Two camps then, those who think Hot Rod is a moron for staring out, and those who think he's a hero for trying. I don't really want to argue with anyone about this but here goes...
I'm not a troll, and I don't get any pleasure from just criticising people for the hell of it. I love people doing crazy, ambitious things - and sailing voyages are probably some of the most challenging of those - and I love it when they succeed. These people all have certain things in common though. They all have significant, relevant experience, they look long and hard at what they want to achieve, consider what resources they have, and arrive at sensible, practical, well-engineered solutions to achieving their dreams. Joshua Slocum, in choosing the Spray, found a boat which could be made seaworthy
with only the resources at hand, but still had exactly what he needed - unusually good dynamic stability and good form stability. Robin Knox-Johnston, realising he wouldn't have the money
to build his 'perfect' boat, used his experience and ingenuity to turn the already outdated Suhaili in to a boat capable of the most ambitious voyage ever undertaken. Serge Testa, Alessandro Di Benedetto, Jessica Watson
, Laura Dekker etc. etc. are all good examples in addition to many others.
Two examples which spring to mind at the moment are Sven Yrvind and Roger Taylor. The former is currently building a 10-foot boat which he intends to use to sail non-stop around the world. It would be easy to dismiss him as bonkers like Hot Rod, until you look at his previous achievements and experience and consider the meticulous thought and preparation which is going in to building the Yrvind 10. I thoroughly recommend checking out his blog here
Roger Taylor has undertaken more impressive voyages than most 'cruisers' in a 21' Corribee called Mingming, including to ice fields round Greenland
and to 80' North and Spitzbergen - see his videos here
. He is currently upsizing to a more capable boat - which to him means an Achilles 24! He sewed up his junk-sail in his kitchen and is using an aluminium lamp-post as a mast
. Again, he could be easily dismissed as a Hot Rod-style nutter, without considering his experience and the care with which he is approaching his new build. What he actually is doing is building a totally unsinkable, relatively fast and extremely seaworthy
small vessel for next to nothing. Like Sven Yrvind, I feel pretty sure he will achieve much of what he wants.
These people all have the key attributes mentioned above, often in addition to a disarming humility. Hot Rod has none of this. He can only have taken the most basic look at what he actually wanted to achieve, he massively overreaches his resources and he takes no time to consider what the right way is to build his dream. He also has an almost unbelievable arrogance. Rather than a troll I'm actually a mechanical engineer
, and it's the engineering which really annoys me in these sort of things. David Vann mentioned on Page 7 is another classic example. He constructs his aluminium trimaran
without really learning
to weld, and without even at the most basic level considering the forces in the vessel. Of course, if you concentrate the torsional forces of three hulls at a single
point then it will fail. With simple changes to the structure he could have had a good boat. With Hot Rod, he builds his boat without stopping to think that there is more to a box than six walls. With internal structures to stiffen the hulls he wouldn't look so daft at all. If he had some strong beam structures connecting the two hulls then he might have been in with a chance. If he had built a smaller boat he could have afforded better materials and fittings. As it is, if he sets out to achieve his original dream he is doomed to failure, without question. There is absolutely nothing praiseworthy about what he has done, he is just an unintelligent individual who is wasting our natural resources, polluting our ocean and more importantly endangering life and expecting others to look after him.
I don't see why people who realise this should be dismissed as 'trolls'...
(sorry about the long post, it's just the first time anyone has called me a 'troll'