More than two years ago, I quit my job, sold all my belongings, and bought a sailboat with the goal of skiing in the fjords of Chilean Patagonia. Since then, I managed to sail more than 12,000 miles down the west coast of North and South America, encountering hurricanes, 100ft long whales, and erupting volcanoes along the way. I’ve learned a lot of important skills, I’ve met some incredible people, and I’ve seen more beautiful things than I ever thought possible. I lived my dream every single day and I finally achieved all of my goals a couple months ago. I’m a very different person than the kid that stepped off the dock at the beginning of this voyage.

Feel free to ask me anything. I'm eager to share my experiences and encourage others to embark on adventures of their own!

Proof: My Blog: My Imgur Story: My Instagram:

Comments: 670 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

Itsmyalibi205 karma


DwyerHaney400 karma

There was one point when I was about half way between Mexico and the Galapagos and a storm cropped up out of nowhere with 30kt winds and huge seas. It was the middle of the night and I was totally and completely alone. I was up on the bow changing out my jib - alternately getting dunked in the sea and heaved up into the air with rain absolutely pelting me from the side. I definitely wondered if I'd taken on more risk than I should've. It felt, in that moment, like I was truly risking my life.

By the time dawn broke the storm had abated, the sun started peeking through the clouds, and I knew I'd be alright!

Lost_Magi164 karma

How did you keep yourself safe? What was the scariest part of your trip? Did you know how to sail before you bought the boat?

DwyerHaney245 karma

I didn't know how to sail before I bought the boat - which sounds absolutely crazy - and in retrospect it probably was. I'd definitely recommend crewing on a boat or taking some sailing courses before diving into an adventure like this.

Safety for me was all about preparation. The Rascal is a very solid boat and she has all the gear and spare parts to weather major storms and breakdowns. I read a lot about accidents at sea and took lots of measures to mitigate the risk of them happening to me! Whenever I'm sailing alone with serious weather, I'm tied onto the boat so I can't fall off.

The scariest part of my trip was probably the engine fire that happened when I was 1000 miles from the nearest land.

Edited to provide an excerpt from my blog: "About two weeks into the trip, I was laying down in my bunk reading when I started to notice an electrical smell in the air. I was sitting right under the fan, and figured it was starting to heat up or something. A couple of sniffs proved that this wasn't the source and I began snooting around a few other electronics that could've been the culprit, all to no avail. Eventually I decided to lift the cover of the engine compartment, and smoke billowed out in my face. I could see flames leaping up the left side of the engine and sparks flying into the insulation.

The Rascal is a very sturdily built ship and there aren't many things that could sink her. I'm pretty well convinced that even hitting an iceburg or a container wouldn't put a hole in her. Losing steering would be really bad news, but I could jury rig something to send her in the right direction. A dismasting would also be a big problem, but I've always got the engine, and I'm sure I could figure out how to rig a shorter mast sufficient to send me to my destination. At least I've still got the security of the Rascal to protect me from the elements. A FIRE, however, is a much bigger problem. A fire very likely means abandoning ship and ending up in a life raft (if the fire hasn't already roasted it) and I'm left without much in the way of food, water, or shelter.

When I saw those flames, I nearly shit myself. My eyes got as big as dinner plates and I let out a frightened shout. I immediately reached over and grabbed the fire extinguisher that is mounted above the stove and blasted the engine compartment with a ferocious stream of powdery extinguisher juice. That was enough to quench the blaze, but something was still sparking away, so I turned my attention to the battery switches. I wasn't sure why the fire had started, but I knew some sort of electrical issue was the cause, so I turned everything off at the main. Next, I sent my brother a message so he would know something was going on in case a fire blazed back up. After all of this was accomplished, I sat down on my bunk and realized I was trembling. I was about a thousand miles from the nearest land, several days from any potential rescue, and decidedly shaken. Luckily, however, the fire was out, I was safe and sound with plenty of food and water, and the Rascal didn't seem to have any critical damage."

ceslek79 karma

Did you intentionally not tell us what happened next?

DwyerHaney154 karma

Well, after I cleaned out my trousers, I spent the next few days disassembling and rewiring the engine while the boat rolled up and down in the swell.

Eventually I got it all working again, which was good because I ended up with almost two weeks of calms during the middle of my sail and I did a bit of motoring during that phase. When its cloudy and my solar panel isn't putting out much electricity, my engine can charge the batteries as well.

Charismaztex51 karma

Where did you get the know-how of rewiring the engine? Did you just figure it out on the spot?

TryAnotherUsername1326 karma

Where did you get the know-how of rewiring the engine? Did you just figure it out on the spot?

I’d guess it was just the cable from the alternator to the battery. Even if more complex wiring is involved you could probably figure out where the burned parts were connected.

