First of all, thanks to everyone who has reached out with the birthday wishes. It was a great day of relaxation, home cooked food and snuggling with the other birthday boy- Scruffy.
As I look back on my 31st lap around the sun, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been lucky enough to experience. From skiing to sailing, to new colleagues and friends, I have quite a few more stamps in my passport and there is no plan to slow down this next year. I also still have 2 more weeks left as reigning Rhode Island Boater of the Year, so I plan to enjoy that massive burden of power as well 🙂
The last few months have been a whirlwind of countries, flights, experiences, but also self-reflection. Many think it must be a dream job to work with a VOR team, and while it does have fulfilling elements, it is a job with stresses and grinds like any other. Long days and nights while balancing life has its trade-offs. I often find myself in awe of the families in the race who have done this for decades.
Last I wrote, I was in Alicante, Spain for the kickoff of the Volvo Ocean Race. Since then, the team has sailed (and won) the first leg into Lisbon, Portugal then also onto Cape Town, South Africa. They are currently in the Southern Ocean bound for Melbourne, Australia while I am back in Rhode Island watching the snow fall outside.
In between all the stopovers, I travel back to lil’ Rhodey. Between Spain and Portugal, it was just a week but Lisbon and Cape Town was nearly a month which allowed for some skiing in Vermont. Right now, it is just 10 days before jet-setting to Australia. Some people go non-stop without ever going home during the race but I have quickly realized the revitalizing nature of just sleeping in your own bed with your dog, spending time with your loved ones, and home-cooked meals keep oneself mentally and emotionally grounded.
As far as the cities so far: Alicante was a vibrant town of outgoing people, Lisbon was full of old culture and Cape Town was a gorgeous backdrop of mountains and sea. Unfortunately, my job does not afford the luxury of time to be a tourist in these cities as I spend most of my time working inside a container that travels around the world with us. So, therefore, I have the same office wherever I go. However, the evenings provide an opportunity to get out of the village and experience all the unique culinary examples and libations of the country 🙂 The Highlights: Tapas and Red Wine = Alicante. Octopus and a White Port = Lisbon. Steak and ALL Wines = Cape Town.
Finally, in Cape Town, my flight on the last day was not until 9 pm, so I got up early on the last day and fit in as much touristing as possible. The night prior, I went to Signal Hill to watch the Sunset over the Southern Ocean. Then I woke up at 6 am to hike the last 2,000 feet up Table Mountain.
When I say hike, I mean it. It was full-on four wheeling, using hands and sometimes knees to scramble up as fast as you can before the trail gets in the sun and the temperatures becoming scorching. I summited just before 8 am and enjoyed watching the dassies, a funny looking rodent that looks like a cross between a bunny rabbit and woodchuck scurrying around and basking in the sun.
I was able to catch a cable car down the mountain in time to get on a ferry bound for Robben Island – the prison island just off Cape Town where Nelson Mandela and thousands of other political prisoners were held during Apartied. It was a powerful and moving experience. Our tour guide was an ex-political prisoner of the island who returned for self-healing but also for a job in tough society.
The afternoon continued with lunch, an aquarium, and a museum extending my level of exhaustion to an all-time high leading to a gratifying sleep on a red-eye to London then onward to Boston.
From here on out, I am going to try to tack on extra days to my trips to get the most of this opportunity that I have luckily been granted. Brandon will be joining me in Australia next week, and my dad plans to come to New Zealand in March. Despite, being surrounded by tons of people, these adventures can be very lonely when you do not have the people you love to experience them alongside you.
What makes our Persistence Adventures fulfilling are the people (and dogs!) I share the memories with. So I look forward to another year of Persistence Adventures.
Thanks to everyone who followed along our adventures this past summer. Last weekend was Columbus Day Weekend, marking the end of the sailing season in New England. Brandon, Scruffy, and I woke up early on a foggy Saturday morning to take part in Newport Yacht Club’s annual Mitchell Regatta, a pursuit race to Block Island held every Memorial Day and Columbus Day Weekend as a way to bookend your season.
