To see the wild ocean with your own eyes, uncut by the perspective of others; to seek for solitude at its source; to take on difficulties that call for previously unsuspected grit; to cast your lot with the likes of Ishmael and to assemble your story from the stuff of an endless, empty sea; in other words, to sail alone around the world … isn’t a solo enterprise. It takes a community to pull it off.
So, it’s fitting that now, in the brief space between the Figure 8 attempt that began last October and the one to come this fall, I should pause to thank those who make it all possible.
To begin with, I’d like to thank all the Virtual Voyagers who participated in the Figure 8 GoFundMe campaign. Part of my vision has been to share this story of adventure as it happens. But when the campaign began, I had no idea who, if anyone, would care to share in the exploits of one guy on a big ocean. In fact, many did, and that interest resulted in contributions that facilitated the purchase of costly, high-tech satellite equipment that, in turn, allowed for near-real-time updates from sea, unprecedented for a small, solo adventure.
Secondly, thank you to all who have followed along, and especially to those who have commented on the Figure 8 blog and on Facebook over the months. I don’t have access to comments while underway, but I read and enjoy your remarks once ashore. Embedded in some are questions about the voyage, which I will attempt to answer on the blog as time allows.
My deepest gratitude goes to the Figure 8 sponsors. In particular, I’d like to thank Eric Mathewson at WideOrbit for his early interest in my project and for proposing that his company anchor a funds-matching campaign. This turned out to be the needed fuel for the fire.
A number of sponsors came through during the Figure 8’s several clutch moments. Mike Scheck and the team at Scanmar International, the makers of the Monitor Windvane, took the logistics lead while I was in Ushuaia, Argentina and helped me quickly revive my beloved Monte. Dustin Fox of Fox Marine patiently helped me work through restoring Mo’s electronics in Hobart, Tasmania. Gerd Marggraff of Blue Water Marine Service provided indispensable engine advice after the Indian Ocean knockdown. Robin Sodaro of HOOD Sails quickly supplied spares needed for sail repair in Ushuaia. And thank you to Paul Kaplan and all the folks at KKMI in Pt Richmond for helping get Mo ready to begin with and for having me back for round two.
Thank you to everyone at The Amplify Lab for helping with promotions and for managing all my correspondence over the months. A special thank you to Freddy Bunkers who received my emailed stories, photos and videos and quickly assembled them into blog posts—seven days a week. Freddy’s job became crazy-difficult after the Indian Ocean knockdown, when my only means of communicating was via the Garmin InReach. InReach messages are limited to 145 characters and are not always received in the order sent. So, imagine the effort required to compile one of Randall’s 700-word blog post from such fragments!
Also, thank you to Brad Keller for quietly maintaining the Figure 8 site’s backend over many months.
Thank you to Tony Gooch, who, with his wife Coryn, sailed Moli as Taonui in high latitudes for sixteen years and made her the extraordinary boat she is today. Over the months of preparation, Tony became an invaluable resource to me due to his deep knowledge of the boat, not to mention his familiarity with every inch of my route. During the circumnavigation, I relied heavily on Tony. Tony helped me choose my difficult, windward entrance into the Beagle Channel and found Caleta Oja, where I could rest safely at single anchor for a few days, this after hand steering Mo for a week of 12-hour shifts at 56S. After the Indian Ocean knockdown drowned my ability to source my own weather forecasts, Tony provided daily weather briefs for the month it took to achieve the safety of Hobart. And, as Vice Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club, Tony made port arrangements for me with local representatives in both Ushuaia and Hobart.
Thank you to the Port Captains of the Ocean Cruising Club, to Roxanna Diaz in Ushuaia and to Captain John Solomon of Hobart, for easing Mo’s port clearance and arranging berthing. Thanks additionally to Capt. Sol for his numerous introductions to people at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and for pleasant conversations over glasses of white wine aboard his Sole Mio.
Thank you to Daryl Ridgeway, Dragon builder and racer, for taking me under his wing and helping to arrange repairs in Hobart, for introducing me to satisfyingly unctuous Meat Pies and the roast dinners at the club, for patiently driving me around town, for arranging the carpentry and welding Mo needed, and for Mo’s Albatross flag.
Thank you to Eric Moe, Mike Dodson, Stacey and Schubert Sarkis for volunteering at the boat show and/or for doing odd jobs on Mo.
My gratitude to my family, both close and extended, and especially to my sister, Lavonna and mother, Evon, who love and support me, even when I’m doing things they’d rather I not.
To my friends, Kelton, Jim, Matto, and Jess, with whom I’ve corresponded, often daily, through the doldrums and during storms, on cold nights and on sweltering days.
And lastly and mostly, thank you to my wife, Joanna. It’s one thing to have an idea, an idea that will strain your finances, put you in harm’s way, and mean separation from the one you love for months on end. It’s another thing entirely to have that dear one say, “I think you should do that,” and then to stand behind you with unconditional support at every turn.
OK, now on to round two…