Wayfinder Build: Part 10 – Video Tour

I landed in South Africa today after a long series of flights from San Francisco. As soon as I got in my rental car, I drove straight to the boat yard in St. Francis Bay. With my camera in hand, I walked through the boat for the first time in twelve weeks. We are probably three to four weeks from final assembly and putting her in the water. Here is a tour of WAYFINDER as she now sits:

I get a ton of questions and comments about my plans, so I thought I’d add a little of that here. This boat will be my home the moment she goes into the water. Everything I own is in South Africa with me, and it isn’t much. Living aboard a boat sounds glamorous to a lot of people who would probably go crazy if they tried it. For me, it’s pure heaven. But it isn’t for everyone.

When I moved aboard a sailboat at age 21, I didn’t think I’d ever live on land again. That’s how right it felt to me. I lived on my sailboat for a few years, and I lived on other people’s boats for many more years. It was a great profession, a lot of hard work, but vastly rewarding. I’m getting back to the lifestyle that fits my personality. For those who think of me as a writer, this seems like a transition into something new. You have to remember that this is me moving back to something familiar. The writing has been a bizarre turn in my life, not the other way around.

The great news is that these lifestyles compliment one another. I’ve been writing my fool head off as I get away from the book tours and the conferences. The BEACON 23 series is now complete (the final entry should go up in a day or two), and I’ve been publishing the WAYFINDING series that I’ve long dreamed of writing. Today, I pick back up with the sequel to SAND. The writing and the sailing go hand-in-hand. My blog and my social media feeds will suffer, which is a good thing.

The plan is to depart Cape Town in the middle of October and head toward the Caribbean. From there, I’d like to go north up the east coast for a summer, before heading back down and through the Panama Canal. I’ll then have to decide whether to go up the west coast or head for the South Pacific. A lot will depend on the direction the wind is blowing.

Living aboard a boat and sailing it long distances is a ton of work. It’s grueling at times. Which is what I love about it. The last time I did this, I was a starving college student who sold everything he owned to take off on a $10,000 boat and live his dream. Along the way, I met so many people doing the same thing. Young couples with kids. Older retired couples. Single men, single women, families with pets, you name it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s accessible to most anyone. It’s a crazy lifestyle, but it’s the one that makes me feel the most fulfilled.

The good news is that you don’t have to come with me in order to follow along! I’ll keep you updated right here.



24 responses to “Wayfinder Build: Part 10 – Video Tour”

  1. One day I’m going to do this. Although my boat will be a cabin up a mountain somewhere.

  2. Totally awesome! May the Wayfinder take you wherever your heart desires. I do hope you turn north coming out of the Panama Canal and make a pit stop in So-Cal. I’d love to see that baby!

  3. So cool! The Wayfinder is quite the boat with all kinds of luxuries. Your adventure will be exciting Hugh. Maybe we will be able to live some of your adventures through your eyes when you write here about The Wayfinder Adventure. Be safe and have fun!

  4. Looks amazing! I’d be happy to spend the rest of my days on something like that. But then, I live and write in a semi-truck, so I’m all about the wandering lifestyle as well.

    You must be very excited, being so close to completion!

  5. It’s really looking great! You’ve mentioned before that you expect to do both tropical and high latitude sailing. How’s the comfort factor in the boat in extreme heat and extreme cold? I’m really worried I’ll never leave the Pacific NW because I won’t want to deal with being hot and miserable all the time.

  6. Wow Hugh- she is beautiful! I loved seeing the shot from the hull and the person in the yard for scale. She looks so impressive!
    And the galley….i think i need to come cook for you at some point in this incredible journey you are on….

    1. You have an open invite! Come whenever you want and stay however long you want.

  7. What’s the draft on that? Looks fairly shallow which is nice if you want to roll into a secluded beach or something. :)

    1. Around three and a half feet. :)

      You can really go gunkholing in this thing. And she sits flat on the bottom if you need to beach her. The rudders are reinforced and the same depth as the keels.

