Support The Single Handed Sailor
Every cruising sailor has an interesting story on what got them started. I was in a head on collision with a drunk driver resulting in the loss of 2 limbs, was sued into bankruptcy by my own insurance company. Starting over on the same path seemed horrible to me. The only logical option was to sell everything I had left after the bankruptcy, buy a budget cruising sailboat, and set sail with the dream of becoming the 1st double amputee (above elbow, below knee) to solo circumnavigate the world.
My journey began October 18th 2008 though i didn't know it at the time. In the early hours of the morning I was in a head on collision with a drunk driver which cost me my left arm, left leg, and nearly my life. I celebrate this day every year. On this day I was left for dead on the side of the road with my arm ripped from my body. Doctors told my parents, my friends, and me I would likely die. On this day I heard my mother and fathers voices tremble and shake over the phone from thousands of miles away as they tried to be strong for me. I was on a hospital bed with a punctured spleen, punctured lung, aspirated, traumatically amputated arm, broken scapula, and foot broken beyond repair. On this day I chose to live, and I celebrate it every year.
June 18th 2014 I sailed from Hawaii alone on a 45 year old sailboat with one month of sailing experience, 20 dollars in my bank account, and a dream of becoming the 1st double amputee to sail around the world.
So far I’ve sailed around 20,000 miles and visited 11 countries. The biggest hurdle in my path so far hasn't been sailing without an arm and leg but an engine and transmission that never seem to work. I've had the engine out twice and transmission countless times. Most of my modest disability income has gone to try to keep the engine and transmission going while other areas of my boat have been neglected. Twice I left Bali for Malaysia just to get towed back in after only getting a few miles out of the harbor My last few trips were probably ill-advised and borderline dangerous with the condition my boat was in.
I now have a more appropriate boat for the remainder of my trip. I am blessed to be able to continue my journey on a nicer and safer boat. I still have a long list of repairs to do before crossing the Indian ocean. Any little bit will help and be greatly appreciated.
I am writing a book about my journey and hope to raise awareness for people with disabilities. Like all cruising sailors, I just want to keep going.
This has been an amazing tool which truly kept my dream of world cruising alive. I just want to give a huge Mahalo to everyone that contributed and a few special mentions to those that really went above and beyond. I did plan on writing this before leaving Sri Lanka but didnt have the words.
As someone who has never been comfortable asking for help it really took a huge push from Jamie Steinhilber to even consider a fundraiser when it looked like my trip had hit brick wall. When I found out GoFundMe does not work in Thailand Elizabeth Baker offered to start it on my behalf and went to incredible effort to get the money transferred when it came time to buy Tiama. Neil sold me this beautiful boat for far below what it was worth and even turned down a higher cash offer before I had come up with even 1 dollar of our agreed upon amount. Greg Hoover lent me the money I needed to make up the difference I was short so that I could honor the agreement that me and Neil had made. Travis Paugh and GoFundMe were my largest single donors and Amanda Culbertson my most consistant. I don’t think Tiama would be my boat now if it was not for all of these people.
So onward I will go. Most of the Indian ocean is behind me with a few really tricky bits of water standing between me and the Atlantic ocean. I’m also going to be joining a yacht sailing to Antarctica in December. I will keep this up for another week then work on more quid pro quo forms of funding. There will still be ways to contribute on my website by buying gear or advertising. Please continue to follow my travels at Thesinglehandedsailor.com or continue to support my trip at patreon.com/thesinglehandedsailor.
A big sincere thank you to everyone than helped out when I truly needed it most. I was not even sure I wanted to continue after spending the previous year fighting to keep going on a boat that I could never seem to fix. These last 6 months have been the most amazing in all my travels. Sailing from Thailand to the Andaman islands, Sri Lanka, Chagos, and Madagascar has really been the most exciting and interesting time of my life. I know now that this is the way I want to live my life and the 270 people that have donated to this gave me the push I needed to keep going.