ProfessorReds180 karma

Only on reddit does some guy explain about how an electrical fire damage was repaired on a boat he was never on.

JunkmanJim20 karma

Well...I do maintenance for a living and tryanotherusername13 is correct, provided it isn't a large fire, recovering from a short isn't too bad. Usually it is just labor intensive, the wires are still in place but the insulation is melted off, perhaps the wires at the junction of the short are severed so a little bit of investigation might be necessary. My experience with boats similar to this one is the wiring is custom so larger gauge than a prefabricated harness and the layout is usually a bit chaotic which is good. I have NEVER failed to recover the wiring of a DC voltage short that burned, it may have not been the prettiest job but it isn't impossible. The difficult ones are the intermittent breaks that do not smoke....

DwyerHaney23 karma

You guys are exactly right - cable from the starter to the battery and a few other small gauge ones in the vicinity - it was just a matter of a few hours with the wire strippers and the shop manual.

diegojones4111 karma

Holy shit! You are me! I did the same thing when I was 25. I can't wait to read your blog.

How is your boat heated? How do you handle you sailing solo watch schedule? What is the biggest thing to break?

DwyerHaney110 karma

Wild! I'd love to get to know you, brother.

The Rascal is heated with a badass little cast iron wood stove. The moment I saw it, I knew she was the one.

When I'm close to shore, I normally nap for 15 minutes, wake up to scan the horizon for ships / check my course, and then nap again. When I'm way offshore, I just sleep like I would on land. That said, if anything changes in the movement of the boat or a new squeak develops or my spidey sense starts tingling, I wake up.

The steering was probably the biggest thing to break - the tiller cracked where it attaches to the rudder shaft - I managed to jury rig it until I go into port though!

diegojones449 karma

Dude, I would love to sit and drink all night with you. We could bore the shit out of people. You are the first person I've had contact with that did it at the same age and I could ask you questions all day. Your adventure was much bigger than mine, but I would imagine we came out with similar life lessons. As long as there is a book about it, I can do it. I can do anything. Most of what society thinks is important really doesn't matter. McGyver doesn't have shit on me (as you realized fixing your tiller). Congrats on a good voyage. Rascal is a pretty boat.

Smatter_Witchoo25 karma

McGyver had an awesome theme song, do you?

Mehworth32 karma

I actually wrote lyrics to that song as a kid. It was my favorite show in 5th grade.

Edit: OK, fiiiine. If you insist:

Everybody gather round,

I've got something to say.

There's a guy out there right now

Who's fighting every day

To keep all of us safe and when

There's trouble that's a-brewin'

You can always count on him

To know just what to do





Hey everybody here he comes


Making stuff out of almost no-thing!

All he needs

Is his poc-

-ket knife and a little bit of string!

Oh, watch out bad guys cuz when he gets his ideas he's gonna whoop some ass!

Doodily doodily doodily doodily doo dum dum dum dum dum

Yes everybody there he goes


Working for the Phoenix Foundation!

With the help

of his boss, Pete,

And his old best buddy,

Jack Dalton!

Oh, one of these days

he'll find Murdock and may-be

he'll finally kill that guy!

He's MacGuyver

He'll kick your ass.

He's MacGuyver

He'll kick your ass.



DwyerHaney4 karma

That was magical!


Illbebach82 karma

What is it like to be the mother fucking champion of the world? Also, don't be shy, did you ride that giant tortoise or any of those dolphins?

DwyerHaney104 karma

Did you see the photo of that tortoise? He had more than enough work to do without me hopping on for a ride!

I did, of course, ride dolphins all the time. In fact, whenever my engine breaks down, I use them to tow the boat.

sinematicstudios23 karma

Are the dolphins a travelling companion? Or, how do you call dolphins and tell them to tow your boat? Do you speak dolphin?

DwyerHaney106 karma

EeEeeeEEEeE Click Click EEE Click

Does that answer your question?

Gryfndr71159 karma

Obviously living lean was a part of it, but how did you support yourself while traveling?

DwyerHaney85 karma

Living lean is definitely the most important part of it - its incredible what you can "do without"! I've been living off of my savings for the last two years and my balances have been slowly dwindling. I'm planning to start earning money again sometime in the next year!

being_inappropriate35 karma

How much did you have saved ?

DwyerHaney352 karma

People are always very curious about the financial piece, so in the interest of helping someone that's looking to tackle a similar adventure, I'll give you guys all the nitty-gritty details. First - let me dispel some preconceived notions that people generally have about my story.

I don’t have a trust fund.

Every dime I’ve spent on this voyage I earned through hard work.