  8. It’s winter there, I know, but it won’t be long until spring. Enjoy the days growing longer, and have a Castle Lager for me. It’s twenty years since I was last there, and eighteen since I moved to the USA from South Africa, but there are still days when I miss it very much.

    Oh – and on passage to Cape Town, try to avoid the rogue waves for which the Wild Coast is so infamous! No ‘Wool’-gathering!


  9. Caroline McIntosh Avatar
    Caroline McIntosh

    Hugh!! What an impressive beauty you have there! It was dizzying going through the boat with you, but Oh My! how sumptuous and spacious it all seems. It was so HUGE when you went outside. Yup, Can’t wait for the adventures for you and Amber. The very best wishes to you both..

  10. My equivalent dream is to live in a tiny house, and move it around to different places.

    I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make that work, even part time, but I can’t let go of the idea – and you can even finance them now!

    Pare life down to what you can carry, and live in different places for a while, even if you have no energy, all becomes possible with your house on a trailer hitch.

    Ask me in five years.

    Oh, and I want it to look like Frank Lloyd Wright designed it.

  11. Wow. That is gorgeous – I love the attention to detail.
    I spent a little bit of time on a Cat; sailing from Australia to Lord Howe and around the south Island of New Zealand. Truly the only way to sail. And those little seats on the bow? That spot, when you’re underway? There is no feeling like it in the world (I’m getting emotional just thinking about it).
    If you have money there are so many things to spend it on – intangible, frippery things. It’s clear you’ve done your research and made a quality purchase from your heart, that will enhance your life in many ways.
    I have so much respect for that :0)
    Thanks for letting us share the journey.

  12. Hugh, she’s beautiful! Is there a good spot for doing the 5 Tibetans when aboard?

  13. I sailed a Pearson sloop with a rectractable center-board: board down, 9″; board up, 4.5″. But 3.5″ draft for a cat that big has me thinking maybe I should think again.

    I shall be interested to hear how well she sails to weather. I know it can be done. The cats in the last America’s Cup Race moved so fast they always sailed on a beat.

    Oh, BTW, that vise is great. Never seen one on a boat before, but, boy oh boy, do I want one now.

  14. Love the boat Hugh – will there be a omnibus edition of the Beacon series in print anytime soon?

  15. Amazing. Congratulations Hugh.

  16. Steven Bloomfield Avatar
    Steven Bloomfield

    Just needs some homebrew equipment and a kegerator and you’ll be all set!

  17. Amazing! Man, I’ve followed your seemingly meteoric rise and this gives me a huge smile. Congratulations! I know how satisfying it feels to do something like this: my partner and I sold, gave away, or donated all of our belongings several months ago, packed a couple of bags with some clothes and a couple of laptops and moved to Thailand and couldn’t be happier.

    You seem like a genuinely nice person and I’m very happy for your success; you inspire me to work harder. Thank you.

  18. So amazing. What a wild, freeing, adventure you are embarking upon. May the wind always be gentle at your back and the seas calm. Good luck and much happiness.

  19. Any plans to visit Tolkien’s birthplace while you are in South Africa?

  20. I would love to do what you are doing. Your boat is terrific.

  21. Me: Quick, come look at what Howey’s building!
    Wife: But there wouldn’t be room for my family to visit, or our kids.
    Me: Isn’t it AWESOME!

    But at nice as your tub is. it is incomplete.

    1. 9-4 ish noserider, nice single fin, flat rocker for long morning paddles
    2. A couple of SUPs, nothing fancy, just for exploring.
    3. 7-0 ish fish, for those mid days. Plus you might want a shortie, but keep the volume, the Bahamas stay flat.
    4. If you’re on your way to Chicama, swing by my place, I’ll swim out with a lot of beer.
    5. A jetski with a surf/rescue deck. I know it’d be heavy, but you’re going to want to be able to tow someone and move fast with 2 people and gear.
    6. Nice fins, mask, spear.
    7. Xbox

    What else? You must have a toy list already.

    Nice work.

    1. And what’s your move on bikes? Full size? Cruisers, multi-speed? or… foldable… what’s the right move, didn’t see a locker for them.

      Also curious about your specs for your potato gun.

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