GoFundMe: Update

My face looks grim but really I’m trying to read the telltales on the sails while being buffeted by the winds. This picture was taken as we sailed from Ireland to Scotland aboard Juggler, a Beneteau Oceanis 393.

I didn’t know how cold I would get. I didn’t know how tired I could be. And I didn’t know that it didn’t take long to develop sea-legs and feel the shaping motion on land!

I took the helm when it was offered but with 3 other able sailors aboard, there was plenty of time for doing other things. When I figured out that I didn’t get sea-sick below, I helped with the cooking.

On a cold day in March in the North Channel, handing someone a warm cuppa was pretty much like telling them they’d won the lottery.


GoFundMe: Update

It took me years to get myself out properly on a voyage. I’d done bits and pieces, crewing for others, but in early 2016, freed of many shackles and believing that when we have lost everything we are capable of doing anything, I signed up for a Day Skipper course.

Six weeks before the course, an opportunity to crew aboard Juggler for two weeks with Tom, Alex and Steve reared its head. And I was away.

The journey would test me, freeze me, free me, terrify me, sicken me and ultimately reward me.

GoFundMe: Update

After a lot of reading and wishing, I attended the RYA Sailing Level 1 and 2 course at Ballyholme Yacht Club and got my qualifications. The days of the course, the winds were light but I still managed to capsize a few times as I got used to the trim of the sails and how to spill the wind during the gusts. The course was a great introduction and teaches the basics (and kudos to Alice) but it doesn’t prepare you for sailing in all winds. As Alice said on the course “This isn’t sailing, this is bobbing”.

I bought a RS Q’ba (equivalent to a Laser Pico) with the idea of actually learning to sail alone and independently after my course. You have to keep it up – and me squeezing into my wetsuit must have been a shock for everyone!

Living in Bangor was a big advantage though joining a club to get access to storage and a slipway was necessary. For ages I pottered around Ballyholme Bay on my tod (usually when the races were on so the Rescue boat was out). But even then there was no peace like it. Hearing the bubbling of the water behind you, realising that the power of the wind was propelling a couple of hundred kilos of sailboat and human. I took the kids out on it and also took my good friend Stuart. I regret not getting out more often.

GoFundMe: Update

It was nine years ago that I first stepped into a sailboat. I was in Amsterdam for the IBC (broadcasters conference) and staying with my friend Keith and his family. On the last day of the conference it finished at lunchtime and Keith took me on a secret trip to a marina to see his yacht, a Contessa 32. We then spent the next three hours sailing the IJmeer. And I fell in love with the sea.

He advised me to go and learn to sail on dinghies first. So I did.

I’ve started a GoFundMe

n 2015, I kinda lost everything. It’s taken me a goodly amount of time to build things up again and now I’m looking forwards. This is one step that I thought I’d need to make – I’ve sacrificed my land based assets for “good causes” and any of you who know me would know this.

Last year I had raised £5K but a friend in need was in trouble and I gave it all away. Hence the figure quoted. So, I’m playing catchup again.

So this is my bid for a floating home. Somewhere to work on over the winter and spend time on the water.

I’m not looking a floating gin palace – just something that’s serviceable, liveable, pre-loved and can serve as my base of operations.


What moral decisions should driverless cars make?

The issue with this logic problem is that it’s a human problem, not an AI problem.

We place this logic problem in front of a human and someone dies. Maybe even five people. But His are not limited to the same laws that we are. And that’s the law of fuckwittery.

This logic problem assumes there is no choice. But looking at His show there is a choice. Humans speed. They drive without seatbelts. They mess with the radio or their phone while driving. They talk and get distracted.

AIs don’t do this.

Imagine being in a car which will never exceed the speed limit. In fact it will likely go a significantly slower speed than the limit. Always. And it has LIDAR – it can see over obstacles and round corners because it’s not alone. It can patch into the LIDAR of other cars.

The car won’t kill the people in the road, or the pedestrian or you. And I’m not taking it too literally.

It will automatically slow down when approaching a blind corner and it will know it’s stopping distance intimately. It’ll slow to a crawl if it detects something unreasonable.

And yes, it’l do this while you’re screaming that you’ll be late. Which if you are, it’s your fault, because the AI would have told you when it was appropriate to leave for your destination. It’s smarter than you. And that doesn’t mean it’s more creative or more empathic, it just doesn’t make the stupid mistakes that humans do.

So why is this on TED?