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Old 25-05-2009, 14:11   #1
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Sailboat? What Sailboat?

As many who've spent awhile reading Cruisers Forum are aware, Pat and Ali Schulte circumnavigated from late '03 to Spring '07 aboard their Wildcat 35 catamaran, Bumfuzzle. Having done that, they've continued their footloose ways on land - first in a vintage Porsche 356, and now in a '58 VW split-window van.

They had driven the van up to as far north as the road goes in Alaska, then turned around and drove it to as far south as the road goes in Chile. Having accomplished that, they drove it up to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they loaded it and themselves aboard a huge cargo transport vessel that would take them to Europe, specifically Germany. There they have resumed their travels.

From their latest log updates, Pat found himself wondering just how visible a sailboat would be from aboard such a monstrous mass of moving metal. This is from the entry for April 30, '09:

"This huge ship only has twenty-seven people running it, which I found pretty amazing. I guess I knew that it didn't take a lot of people to work it, but the empty hallways and decks still seem eerie at times. It's also weird to stand up on the bridge deck and see just one person sitting behind the controls with a magazine in his hand while this moving island plows through the water. It makes me wonder if ships ever actually saw us while we were out sailing, or if the radar was the only alert that we were even out there. I'm hoping at some point to spot a sailboat just so I can see what it looks like from thirteen stories up in the white cresting waves."

Then, from the May 10, '09 entry, Pat relates the following:

"Last night we had barbeque night, which was really just an excuse to break out coolers full of beer and flip on the karaoke machine. The Philippine contingent love their karaoke, and Ali loves to volunteer my horrid voice while never taking the mic herself. We had a good time, finally talking to the captain and a few of the other guys. The second in command is a young guy who had lots of good stories for us about stowaways and strange passengers. Turns out that in his ten years we're the first Americans he's had aboard. He also told us that at night with waves over about six feet there was little chance that a sailboat would be seen. They keep a twenty-four hour watch, but it sounds like it's pretty lax."

So, if you've ever wondered why some small sailboats sometimes just disappear when weather is not an issue, or contemplated what's happening up on the bridgedeck of a typical cargo vessel, Pat has provided a little perspective.

TaoJones
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Old 25-05-2009, 14:19   #2
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Thanks Tao, that certainly fits in the with the experiences of many of us that the watch on board many freighters is anything but. As to their current modes of travel, as the prior owner of a Porsche 356 and various aircooled VW's, it seems that their reported experiences and comments concerning Bumfuzzle should be seen as coming from people who are willing to put up with some inconvenience, but not a bad product.

Brad
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Old 25-05-2009, 14:29   #3
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That's a keen observation, Brad. Pat and Ali are definitely not whiners, and they've endured a great deal of inconvenience in their post-Bumfuzzle travels without a peep. They dealt with the many issues related to the inferior quality control on their Wildcat, as well, but they were not willing to let the manufacturer just slide by.

By bringing their experiences with Charter Cats SA to the wider boating public, they performed a valuable public service, as I see it. That Charter Cats subsequently went belly up may, or may not, be a coincidence.

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Old 25-05-2009, 17:45   #4
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Great post. I've been following their adventure as well and I'm with you/them, I believe in reporting any sub-standard quality of work. I believe it all comes down to respect. Respect for yourself as a skilled worker and respect for others as they will be using your product. When I see blatant lack of respect for good people, I get really steamed!!! So, I am very glad that they publicly voiced, documented and showed the hack job of a CAT they had..
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