USA

Thanks, Hurricane Felicia, Route, Video

Firstly, I have a bunch of people to thank. To begin with... All those great people who sent through donations while I was sailing to Hawaii or sitting in port - You know who you are, but many people don't: Debbie, Deborah, Terri, Julio, Weide, James, Gillian, TV Navigation, Kevin, Bain... You guys (and girls) are awesome. You all made my life much easier in port - I could afford to provision with some decent food as opposed to junking it with Ramen noodles, which make me utterly miserable. They make Constellation miserable too, because I get cranky and yell into the wind more (like a crazy person). And speaking of nice food - Special thanks to Adam for the Trader Joe's care package, posted from San Francisco and full of tasty treats. After my cries at the cost of a new sail to replace my 20 year old UV destroyed genoa... Dave Benjamin of Island Planet Sails, out of Alameda, offered to help with a deep discount on a new cruising genoa. Still stuck for funds, but wanting to take up Dave's offer and sail off with a reliable sail, my good friends Mari and Paul came to the rescue (again...) with some extra funds. For those who follow regularly, Mari is the amazing person out of Greenport that fed me, lent a car, helped rebuild Constellation and even re-wire her for the Pacific, while I was on Long Island... Paul is my friend from Melbourne whom I had the first chance to talk about sailing many years ago, and who came to visit me in Southampton, and even organise accommodation for me in Melbourne when I visited over Christmas. Two great friends, and a nice sailmaker = Constellation gets a new Genoa... So, that's the story on why I was waiting around for a new sail. It arrived, and is fantastic... And somehow Dave rushed it through in two weeks. If you're buying new sails - Let Dave help you, he ships anywhere, makes nice sails, and is a really nice guy. Thanks also to Ken for being the postbox for the new sail, and hand-delivering it to the club.

So... The Hurricane. You can see what it's up to on my new tracking page. I left Waikiki Yacht Club, bound for Palmyra two days ago, and swiftly turned around. I was spooked, and rushing out because my Visa expired. I called the coastguard and discussed my problem, and then promptly returned to the Waikik Yacht Club - Who've been extraordinarily patient with me and my need to stay in port (either waiting for a new sail, or waiting for hurricanes). I erred on the side of caution with Hurricane Felicia, even though I did my fair share of research - Watching historical data, and current modeling. I think I would have been safe to continue my passage, but, it was a risk, and as someone else mentioned - Better to be sitting in port wishing you were sailing, than sailing and wishing you were in port... In a faster boat with crew, it would have not posed a problem. But in a slow boat with no crew, I think maybe it's nicer sitting at the yacht club, listening to old salts at the bar discuss high winds and surging seas, than have to experience them. As soon as the Pacific basin clears up, I'm outta here. As for my Visa... Customs and Immigration were completely understanding, and even came to my boat to fix up the paperwork and help me out. Nice.

For those curious on where I'm going, and what I'm doing, my route is fairly simple, and I'm looking forward to nice sailing with a perfect wind-angle for my next leg. As already noted, I plan to head for Palmyra first, the small Pacific atoll just over 900nm from Honolulu. Palmyra has a really interesting history, and is currently a Nature Conservancy, run by the US government - Read the Wikipedia page for better information. I've been given permission to visit, and can't wait to enter the reef-shark infested lagoon that has had its entrance blasted out by dynamite, and who's shores sparkle with blue crabs. Located 6degrees above the equator, the Atoll is 3ft above sea level, drenched in equatorial heat and haunted with ghosts and a curious past. Hiding (supposedly) Spanish bullion and the body parts of a double murder, Palmyra is the kind of island I've been waiting to visit since the inception of this voyage. Of all the oceans, (as with most people), the Pacific conjures up mystery, intrigue and a phenomenal sea-fairing history. I simply can't wait to explore these odd places that are virtually inaccessible except by private vessel. After Palmyra, I hope to visit Western Samoa, and then hop across to Fiji and then I don't know... Maybe the (also) strange Lord Howe Island before Sydney... But we'll take it one island at a time.

Since I'm land-bound again, here is a brief video of my first Pacific leg. It isn't really as comprehensive as my other videos, but you get the picture... And besides, there is only so much film one can make about bobbing around in the middle of nowhere!

