An Inspiration - Bob Bitchin and the Lost Soul

As someone who loves the look of a classic clipper bow sailboat, specifically a Bill Garden designed boat, this little video is just something that always inspires me.

One of the first people I met after getting my sailboat, gave me a few copies of the magazine Lattitudes and Attitudes. The magazine was owned by this guy named Bob Bitchin. He is a big, 300 plus pound, curly haired, tatood up, ex biker/Hells Angel, dude.   He fell in love with sailing and found this old and not well taken care of 56 foot formosa sailboat and made an offer on it. Having a sailing magazine likely allowed him access to supplier and information, but he refit this boat to a beautiful end result. (Read more about Bob Bitching below)


We just loved that classic looking boat with all of the present day amenities.  Deb and I always found ourselves looking closer at any clipper bow sailboat.  Then we saw this video that showed the interior of the Formosa and we just knew we were going to have one and ultimately what we have now. Obviously ours needs work and is not as nice as the “Lost Soul” in this music video, but, we love her just the same.

Deb and I had the pleasure of meeting Bob and Jodi at boat shows and even attended one of their weekend long advanced cruising seminars. It was a great time, we learned a ton and getting to know both Bob and Jodi was an awesome experience.  He shows that not everyone that is into the boating life style are like the guys named Biff at the Yacht club. He has a great saying “I can’t recommend decadence as a way of life, but it certainly has been good to us" Adventure has been a way of life for Bob Bitchin since the early sixties, when his name was coined by the comedy team of Cheech and Chong (his birth-name is Robert Lipkin). He worked as a traveling companion and bodyguard for famous motorcycle daredevil Evil Knievel, promoted motorcycle shows, and created Biker Magazine and Tattoo Magazine in the 70’s and early 80’s. He also worked as editor of many of the motorcycle magazines of that era, and wrote for other publications as diverse as Forbes, Penthouse and New Look. During that time he rode his motorcycles across the country over 30 times, and around Europe as well. He was the founding president of the Motorcycle Press Association in 1978 and co-founder of A.B.A.T.E., a national organization of motorcyclists.

In December of 1973 He and riding partner LACO Bob Lawrence, President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Hells Angels co-created the very first Toy run, which now takes place in thousands of cities world-wide.

In the early 70’s he met Alan Olson, Captain of Stone Witch, which was a 74′ square rigged topasil schooner that sailed out of San Francisco. He signed on for a 3 month sail to Guatemala to see if the sailing life was for him. Stone Witch was the flag-ship for GreenPeace, and had no engine, ran kerosee running lights, and had four 21′ oars for propulsion. This sail changed his life, and soon, while they rode all over the world on Harley’s, he lived aboard various sailboats that he would buy, fix up, and sell. For over thirty years he lived aboard sailboats and cruised most of the Pacific and Central America.

In 1986 he sold BIKER and TATTOO magazines to Easyriders and started sailing full time. For many years he sailed the Pacific Coast of Mexico and Central America on his Formosa 51, the first Lost Soul, and then on another 51′ ketch, named Predator, with numerous trips to the Hawaiian Islands and back. Then, in 1990 After fixing and selling seven boats he bought the 68′ staysail ketch Lost Soul and this would be his home for the next 17 years.

He kidnapped Jody, the bartender at the Portofino Marina Yacht Club, and they took off to explore the South Pacific. As it turns out, they cruised all over the South Pacific, and then sailed through the Panama Canal to the Atlantic, sailed the Med, the Caribbean and everywhere they ever dreamed of going. They were married on board Lost Soul at the Portofino Marina on their return from their world voyage.

In 1996 he created Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine. In its 15 years, it became one of the largest and most authoritative publications on sailing and world cruising. In 2005, along with Darren O’Brien, he created the television show Latitudes & Attitudes, which was the first and only nationally televised show about the sailing lifestyle. The show aired 5 seasons nationally with 65 episodes and has been in syndication world-wide.