When I met Rune Monstad in the Canary Islands, he had cycled from South America right up into Canada, before flying to Europe, and is now en route north through Africa, as part of his bicycle circumnavigation. We had a lot in common in our attitudes about what we were doing, and were also equally dogged about finishing what we'd started. However broke, however tired and however angry, we both talked about the incredible generosity we'd encountered along the way, both grateful and suprised at how people reached out in all manner of ways. Rune couldn't stop talking about how good America had been to him, and right now, I couldn't agree with him more. Here at the Brewers Yacht Yard in Greenport, people are helping me left, right and centre to get Constellation seaworthy again. A furler is being installed, my sails are being converted and repaired by Doyle sails, there is talk of a Furuno radar, new standing rigging, and a replacement boom. As a result of a frontpage article in the Suffolk Times (viewable here), I regularly get referred to as 'Nick' from people I've never met in town, with the article spurring on numerous invitations for dinner, barbecues, offers of assistance on the boat, wine from Long Island wineries, and even a recording studio offering to do a recording, based on the premise of the article mentioning I had a rusty guitar!
If all that wasn't enough, recently a family motored into the Marina to meet me, holding up the paper to passers by, asking where I was. After a brief meeting, they were back the following week with a proposal: What if a party was thrown to raise money to truck Constellation across America? I was speechless, and I think all I could muster was a 'Are you kidding? Really?' I was bowled over by the idea, and within a few days, invitations circulated, the party had a date, and Constellation and I may just get across this great continent as planned! I'd been depressed over the enormity of the scheme, it all be very well to have an idea, but a whole other problem to make it happen. The cost of trucking a 3.5 ton sail boat from New York to San Francisco is no small sum, and sailing back to the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal is also no small feat... The Northwest Passage may be 'open', but Constellation told me in a dream, she was no ice breaker, and while Cape Horn beckoned (ha!), I'll save those latitudes for the aluminium expedition ketch I spend too much time thinking about. So this party nears the end of the month, and with it brings great excitement at the thought of getting closer to solving the age old problem of getting into the Pacific from the Atlantic.
If it seems this blog may have become slightly neglected since I arrived here, I must apologise, it probably has, yet only for good reasons: Life has been full throttle, traveling in and out of the city from Long Island, visiting friends, relatives, racing boats, and generally having the time of my life. I've already said that sailing north from the Caribbean was a really good decision, but I have to say it again: Sailing north from the Caribbean was a really good decision.
I mentioned some months ago that I was going to Vancouver for a wedding, and that time has come. I'm terrified of doing the Best Man Speech, which is by far scarier than doing a solo transatlantic... All I can say is, it's lucky I bought more than one bottle of Mt Gay Rum from Barbados; I'll have to take mouthfuls of the stuff prior to toasting the the newlyweds, balancing a fine line between doing the speech in a pirate voice and actually not embarrassing myself nor the groom.
I haven't been doing a great deal of sailing recently, so I hope my land based adventures are enough to keep everyone interested. Below are some photos of a trip to upstate New York:
My brother and I
My brother & Tracy
Next post from latitude 49.25 longitude -123.13.