Hello and welcome.

I have set up this blog for family and friends to keep track of my Transatlantic Race starting June 26th, 2011. I will try to update as frequently as I can. You can also track our progress through Yellowbrick Tracking -- see links below.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Line Honors and Threading The Needles

Yesterday morning we finished our transatlantic race at the Lizard. Under a bright sunrise over the Lizard lighthouse and threatening clouds to the West we crossed just around 6am local time. Over 3200 miles sailed and I was pretty blown away by the gravity of it all. Hans had me at the wheel for the last 10 miles before the finish doing 10-11kts bearing down on the finish. I was definitely feeling the high. British Soldier and Carina who started on the line with us in Newport were only 5 miles behind us!  Simply amazing. Hans took the wheel at the last mile and I went forward to the bow (wanted to be first across the line, naturally). Lots of congratulations and a very nice Cuban cigar followed (thanks Uncle Mike!).

Little did I know what we had in store for us. Some of the worst weather we experienced was under motorsail in the  English channel -- horrible chop on our quarter, tons of rain and freezing cold breeze. Isnt it summer here in England???  At 5am local time I got up as we estimated that at that time we would be reaching the Needles at 6am (these are a chalkstone formation, tight channel, and lighthouse on the West end of the Isle of Wright). With a grey glow, and ripping tide with us we approached the Isle and slowly out of the fog I started to make out the red light and the chalk cliffs coming into focus. Very very eerie. We made it through ok and I brought us into Cowes where we have a pig roast and maybe a pint or two this afternoon. Great to be on dry land and am really looking forward to the last leg of the journey -- BA flight, Heathrow to Boston tomorrow night.

I hope you enjoyed these posts over the last few weeks and it gave some sense of what this journey was like for me. Thanks for following!

Saturday, 16 July
11:39am GMT
Cowes, UK

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coming In Hot

We are just skirting the bottom of the South Irish Sea about 80 miles away from the finish.  At current course and speed we should reach Lizard Point tomorrow at daybreak.  I was thinking today that it will be nice to see land again -- then I paused, and thought, wow... I have not seen land in almost 3 weeks and only about 10 or so boats.  I woke up early for my watch this morning, around 4:30am local time, to see the sun rise.  To my surprise, there was a fishing boat right next to us and I have to say it was a bit strange to see another boat so close and other people aside from the 11 others on board Nordwind.  It is definitely going to take some getting used to being back on dry land and I am sure Heathrow on Sunday will be a bit of sensory overload.  The sun is just setting behind me as I write this -- my last sun set with no land (or anything else in sight for that matter) for a while.  Just some clouds and a few birds.  We are finishing strong with 5 sails up: an asymmetrical spinnaker, the staysail, the main sail, the mizzen staysail (or sometimes referred to as the "cuchillo" or Spanish for "blade"), and the mizzen.  We are humming along and the plan is to pass the Scilly Islands and Seven Stones to starboard and come in hot past Lands End and Penzance to Lizard Point.  I am definitely looking forward for the finish, a bit of a party in Cowes, and a quick safe trip back home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Knit One, Pearl Two

The wind has been really fluky these last few days.  We are only doing about 6.7kts and are struggling to the finish line.  A bit frustrating after such a long voyage, but I just need to be patient and we will get there.  Our resident sail-seamstress, Daniel, had a pretty busy day yesterday.  We tore two sails in super light wind.  The Code Zero was torn while rubbing across on the rigging and the Code Three Spin foot caught on the bow and tore a 9 meter section out of the bottom.  Daniel and Santi put in a marathon session and repaired both sails taking them about 9 hours.  I think their last few stitches were "well lubricated" as I found a empty bottle of Italian wine in the salon where they had the sewing machine set up.  I didn´t think we would be using either of the repaired sails for the remainder of the trip, but I didn´t have the heart to tell either one of them.


My Dad recently wrote me a note reminding me of another memorable spot in Ireland I am passing by.  When we traveled there as a family, we went to small pub called O´Sullivans in Crookhaven on the South West coast.  While sitting on the patio we found ourselves watching a sheep dog (who´s name we later found out was Fado) bark and run around the patio.  After watching this little guy for a while we figured out what all the activity was all about -- he was ´herding´ a stray cat and any unsuspecting bird that happened along his little patio.  It was quite fun to watch him work.  A bit later on a small child walked onto the patio and Fado decided he would herd him as well!  He ended up having a cat and a small boy herded into the corner keeping a close eye on them.  Quite fun.


We have about 388 miles to go before we reach the Lizard, and we have gone north of the rhumbline a bit for breeze.  We have very clear conditions so I hope to see Fastnet Rock off Ireland tomorrow.  Fastnet Rock of course being the general location of the infamous Fastnet Race in 1979 where hundreds of sailors were put in danger when they were ill prepared for a storm that hit the fleet during the race.  Many folks abandoned their vessels in the height of the storm.  Ironically, every vessel (or almost every one, I can´t remember) was found floating and in general sound condition.  Lesson learned -- always stay with the ship.  I hope we don´t see anything like that these next few days -- it is not looking like we will -- weather looks ok for us.  We are also pretty close (in relative terms) to Mizzen Head where when I was 16, I went with Mark, Mom and Dad while vacationing in Ireland on the Dingle Peninsula back in the 90´s.  I remember the blowing wind, rain, and huge surf beating that point and thinking, who in their right mind would ever voluntarily go out there?