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 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 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.


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.

Boat Trucking, Brewer's Greenport

My return ticket to New York is now locked in for the 6th of February! It's been a very productive and fun time in Australia, however soon it's time to resume things and continue the trip. Thank you to Mari for the latest photo of Constellation - It was nearly 39C (about 103F) the other day here in Melbourne, and as can be seen, it's considerably colder back on Long Island:

Constellation, transom, Greenport

Right now, I'm getting quotes and trying to organise the somewhat complex overland trip that has to happen this year. I expect to be trucking Constellation sometime in April, and for myself to be over on the west coast for when she arrives - This is for a scheduled departure across the Pacific in May or early June... Right now I've been getting quotes from, and the best one so far is around $3,500. If anyone is familiar with hotshot trucking, or has any contacts in the industry who might take a backhaul west, please let me know. I need to confirm a trucking solution very soon, to ensure everything goes to plan.

Much work remains to be done on Constellation, however I hope to get 90% of it done before going overland. With the generous support of Mike Acebo who runs runs the Greenport Brewer Yacht Yard, Constellation has been under his care ever since I first docked way back in June/July of 2008. Mike and everyone at the marina has been exceptionally generous, and we're also hoping to re-do Constellation's rig, and install a furler on the foresail before leaving New York. Without the support of Mike and the Brewer yard, there is definitely, and absolutely no way I'd be moving on this year across the Pacific. So, if you're ever on a boat in Long Island, be sure to visit Brewer Yacht Yard in Greenport and say hello!

In other news, Lee Winters has successfully made it across the Gulf of Mexico. I watched his position closely over the last week, and this evening he managed to jump behind an island in Mexico before the wind picked up too much. Lee's expression of 'crying for the first time in his adult life' and the elation you can detect in his latest blog post, brings back tremendous memories of my own sailing last year... Simon has also just made it across the Atlantic ocean alone, from the Cape Verde islands - He hasn't updated his map yet, however I know he's quite happily anchored in St Lucia, the Caribbean!

The feeling of achievement, relief, sadness, and pure joy after a long distance passage alone, is nearly incomprehensible to someone who hasn't done it, yet I can assure you that both Lee & Simon deserve a really big pat on the back. Congrats!