of the temperamental Open 40, was speed in order to beat the non-ratified age record that Jessica now holds… However, that was soon quashed by equipment failures in South Africa – Mike Perham had the same kinds of issues with his chartered Open 50, seemingly stopping at every continent – These Open spec boats need a lot of love, and a lot of money to keep running in the conditions required – I really don’t think they were designed to do more than one circumnavigation… Ok, so that’s not entirely true, the success of Steve White aboard Toe in the Water in the 1998 Vendee was impressive on all counts, with him sailing an ‘ancient’ Open 60 built in 1998, as the newer boats fell apart around him… I also have a strong suspicion that Mike & Abby had very little experience with pedigree boats like these, and so their temperamental speed machines struggled between oceans. Steve White had no teams or people to help his campaign, and probably knew Toe in the Water better than the designers and builders combined. He was so entrenched in the endeavour of his Vendee campaign, his house was mortgaged, and he and his family were living on the boat in a French shipyard… Now that’s dedication.

Anyway, it’s a sad day for yet another Open spec boat, but at least the sailor in question will live to tell the story, which no doubt will be a rather lucrative one… Should Abby be under jury rig now, like Mike Golding in Ecover 3 was in 2008, headed towards Perth from 930nm out? Who knows, I’ll save the criticism for others, it’s all just an interesting story… Here are some images:


Before

After

Here is a video I found of what a dismasted boat in the southern ocean looks like – In case you were wondering. It is Mike Golding aboard Ecover 3 with a jury rig – If I remember correctly, his speed was about 4-5kts:

So, if you were interested in getting a free Open 40, there is one floating around 40°48′S 74°58′E.

nick.