We were the 8th start among 21 boats making us the fastest of the slow boats. Pau Hana, my dad’s Catalina 36, is by the handicap rules, one minute slower than us over 20 miles so he was granted the opportunity to start just one minute ahead. After a one hour delay to let the fog lift and the wind fill in, we were off like a herd of turtles bound for the island off the coast in about 5 knots of breeze. About 6 hours later, we all arrived. The mighty Persistence held her title as the Champions of Class 1 passing all the other slow boats, but most importantly beating my dad by about 10 minutes.
Sunday in the AM there is a Bloody Mary contest. Brandon makes a mean Bloody which this year we even added a little Pineapple Juice and bacon alongside your celery. However, someone else used Bacon Infused Vodka and Candied Bacon so we did not win…
Sunday was a little rainy so just relaxed on the boat. In the afternoon before Awards, there is an Appetizer contest. I regard this as the most important competition of the regatta. There are awards for both taste and presentation. Last year, I won with Stout, Bacon, Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese served in mini solo cups surrounding a mini keg of New Castle. (I have noticed that anything with booze, spice, bacon, and cheese always wins so I combined them all!) This year I made meatloaf cupcakes. Little mini meatloaf, topped with mashed potatoes and a small piece of bacon. While delicious, I didn’t take into account how cold they would get on a plate so quickly. So we didn’t win this year 🙁
Brandon and I looked hard at the forecast all weekend and Monday looked to be pretty gross so we decided to head home around 5pm on Sunday. It took us 3 hours dock to dock which is HUGE for a 34-foot boat. The wind and tide were with us.
It was a little sad as we put we put her back on the mooring at Jamestown Boat Yard that night. We had a great season, we would always liked to have sailed more and had nicer weather but the ol’ Persistence did us well this summer and already looking forward to the next one.
What’s Next? Keep following!
On Tuesday, I boarded a flight bound for Alicante, Spain. My next adventure is working with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, one of the teams for the Volvo Ocean Race and the PR manager which basically means I will be handling all the media side of the team like Press Releases, Interview Requests, and general Media Relations. The race goes around the world starting next week from Spain to Portugal to South Africa to Australia to Hong Kong to New Zealand to Brazil to NEWPORT to England to Sweden to the Netherlands between now and end of June. The team I am working is focused on using thier platform to spread a message of sustainability and ocean health, which is also a passion of mine so I am super excited to help educate the world on steps they can take to help our planet.
While I am super sad to be leaving Scruffy and Brandon at home on this adventure. Brandon will be joining me in Austraila and I will be flying home between the Stopovers. So while racking up miles, and in between my jet-lagged moments. Be sure to follow along here and the team online!
Hygee Cruising – New Video and Blog Post from our week away. The weather might not have been the best but Brandon Somers and I made the best of it.http://persistenceadventures.com/2017/09/12/hygee-cruising/
The Danes have a word, hygee, (pronounced hue-guh) that has no direct translation as it is a feeling of coziness, comfort, happiness, and security — all rolled into one. Think sitting by candlelight with a cup of tea or staying in to have a glass of wine with friends on the couch. To be hygeeligt, is more than experiencing a nice feeling, it is a consciousness of being present and enjoying the moment. The Danes created hygee as a way to break up their long dark winters and speaking from personal experience living in Denmark, creating hygee in daily life was the key to surviving the drudgery of the darkness.
I would call our week of Post-Labor Day sailing, a hygee cruise. Early September can bring some of the best conditions New England has to offer with summer weather without the masses of tourists. However, it can also bring an early Fall. Our week fell on the later, with winds averaging over 20 knots the entire week and over 24 hours of rain and clouds. However, we didn’t let the weather stop our time away from the hustle and bustle of mainland life. We limited our distances sailed and enjoyed our time at anchor relaxing, eating, and drinking in the comfort of our home away from home.
Days were noticeably shorter, yet indulging o a nice glass of red wine while reading in the evenings or a snuggled under a fleece blanket sipping on dark roast coffee in the morning cured any fore longed thoughts of summer. Also having our little terrier, Scruffy curled at our feet helped. We call Scruff a professional snuggler because he will wiggle his way into the most comfortable spot at all times.