Nick.

Thanks Waikiki Yacht Club!

I just realised how long it has been since my last update... In fact, my absence could nearly be classified as a blog black hole since I arrived in Honolulu - But only because so much has been happening! As things wind down in Hawaii, and I prepare to depart again on another long ocean-journey, I must first thank my incredible hosts in Honolulu - The Waikiki Yacht Club. Yet I guess the story of the WYC really starts just two days after my arrival, when I met Nicole Bilodeau, the Program Director for Roz Savage (if you think I'm mad, she's a whole other kind of crazy!), who connected me with all the friendly people at the WYC. It being possibly the busiest time of year for everyone at the club, with the large Transpac fleet about to arrive, I was surprised and grateful at the positive response - To my great relief (I was having severe difficulty finding somewhere to keep Constellation that I could consider being able to afford) and appreciation, the club opened their arms to me. So I've been docked here, in one of the nicest clubs/marinas I've had the pleasure of visiting on my entire trip, for the last three weeks, enjoying Honolulu, provisioning, and repairing Constellation.



Not only did Constellation have a nice slip to stay in, but I had full run of the club facilities in a beautiful location, which was also central to all the big shops I needed to re-provision in (thanks Nicole for ferrying me around so I could buy beef jerky by the armful!). My stay here has been longer than initially intended, with a new genoa being built which now appears to be stuck somewhere in a Kentucky mail center for no logical reason (if some of you remember, I waited 8 weeks in the Canaries for my solar panels... Fingers crossed this isn't Spanish Post Redux!). I'll dedicate another post to my other adventures here in Hawaii, including a 5 day sail up the west coast of Oahu and details on my new sail in another entry - I really just wanted to dedicate this entry to thanking everyone at the Waikiki Yacht Club; in particular each and every member, who are technically the collective sponsors of my stay here - Special thanks to Kat Petron for liaising and understanding my predicament, and to Commodore Bill Foster, Vice-Commodore Jim Ewing, Jack Peters and everyone on the Board for making the joint decision to host me so kindly.

Nick Jaffe, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii.

San Francisco to Hawaii - 27 Days

Struggling with 'August the mighty Yanmar' outside of the channel markers, it was a stressful finish to 27 days at sea... With a surf break on one side of the buoys, and a breakwater on the other, I had the genoa sheets in my hands in case the engine failed, so I could unfurl and tack back out under sail. Thankfully we made it in, and safely tied up to the fuel dock after another long passage. The first sounds of land that I heard, were the chirps of caged birds - Cockatiels, budgies, and other tropical birds, their bird-condos overlooking the harbour... There was a surf shack next door, someone paddled past on a standup board, and the sun set with a picturesque tropical tradewind orange tinge... Oh, hello Hawaii.

I radioed the coastguard for the Customs phone number, but the payphone speaker was on the blink, and no one could hear me. Surrounded by a locked gate, I was lucky enough to find liveaboards tied up alongside, and asked them what I should do - 'Nothing till morning' they said, and I tied up along side. My new friends, Sherri & Gene, then handed over ice cold Longboard beer, a plate of rice, sautéed mushrooms and a lamb steak. Whoa.

And not just any lamb. Australian lamb. I was in heaven... And also now a third of a way across the Pacific ocean... Obviously somewhat closer to home than last month - On account of the lamb, and of course, the mileage. Thanks Sherri & Gene!

The voyage of 27 days was somewhat longer than expected... Yes, this isn't a race, but I was really hoping for a 20 day passage, 25 at worst, and anything under 20 would have been extraordinary. Alas, conditions were not on my side, and I simply didn't have the equipment to take advantage of the light winds I experienced either side of the blustery tradewinds - A large asymmetric spinnaker may have pushed up my average, as I only had 24 hours of glassed over ocean - But the rest of the time it was light winds... Unfortunately, Constellation simply cannot sail an ocean swell in much less than 8kts of breeze - Overloaded with water, provisions, equipment, and coupled with 'Windy the Windpilot' unable to steer without bucking off course, it was mildly irritating. Constellation and I fought for every mile, and eventually neared the islands enough to catch their localised breeze. Once we were hooked, Constellation screamed along, and we flew into Honolulu with a setting sun, and idyllic sailing, in the lee of the island. The sundowner catamaran crowds all sailed past, full of drunken tourists, strangely... Listening to Billie Jean. Yes, even in the middle of the ocean, I was clued in on the death of the king of pop...

