Inspirational Sailing Deathwish

As you know, my next dream project is sailing around the world… I came across an article by David Vann in Esquire, in which he describes his plan –

I am building a boat in my backyard. With tools from Home Depot and used sails. I’m going to sail around the world. Alone. My naval architect quit because he thinks I’ll die. I’m not going to die. I’m going to come back and tell the story…

I’m trying to spend only $25,000 for a boat that will sail nonstop around the world, covering twenty-five thousand miles in four months. It will have to sail fast in light air in the equatorial regions and also survive fifty-foot seas and hundred-knot winds in the terrifying Southern Ocean as I sail around Antarctica. And I’m building the boat myself, quickly, in a month or two, so it’s flat bottomed, with straight sides, and as skinny and light and simple as possible.

Here’s the starter article, and he’s been blogging the adventure as well, and it’s a pretty exciting read. Safe money may well be with the naval architect’s worries. The pictures of him building and sailing the boat are absolutely inspiring though — not just to do this, but to do this out of a back yard on no money…


  1. Elizabeth wrote:

    Christopher Cross said it best. Go for it, we’re behind you all the way. Literally. :)

    Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  2. waiting4arson wrote:

    Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  3. Ania wrote:

    I’m reading ‘Kon-Tiki’ by Thor Heyerdahl atm.
    a good book and kind of shows that if there’s a will, there’s a way;)

    Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
  4. Carl wrote:

    Hey Shannon, that website may interest You:

    It’s written in german, but I guess that’s not a real problem, right?!

    Best wishes from Berlin

    Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
  5. I read Adrift. Sailing on a budget scares me.

    Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
  7. Richard Larratt wrote:

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 8:44 am | Permalink
  8. Richard Larratt wrote:

    Excuse me for posting twice but I think there are a couple
    Things to be said about the danger and not so dangerous
    Aspects of ocean crossing.

    And please read carefully the three cases above. The two who so far
    And got in trouble but have both survived – Dom Mee thanks to
    The Canadian Coast Guard – are very qualified for what they intend do
    Which is not merely cross an ocean but cross it fast and solo.

    That is asking for trouble twice – yeah – fast sounds good because
    I can with weather information I can outrun a storm – well not these
    Adventurers because by now to set a record with a multi-hull boat
    You’ve got to be sailing fast – I mean if the record crossing is at 25 knots
    In fact they are sailing on a storm front – exactly what careful would avoid.

    I leave it to someone else to explain what a kite boat is but it doesn’t
    Sound like there are very many of them out there – including the one Don Mee
    Lost. As for the first guy – looks like he’d going to have another go this
    Year and again no matter what he says he’s going for speed, records and
    $2,000 to $3,000 inspirational speaking to the local chamber of couch potatoes.'Day

    There are ocean crossing boats out there that are proven and if you are careful
    You can buy one in Halifax from someone who just came back from Bermuda.
    That’s not quite ocean crossing but it will mean that the boat is almost certainty
    Outfilled correctly – read the disasterous case of Donald Crowhurst if in fact
    You do want to kill yourself at sea or so get yourself in such a pickle you just jump over-board. And that is the last unusual danger these adventurers lay on them selves – they sail SOLO. I hope others will add new posts I have not seen but there are all too many cases of people who just go nuts alone at sea.

    That said and to close on the upbeat. Read
    A Sea Vagabond’s World by Bernard Moitessier.

    He did it all and in so many ways he did it first.

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  9. Richard Larratt wrote:

    this boat for example

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink
  10. His boat reminds me of the boat on Waterworld

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  11. Richard Larratt wrote:

    these guys are trying to sail very fast on storm fronts – one of the tricks to give you more wind power is to fly a kite – the pix you see is the 1st of 28 – look at all of them and you’ll see what it is about –

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
  12. That boat reminds me of the first guy to go balloning in a lawn chair. God help him if he dropped his bb gun.

    The fact that the boat suffered a critical structural failure so soon into the voyage, once again proves that some people place no value on their lives.
    For most people, flight too close to the sun, results in a wingless descent.

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  13. Brent wrote:

    Here’s to Sailing Survivor…

    Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  14. Eric wrote:

    be *very* careful how much inspiration you pull from that guy/boat.

    Monday, August 18, 2008 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
  15. Richard Larratt wrote:

    Hey Eric

    I went over and checked out your page – I so hope shannon will do the same – you are so on the right page – living on a boat is not what these guys – are about – they are trying and god bless them – they may succeed in setting new records – Don Mee just mught set a record rowing across the atlantic from the Canary Islands and the other guy might do something likewise – then they can make $2000/nite or a day giving inspirational speeches to people who will pay to identify with their will and their courage – but living on a boat – does not have to be anything like that – it can be so wonderful – you are very much a part of a community of fellow sailors but you have a freedom and a remove that just isn’t available on land.

    And there I go – I have somewhat over-stated it –

    Your boat looks wonderful and I am sure a pleasure to live on and to sail.

    Monday, August 18, 2008 at 1:15 pm | Permalink
  16. Richard Larratt wrote:

    Just do it!!!


    Tropical Storm Fay’s path means hurricane watch up to Tarpon Springs
    Florida Gov. Charlie Crist urges Floridians “to remain calm, remain vigilant”

    Tides could reach seven feet above sea level in Everglades City, Chokoloskee and Marco Island; winds near 60 mph




    Just Do It.

    how do we forget that simeple truth -I mean no one gets out of here alive so why exactly are you being careful

    it don’t matter

    you are going to die

    so in the meanwhile LIVE

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  17. Richard Larratt wrote:

    some of these boats are not going to survive something as benign as a surge – snap the lines – and even just 60 mile wind is enough to make those boats into missiles…

    You’d think a guy with a half million dollar boat would know how to tie his boat so it can go up and down 10′ without snapping a line 0r flipping the boat

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 8:56 am | Permalink
  18. It’s secretly amusing to see those boats you describe laying up in someone’s yard or sqaurely impaled on a piling.

    I don’t think too much about the people that risk their lives out on the ocean, setting a course for disaster in their piss-poor boats. I mostly have a problem with them triggering some massive rescue effort where other people needlessly put their own lives and resources at risk.
    People die in all sorts of unpleasant circumstances. Sailing off into oblivion seems less pitiful than sitting in your car on a bridge as it collapses.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 6:53 am | Permalink
  19. Go bareback and leave the sat phone and VHF at home.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 6:55 am | Permalink
  20. Skip wrote:


    The market is flooded with very excellent , seaworthy boats for about $25-$30 K!! Have you looked at the listings in “Soundings” ?

    Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  21. Skip wrote:

    Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 12:09 pm | Permalink
  22. Skip wrote:

    Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  23. Skip wrote:

    Sorry for the multiple postings, My own boat is a Moody 34 that has taken me from the UK to the US, from the US to the Virgin Islands and back and several trips to the Bahamas. They are quite expensive even used, however.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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