The trip was not without adventures though. We left Monday, Labor Day, at the crack of dawn from Jamestown to catch favorable tides and winds to Martha’s Vineyard. We surged 38 miles downwind with the kite up in 20+ knots before eventually taking it down to stay in more control with the big wave state. By midday, we were happily on the hook in Vineyard Haven with plans to wake early again the next day to head for Nantucket, 30 miles away.
However, it became quickly clear as the forecasts progressed, Nantucket would be out of the question as the wind was going to top out at 35 knots between us and the island. So we decided to settle in Vineyard Haven close to the break wall and snuggle in to watch the sunset with some Gin and Tonics and bruschetta. For dinner, I made the FAMOUS Wilson Pasta.
The nice part of my work is I can work from anywhere thanks to an Unlimited Data hotspot and my laptop. So throughout the trip, I posted up for a few morning and evening hours at the nav station or in the cockpit, laptop and the occasional cocktail in hand to do some billable hours. (Shoutout to Morgan who would like our next boat to be named Billable Ours.)
Tuesday we got out the folding bikes, put Scruffy in his basket, and headed to Oak Bluffs, one town over to the Offshore Brewing Co. We sat on their patio with Scruffy and each got a flight of beers which allowed us sample all the offerings and flatbread pizza. I highly recommend this place because they also give you peanuts while you wait!
As the weather was looking dismal for Wednesday, we decided to pull up anchor at 5pm on Tuesday and head 7 miles across the Vineyard Sound to Hadley Harbor, a hurricane hole we read about located in Wood’s Hole. The trip across was a quick one as we saw 30 knots at one point but averaging around 22kts. Scruffy wasn’t a fan of the healing so I held on to him and Brandon navigated us through the chop and between ferries into Wood’s Hole. The current that rips through here is like trying to sail up a river if you don’t go at the right time. We didn’t go at the right time. However, it is short lived and we motor through and sailed into Hadley Harbor.
You would miss this Harbor if you didn’t know it was there. From a distance, it looks just like land, but it’s actually 4 private islands that come together making a few coves that are protected on all sides. The Forbes family has owned these islands for over a hundred years. Wikipedia tells us that they are now all in a trust held by the family and there are 3 dozen homes spread throughout.
Bull Island is the smallest of the islands and the trust allows the Public to go on it. They keep a path cleared in the middle of the island and maintain a dock with a gangway. We anchored right next to Bull and the island became our way of walking Scruffy in the mornings and evenings.
Tuesday evening I grilled Tuna Steaks marinated in Pineapple Terriaki with a Guacamole inspired Avacado spread on top. In the morning, we were happy to find the rain held off until about 11 am on Wednesday but then it poured for hours on and off. We got in a walk and some swimming then spent the whole day down below reading, working, eating, and drinking. It was wonderfully boring.
Unfortunately, we also were watching the devastation in the BVIs, where we have been frequent visitors. It was hard to watch the radar, photos, and videos roll into our social media as our heart broke for all of the people and places we hold dear down there.
Thursday, we woke early and headed upwind in 15-20kts via Buzzard’s Bay against the current to Cuttyhunk, the most western of the Elizabethian islands and another one of our favorite spots. We arrived midday, and despite there being 50+ open moorings, we anchored because they still wanted $45 in the offseason. Brandon invested so much time and energy into our new Windlass, its just not worth it for us.
When the sun finally came out, we headed ashore to explore the island. Despite having been here many times, it is always a fun place to take in the views from the top of the hill or feel the soft sand on Church Beach. We probably saw 3 people total on our trip ashore which included the Market lady. She was only open from 3:30-4:30 and we need a vital ingredient that I had run out: limes! We headed back to the boat and grilled up some veggies and steak tips for our final dinner onboard and watched a beautiful sunset. Cuttyhunk is one of the few places on the East Coast you can watch the sun go down over the ocean.
Friday, we woke up and started to head home early because the winds were only going to get greater as the day went on. Unfortunately, it was once again upwind and against the current but it was pleasant conditions. I was able to do some work via my laptop while the auto pilot and Brandon did most the work. By 3 pm we were back at Jamestown Boat Yard.
