The die-hard solo off­shore cruiser

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

Roger Tay­lor might just be the doyen of min­i­mal­ist ocean sail­ing, though he freely ad­mits the way he goes about it isn’t for every­one. His books Voy­ages of Sim­ple Sailor and Ming­ming & The Art of Min­i­mal Ocean Sail­ing dis­til a unique style of sin­gle­handed blue­wa­ter cruis­ing; head­ing far off­shore equipped for up to three months non-stop sail­ing. Putting thou­sands of miles un­der the keel of his highly cus­tomised junk-rigged yachts, Tay­lor’s ad­ven­tures show that less can cer­tainly be more if you are pre­pared to sac­ri­fice some com­fort. ‘It all comes back to be­ing ship­wrecked off New Zealand and nearly los­ing my life when I started sail­ing. That was on a big sail­ing boat, un­der some­one else’s com­mand. From that point on­wards, I was de­ter­mined to keep con­trol of ev­ery­thing; that meant keeping things sim­ple and mak­ing what couldn’t be bought.’

Tay­lor’s cur­rent boat has an alu­minum lamp­post mast and a cus­tom sail that he made at home. The orginal Ming­ming was a Cor­ribee 21 bilge keeler, the same de­sign that Ellen Macarthur sailed around Bri­tain aged 18. Tay­lor turned the Cor­ribee hull into a tough­ened sur­vival cell, lin­ing it with foam to in­crease buoy­ancy and in­stalling a solid ma­hogany com­pan­ion­way with a seal­ing hatch. The re­sult was a yacht that took him to the far reaches of the At­lantic and into the Arc­tic Cir­cle. ‘It doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean that is what I ad­vo­cate others do, it just suits me and what I do. It comes back to a child­hood thing; I have no de­sire to get there quickly, be­cause I love be­ing at sea and close to the wa­ter­line. My first aim when I set off on a trip is to get off the con­ti­nen­tal shelf, so 200 miles off­shore, then I find my­self com­pletely re­laxed. It’s not to say I won’t go close in when the con­di­tions are right. In Green­land I went very close to the shore, but be­cause I don’t have an en­gine I never put my­self in a po­si­tion where I would be re­liant on it. This sort of sail­ing is deeply ful­fill­ing and so I’ve never been se­duced by a big­ger boat.’

Roger and Ming­ming II

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.