Title photograph : Falmouth oyster dredger mooring under sail.
Steve the Fokboat guy.
And a sea of glass.
So i was doing some serious research for my website a few nights ago after yet another day of hard graft in the garden : actually i’m lying, i was merely surfing my youtube feed’s new recommendations but research sounds better. In real-time blog news iv’e just finished cutting the Leylandi down and stacking all the brash, suddenly we can all see that big yellow thing that appears in the sky sometimes !
You see, i’m already working on my winter projects plan with a view to getting some jobs done ‘fast and dirty’ and then getting back on the water early next season so that i can go off cruising for a while again. Right now i’m working on next years cruising plan and from there i’m kind-of working backwards to decide what my priorities are for the boat, aside from the rudder and the electrics WABI”’ is in pretty good shape so anything i do is likely to be in making positive changes rather than just maintenance.
In real time we have just met up with some sailing friends, one of whom commented that he couldn’t find any post about my France cruise this year ; and there are at least 12 of those !. I figured that it was about time i had a blog re-organise session which, this time, meant adding some new categories, deleting others and then going back and back through 460 blog posts re-categorising them. As i write today i’m about 100 posts into that job so iv’e got a long way to go !. Just in case you are searching for anything or any particular group of posts here’s a guide to the new categories….
Cruising UK. pretty much what it says on the tin ; any sailing and cruising i have done in UK waters. As i write this post some of my earlier UK cruising won’t appear in the new menu yet but i’ll slowly get to them all over the holiday period.
Cruising France. All of the posts from my 2 France cruises should appear in the new category by the end of December.
Projects. All workshop and boat project posts except garden stuff which gets it’s own category.
Garden…..what it says on the tin !, several new posts as i’m just about finished on the big stuff for this year.
Opsimath. An entirely new category for what were formerly blog essays about all sorts of strange and interesting stuff (see also ‘weird shit‘). The main part of this will be a series of once a month essays in which i’m pushing into harder topics.
For the blog I’m definitely working on moving into a more video based website again although there are some technical challenges that iv’e yet to overcome and i’ll talk about those in a post coming up in the boat projects series. As some of you will already know i’m struggling a bit for power (electricity) and this year i came up against the problems of editing and uploading posts via dubious public wifi…..that could be a game stopper for me to work in anything like real time posting although lots of other people manage it well enough.
So, a second side of what i’m working on aside from the practical projects and the writing work is trying to find a way of working in video that will work for me and that isn’t just a copy of a copy of someone else’s work. To be brutally honest there aren’t many youtube channels (sailing) that i really like and from which i can draw inspiration to do my own work. I did enjoy a lot of Dylan Winter’s early work especially when he was sailing ‘The Slug’ and then the Minstrel and i like what Steve Parke does with his cruising dinghy ‘Arwen’, after that there’s nobody in the UK who’s work i really know and enjoy.
Some readers may remember me being wildly enthusiastic about Free Range Sailing and their excellent films based on cruising around Australia…that’s been hugely enjoyable because it’s a part of the world that iv’e never thought of as a cruising ground and the fact that they combine so many things that i enjoy : from the sailing and their land exploration+ bushcraft to their amazing can-do attitude and technical skills, not just boating but really good survival fishing and food preparation too. FRS just go from strength to strength in their filming and editing so well done Troy and Pascale.
Mild rant time incoming !
Sadly there’s a whole load of sailing related dross out there as well which gets chucked at me via youtube simply because the AI algorythym obviously puts 2 and 2 together and gives me 3 and a half !. I suspect that the way it ‘thinks’ is something along the lines of ‘likes sailing channel and other people who watch sailing channels also watch….whatever…..so i get those as well. According to Dylan though it’s the same demographic watching sailing video’s as online porn so maybe that’s why i get all the T&B + boats sleaze channels.
It’s maybe unfair but i strongly dislike many of the hedonist/ soap opera lifestyle channels such as La Vag , Barefoot, Cap-n Rick and SV Delos. If i had ever followed ‘La Vag’ then i would have un-followed them as they’ve obviously just jumped on the bandwagon with the angry Swedish plactic princess !. There are plenty like them with the same themes and some even further down the scale towards sleaze-baggery ; in my opinion of course. If you want to be fed a continuous diet of tits, bums and thongs with sandy beaches and boring plastic boats then go for it…although to be honest you may as well go and watch some soft porn !
So i was really nicely surprised when one youtube channel came good and took me completely by surprise and it’s all been filmed so far in a part of the sailing world that iv’e been near to, didn’t like very much myself and don’t have a great desire to go back to, ie the Caribbean. However the video’s have been mainly filmed in the western side, which i don’t know at all, either end of the Panama canal rather than the eastern Caribbean of the Windward and Leeward islands which i know well enough. I don’t think that’s a particularly safe part of the world to cruise , i hear bad things about the area which is a shame because it’s actually beautuful.
I’m talking about a channel which is a few years old but which iv’e not seen before : White Spot Pirates which is basically the story of a young German woman name of Nike Steigers who buys a boat (unseen) in Panama and then goes out there to try and live full time on the boat while refitting it and sorting out the horrible mess that it was in ; honestly her heart must have sunk on that first day going aboard a boat that was covered in mold and mildew inside. I was just thinking about that again when i had to deal with the small amount of mold in my boat….her boat didn’t just have a mold problem ; more like it’s own fungal eco-system.
