The Secrets of Filming on a Sailboat: The Mercy (2018) #ColinFirth #RachelWeisz Movie Director Talks about Filming the Story of Donald Crowhurst at Sea

7C6A9638.CR2The logistics of shooting out at sea both in the UK and Malta were a constant challenge. During the UK shoot, aside from shooting Crowhurst’s departure from Teignmouth, production moved to Portland in Dorset where the unit battled weather, tides and long hours out at sea.

Producer Pete Czernin admits that every other producer he spoke to said, “Don’t go near the sea”. Malta posed its own challenges because of the heat and length of the shooting day out at sea and “endless problems with the horizon and seeing the land, with other boats passing so you’ve got to make sure you’re far enough out at sea”. “On top of that we were shooting on film so magazines would run out while we were out there so we had all the logistics associated with that but I think Portland and Weymouth was the biggest challenge because of the wind, changing weather and waves. Then there’s the fact that the crew need to eat and go to the loo. It was kind of bonkers and very difficult. I don’t think I’ll make another film on the water in a hurry” confirms Czernin.

In Malta, numbers were limited to eight people on the crew catamaran, when normally you would have around 30 shooting crew. The camera department were on a separate boat, as were hair and make-up there was a main boat for director James Marsh, a safety boat, three or four ribs, then a runner boat. When you’re shooting an eight or ten-hour day, three or four miles offshore everything the crew requires has to be on hand, hence the need for the ‘mothership’ as it became known. This large motorboat had amongst other things, essentials like toilet facilities and drinking water. “You can see why a lot of people don’t want to film at sea” says Jim Dines, “but you do get such a better image, the movement and the whole thing feels much more real”.

When asked what his thoughts were on filming at sea again, director James Marsh responded quite simply by saying, “Well, just not to do it again because it’s a foolhardy thing to do in a way. I can see why people want to shoot films in the controlled environment of a tank where you can very easily control the movement of the boat. But, the actual motion of the boat and the experience of shooting with Colin on the boat was so important to the texture of the film.”

Marsh worked with French cinematographer Eric Gautier who was also insistent on shooting it for real on the ocean. “The experience is more like a documentary because it’s a minimal unit and Colin. It made the collaboration with Colin so interesting because there were no other actors involved. It wasn’t easy. You’re stuck out there so you get a small sense of what Crowhurst went through, but it’s an amateur’s vicarious thrill compared to what he was doing”, concludes Marsh.

The above text and photo were taken the StudioCanal UK press assets and production notes.

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Rachel Weisz Discusses Playing Clare Crowhurst in THE MERCY (2018)

“I think this film is about family”, comments Rachel Weisz, who plays Donald Crowhurst’s wife, Clare. “Donald, the head of the family is an amateur sailor, an inventor, a dreamer and a fantasist, so when he sees a competition in the Sunday Times offering £5000 to the first man who circumnavigates the earth single-handedly, without stopping, he dreams that he could do this. Chichester had sailed around the world recently, stopping once and he was knighted upon his return and became a hero. It’s a story about how boys and men become fixated with becoming heroes”.

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“I think Donald had a lot of madcap ideas which often didn’t get carried out, so at first when Clare hears he’s going to enter this race, it’s such a preposterous idea to her, because he’s not a professional sailor, he’s just pottered around. I don’t think she believed he would actually do it. Slowly but surely it dawns on her that he’s getting closer and closer to actually going and there’s a moment where she asks him ‘Are you really going to go?’ and he says ‘yes’”.

The question is – could Clare Crowhurst have stopped her husband from embarking on this risky challenge? “Perhaps he would have been stoppable,” says Weisz, “but from my viewpoint, it’s a portrait of a marriage and a relationship and what would have happened had she stopped him from going? Would he ever have forgiven her? In a relationship, can you stop the other from living out their dreams? In this case, it turns out to be tragic decision. Clare Crowhurst has said in interviews that she felt retrospectively that she should have stopped him. But, I think in the moment, she didn’t feel like she had the right to. She was in an impossible situation.”

“It sort of becomes two films, the one at sea, where myself and the children are not there, and then there’s the family home, waiting for news of her husband and their father who is becoming a national hero whilst he’s at sea. Clare has to deal with the press, with long periods of silence and Christmas and birthdays without him. She also has to deal with having no money to buy food or heat the house without him because Clare depended on Donald for money.”

In the course of her research for the film, Rachel Weisz got a sense of Clare from the documentary Deep Water and from reading about her, “that she really wasn’t interested in being married to someone famous. I sense that she loved him very, very deeply and she didn’t want to stop him living out his dreams.”

“At that time in history, men were leaving their homes and crossing new frontiers, be it in outer space or circumnavigating the world. So, for Clare, she was happy he was going to be successful as that was going to make him happy” muses Weisz, “I think she was happy if Don was happy.”

When an actor approaches a role where the character being portrayed is real and still alive, there comes a certain responsibility. Rachel Weisz was keen not to do an impersonation of Clare Crowhurst, but to simply convey something of her spirit as she explains, “I think it would be different if one were playing someone already iconic, as everybody would know what they looked like and how they spoke. I’m playing a real person who has been very media-shy. She has not sought fame or publicity, she was never interested in that. I want to honour her. I watched a lot of footage to get an essence of her but at the end of the day, it’s me being her”.

In telling Donald Crowhurst’s story on the big screen, Rachel Weisz hopes, “We’re celebrating the beauty of being a dreamer, the beauty of thinking big, wanting great things and following one’s passion and one’s heart towards doing something incredible.”

For director James Marsh, the heart of the tragedy and what made the stakes so high, is the fact that the Crowhurst family was such a happy one, “In the archive, you can see what a lovely couple Donald and Clare were together. You sense they were really well connected as a couple and it’s a happy family unit. They sail together and Donald is a very good father and we really wanted to show that in the film. His children all remember him so fondly. He was a good husband and father, and what’s so tragic, part of what he wants to do is to prove to his wife and children that he’s someone special. I think that’s part of the motivation for him.”

“In the archive of the real Clare Crowhurst, she’s a formidable woman and a very good mother and they’re sort of equals as a couple” notes James Marsh. He’d long wanted to work with Rachel Weisz, so when it came to casting the role of Clare Crowhurst, a perfect opportunity presented itself as he explains, “Rachel is great and there’s an interesting physical connection you can make between her and Clare. They don’t look alike but they’re on the same sort of spectrum of humanity if you like, just as Colin and Donald are which is helpful.”

“Rachel is one of those actors who just surprises you and does things you don’t quite expect her to”, recalls Marsh, “that flushes out things in other actors. I loved working with her. She really relies on instinct, she doesn’t really like to do lots of rehearsals or commit to things. Rachel always wants to be loose and to respond. I love that style of work from her.”

Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns feels that for the audience, the voyage Clare goes on is just as important as the voyage Don goes on, “You get the sense that her insight into her husband – both in terms of his need to go and her acceptance of what happened afterwards – is extraordinary, it’s from a place of reluctance to a place of forgiveness.”

“The great thing about Rachel is that she understands the strength of Clare Crowhurst”, observes Burns. “Rachel also understands that the moment in history we’re talking about, also asked certain things of a woman in terms of being a wife. I think she very quickly understood the journey Clare went on. On one had she wanted to be loving and nurturing but you also see a very progressive thinker. Most people would be aghast at the prospect of their husband setting off on this kind of adventure, but Clare understood how fundamental it was to his being and that casts a really interesting light on their relationship.”


