AND THE OSCAR GOES TO: The Figure 8 Voyage Video

“Faye. Faye! Psst. Wrong envelope.”

When not cleaning coffee grounds from the floorboards during last summer’s 7,000-mile shakedown cruise in Moli, I kept myself occupied by shooting passage video.

The exercise was an experiment intended to answer three questions:

  1. What is the minimum technology required for video capture at sea?
  2. Could a short video illuminate the frequently asked “Whatis the Figure 8?”
  3. Ditto the “Why?” question.


In the first case, I used what I already had, a Lifeproofed iPhone 5–which, miracle-of-miracles, was not lost at sea–a flexible, rail-wrapping tripod, and a long selfie stick. The goal was to capture a wide variety of subjects that, once home, could be sorted, categorized, and shipped off to an editor. The biggest issue I faced was memory. The iPhone filled quickly, and only when transferring files to the laptop did I realize that the Apple software there had stopped working.

Regarding the “What is it?” question, I will be satisfied if this introduction sets the record straight and thereby reduces the number of times I am asked when, on the Figure 8, I make my first approach to Panama.

Then there’s “Why?” Why am I pursuing such a daunting voyage, some 40,000 miles, a course that passes Cape Horn twice and transits the Northwest Passage in one year?

It’s a troublesome question worthy of a longer post, but suffice to say I have often sidestepped an answer at dinner parties by pitching back to the table, “Given half a chance, wouldn’t you take on an adventure like the Figure 8?” I have fully expected affirmation. Wasn’t it obvious? But as I laid out details, what became apparent to the landlubbers (no TV, no internet, no fresh food, no bathing, no heat, randomly available sleep) meant the response I got was always a resounding “Not me. No way!”

So then, why?

Ranulf Fiennes wrestles this question for several pages of Mind over Matterand by way of surrender, ends with Wally Herbert’s remarks:

“And what is the value of the journey? It is as well for those who ask such a question that there are others who feel the answer and never need to ask.”

So, maybe the video will shed some light…

20 Comments on “AND THE OSCAR GOES TO: The Figure 8 Voyage Video

  1. Randall – Excellent film. I felt as if I was about to embark on this adventure with you. Wow!

    • Hey Mike, thanks for the feedback. A first for me, but was a lot of fun to put together and turned about better than I could have hoped due to the video editor’s work.

  2. The video is awesome, sir. And when asked why, I think George Mallory said it best, when he was asked why he wanted to climb to the top of Mt. Everest; because it’s there.

    While I love the idea of the journey, I am not a fan of sail, nor of water in general (save for drinking, bathing and making beer & cocktails out of it). However I will happily be a virtual stowaway :-).

    • I think it’s great you want to be a virtual stowaway, Rob. But don’t think for a minute that means you get to skip your turn standing watch.

  3. Mom, chuckled, then sighed, and snuggled deeper into her down robe (it’s a frosty morning on Sequoyah!), cuddling her AP, and said: “Way to go Rob! But a big “Thank You” Randall!”

  4. That very nicely captures a quick sense of what it’s like out there. I like the quick cuts like side glances of daily stuff. Glad to see the stay on board equipment in use.

  5. Did you create the graphic? Nice video in any case.

    I always thought you were a bit daft …

  6. I used to work commissioning boats with “Miyoshi” the Japanse national hero who crossed in a 19 foot sailboat and then got arrested. He used to tell me about the relationship he had with a fly, and also a seagul. He drove a rusty Silver 71 Toyota Corona with the passenger seat removed to make space for his boxes of fasteners and tools. He offered to use his pull to get me into a great school of naval architecture in New Zealand but I was not yet adventurous enough. I have never done a crossing alone but at 19 for a crossing to Hawaii I did 95% of the work so it was close. making a crossing with 7 old guys is absolutely no fun. The only options are singlehanded or having at least one female onboard.

    • Hey Eric, what a great story. I recall Miyoshi’s diminutive yacht on display at the Maritime Museum in years past. If possible, out of the water it seemed even smaller, barely as big as a king-sized bed.

      Re crewing vs solo, must admit that is one of the attractions of going solo. It’s just NOT that much more work.

  7. Great video Randall, well crafted and excellent editing. A wonderful sense of being out in wide blue ocean wilderness.

  8. I shall be along for the ride,to remind you to snap first always!😘

    • Hey Heather, thanks for the comps. All shot on an iPhone, if you can believe.

      Departure is this fall, between Sept 1 and Oct 1.

      The Swiss lads have departed KKMI. Great you could help them out at Costco. They had quite a mound of food on the dock when I stopped by with my meager parting gift, sparkling wine for the equator crossing.

      Carodon looks fab on your website. Nicely done on the hull work and name.

      See you on the bay.

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