It wasn’t the wildest adventure we have had on her but it was the coziest and yet still one of the most enjoyable cruises. A hygee cruise for the books!
I understand that we are VERY lucky to live where we do and sail as much as we do. I almost equate it to those who live in ski towns and get to ski every day: its just our daily life and we enjoy it as much as we can, when we can.
We are also lucky that we live in a community and have friends who share these same values and passions. So a typical weekday evening is normally spent either racing in local series, sailing around, or just hanging out on our, a friend’s, or a family member’s boat.
Brandon and I sail Tuesday nights on a Swan 42 called The Cat Came Back based in Jamestown, and Thursday nights I sail on a J/24 called Bearlymuven with friends as well. We could race Mondays and Wednesdays, too, but honestly, it gets exhausting. Especially since we live about a half hour away and by the time we get home on these evenings, it’s normally past 10 pm and then we have to get up to work the next day. Brandon at 5:45 am and I really try to wake up then too…
I like to take Mondays and Wednesday as nights to just relax and sail. Last Tuesday, our friends Ben and Kelley finally launched their new Melges32. They have been spending most of the summer working on fixing her up and are now keeping her just a few moorings away at JBY. So Wednesday night, we headed over there to check it out and relax with a few beers.
Since they just had a newly painted boat, Madeline (who was over on our boat as well) and I left our dogs on Persistence. They were not happy about it, so we had to put them down below to prevent them from jumping in to join us.
The other nice part of living where we do is that we don’t have to sail far to get away. Just on the other side of Jamestown, about 1 mile as the crow flies and 7 miles by water sail, is Dutch Harbor. We made a plan with our good friends, Morgan and Jay, to meet up there with our dogs and yachts for a Saturday night mini vacation.
Saturday there was no wind in the morning and the weather was crummy. We did housework most of the day before heading over to Jamestown to sail. The “sail” took us about an hour and a half but we had to wear rain jackets because the fog was so thick, you were getting soaked just sitting in the cockpit.
We rafted up with the mighty Hypatia, the Everson’s Chesapeake 32, so we could have dinner and cocktails. While Brandon cleaned the bottom, Morgan and I loaded her 2 dogs, Gussie and Baelin, and my little Scruffy in the little tender for a beach walk. Needless to say, 3 wet dogs and 2 humans in a small boat is very entertaining. We are lucky they are all so well behaved…
Sidenote: Brandon made himself a compressor with a hose and mouth piece that he can plug into the boat using the Inverter so that he can stay down and clean the bottom. (will post photos next time of this contraption)
For dinner, my latest issue of FineCooking recommended a marinade of lime, white wine, miso (I didn’t have it so I substituted White Balsamic), Cilantro, Olive Oil, Honey, Scallion, and Salt. I chopped the veggies of zucchini, red onion, green pepper, and mushrooms at home and marinated them all day along with steak tips. We grilled them up and served them with Red Wine and Bread. I never really drink Red Wine in the summer but it was a night to sit down below and get cozy so it fit.
At night, we separated from the raft up to anchor on our own with the promise to reunite in the morning for breakfast and to explore Dutch Island. We awoke to a fight between fog and sun and luckily the sun won out.
After some delicous thick cut bacon, and last night’s veggies mixed with scrambled eggs, we mixed up some Bloodies and headed to explore Dutch Island.
According to Wikipedia, “The island was fortified from the American Civil War through World War II, and was known as Fort Greble 1898-1947.” It is about 100 acres and just sits off Jamestown. All over the island are structures that have been left in disrepair and the island used to be off limits yet not really enforced. Last summer, we visited the island and there was clearly an effort being made by the State to clean up the structures. Now we can see that they were making paths and adding hand rails to the Forts so visitors can explore.
We hiked the distance of the island to the light house. The dogs loved it despite the smallest one needing to be carried eventually.
After exploring, we retired to our individual boats to sail home. Our friend, Danielle, came to Dutch Harbor to join us on the returning sail and we couldn’t have asked for better conditions. The wind did eventually die to fill from the north (also a weird thing for a summer day) but we were not in a hurry.