“To me it’s a love story”, concludes Rachel Weisz, “you don’t see them meeting as teenagers, you meet them when they have children and they’re settled into their marriage. I think they were passionately in love with each other and Clare’s whole life is Donald. She didn’t have a job, though I think she wanted to teach amongst other things, and to write. But she was a mum and very devoted to Donald. That’s how I perceive her. I guess what makes it so romantic is the fact that they’re separated because that’s what old school romantic with a capital ‘R’ means – something that’s unattainable, unfulfilled and broken. That’s why it’s tragic because I think they were yearning for each other while they were separated.”

The interview and press asset pictures were taken from THE MERCY (2018) production notes produced by StudioCanal UK.

THE MERCY trailer REACTION | Colin Firth & Rachel Weisz | Sailing Movie Review 2018

The Mercy (2018) starring Colin Firth, as Donald Crowhurst, and Rachel Weisz as his wife promises to be one of the best sailing movies of all time. This is a NO SPOILER reaction and review for trailers #1 & #2. Linus Wilson breaks from his round the world sailing trip to analyze this Oscar-worthy movie.

There is a lot of talk of madness, sanity, and dreams in this trailer about Donald Crowhurst’s attempt to be the fastest man to sail solo around the world in 1968. It is beautifully written script by Scott Z. Burns. The movie debuts in 9 February 2018 in the UK. It is planned to be distributed by Village Roadshow in the USA later in 2018. This movie has big time Academy Award potential not just for the Oscar winners Rachel Weisz and Colin Firth, but everyone involved in this marvelous production.

Linus discusses the official StudioCanal trailers #1 and #2:

Trailer #1
“THE MERCY – Official Trailer – Starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz”

Trailer #2
“THE MERCY – 60″ – Starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz”

From the StudioCanal UK Production Notes for THE MERCY
“Short Synopsis
Following his Academy Award® winning film The Theory of Everything, James Marsh directs the incredible true story of Donald Crowhurst (COLIN FIRTH, The King’s Speech, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Railway Man), an amateur sailor who competed in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in the hope of becoming the first person in history to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe without stopping. With an unfinished boat and his business and house on the line, Donald leaves his wife, Clare (RACHEL WEISZ, The Light Between Oceans, The Lobster) and their children behind, hesitantly embarking on an adventure on his boat the Teignmouth Electron. Co-starring DAVID THEWLIS (Anomalisa, The Theory of Everything) and KEN STOTT (‘War & Peace’, The Hobbit), and produced by Blueprint Pictures (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, In Bruges), the story of Crowhurst’s dangerous solo voyage and the struggles he confronted on the epic journey while his family awaited his return is one of the most enduring mysteries of recent times.”

Check out our other video about this movie and the Crowhurst story featuring director Simon Rumley:

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Q&A with Colin Firth about Playing Donald Crowhurst in THE MERCY (2018) a February 9, 2018,UK release

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Q: What experience of sailing did you have already and what did you have to learn?

A [Colin Firth]: I had almost no experience whatsoever. My uncle Robin took me sailing when I was a little boy. The last time I did it, I must have been about eight years old. He came to visit me on the set as he’s down in Devon and he still goes out sailing every weekend. That was my connection as he’s the same generation as Donald and Clare Crowhurst and he knew all about it. Obviously there was a bit of a rush to get me acquainted with the basics in order to do this film. I did everything from going out on the boat that we had built for the film, to single-handing on a little catamaran when I was on holiday on an island off the coast of Cambodia and that’s when I started to love it. Just being on my own, on a tiny craft, just beginning to get acquainted with your relationship with the wind really. It was a very simple boat, it didn’t have a jib, didn’t even have a boom. But it did do what boats do in relation to the wind. I understood why, particularly on a tiny little multi-hull for instance, because it struggles into the wind. I learned why it performs very well on a reach. These things were just theory and in some ways if I’d had my first lessons on a big boat with a crew, it might have remained theory. I was only out for an afternoon at a time but it started to make sense to me. Then of course I started to realise how many people I know are truly avid sailors and everything I’ve just said is real potted beginner’s stuff.  If you do sail then this stuff will sound so green and ignorant, and if you don’t sail, even the basics sound like some sort of extraordinary foreign language. They were very patient with me, but I had to learn their language and all sorts of little rules. I never had to really single-handedly, meaningfully sail the boat, certainly not without somebody on board, waiting to help out if anything went wrong. But I did, very much enjoy learning the basics in the end. I don’t think it’s got a future for me though!

Q: You were attached and committed to the project from very early on. What was it about this film that spoke to you?

A: You don’t have to have been to sea, you don’t have to be a sailor, you don’t have to be an explorer. You don’t even have to have taken on anything particularly extreme in the obvious sense. I think people will recognise what it feels like to go further than you are truly able to, to take on something ambitious, risky and really dare to make a gesture like that in their lives, even if it’s just in their relationships. I think they’ll also recognise the idea of having rather random things seem to conspire against them. There are very few stories that really deal with that. The traps that one can get into are so gradual and incremental that you don’t see them until they’re too big to do anything about. From my own life, that moment I should have turned back, is never something I can identify except in retrospect.

I think when we were looking into this story, all the details, all the preparations, all the things that were going wrong, all the things that conspired against one particular individual, these would be the stories that applied to the heroes that we celebrate. Every time you hear about the guy who reached the top of Everest, the whole space programme or the first man to cross the desert or the ocean, if you study the stories of their preparation there were always things going wrong. The narrative is interpreted completely differently if it ends happily than if it doesn’t and I think sometimes there’s a hair’s difference between it going one way or the other.

Q: Did you have an immediate connection with Donald Crowhurst and that duality he felt between his public and private persona?

A: I think we all have a public and a private persona, perhaps more than that. I think we live in a time where we are all quite obsessed with broadcasting ourselves, in some way or other, through social media. Perhaps that’s always been the case, but we now have new tools for doing it. We take photographs of ourselves, we post versions of ourselves and we create profiles of ourselves. If the profile becomes a big one and in cases where people are very well known and they develop a reputation, whether it’s politicians or people in the arts, I think it can become a sort of a burden. I think you can be trapped by your reputation
whether it’s a good one or a bad one. In some ways, when I read this story, I felt that was something that would resonate with a lot of people.

Q: Do you think Donald Crowhurst was fated in some way?

