Buckminster Fuller, in his work, Your Private Sky, suggests to view the world from a dynamic, cosmic and comprehensive viewpoint. He talks about the sailor constantly negotiating the environment aboard his vessel, exposed to the liquid state and regarding east and west not as places but directions. Bucky was a 20th century visionary and inventor who has inspired my approach to life as an artist, a yoga student, a photographer, writer and explorer. I like to think of myself as the specialist in comprehensive design that he described as an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist.
Happiness filled my entire being as I crested over the MacArthur Causeway catching a glimpse of colored flags fluttering in the rigging of various boats for the Progressive® Insurance, Strictly Sail, 2015; part of the Miami International Boat Show. Cycling downhill is the best part of any bike ride leaving Miami Beach, being rewarded for the consistent effort of pedaling hard and reaching the top of the bridge! This time, tears were swept away by the wind, as it had been five years since Bruce and I attended last with wild adventures in between: learning how to sail the Lido 14; buying a Catalina 27; coastal cruising Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, Dana Point and Catalina Island in California; finally selling our Catalina and looking to do it all over again in the waters of South Florida.
Strictly Sail felt like a turning point. We had both left our jobs at Apple after nearly a year of growth supported by a wonderful work community. I remember our manager talking to us in our first weeks explaining that some of us would stay for careers and for some of us it would be a pitstop, a stepping stone. Looking back, it was the latter for me. I had just earned the Creative position, something that I had worked very hard for over a period of months yet inside when I finally received it, I knew I had to pursue the artist and sculptor in myself: write grants, practice yoga, create work, travel, photograph prototype motorcycle racing’s MotoGP™ and share publicly a life of spatial navigation requiring fine tuned concentration, balance and absorption.
This particular Saturday afternoon I parked my bicycle by the InterContinental and made my way inside to our favorite Starbucks, one that Bruce and I frequent on most trips to mainland Miami after making South Florida our home in 2013. Walking along the water towards Bayside Marina, I prepared myself to be absolutely immersed in extraordinary sailing opportunities and I was not at all disappointed!
Taking a lay of the land on my first day I tried New Zealand’s Nobilo Pinot Grigio, boarded a 55ft. Gunboat named as Cruising World’s 2015 Domestic Boat of the Year and made my way onto a well equipped Nautitech Open 40 that had a perfect space to unroll my yoga mat! I stopped by Hanse having many wonderful memories as crew on Thursday nights, as well as, a few taking part in The Dana Point Racing Series in CA. I was making my way back to where I began when I noticed that I had not ventured down Pier L. I walked to the end and could see Marina Stage drawing crowds with their nightly Latin music. It made me smile, happy to be back in Miami. I turned to the right and what happened next, I would not have had any other way. It was the Outremer that caught my eye!
I paused as it was near to closing but thrilled at the same time. My partner Bruce and I often wondered what it would be like to sail a catamaran in Florida, explore the islands and eventually cut through blue water. We knew that the Outremer was light, maneuvarable, spacious, strong and well built. Here before me was the perfect chance to hop aboard, photograph the 51ft vessel and perhaps be inspired to create some artwork about spatial navigation. I have heard that sailors can be trapped on land for generations, only viewing the stars by planetarium! We have been lucky to travel a bit: visiting remote and natural places by car, sailing with safety keeping the coastline in sight and exploring our immediate environments usually located within a few blocks of the beach! Perhaps another sailboat could see Bruce and I leave our coastline without any land in sight. It is a concept that we often think about, tuning into the vast ocean related to our being in the world.
Discovering Grand Large Yachting led by CEO Xavier Desmarest was the key to the weekend. The company became our host in an incredible experience where I learned about Grand Large Yachting’s three boat yards: Outremer, Garcia and Allure with service points around the globe. This was all so much more than I expected but brought truth to the French translation of le grand large meaning open ocean. The Outremer 51 was beautiful in its own right.
I fell in love with the forward facing nav station, as well as, a bright and well appointed galley with plenty of space to move around. The view was panoramic from the inside and the outside was perfect with ergonomic seating while on watch by the tiller and unobstructed views from the helm, forward. There is this part of me that thrives on momentum; as I child I was a competitive roller skater; later as a adult, a skydiver, cyclist and a yoga student studying Ashtanga, meditation in motion. Now an artist studying the dynamic navigation of motorcycle racing, the Outremer spoke to me in a way that I could immediately relate to as I imagined being able to “admire the wake her slender hulls carve out at speed.” But as in motorcycle racing it is paramount that speed is safe and by design the Outremer is up for the challenge. One last part is the pleasure or enjoyment of speed not as a goal or an obsession but described by Outremer as an “inner sense of jubilation.” For me it is not so much about the competition but the exercise of being in the moment and sharing that way of living. Kids are the best example of it all! One night photographing Crazy Louise I spotted a boy hanging off the front of the boat by the trampoline! I had to giggle inside as he dangled free and happy only to lift himeself up and curiously watch the visotors bording his vessel.