We wrapped the weekend with a lovely dinner back on Nai’a our friend’s Swan 60 for a reunion of friends to celebrate Bob’s birthday (which is actually today: Happy Birthday, Bob!)
To kick off this week, we relaxed at home on Monday night and my grandfather and great uncle (they are identical twins) came over for dinner for a nice backyard BBQ. We grilled chicken sausage and accompanied with a tomato, feta and cucumber salad.
Drone footage from backyard family gathering. Check out Scruffy going crazy being locked inside via the back slider (he doesn’t like drones).
Summer has been flying by and the weather it has brought has not been a typical New England summer. I almost feel like I am living back in San Francisco as more gray foggy days plague our sunny ones. Despite the weather, we are making the best of it sailing and working on our own and other boats. The most important thing to always remember is how lucky we are to have these great opportunities and continue to work hard and play hard to enjoy them.
Designer Series – July 21-23, 2017
The weekend after the Marblehead-Halifax Race, I ran an event called the Designer Series Rendezvous in Bristol, Rhode Island. The idea of the event is to bring together yachts all designed by the same person in a weekend of activities. Our inaugural year honored Ted Hood, legendary yachtsmen, sailmaker, and boat designer. This event has taken exactly a year to plan and my client and I were thrilled with the results. We had over 25 yachts represented from Mr. Hood’s first design: a 40-ft Wooden Sloop, Robin, to his America’s Cup Challenger 12-meter, Nefertiti, to his last yacht, a 116-ft Sloop, Whisper and then all those in between.
Brandon even managed one of the Little Harbors that wanted to attend the event at Jamestown Boat Yard, so it was still a family affair to get this event off the ground.
Swan-devous – July 27-29, 2017
The next weekend was the Swan Owner’s Association Rendezvous. As Brandon’s boat yard and work focused a lot of these prestigious Finnish yachts, this was a chance for them to reunite. I sailed with our friends Bob and Kristen Beltrano on their, Swan 60, Nai’a. We have raced with them in the past both in this weekend and in the Carribean.Friday we attempted to race out to Block Island but there was no wind so we motored there but did get to cruise a little.
Friday we attempted to race out to Block Island but there was no wind until much later in the day so the racing was canceled so we motored there but did get to cruise a little with the sea breeze filled. We got a mooring and the event hosted a Lobster dinner at Ballards under a beautiful sunset.
Saturday was a North Easter in July! We all bundled up in our full foul weather gear and life jackets to race back upwind to Jamestown under a double reefed main and reefed jib. Sitting at the helm, I watched the B&G instruments hit 40 knots multiple times. We were safe but it was not the most comfortable of rides.
I learned an important lesson on fire safety on yachts as we hit the dock and immediately we smelled that putrid smell of an electrical fire. Due to the big breeze, the bow thruster on Nai’a had been going full on for about 10 minutes as we docked and due to a faulty connection, the hydraulic motor started burning up. However, in the initial mintues, we didn’t know if it was a fire or not on board. I realized in a moment that I didn’t know where the fire hydrants were. Luckily, aside from the smell and the motor needing repairs, everything was fine but now I know to always ask and learn where fire hydrants are even if it’s just a day sail.
Sunday we raced around the Island in a NorthWesterly (Also odd for a sunny summer day in the summer). The weekend wrapped with a party on Clingstone, also known as the house on the rocks. The best part was we won! Nai’a claimed the Highland Fling Award, named for a famous Swan racing program.
Jamestown Boat Yard helps maintain the work boat for the house so, in exchange, the yard rents the house for a week each summer. It’s such a unique place. There is no connection to the mainland so it runs on just solar, wind, and collected rain water. The inside is just as rustic as the outside. Monday night, we all went out just to have a cookout and relax to watch the two sunsets. Why two? because you can get one sunset on the lower deck, then run upstairs and get a second sunset on the deck on the roof!
Finally getting away again
After two weekends of “working,” we were finally able to get away on our own boat. We had no plans except to provision for the weekend and head out of the harbor. In the end, we decided on Block Island because it was blowing from the SouthEast and we could actually make it there on one tack. We left around 5pm on Friday and were dropping anchor and cooking Steak Tips and Corn by 9pm.
