UPDATE – Interesting comments here and on Facebook so far. A kind of split in attitudes. Also good points raised by those who have been on the ship.
Some very much want to see the Braveheart belong in the hands of DXers / DX Groups, with others perhaps being more realistic, ie: the Braveheart is an old ship nowadays – even though the website selling the vessel suggests it’s in very good condition.
A couple of points:
- Mention was made about what the ship and crew would do while no DXpeditions took place. In theory, it could be chartered for other (scientific?) expeditions so no major money losses. Or, within a reasonable timescale, the actual charter diary begins to fill up with future planned DXpeditions, for example, around the Pacific Ocean. One DXpedition leads to the next one etc.
- The Braveheart came with a famous crew. Could that ever be replicated by another crew who knew exactly the needs of a DXpedition team?
Keep the comments coming to gauge further opinion. We might open an “Expressions of Interest” page whereby anyone who would like to see a ship, not just the Braveheart, become owned and managed by DXers / Consortium, can leave their name, call and a short message.
On the other hand, maybe we should stop dreaming and accept none of this is possible without proper backing, funding and managing.
[PREVIOUSLY] The RV Braveheart is now officially up for sale. It really does seem to be the end of an era. So many top DXpeditions to remote entities took place mainly due to the crew of the Braveheart, and the ship itself. Recent news about the cancellation of the 2023 3Y0J Bouvet Island DXpedition compounded the fact the charter vessel business worldwide has (until now) ground to a halt due to the Covid pandemic.
With the above in mind, we can’t help but think a group, DX consortium or even some foundations joining forces could perhaps buy the Braveheart. It may sound like madness, but with the right people literally steering the purchase of the ship, it might not be such a bad idea. We read elsewhere that it’s conceivable a few Braveheart’s could have been bought (by our worldwide ham radio community) for the amount of money thrown at recent failed / cancelled Bouvet DXpeditions, and we tend to agree. If, for example, 10000 hams each donated $50, then a ship can be bought. Is it really that simple? Can it be achieved?
We are very happy to set up a GoFundMe or JustGiving or equivalent funding page with a view that DXers and readers alike could try to gain control of a real DXpedition ship which we all know about. But, we would need your help. Big time help.
How could this be done? Who might come forward and organize or lead such a huge undertaking? Who has maritime background? Who has definitive knowledge of accounting and costs? Who has legal background with regards contracts etc? Who is the skipper? How much are running costs? So many specific roles and tasks required. But, we can at least start the ball rolling as equally keen radio ham DXers with a bit of forward-thinking.
While this piece is about the sad demise of the Braveheart, it’s entirely possible similar vessel(s) may also be going for sale soon. Could the above really be put into practice?
So the question is: Is it really the end of an era…or the start of something visionary?
Your input would be valued – please comment or leave feedback. Thanks!
If the DXpeditions keep giving away all that is valued for free then shame on them in my opinion. The only way to break that cycle is to require an OQRS payment for the desired confirmation. Nothing is for free.
85% of the hams don’t donate to the DXpeditions expenses (recent statistics from Ducie and South Orkney). They all want free qsl cards, free buro cards and lotw within few months. Fundraising is extremely difficult – good luck with this “project”, it is not feasible at all. Braveheart dayrate increased 50% with the new owner Pacific 7. There are many other suitable vessels out there that can do an equally good if not better job!
I agree with others who have indicated that a group of hams buying
the Braveheart doesn’t seem practical considering the age of the ship
and all of the costs involved of maintenance, docking, staffing, fueling
and other incidentals.
It occurs to me that the most practical solution is to consolidate the
resources of the two groups since, apparently, the other group has
a ship contracted.
But, this likely has been considered and discounted for reasons that
I’m not aware of.
73, Jim, K1PX
How big percentage of Bravehearts annual revenue came from the Ham/DX community? How much was other kind of tourist activities? How much from govermental usage?
Just because we “want to think” that Braveheaet “belongs to DX expeditions” doesn’t make the idea realistic.
Braveheart is not a young vessel. The older the vessel, the more eyes from the authorities, the more need for serious repairs and maintenance…
Yes, it would be nice if Braveheart would again be used for DX-expeditions, but this is nothing that can finance the whole operation. As Dima USU said, the success of Braveheart did not depend so much on the vessel itself – but the experienced crew. Without the combination crew/vessel, nothing really matters…
PSE PAYPAL ADRESS
A good idea. I will invest 100 $. 73 de Vladimir RA6DT
It’s not the boat. It’s the Crew, who made those DXpeditions successful.
I am on the starting blocks for a 100 USD payment
My email in qrz.com
United. We can . A foundation and continue what we have had always done: help the poorest
Buying the boat would be the easy part.
From there the vessel would need to be operated as an ongoing business with fixed costs for crew, maintenance, administration, regulatory, mooring etc. As hams cannot even come together to fund a decent online logging system, the chances of the community running a business of this size and complexity is pretty slim.
A more likely scenario would be the ham community taking equity in the vessel with day to day management remaining with the Jolly family (or similarly experienced operators) with the benefit to the ham community being a discount on ham related charters (proportionate to ham equity) and a share of profits from non ham related charters.
Paul – vk4ma
Hi guys, being ambitious is good, being realistic is good too…. Buying the boat is the simplier and the cheapest. Do you have the slightest idea of the annual cost of such a vessel (maintenance, harbour side location/anchorage, and so on) ?
73 de Dimitri F4DSK