Retired Senator Tom Harkin & I recorded this ‘recycled’ episode at his house in Hope Town, in the Bahamas, almost two years ago now. Tom was a career senator, but this episode is nothing about politics. Rather, it’s about Tom’s incredible, unbelievable life story. He was a fighter pilot during Vietnam and became one of the few people ever to eject from a jet and survive to tell the tale. He also tells his insane story about building a wooden trimaran in Japan and having it’s Westerbeke engine shipped over on an aircraft carrier. Sailing has been the ‘red thread’ that has tied together Tom’s life story. This is my all-time favorite interview, so even if you’ve heard it before, it’s worth another listen.
Olly Cotterell is one of the youngest Clipper Race skippers ever, sailing to a podium position in the 2013-2014 edition of the RTW race onboard OneDLL. He currently skipper’s the prototype, foiling racing yacht ‘Maverick,’ which recently won her class in the RORC Trans-Atlantic Race. Olly & I have a connection in that we’ve both worked for Broadreach. We met up to record this episode in person in Antigua, ahead of the Caribbean 600. Olly has an amazing story that includes growing up on a sailboat in Bermuda, working up the ranks as an RYA instructor, surfing at 35 knots in the Southern Ocean in the Clipper Race and much more.
Chris Museler, NY Times journalist & sailor extraordinaire, has been a longtime friend of the podcast since the early days, and he’s back yet again for another catch-up. Chris has a remarkable journalism career and is one of the few people who get to write about sailing for the NY Times. He crossed the Atlantic onboard Hugo Boss as an onboard journalist with recent podcast guest Ryan Breymaier, sails in most of the major ocean races, and cruises his own cold-molded schooner Magic out of New England. Chris & I chatted in January about his new boat, composting toilets, the Cruising Club of America, inspiring young people to go sailing, and more.
Alan Block, aka Mr. Clean, is one of the driving forces behind the hugely popular - and sometimes controversial - Sailing Anarchy website. He’s a staple on the racing scene, traveling far and wide to cover events from the Volvo to the Vendee and lots in between. Alan’s story is a fascinating and circuitous one, and during our 90-minute conversation, we covered the whole thing, from his early days as a lawyer, to his dreams to set off sailing, and ultimately to his serendipitous opportunity to work with Sailing Anarchy. Alan is also the founder and host of the Sailing Anarchy podcast, free on iTunes.
RECYCLED: Yves Gelinas is a French-Canadian single-handed sailor and inventor of the Cape Horn wind vane, the simplest, most robust, and most elegant solution for self-steering on an offshore cruising boat. Yves invented and perfected the gear while circumnavigating nonstop via the Great Capes in his beloved Alberg 30 Jean du Sud in the 80s. During that voyage, he filmed Around the World with Jean du Sud, which quickly came to be considered the greatest sailing movie ever made. Yves still builds the Cape Horn units himself from his workshop in Quebec & still sails Jean du Sud, most recently voyaging to Martinique in 2015.
Today’s episode is slightly different. Magnus Ormestad is the host of my favorite Swedish podcast, called ‘Husky,’ where he interviews folks into outdoor sports & adventure. Magnus & I met a few years ago over coffee in a bike shop in Stockholm and became quick friends. We recorded in Sweden in January - it was a back-and-forth talk between two people used to ‘hosting’, with him interviewing me a bit and vice versa. But this episode is really more about what ties together outdoor adventure pursuits - how people find the passion and motivation to pursue their dreams, in any environment. Be sure to check out Husky’s English-language episodes on iTunes.
Presented by Weems & Plath. Martin Hasselov is a sailor and PHD scientist based on the beautiful West Coast - which the locals call the ‘best coast’ - of Sweden. Martin has a lifelong love for the sea which started as a small boy fishing in his families rowboats. After college he built a steel ketch from a bare hull to explore further afield. Now armed with a PHD in marine science, Martin recently bought an ex-BT Challenge yacht - a steel 67-footer designed for a southern ocean circumnavigation the ‘wrong way round’ - and uses it as an educational platform for promoting marine science locally, and exploring the world’s oceans further afield.
#178. Presented by Weems & Plath. Rick Tomlinson is one of yachting’s most accomplished photographers. What I didn’t know before we met, was how accomplished he is as a sailor. Rick was a crew member on four consecutive Whitbread Races, and literally invented the modern concept of onboard reporter. Back in his day, Rick was an integral member of the sailing crew - he took photos onboard as a hobby, on his off-watches, and even developed film in the galley sink offshore! Mia and I traveled to Rick’s beautiful studio in Cowes on the Isle of Wight last September to chat about his career.
Tales from the high seas, told week by week. The first three episodes are now LIVE at the Sailing Stories podcast feed - subscribe on iTunes here, or through your favorite podcast app! Season 1 will run to 15 total episodes over the next 12 weeks, releasing weekly on Thursday. Donate to help fund the next season of Sailing Stories!
