Home > Journals > 2004 – 2005: Vendée Globe

Ocean Planet Vendée Globe Update:
Thursday, February 3, 2005

Position 10 30S, 30 56W, @ 14:38 UT

Putting a Light on…

Want a cool flashlight?

I have special flashlights on board made by American inventor and Ocean Planet supporter Don “McGizmo” McLeish. Lights just like what I’m using (and Rocky, too, see pics below) are being raffled on http://www.candlepowerforums.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=855760&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=186&fpart=1, with the proceeds to support Ocean Planet and our Ocean Sciences program! The current raffle ends on February 7th, so check it out soon!


Conserving energy is a big deal on board during the Vendee. Another one of the coolest things we have on board is ALL of our cabin lights which are LED lights, also provided by “McGizmo” himself. Check out the auction at http://www.candlepowerforums.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=855760&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=186&fpart=1, and read Don’s great letter below:


“On Ocean Planet, Bruce must constantly consider conservation of all of his limited resources which include electrical energy and its conversion to light. The same considerations apply on a global scale, but for those of us fortunate enough to live within a society that is always “plugged in”, we leave the lights on, unaware that light is to dark as noise is to silence.

I admire Bruce’s ambition, and his spirit embodies all that our country was initially based on; yankee ingenuity and exploration beyond ones knowledge and comfort level. Although in a poor financial position to help, it has been a pleasure to provide some light to his endeavors as well as auction off some of my own creations with proceeds going to support Ocean Planet. To dream is a must. Bruce’s dream shows us what it means to be alive; finding and following ones path.

Bruce and I once both worked at Svendsen’s Marine and shared interests in innovative approaches to marine related gear and solutions. In my limited but exciting exposure to open coastal racing, I was aware of the problems of proper vision at night. I moved on to work for a manufacturer of stainless hardware for both the marine and industrial markets, and about that time, discovered white LED lights.

When Ocean Planet came to be, Bruce allowed me to make some custom LED fixtures for below deck illumination. I will never forget when a mutual friend and electrician on Ocean Planet, Liem Dao, brought me down to the boat, showed me the current and voltage monitoring gauges on the boat and then turned on my lighting system. There was no indication on the current meter that my system had been turned on because the power being drawn was so little! He was impressed and I felt warm and fuzzy.

As Bruce continued to toil on his quest, I became more involved in the LED lights and was contacted by a few members of candlepowerforums.com, which of all things was a forum for people interested in flashlights! It seems that a few had found my LED lights mentioned on the internet and I was invited to become a member, (“McGizmo”) of the forum. I love to invent and tinker and it turned out that flashlights were the perfect media for expressing my interests. I now even have my own forum within CPF where I can communicate about the lights I design and build with others. With the global exposure of the internet, I have met folks from around the world as well as come to understand the illumination needs of many.

LED lights specifically as well as solid state lighting (SSL) in general promises hope for a much brighter future. Solid state lighting will eventually replace incandescent lighting to a great extent and there will be people in remote and poor areas who will be able to see, study and work at night thanks to energy efficient lighting. There are international programs in place to provide solar powered LED lighting to children and students in villages as well as remote medical stations which have been in the dark to date. Many third world countries simply can not provide the level of electricity needed and brown outs and black outs are common place. The ability to see is taken for granted by many and yet much of the planet is in the dark for half of each day. With SSL, man will eventually be in a position to better control levels of artificial illumination to meet the needs present without overwhelming the natural dark.

Ideally, there is a harmony of air, sea with Ocean Planet smoothly sailing along. Life is all about energy and sailing is about life and proper conversion of energy. I feel fortunate that in a small way, I have been able to provide Bruce with some tools and devices that can convert electricity into photons and Bruce can use these photons to aid him in his travel. Bruce also receives and sends energy to others he is in communication with via the wonders of new technologies. This energy is converted into actions and inspiration.”

Don “McGizmo” McLeish


Thanks Don! Keep on inventing! That’s what makes the USA great!

Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet


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