Sven has made it safely to Porto Santo, Madeira, but unfortunately it seems that he may end his trip there as his micro-cruiser has not performed as intended. Up to now he has not been able to maintain the desired 2 knot average because EXLEX is too heavy with all the required supplies for a non stop voyage to New Zealand.  In addition, this immense inventory has also made it nearly impossible to reach the front hatch from inside where he intended to handle the sails and the daggerboard. Unforeseen problems with the rudder have added to the problems with managing the boat. Maybe with some time in port he can unburden some of his load and correct these flaws so that he can continue. We will see.  Either way, I wish him well.

I've also been looking at another small boat adventurer, Matt Kent, who is attempting to cross the Atlantic from West to East in his 3'6" sail boat, Undaunted. Unfortunately, he too is stuck in port, awaiting clearance to leave from La Gomera in the Canary Islands. In his case the boat is ready to go, but the Port Authorities there want him to have both a $300,000 insurance policy and U.S. Coast Guard approval to undertake the trip. You can read more about it atThe Little Boat Project.

In 2020 there is going to be another edition of the transatlantic sailboat race for 5 meter boats called the Setka Atlantic Challenge SAC. This event takes place every 4 years and it has already been run 2 times before. What makes this competition so unique is that just about anyone can enter since the plywood boats designed by Janusz Maderski are affordable. well proven and primarily owner-built. In addition, there are rules in place to insure safe practices like the use of positive floatation as well as other incentives to keep things fair and economical like the use of hanked on dacron sails. The first leg of the race is from Sagres, Portugal to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. The final leg then goes from there to an imaginary finish line between Martinque and St. Lucia in the Carribean. There is no entrance fee and no prize money. The reward is in finishing, and preferably doing it faster then the next sailor. Unfortunately much of the information about this race is written in Polish, which I don't undersand, but I still learned alot by looking at the pictures on some of the contestants facebook pages here and here. There are also some more wonderful photos from another competitor here.

Sven Yrvind is now on his epic voyage to New Zealand. He left Ireland 5 days ago, and he is making slow but steady progress Southwards in light winds. You can follow his epic non stop 15,000 mile trip through the magic of gps tracking on this page.

In addition, take the time to download his free book, With Four Square Meters of Sail and One Oar, which goes into his thoughts about low energy sailboats like EXLEX and his reasons for taking this 300 day adventure at the ripe old age of 79. Within those 95 pages he explains how smaller boats can be made much stronger than larger ones so that they can take on the rigors of the open sea. He also explains why the EU Recreational Craft Directive does not view smaller sail boats favorably for ocean use because it is biased towards promoting sales of larger European built watercraft.

In addition, there are quite a few interesting "pearls of wisdom" contained within which come from a life time of passionately building and cruising sail boats. One short one which I liked was "every lie complicates life." In this case he is refering to how racing sailboats are often designed and built to rules that can get circumvented to primarily win and not to produce a good overal design. Sven too suffered from this same malady at one point in his life when he kept modifying his 10 foot sail boat that was intended to break the existing around-the-world-record. He kept making the boat longer and larger by adding appendages to the ends that technically were not included in the calculation of the overall length. However,in the end, he got disgusted with the deceit, and he cut the boat up with a saw. Once he had hauled the cancerous pieces to the dump, he then had a clear conscience to begin work on his present boat which wasn't based on any artificial restrictions.

I think one of the best ways to understand Sven for what he and his boats represent is to read the following passage he typed:

"Of course, my small ocean-going boats will not give joy to princes and those who are spoiled, to those whose will is not stronger than their flesh. However, my small boats will give happiness to those who enjoy solving problems, to those who feel comfortable when they use their bodies, who enjoy the movements of their muscles, to those who keep trying, to those who don't eat until they are hungry and don't drink until they are thirsty, to those who don't rest until they are tired, to those who respect nature, to those who are prepared to fight for a long time and sacrifice things to achieve their goals, to those who have an ideology and know that life without struggle for higher values is meaningless."

I wish him fair winds all the way to New Zealand!

Well three more years have flown by since my last post, during which time I have mostly paddled my fast kayaks to stay in shape and to get on the water. However, I figured it was about time to update the site with more information about sailing and cruising in small boats. But first things first! The old dead links had to be removed, and a few more new ones were added like the one for Don Elliott's small books. Over the next few weeks I'll also try to post the answers to some of the frequently asked questions that we get in the mail to better explain our take on micro-cruising to the sailing community. Also I'll take a closer look at some of the current races like the Watertribe Events and the neat transatlantic race for small sail boats. Lastly there is the Famoussmallboats page which needs to be updated.

Since returning from my last trip to the Bahamas I haven't done much sailing; though, that doesn't mean I don't get on the water often. My other great passion in life is kakaying, and I try to go out regularly on the lake in my tippy Olympic class K-1. I also do some racing, and last year I even competed at the USCA Nationals and at the Masters World Marathon Championships which were held for the first time in the U.S.A. However, lately I've been dreaming about sailing away again to distance shores and to new cruising grounds in our micro-cruisers . Therefore, I figured it was about time to get ENIGMA back in shape for a possible future trip.

Eventhough I patched the large hole in the starboard side as soon as I got back from my last trip, I still never got around to repainting the hull. For me this task always seems to take excessively long because I'm too much of a perfectionist at heart. I find myself trying to prep and paint my boats to a car like finish; but in the end, it's kind of ridiculous since it's not too long before I bump into something hard that damages all my work. Nonetheless, the boat looks good at the beginning- long enough to take some nice scrap book snap shots.

So I started by patching the deeper gouges on the bottom with epoxy filler and then filled in any remaining pinholes on the topsides with 3M 5095 white glazing putty. I mixed up my own concoction of bottom paint which basically consisted of some oil based paint mixed with copper powder that I got from Epoxyproducts. This was sprayed on in the morning while it was still cool. Now with several coats of grey paint applied, I'll go ahead and roll on some Oyster colored enamel on the sides.