Name: Forrest Ladkin
Forrest, I see that you are selling your windsurfing gear and I hear that is because you have some big plans for this year. Can you tell us what is happening?
Yeah sure – well I have been saving money since I left high school with the intention of buying a house. But I went to an auction and it got me thinking about what I wanted to do with that money and I started thinking about an adventure. So I have bought a yacht up in Europe and am planning to sail it with my friend Julius (Wenzl) who many of the wavesailors may have met when he was in Australia. So the plan is to finish work start sailing around Denmark and the Baltic and perhaps beyond and see how long the money lasts. I haven’t done much boat sailing before so that side of things is a bit new to me but Julius has experience.
Wow that is a big adventure, tell us more about the yacht
Well we did months of research and made lots of decisions about the type of boat – whether to go for newer / lighter / faster boat or a more sturdy proven boat. In the end we went for a 1974 Hallberg-Rassy yacht which is 20 years older than me ha ha ha ! So it’s a bit retro but is well regarded and capable in all sea states and will handle heavy seas well. We bought it from a lovely couple who have been super helpful and the boat has been around the world 3 times already. So we think we have the right boat for what we want to do.
Tell us more about where you hope to go
Well we are going to start small and slowly go wider afield. We will start in the Baltic at the top of Denmark and sail I that vicinity. As we get comfortable we hope to make the crossing to Sweden and sail up in the fjord lands. All being well our plan is then to hug the coast and sail down to Portugal by the end of the European summer. From there we will see what happens, but depending how it’s going we would like to take on a more experienced crew and head to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and maybe even to the Caribbean.
You’ve done a bit of travelling before haven’t you?
Yeah I have been to Peru a couple of times and have been to Portugal and Fiji.
You said you’ll go till the money runs out, do you have plans to finance the trip along the way?
Ah yes, well the boat didn’t break the budget so we have a bit left. But many people would know that I am into video production and I have been inspired by an Australian couple who have setup a website of their travels. Their site Sailing la Vagabond (https://sailing-lavagabonde.com/) currently has over 300 patrons who support them financially and receive access to youtube videos of their adventures. So they seem to be fully funding their sailing in this manner. I am really interested in this and whilst we are not relying on it for our funding we are making our own website and will investigate how well it might work for us. We are planning to get in touch with windsurfers along the way so we may have lots of interesting stories and some guests to interview as well.
Who is going with you?
Well it’s Julius and me. I met Julius when he came and did a gap year in Australia. He is the son of Fanatic designer Sebastian Wenzl but actually didn’t windsurf. So I taught him to windsurf and we had a great time while he was here including a road trip to WA. It was crazy to see how quickly he improved and how good he got.
We expect to have many visitors along the way. My girlfriend from Byron Bay is planning to spend time with us in Europe, and other friends will come and join us at different times.
How long do you plan to go for?
Well we are thinking a year but we have to see what happens. I am coming home in October to catch up with family and friends before returning to the boat. So I guess if the trip extends I’ll still be home for a month from time to time.
What about windsurfing?
Well I’m selling my stuff here but we are planning to have a windsurfer on the yacht. We’ll probably only have one board so we are thinking a Fanatic Stubby maybe the Freewave one so that it is really versatile for blasting around on. Maybe we can get a prototype from the factory that has a slot for a foil so we can foilwindsurf as well.
I’d like to keep an eye on the IWT as well and if possible and the boat is settled somewhere I could fly to an event, that would be cool. I hope to do some other travelling at times when the boat is stopped somewhere also.
What do you think you miss most about Australia/Gerroa?
Well I’m going to miss hot showers as the boat doesn’t have a shower !! I love home so I’m sure I’ll miss many things, everything is so easy and I love the community and I’ll really miss all the people. Also here I can choose from so many water sports that I love every day I guess that won’t be as easy.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Well our website should be up soon so it is good timing to let people know about that and that they can keep up with us using it.
Thanks for your time Forrest and have a great trip.