PESTILENCE: Low Budget Guerrilla Cruise

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Crew of Pestilence from film Hold Fast

I meant to post something about this amazing video Hold Fast when I first found it, but it’s quite long (over an hour), particularly for something put up for free at Vimeo. I’ve now watched it twice. I’m sticking it here in the Lit Bits category, because it rises to that level. This isn’t some throw-away viddy, but a proper film. It tells the story of a skinny white guy with dreads named Mike (aka Moxie Marlinspike) who cruises from Florida to the Dominican Republic with an all-girl crew of post-punk anarchists in a decrepit Pearson 30.

The crew of Pestilence seems to view cruising under sail almost as a political act. By reclaiming an ugly hulk of a fiberglass boat and rebuilding it with scavenged materials (they step the mast with the dinghy davit of an untended superyacht), then sailing away in it despite its manifest unseaworthiness, they are making a statement against our disposable consumer culture.  What they teach us is that only by stepping outside this culture can we truly experience life.

They aspire to be “sailing maniacs,” and they succeed: “The maniacs are the ones who have accepted their insignificance to the vast expanses of unrelenting ocean and yet still sail on quixotically, because they are in love with the direct, unmediated experience they find out there.”

Pearson 30 from Hold Fast
The good ship Pestilence before her guerrilla refit
Aboard Pestilence from Hold Fast
The all-girl crew: Kirsten, Allie, and Lisa
Pestilence dinghy from Hold Fast
Heading ashore for water
Fishing from Pestilence from Hold Fast
Moxie hunts for food
On board Pestilence from Hold Fast
Making a direct deposit
Pestilence on deck from Hold Fast
Reefing down
Water spout from Hold Fast
Dancing with a water spout

I urge you to take the time and watch the whole thing.

You can check out another project of Moxie’s, a cool homemade sailing skiff with a Tyvek sail, right here.

Dinghy by Moxie Marlinspike

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