Just about a year ago, Randall Reeves sailed out the gate on his epic Figure 8 Voyage. I last caught up with him in Halifax, Nova Scotia after he'd spent 8 months at sea alone. Now, after just completing the Northwest Passage, he's one big step closer to completing his record-breaking trip. Randall and I talk about the challenges of this northern leg and the route he'll take as he covers the last, roughly 2,500, miles home to San Francisco.
Allison Payne is known by many simply as WhaleGirl. As a researcher with the Marine Mammal Center Cetacean Field Research team, she heads out into the ocean daily, sometimes three times a day. She is a naturalist for San Francisco Whale Tours, looking for and documenting the behavior of whales, and she is often joined by Bear, the whale watching German shepherd. You can see the excellent pictures Allison takes while in the field and read more about her work at WhaleGirl.org
Bruce and April Winship set sail from San Francisco aboard their catamaran Chewbacca when their daughters Kendall and Quincy were 5 and 7. They spent a decade cruising together as a family through Mexico then Central & South America. Their adventure is captured in their new book, Set Sail And Live Your Dreams. During our conversation, they shared with me what they learned as sailors and as a family while cruising. They talk about almost loosing their home on a reef, the challenges of homeschooling, and the simple joys of living together on a small boat.
Paul Exner has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of Ocean Sailing through his business Modern Geographic. He is a coach and mentor to those he takes on sailing expeditions. He sails out of the big island of Hawaii on a boat he knows inside and out because he built it himself from a bare hull. Paul and his family nearly lost everything when Hurricane Irma hit the Island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The devastation was so complete, Paul decided to resettle his family and his business to Hawaii. We talk about that transition, the difficulty of starting anew, sailing with kids, and the wonders of sailing in Hawaii.
Warwick "Commodore" Tompkins began life afloat just weeks after being born. He spent the first nine years of his life aboard the 85-foot schooner Wander Bird, and rounded Cape Horn - the wrong way - when he was only four. Now in his 80s, Commodore has spent his life racing, delivering, designing, rigging, and cruising boats of all kinds. Today he lives in Mill Valley and sails his self-built sailboat, Flash Girl. We talked about racing, boat construction, making landfall, and his philosophy of sailing.
Ben Doerr is a charter captain, a husband, a father of two, and a professional musician. From his base in Bainbridge Island, just west of Seattle, WA, he runs, Sail Bainbridge, a sailing adventures outfit aboard his John Alden designed 44-foot Pearson Countess Ketch. He is also launching sail to ski adventures to explore the slopes above British Columbia's Princess Louisa Inlet - a destination accessible only by boat. We talk about his business, the similarities between performing music and sailing, and the wonders of sailing in the Pacific Northwest.
With his new film Near Miss, Director Josh Berry has created a poetic portrait of Ron Elliot. An urchin diver and keen underwater observer, Elliot has spent countless hours underwater at the Farallon Islands, much of it in the company of Great White Sharks. Berry's latest film showcases a very close encounter Elliot had with a very large shark. Visit the Near Miss website for more information on screenings. Josh and I discuss the film, sailing, surfing, and exploring the Bay Area.
My wife Lauren and I recently crewed aboard Andy Schell & Mia Karlsson's 59-foot Swan, ICEBEAR from Annapolis, MD to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. We talked with Andy about that experience and our goal to go cruising with our own kids some day. This interview originally aired as episode #270 of Andy Schell's On The Wind podcast.
Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson started their charter business, 59° North, to pursue their own passion for offshore sailing and share it with others. My wife Lauren and I sailed from Annapolis, MD to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia aboard their 59-foot Swan, Ice Bear. At the end of the passage we sat down to talk about everything from getting paid for doing what you love to scooping poop in the middle of the night in the middle of the ocean.
Captain Kira Maixner began sailing in 2014 and it quickly became a way of life for her. She is now a sailing instructor at the Modern Sailing School and Club in Sausalito and crew on the USA 76 America's Cup Yacht and first mate on a San Francisco Whale Tours. For the Pacific Sail & Powerboat show she put together and moderated a panel discussion by and about women sailing on San Francisco Bay. The participants included Nichole Ortiz, an active member of the Modern Sailing Club and the Club's first club skipper; Captain Darci Bogdan, a Santa Cruz native who is a sailing instructor and Captain for Chardonnay Sailing Charters and Sea Spirit Ocean Safari; Laura Levy, an active racer and the co-founder of Sømand, an emerging brand that designs performance sailwear specifically for women; and Joan Byrn, a local racing skipper and promoter of women's sailing as well as a lead organizer for the Red Bra Regatta, the largest all-women regatta on the Bay. See the full bios of the participants here.