Paul Hotz - My Background

February 01, 2010

I am a Swiss citizen that was born and grew up in northern Italy, on Lago Maggiore.  

Lago Maggiore

A bird's eye view of the center part of Lago Maggiore.  In the foreground Stresa and the islands.  I live on the other side of the lake. In the background would be Milano.

I studied chemical engineering in Switzerland at the ETHZ, the Swiss federal institute of technology in Zuerich.  During my studies I also visited a lot of places in Switzerland, courtesy of the Swiss army.

I was then involved in pharmaceutical companies in Mexico, Brazil and then with a fine chemical company in Los Angeles, California.  With an offer I could not refuse at the beginning of the eighties I got out of the chemical business.

In the next years I managed to spend in bits and pieces more than one year about the PH7, a motorsailer, sailing from Los Angeles to San Francisco (under the golden gate bridge) and then to Florida, through the Panama canal.  Fort Lauderdale then became the new home port of the PH7, from where I visited the Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica and Guatemala (Lake Itzabal).

PH7 with Sistership The motorsailer PH7 in the foreground with its sister ship "Second Wind" in San Pedro, California.


I could not spend all my time sailing, so I got involved in the Silicone Valley in a software company.  Not everything worked out as it should have, but I salvaged a small part of the company, involved with a software language.  Eventually I ended up writing the language myself, and still today I have a few loyal followers that use the language.

I always liked computers.  As a youngster I dabbled a lot in electronics and later on became a Heathkit fanatic (I wonder how many people today even know what a Heathkit was).  When the Apple II appeared on the market I bought machine # 4073.  I even interfaced some chemical equipment to the Apple II.  Probably one of the first real world data acquisitions done with a personal computer.

When you are writing computer programs you are virtually building the equivalent of a house down to the smallest detail or the highest skyscraper (sometimes built on such flimsy foundations that they come crashing down a few times a day with the blue death of your computer), very satisfying but ultimately it is not the real thing.  At least not for an old fashioned engineer.  I felt the urge to built something real, something that I could look at, touch and why not, even smell  (but I don't miss the smell of a bilge in the tropics).

After all, except for a few intermediate years when I was involved in programming, I had always owned a boat.  So a few years back I felt the urge to go back to the seas, with a vessel on the cutting edge of boating technology (usually a very conservative world).  So the idea of the PH8 was born and my web site describes my undertaking.

For more on the PH7 and the other boats I owned, go to the cruising section.

PH Bio.htm