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.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Freakin' awesome

It has been a pretty amazing day and a half as we reach the Georges Banks.  We had a very exciting start in where the crew, really for the very 1st time, went through some drills and got us in place to set up for the gun.

With lots of family up by the light house at the Inn at Castle Hill as well many on the water I certainly felt very well represented.  I also really appreciated the on the water delivery of a ball of yarn for tying up the spinnakers by Ady and Blue -- thank you!  Just a quick note on the start -- I was not quite sure how to call the line for Nordwind knowing I wanted to be VERY conservative and not be over early.  It is tough to slow down and dial up a 70 ton yacht, so our timing would have to be perfect.  Hans was great at getting us in a clear position of the other boats and as we approached the line, I asked myself, how the heck do I call numbers of boat-lengths to the start on a 88ft boat??  Three boat lengths at 8 kts of boat speed.  Basically we were looking at  264 feet, closing VERY fast!!  Not a simple operation with a bunch of guys I never sailed with.  Andrew and was great though and we fell into a rhythm very quickly.

Then fog -- and lots of it.  We came fairly close to a tanker who we had hailed on the radio, but he for some reason decided to not do what he said he was going to do.  It is a very eerie and scary proposition to come across a tanker with about 50-75 ft of visibility.  Certainly a bit of a jolt to us all.

Things cleared out for a beautiful sunset and I was able to catch some sleep.  Saw 15 to 20 amazingly large dolphins kicking up phosphorous at our bow wave at 3am this morning during our 1st watch.  As Andrew said it best, "Freakin Awesome!"

We have some fluky weather for the next 24 hours followed by a low pressure system coming across, so I expect some wet weather and some heavier sail change work.  Will check back in shortly.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Race to the Race

After a furious flurry of activity provisioning, adjusting the rigging, measuring, cutting and applying spreader patches, running reefs, and setting up the prefeeder (those are just the items I helped with yesterday), and an amazing amount effort to exchange and organize the items that will stay on board and what will be shipped to the UK in the crate, I think we are finally ready to set the sails on Nordwind.

There are a few last items on the list this AM as we prepare to leave the dock at 9:30 ET.  We plan on looking at a few of the new sails and run some drills before the beginning of the 13:50 ET starting sequence. 

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of my family and friends who have been so amazingly supportive of Ashley and I these last few weeks.  The outpouring of well wishes and words of encouragement have been really touching.  Thank you.  Also, a huge thank you to my colleagues at IBM who have enabled me to make this trip and be a part of this event.  Thank you to you as well.

Very exciting -- here we go.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All The Little Things

It's amazing how all the little things can make a big impact when planning for an event. Think about the last big family gathering you hosted or event you helped run at work. It's always the little things that end up adding up to big success or contribute to rough experiences.  Not picking up your new suit at the cleaners or leaving your phone sitting on a desk (been there).  Or forgetting something small like a prefeeder or the mainsail battens.  The small things can have big impact.  I know the risks are higher here and magnified by how separated we will be. You can always take a taxi back to the hotel to grab your phone...

Freaky things can happen last minute as well. I was sad to hear a prospective crewmate was thrown from a horse this past weekend in
Europe injuring his ribs -- making a passage across the northern Atlantic a considerably more dangerous and potentially painful endeavor. But as that door closes, another opens.  My friend Andrew Sayre from Saunderstown will be joining me on this Transatlantic race.  Andrew and I have raced a bit and managed to win a few regattas on John Hammels’ Elan -  a Beneteau First 36.7, USA51920. 
I am very happy to have Andrew with me, not only because he is a good sailor, but a really great guy. It will be good fun to have him along.

Now if only I can remember where I put my.... (insert any number of the hundreds of things I am trying to pin down before we leave Sunday).

Monday, June 20, 2011


Back in May a good friend, Chris Museler, asked if I was interested in doing a Transatlantic race on a boat that he sailed on in the 2005 race (which he wrote about in Sailing Anarchy in an entry entitled “Old School”). http://www.sailinganarchy.com/general/2005/atlantic_challenge.htm

After careful consideration and discussion with my family and friends, I decided to accept an offer to crew on Nordwind -- an 86ft Yawl built in 1939 by Henry Gruber.  Nordwind is owned by Dr. Hans Albrecht, founder and Managing Director of Nordwind Capital, a private equity firm based in Germany.   

I had a chance to meet and chat with our captain, Alex and some of the Crew (Tom, Santi, and Nico) and will meet Hans this week as we do a shakedown sail after having new sails cut by North and a fresh coat of ablative applied to the bottom.  Nordwind has been on the hard for over a week with her crew working diligently varnishing and prepping her for the crossing -- there is a LOT of brightwork on board, so a lot of hard work has gone into her.  In fact, I told my friend Meaghan that I felt like I was sitting in a china cabinet when talking with Alex below decks on my first visit with all the beautiful woodwork and cabinetry.  A VERY sturdy china cabinet. 

Really looking forward to the shakedown.