Infinity is a tough boat
While it is true that infinity was not designed to travel through ice, Infinity is an incredibly tough boat. Infinity was constructed in 1975 in Alameda California by J Monroe, and is believed to be the largest ferrocement yacht ever built. Monroe had big plans for her, and envisioned selling rooms as a timeshare plan, a way of financing around the world voyages. She was supposed to circle the globe and visit far away islands, but the plan did not meet with success and few rooms were sold. Monroe went bankrupt a few years later and was forced to sell her. She ended up in a junkyard in San Diego, being used as a live aboard houseboat, this is where Capt Clemens found her in the early 1990's.
Infinity is made of metal reinforced concrete and is basically a bunker that floats. Ferrocement, a well tested and long practiced form of boat construction, no longer in fashion due to its downsides of being extremely labor intensive during construction and heavy compared to fiberglass or aluminum, does have properties that make it exceptional for a polar vessel, such as incredible toughness, impact resistance and strength in any temperature. In the Ross Sea Infinity made impact with a large number of icebergs without so much as a scratch. Infinity is also an environmentally friendly boat, as she is not only propelled by the power of the wind, but gets her electricity from a very large solar panel array on her roof, which is stored in batteries for power at night.
She is many things, but she is not modern. Infinity is of the old school, no auto pilot, and no hydraulic winches. It takes a minimum of 3 people to raise her mainsail, and she requires many more to operate at a minimum level. She is fueled by the sweat on your brow, the ache in your back, the calluses on your hands and the wind in her sails. She is an old school beauty from a bygone era.
Check out the Infinity Expedition website for more info on Clem and his current projects. Infinity has been host to many different project over the years, and Clem is always scheming up new ones.
A FEW OF THE CREW
Who are the crew?
Anyone! is the short answer. Crew come from all over the world and all walks of life, with a variety of experience and skills. Some stay for a few months, some never leave. Infinity isn't a cruise though, everyone works, and probably a lot harder than is healthy or safe. Infinity is the home to a sort of sea tribe of folks who share in the ups, downs, work, fun, risks and costs of life on a floating nomadic bowl of concrete. Best if you don't mind being dirty, uncomfortable and completely out of your comfort zone. You also won't have ANY personal space, you will live with lots of other people with no escape and will have to listen to foul mouthed sailors most of the day. Most people seem to find Infinity by word of mouth, but lately it's due to the films and videos. Over the years, Infinity Expedition has taken just about anyone who wanted to come, which has caused some issues when people think they are joining a cruise and won't be worked to the bone in the tropical heat. The internet is full of mixed reviews from such people, but it's also full of people who had the most important and rewarding experience of their lives. We are now planning on being a little more selective in the future, so people won't think that this is some kind of cult. This community isn't a one size fits all sort of thing, it's not for everyone. What kind of person are you? If you have always had health insurance and look forward to old age, this might not be the boat for you. But, if you don't complain, are risk tolerant and think that death by drowning is better than being a burden to your loved ones as you die rotting in bed, join the mailing list and we'll let you know when some spots open up!
A self-taught director/shooter/editor jack of all trades storyteller who grew up on a houseboat and never sleeps as well on land, but doesn't quite thrive at sea. He seeks to tell compelling character driven stories of people living creative and alternative lifestyles and broaden people's perceptions about life's possibilities.
Nico found infinity expedition after running away from a cubicle in 2011, and he keeps getting sucked back on the boat. There’s just something about this kind of extended family/tribal living on the global commons that feels exceptionally right. It’s far from a comfortable life, but it’s never boring and there aren't many people telling you how to live your life, out in the wet parts of the world.
The first film, Sea Gypsies: The Far Side of the World, was made on a shoestring budget (as were all the rest), captured on a hacked DSLR, with begged for music, all pieced together on pirate software on a used laptop, while sleeping on friends couches. The only reason it was ever finished is because promises were made and expectations developed. It also became an obsession, hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Clemens Gabriel Oestreich - German
An odd combination of idealist, dreamer, environmentalist and pirate. He's stubborn, argumentative, warmhearted and in possession of an almost unnatural amount of energy. Capt. Clemen's prerogative is the continuation of the expedition, damn the torpedoes, four bells, full speed ahead! Frequently going without sleep for days on end, soaked in diesel, inhaling coffee and hoovering cigarettes; seemingly single-handedly holding this little floating world together through sheer force of will.
Ayack - French
The quintessential French sailor, generously dispensing lifestyle critique and pseudo-philosophical banter one moment and a cup of hot cocoa the next. Ayack is a wandering, resourceful, jack-of-all-trades sailor who also makes lovely knives out of old car parts in his forge in Bordeaux. Rarely seen without a sewing needle, he’s a man who knows his stuff and is always eager to give his unguarded views on life, love, sewing and sailing.
Tim Charody - Australian
Tim loves the ocean, sailing, diving and spear fishing keep him pretty busy, but in his free time he also runs a beer blog 'The beer Pilgrim'. Tim does not get seasick, so Nico really could not have done the NorthWest Passage without him, as he was the one willing to jump on deck during the worst of the storms, when Nico was cowering in bed waiting patiently for death.
Sage Livingston - Wyoming
Sage, from Cody Wyoming, left home at an early age to see the world. She met Clem in Hawaii and after jumping on the ship she pretty much hasn't left. She gave birth to her two girls Rhian and Chloe while sailing in the Pacific. Rhian was born on the ship, in the dingy filled with seawater while anchored in Fiji, with Clem as midwife. Chloe was born in Thailand. Sage is an avid painter, and most of the artwork on the walls of Infinity are her creations.
Ruben Oestreich - German
Being Clem's son, Ru was born on the ocean and has spent most of his life sailing on Infinity. Growing up he was just sort of fearless, and had to learn to socialize real fast, considering all his friends were at least 10 years older than he was. He's still figuring out if a life at sea is what he wants, but living any amount of time on Infinity makes it hard to return to a life of structure and routine, even harder if you grew up in it.
Tara Oestreich - German
Tara, Clem's eldest daughter, was also born on the ocean and has spent much of her life drifting in the Pacific Ocean on Infinity. She spent a lot of time in South East Asia as well, when Infinity was sailing around Thailand and the Indonesian archipelago.
Manuela Lagoretta - Mexican
Hardcore sport sailor who shivers at the slightest chill, but doesn't complain about much of anything. It's the quiet ones who get shit done, or you need to watch your back with. Manuela is currently training for the Volvo Around the World Race, but we're hoping she comes back sailing on Infinity.
Victor Legros - French/Australian
Victor likes to talk...flap his jaw at a constant rate. But he's also a solid sailor who doesn't complain when it's time to go down into the bilge in the tropical heat, nor does he seem to care when tropical infections invade his body, a fine fellow to have when the situation gets hairy. He's also a pretty decent diver.
Saurav Makhija - Indian
Saurav thinks he might have been the first Indian in the NorthWest Passage, but not totally sure. Saurav from Mumbai, is our resident lentil chef and enjoys chatting about all things spiritual and musical. He was even able to make the terrible little soy balls taste slightly better than dirty sponges.
Mathias Lessmann - Brazilian
Brazilian skater, sports videographer and avid kite boarder with a taste for extreme activities and baking bread. Also the 2nd camera the Far Side of the World.
Zach - British
A sturdy professional sailor, incapable of sea sickness who seems purpose built for the life of a hard living, chain smoking sailor. Rarely off the water, he’s either workin on fancy yachts in the Mediterranean or somewhere in the Pacific.
Ole - German
Strapping 22 Year old German sailor/carpenter who's been traveling off the beaten path for the last 3 years. He also provides exceptional Thai massages on request.