It's difficult for me to really express more about the leg across from San Francisco more than I already have via other posts at sea... I experienced many of the same conditions and situations I did on my other crossings, including several breakages which I've already mentioned - However I might add the mainsheet did eventually come completely off, and I ended up handling the mainsail by hand, via a tied up mooring line on the aft end of the boom... Gybing a mainsail by hand (ie. my arms being the sheet) is an interesting experience... On the topic of sails, my mylar sail lost it's covering in the tropical sun, and my only other genoa is showing strong signs of wear, having survived the past 20 odd years in the Solent, the coast of Europe, an Atlantic crossing, the Bermuda triangle and a third of the Pacific... Not bad at all, but the sun is so incredibly harsh on these sails - I actually did a mid-ocean swap with my very nice UK/Halsey mainsail, which was sponsored by Dial Before You Dig in 2007 - And ran up my old mainsail for downwind sailing - I couldn't justify burning such a nice sail in the sun; it needs to be preserved for beating upwind and other such pleasures.

I've been here in Honolulu four nights now - I spent two days just organising myself, dealing with customs etc and recovering from the trip. I couldn't sleep the first night - The boat wasn't moving enough! It was too quiet... I was restless and agitated. I found myself caught up in the bureaucratic machinations of local government, stuck deep in a building with endless corridors, only to be in the wrong place... Also, my cruising permit has expired, making it very difficult for me to move between islands. Disappointing. But, I also don't have a lot of time, so, we'll see what happens.

Other than that, I've been exploring this surreal island, swimming, planning, and drinking iced coffee. The Caribbean, warmer Pacific latitudes etc, really invoke a deep lethargy, and as I am mildly hyperactive, it makes me feel lazy. I have a ton of stuff to do, yet without iced kona coffee, it simply isn't going to happen...

I have more to write, but it will have to be saved for the next post... I feel tired. In the meantime, here are some photos. It was an amusing experience going through the photos, and deciding what ones to upload. Basically, I realised, in 27 days, I had about 9 to upload... I then thought to myself... 27 days, squalls, dozens of waves in the cockpit, whales, dolphins, revelations, the meaning of life and crazy talking to myself... And all I have are 9 photos to show? Anyway, here they are, and I've even included my track to Hawaii - I give full permission for all Transpac racers and the like to laugh and my squiggly route... ! They don't call me Australia's answer to Michel Desjoyeaux for nothing... (Said in extreme jest).







More photos here.

I know what you're all about to say - DID YOU CATCH THE FISH? No. My friend Rob in San Francisco, told me Dorado mate for life. After hearing that, I couldn't do it... But, I did actually catch a few, however I de-barbed my hooks, and released them. Everytime I caught one and considered making fish curry, all I could do was imagine myself walking down the street with a girlfriend, and her suddenly disappearing from my side, never to be seen again. That's what it must be like for Dorado...

So the Transpac is about to come in - Super maxi Alfa Romeo is coined for Friday night I think - I plan to negotiate a straight trade with Constellation, I hear they're wanting to downsize because of the recession - You only need a skipper to sail a Contessa 26 instead of all those expensive crew-

...Imagine, sailing that boat at full-tilt, I'd be me home within a few weeks!

And last but not least, I was excited to see the three page article about my trip in this months Latitude 38... Thanks LaDonna for your great writing and for capturing my voyage so nicely, and thanks to Latitude 38 for publishing it. Viewable here: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 - Better yet, grab the entire magazine for free.

Nick.

Half Moon Bay, Thanks North America!