You could say that she makes lots of mistakes including buying the boat unseen…..not that iv’e never done that myself eh ! . Well we’ve all made mistakes with boats and learnt from them if we’re honest but what Nike does is to learn how to do every single job that has to be done, from learning to weld through taking her old engine out and fitting/aligning a new one : impressed i was because iv’e had to learn a lot of that stuff from the ground up and i’m not a natural engineer either.
What else do i like about WSP ?…….well, i like it that the filming and editing isn’t technically perfect and doesn’t rely on ‘doofa-doofa’ ‘music (noise) or a pumping rock track to suggest that it’s all cool and exciting. I really like that Nike clearly interacts well with the people that she meets…i think she must be at least trilingual as she’s a German national but produces her films with an English commentary and seems perfectly competent in Spanish ( i guess ) as well. I like it that the pace in the films is more like actual sailing and less like a fast chop/take running advert with all the usual boring tropes of beaches and whizzy drone shots intercut with sleazy TBT shots.
As i have said, i didn’t particularly enjoy the eastern Caribbean when i was there and i think mainly because being there was a job, i didn’t like working in the industry and i never saw the western side because we never went there. I’m surprised by how much i enjoyed seeing the countries that Nike visits and these are places that iv’e never had a desire to visit : Panama, Colombia and Belize for example which, i don’t know…iv’e somehow pictured as violent, sleazy and corrupt….they might be in parts then so is London and Plymouth nowadays ! and neither of those places have the ‘nature’ that the mountainous jungles, shorelines and reefs in those areas have.
I just pulled up a random episode here…….i hope you enjoy and subscribe
So, that’s my new recommendation for a sailing based channel to dip in and out of when you need a bit of a sunshine escape this coming winter.
Oh…and Steve the Folkboat guy.
Pardon me i almost forgot about this one. There aren’t many serious boatbuilding and boat-mending channels out there aside from some very long project builds which at least gives a sense of what it’s like to do a long ; years long, project. I enjoyed Nick Gates series although it was obviously filmed for TV, he’s a genuine nice bloke too, i met him at his workshop last year.
The channel that iv’e highlighted below is, strangely, by a bloke called Steve and is all about his work on a leaky English Folkboat ; i have a great fondness for Folkboats as my first one was a very bad East German version. Right now there’s an English folkboat sitting in the yard with a cover over it and it’s been there for the last 5 years while the owner has pretended to work on it….his yard fees must now be cumulatively greater than the boat is worth…..i think even he is all-but fed up with and has bought another boat so if you want a cheap Folkie there may be one coming on the market soon. The second part of Steve’s channel is all about his racing as mate in a 2 handed crew aboard a gorgeous classic yacht ; the Fred Shepherd designed ‘Amokura’ ; that kind of thing could almost tempt me back into racing !. Once again i just pulled up a random Steve vs Folkboat video but i must say that the ‘Amokura’ video’s are the ones to watch unless old and leaky Folkboat’s are your thing.
In the meantime i’d like to explain in a bit more detail why iv’e been wading through so much video dross and that’s mainly because i’m trying to pin down what it is i really like, don’t mind, and really really dislike about sailing video channels. I’m trying to use that on the one hand and then the stuff i do like on the other to help me work out the things i do and don’t want to do in my own video work when i come back to it and that’s on top of gradually getting a better understanding of what it is that i’d like to put across.
Like a lot of small boat sailors i really enjoyed Dylan Winter’s early films when he was on the east coast with ‘The Slug’ and then the Hunter Minstrel ; i think there was a lot of simple charm that was lost when Dylan started sailing the UK’s most boring boat and, at the same time, made technically better and longer video’s. I think that when i started making my own video’s, most of which i have taken down from youtube now, i was probably influenced by Dylan too much and after all i was starting off on a voyage inspired by his long round-Uk trips.
Having said that i really enjoyed WSP and Nike’s take on a part of the world that i don’t know well, that’s definitely not the kind of work i want to do although her blog element does share the ups and downs of boat life : it was another channel, new to me that has the spirit of what i would like to do….of course someone has already done it. This channel ‘eyeinhand‘ is completely new to me and just makes me want to go out and buy an open boat and truly go back to the simplicity of small boats again. In these video’s there’s hardly any blog/vlog element at all, just the simplicity of sailing small boats.
Eyeninhand video….Sea of Glass.
This will sound a little odd but i’d like to film and produce video clips more like short stories : if you will…as if the stories were ‘like’ video versions of something akin to Maurice Griffith’s writing in his books based on sailing around the east coast in his early years without an engine and with minimal ‘tech’. I can already see a lot of the things that i don’t want ie short choppy ‘takes’ like a bad action movie, i certainly don’t want the doofa-doofa backing track or the drone shots and i’m really sorry but i’m not doing tits n bums….not even thongs and sandy beaches. In a weird kind of way i’d like Inanda back (or do it all with an open boat) and do it all on a steadier platform like her but it would be nearly impossible to keep cameras and computers alive on a boat as wet as she was.
I think that what i do want to aim for is videos that are like short stories : about 10 minutes long which is longer than iv’e done with any success in the past, that means i’d need to take about 100 minutes of raw film to work from each time and that starts to define the amount of tech…such as storage space that i need. To get back into the flow i’m planning to start the new work in January and just aim for one video per month.
With this blog post i’m very interested to know what my regular visitors would enjoy, what kind of channels you/they watch and enjoy now and the kind of things that annoy you guys as well.
Well folks, that just about wraps things up for 2019 : time for a nice cup of tea.