Here is an old but important video clip shot by Josh Colvin. I flew in to Seattle and on to Port Townsend in March 2012 to assist the SCA team with capsize testing. I believe they thought I was there just to help them and I was but I also had another reason.

Since I was an early adopter of the design (I purchased two kits #2 and #3) before the prototype was finished or launched I wanted to know if my hunches about the boats stability were right. So I became the chimp in the capsule so to speak and went out in very cold breezy conditions and proceeded to test as one member of a team. What a boat! I learned what I wanted to know after numerous capsizes including full turtling (upside down) and from there proceeded to build and modify my boat for the voyage below 40 degrees south in Chile.

Through the ensuing years I developed classes to teach safety aboard SCAMPs and have taught many sailors (both SCAMP sailors and others) how to prevent capsizes and how to manage them should one happen. It is tough to flip a SCAMP over although during my just concluded voyage it happened to me. I faced down a three day ordeal that culminated in cyclonic wind events the Armada de Chile also witnessed and stated were in excess of 100 knots, the base wind varied between 60 knots and 72 knots. Fair enough.

The video clip above shows the boat builders hut I lived in for a week as I recovered my boat from it being blown off anchor on the Strait of Magellan. At the side of the hut you can see the next James card under construction.

I had waited for several weeks preparing and waiting for a weather window. January was one of the stormiest on record according to the Armada, December the film crew was in town and the wind and weather were just as bad. Finally I decided I would wait no longer and the day I planned to leave I could not reach the Armada de Chile for the required radio check in. It was calm and I had been living aboard at anchor for one week without issue. I tried calling, my friend Juan Matasse tried radioing and nothing.

So I was forced to hike the seven miles into town to see the Armada face to face and during this time in and back out of town the wind blew up and my boat was driven ashore. I am not pointing fingers just stating facts. I did what I was supposed to do. Communications were always a challenge. My boat was a mess and I had a very difficult time rescuing it. It was a disheartening experience but pulled it off and the next day winched her up the beach to empty her out and do repairs. I was there for one week and lived in the small boat builders shack/shop sleeping on the floor and it was really cold but great for acclimatizing.............always looking for silver linings. I reckon there is no future in looking back, looking down or being a pessimist. I took the beaching as a lesson and benefitted from it although I was a major stumbling block.


Departure day from north of Punta Arenas. In this video details of my boat can be seen including the sea anchor set up (gray bag sport side deck, some folks have asked about it). This was the best day I had after waiting for several weeks and it is a typical day weather wise on the Strait of Magellan. The further south I sailed the windier and more unpredictable it became. I set up and launched right after filming this and made good progress south on one of the most challenging sails I have had in my life, all great learning and I consider learning as one of the prime reasons I voyaged south. 

 Friends...........The Armada de Chile inspection team. Southern Cross passed with flying colors.

On the ready.

View from the cockpit


4 comments:

  1. If someone is a novice boater it is important for them to seek a class or network with other boaters on boat education and water safety. There are many things that one can do to prepare themselves in case a boat capsizes and there are many supplies, such as lifejackets, that should be on board incase this happens.

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