A: No, I don’t think so. Fate, I don’t even think it’s about that. If you believe in fate you’re welcome to look at it through that lens but no, I think it’s random. We’d be telling a different story, had one piece of equipment been on the boat, if one day’s weather had been different, the business arrangements worked out differently. But it’s almost impossible to deconstruct the ‘what-ifs’. There are a lot of random elements. It’s a whole other discussion when you look at what makes somebody want to take on something so extraordinarily difficult and dangerous. I reflected on the main differences between me and Donald Crowhurst, his virtues and his strengths. I wouldn’t dare do what he did. I wouldn’t have the ability to apply myself to a task like that. I wouldn’t be able to design that boat, I wouldn’t have the mathematical skill, I wouldn’t have the sailing skill, and I wouldn’t have the knowledge of astronomy and navigation. All the other things could be me and the problems could be ones any of us encounter. I just wouldn’t have the resources that he had to get as far as he did and do what he did. It was a most extraordinary thing.  Even to this day, what Crowhurst did is unparalleled because, although people have gone round the world and have endured all sorts, I don’t know if it’s even possible now to construct a challenge with that sort of adversity. I think it was Robin Knox-Johnston who said ‘they were like astronauts’. They were sailing across a frontier, because there was no GPS and the ways of finding you were scant. They had a radio but their communications were rudimentary by today’s standards. They were sailing with the same sort of equipment that Captain Cook was using. It hadn’t moved on much. It was sextant, barometer, compass, wind vane and your own skills. You could get lost and no-one would be there to rescue you, unless you were very fortunate and someone was within range of your Morse Code. I’m certainly not saying anything to diminish the extraordinary feats of what people do today, but the idea of that degree of isolation for that length of time, I can’t think of how one could parallel it now, because the communications are so comprehensive. I understand that there is some sort of plan to reproduce this race for the anniversary in a couple of years’ time, and if they decide they’re not going to use GPS but to use precisely the tools and technology that were available in the 1960s, there are still so many satellites up there, you can’t really get so completely and utterly lost and out on your own, as you could then.

Q: It took place at a time in history when men could reinvent themselves and the classes were breaking down. It’s perhaps for that reason that Crowhurst’s story is such an enduringly fascinating one. Did you ask ‘why did he do it?’

A: Well, I just had to accept at face value what he said about it himself. But I think that by not accepting the challenge that it would have affected something within him. It makes sense to me. I think he did have the ability to do it. He had more ability than most of us to create the possibility in terms of boat design, in terms of his sailing ability and in terms of his navigational ability. Things just went wrong. There’s a very fine line between succeeding and just not succeeding. Nine guys went out on that race and only one actually came home, all for various reasons. People do take on extraordinarily dangerous things. I can understand why Crowhurst did it. As the famous saying goes, why does anyone undertake these things: “Because it’s there.” (*quote from explorer George Leigh Mallory).

Q: There is obviously a wealth of research material on Crowhurst. Can you talk us through your own research?

A: I just went through everything that was available. It started with the script, then the documentary Deep Water and then the book, The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Tomalin and Hall. The book is an interesting read. Even before I became partial and tendentious in my own views and felt so personally drawn to Donald Crowhurst, the book – which is brilliant journalism and very rigorously written – I felt was unfair on him, in ways that at times it was just to do with the subtlety of inflection. I thought they were uncharitable interpretations. One has to remember it was written very soon after the events, and by the Sunday Times journalists, and I think there was an agenda, or at least they were writing from a particular point of view. But, it was certainly very, very compelling in terms of information. There’s also the archive footage and there are the tapes that Donald Crowhurst made during his voyage for the BBC. They were fascinating partly because of some of the information he was able to give about daily life. He focused on his cooking regime, on what he was seeing, on the weather, his problems with his transmitter. He sang a lot – Christmas carols, sea shanties, ballads. He played his mouth organ. Paradoxically, you can feel you’re in the company of a man who’s completely alone. But they are in some ways much more his public self. I think it was even observed by people who were close to him, that the tapes didn’t really quite sound like him.

Then you have the logs, some of which are just ship’s log – positions and records of the things you’re supposed to put in a ship’s log. Some of it was more to do with his thoughts and were very, very rigorous and stark breakdowns of his practical problems – calculating his chance of survival if he went forward as being at best fifty-fifty. There are also very realistic and professional lists of things that needed doing – ones that might have solutions, and ones that couldn’t possibly have solutions. You start to see the extent of his problems and the trap he was in through a very hard-headed analysis. I’m an amateur but he lays it out so clearly that you look at it and think, ‘No-one could go forward. You have to stop.’ But the conditions of stopping were so brutal. That was the kind of pressure, whether it’s the pressure of the public eye or whether it’s something about, what you’ve had to summon in yourself to embark on something like that, followed by the solitude and everything you’re up against. I don’t think any of us can possibly understand that. 

I think it’s very important to note what Robin Knox-Johnston said specifically about Donald Crowhurst: ‘No-one has any right or is in any position to judge unless you’ve experienced that solitude, unless you’ve experienced the elements in that way’. In telling this story, it’s my hope that it can be distilled into that particular objective. When I read it, it was a feeling that we are in no position to judge and that it’s no good for us, or anybody to judge. It’s very interesting to read around and look at the experiences of the other sailors in the same race, because there were sailors who were considerably less experienced than Donald Crowhurst. Chay Blyth hadn’t sailed in his life – he went out with an instruction manual and a boat behind him yelling out instructions. He’d rowed across the Atlantic but he hadn’t sailed and now he’s a legendary sailor. Ridgeway who’d rowed with him, the solitude got the better of him, very early on in the voyage, and he quit. Carozzo was up against similar problems to Donald
Crowhurst in that the deadline was looming and he did something that was rather ingeniously strategic, in that he met the deadline by sailing on the day of the deadline, and then he dropped anchor off the coast of the Isle of Wight and spent another two weeks doing what he needed to do, but the stress of it all gave him a stomach ulcer and he had to pull out.

Q: The truly unique thing about your job is in how close you have to get to a character and how you pour that empathy into it. What’s that experience like? Did you hear Crowhurst’s voice?

I literally heard his voice because I listened to the tapes continually. I went into the material continually. Actors have to withhold judgement. It’s not our job to judge at all – they even tell you this at drama school. Other people will probably make their own judgements and again it’s usually a pretty easy, facile thing to do. As an actor, we have to inhabit and justify a character and there’s nothing particularly strange or airy-fairy about that. As actors, we’re just doing it from the inside and to some extent you feel you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes. But there’s always that sense that you haven’t reached it, particularly if you’re telling the story of a real character. When the character’s fictional you can satisfy yourself, hopefully, that you own it, that you’ve created something which is much more yours. When the character’s real it’s partly a privilege or just sheer good fortune and is helpful to have the made material there. If the character’s somebody that you’re able to meet, you have all that to inspire you and to work off. But to me it’s also a reminder that you’re not him. It does put you in a very strange and very close relationship.

Q: There must be a sense of duty as audiences will take this as the definitive account of Donald Crowhurst’s story?

A: Well, there is and it’s troubling because of the limitations of fictional filmmaking. You can’t scrupulously observe all the facts. You have to mess around with the chronology in order to distill it into its three acts. It’s frustrating for all of us but you are still trying to keep it as honest as possible. You hope that in taking a compassionate approach, we’ll end up telling the story in a way that engages people’s sympathy and understanding, even if it’s not claiming to be an exact account of what happened. My hope is that if a film breaks through, it becomes part of a conversation that will lead people to want to look a little harder. There’s a documentary, there’s a book and there are different versions of all of this. Even journalism has to take an angle, however impartial it is. Even a photographer who’s taking a picture of an event has to stand somewhere. So, in some ways there’s no such thing as a completely neutral, three hundred and sixty degree perspective on anything. I just think you’ve got to do it with as much compassion and as much imagination as you can muster really.

