Dwyer Haney ’ 10 had a good job in the field in which he’d always excelled. But he wanted more. He charted a
path few would have the courage to
follow, quitting his job as a design and
development engineer and taking the
$75,000 he’d saved from frugal living to
pit himself against the world — or the
ocean, as it turned out.
Haney hit the road in his truck,
inspecting boats for sale from California
to British Columbia. In Bellingham,
Wash., he found her: a 54-year-old
30-foot fiberglass sloop that he rechristened Rascal.
Tales of adventure on the high seas
had captured his imagination. “I didn’t
have any practical sailing experience,
though,” he says. “I’d been sailing [fewer]
than six times.”
Haney’s self-assurance sprang from a
belief that he could engineer a solution
to the problems he’d encounter on the
trip he had in mind: a 12,000-nautical-
mile voyage to the fjords in southern
Chile, where he intended to ski.
Engineering solutions had been on his
mind since he was small. Little Dwyer
solved every mechanical puzzle he could
find, the more complex the better. He
took all the engineering classes offered
at his small high school through the
Rochester Institute of Technology and
entered Bucknell with a straight-A
transcript, intent on becoming an
engineer. He earned the Class Award for
Excellence for leadership demonstrated
his first year.
Midway through school it struck
him: “I don’t have a numbers-punching,
After graduating with a B.S. in
mechanical engineering, he moved on
to Salt Lake City, where he’d talked his
way into an internship at an outdoor-
equipment company for which he
eventually oversaw the construction
of a ski-manufacturing plant in China.
In Bellingham, he overhauled Rascal
and taught himself to sail. In April 2014,
he set out, cruising down the West Coast
to Mexico, honing his skills as he went.
Friends and family joined him for short
cruises. They explored villages, coves,
inlets and islands as he waited out the
2014 hurricane season.
Disaster nearly scuttled his plan,
though. He had left a friend aboard the
boat and taken a brief stateside trip in
September when Hurricane Odile struck
the Sea of Cortez, where Rascal was
moored. The friend rode out the storm.
Odile pulled up the boat’s three anchors
and flung her ashore, but she survived
Haney’s greatest test, an engine fire,
happened on the open ocean, about
1,000 miles from land between the
Galápagos Islands and Puerto Montt,
in southern Chile.
He quenched the fire, found the leak
that had caused an electrical short and,
trembling, fashioned a fix. “There are lots
of things that can go wrong on a boat,
but a fire is the biggest thing,” he says.
His troubles weren’t over. Soon after,
a brass fitting joining the tiller and rudder
cracked, requiring more innovative
engineering. His most important
resources on the trip, he says, were
a roll of duct tape, an adjustable wrench
and common sense.
Haney reached Chile in spring 2015
and spent a year skiing and seeking new
adventures. Early this year he sold Rascal.
Touring the U.S. now in an ancient
Mercedes that runs on used fryer oil,
he’s rekindling friendships and scouting
for a job that supplies tough problems to
solve and ways to heal the environment.
“I think I’ll be hard-pressed to feel
daunted by any professional task now
that I know that I can single-handedly
[captain] a boat for 37 days across the
South Pacific,” he says. His blog,
VoyageoftheRascal.com, is a colorful
chronicle of his adventures.
A resourceful engineer spends a year
sailing his Rascal on the roiling ocean.
PHOTOS PAGE 38 (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT):
DOLPHINS JUMPING AT SUNSET OFF THE PERUVIAN COAST, DWYER
HANE Y; CRUISING THROUGH THE FJORDS OF PA TAGONIA, D WYER
HANEY; WHALE’S TAIL OFF THE OREGON COAST, DWYER HANEY;
SEALIONS SUNNING ON ROCKS IN THE COMAU FJORD, CHILEAN
PATAGONIA, DWYER HANEY; RASCAL CROSSING THE NOTORIOUS
GULF OF CORCOVADO, CHILEAN PA TAGONIA, CLIN TON BURNET T;
RASCAL AT ANCHOR IN PUERTO VILLAMIL, GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS,
ECUADOR, D WYER HANE Y; HANE Y SHEE TING THE STORM JIB DURING
AN AF TERNOON SQUALL, JAIME CORVALAN KAHLER
PHOTOS PAGE 39 (TOP TO BOTTOM): HANEY CRUISING THROUGH THE
SAN FRANCISCO BA Y, JESSE D WYER; HANE Y SKIING ANDEAN POWDER
IN BARILOCHE, ARGENTINA, PORTER HANEY