On Oct. 19, 2019, Randall Reeves sailed back under the Golden Gate Bridge, completing his Figure 8 Voyage. I sat down with him aboard his boat Moli to reflect on the record-breaking trip, what draws him to single-handing, adjusting to life ashore, and more.
Tony Gooch was the first person to ever complete a solo, nonstop circumnavigation from the West Coast of North America. He did this in the early 2000s, aboard his 44-foot aluminum cutter Taonui. Nearly 20 years later, Randall Reeves used the very same boat, renamed Moli, for the Figure 8 Voyage, his solo circumnavigation. Randall and Tony have become good friends. In this conversation, Tony and I discuss Randall's epic adventure, the many miles Tony and his wife sailed together - including some harrowing incidents at sea - and Tony's own single-handed sailing adventures.
Five years ago, Garrett and Audrey Ruhland had a life-changing discussion about the five things they most wanted out of life. From that discussion, a dream to travel and sail the world was born. But neither of them knew how to sail. And they didn’t have money for a boat. Last week they sailed out the gate, bound for Mexico and Panama, aboard their 35-foot sloop Thisldu. I talk to them about how they got from hatching a dream to making it real. And where they plan to head now.
In the 60s, Barry Spanier built a boat in San Francisco, sailed it through the South Pacific and then lost it, and everything but his life, in a shipwreck. Starting over again, he launched a sail loft in Hawaii and became a legend in windsurfing sail design. Today he's building another boat at the Berkeley Marine Center. The Rosie G is a junk rigged, scow-bow 42-footer designed by Jim Antrim.
Long before Barry Spanier started Maui Sails and became a legend in windsurfing sail design, he built a ferro-cement sloop in San Francisco and sailed off to the South Pacific. He was running of away from the madness of the 1960s, but he found plenty of new crazy adventures, from "borrowing" the 76-foot Alden Schooner Constellation, to having a curse put on him, to loosing his boat and almost his life when he was shipwrecked off New Zealand.
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.