The O List


Jan 10, 2001
Outside Magazine

The Aerodyne 47 sailing off Newport, Rhode Island

Motorcycle  Floatplane  Sailboat (to go around the world)
Get Ready to Rumble
By Patrick Symmes

You could probably do it on a moped, but why suffer? If you want to ride across something really big—Africa, say, or Siberia, or in my case South America—then you need to buy a good pair of gloves, some replacement visors for your helmet, and the king of dual-sport bikes, BMW's F 650 GS Dakar. The Bavarian wonder machine is good on Patagonia pavement, better on Bolivian mud, and proven from Baja to Bamako. Parts are hard to get in most places, but it doesn't break down much. You could shoot it and it would start and run the next morning. But don't just go on my advice: This is one of the bikes recommended by the Footprint South American Handbook 2001, the Bible of Latin America's long-distance crowd—and by my Greenwich Village neighbors who rode one to Labrador last summer. The GS is reliable because it is simple. Make that your credo, too. Get the lightest version you can find, and don't overload it with crap. Then go. Wherever you end up, you'll never look back.
$8,600; 800-345-4269;
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The Best Way to Fly
Some floatplanes go faster, others carry heavier loads, but none has the whole package like the DE HAVILLAND BEAVER. "It's the '55 Chevy of planes," says Tom Langdon, who flies a 1952 model into logging camps and fishing villages on the remote British Columbia coast for Pacific Eagle Air Service. "Rugged, reliable, and takes off real short in rough water." The Beaver isn't so much a machine as a prop-driven visa, granting access to the harsh and tantalizing territory that begins where the washboard road ends. It'll get you there and, more important, bring you back. When it comes to survival, De Havilland's workhorse has no rival. Of the 1,600 built between 1947 and 1967, more than 900 are still in the air. A flyable model will run you $350,000, and Beavers are in such demand that Seattle-based Kenmore Air, the country's premier floatplane specialist, salvages worn-out fuselages from as far away as India. Custom jobs, like the one actor Harrison Ford just ponied up for, can cost an extra $400,000. For that you get state-of-the-art avionics, Garmin 530 video-display GPS, autopilot, and some sweet leather seats. Oh, and hydraulic landing gear, if you're feeling amphibious. "Every few years, someone comes along with a new design they claim will fly as good as a Beaver," says Kenmore Air maintenance director Rob Richey. "And it never does."—Bruce Barcott
Kenmore Air: 425-486-1257;
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The Best Boat to Sail Around the World
A plucky Australian named Serge Testa once managed to get around the globe in a 12-footer, but if you prefer to go first class, the AERODYNE 47, a new passage-maker from innovative designer Rodger Martin, aspires to be the perfect ride. The 47-foot sloop thoroughly modernizes the art of cruising—it's strong enough to battle Cape Horn and light enough to reel off 250 miles on a good day. Oh, and it's easily handled by just two people. The secret is smart engineering (like a self-tacking jib) and maximum use of ultralight, ultrastrong composites such as Kevlar (the material of choice for bulletproof vests). And the performance pedigree does not come at the expense of serious cruising comfort. Any number of boats (like the venerable Valiant 40, which made its first circumnavigation in the 1970s) will take you around the world, but few will get you across the oceans as fast as the Aerodyne 47 while the off-watch does laundry, eats microwave popcorn, and freaks out to Dead Calm on the DVD. —Tim Zimmermann
$430,000; 508-943-8776;
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