Ill be the first to admit that I’ve had a lot of advantages in life (good education, loving family, a fair bit of luck), but sailing voyages aren’t as expensive as everyone would imagine. I also won’t pretend like everyone can afford to do this. Lots of people have commitments and responsibilities that they have to honor – I’m definitely not putting down the way you live!

I started the voyage with $75,000 dollars in the bank that I’d earned over the course of four years of working as a mechanical engineer (I got the chance to build a ski factory for the company I was working for, but that’s another story!) She needed a bit of work, but when I first bought her, the boat cost me about $15,000. I end up spending about $15,000 per year in total on food/drinks, boat maintenance, marina fees, cell phone service, health insurance, etc.

My life isn’t always glamorous; I’ve gone for more than a month without a hot shower on numerous occasions during the last year. These types of trips can be done with a much smaller budget and there are also people that’re blowing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

I won’t pretend like what I’ve done is ‘financially responsible’; I’d be much more financially secure if I’d continued to live frugally and invested my excess income in bonds. But in your 20’s maybe it’s better to invest in happiness and life experiences instead of bonds.

PangLaoPo26 karma

You're right mate. I think a lot of people are curious because they want to know how feasible it is. And 75k is a lot more than most have just saved up. But it looks like you're saying the trip cost you about 30-40k total, correct? That's more doable for a lot of people. Glad you had fun and I hope I can do it one day. I guess I'm still in the saving stage tho :)

DwyerHaney49 karma

$75k IS a lot of money - I definitely didn't expect to be sitting in that kind of cash so early in life. The actual travel / boat / living expenses have been 30k so far after buying the boat. If you just wanted to explore Mexico for a couple years without staying in marinas, you could probably cut that number in half. Tack a $5k old plastic boat from Florida or SoCal onto that and you've got yourself a righteous adventure for 20k. That said, I'm not staying in hotels, going out to fancy meals, and lounging around the resort all day - I'm anchoring in distant coves, cooking feasts from cheap ingredients, and exploring the deserted nooks and crannies that make this world awesome.

If you wanted to cruise through Europe, you could easily quadruple that number. There are tons of older retired folks out there living luxuriously on huge yachts. They're the great people to get to know!

mountainbeer51 karma

Hey Dwyer, thanks for doing an AMA. What would you say your biggest changes in worldview were after completing your journey? What were the biggest changes in your personality? Is there any one experience which you would say changed you the most?

DwyerHaney238 karma

We're trashing this planet in a thousand different ways and it breaks my heart. Its tough to know how incredible the world can be without getting out into the wild and sinking your teeth into it. How can you appreciate wilderness and nature when all you know is strip malls and tract houses and city parks? In my opinion, the ocean is one of the wildest places left in this world and getting out into it has changed my perception of what's normal or what's OK. Even a thousand miles from the nearest land, you occasional sail past a styrofoam cup or an old flip flop floating along. There is no part of this planet that is immune to the effects of our presence. This voyage has made the environmental magnitude of the environmental crisis exceptionally clear in my mind and I hope that I'll be able to help combat it in the future.

I exposed myself to a lot of challenge and a fair bit of risk during the last two years and that's definitely changed my personality. I'm much more confident and sure of myself than when I started because I know what I'm truly capable of. It'll be hard to find any challenges that are more daunting than sailing 37 days alone across the pacific.

There was no single experience that changed me the most, instead its the sum of the last year of beauty. Every sunset, every dolphin escort, every volcano I skied, and every beach I walked is a part of me now. I'll be able to carry them with me for the rest of my life. I really and truly treasure this planet in a way that I would never have been able to comprehend before I left.

DwyerHaney4 karma

I wrote about my environmental impact in detail about a year ago - you all might be interested to read the post!

Du6e31 karma

So what do you do now that you sold everything and completed your voyage?

Congrats btw!

DwyerHaney36 karma

I'm searching for a new challenge! I don't know what it will be yet - but I'm excited to dive in!

TrainosaurusRex21 karma

After living on a boat is it nearly impossible to refrain from making ocean/water puns?

DwyerHaney82 karma

I don't quite sea what you mean... I definitely never make ocean puns on porpoise.

TrainosaurusRex25 karma

Water you talking about, you just did it again.

DwyerHaney40 karma

That's a load of carp! It was just a fluke.

xenokilla15 karma

this pun threads are puffin up everywhere.

DwyerHaney42 karma

What pacifically are you talking about?

xenokilla14 karma

a stern gaze

DwyerHaney27 karma

I don't know if I like the cut of your jib @xenokilla

TotallyKnackered23 karma

Oh, please answer this question:

I really, really want to do what you're doing. I'm selling everything this summer and will either sail like you or just rent a place in CR.

I love sailing, but for the most part have done so in fjords or bays. I've done all the ASA courses. Then somebody got in my head (damn him). "You've never done an ocean passage, and now you want to sail around the world?! The risk of it! You're mad! And you'll be terribly lonely. You'll give it up after max a year."

