Wilhelmshaven and the North Sea:
The future captain of S/V Lynx is no stranger to boats. Phil first started sailing in Germany at the tender age of 12. He joined a sailing club and built his own kit boat, a Mirror, which he sailed on the Banter See, in Wilhelmshaven. He also sailed on larger monohulls, traveling across the North Sea. At one point, he sailed all night through a storm with 30’ breaking swells. He was the youngest crewmember on board and managed to fall overboard three times (always tied in to the boat by a safety line). There are some very big storms on the North Sea. (Pic right is Phil sailing on the north sea, this time in calmer conditions).
Then the Blood family moved south, away form the North Sea, to Bonn, Germany. There, he lived on a house on the Rhine River, where he sailed his Mirror out in the strong currents, dodging passing barges and other swiftly moving river boats. With a four knot current, he had to sail his small boat hard just to keep abreast of the shore where his house was located. The picture (left) is Phil and a Freshman High School friend out sailing his Mirror on a local German lake one weekend.
On moving back to the USA at 15, he spent a lot of his time during his High School years out on the Colorado River and Lake Havasu, waterskiing, and doing all kinds of boating activities. This picture was taken of Phil when he was sixteen, waterskiing on Lake Havasu behind his 18' boat. Besides using his boat on the river, Phil would also motor across the channel from Long Beach to Catalina for scuba diving, or sometimes from Port Hueneme to Anacapa Island.
Master Scuba Diver Trainer:
While going to collage at Cal State Fullerton University, Phil Blood took all the scuba courses and eventually became a Divemaster at the college. This is also where he started his underwater photography classes and then entered and won photography contests. One of his ideas was entered into the World Underwater slide competition.
After college, he became a Master Scuba Diver Trainer and opened his own P.A.D.I. dive store and training facility in San Dimas, California, called Adventure Diving Center. He ran that facility for eight years. (See picture of Phil, left, from that time). He designed his own Underwater Video course, which was approved by P.A.D.I. as a new class.
Computer Game Design:
After the Gulf War cut into people's leisure spending, he closed his dive store business. Phil created and ran a new kind of Murder Mystery game, which got noticed by a game company who then hired him to work as a Producer. He spent ten years in the game industry where he became the Lead Game Designer for two game companies, Silent Software and Prolific Publishing, creating original titles as well as working on games for Disney, Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, and Mattel.
Around that time, he also started writing a series of fantasy novels, called Cathexis. After leaving the game industry he continued his career as a writer and has finished 23 novels so far (see the series covers, left, all published under his real name, 'Philip Blood'. He is still writing Science Fiction and Fantasy novels and plans to continue doing so during the voyages of S/V Lynx. If you are interested in his novels, follow the link below.
But the ocean was always calling to Phil, and he purchased an 18’ Hobie Cat and started sailing it in the Long Beach Harbor, California. Up until very recently, he was still sailing his Hobie cat when he felt the need to get out on the ocean. (See pic right with Phil sailing with two cousins, Lauren DeSantis and Libby Blood). However, he recently sold his Hobie catamaran because he started building a much bigger boat! S/V Lynx will be a 50' performance/cruising, blue water capable, catamaran. He hopes to start his new voyage circumnavigating the world, and plans to cut the lines in mid 2025.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves! About fifteen years ago, Phil became interested in larger boats and considered purchasing a Fleming 55 with the idea of motoring around the world. The Fleming is an ocean crossing capable boat with a 2,500 mile range on fuel (see pic left). However, after looking at the costs of fuel and finding that it would currently cost $12,500 for a single tank full to cross one ocean, he changed his mind and decided that wind was his wallet's best friend. He turned his sight on obtaining a large catamaran to sail the vast distances across oceans.
Custom designed performance catamaran:
At that time, he considered purchasing a half-built Kurt Hughes designed 58’ performance catamaran he found in Newport Beach, CA. (see pic right). However, the timing wasn't right since he still needed to save up more money. The other issue was that Phil started changing his mind about owning a cat built only for speed, with little comforts. After looking into what type of catamaran would be best for his long voyage around the world he decided that safety came first but due to the many years he planned to spend on board, comfort became the second highest goal, trumping speed. (See the Boat page for more details).
Used Production catamaran:
In choosing a used cat model to purchase, Phil took many factors into consideration, not the least of which was how much cash he thought he might gather to purchase a boat. Based on these considerations, about ten years ago, Phil settled on the idea of buying a used production catamaran for his voyage. Once he had the money saved, he planned to purchase a 44' - 48' cat and then do a major refit. The Salina 48 became his top choice (see pic left).
However, in 2021, the price of used catamarans skyrocketed. At the new prices of used boats, Phil could no longer afford the high initial price since it would take all his savings, leaving nothing left over for a major refit. These older cats would take a lot of money to be put into blue water cruising shape. Therefore, a new plan took shape.
Building a modern kit catamaran:
Phil's new plan was to purchase a Schionning Designs 1490 kit catamaran which he and his crew would build. The 1490 is a newly designed model, with the great features of modern cats, including many comforts, yet she is a performance catamaran as well. That way, he could have his cake and eat it too! However, Phil took the existing design of the 1490 and created a 3D model so that he could make modifications. Once done, it turned out that Schionning Designs was willing to collaborate with Phil to turn his designs into a new version of the Solitaire line, and a kit they would sell.
The design work, engineering, and cutting of the kit are all now completed and Phil's new Solitaire 1520 kit has arrived in Southern California. Captain Blood and crew have now started construction of this 50' performance/cruising kit catamaran. Phil is equipping it with a combo parallel hybrid/diesel propulsion system. The boat is being built about 30 miles from the water, in Southern California, near Phil's home. When finished, S/V Lynx will be loaded onto a flat bed truck and driven to the ocean by freeway, where another crane will lift her into the water. Phil and Crew should take approximately two years to finish construction of their catamaran, the first Solitaire 1520. Before setting sail around the world, Captain Blood and Crew plan to go through sea trails to test the boat and systems in local waters, sailing out to various islands and eventually up to San Francisco for a final test before embarking on a double circumnavigation of planet Earth.
Research and classes:
So, at this stage, Phil has extensive book knowledge from many years of studying catamarans and all the systems involved. He also comes in with a lot of boating experience from a lifetime of being on the water.
Yet even though he built a Mirror kit sailboat at 12 years of age, it has been along time since then and this new 50' performance catamaran is a much larger undertaking! Phil will have a lot of learning to do and will, no doubt, make a lot of mistakes. Yet, to quote Robert Heinlein,
"Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win."
Phil is betting on himself and his crew to get the job done, even though something like 50% of DIY boat builds are never finished. The construction of the boat has started, as of 4/10/2023. You may follow along on the S/V Lynx Youtube channel since Phil and his crew are video documenting the entire process of building S/V Lynx.
And when this new cat is finished the videos will continue as Captain Blood, Admiral Marianne, and our XO, Brian, along with other crew members, set sail around the world. To watch the videos of the construction and, eventually, the voyages of S/V Lynx, just follow the link to the S/V Lynx Youtube channel (see below)
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