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Q: Let’s talk about Crowhurst’s actual experience on that boat. There’s obviously the very practical, technical side to it, but there’s the spiritual experience too. Do you think Don ever got close to being at one with himself?
A: I think he did. I think he got more than close to it. Just going from what he himself said. We can’t guess more than beyond what we have from his own words. In one of his recordings, he’s musing and reflecting on life and some of the more philosophical questions that are associated with everyday life that you wouldn’t perhaps have time to do if you were back home, in amongst it all and he was aware that ‘Watching the sun go down in the tropics, does lead one to deeper thoughts’. He asks our pardon for rambling on the tape, but these are the sorts of things that occur to him, and this is only what he’s saying to the BBC. I think it’s inevitable that the parameters of your world would be different, quite literally.

You are in a tiny, tiny little space – a forty-foot boat, with a cabin, which is shockingly small. So the cabin is utterly claustrophobic and you’re right between that and infinity. So you’re experiencing extreme space and lack of space. What relationships have you got? Human relationships are limited to radio, whether it’s BBC World Service, Voice of America, or Morse code communication or the radiotelephone. You are creating a relationship with your environment that means you probably won’t be ever quite the same again when you come back. He had books but he didn’t take any fiction or any novels. The reading material he did take was Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. He took books about sailing and he had his Admiralty charts but the rest of it was about relationships with celestial bodies–the sun, the moon, the stars, the horizon, the light, the wind, obviously the sea, and his own boat. Your boat takes on a persona. The boat becomes a living thing to you. Solitude, the physical environment, the elements, celestial bodies, whatever marine life, whatever books, whatever bits and pieces you get through the radio, that becomes your entire universe.

One of the last scenes we shot was a moment based on Crowhurst’s own recordings where he finds a sea creature, a little fish, in our story it’s a Sargassum fish. He describes them as being like little Cornish pasties, which he found absolutely delightful. He tried to keep one as a pet but it died in the bucket that he kept it in. In reality he also developed a relationship with a migratory bird that landed on his ship and he wrote a poem about it called The Misfit. He wrote a rather wonderful piece in his own personal log, describing the bird, and clearly identifying with it in some way, because it wasn’t a seabird, it just landed on the boat because the nearest land was a couple of thousand miles away. It sat there for a while and rested and he hoped that the bird would take off in the direction of the closest land but it didn’t. He clearly connected with that image. As I understand the character, there’s a constant feature of this gentleness and it’s in everything he writes. There’s compassion and decency and he values reason and honesty. I think it was very important to him for things to be fair and I think that’s partly why the trap he got himself into must have been such a turbulent one. Crowhurst’s imagination was probably a big enemy to him. He talked about the noise. He also said ‘Everything on the boat’s wet. It’s not damp. It’s dripping in your ear all the time’. You imagine spending a bit of time down in the cabin where it’s cosy but when we shot the storm scenes, I went down in the cabin a lot, but I never battened down there for long when we were at sea, because of the waves, the claustrophobia and nausea, you want out of there so quickly. It was horrendous…talk about lying at the bottom of a mineshaft in an earthquake! It’s extraordinary what Crowhurst was made of and that he stayed coherent for as long as he did. He made it to the Falklands and back. I mean most sailors wouldn’t dream of a trip like that.

Q: The endeavour was a peculiarly English thing to do don’t you think?

A: Oh it’s very English although it’s not exclusively English – the Americans have their own version of having a go but they were going to the moon. There’s a British maritime obsession, with Chichester and Alec Rose and all these guys. It’s partly because we’re an island, it’s partly because of maritime history, and it’s partly because we had a bit of a self-esteem problem in the 1960s. We couldn’t afford the space programme so all you need is a guy on a boat and we’d prove our mettle.

Q: Was being out there on the boat in the nothingness a good exercise from a performance viewpoint?

A: Yes, it was interesting but you’re in collaboration. What’s quite nice about being the only person in front of the lens is that it brings you quite a lot closer to the work that’s going on the other side of the lens. It sometimes became a little bit of a huddle between James Marsh, Eric Gautier (cinematographer) and myself in the decision-making process. You’ve got one guy with a handheld camera, a director orchestrating things and bouncing the ideas, and then one guy on the other side of that camera so we were feeling our way together, often without dialogue. It was for us to discover.

Then of course we had the elements to deal with and they don’t cooperate – when you want bad weather you’ve got smooth weather. James didn’t want to film in tanks, he wanted to film on real sea and we did that. We had to use the tank for a couple of moments, night shoots in the storm but we were out at sea generally. The sea was so still on one particular day it was even stiller than the tank, it might as well have been a swimming pool, which is frustrating because on a day when you want calm of, course it’s rocking. A lot of things can conspire against you when you’re filming and the number of things that can go wrong when the clock is ticking, that’s notorious in the filmmaking process. When you’ve got land in the background that you’re trying to hide, and something goes wrong with the camera and you’ve got to do it again but the land’s now even more in the background, you can’t just say, ‘Can we just move the boat back couple of metres and do that again?’ You’ve got to tack back and by the time you’ve done that, which might take an hour, the light’s changed and the wind’s changed.

You have to use your imagination and tailor the nature of the scene to the conditions. We did an awful lot of cabin interior stuff in the studio, which was surprisingly claustrophobic. I’d imagined we’d have half a cabin and we’d be shooting from the outside but it was closed in and they’d just make a little hole for the camera to come in. It was set up so that it could rock violently so we’d actually get home in the evenings with the room still rocking.

Q: What were your original conversations with James Marsh about what type of film this was going to be?

A: The script gave us the shape. It doesn’t focus on the other people in the race, they don’t appear in the film, they just exist in the background and they’re reported on, their presence is felt but the film doesn’t focus on them directly. It does take us into the family life and it focuses on Rodney Hallworth the press agent who is an important character, as is Stanley Best the sponsor. I think it’s as much about what inspires the desire to do it and what creates the problems before the journey starts. We’re probably about half way through the film before the race begins, for Donald. It’s every bit as interesting to see the trajectory towards the departure.

Q: There’s a mechanism at work and chain of events that’s forcing his hand to embark on the journey when he’s not really ready isn’t there?

A: They’re his decisions, but often it’s about the entanglements that your own decisions create. Then, there are his attempts to solve problems as they go – they’re ingenious and there are signs of resolution, determination, resourcefulness and ingenuity. I for one found immense admiration and sympathy for him every step of the way. I could see each problem as it occurred, however trivial it was, it is also rather diabolical – the whole notion of Sod’s Law. He made a very sincere attempt to face up to the reality that the race was not going to be practical. He explicitly attempted to pull out – it’s mentioned in the documentary. The night before he left he said to Hallworth and Best, ‘The boat’s not ready.’ He knew that but he had to go. They told him he had to go. The contract that he had signed meant forfeiting his house and his business if he didn’t go, indeed if he didn’t finish either. So he had to set out.

He was persuaded to fix his problems as he went and he might have succeeded in doing that had the piece of tubing been on board that was supposed to pump out the floats that were leaking. Everyone’s boats experienced leaks but he had to bail out with a bucket because one item that had been chased down wasn’t on board just because of the last-minute rush to get everything ready. There was a pile of important stuff left on the jetty that should have been on the boat and there were things on the boat that he might not have needed. Moitessier was apparently throwing stuff overboard throughout his voyage. We’re trying to offer a study of what led up to the day of departure and the traps you get into with a business transaction when someone’s giving you a lot of money to help you, what are the conditions? What kind of traps does that put you into?