I spent a fruitful and productive week in Sausalito, at Schoonmaker Point Marina, thanks to Rob & Adam. I spoilt myself to Mussels Bleu at the nearby French restuarant, thinking it might be my last nice meal for a very, very long time... However, I'm still on the west coast, so maybe it was a premature indulgence. I sat at the bar and recalled stories to the French maitre d' of my most glorious time in Brittany, France. Still one of my most favourite destinations so far - Nights spent calculating the best time to navigate 8kt races or 10m tides, and gazing at the infamous lighthouse posters in every French tavern, depicting post card images of 30ft waves crashing over their tops. As if the slip wasn't enough, Rob & Adam kept helping with the many projects aboard Constellation - Mounting deck winches donated by my friend Bain at the Berkeley Marina, figuring out whisker poles, visiting the Latitude 38 headquarters, running me to and from West Marine for parts, backwards and forwards to many stores to get final provisions and all manner of other things - Three weeks worth of aimlessly running around doing things on my own, were done in a week... Rob even broke out the sewing machine to make Constellation a nice set of protective weather cloths to guard the cockpit and myself from incoming waves - A modification I've wanted to make since day one. LaDonna of Latidue 38 vacuum packed beans and rice for provisions - In my first meeting with this salty pair, they exclaimed "we'll send you off with 25lbs of beans and rice" ... And so they did! Thank you Adam for the PFD, safety line and everything else you parted with... I hope the motivation is even stronger to chase me across the Pacific and retrieve it all!

Without the assistance Marcello and Massimo of Bluemapia.com, no provisions would be onboard, and Hawaii and beyond may not have become an attainable possibility this year... Many thanks to my favourite Italians for not only employing me over the last six months, but for stepping up again and assisting in financing some of the many things that are required to do what I'm doing. These guys are passionate sailors who've built a great resource for the community - Use it.

Constellation has never been in better shape - She doesn't necessarily look as Bristol as I might like, however from the point of view of what I'm doing, and what she's already done, the sunbleached and paint stripped deck seem to represent nothing other the wrinkles found on a wise face. She's sporting a re-cut mylar reaching sail, new luff tape on all sails for the Selden Furlex, and a pretty burgundy sailcover thanks to Mark at Doyle sails of Long Island - I exploded my genoa in Long Island sound last year in a line squall, and Mark generously expedited a replacement across to the Alameda Doyle loft two weeks ago - Thank you so much Mark.

Bain, whom I've lost contact with, (if you're out there, email me!) ferried me around various chandleries, fed me, and just generally looked after Constellation and I in Berkeley - Along with Captain Ted I've been in great hands on the east bay. Thanks to Anthony and Jeff @ OCSC for the opportunity to do a talk on my trip, and to Karen for the helping fund the no-more-Ramen-diet I'm attempting this season.

After my brief stay in Sausalito, meeting the infamous Maria, and the not so infamous, yet humble and kind Buddhist monk Dawa, I set sail in the company of three other vessels for Half Moon Bay. Towed under the Golden Gate Bridge due to Constellations working but impossibly slow little diesel thumper, I was eventually untethered and let to roam free for the first time in the Pacific ocean. The weather was kind, and I set Windy the Windpilot on a nice tack heading West.

My friends in company eventually radioed and reminded me that we were actually supposed to be going south, but I was enjoying the sail so much, I setup a 2nm tack before bearing down on Half Moon. In light southerly winds, the other three boats needed to sail backwards and around in circles, so as not to leave me behind, before we eventually ghosted past the placid looking big wave surfspot, Mavericks, and through the breakwater into the bay.


Photo Courtesy Latitude 38 / LaDonna

Rafted up, and into town for clam chowder (one of my reasons for visiting America - To sail past the Statue of Liberty, and eat bowels of chowder), the next morning Captain Ted and I bought a Dungeness crab for brunch. I've never claimed to be a tough man. I couldn't kill the crab, and so Rob did the honours, and I steamed the catch. Eating out of a bucket off the transom with butter, it was quite the occasion. My first Dungeness. LaDonna wrote a piece in Lectronic Latitude on the send-off party.

And so, as the now trio of boats motored out of the breakwater, I ran in circles and said my goodbyes over VHF. I thought in two days I would be gone... But here I am, waiting on the weather. I have a long and lonely six months ahead of me, as Constellation and I attempt to do virtually the entire Pacific (and then some), within six months. Actually, lonely isn't the right word, but I will certainly be alone... And so the weather patterns are clearing, and the NW winds are set to resume their pattern, and I genuinly feel this weekend is going to be my departure window. I write to you from the anchorage at Half Moon Bay - These bits were posted by solar power.

