the expression "time is money." The converse is also true: if
you've got time, you can save a lot of money. Hart's new engine, for example,
was a 22 year old Volvo diesel that had never been used. How's that? A
guy who had been building a boat in his Portland backyard had installed
the Volvo, but died before the boat was completed. When somebody else
bought the project, they removed the brand new Volvo in favor of a Yanmar
diesel. The patient Hart was the lucky beneficiary.
When it comes
to cruising gear, Hart is a minimalist. Hooligan is equipped with a GPS,
depthsounder. a VHF, and an Icom receiver - but no Ham or SSB radio, no
radar, and no liferaft. Hart doesn't carry an EPIRB either. 'The way I
look at It," he explains, "I'm the one who decides to go sailing on the
ocean, so it's up to me to get myself back. For example, my prop shaft
started falling out of my boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I had
no choice but to dive overboard and save it, because you have to do what
you have to do. And I made it safely to Sri Lanka, so that was that. My
attitude is that nobody who goes to sea should ever expect to be rescued.
I might feel different if I were responsible for somebody besides myself,
but I'm not."
Hart is adamant
about his most valuable piece of equipment. "My Monitor self-steering
sailor is the first to admit that his "minimalist cruising"
hero was Don Cutty, also of San Diego and of some number of years ago.
"Cutty had a Columbia Sabre, which is a 5.5 racing boat with a tiny cabin,"
says Hart. "He had a very simple and inexpensive boat, he didn't have
an engine. He hardly had any gear at all, and he had no money. But he
ate what the locals ate and seemed to have more than the cruisers with
the big boats and all the gear. By sailing from California to Massachusetts
on a shoestring and having such a great time, he demonstrated to me that
you didn't have to spend $150,000 for a boat and $50,000 for electronics
to go ocean cruising."
Hart started his
inadvertent circumnavigation by sailing to the Marshall and Caroline Islands,
which he found very enjoyable, and the Philippines, which was to be his
favorite stop of all. "I usually do most of my own boatwork," he says,
"but in the Philippines I could get excellent workers for $6 a day. This
was at a place 25 miles north of Cebu City which is known as the gun-making
center of the Philippines. Using nothing but a drill press and hand tools,
these guys sit under trees all day long creating handmade knock-offs of
Uzi machine guns, Smith & Wesson pistols and rifles - whatever you want.
All made by hand. One of my workers carried a Smith & Wesson 44 magnum
- that was chambered out to fire a 5.56 millimeter bullet - which is what's
used in M- l6s. He offered to make me one for $80."
on to Singapore and Sri Lanka - and in both places realized how dangerous
it could be trying to sail across the shipping lanes that connect the
oil rich Middle East with the industrialized Far East. "Approaching
Singapore. I was almost run down four times in one afternoon - in broad
daylight. I also had a difficult time on my way from Sri Lanka
While Hart had
some good experiences in Africa, he considers it the worst place he visited.
"All along the East Coast of Africa the paperwork was a big hassle and
all the officials had their hands out. And while in Mombassa, two guys
jumped me. We rolled around in the dirt for awhile, but they didn't get
anything. The officials were much more efficient in South Africa and didn't
ask for bribes. Nonetheless, I was jumped by three hoodlums in the middle
of the day on a main street in downtown Durban. They got away with my
wallet and stuff."
It was also along
the dangerous coast of Africa that Hart experienced his worst weather.
"My Cascade and I got beat up pretty badly by a big storm off of Richard's
Bay. The top of the main pulled off the mast, the boom broke, and I ran
out of fuel. But you do what you have to do, and I limped into Durban
with a double-reefed loose-footed main. Incidentally, this was the only
really bad weather I had on the entire trip, as other than this storm,
I never saw more than 30 knots of wind."
in Durban was enough to restore his faith in humanity. The haulout was
$30, the bottom paint was $60 and he paid $20 to have it put on. Where
else could you get a 29-footer hauled and painted for $110 U.S.? A local
metalworker came by when he heard Hart needed a new boom. The guy had
a used boom, and after careful measuring and a lot of custom work on a
new gooseneck, sold it to Hart for less than $200.
Hart was able
to live inexpensively because the extremely hospitable South African yacht
clubs usually offered free berthing. In addition, he was getting asked
out to dinner nearly every night. "I still get letters from friends in
South Africa," says Hart.
It's not that
It was ever costing the singlehander much to cruise. "I was getting by
on $600 to $800 a month - everything included. One way I saved lots of
money over other cruisers is that I don't smoke or drink. Since I didn't
indulge in those things, I could buy the very best food."