Please help me get over this and make the leap! Any good advice?

DwyerHaney46 karma

Two answers:

Responsible Captain Dwyer says "Find a crew position on a well found yacht with an experienced skipper and learn as much as possible. Read books and talk to people and soak up information for a few years. Eventually you'll have the confidence to absolutely know you're ready.

Irresponsible Captain Dwyer says "Buy the boat, make sure you've got the skills / gear you need, and sail away to someplace you're passionate about. Do it now and have yourself a goddamn adventure!"

Take your pick!

madkeepz20 karma

Why not keep south and cross the magellans strait and head back up to argentina?

DwyerHaney86 karma

I'm afraid a beautiful Argentine woman would seduce me and I'd never leave!

Fargus_520 karma

I was disappointed by the lack of pictures of your boat. (2 I think?) Do you have any more?

mountainbeer7 karma

Woah, are those giant speakers up by the solar panel?

DwyerHaney85 karma

The Rascal was built for heavy weather, but the Rascal was also built to rock. Those huge speakers created more than a few dance parties (nude and otherwise) and they also taught me that dolphins love John Mellencamp. Arguably the best gift ever bestowed on the Rascal!

Cyclorama6918 karma

Were you able to keep fit on the boat? Did you have an exercise routine? It seems like in such a small space you'd be somewhat sedentary.

DwyerHaney39 karma

That's honestly one of the biggest things that bother me about life on the Rascal. Since I've been down in Patagonia it hasn't been a problem - plenty of mountains to hike around on, volcanos to ski, rivers to row up, etc.

During the long passage between the Galapagos and Puerto Montt (37 days) I didn't realize quite how much muscle I'd lost. I went into town the first morning and spent a couple hours walking around and it felt great. That evening I couldn't even stand up. My legs had atrophied so much during the passage that my muscles were completely useless. Gave me some view of what it must be like spending a couple months in a cast after breaking a leg.

Lots of long distance sailors swear by yoga and I can definitely see how that would be perfect. If you're in the tropics there is always plenty of beach walking and swimming to do. To each their own!

jlavarj17 karma

What did your support network look like and how did you stay in touch with them? It's obvious you had friends coming down to meet you along the way, how did you communicate with them? And did you have some mechanism for checking in with someone stateside for safety or weather reports while out in the ocean?

DwyerHaney38 karma

My friends and family were really supportive. My buddies are a pretty adventurous crowd and I think most of them identified with the wanderlust that drove me to start this voyage.

I'd grab a local sim card when I arrived in a new country and I've been surprised by the quality of cell service in Latin America. Even tiny fishing villages often have coverage.

I have a device called a "DeLorme InReach that I use when I'm away from cell service. It's like a sat phone, but it can only send text messages. Its much cheaper than a sat phone and it works everywhere. My brother was kind enough to send me weather updates every day as I sailed my way south!

scottyishere15 karma

Did you encounter any Pirates like Tom Hanks? Or ever get stranded on an island like Tom Hanks? Do you agree that Tom Hanks is bad ass?

DwyerHaney47 karma

Did I encounter any Pirates that like Tom Hanks? Hell I've never encountered a pirate that doesn't like Tom Hanks!

I did once get stranded on an island when the tide rose and started to carry my inflatable dinghy (aptly named the Little Rascal) out to sea. I started to swim after it, but after a couple hundred meters, it became clear that the wind was carrying it too fast and I'd never catch up. Just at the same time, a bunch of dolphins showed up and started doing circles around me. Eventually some Mexican fisherman happened by and motored me off to recover the Little Rascal. They really saved the day and even left me with some of the catch.

Mexico is a beautiful place full of friendly people once you get away from all the tourists!

EDIT: Of course Tom Hanks is a badass - that goes without saying!

upshawam13 karma

Do you speak Spanish? How difficult would an adventure like this be for those who don't speak Spanish?

DwyerHaney20 karma

I'm nearly fluent at this point. I think learning the language of the country you're going to is very important - you miss so much without it. Both culturally and when you're dealing with bureaucracy, it makes a really big difference. It's possible to bumble your way through with a dictionary, but it won't be easy. It's definitely worth dedicating a portion of your free time to studying!

thestarwalker13 karma

What did you do to make Poseidon give you his beard?

ecski16 karma

There is a fantastic post on his blog about shaving the beard off into a moustache upon arriving to Mexico. He sent it off in a small wooden viking ship, aflame. A proper burial.

DwyerHaney29 karma

He's right. I was only borrowing Poseidon's beard.

(In retrospect, the gasoline we used to light the viking ship on fire was unnecessary and poor form. We might've had a few Pacificos before this all happened.)