I suspect my next post will be from the high seas - Remote updates will be zapped over satellite, thanks to Serversaurus.com.

Thanks for everything North America, now I have to get back to following the setting sun!

Nick.

Talk at OCSC this Wednesday

For anyone in the Bay area, I'm doing a talk at OCSC this Wednesday evening, at 8:30pm. The talk is free for members and non-members, so all are welcome. I'll be showing photos, videos and, obviously talking... Details here. I've sailed over to Sausalito now, and am staying in a slip donated by Adam & Rob for the week. The tentative plan is to head down to Half Moon bay this weekend, and then depart for Hawaii from there. Constellation's rail was under the water for most of the sail over, and some new problems have arisen. The usual: Water ingress from a few new spots, and one that just won't give up... If 3M or Sikaflex would sponsor me, I'd be happy to just poor it over the entire deck and be done!

Nick.

Both on the west coast

At long last. After what many people said was stupid, too expensive, impractical, or 'cheating', Constellation and I went ahead anyway, and I'm pleased to announce, we're happily floating on the west coast of the US. After a month-long delay by Nauti Buoy Marine out of Ohio in getting my boat to California, coupled with their terrible lack of communication, I can say one thing I'm happy about: Constellation arrived safe and sound. She may be late, and I may be stressed out, but, we'll make it, I'm sure.

So much has happened, I'm lost for where to start... Jack and I crossed the country, he filmed, I filmed, and we had a blast. The interior of the United States is beyond comprehension. What a big and beautiful country, full of friendly and interesting people. I can't write about everything, so this short video I shot will have to suffice:

After the epic cross-country trip, I landed in Berkeley, expecting my boat to be just a day or two behind me. So I waited, and waited... And waited. If it wasn't for the extraordinary generosity of Captain Ted, I would have been up a creek without a paddle. He lent me a lovely boat just down the road from Berkeley marina, where I was able to stay until the truckers actually got their act together. From coast-to-coast the generosity of America continues to shine through. I had someone email me the other day, and tell me I'm the luckiest person they'd ever met... And, I have a feeling they might be right. Thank you Ted, you're both a gentlemen and a lifesaver.

Fast forward a few weeks, and at long last, this happened:

Yes, I got to stand next to my boat. In California. It was a momentous occasion, having first proposed the idea back in Feb of 2008... I never knew whether it would be actually possible, and while it wasn't exactly how I had intended it to happen... It happened nonetheless, and here we are.

As soon as the truck arrived, Constellation was thrown up on the crane by Berkeley Marine Center, and I ran about preparing for a quick launch. I dabbed up the antifoul, re-attached the rudder with the help of friendly onlookers (it seemed everyone was curious about the pretty red boat with lots of stickers), I launched, and Constellation floated.

With Captain Ted at the helm and help from Berkeley Marina, we were towed over to our slip, to begin the arduous re-assembly:

With thanks to my generous uncle, whom I saw recently in Eugene, I have power tools to help me along... I also have my brother, who flew in from Melbourne. Remember the crazy bike that Lee Winters loaned me when I had grand plans of crossing the country? I couldn't register it... But, my brother can, so he's riding it to Alaska. If you get bored with me, try him out at www.ryanjaffe.com.au. My poor parents.

So, that's the abridged version of events... I'll try to update more often, but, I'll be off for Hawaii pretty soon. I'm already a bit late... For anyone that has written and I've not replied lately, especially those from the SF/Bay Area who wanted to visit and see the boat - Please email me again... I'm drowning in email. And for anyone that has my cell number, it is no longer functioning (waterlogged), after a small accident with a kayak ... ;)

Nick.

Nick went west, Constellation never left

I have a lot to write about, but little internet access, and little motivation to post... Jack and I flew to Denver, and drove across country as planned, and now I'm here in California, living on a friends boat near Berkeley. I'm being messed about with my boat transporter (Constellation is still in New York), and if this continues, the entire project is in genuine jeopardy. Some photos of our roadtrip to tide things over...

More here

I'm in love with the American landscape. As if I wasn't already.

nick.

Sailors, I need your help - Win stuff!

