Small Boats, Big Adventure – A New Beginning!

I was always one step ahead of my small boat dreams. Small boats for me began as off the beach sailing dinghies. At 16 I skipped across to keel boats. At 18 I started building a SUHAILI sister ship. Sir Robin Knox Johnston was my hero, Bernard Moitessier an icon and the Hiscock’s with Wanderer III were simply a life I imagined.  BUT I started reading about all the crazy small yacht trans-ocean voyages that were stunning and grand! My imagination went crazy. While I was building my big boats, I was sketching and drawing smaller adventure yachts.

After a life of bigger boats including Buttercup and the BOC Challenge in 1990, right up to Sir Hubert Wilkins my 36mtr helicopter equipped Ice ship in 2000, I finally got to bring a small boat dream to reality in 2010. My Talisker Bounty Boat expedition chasing Lieutenant William Bligh and his 18 men  4000 miles across the Pacific in a 7mtr timber open Whale boat was the best ever!! I was recreating the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty,survival story. Read about it here. It was pure and simple with ropes, wood, nails and sails. Nothing but simplicity on the ocean and honest adventure. It was FANTASTIC even though it nearly killed us.

That was the catalyst to the idea of my crossing the Atlantic solo in a simple plywood yacht. I like sharing ideas, experiences and promoting adventure. I launched the neatest little Ocean Voyaging yacht that exists today, the Class Globe 5.80. I smile when others say Crazy! Why? Just buy an old 6.50 instead, etc etc…and then when I mention Mini Globe Race! Well, that is just fun to watch the comments. The Globe 5.80 is not for everyone, but those who are getting into them are passionate and having a ball. She is as safe as can be and will sail with integrity.

But then along came COVID! Aggh!! It takes more than that to kill dreams. Yes, my TREKKA II is about five months behind schedule after a great start. My sails and mast have been sitting in storage now for six months!!! We were supposed to sail in DEC 2020. 15 sets of mast and rig packages are now on order, the PLASTIMO builders’ packs are available and there are at least eight sailors in a rush, all battling Covid delays and frustrations to make the start in Portugal!

Originally 15 expressed an intense desire to join the G580T! We cannot build more Sails until we test the first set on TREKKA II. No builders can cast their lead keel bulb until we do the first Mast Pull Down test here in Les Sables d’Olonne! But they will make the start.

I do not have TREKKA II in the water yet, but I have a shed full of bits, some food already bought and a dream as big as ever. I visualise it all in my mind. Out there day and beautiful nights, alone and in control. I want that. I crave it. The constant quick motion of the boat in confused seas, the rolling and water over the deck as you surge forward with a little roar in your own world. The long hours spent laying on the cabin sole, better than any bunk, or in the cockpit just dreaming and ticking the miles off.

How long will it take?  ..Who cares! Just as long as no one is in front right. Yes, it is a race and how cool would it be if a “Seniors Class” entrant won!! Woop Woop!!…Aggh!! Age is just a number and I am only 28 !! …But now Jean Luc VDH is a bit of a hero too!!…Bring it on… I am counting the days to the start!

The G580T is more than just a yacht race. It is the beginning of something quite unique. It is the first 5.80 Adventure Race. What will it all look like in the years ahead when the Mini Globe Race sets off in 2025? I have no idea, but with builders in 26 countries around the world and no boats actually sailing yet, something tells me when they start sailing, the 5.80 class could grow very big! Think simple fun, adventure and captain of your own destiny! The 5.80 can fit all dreams no matter what.