Then of course there was the press who could be a great tool to use in his favour because that’s what brought in sponsorship. But they were an unwieldy instrument. It’s not something you control and I think the mythologised version of Donald Crowhurst that was growing before he left, didn’t leave him particularly comfortable, but it was something that his press agent was using to facilitate the whole thing. Before he knew it, stories of his progress were being vastly exaggerated without his having anything to do with it.

Q: Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns said that he’s very aware that in our culture right now there’s a kind of a gloating at failure, whether it’s the tabloids or social media and that in writing this take on the Crowhurst story, he hopes it to be something of an antidote.

A: Absolutely, I think this is saying, ‘Who are you to judge?’ It’s a terrible reflex, so I think there’s a side of us, when the mob forms in social media or in the comments sections that we’re no better than playground bullies. It’s a way of distancing ourselves from the spectacle of someone who’s been humiliated or who’s fallen short of something. There’s safety in the numbers of smug people who aren’t going through that at the moment. It’s a very, very ugly phenomenon. While I was shooting I read Jon Ronson’s book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, where he talks about this phenomenon. It’s almost as if social media has revived the old idea of the stocks and the pillory where public humiliation was a part of our legal sanction system. It’s quite extraordinary. I mean the slightest gaff now will be punished on such a grand scale. It seems that people aren’t satisfied until the person is completely ground into the dust. I hope anything that challenges that reflex is probably a good thing. I think that incredibly facile and unfair judgments have been applied to the Crowhurst story. My hope is that by taking people through it on a personal level and in revealing some of the nuances that people won’t be able to do that. When the cast all sat down and read the whole script that was certainly the abiding feeling afterwards. People didn’t speak for a few minutes. I think the one thing everybody agreed on was an outpouring of compassion for everybody concerned really in the story and just how dare we judge?

Q: Rachel Weisz as Clare Crowhurst is a great piece of casting. What does she bring to the performance and how do you see Clare Crowhurst?
A: Rachel is, as Clare Crowhurst herself is, a fiercely intelligent, insightful and strong person. I think she brings a wryness and an alertness about her that can see the complexities of what Donald wants to do. She’s afraid for him and she wishes that he wasn’t doing something so dangerous. She believes in him and in his ability to see it through. I don’t think she was wrong to believe in that. Clare was very, very keenly aware that this was something he really needed to do and that not doing it would be as dangerous to him as doing it. I think you need to have a great deal of love for somebody to embrace all that. I can only speculate as far as our interpretation goes but I think that Rachel would probably concur with all that.

Q: You shot the family scenes before the boat scenes. Did that help establish the close relationship he had with his family?

A: I think it would have been very difficult if I’d had to shoot the boat stuff before I met anyone who was playing the family. We formed a relationship. You always hope that when you are doing a film about a family that you can form something of a family in the process and we did start to enjoy each other’s company. The kids were absolutely great. It helped that they were talented and disciplined, that’s not to be taken for granted. But they were just such lovely company, and they seemed to understand what we were all trying to do in a given scene. It was also very important to me in the few scenes we had to stage was to establish a very happy family, a truly wonderful father. The children adored him. He was imaginative and incredibly committed to them. I think in some ways I think his venture was for them as well.

We can very easily pronounce judgement on why a man with a family would take such great risk. Well, people do need to take risks and some of them have families, and I think he believed he could do it, that he would come home, and that it would be a gift to his family, from a financial point of view as well. He hoped to come back as the father he wanted to be to them. A lot of this is me imposing what my motives would be, because I think every time you play a role, to some extent, you want to be that character and the whole story and this setup is as if it were me. I honestly think that Crowhurst did almost everything with his family in mind.

Q: Crowhurst set sail from Teignmouth and you filmed there. The event is in living memory for a lot of people who still live there. How did that feel?

A: The people were really very lovely down there. We were made to feelextremely welcome. People tolerated a great deal. It’s not convenient to have a film crew in your town. There was an awful lot of affection for Donald Crowhurst and for this story. There were older people who told me that they’d known him and were very anxious to share their experiences and their anecdotes. I think his story is now regarded with immense sympathy. Maybe it always was, but we were very struck by how people felt both sympathy and admiration for Donald Crowhurst. We were treated with nothing but grace and good humour. Devon is the most beautiful county and I think filming in Teignmouth might have been one of the highlights of our shoot really.

Q: What characterises James Marsh as a director?

A: He’s very bright, he’s extraordinarily committed and very collaborative. At times I think we both went down a bit of a rabbit hole, talking through ideas and trying to resolve conflicts in terms of storytelling and what’s possible, what’s important and what has to be sacrificed. He seemed to welcome that collaboration. I found the partnership with James to be the perfect one for a story like this, really. Once it was just me in front of the camera, it became even more of a kind of nexus that I was very dependent on. It wasn’t just the two of us obviously, it was our relationship with not just camera, not just sound, but with the marine guys as well, as they’re the experts.

James is very exhilarating company and he’s a very exhilarating collaborator. I think it’s one thing to have very clear ideas about what you want to do, it’s another thing to have that coupled with flexibility because they often exclude each other.

Q: What was the experience of shooting in Malta like?

A: Malta obviously suited our needs in so many ways, because they have this extraordinary tank, and the word ‘tank’ doesn’t really tell a story as to what it is. It’s a big infinity pool with the sea at the end of it. The effects you can create there are a very dramatic spectacle, where these pumps and water cannons could basically create a storm. It was fantastic for shooting the warmer climes. That’s where we shot all the Sargasso Sea stuff and all the summer zone material out at sea. It’s a beautiful island and so basically it’s an ideal spot to shoot. If you’re shooting on boats, I don’t think you could be in a better environment really.

Reprinted from a StudioCanal UK Production Notes Press Release. The Mercy starring Colin Firth as Donald Crowhurst premiers in the UK on February 9, 2018.

Check out our video:

OUTREMER CATAMARANS | UNDER $250K | Is SAILING LA VAGABONDE’s catamaran right for you? Yacht Broker, Gary Fretz

Sailing La Vagabonde recently switched to an Outremer Catamaran. Should you be looking to buy an Outremer catamaran or focus your sailing catamaran search on the big builders like Lagoon and Leopard? We also list the best sailing catamarans for under $200K or $250K. Yacht broker Gary Fretz argues that Outremer is like many other semi-custom builders in that they have small production runs. Smaller production runs mean that there will be more bugs that have not been fixed in each new model. Custom yachts or boats from semi-custom builders according to him do not have the resources or feedback to fix all the production bugs. He argues that you should never own hulls 1-10 because every model has a lot of bugs, which show up in the early models. Fretz argues that semi-custom or small production run builders do not have the scale to afford to fix all those bugs or the buying power to pass build savings onto the buyers.

He lists the best values in 5-year old (post charter) sailing catamarans under $200,000. In Fretz’s opionion they are 38-to-42-foot, owner version Lagoon or Leopard Catamarans coming out of the Sunsail or Moorings fleets. Secondary charter fleets selling older boats will typically not fit defects at survey while Sunsail and the Moorings will.

