Cutwater Canvas and Southern Cross
Whenever Howard shows up, it's always an adventure.
Believe it or not, Southern Cross and the Klepper Project are uniquely related. When Southern Cross builder/owner Howard Rice walked through the canvas shop door, he quickly zeroed in on the reskinned Klepper ready to return to the lake.
That's where our part of the adventure begins.
Little did we know that this guy sailed around Cape Horn...in a Klepper. And this little pocket cruiser he kept bringing around for canvas work was part of a plan to sail in the Strait of Magellan region again...in a 12 foot boat. At first glance, he seemed like your usual boating enthusiast. Maybe a bit more concerned about the details of his canvas. Finally after noting a few long visits and gleaning second hand conversation tidbits from those visits, I ventured out to listen on his next arrival. He talked. And Howard, talked. And I was fascinated.
Howard proceeded to lay out the most logically analyzed description of his seemingly insane journey. In a calm voice. I've been fascinated with NASA astronauts for years, mostly because they did the insane in a logical manner. In a calm voice. I think my fascination is a personal quest to conquer the life and death worries that are birthed along with children. Now I had before me this stranger revealing a logical approach to the hazard of life, and so quietly giddy because of it.
From his own words, taken from a Wooden Boat Forum post:
"Its simple. I am just going sailing, setting out pointed south on the Strait of Magellan headed for the remote and virtually untraveled southwest islands. I have been intrigued by them since I last sailed south of 40 degrees, I mean possessed by them to some degree. I have studied the history, topography and sea/weather conditions there and realize whats in store."
And from his blog, thepocketyacht.blogspot.com
"Each day of the voyage I reckon will be simplicity magnified, prepare, set sail, be ever vigilant, each day may stretch time to become a life time made of few hours. This is the way of the small boat voyage and I love it. Backing life into a corner and feeling Thoreau's "full brunt of it" can be an enlightening act, a sobering act, a focusing act and above all a life enhancing act.
I may sail in the wakes of Cook, Magellan, Fitzroy (Darwin), Tillman and Slocum but know my insignificant place is pale by any comparison. What excites me about where I will go is the largely untouched nature of the places they explored, what an opportunity to learn, to self reflect, to cross the the long gone wakes and explore the shores seen by such explorers and above all by their predecessors the Yaghan."
But I guaruntee you that Howard's wonder for the world is not one of flakes and nuts, or spam in a can. It's an eyes wide open journey of life that we all board every time the Southern Cross rolls up our driveway.
(Howard has inspired many more imaginations beyond our driveway. I found a tale whose tone was delightfully similar to my own from film director David Nichols, explaining his involvement in the journey to Tierra Del Fuego. David is the director/producer of the independent film production Below 40 South. )