Friday, October 21, 2011

Sailing South

I've dragged out the whole "what's next" thing about as long as I can, so here's the deal: I'm in Stamford, CT, ready to meet up with my friend "Captain Roy" and get underway on a yacht delivery to the Virgin Islands!

The boat is a 48-foot X-Yacht performance cruiser, well designed for long distance, open-ocean cruising. It's the same boat, in fact, that Roy and I moved from San Francisco to Seattle back in 2006. So, we are very familiar and comfortable with it.

This last point may become very important, because as of my last communication with Roy it was unclear how many additional crew members he has lined up for our voyage.

Although it would be great to have a couple of extra hands on board -- not only to help handle the boat but also to sit watches and allow us to get some decent sleep -- Roy and I have moved the boat alone before and know that we can do it again if we have to.

That's partly my way of saying that as great as a sailing trip to the Caribbean sounds, it will be a long, hard sail for a short-handed crew. I'm not complaining, mind you, just inviting you to keep in mind that I've got several weeks of 24-hour days ahead of me. Even when you do get to sleep, it's usually short naps in a pitching and rolling bunk, interrupted by necessary boat-keeping. In other words, it's a sailing trip that will be a fantastic experience, but not quite as pleasurable as it might sound.

We will leave Stamford as soon as we have rigged and provisioned the boat, probably on Sunday. Depending on the wind and weather forecasts, we will either follow the coast to Cape Hatteras before heading to the Caribbean, or go on a southeasterly route via Bermuda. In either case, we will probably take 3-4 weeks to reach the tropics.

That's where the fun will really begin, because the owner of the boat won't be taking over until the middle of December. Which means that if we can get there by the middle of next month we'll have use of the boat for our own enjoyment for about a month. Plenty of time to do some great tropical cruising!

What happens after the owner takes over is not entirely clear, but at this time he has indicated he plans to use if for only about 10 days -- until right after Christmas -- and would like us to then sail the boat back to Florida for him. If all goes well, I'll probably do that and be back on the mainland shortly after the first of the year.

Although we will have ample navigational and radio technology on board, we won't have any internet connection. Since we'll mostly be open-ocean sailing, we won't be making many port calls either. So, I don't expect to post many -- if any -- updates until we reach the Caribbean.

I will shoot plenty of photos and videos along the way, however, and look forward to giving you a full report as soon as I can from the tropics.

Until then, fair winds and following seas... Stay tuned!


Cheryl said...

Hi David,
I just talked to Roy and he is now in New York. The owner of Tropical Storm met him at the airport tonight at 9:30. I'll be looking for Macgellan updates every day. You guys are sure to have a very exciting adventure. I'm new to your blog but looking forward to reading future postings.


“Invitations to travel are like dancing lessons from God.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

Authur said...

My father is a ship captain. That's why my interest is in the middle of the sea too. He let me study sailing courses and after that move on also in Nautical courses like him.