Buddhist Temple, Sun Moon Lake

Syuentzang Buddhist Temple
(Sun Moon Lake)

Taichung City

Taichung City, ROC (Taiwan)

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Bilgewater News 2011

May 2011: Life of Pi—Film Consultation

Taichung SculptureI've just returned from Taiwan where I was working on a feature film adaptation of Life of Pi, which is being directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain, among others). The novel won the Man Booker Prize in the United Kingdom and involves an Indian teen who finds himself cast adrift on a lifeboat with a zebra, orangutang, hyena, and tiger. The filmmakers found a path to me, probably because Yann Martel referenced my story about the dumbest way to cross the Atlantic (by liferaft) in his novel. It is strange how, even after 29 years, my experience and Adrift still lead me to new and interesting journeys. Many people have noted similarities between Adrift and Life of Pi, both in details of the marine environment and of Pi's and my experiences within it and more broadly in terms of overall themes. I had always considered Adrift to be an allegorical tale, so perhaps the author Yann Martel and I have written mirrored images from fictional and nonfictional views about the spirituality, power, and grace of the natural world. My contributions to the film have varied from consulting on survival and nautical issues to more hands on work, such as creating props. I cannot yet speak or write more openly about this project, which is scheduled for release in December 2012, but anyone interested in keeping track of what is available to the public should check it out on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

May 2011: Adrift—The Energizer Bunny

My wife, Kathy, calls Adrift the Energizer Bunny because it just seems to keep going and going, and indeed, after 29 years in print, it continues to find new life. We have recently heard that publishers in Poland and Taiwan have licensed rights, Adrift in Mandarinwhich will bring the number of languages in which the book has been published to 16. Adrift remains in print in several of these languages, including Japanese, Norwegian, South Korean, and, of course, English. It is also available in e-book format, via Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, etc., and in audio versions through Brilliance Corp. Please see our book page.

May 2011: Capsized—aka The PlayFlipside

Capsized-The Cave Although temporarily out of print, my second book, Capsized, continues a life of its own. The story chronicles the experiences of four men whose voyage from New Zealand to Tonga was cut short when their 40-foot trimaran capsized in a raging winter storm. The men survived for four months aboard the half-flooded craft, spending most of their time huddled in an area the size of a double bed with eighteen inches of headroom. Currently, we are concluding a re-edit of the text and readying it for e-book release. In addition, playwright Ken Dunam from Wellington, New Zealand, adapted Capsized for both stage and radio, renaming his plays Flipside. Several productions have been staged in New Zealand and Australia, with a new one lined up from 28 May to 2 July. Check it out here.

February 2011: FRIB—aka The Clam

Some years ago, we patented systems with which to build folding rigid-bottom inflatable boats (FRIBs) that allow mariners to store a dinghy in roughly half the space of a nonfolding boat; but unlike take-apart nesting boats, FRIB requires no complex assembly. For a while, a local builder produced a limited number of an initial model of FRIB called the Clam, a rowing/sailing/powered dinghy with optional lifeboat features. Unfortunately, that builder chose not to set up for production in numbers and eventually closed shop. Over the years, there has remained a good deal of interest in the boat, however. Late in 2010, we were approached to come up with a new design of FRIB and have since worked with Steve Weiss to develop preliminaries for a new model, which is similar to the prototype in that it is a design balanced to perform well under oars, sail, or small outboard. Other versions such as kayaks, canoes, and fully powered vee-bottom boats are possible with the same system. For more information on the Clam and FRIB, see our Design page.


September 2011: Professional Boatbuilder Designer Articles

Professional Boatbuilder, a free publication for those in the design and boatbuilding trade, has given me permission to offer the feature articles that I've written for them about trend-setting boat designers. If you're interested in the conceptual framework and technical details of what has created many of the current trends in boats, the work of these design leaders should provide some insight. Please check them out here.

Email: steve@stevencallahan.net

Copyright © 2011 Steven Callahan