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One end to the other...

by John Curnow, Global Editor, Sail-WorldCruising.com 20 Dec 2020 10:00 UTC
The crew from the series - 80° North © SV Delos

Confession. I got a sneak peak at the SV Delos Arctic trailer a while back, and swore to complete secrecy, or face the long walk off a short pier... You can catch it here. The extreme latitudes continue to find sway, as over crowding in the more familiar destinations just continues to get worse. There are several craft in construction that we know of, purposely built to take on the challenges of the big numbers.

I've been as high as about 61 degreesN during travels in Sweden and Norway, and can immediately offer up that it was Summer. I've been as low as 46 degreesS, and it too was Summer, not that you'd really know, mind you. Not a huge fan of the cold I admit, but ever since my age was counted in single digits I have enjoyed legends and docos on the Aortic, and especially, the Antarctic.

At any rate, we were offered this review of the Delos series by none other than Lin Pardey, voyager, seminar presenter, and author of Storm Tactics Handbook, Self Sufficient Sailor and the Cruising in Seraffyn Series. "Last night I set off on a cruise with eight sailing friends. Destination - one of the coldest, most remote areas of the world. Well, it was actually a 'virtual' cruise because I sat down in a nice warm room at my New Zealand island home, and turned on my TV monitor to join the crew of two very different boats as they joined forces to explore the icy waters of Svalbard, far to the north of Norway."

"I couldn't have chosen more delightful sailing companions. Brady, his brother Brian and the crew from Delos have, for almost ten years, been at the top end of any list of most watched YouTube channels. So the vast majority of cruising sailors already know them. Last summer, they flew north, far, far north, to join a slightly less known but extremely experienced sail training crew from 59 North Sailing, Andy Schell and his partner Mia Karlsson on board, Isbjorn, a well outfitted Swan 48. With more than 40 cameras between them, and a fine eye for photography, they have produced a warm-hearted, humour-filled four part docu-series that will not only please their many followers, but introduce many others to a place few have heard of."

"The bleak, foreboding landscape of a land that is almost completely covered in ice turns beautiful, almost breathtaking when shown through excellent drone shots and even under water video. You feel you are right there with the crew as they encounter the wildlife of this remote area, moving right up to within a few meters of walrus, polar bears, and some of the rarest of whales, the all white Beluga."

"The excitement of preparing for and arriving in such a new and exacting environment is clearly shown as you watch the crew of Delos transition from tropical weather sailors to aortic mode. (Spoiler alert - this may be one of the few times you see the whole crew of Delos fully clothed.) Then there is the transition as Brady learns to handle a rifle, one of the pieces of equipment required before they can legally cruise beyond the capital of Svalbard. On board and sailing, it is obvious these two crews melded perfectly."

"If I have any quibbles about this documentary it is that it does not delve into the details of boat preparation, actual provisioning lists, the sailing and navigational challenges. i.e. the how to of voyaging and sailing in an extremely harsh environment. But as a why to, and an introduction to Svalbard, it does a fine job."

"It also answers a question that has often been asked at seminars I present on writing, video making and youtubing. Does the time consuming and often hard work of combining sailing and maintaining a cruising boat with making videos and then doing the hours behind a computer to get them out to an audience eventually interfere with the enjoyment of exploring under sail? The excitement, the enthusiasm shown by all the crew who sailed together on board Isbjorn to create this documentary show, even after a decade of entertaining us with almost weekly YouTube videos, they still not only revel in sailing, but continue to find new adventures awaiting just beyond the horizon."

Why? And the wrong way at that...

It was all we could ask about this next one, and the answer just kept coming back up, because it's there. For a while we had heard about Ryan Finn covering 14,000nm from New York City to San Francisco solo, in a Russel Brown designed and built 36-foot Proa. On January 1, 2021, his 60-day passage will begin.

As for the question at hand, Finn has said, "I came up with the idea of a non-stop, solo passage from New York to San Francisco on a small Proa to prove the concept of such a boat for a long, solo record breaking. The bigger project being a solo non-stop circumnavigation from East to West... I don't think there's an existing multihull that could survive the non-stop westbound record, but I think a Proa could. While researching the route for this trip, I became obsessed, and really haven't thought about anything else since."

Well it was 2016 when we first became aware of it, so may Finn's passion make it all work out fine. The epic voyage will eventually become a 60-minute doco too, showing the journey through Bermuda, onto Brazil, and thence around Cape Horn in Chile, before passing the Galapagos Islands on his way into San Fran. You can follow it all at 2 Oceans, One Rock

Antipodes it is then...

So I received an email, hitherto not seen before. It said, Southern Woodenboat Sailing. I went fair enough, wrote back and asked, 'Who are you, please?' It turns out they're from Melbourne, Victoria.

The reply was swift and warm. "SWS is me, Sal Balharrie, and my partner, Mark Chew. We've both been sailing for over 30 years. Started out as flotilla skippers in Greece. Bought a timber S&S 40, Cotton Blossom, followed by Fair Winds, a Rhodes 43. I also own and race a Sydney 38 called No Man's Land, with a predominantly female crew, and written about this for the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron".

"Personally, I'm passionate about getting more women to step up and buy a boat. You could say, in this regard, I'm on a bit of a mission. Mark's focus is the history of vessels and restorations. Basically we want to see more Classics being sailed more regularly by mixed crews. So we took all this experience and all this passion and launched Southern Woodenboat Sailing."

Back North to the 1933 Brigantine, Rendezvous

So our new bestie, Christian, set off on the Baltic Trader www.sail-worldcruising.com/news/233163 way back when... Today, he's back with more great tales, laughs, and the general wonderment that is sailing. For that, and all that is yet to come from the memory banks of his incredible life at sea, we all thank him dearly!

"So now many years and voyages later after my first South Sea sailing adventure, I am now running the 1933 Brigantine, Rendezvous, in San Diego, California. No sailing off to romantic places on this one. She was now being used as a Charter Boat, corporate day sails, weddings, and the most fun of all, funerals.

Every funeral was quite unique. After the ceremony we would ring eight bells, then throw the ashes over the side. In one instance, moments after the eight bells had been struck, two F16 fighter jets took off from the nearby naval base, and corkscrewed into the sky as if it was an air show. And in another, just as the preacher was dumping the ashes, a heavy gust of wind came up and blew the ashes all over the boat and the passengers, to which the widow said, "Well, his whole life was a mess anyway..."

The rig was well balanced, and easily handled. Like most old classic sailing yachts, they all seem to gather some great stories along the way. This one is quite unique. The vessel was built in Seattle, Washington, for a retired sailing cargo ship Captain. In 1941 she sailed to Hawaii from Los Angeles, and when rounding Diamond Head Point they saw up ahead the Japanese planes bombing Pearl Harbour! With that they turned around and sailed back to California.

So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please use the search window at the top of the home page if you are after something specific, as only the latest news appears on the site 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 the Sail-WorldCruising home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

Finally, Season's Greetings to you all, and may you stay safe, ready for all that 2021 will offer.

John Curnow
Global Editor, Sail-WorldCruising.com

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