It was this night that we met the family of the 51ft Catamaran named Crazy Louise. Bruce and I were honored to meet a cruising family. You can read about their adventures here on Outremer’s, Le Grand Voyage, a collection of writing, photography and video of all different sorts of people traveling with their Outremer amidst the open ocean. It was quite emotional for me as I had just spent the month of January with a great friend while she home-schooled her kids from our condo on Miami Beach! We took them to Biscayne and Everglades National Park, the Keys, Wynwood, local beaches, parks and museums; they had this wonderful learning experience all here in South Florida. My chance meeting with Le Grand Large Yachting took on a similar feeling, that of a supportive network traveling, learning, sharing and inspiring one another. Le Grand Voyage as written on the Outremer website is a simple concept but one that is easily overlooked:
“Show your children that the earth is blue, benefit from a thousand and one unforgettable experiences linked to long haul sailing: there are a whole host of reasons to cast off. Sailing around the world, is about making a big project a reality. It offers a different slice of life, full of salt, spray and adventure. It’s a period we dream about, that we prepare for and that we will remember!”
I was intrigued by Xavier and his company. He worked with dedication and joy while we were visiting and photographing the Outremer 51. The feeling was one of being welcomed as friends. Each night when we arrived home I would read more and more about Le Grand Large Yachting, and its services, prepared for another day and a fresh perspective.
On one occasion it led us to Jimmy Cornell’s talk on Blue Planet Odyssey, a round the world ocean rally highlighting issues regarding climate change. Stuart Eichner from Just Catamarans held up a copy of Jimmy’s book on board Crazy Louise and not knowing at all who he was, I felt inspired to find out. The process of discovery is the most fascinating part of my work, uncovering bits and pieces that lead us to extraordinary places. I quickly found out that Jimmy Cornell an accomplished sailor, author and creator of the ARC rally, needed a vessel for both high latitude and tropical sailing. He partnered with Garcia, part of Grand Large Yachting to design the perfect boat! It was such an awesome connection.
I could see so much passion in Jimmy as he spoke. It was great to hear a sailor share his thoughts after circumnavigated three times! His Garcia Exploration 45 named Aventura was awarded Cruising World’s and Sail Magazine’s 2015 Boat of the Year. Bruce and I had the unique opportunity to visit the hull number One at Strictly Sail and we were delighted to chat with Jimmy Cornell and later the managing director Benoit Lebizay. Jimmy and his crew aboard Aventura are now making their way towards Tahiti having just transited the Panama Canal. You can follow their journey here.
One of the most interesting parts about Jimmy Cornell’s talk was the relationship with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the World Meteorological Organisation and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Some of the participants between 2014-2017 collect much needed information by deploying autonomous scientific instruments that gather and transmit data. This is part of Blue Planet Odyssey, but there is not only one Odyssey. There are in fact many options for collecting data and sailors are necessary in the success of various tasks and observations: monitoring plastic pollution, recording marine life sightings and providing educational opportunies shared with children around the world, offering up a new perspective from another child’s eyes living aboard.
Jimmy Cornell wishes to share with the communities that have welcomed him over the years, here he conveys one of the missions important to Blue Planet Odyssey, “As this Odyssey calls at places where people’s lives are affected by climate change, we want them to know that cruising sailors care for them and empathise with their concerns.”
Buckminster Fuller created a map that projected the entire surface of the earth named The Dymaxion Map, “revealing our planet as one island in one ocean without any obvious distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents.” This was his deck plan–described by the Buckminster Fuller Institute–creating “Spaceship Earth.” The question is, how do we fly this thing? Fuller described our Earth with a finite amount of reseources and I believe that Jimmy Cornell is spearheading the research to make leaps and bounds regarding his mission overall, which encompasses our Ocean and the key issues related to it today, endagered places, as well as, science, education and community. It is the synergy of sailors that can energize the work ahead!
Bruce and I are getting ready to join the Coconut Grove Sailing Club and delve into the Summer of the Flying Scott as we like to call it. Here will brush up on our most basic sailing knowledge on 16 ft boats. We have been landlubbers for three years! We are currently working towards public art projects regarding our natural and built environments with our own hopes of circumnavigation one day. How exciting, to get back into the groove after Strictly Sail, 2015 meeting some truly awe-inspiring people, motivating us to venture further than we ever thought possible!