Pirating the Sun // On Board the “Ra” – A Solar Boat Adventure


Last month I got to be a pirate.

A “Pirate of the Sun” to be exact. I got to join the crew of the “Ra”, a solar powered vessel makings it way around America’s Great Loop Waterway in an attempt to make a Guinness World Record. (www.solarboatchronicles.com www.facebook.com/SolarBoatChronicles) The boat is skippered by the gregarious, 73 year old Jim Greer who built and designed the vessel. Jim is quite the character and kept me thoroughly entertained with tales from a lifetime. The 48ft boat , named “Ra” after the egyptian sun god, averages (at times maddening) 3 miles per hour on a sunny day and can sleep six people. According to Jim he has gone through close to 45 crewmembers since the launch of the trip last year. Crewmembers come and go as their schedules, perseverance, and morale dicate. As you can imagine this leads to some reality television quality drama and Jim couldn’t let that go to waste so he’s filming the whole thing. His hopes are that it will be picked up by a major network and after seeing some footage I’m convinced it can happen! This leg of the journey he was down to one deckhand,  Mike Oliver, a marine tech student from Southport, NC who joined the boat the same time as me. The plan was for me to catch the boat in Wrightsville Beach, NC and do some filming and photography along the way south until I made it back home near Savannah, GA. I was hoping this would take about two weeks but as it goes with any adventure things don’t always work out like you plan. With the weakened winter sun, short days, and some mechanical problems we inched along for a week until we were grounded in Georgetown, SC with a nasty icestorm headed our way. With the forecast I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it home before my two weeks ran out so unfortunately I had to leave the boat early. As much I hated to leave I was guiltily glad to be home and warm after I heard that Jim and Mike had to spend four days huddled in the marina laundry room unable to even get to the boat due to the icy docks. I’m happy I got to be a part of the trip, at least for a little while, and I wish Jim and the “Ra” the best of luck for the rest of their journey!

4 thoughts on “Pirating the Sun // On Board the “Ra” – A Solar Boat Adventure

  1. Veronica

    If I could find someone I trusted enough to stay in my apt and hold down the bills, I’d go.

  2. Skipper Jim

    Thank you so much for this fine work it brings back some good memories

  3. Stephen

    I would like to contact Skipper Jim. I am interested in building a similar boat and cruising the Great Loop.

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