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.
Mary Gidley spent 101 days floating across the Atlantic on a raft as part of a sociological experiment. That experience is captured in the new documentary called The Raft. Mary had other adventures on the water, including opening and running Cass' Marina, the first operation to rent sailboats on the San Francisco Bay, and cruising to Mexico, long before it was commonplace to do so. Mary's son Memo is a professional race car drive and a charter captain. We spoke aboard his boat, Basic Instinct. The Gidley's were featured in a three part Latitude 38 series.
Amanda Swan Neal was the rigger aboard Maiden, the first ever yacht sailed by an all-female crew in the round-the-world Whitbread race in 1989. I talk with Amanda about the new documentary, by director Alex Holmes, called Maiden, which tells the story of skipper Tracy Edwards and the race. We also talk about sailing from NZ to SF in the 1980s and the offshore sail-training expeditions that Amanda and her husband John Neal offer aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 46, Mahina Tiare III.
Quincey & Mitchell are a young, inspiring couple who are working to get a charter business, Q+M Travels, up and running. They have a great boat for it, a Kelly Peterson 46, that they found in Panama and sailed back to the Bay just about a year ago. Mitchell has been teaching sailing on all kinds of boats for years. Quincey is a professional nutritionist. Together they love hosting people aboard their boat both for weekends and longer adventures.