And I love adventures too, especially on sailboats. I’m a systems engineer, a musician, a Remote EMT and a lover of all things rugged and wild. I take fun very seriously.
After fifteen years in a cubicle, I left it all behind for a nomadic life on the sea. In ten years living aboard, I’ve logged more than twenty thousand nautical miles, most of those over long voyages, many in some of the most dangerous waters in the world.
The Race to Alaska, a 750-mile sailing-slash-endurance race with no support and no engines allowed is a notable example. Less than half of those who enter the race actually make it to the finish line — and I’ve finished that race three times!
I know this new project is ambitious, and the journey I am setting out on is long and likely treacherous, but this is kind of what I do. 🙂
The first step in preparing for the journey was to figure out where it all began – the location of my birth.
Most of us have a rough idea, of course.
When the antipode idea got stuck in my head, I realized that if I wanted to learn the GPS location of the farthest spot I could possibly travel to in my lifetime, first I would have to find the exact GPS location of my birth.
Sounds easy, right?
I thought maybe I’d just Google the floorplan of the hospital in New Brunswick, Canada where I was born… but that hospital no longer exists. It was demolished in the late 1970’s and the whole area was redeveloped.
My father, who still practices law in the area, talked to local historians and searched the public archives for me. He found an aerial photo from the 1940s, and when I overlaid it with a Google map,
It turns out the exact location of my birth is somewhere in the west wing of Sussex Regional High School.
I graduated from this school in 1994! The whole time I was there I had no idea I was attending classes exactly where I came into the world, naked and screaming.
I wonder if the students currently attending SRHS realize how many people were born on that exact location?
My birth antipode – probably like yours – is a random spot in the ocean. The southern Indian Ocean to be exact, about 1500km south of Perth, Australia.
This is the farthest I can go in my lifetime without going to space – and if the surface distance from birthplace to antipode is about 20,000km, and I’ve already sailed to Mexico, then I have already travelled about one quarter of the way from Eastern Canada to the FarOtherSide.
To sail to my antipode would be the adventure of a lifetime – and I’d make it a true sailing odyssey, hitting some bucket-list spots off the beaten path. I’d want to visit the Galapagos Islands, and see the famous stone heads of Easter Island. I’d want to see the Pitcairns, and visit the Tuamotu Archipelago, some of the most remote islands in the world!
I’ve always wanted to sail across the South Pacific, but when I was really honest with myself, I just didn’t feel like my old sailboat TIE Fighter would be up to the task.
I found a small, sturdy sailboat in California that fit my requirements and budget (but needed a lot of work), and in 2016 I purchased her.
I named the new boat X-Wing, immediately moved aboard,
I began to prepare the boat for the adventure – I quit my day job and sailed X-Wing south to La Paz, Mexico, where I began an exhaustive eighteen-month refit of all her major systems in preparation for the journey.
She got a brand new engine, rigging, and sails. New chainplates to hold up the rig, new sailcovers and canvas, and new navigation instruments. I took down and rebuilt the mast, added a burly solar arch and fancy new solar panels, and completely rebuilt the ancient electrical system. I replaced all the through-hull fittings, patched and faired the hull, rebuilt all the plumbing, and installed a watermaker. I even built a new lithium (LiFePO4) battery bank from electric car parts!
…and I did all of it while living on the boat, in a dusty boatyard in Mexico.
It takes a tonne of time and resources to completely upgrade, rebuild and replace all the critical systems of an ocean cruising sailboat from 1968, but I did it.
Now, thousands of hours of work (and thousands of dollars) later, she’s pretty much a whole new boat and finally ready to go!
On top of a constant stream of updates to social media platforms, I’ll be documenting the journey with an exciting and informative Youtube channel about all aspects of the adventure – how the different critical systems on the boat work, the marine life we encounter, musical interludes, and even what kind of snacks we can’t live without on board. I promise that it will be interesting and uniquely different from every other cookie-cutter sailing Youtube channel.
Adventure begins when you leave your comfort zone. Who knows what unexpected twists and turns will come along the way? I look very much forward to sharing this trip with you!
I’ve already been working on this project full-time for years, and I’m finally ready to set sail… but I can’t do this alone.
Find out how you can get involved, and help support this epic sailing adventure to the FarOtherSide!