ReginaldLADOO12 karma

Did you come across anything strange or eerie while alone at sea?

Also, did you wipe with toilet paper or what? How does that work?

DwyerHaney49 karma

Early one morning, at about 4am, I happened to be awake reading my book. It was blowing 25 knots with a substantial rain storm and the Rascal was really rocking and rolling. I looked up from my book and saw a light shining in one of my windows. "Just the ole moon," I said to myself. Except I knew it was totally overcast. So I slowly ambled up to the companionway, and nearly had a heart attack. A HUGE ship was right next to me. The ship itself was probably 300 feet long and it can't have been more than 2-300 yards away. Out there in the middle of the goddamn limitless pacific (hundreds of miles from land), I had come within 300 yards of another boat!

He didn't seem to be moving at all and I was doing a consistent 5 kts. By the time I noticed him, I had already nearly passed him and it was clear we weren't on a collision course. I hailed him on the radio several times in a bunch of different languages on a bunch of different channels, but never got any response.

It was a part of the ocean that no tanker or container ship would be transiting and any navy / coast guard boat would surely have responded to my radio calls. Drug smuggler? Whale poachers? Drunk Somali pirates? I'll never know.

DwyerHaney18 karma

I wipe with some fancy-ass biodegradable TP that disappears into nothing when it hits sea water. I didn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes! Though naturally the "wait 30 minutes before you go swimming" rule applies...

ReginaldLADOO3 karma

Damn, why don't we all use that? Is it a lot more money?

DwyerHaney12 karma

Not particularly expensive - I think most TP biodegrades pretty fast, otherwise waste water treatment plants wouldn't be able to deal with it. Any sanitation engineers lurking out there in interwebs?

spicypepperoni10 karma

How often would you hear sea creatures mating?

DwyerHaney29 karma

More often than you'd expect! There were a couple of sea lions (which are called lobos marinos (literally marine wolves) in spanish) fornicating in the anchorage a few months ago and they made a real racket.

When I was sailing across the pacific, I was woken out of a dead sleep by the sound of dolphins "talking". My dolphin was a bit rusty at that point, but it was pretty late at night so I think it's safe to assume there was some sort of Marvin Gaye serenade going on.

super_kittens9 karma

Fellow engineer here who also started working immediately after graduating and I often regretted not taking a year or so off for an adventure before diving into a career (although that's about to change!). When did you start thinking about dropping everything and going off on your escapades and was sailing the only thing on your mind or did you also think up of other potential adventures you could go on? Thanks for doing this AMA!

DwyerHaney18 karma

I had narrowed it down to three potential options - a dirt bike trip all around the state of Alaska, buying land and building a log cabin somewhere in the American West, and a sailing trip to the fjords of Chile.

I eventually decided that the sailing trip would bring me furthest from my comfort zone, teach me the most, and have the lowest impact on the environment. I dedicated myself wholly to researching and planning the trip before I finally put in my notice at work.

Good luck with your adventure!

grumblers9 karma

I saw on your site you also built (or helped build) a company in Asia. After that and this, what are your plans? I assume it would be impossible to "come down" from these experiences and settle into a middle class suburban office-cubical-job.

DwyerHaney12 karma

I'm going to find a new challenge, absolutely crush it, and have a lot of fun along the way ;-)

TileMonger8 karma

DID I MEET YOU IN THE CARPATHIANS IN 2001? Cuz I still think about that potential sailing trip regularly.

DwyerHaney15 karma

Nope, must've been my drunken, exceptionally handsome twin brother Dwayne.

Corpsman2238 karma

You said you released the sailfish. The pic looks like he has a gaff in his side. Is that the case? If so, why release a gaffed fish?

DwyerHaney44 karma

I've thought a lot about that since I did it.

Perhaps I'm just trying to rationalize it to myself, but the gaff was quite small - only an inch or two across - no bigger than the hook I used to land him ironically enough. I suppose a hook in the meat of his side is much more detrimental than a hook in his mouth, but I was ignorant of such things at the time. I know that ignorance is no excuse.

I'd be pretty heartbroken to learn that Don Rodrigo died, and in the end I'll never know. Either way, he was a beautiful creature and if he's not still swimming around, I'm sure someone else ate him (be it shark or human).

LordOfThePC7 karma

How many women have you slept with since the beginning of this journey?

DwyerHaney21 karma

Captain Dwyer doesn't kiss and tell.

justrandomguy29116 karma

Do you ever feel regret?

DwyerHaney24 karma

Only after I drink too much Chilean wine. Normally it only lasts a couple hours!

Ent_of_Louisiana6 karma

Whats your favorite sandwich?

