LATITUDE / RICHARD
ith reports this month from Fleetwood on sailing to complete a circumnavigation; from Pelagic on Morocco and French Guiana; from Points Beyond on meeting the 'Outboard Whisperer'; from Morpheus on hilarious medical care while in Greece; and an extra-large helping of Cruise Notes.
Fleetwood — Naja 30 Jack van Ommen ATW in Less Than 80 Years (Gig Harbor, Washington) Romania? It had been more than 6½ years since the Wanderer had last seen Jack van Ommen, one of Latitude's sailing heroes. Why a hero? Because after being a reasonably affluent guy, van Ommen and his timber business went bankrupt when he was in his early 60s. When it was over, all he had to his name was a 30Jack knows from experi- ft kit boat on a ence that money isn't trailer that he'd what makes you rich. sailed in the Singlehanded TransPac many years before, an apartment he couldn't always make the rent on, and the promise of $1,450 a month in Social Security. We're not sure what you've done in the last 11 years, but despite having fallen to dire financial circumstances, van Ommen has lived one of the richest lives of anyone we know. He's sailed over 50,000 miles, including doing a circumnavigation of Western Europe via the Danube River and spending a winter aboard in Vietnam, and in the process visited 53 countries. He's made deep friendships almost everywhere he's gone, and he's written a book, Soloman, about his adventures.
LATITUDE / RICHARD
Jack in the cabin of his second Naja 30 'Fleetwood'. He lost the ﬁrst, and nearly his life, during a wicked winter storm in the Med.
Jack's also been shipwrecked, having lost his original Fleetwood during a winter storm in the Balearic Islands of Spain. Although his boat would be smashed into thousands of pieces in a nautical cul de sac, van Ommen was able to step off the transom onto dry land with his computer and passport. No wonder he's a deeply religious man. We caught up with always-cheerful Jack in San Diego just before the start of the Baja Ha-Ha, an event he would be sailing in the wake of because he is singlehanding. For a guy who will turn 80 in February, Jack appeared to be in excellent health, with unusual strength and flexibility for a man his age. Based on the fact that his twin brother looks much older and isn't in very good health, Jack believes that cruising is good for you. For the last 16 years, Jack's goal has been to sail 'Around the World In Less than 80 Years'. He has until February 28 to cross an imaginary line between Trinidad and Miami to accomplish that goal. With time of the essence, we hope he chooses to head to Miami, as opposed to Trinidad, after passing through the Panama Canal. We don't wish a December-January passage across the boisterous Caribbean Sea on anyone. Once Jack completes his 'Around the World In 80 Years', he plans to sail to Cartagena, which will be his base for land travels in South America. Having cruised 50,000+ miles on a 30ft boat that's been his only home for 11 years, we wondered if he'd ever dreamed about having a larger boat. We could tell he hadn't given it much thought, but eventually he allowed that having a trimaran might be nice. "A trimaran would be faster, which would make it more fun to sail, and it would allow me to see more territory," Jack said. He also wouldn't object to having a boat with refrigeration "and a few more comforts" — although he no longer sees the need for them as he won't be crossing any more oceans. "It's true that Romania is my second most favorite of all the places I've visited," says van Ommen. "I can't really describe it, but as I wrote in my book Soloman, Romania has a very
unusual beauty. I loved it. Like everyone, I was warned about the gypsies, and there are gypsies there. Oddly enough, I found Romanians to be the most honest people I met." With Romania a surprising number two, what country/place has been Jack's favorite? "The Marquesas have been my absolute number one favorite," he says. "For a long time I thought it might have been my favorite place because it was my first landfall and I was a new and impressionable cruiser. But nothing in all my travels has challenged the Marquesas. It's so beautiful and peaceful there, and there are no high-rise hotels, no big cruise ships, and no powerboats. It's wonderful." — latitude/rs 11/05/2016 Pelagic — Hallberg-Rassy 42 Michael and Amy Bradford Family Heading Home After Europe (Portland, Oregon) The current plan for our family —