Saturday followed the trend for the last few weeks of just being miserable. It was windy and rainy and except for a quick trip to the beach to give Scruffy a walk, we didn’t leave the boat until 5pm. Brandon and the little dog caught up on sleep in the Vberth and I caught up on work thanks to the power of an unlimited data hotspot and the inverter.
Friends of ours rented a house on Block Island and by 5pm it was a gorgeous evening so we loaded the folding bikes into the dinghy and went ashore to have dinner with them. I brought some Tuna Steaks from Dave’s Market and had them marinating all day in Ginger Teriyaki sauce. MMmmm….
Saturday night, was a night of waking up to check on the mooring field quite a lot. Block Island gets really crowded on summer weekends and when the wind shifts in the middle of the night, it can get interesting if one boat doesn’t swing the same as everyone else. Despite a giant catamaran getting closer than comfort to another boat close to us, it was all fine.
Sunday, we biked up to Mansion Beach and ClayHead on the NorthEast corner of the island. It was a beautiful day to be at the beach. Before heading back to Jamestown, we biked to Mahgoney Shoals at Paynes for a mudslide because you can’t come to Block and not have a mudslide. After lunch back on the boat, we were pulling up the anchor and sailing back. It was a Westerly (another weird thing for summer in New England) so once again, we sailed on Port Tack the entire way back to Jamestown.
A few years ago, my dad decided for his 60th year, he wanted to skipper our family boat, a Catalina 36 named Pau Hana, in the Newport-Bermuda Race. Setting out to prepare the boat was a painstaking process of upgrades and unforeseen expenses, but last summer when my dad pulled into the Great Sound, I was one proud daughter especially given the number of naysayers who didn’t believe a Catalina was fit for the race. I didn’t sail with him, Brandon was racing on Verissimo, a 62 ft custom Alden, and I was delivering the boat back to Newport but I was there when he pulled in.
He didn’t have the fastest (but also not the slowest!) boat and he knows that. Despite comments from many who didn’t know the story behind the boat and the fact he navigator is a Navy Meteorologist, my dad persisted and even finished 7th overall in the cruising class of 50+ boats. Now he had been bitten by the offshore-bug and started planning immediately for another bucket list race: the Marblehead to Halifax and this time I said I would join him.
Brandon sailed on Verrisimo again among a crew of 13 and I recruited my good friend, Morgan to join us on the mighty Pau Hana.
Pau Hana, in Hawaiian means “finished working.” It’s a phrase used to mean something like “okay now that works over, let’s get a beer and have some fun.” The phrase couldn’t have been more fitting for our crew as well all put in a 40 hour work week ahead of the race. My dad sailed the boat up with my mom over the 4th weekend and left the boat on a mooring in Salem then returned to work. We headed back up there the day before the race.
Side note: Thanks Baird family for letting us use Ramparts Farm for our parking.Hopefully, helping feed and pet Iggy the Piggy, Hamlet the-pig-who-doesn’t-like-to-get-muddy, and Beau the Goat helped pay down our fee.
The night before the race, We helped Morgan with her BYC minimums by all enjoying some wine and lobster rolls.Brandon was on the program of making sure he ate delicious crew dinners and showing up on time.I stayed with him at his hotel the night before the race before heading out to sea.We have a tradition where before I leave on any offshore sailing without him, he tells me to “stay in the boat.”
At our Nav briefing from Mike, our Navigator, we learned it should be a great trip with great weather. Downwind the whole way and not too cold and foggy! And boy was he right!
We started at 1:20 pm on July 13th under sunny skies and a filling Southwest breeze. We had to sail upwind to mark and then a reaching mark first to wave to the Marblehead crowds before popping the chute and heading for Nova Scotia.We were the 3rd start of 8 or 9 so we quickly got to watch many boats sail past us but we were undeterred. We know this boat will be going great if we can go 7 knots ever but we aim for over 5.