DwyerHaney18 karma

Finally the hard hitting journalism comes through! I absolutely love sandwiches and I come from a long line of Haneys that are passionate about a good sandwich. While my brother and I were skiing growing up, our dad taught us a song, and we used to sing it at the top of our lungs on the chairlift. It goes a little something like this:

Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine
I like sandwiches, I eat them all the time
I eat them for my supper, and I eat them for my lunch
If I had a hundred sandwichessss.... I’d eat them all at once!

I've never had a hundred sandwiches before, but I can assure you I'd do my damnedest.

I love sandwiches of all shapes, sizes, and filling types, but to answer your question, I'm probably most fond of a hot pastrami and swiss on rye with some sauerkraut and spicy mustard. I once cured and smoked my own pastrami and the resulting sandwiches were life-changingly divine.

mirkwoodgdp6 karma

Do you think about the future a lot? like where you'll be in ten years? health insurance? family?

DwyerHaney15 karma

I do think about the future a lot. When you're out sailing, there is plenty of time to ask yourself the big questions and really ponder the answers that pop out.

I think its important to set goals for yourself and have a higher guiding vision for what you want your life to look like. This post touches on the topic a bit and though I don't agree with everything he says, it really struck a chord with me - How can you hope to be satisfied with your life if you don't know what you're aiming for?

I think the vast majority of people in this world just stumble along, living day to day, following societal norms, and never really thinking for themselves.

smittenkitten045 karma

Where on isla isabella did you land? I used to live in Puerto villamil! What did you do while there? Did you have a chance to hike our volcano? Go to iguana point bar?

DwyerHaney9 karma

I anchored in Puerto Villamil for three weeks! What an absolutely breathtaking little spit of land - you're awfully lucky! Spent all of my time hiking the volcano, walking around on trails, snorkeling, and drinking Pilseners on the beach.

cashcow14 karma

How did you get the balls to do this?

DwyerHaney37 karma

An old, grizzled pirate walks into the bar with a steering wheel attached to his pants. He asks for a glass of warm rum. The bartender looks at him and asks, "Sir, do you realize you have a steering wheel attached to your pants?"

The pirate says, "Arrrrg! It's driving me nuts!"

gabeshep4 karma

What were some of the negative reactions to your idea before setting sail? Or did everyone pretend you weren't crazy...

DwyerHaney18 karma

There were lots of people that gave me the raised eyebrows of doubt and a handful even told me that I was insane and destined for failure (probably what most people were thinking).

My family and close friends questioned me to the point of knowing that I had a good idea of what I was getting into (they were just concerned about my safety) and then supported me unconditionally throughout the whole venture. It is these people's opinions that I value most and they were definitely a source of strength for me when going got tough.

Deep down inside, everyone is thinking (or has thought) about doing something like this and when they see you doing it, a little piece of them rejoices and they applaud you. It’s like a switch has flipped and the entire universe is conspiring to help you towards your goal. People will come out of the woodwork to lend advice, or introduce a contact, or just give you a pat on the butt when you need it.

People in the real world are generally much nicer than the trolls that write hateful comments on Imgur, haha!

thelurkylurker4 karma

Congratulations man! You've got balls!

Were you able to have any amazing sex on your trip?

DwyerHaney12 karma

Yes, there was some absolutely incredible sex!

(I hope my mom doesn't get this far into the comments!)

aspbergerinparadise4 karma

Are you from Bellingham? Did you go to school here? Did you ski Baker much?

I'm thinking about buying a 24' San Juan Sloop, any tips for me?

DwyerHaney4 karma

I grew up in New Hampshire - just happened to run into the Rascal at the marina there in Bham after an exhaustive search up and down the west coast. I skied Baker and had a blast - some really cool terrain and people up there!

Get out sailing as much as you can and have a blast! The San Juans are a the perfect training ground for sailing!

Rickityri3 karma

Did you ever see anything weird or unexplainable while at sea?? Awesome trip man, your living right

DwyerHaney5 karma

Does a large spooky ghost ship in the middle of the pacific count?

Cyclorama693 karma

You said you were an engineer before, has this experience changed your viewpoints on FT/Office work/Desk jockey/traditional careers? Do you think you would/could go back to pushing paper in a 9-5?

DwyerHaney8 karma

I could certainly go both directions.

I had a 9-5 job that wasn't quite ordinary, but was mostly desk-based. It enabled me to live my dream for the last two years. There were times when it was fun and there were times when it was very not fun. I buckled down through the hard times and here I am. There is something compelling to me about going to that extreme, working my ass off about something I care about, earning a solid paycheck, and then spending some time pursuing my personal goals at the opposite extreme.

