anyone who dreams of sailing away, here's an engrossing,
gritty memoir of a 15,000-mile solo expedition in a tiny,
Bent on discovery, Bremerton native Stephen G. Ladd ranges
along the pirate-ridden coast of Panama and Colombia,
across the Andes, down a 600-mile river by night to avoid
guerrillas, to the Antilles and the Caribbean. Robbed,
capsized, arrested and befriended, he sails and rows through
a tumult of uncharted adventures.
The cast of characters: Dieter, mad
ex-Nazi on a desert island; Hans, the smuggler who disappears
at sea; castaways, prostitutes, and fortune-seekers.
Stow away with a poetic storyteller
on a stormy, soulful voyage through nineteen countries,
on the razor's edge between freedom and fear, loneliness
From 1990 to 1993, Bremerton
native Stephen G. Ladd rowed and sailed a twelve-foot
boat 6,500 miles, and traveled with her another 8,500
miles via cars and ships.
himself designed and built the diminutive vessel, which
he christened Squeak after a dearly departed cat. Squeak
served as Ladd's transportation and lodging as he voyaged
down the Mississippi, to the ports of Panama, along the
Colombian coast, over the Andes, and down the dark rivers
of South America.
In August 1990, Ladd transported Squeak
by van across the Rockies and launched her in a mountain
stream. It fed into the Missouri, which fed into the Mississippi.
He sucked in the airy freedom of the High Plains, and
rediscovered Mark Twain's Middle America, but by December
he was rather chilled. From New Orleans, he worked aboard
a Norwegian freighter for his passage to Panama.
overall: 12 feet
Length on waterline: 11 feet
Beam (width): 11 feet
Freeboard: 17 inches
Weight, empty: 250 lbs.
Loaded & manned: 550 lbs.
Draft: 8 inches
Sail area: 68 square feet
coastal, river, and island cruising
Construction: 2 layers
of 1/8-inch fir, epoxy-bonded diagonally, sheathed in
with full-length sea berth & four watertight stowage
Sailing rig: sprit-boom
cat yawl, modified windsurfer masts, leeboards, kick-up
Materials cost: $2000
Time to build: 1200
Designer/builder: Steve Ladd, c/o Seekers Press, 2520 NW 195th Place, Seattle,
WA 98177. Write for plans, molds, or advice on construction
of a boat of the Squeak class.