Ken Barnes says "Don't do it!" - Page 6 - SailNet Community
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post #51 of 54 Old 11-25-2007
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Steel? the photo looks like aluminum. I would give him half of half of a chance of at least sailing somewhere with aluminum. Assuming he can weld at least. I have never heard of a steel cat or tri.. kinda doesn't make sense.

As for his mast.. home depot sells great 1 1/2" dowels that make a good mast for a 6' dingy. Not sure for a 50' boat... maybe he is planning on stealing a lamp pole. After all, Bernard Motissier sailed many years with solid wood telephone poles on Joshua, southern ocean included. Not to mix heroes with this guy, but Bernard was a little off the edge too.

So, there seems to be a lot of crazy people sailing these days: Ken Barnes, Steel Tri Guy, Ried Stowe (sailing to Mars???), Pop can boat. When I was in Hawaii I met a Japanese guy rowing across the ocean. His provisions included raw eggs.. nothing else.
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post #52 of 54 Old 11-26-2007
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welding aluminum is a pretty difficult thing to do...and in a marine environment, welded aluminum suffers far worse than welded steel does. Also, heating most high-strength forms of aluminum causes them to lose most of their strength, and they would generally need to be re-tempered...but I doubt he's going to have access to anything that can temper a piece 50' long and 8' in diameter.


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post #53 of 54 Old 11-26-2007
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David Vann’s work has appeared or will appear in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Men's Journal,
Outside, Outside's GO, Writer's Digest, and other magazines and has won prizes and awards.
He's been a Wallace Stegner Fellow, taught at Stanford and Cornell, and is now a professor at
FSU. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 200-ton Master’s License and has sailed more than forty
thousand miles offshore. He was born on Adak Island, Alaska and lives in Tallahassee, Florida
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He seems to be as master of using “OPM’ “Other Peoples Money”

He teaches creative writing.

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post #54 of 54 Old 11-28-2007
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Originally Posted by wind_magic View Post
I read this guys book, "A Mile Down ..."

The book actually irritated me. It's one of the few sailing books I have read that made me angry. Most sailing books are good stories, interesting, things go good and bad, etc, and you basically enjoy reading them even if they turn out bad. The authors usually learn something even if things go bad, and they normally come across as interesting people you'd kind of like to know. I don't know this guy personally, and he's probably a good guy, but I did not enjoy reading his book, and I thought he made some really bad decisions. And they weren't bad decisions like at the end you think "wow, hindsight is 20/20", they were the kind of bad decisions that as you were reading the book you're thinking ... Dude, why did you just do that, that is really messed up, you are going to pay for that later. Then like clockwork a few pages later he's trying to defend what he did and blaming somebody else for his problems.

I'll sum up the whole book for you right here. Guy goes massively in debt building a boat he can't afford overseas so that he can live the good life selling time on it as a charter for .. I can't remember, I believe it was for people who wanted to study classic literature, or writing, or something, I forget, maybe it was writing workshops. Anyway .. so he goes into debt building this boat, totally a 1990's 2000's type of endeavor just like so many people now build freaking houses they can't possibly ever pay for. Then the entire rest of the book can be summed up in one word ... "CONSEQUENCE". Because everything that happened to him for the entire book was a consequence of that one giant mistake he made. He takes short cuts, does stupid things, makes bad decisions, sails when it isn't the best time to sail so he can make time schedules and not go bankrupt and all this other crap, and it's ALL because he made this stupid ass decision to build a boat he couldn't afford. By the end of the book he's sank the boat, I believe it was his second, his friends have loaned him large amounts of money and of course they lose all their money, and he seems relatively okay with it because ... hey, you only live once, right ?!?!?

If you are out there reading this, dude, I'm kind of sorry to be giving you a hard time like this, but I really did find your book annoying. I mean what were you thinking ? And frankly, what are you thinking now ?? The southern ocean is no joke. Is your next book going to be one big stupid mistake "Sail the southern ocean in a flimsy boat ..." followed by all the consequences of that one mistake ?

To the author, I truly do wish him the best, and I hope the journey goes well. I think the guy is brave, and that counts for a lot in my book. Nobody wants to see anything bad happen.

Edit, I want to add the standard disclaimer, all of these people, Ken Barnes, etc, have MUCH more sailing experience than I do, so I really shouldn't be running my mouth about it.

I read his book also and somewhat agree with your comments but I don't believe it was INEVITABLE that the guy would go bankrupt. The boat construction costs spiraled far beyond what he intially imagined, but he had that deal with whatever school it was for the "Semester at sea" kinda thing he had going. So long as that program lasted, he could make the boat pay for itself. However, when that program ended he was definitely in a very tough financial situation that continued to degrade until it ended with the boat sinking.

I came away from the book thinking it most likely sunk due to hole in the hull created by the loan papers rubbing against the insurance papers. The boat, despite its issues, had taken them safely through some tough situations, but look at the picture of the boat sinking. The sea is completely benign, and the boat just happens to be directly over the deepest water for hundreds of miles in any direction and while on a repositoning trip with no passengers. Just the kind of place, one could imagine being tempted to pull the plug on a trouble landen, financial albatross of a boat.

The insurance would at least pay off some of the investors losses and you could start working towards a new life. For most folks, that would be the end of the story, but I sense another book in the works, probably similar to "At the Mercy of the Sea" only with less compelling characters.

s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 Catalina 36
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