Gary Fretz gives a way all his secrets if you e-mail him at

BigYachts {at} gmail [dot] com

Gary Fretz is the
Yachts International, Founder and CEO
Licensed and Bonded Yacht and Ship Broker (since 1989)
Member: International Yacht Brokers Association
LargeCatamaransForSale.com

Castle Harbor Boating School, Inc. (Owner)
America’s Oldest Sailing School (since 1949)
Yacht Charters/Boating School/Club/Rentals
CastleHarbor.com and Castle Harbor Boating School.com

Subscribe to get season 2 in the crossing the Pacific and sail the Marquesas, Fakarava, and Tahiti.

For a limited time get $5 off your next purchase with SailTimer at the link below:
SailTimer Wind Instrument™: Advanced features, low price.
http://www.SailTimerWind.com/SlowBoatSailing
The SailTimer Wind Instrument™ is a wireless, solar-powered masthead anemometer. It works with lots of navigation and charting apps. You can raise it from deck level if your boat is in the water, and it has lots of other cool innovations too. Check out the web site to see how it works — and get a discount while supporting our sponsor.

We use a Mantus Anchor and swivel on our boat. Get all your Mantus gear at
http://www.mantusanchors.com/?affiliates=15
Mantus Anchors and SailTimer Wind Instrument (TM) are corporate sponsors of this video.
Support us at
http://www.Patreon.com/slowboatsailing
Slow Boat to the Bahamas

Slow Boat to Cuba

and
How to Sail Around the World-Part Time

have been #1 sailing bestseller on Amazon.
Associate Producer, Anders Colbenson
Sign up for our free newsletter for access to free books and other promotions at http://www.slowboatsailing.com
music by http://www.BenSound.com
Copyright Linus Wilson, Vermilion Advisory Services, 2018

Most sailing vloggers will never make another dime on YouTube ads after February 20, 2018

Small YouTubers have been dealt a death blow by the January 16, 2018, announcement that they will need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time before they will ever see a dime in AdSense revenue. This is a HUGE change to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Most creators never reach 1,000 subscribers. Thus, most will never see ad checks from YouTube again after the new policy comes into effect on February 20, 2018. My study of over 400 sailing vloggers found most of these active video creators never broke 1,000 subscribers.

Check out my video on the Linus Wilson YouTube channel “DEMONitization of SMALL YouTubers | 1000 subs $ 4000 hours | YPP AdSense Lost to Most Channels” at

See my video about my study entitled:

“How to Make $ on Patreon Like Sailing LaVagabonde & SV Delos: Tips, Tricks, Facts, and Advice”

My academic study with all the facts is at
https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919840

It is called:

“A Little Bit of Money Goes a Long Way: Crowdfunding on Patreon by YouTube Sailing Channels”
21 Feb 2017
Linus Wilson
University of Louisiana at Lafayette – College of Business Administration

Date Written: February 17, 2017

Abstract
This study finds that YouTube channels crowdfunding on Patreon have more frequent video creation. The median YouTube channel that crowdfunded on Patreon produced a video every 7.5 days compared to 105 days for the median comparable channel that did not link to Patreon. Crowdfunders have more views per video, are more likely to link to their Facebook pages, and uploaded videos more frequently. While two channels in the sample, each earned over $150,000 in 2016 from Patreon, the typical crowdfunding sailing channel earned $73 per video, per month, or creation. It appears that a little bit of money was associated with a big increase in new video production.

While most folks don’t make more than $100 getting to their first 1,000 subscribers 240,000 minutes of watch time is only achievable for low 1,000 subscriber channels that are active. Less active small channels will be kicked out of the program. Linus Wilson not only discusses the big change to YouTube monetization, but also he reads the two blogs at the end of the video.

The YouTube blogs are:
https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com/2018/01/additional-changes-to-youtube-partner.html

Creator Blog
“Additional Changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to Better Protect Creators”
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
by Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer and Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer

and

“A New Approach to YouTube Monetization”
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
by Paul Muret, VP, Display, Video & Analytics

https://adwords.googleblog.com/2018/01/a-new-approach-to-youtube-monetization.html

These changes make the April 2017 requirement of 10,000 views to be a new AdSense partner no longer in force. That was announced in the blog below:

https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com/2017/04/introducing-expanded-youtube-partner.html

⛵️CAT or MONO? PROs & Cons of Cruising Sailboat Types with Gary Fretz

What are the pros and cons of catamarans versus monohulls? As more and more cruisers such as the crews of Sailing Zatara, Sailing La Vagabonde, and Tula’s Endless Summer are switching from monohull sailboats to catamarans, we drill down on the trade offs of each design with a Olympic class sailor of fifty years, yacht broker Gary Fretz, who has owned many monos and cats and sold hundreds of more. Besides more space, Catamarans won’t heel. This creates many benefits, but also some risks.

Gary Fretz is the
Yachts International, Founder and CEO
Licensed and Bonded Yacht and Ship Broker (since 1989)
Member: International Yacht Brokers Association
LargeCatamaransForSale.com
BigYachts {at} gmail [dot] com

Castle Harbor Boating School, Inc. (Owner)
America’s Oldest Sailing School (since 1949)
Yacht Charters/Boating School/Club/Rentals
CastleHarbor.com and Castle Harbor Boating School.com

Subscribe to get season 2 in the crossing the Pacific and sail the Marquesas, Fakarava, and Tahiti.

For a limited time get $5 off your next purchase with SailTimer at the link below:
SailTimer Wind Instrument™: Advanced features, low price.
http://www.SailTimerWind.com/SlowBoatSailing
The SailTimer Wind Instrument™ is a wireless, solar-powered masthead anemometer. It works with lots of navigation and charting apps. You can raise it from deck level if your boat is in the water, and it has lots of other cool innovations too. Check out the web site to see how it works — and get a discount while supporting our sponsor.

We use a Mantus Anchor and swivel on our boat. Get all your Mantus gear at
http://www.mantusanchors.com/?affiliates=15
Mantus Anchors and SailTimer Wind Instrument (TM) are corporate sponsors of this video.
Support us at
http://www.Patreon.com/slowboatsailing
Slow Boat to the Bahamas

Slow Boat to Cuba

and
How to Sail Around the World-Part Time

have been #1 sailing bestseller on Amazon.
Associate Producer, Anders Colbenson
Sign up for our free newsletter for access to free books and other promotions at http://www.slowboatsailing.com
music by http://www.BenSound.com
Copyright Linus Wilson, Vermilion Advisory Services, 2018

Analysis: Hawaii Sailors’ GPS Track Does NOT Prove “we were no-where near Tahiti” as asserted by Jennifer Appel on the Today Show

by Linus Wilson

The GPS track that Jennifer Appel told the Today Show would prove they never were near Tahiti had less than 48 hours of tracks right before they were rescued by the US Navy.  Former Today Show host Matt Lauer questioned the skipper who said they were at sea for over five months before being rescued on October 25, 2017.  Mr. Lauer asked about their boat being hailed by the Coast Guard on June 15, 2017, within a day of Tahiti. Ms. Appel waved her GPSMAP Garmin 76cx in front of Mr. Lauer in the video below at about 2:58 and said, “I have no idea, but Garmin makes a great product. This is one of the GPS’s on the Sea–our Sea Nymph–and it shows we were no-where near Tahiti.”

