I recently spent a day at the race tracks in Zhuhai, which is just across the border from Hong Kong. I was invited by Torben, a good friend of mine, who has been distracted away from his long-running passion of yacht racing to take up car racing. Here’s the story I wrote about the experience for The Peak magazine. Click on the image to download the pdf of the story.
I’m just back from the Helsinki International Boat Show, where I did two screenings of my film The New Northwest Passage. I also spoke at the Marjaniemen Purjehtijat and Helsingfors segelklub, two of the city’s most prominent yacht clubs. I can’t say enough about the hospitality of the Finns. Other highlights were my first Finnish sauna (served with cold beer and breaks in the freezing outdoors) and my second experience of eating raw caribou (well, in Finland they call it reindeer). This time it was served with fine wine and cloudberries…a rather different experience than my first taste!
Left to right, Sailing writer Jimmy Cornell, Samuli Lesti, project leader of X Sail Racing (my hosts) and yours truly.
I was very pleased to meet Jimmy, author of World Cruising Routes (one of those books that all ocean sailors know about), and was pleased to hear he was reading my book in preparation for his own Arctic voyage!
From Finland I flew to Swedish Lapland, well above the Arctic Circle, where I celebrated my birthday (it ends in a 0, that’s all I’ll say) at the ski lodge of an old friend. It was fantastic to be back up north, though the Swedish north (right on the Norwegian border) feels very different than Canada’s north. More roads, development, etc.
Brazil’s Globosat, a multichannel cable and satellite TV service, has brought the broadcast rights to The New Northwest Passage documentary! I’m not sure which of their 26 channels will be airing it, or when, but the deal has been confirmed.
There’s not much money in it, but it’s significant to me because it means that I actually sold my first film, completing the entire process of going on the trip, making the film, showing it at a festival (and winning it!) and then getting distribution. That follows the international publication of the book and the creating and sale of the iPad app on iTunes. I feel I’ve wrung as much out of that adventure as I could be expected to!
Mance Media are the distributor of the film. We’re still hoping for a sale in North America in the coming months, and we’re also moving ahead with digital distribution, from pay-per-view on Amazon to Blu-Ray discs, etc.
I’ve just come back from England where I sailed in the Fastnet Race (my second time) aboard Azzam, the 70-foot racing yacht of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team. They are in early training and try-outs for the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, which starts in Alicante, Spain in September 2014. The team is led by skipper Ian Walker, a double Olympic medal winner for Britain.
The Fastnet Race is one of the world’s most famous and classic offshore yacht races, organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in the UK. The biennial 608-mile race takes boats from Cowes past Land’s End, across the Irish Sea to the Fastnet Rock, around the rock and home to Plymouth.
Azzam won the race in 2011 and set a new course record, so there was plenty of attention on the boat. However, this year the winds were much lighter, giving the advantage to the bigger boats designed for ocean sprint races such as the Fastnet. Azzam, designed to race around the world in much rougher conditions, still did well, coming across the line in second place, beaten only by a 100-foot boat with electric powered winches.
I was invited to join the race as an onboard reporter, and here’s the film I made.
I’m very pleased to say I’ve signed a distribution agreement for The New Northwest Passage documentary with US-based Mance Media. This means that if all goes well the film should soon be available on TV and/or digital formats in various regions around the world.
This is another very satisfying conclusion to the entire Northwest Passage project, following the international publication of the book and the release of the iPad app. Now I have to wait and see if Mance is able to sell the film to broadcasters, online content providers, etc.
Mance Media is a worldwide film/television distribution company. Its core business is the worldwide distribution of television programming to broadcasters in every territory of the world. Formed by international television executive Matthew Mancinelli in early 2012, Mance Media acquires, licenses, co-produces and co-finances a wide-range of programming for the international marketplace.
For your listening pleasure…a rambling and eclectic three-part interview conducted by Bruce Connolly of Radio Beijing. He was a wonderfully interesting person to chat with, and it’s a shame he edited out his own stories. I suspect he has a much more riveting, and certainly eccentric, story to tell than I do. He’s one of those guys that when you name a place on the globe, any place, he goes (in that lovely Scottish accent of his), “Ah yes, back when I was there in ’72 it was still under dictatorship and this guy I met…” and then you’re off and running on another yarn.
Click on the links below to listen to the MP3 files.