Handing on the Hebridean project

February 2, 2023 Off By admin
Very glad to be able to let you know the Hebridean will be available again in the near future.
Here I am on my second trip (of three) to Torshavn with its designer, John Fleming. Both of us were steered there by our trusty Hebridean wind vanes. The freedom to travel beyond the usual limits of human helming are a revelation. Having built the vanes ourselves has been so gratifying and rewarding. That is me in the middle and John’s Sleepy Eagle, the Hebridean test-bed, on the right.
John has himself enjoyed many adventures using his amazing design. As have I. My thanks to him for his inspired inventiveness cannot be expressed too often. But I am sorry to report that John recently had to move (for now) into a care home.
John was knocked side-ways three years or so ago with ill-health. Successful treatments allowed substantial recovery and a return to sea. Now, however, he has decided to pull back from the lead role in the project and hand daily management over to me, Ian Kirkwood. John will remain available for input and dealing with queries as and when he feels up to that.
In the mean time we’d like to let you know that the Hebridean will soon be available again. In the first instance the H2 kit will be offered. That is the kit without the wood. This has always been the most popular and economic kit for overseas export, reducing carriage costs, and for those with their own sources of wood.
May I introduce myself? My name is Ian Kirkwood. My Hebridean is proudly mounted to a 1979 Verl900 ‘Imagination’ moored on the Isle of Skye. The project is now being directed form my home in Perthshire, Scotland, where a kit “assembly line” is in the process of being set up. That consists of John’s purpose-built parts bins, all now transferred here from Inverness.
John and I will continue to work together for as long as possible to get your kit to you and assist with advice on its construction. The unit is John’s gift to the sailing world. A legacy we’d like to see continue to be available well into the future.
Thank you to all who have bought the Hebridean and built it. The many positive experiences passed back are highly encouraging. Now we know of Hebrideans reaching the Pacific, circumnavigating Iceland and taking sailors safely to the Antipodes.
Some of you have gone to great lengths on e.g. Youtube to help others bring their kits to birth. Those video-making skills joined to practical DIY skills make for extremely useful footage! To arrive at the point of gazing at an invisible hand steering your sailing boat is to enter a trance whose magic never entirely fades. We all know that. And to share the experience is heart-warming.
As a professional graphic designer, I hope to assist by casting my eye over John’s manual in the months ahead. To that end I have already begun to draw a detailed 3D model of my favourite mechanical device.
Please message here as before. We will endeavour to respond punctually.
Ian Kirkwood