She gave the Garmin GPSMAP unit to Alan Block after her in-person interview on his Sailing Anarchy Podcast. Slow Boat Sailing spoke to Mr. Block over the phone prior to his interview with Ms. Appel.  Slow Boat Sailing encouraged Mr. Block to look at her GPS tracks prior to his 8-hour interview with Mr. Appel and her crew member Tasha Fuiava in a Today Show-paid-for hotel in Long Island, New York. He posted a link to the GPX file on January 9, 2018, over a month after the interview, which Slow Boat Sailing has analyzed below.

GPSnew

Of course, the track does not go back to June 15, 2017, when the “Sea Nymph” responded to a VHF hail by a USCG plane near Tahiti. Thus, this is just another fib Ms. Appel has been caught in on national TV. Ms. Appel’s accounts of giant sharks and a force 11 storm among other things have been questioned in many news outlets. For a summary, watch our video below:

Slow Boat Sailing obtained Ms. Appel’s reported positions to the USCG in her survivor debrief. There was a large gap of reported positions to where the boat speed slowed to about 1 knot sailing downwind in the trades.

20MapGPS

The 48 hours of GPS track shows the Sea Nymph drifting slowly west (downwind) from points 1 to 2. From points 2 to 3, they sail less than one knot north, possibly to intercept the Taiwanese fishing vessel. This slow speed is in line with the very slow speeds the SV Sea Nymph skipper reported to the US Coast Guard in her survivor debrief Ms. Appel was interviewed in October. A boat with any sails up should have made better than one knot downwind in the opinion of Slow Boat Sailing. Thus, her reported speeds were more consistent with a sailboat “adrift” contrary to Ms. Appel’s assertions on her GoFundMe page. An other explanation for the slow speeds from June 26, 2017, until their tow on October 24, 2017, was that the SV Sea Nymph visited an island on the way, but Ms. Appel has always denied that too.

From point 3 to 4, the speed averages 4.5 knots upwind. That is well below the SV Sea Nymph’s 7.6 knot maximum hull speed. This is could be when the Sea Nymph was towed. This seems to dispute speculation by Slow Boat Sailing and others that perhaps the distress Ms. Appel and Ms. Fuiava felt was from a too fast tow. Motoring upwind in a mild to moderate ocean swell is definitely less comfortable than sailing or drifting downwind at a slow speed. By their accounts, Ms. Appel and Ms. Fuiava had been sailing downwind for 120 days at that point. Their distress at the tow, may reflect their inexperience motoring upwind in mild to moderate ocean swells. That was something the Slow Boat Sailing crew struggled with on their way to Ecuador.

The fishing vessel was in all likelihood towing the sailboat at a reasonable speed. This upwind course only lasted about 15 hours until the boat speed slowed down to less than a knot between points 4 and 5. That may be when they dropped the tow. This seems consistent with a boat largely adrift and a reasonable towing speed far below the Sea Nymph’s hull speed. There was less than 105 nautical miles traveled on the GPS track.

The local time was 10 hours ahead of GMT (London) plotted on the first figure. For a timeline of the last two days, the US Navy press release is a reasonable guide:

“On Oct. 24, they were discovered 900 miles southeast of Japan by a Taiwanese fishing vessel. The fishing vessel contacted Coast Guard Sector Guam who then coordinated with Taipei Rescue Coordination Center, the Japan Coordination Center, and the Joint Coordination Center in Honolulu to render assistance. 

Operating near the area on a routine deployment, Ashland made best speed to the location of the vessel in the early morning on Oct. 25 and arrived on scene at 10:30 a.m. that morning. Ashland dispatched a small team of Sailors to provide aid and attempt to fix the mariners failed engine. Ashland’s boat engineer was unable to fix the engine due primarily to a lack of requisite parts. Given the inoperable engine, combined with other equipment degradations expressed by the mariners, Ashland’s commanding officer chose to take the mariners and their two dogs on board. The mariners and their two dogs were safely aboard the ship at 1:18 p.m.”

The Navy account and GPS tracks line up with the first contact and tow happening in the daylight hours of GMT+10 at points 2 to 4. The USS Ashland arrived at the scene between points 4 and 5 of the GPS track. Ms. Appel must have turned off her GPS shortly after coming aboard the USS Ashland at 13:18 local time (GMT+10) or 3:18 GMT. The last track reading on that day was at 3:23 GMT or 13:23 GMT+10.

It seems likely that the Sea Nymph was towed upwind after Ms. Appel called for the Navy rescue from the satellite phone aboard the fishing vessel. The distress call was made on the 24th but the Sea Nymph stopped moving east at 7:13 local time (GMT+10) on October 25, 2017. Thus, Ms. Appel called (with a satellite phone on the fishing boat) to be rescued from the Taiwanese fisherman on October 24, 2017.  She told NBC, “They tried to kill us during the night”. Nevertheless, it seems likely that she did not drop the tow until at least seven hours after she made the distress call. The Taiwanese government has disputed Ms. Appel’s allegations that the fishing vessel posed any danger to the women or their boat.

As an aside, Ms. Appel told the USCG that they signaled for rescue since June 26, 2017, that is 22 days longer that they signaled for rescue by VHF, flares, and hand signals then they reported to the media. They told reporters in their conference call on the USS Ashland in October 2017 that they signaled for rescue for only 98 days prior to October 24, 2017, when they got the fishing vessel’s tow. It is not clear why there is this discrepancy in the number of days that Ms. Appel reported signalling for rescue, but not using her EPIRB. USCG interviewers criticized Ms. Appel’s decision to not use an EPIRB in their phone conversation with her on the USS Ashland.

Dr. Linus Wilson, is the creator of the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast and YouTube channel.  He has written three books about sailing including How to Sail Around the World Part-Time. He sails out of New Orleans and his 31-foot Island Packet sailboat at the time of writing was awaiting the next leg of the Pacific crossing in Tahiti. Dr. Wilson holds a six-pack captain’s license.

100 DAYS AT SEA IN A JUNK-RIGGED SAILBOAT WITHOUT AN ENGINE OR ELECTRONICS

Kris Larsen spent 104 days at sea in his junk-rigged sailbaot blown off course without an engine or any electronics. Mr. Larsen used celestial navigation forsaking GPS, EPIRBS, and even a toilet on his minimalist sailboat as he sailed around the world.

His wife, Nat Uhing, wrote in her blog that his boat lacked basic electrical gear and an engine. She wrote:

“…since he built his steel Chinese-junk-rigged sailboat and started sailing around without the usual engine, GPS, EPIRB, digital charts, radio, solar panels, water-maker, or toilet.”

Mr. Larsen and his wife dispute that this was a sailboat rescue. He only asked for a tow into Maui because there was no wind.

Photos in Haiti in 2016 by Raymond Bideaux were reproduced with permission.

Public domain photos and videos from the USCG.

