Serval years ago I received a letter from Roger Olsen saying “I’m not sure you are aware but the FC is my favorite of all boats.” I first met Roger in San Diego when I was working as a delivery skipper and forming some pretty firm observations when it comes to boat size and design. After sailing his home finished BCC across the pacific he sold her and bought The Sam Morse Co. it was Lyle Hess who designed the boats, Sam who started one off semi custom production but Roger who refined them into what they became. I could have never imagined way back then that I was talking to the man who had just laid up what would some day be my home and dream boat.
My keel would see many more miles before I would fully realize and appreciate how much I love and am suited to small boats. Having said that the battle is growing. I’ve never been close enough or in the right frame of mind to shop life rafts. For the better part of my sailing career I detested them and all other forms of abandon ship at sea devices. I always figured self rescue is the proper form of seamanship and I still do but on a small boat I simply can’t fit a hard dinghy that could be sailed on in a disaster.
The dimensions of even the smallest life-rafts simply won’t fit anywhere board, not even the smaller aviation ones. It’s a fact that Sookie was built stronger than any other FC and a smidge lighter but still… The hulls coming out of Sam Morse were considered to set the industry standard by which all other boats were compared. On a cloudy day off the Aleutian Islands a BCC sank less than three minutes after a collision with an unknown object. The go pro was running, a very slight shudder was all the could be seen and then nothing but water surrounded the men in their life raft.
No boat is bullet proof. A friend recently sailed to Hawaii and among other things he saw a 25’ propane tank and flipped over 30’ powerboat. Shit happens and now as my beard turns a bit salt and pepper the arrogance and invincibly of youth has me pondering when enough is enough and how prepared can I really make a 22’ sailboat. It isn’t weather I’m worried about, it’s all those things that go bump in the night and the fact that no matter how prepared I ever am, the universe always has one more wild card for me.
As much as I detest the thought I’m coming to terms with either stepping up to a BCC or setting off after a long talk with my family that I may be going down with the ship should a disaster strike. Explaining anything about the ocean to people who haven’t lived on it is nearly impossible. It’s that or swallow the hook and sail locally and be cold for the rest of my life. Nothing pisses me off more than people sailing around On unfit boats knowing a mayday call can save them. My little cutter is as strong as they get, well maintained and capable but my mind is torn. There is a very fine line between adventure and disaster.
Roger stated that the FC was his favorite boat, Lyle Hess said it was the design he was most proud of and the one he would want to take to sea. Fernec Mate called it one of the worlds finest sailboats but the three of them together didn’t have half the miles on one that I do. So back to the drawing board and the constant challenge of putting a 10 pound parcel into a 2 pound sac. I know I can do it, I just haven’t learned how yet…
The story goes that “Thomas Edison failed more than 1,000 times when
trying to create the light bulb”. When asked about it,
Edison allegedly said, “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have
successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.