#177. Presented by Weems & Plath. Lin & Larry Pardey need no introduction. They’re cruising legends, inspiring generations of sailors to ‘go small, go simple, and go now.’ I first discovered them through books I found in my parent’s basement - indeed it was the Pardey’s that primarly inspired my mom and dad to first set off on their 32’ sloop for a winter in the Bahamas in 1979. Mia and I read their books in detail when preparing Arcturus for the Atlantic crossing we made in 2011. What follows is a ‘recycled’ chat about their cruising careers that I had with Lin & Larry back in 2013, when the podcast first started.
#176. Presented by Weems & Plath. SV Delos' videos have become an internet sensation. After leaving Seattle in 2009, Brian, who later met Karin in new Zealand, and his brother Brady have been sailing the world and filming their adventures. Almost by accident they've become the most popular sailing videos on YouTube and it's become their primary source of income. Andy & Mia met them in Stockholm for the podcast.
#175. Presented by Weems & Plath. Behan & Jamie Gifford set off from Seattle Washington in Totem, their Stevens 47 sloop, in 2008. They’ve been sailing the world ever since, raising their three kids aboard the boat while crossing oceans, exploring landfalls and meeting interesting people along the way. Mia & I were invited aboard while Totem was in Annapolis last fall and had an enlightening conversation with the whole family about how they got inspired to go cruising, how the ‘identify’ themselves, where they call home, and what’s in store for their future cruising plans.
Presented by Weems & Plath. Nigel Calder is universally recognized as the guru of yacht systems. His hardcover tomes grace the bookshelves of yachts the world over. On Isbjorn, his are some of my most referenced books. But while many of you will know Nigel for his writing, I’d bet that few know his background. I didn’t. He came aboard Isbjorn during the Annapolis Sailboat Show last October and told me his backstory, which included living in a commune in the UK, years working on oil rigs in the Gulf, building pipe bombs in his parents back yard and much, much more.
Happy Holidays! Check out a sneak peak of our NEW podcast 'Sailing Stories: Tale from the high seas told week by week.' Season one is hosted by Lee Cumberland, narrated by Duncan Hood & features the audio rendition of the book 'Brave or Stupid,' the story of two Swedes who sailed around the world on a whim & a handshake. The show will officially launch in early 2017. Stay tuned!
#173. The Reverend Bob Shepton, now 81, got his start shortly after WWII as a climbing instructor in the British Armed Forces, where he used the outdoors to teach leadership & scripture. He didn’t start sailing until much later in life, but got real serious about it real quickly. I sat down with him at the Southampton Boat Show to talk religion, spirituality, his early days as a climber, losing his boat during an Arctic winter, his 15 Atlantic crossings, meeting the Wild Bunch, and the story behind the film series ‘Vertical Sailing Greenland.’
The music in this episode is courtesy of the Wild Bunch.
I’ve called a lot of people ‘legendary’ on the podcast, but Don Street truly fits the bill. Now deep into his 80s, he’s seen & done it all. He’s been instrumental in creating modern cruising as we know it. Street pioneered cruising the Caribbean on his engineless yawl Iolaire, and to this day continues updating charts of the region. He helped design the Caribbean’s first charter yacht, the CSY 44 and was ousted from Grenada during the US invasion. And the list goes on. Don told me these stories & many more in person a few years back.
The legendary yacht designer German Frers…He earned his chops working for S&S under Olin Stephens himself, but it was only through a chance meeting that he got to sketch his first namesake yacht. Frers’ one-off designs quickly began attracting the best production builders like Swan & Hallberg-Rassy, who hired him to design their bluewater cruising boats, and some of the most iconic super yachts ever built came off of his drawing board. I spoke to German on Skype from his office in Argentina about all this & much more.
Magnus Rassy is one of my favorite characters in sailing. He’s the CEO of Hallberg-Rassy and one of the most enthusiastic people in the sport. When I asked him how the new HR44 came to be, and why they needed a new model at all, his answer was pure Magnus. The man has a twinkle in his eye when he talks about his boats and it was a joy to catch up with him for a second podcast interview, again recorded onboard the flagship HR 64 at their yard in Sweden, a year after our first.
Ben Doerr is living the dream in the Pacific Northwest. A thirty-something husband, father & sailor, Ben didn’t wait until retirement to chase his dreams. He recently refit a classic John Alden-designed Pearson Countess ketch, and sails her out of Bainbridge Island, off the coast near Seattle, running day-trips and longer adventure charters along that beautiful coastline. Ben & I hit it off immediately, and chatted at length about his sailing career, life as a dad, his ‘real’ career as a musician, building and running a sailing business, & lots more.
In 2012 Matt Rutherford became the first person to sail solo and nonstop around the America’s via the Northwest Passage and Cape Horn on his 27-foot Albin Vega ‘St Brendan.’ He’s completed some truly remarkable voyages since, including a Pacific crossing in a daysailor, a 7,000-mile plastic research voyage in the Atlantic, and two expeditions to far northern Greenland. This recycled chat is from 2011, before Matt even began his audacious journey round the Americas, and offers some insight into his remarkable personality.