Subscribe to get season 2 in the crossing the Pacific and sail the Marquesas.
We use a Mantus Anchor and swivel on our boat. Get all your Mantus gear at
http://www.mantusanchors.com/?affiliates=15
Mantus Anchors is a corporate sponsor of this episode.
We will be running contest where our most loyal Patreon supporters can become part of our crew literally as we explore the paradise islands of the South Pacific.
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Our one Star or Executive Producer patron can join the crew without winning the drawing.
Patrons of the round the world vlog and podcast get bonus podcast episodes and free audiobooks of How to Sail Around the World Part-Time and Slow Boat to Cuba. They get never before released audiobook chapters of Slow Boat to the Bahamas. You can also get access to many podcasts and videos early as a patron.
Slow Boat to the Bahamas

Slow Boat to Cuba

and
How to Sail Around the World-Part Time

have been #1 sailing bestseller on Amazon.
Associate Producer, Anders Colbenson
Support the Slow Boat Sailing vlog and podcast at
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Subscribe to the podcast at
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On the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast Linus Wilson has interviewed the crew of Sailing SV Delos, WhiteSpotPirates (Untie the Lines), Chase the Story Sailing, Sailing Doodles, SV Prism, Sailing Miss Lone Star, and many others.
Sign up for our free newsletter for access to free books and other promotions at http://www.slowboatsailing.com
music by http://www.BenSound.com
Copyright Linus Wilson, 2018

HI, UNITED STATES
02.14.2017
Video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa McKenzie
U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific
Subscribe 14

USCGC Galveston Island and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Maui patrol offshore Maui in support of Operation Kohola Guardian Feb. 14, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa E. McKenzie/Released)

HI, UNITED STATES
05.21.2017
Courtesy Video
U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific
Subscribe 14

Maui-resident Kai Lenny, seven time stand up paddle board champion and all around professional waterman, joins Coast Guard to promote water safety from sunny Honolulu, Hawaii. Lenny addresses the viability and ease of lifejacket use and personal locator beacons. Run time 30 sec. (U.S. Coast Guard video courtesy Jace Panebianco/Released)

HONOLULU, HI, UNITED STATES
02.14.2017
Video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur and Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa McKenzie
U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific
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The Coast Guard working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Land and Natural Resources in support of Operation Kohola Guardian Feb. 14, 2017. Crews aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) and a 45-foot response boat medium from Station Maui patrolled the Maui Triangle in an effort to protect the migrating humpback whale population, educate the public and deter illegal activity. (U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)
Coast Guard, good Samaritan assist disoriented Australian mariner off Maui [Image 1 of 3]

HONOLULU, HI, UNITED STATES
01.02.2018
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U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific
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The Coast Guard, and a good Samaritan assisted a 62-year old Australian mariner in his homemade sailing vessel three and a half miles west of the Kihei Boat Ramp, Maui, Dec. 31, 2017. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Maui safely towed the 30-foot sailing vessel Kehaar Darwin to Sugar Beach, Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard video/Released)

Junk Skipper Plans to Leave Hawaii by January 10, 2018, after “A Dirty Little Media Scrum”

by Linus Wilson

Reclusive Russian sailor Kris Larsen, who is sailing around the world in his junk-rigged steel sailboat, says he plans to leave Hawaii within 10 days of being towed into Maui on December 31, 2017, by the US Coast Guard. Coast Guard pictures of his unusual boat and word of his over 100 days at sea got the attention of many news outlets ever so briefly.

Mr. Larsen sails by celestial navigation and his boat has no engine. The boat, SV Kehaar, has little or no electrical equipment on board, but his wife, Nat Uhing, confirmed to Slow Boat Sailing that he owns an old laptop. Reports on the size of the junk-rigged boat vary from 30 to 34 feet. He left his wife, who lives in a fishing vessel in Darwin, Australia in 2014. He has sailed alone and with her for various legs that included crossing the Indian Ocean, crossing the South Atlantic, and transiting the Panama Canal. The USCG reported that he was blown off course on his 104-day voyage from Panama to Maui and was “disoriented.”

Kris Larsen Snapped by Raymond Bideaux in Haiti

Photo by Raymond Bideaux reproduced with permission. Kris Larsen on his boat SV Kehaar in Haiti in 2016.

Mr. Larsen and his Ms. Uhing wrote in Ms. Uhing’s blog:

“Fortunately, yesterday’s media scrum has had no impact on Kris, whatsoever. He is engrossed in stocking up on food and water, the authorities have granted him 10 days waived visa privileges (he only asked for 10…if he wants more, they told him, ‘Just ask.’) and weather maps for the next leg of the trip.” 

They continued:

“Unless someone tries to prevent him from sailing onward, he will be quite content, living in his head, making his plans, ignoring the internet. The world will think what it thinks, but you are right: whatever anyone says of his chosen path, he has just sailed most of the way round the world—from Australia to Hawaii—has spent the past 4 years exploring Africa (on bicycle) and South America (on foot), has acquired fluent Spanish as his 8th language, and collected a treasure trove of stories, friends, and unique experiences from all the countries visited along the way. On a budget, I might add, of a few hundred dollars a month. Thanks to a home-built boat that requires no maintenance he can’t do, himself, using materials that can be found in even the smallest Third-World towns, that can take a pounding, and that isn’t worth anything to thieves or pirates but the scrap steel it is made of.

He is that rare thing in these hobbled times: a free man.”

Coast Guard, good Samaritan assist disoriented Australian mariner off Maui
The Coast Guard, and a good Samaritan assisted a 62-year old Australian mariner in his homemade sailing vessel three and a half miles west of the Keehi Harbor, Maui, Jan 1, 2018. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Maui safely towed the 30-foot sailing vessel Kehaar Darwin to Sugar Beach, Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard video/Released)

Mr. Larsen is on track for a quick, 4-year circumnavigation by cruising standards. My book found that most successful sailing yacht circumnavigators take 5.5 years or more. Instead,of telling his interesting story, he and his wife lashed out at the media and other sailors in their jointly written letter on her blog:

“What others say he can or can’t do isn’t his problem…in fact, he quite enjoys playing the ‘gormless idiot’ in the presence of scandalised, angry ‘proper sailors’. It makes them feel good about themselves, they pronounce him a lost cause, and swagger off with a ripping good story to tell The Boys back at the yacht club…leaving him alone to get on with his plans.”

Most sailors that follow Slow Boat Sailing far from condemning his voyage want to hear more, but his Mr. Larsen and his wife would rather criticize than entertain us with his fascinating travels under sail. That is a pity. As we reported earlier, his self-published books are impossible to buy, which of course is his own doing. I have interviewed many wildly successful sailing vloggers and writers for the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast. What they all have in common is that they are polite, gracious, and love to tell stories. Mr. Larson may have farther to go on his personal journey before he catches the imagination of cruising sailors like so many of the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast’s guests have.

Finally, most of the most cruising sailors who tell their stories in their blogs or vlogs have not had the benefit of any free media. Mr. Larsen and his wife declined Slow Boat Sailing’s request to clear up any factual inaccuracies that were reported by the AP or other outlets. Most likely, if Mr. Larsen and Ms. Uhing want their story to be told in the future, the’ll have to do it on their own. If they want complete privacy, they should take down their blogs and stop asking for free tows. Given that Mr. Larsen’s boat has no engine, this is unlikely to have been his first or last tow into port.

I will not be the first or last sailor to wish him fair winds on his journey.

January 5, 2018

Dr. Linus Wilson, is the creator of the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast and YouTube channel.  He has written three books about sailing including How to Sail Around the World Part-Time. He sails out of New Orleans and his 31-foot Island Packet sailboat at the time of writing was awaiting the next leg of the Pacific crossing in Tahiti. Dr. Wilson holds a six-pack captain’s license.