I have realized though I did not quite come up with the amount i hoped for, I have accomplished my goal for this campaign in getting moving again. Tiama is a real dream at sea and I believe fully capable to get us the rest of the way around the world. This really was an amazing turnaround for me. Recently I read A long walk to freedom by Nelsen Mandala and the Favored daughter by Fawzia Koofi. I would highly recommend both and while I would never compare my struggles to theirs, one common thing is that whenever things appeared doomed someone always came through to keep the dream alive. My time in SE Asia has been a constant struggle with boat and prosthetic problems on a shoestring budget but someone was always there to keep me going.
"Times like this are like getting gold that nobody could ever steal."
These last few months in Sri Lanka and the Andaman Islands have been a dream. Spending most of my time exploring, spending quality time with friends, and meeting local people.
Of course there were repairs and will likely need a new mainsail when I get to South Africa. I am fairly certain I will be able to make this lifestyle sustainable through writing, swag on my website, Patreon, sponsorship, and whatever else I can do to keep going. If anyone has not seen the website please check it out. The store is not quite ready but thanks to Veronica Belshaw at Mana media it is moving along. Thesinglehandedsailor.com
I’m now about 1200 miles into my 5500 mile trip across the Indian ocean with Chagos being my next stop. While my own trip around the world is my first priority, I was also offered a 1 month crew spot on a yacht going to Antarctica in December. This has been a dream of mine since I first saw a penguin and my desire grew even more after reading The Endurance and meeting John Muir. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity and will do everything I can to make it a reality.
Thank you again for everyone that continues to donate and share these posts. A final thank you just before I leave Sri Lanka will be my last one.
I really wanted to do a personal update on this. These last few months have just been a blur of boatwork and work on my prosthetic leg. I really want to thank everyone again that has recently donated. Up until a few months ago 95% of the money donated was either someone I knew or less than 2 degrees of separation. Recently I have been a few donations a day and am unsure how people are finding my site.
I want to give a list of where this money is going and include pictures. I an not sure why but it is not letting me post pics. I will add this to my website www.thesinglehandedsailor.com I was able to buy all the plumbing bits I needed to install my water desalaneter. A large percentage has gone to custom fabrication on my leg and boat. Some of the more difficult things on this boat was getting the dinghy on board, and me on board. I had a ladder attached by 2 ropes (not easy to stabilize with one hand). The dinghy is about 25 kilos and outboard 26 (also not easy to bring on board with 1 hand). I had some custom davits and a swim ladder made. Also had less corrodible parts made for my prosthetic. There were a few parts I couldn’t fabricate here but thanks to LIM innovations and Hawaiian Orthotics and Prosthetics I’ll be walking on quality prosthetics for the foreseeable future.
It looks like Tiama and I will be in good shape to start crossing the Indian Ocean. Of course there is always more work that could and should be done.
It was quite difficult to get my Indian visa here in Thailand though was able to join a rally that helps with the process. I’m hoping to leave Thailand early February. Spend one month in the Andaman islands, one month in Sri Lanka, then either Maldives or Chagos.
I have a hard time updating this simply because it feels like I’m always asking everyone for money. It has been auto posting lately which I’ll put a stop to. Thank you everyone again. I’m really excited to get my new lady Tiama out to sea and see what we can do
UPDATE: The target for this campaign should read $40,000. Dustin raised $20,000 2 years ago to buy his current boat, and is now seeking a further $20,000 to fund his journey home over the next couple of years. He has NOT reached his target and will be exceedingly grateful for any new donations. It is just he is sailing to Antarctica right now (!) and can't change the target number himself but sends a big thank you to everyone who has donated.
Merry Christmas! Love to you!
Aloha, I read about your experience in today's Hawaii-Tribune Herald. Being in bed for 4 days with a physical/mental flu, the story was chicken noodle soup for my soul. I appreciate you sharing, I look forward to reading your book. God Bless, debbie
Awesome write up in today's WHT newspaper. I wish the best for you in your travels and if you ever need a fellow disabled person to help carry your luggage on one of your trips, ring me up. LOL. Sail in Aloha.