There was an economist named John Maynard Keynes back in the early 1900s that predicted we'd all be working 15 hour work weeks (or less) by now thanks to advancements in technology and mechanization of labor. That sounds pretty nice to me. I'm very comfortable with a simple life and I don't need much income to be happy. That's perhaps the most valuable gift this voyage has given me financially.

TheLowSpark3 karma

How do you sleep in the open ocean by yourself? I mean if you can't anchor are you just floating aimlessly at night?

DwyerHaney8 karma

I have an "autopilot" of sorts called a wind vane. It uses the wind to steer the boat so I'm always keeping the same heading with respect to the prevailing winds. I routinely cover 50nm during the night while I'm sleeping without touching a thing!

ishabad3 karma

What is your favorite country so far?

DwyerHaney17 karma

Chile, hands down!

Wonderful people, snow covered volcanoes, hundreds of different hot springs, cheap delicious wine, I'm in heaven!

dondondonnelle3 karma

A lot of people might think that doing something like this is beyond their reach for a variety of reasons. What do you see as the key ways that your story applies to a larger audience? An audience that is diverse and without your background?

DwyerHaney42 karma

I’ve obviously had a lot more advantages than most folks, but I think there is something universal about a thirst for adventure. You don’t need to have a sailboat or a bunch of money to go on an adventure!

It seems like the passion has slowly been draining out of younger generations. Where the hell did it all go? Find something you care about, young man! What are you truly interested in? Make a plan for your life! Get yourself a cheap shitty fishing rod and see if there are any trout in that stream behind your neighbors house! Go hike up a mountain that’s always been off in the distance! Plan some compelling vacation and save until you can make it happen! Netflix or your fantasy football team may be entertaining, but its not going to improve your life in the long run. Get yourself in over your head and have an adventure, goddamnit! Adventures will never come if you don’t commit to challenging yourself.

It has surprised me how many people make up excuses for why they can’t achieve something. “I could never do that, I’d need to make a million dollars!” or “I’d go out sailing, but I have kids!” Others just rationalize their way into inaction. I suppose some are afraid of failure, but who the hell isn’t? Plenty of people sail around with almost no money to their name and they see all the same glorious things I do! There are hundreds of families with kids cruising the Pacific!

All this is to say that adventures are universal and in the end my background has very little to do with this voyage I embarked on. It had much more to do with being passionate about something and challenging myself to accomplish it!

CouthDecay2 karma

What books did you take with you?

I've been wanting to do this for about a year, but I'm currently banking a contractor job in Afghanistan. I've read Over the Edge of the World (Magellan's trip) and a few others. The exploits Magellan's crew had in Patagonia were insane. I recommend it if you haven't check it out yet.

DwyerHaney11 karma

I've read (literally) hundreds of books over the course of the voyage. In fact, I think I've learned almost as much from the books I've read as I have from my experiences.

As far as sailing books go - for practical voyaging advice Beth Leonard's 'The Voyager's Handbook' is the bible. I learned a ton from this before I started and it allowed me to decide that this dream was possible.

I'm in love with the old Jack London classics. 'The Call of the Wild' and 'Sea Wolf' are two of my favorites.

'Across Islands and Oceans' by James Baldwin was the very first sailing book that got me fired up about it.

Hemmingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea' is a real masterpiece that's worth reading every few years.

Good luck with your future exploits!

imgonagetu2 karma

How much of your trip was powered by wind and how much by the on board engine? What was your average monthly fuel cost, at least when you were traveling?

DwyerHaney3 karma

I'd say probably 80% of my voyage has been powered by wind and 20% motoring. There are certain areas where the wind is always exceptionally light and motoring is much more time-efficient. Other time's I'd have a deadline I had to make (a friend flying out of a specific airport) and we'd have to use the engine to make time. I try to use it as little as possible, though.

I just calculated my average monthly fuel spend at $35 USD - fuel prices obviously varied a lot from country to country, but most were in the neighborhood of $1USD/liter or $4USD/gallon.

contajogafora12 karma

  • How much fuel goes into electrical energy expenses per day on average? (Anything other than main engine).

  • Have you had any issues legalwise?

  • I see you sailed way west of the south american shore, would you say 30feet is the perfect size for a sole sailor or would a bigger boat be more stable and equally managable?

edit: formatting

DwyerHaney3 karma

Zero fuel goes into electrical energy expenses - right now all of my power comes from my solar panel. The engine charges the batteries if it's moving the boat, but I'd only start it to charge the batteries if my solar panels failed.

No legal issues yet!

Small boats are great because they're easily manageable in rough weather (I wouldn't be able to wrangle in the jib on a 45 ft boat by hand!), they're cheap (I'd easily pay more than double for a 40ft boat), and they're easy to maneuver. When you go larger, you gain comfort and speed (ooh lala!) at the expensive of each of these items.