Campaign Progress (read below to see what these numbers mean):

of the required users
of the required placemarks

As avid readers will already know, I went back to Australia for a couple of months to see family, and also to work in order to pay for all this madness. I managed to get quite a lot of work done, and was able to put together enough money to truck my boat across America, as per the plan. However, past that... The budget doesn't allow for much else. That all being said, there is a way out of this, thanks to the founders of Bluemapia.com - The same company I've been working with, for the past several months. They've put together a sponsorship package which will provide me with the much needed funding to cross the Pacific this year - However, in return I need to achieve certain goals on the Bluemapia.com website. To briefly explain, Bluemapia.com is an online web application which allows users to freely sign up, and contribute sailing related media and information. The concept hinges around user-generated content, termed 'placemarks'. A placemark is a piece of information (photo, text, video etc) directly related to a specific point on the earth (a waypoint). My goals are to get 300 new users on Bluemapia.com, and 600 new placemarks. That might seem like a lot, but it's not - There are thousands of monthly viewers reading this website, and a large majority of them are sailors - You already have the knowledge, and I'm kindly asking you to consider putting it on Bluemapia.com to help me out, and also to help build up a phenomenal sailing resource. It costs nothing to signup, and everything you submit is Creative Commons licensed - That means it's yours forever.

For all your help, and if these goals are met... I've organised some cool stuff to give away: Through my own volition and unrelated to the Bluemapia.com sponsorship arrangement, I'll be giving away a prize each to the top three placemark contributors. They're all solo sailing related, and will be shipped to wherever you are in the world (including the three great capes!):

First prize - A SPOT Messenger - Update your position via the push of a button, to notify your friends and family, while also publishing it live to the web.
Second prize - Four sailing books every solo sailor (or, for that matter, every sailor!) should own: Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum, Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi, The Long Way by Bernard Moitessier, Alone through the Roaring Forties by Vito Dumas.
Third prize - Sailing the world alone - A DVD documentary on the 1994 singlehanded BOC Challenge.

To take part, assist in my passage across the Pacific, and contribute your sailing knowledge to Bluemapia.com - Sign up and start adding placemarks. A counter will be added showing how progress is going in the coming days.

Thank you Bluemapia, and to everyone who continues to read this site, write comments, emails, and just show an interest!

Nick.

Back in New York, Plans for '09

I felt like I'd been home for awhile... But, after returning to New York, time has once again sped up, and less than a week later, home feels blurry, and distant. Memories are so subjective, so false, so fleeting. Yet I have been listening to music which was on repeat throughout my trip over the past few days... Thoughts of living in England in the rain appear vivid; being tied up next to a bridge in Holland, the barges steaming by and consequently pushing Constellation against century old canal walls. The panic of collecting diesel in Brest to cross the Bay of Biscay, taking mid-night taxis with trunks full of jerry cans, fuel spilling on deck. It's these memories which are explicit in retrospect, but impossible to convey after a recent bout of questioning... Just before leaving Australia, I went on local radio, was interviewed for two small newspapers (read one of them here), and said goodbye to friends who all ask 'why?' ... There is no simple answer. All I can rebuttal with is a confused look of 'why not?' It is of course far more complex than that, but there are no more questions, only actions, and this is what has been going on for 514 days. But it's more like 954 days since the inception of this voyage. That's two years, seven months, and eight days... But what extraordinary days they were! And what extraordinary days are in store for 2009. I've been lax on posts since I went home. I had little sailing news, and was concentrating on working, seeing friends, and riding my bicycle. Through great fortune, my good friend and fellow sailor Paul, connected me with Stephen and Magda, who generously provided me with a room to stay for my time in Australia. They run a great little warehouse with student accommodation in Melbourne, and donated one of their rooms to me, and ultimately to this project. Without their assistance in providing a roof over my head, I would have been stuck paying rent, and would not have been able to save what I've managed to over the past several months, to make this year happen. My sincere thanks goes out to them for such generosity - My mother says I have good merit, which I am absolutely conscious of; I'm writing here, and about this, because of other people. I planted a seed; and people everywhere watered it.