I'd say (not surprisingly) that the Rascal is the perfect size for solo sailing, but not big enough to have your family sail with you.

AlphaIncipient2 karma

What did you do for food for the entire journey?? Was fishing a big part of it? If so what did you eat and how did you cook it?

DwyerHaney5 karma

Cooking is one of my greatest passions in life and I absolutely love making big, delicious meals. I've been lucky to be traveling through places with excellent local cuisines and lots of interesting ingredients.

Cooking on the Rascal is a bit more challenging than in a normal kitchen for several reasons. First, the boat is constantly moving (except when I'm at anchor in calm weather) and that can make chopping and prepping pretty challenging. I have a little two burner kerosene stove that's gimbaled which means that it swings back and forth with the boat so that it's always level. I don't have an oven, but I do have a cast iron dutch oven that works surprisingly well as a substitute. I also don't have any refrigeration on the boat, just a ice box that's basically a well insulated cooler. When I leave on a long passage I load it up with ice and it stays cold for about two weeks, depending on ambient temperature. Down in Chile, the water is much colder and I can occasionally use glacier ice to keep things cold, so the lack of refrigeration isn't a big problem.

That is all to say that I eat pretty damn well on the Rascal, despite the challenges. Lots of local ingredients and local dishes, but also the occasional American classic, too. I try to stay away from canned and processed foods, but sometimes on very long passages it becomes necessary.

Robey011 karma

Any advice for selling everything off? I managed to sell my home, but I still have a lot of material possessions I'd need to get rid of...

DwyerHaney1 karma

I'm afraid I don't have any secret tricks - craigslist and ebay are good tools, but no matter what it ends up taking lots of time and effort. I ended up donating a large portion of my stuff to Goodwill / Salvation Army type charities.

workingtimeaccount1 karma

How much money did you have to your name before purchasing the boat?

xTopsyKretx1 karma

Do you feel that you have experienced everything life has to offer ?

DwyerHaney2 karma

Yep. Time to re-retire to a life of sudoku puzzles and long, slow walks in the park!

chaosfreak111 karma

Do you get sea sick?

DwyerHaney1 karma

knock on wood Never once.

RedstoneRay1 karma

Were you alone on your voyage? And if so, did you ever resort to talking to a bloody volleyball?

DwyerHaney2 karma

I was sailing single handed for most of the voyage. I was expecting to go crazy at some point, but for whatever reason, it never happened!

MaxCarpenter1 karma

I've followed your blog from the start and been living vicariously through you the whole way. I found the story of hurricane Odile fascinating. How worried where you about your friend Autumn riding out the storm in the mangroves after getting washed overboard?

DwyerHaney1 karma

It was easily the most worried I've been in my entire life! The time between losing contact with Autumn and finding out that she'd activated the emergency beacon was absolutely agonizing. Autumn is one of my very best friends and to think that I'd endangered her nearly shattered me.

Autumn is an exceptionally strong person and I don't know anyone else that would've handled the situation with the same level of calmness and resolve. I'll forever be indebted to her.

Fingers_of_fury1 karma

was the sailing down the us west coast as horrible as everyone says it is? I ask because I plan on starting my cruising life very soon and will have to sail down the coast to get out of Washington!

DwyerHaney1 karma

I thought it was delightful. Definitely a cake walk compared to Patagonia. Keep your eye on the weather and sail conservatively and you'll be fine!

SayerApp1 karma

Did the idea of paring everything down and taking off start a trend for you? Do you think more adventures are in store?

DwyerHaney1 karma

It was a beautiful, liberating thing getting rid of all my 'stuff'. I try not to buy much of anything but food and drinks these days.

I'll definitely keep adventuring in one form or another. "The core of man's spirt comes from new experiences"!

throwaway2al31 karma

Sorry to be the bummer here, but do you know what you're going to do for retirement? I'm so worried I'll very be able to retire, I don't think I could ever do something like this if I weren't financially stable. And that's part of what's kind of special about what you did, I guess.

DwyerHaney2 karma

Yes, I do worry about my future financially sometimes.

Maybe I'm being shortsighted, but I think there are two sides to the sword you're describing. Instead of worrying about whether I'll be "financially stable enough to retire" I often worry about whether I'd be able to enjoy all the money I've accumulated if I spend the next 40 years painstakingly busting my ass to put money in the bank. What if I get hit by a truck at age 37? What if I get Alzheimers a couple years before I was planning to retire? I'm not advocating for people to blow through all of their cash and end up destitute, but I do think that its foolish to completely delay the gratification of retirement.

Its also worth noting that I'm single, without kids, quite happy with a low standard of living, and with high earning potential later in life. I suppose I'm not a normal case.

rackfocus0 karma

Are you single??

DwyerHaney1 karma

Young and wild and free!

... and single!