So through my living in Australia, I worked on my projects, survived the heat, and roughly planned 2009. Remember, I wanted to ride a bike across America? It was supposed to be a pedal powered one. However, Lee Winters, that lovely man who recently crossed the Gulf of Mexico on the beginning of his circumnavigation, in the name of helping children find a home, gave me this:

Honda 1100CC

It's not exactly a bicycle, but it does have two wheels... This monster lies down in Texas, waiting for me to figure out how to integrate it into a kind of sailing / Easy Rider type adventure. Don't forget there is a film being made about this whole trip, and I can already picture a wide open ocean; pan to desert scene across Arizona... It makes me laugh just thinking about it. This trip has mostly epitomised the nature of going with the flow - It wasn't until I reached the Canaries and had too much time to think about things, that I decided to sail to New York and go overland... And it wasn't until I was driving down the Long Island Express that I decided it would be more fun to ride across America and see the country. And now, through Lee's generosity, I just might be doing it while sitting above 1100CC's of engine. Thank you Lee, you're a gentlemen, and I urge everyone to spend more time following his adventures than mine - His intentions have greater purity; the type that are infectious, and heart warming. We could all do more for the world while following our passions, and he's doing it, now.

After landing in Los Angeles, my passport was inspected, and I was whisked off to the Admissibility Review room. It's the special room made for people who tick the box on the entrance sheet saying 'I have been arrested', or 'I have been denied entry to the USA'. I ticked no to all those boxes, and even arrived in the country with a real visa, unlike most people who just take advantage of the Visa Waiver Program. Basically, I did everything correctly, and then some. But no, it wasn't enough. I waited for three hours, and was then interviewed and hassled about my intentions to enter America. No offence to Americans, but really, I have better things to do than try and enter your borders and stay illegally. I don't fit your profiles, I have no record, I've only ever followed the book. As I sat in the room, I wondered about how much I would get for Constellation. I wondered if she was worth anything, to anybody. Forlorn, frozen, in pieces, I thought not much. But, I was later released, only to be 'randomly chosen by the TSA computer for full screening.' And so, I stood there, arms in the air, legs spread, patted down, bags bomb dusted, shoes off, laptop opened, 20 minutes before US Airlines flight 32 departed for New York. I made it, the flight was crowded, I was tired, I landed, and by the end of the week I'll be back to my boat.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn

I have a long way to go this year. Over 7000nm of sailing to go... That's 12,964km's. But 2009 is more than likely the year I will also finish. I wonder if I can drag it out any more? What on earth will I do when I finish? Many things. Many things indeed!

Rough sailing route for 2009

-Nick, Brooklyn, New York City.

Australia, What's next, Photos

Happy New Year! I've had a comment and quite a few emails asking what's going on. Well, not a lot really... The project is still on, and I'm at home in Australia working, and scheming for the next leg. I'm still adamant about trucking the boat, and will do so sometime in April. We'll go somewhere on the West coast of the US (obviously), most likely Berkeley because I have a couple of contacts in the area... I also like Ginsberg, and I hear he wrote a poem there. While my blogging has slowed down, the project hasn't - So for anyone thinking I've just thrown the towel in, you'd be more than wrong... ! It also remains to be seen how I will get myself across the country, as the original idea of cycling may have changed slightly in recent weeks.

I continue to work with Bluemapia.com, which has been fantastic - If you're a sailor, go there, sign up, and share your tips & info on your local sailing area. When not working with Bluemapia, I have the great fortune to be working on my own ideas. They involve the web, and sailing... And another project may involve helping someone else begin an enormous and seemingly impossible voyage. More on all of that some other time.

After Christmas (which involved no snow) I went on a small trip - Photos are below. My return ticket to New York is booked for the 19th of January, however, due to a lack of housing options, and the fact it's much easier for me to survive here than in a foreign country in the dead of winter, it is more than likely I will stay another month or two. There is little I can do on Constellation right now, and she will probably not touch the water again until April or early May. Much work remains, and she's in a state of disarray, however 2009 is set to be the year Constellation is more seaworthy than in any other time of her life!

Cooring

Pink Salt Lake

Cape Horn

Salt Pan, Cooring

More photos in the usual place.

Skandia week is coming up, and with any luck I might get to sail then... I may finally get to write about sailing again!

Nick