Our watch schedule was 6-hour rotations with someone new coming up every 3 hours for four of us and Mike jumping in to help if needed but mostly focusing on navigating. Besides my dad, Morgan, Mike, and myself, we also have Jeff, a retired Air Force officer from Newport. My shift was the 1200-0600 and 1200-1800 as I was in charge of dinner during the races.Morgan was the opposite of me so we shared a bunk which we called the nest as it was really cozy.
Brandon’s mom, Margaret, made awesome lee clothes last year for my dad. They help keep you in if the boat heels but they have great pockets for stashing things like headlamps, sunscreen, earplugs, and iPhone/headphones for music and audiobooks.This trip Morgan has been listening to The Girl On the Train, and I have been listening to Elon Musk’s biography and reading The Handmaids Tale. Things to do on your off watch are important to keep a routine and the mind sharp.
The race was more like a really nice cruise, we were on Starboard going down the wind with the kite up for over 48 hours under sunny skies and a clear and bright full moon. About 8 hours from finishing, we couldn’t sail any lower so we took a hitch towards the shore to get right on the Rhumb line. Those last 6 hours were the conditions everyone talks about when it comes to the race: foggy and cold.
It was also dark. We sailed into a traffic separation scheme with all these rules to keep mariners safe in shipping lanes then had to use radar and AIS to find the final channel markers and finally the finish.However, after sailing over 5 knots for 55 hours and 360 miles, 0.5 miles from the finish, the wind died. We were adrift moving less than a knot fighting an outgoing current.It was so painful, 3 of us moved our weight forward and leeward to try and keep the boat moving forward.
Luckily, with just one little puff, we crossed the line at 0136 Atlantic time (which is an hour ahead of EST), just shy of 60 hours which put us 7th in our class. However, finish scores were never our focus, it was the adventure and camaraderie. O and we ate very well! 🙂
With our day off, we ate breakfast at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht a club then headed to town.Breakfast was included with the race but I think we still took the club by surprise as they kept running out of food and coffee. Brandon, Morgan, and I took a cab downtown to explore.
Downtown Halifax is set up nicely for the tourists. The waterfront has plenty of restaurants, food shacks, beer gardens, the Maritime Museum and a distillery.So we hit all of them!
The Stubborn Goat beer garden had some local beers so we all got different ones and shared. The space is open to dogs so we all got our canine fix in as well as we were missing our little muppets.
The Maritime Museum was interesting and a little depressing at the same time.In 1917, two ships collided in the harbor one of which was carrying explosives. The blast destroyed much of Halifax instantly killing over 2,000 and severely injuring 9,000.Massachusetts was instrumental in the support during the aftermath and the strong bond between Boston and Halifax was one of the reasons for the founding of the Race.
There was also an exhibit about the Titanic as Nova Scotia was the closest land to the sinking in 1915. “Survivors went to New York, the dead went to Halifax.” Over 200 of the recovered perished were sent to Halifax and have been laid to rest in the cities’ graveyards.
After that uplifting experience, we got some lobster rolls on the harbor walk from Daves Lobster and then headed to the Halifax Distillery where we sampled rums, beers, and reserves. My dad, Jeff, and Mike joined us there where we enjoyed a little more.I highly recommend a stop here. Be sure to sample both the Spiced Gold Rum that they infuse with tea so it’s smooth and subtle and the Rum Cream, it’s better than Baileys.
Brandon split from our group to go to a crew dinner with Verrisimo at swanky Halifax restaurant and we headed back the Yacht Club for a pig roast for the competitors. Once again, I think the yacht club was surprised by the fact people were there to eat but it was an okay meal but too hot in the back building where they hosted us.We went back to the main club for some sunset drinks. It was then that we decided that we had done Halifax and the race festivities didn’t really excite us too much old get a head start on the delivery to Maine and skip the awards ceremony the next day.
We enjoyed a nice sleep in and breakfast before heading out around noon from Halifax. It was nice to finally get a chance to see the coast line since it was so dark and foggy for our finish.The other bonus was that the winds were now East- North East so we could fly the chute once again.
We had to gym a few times down the coast so we were already into 4x the maneuvers that we had to do on the race.We all settled back into our watch routines nicely and continued to eat and snack our way through the Gulf of Maine bound for Rockland.
Unfortunately, the wind died so we had to motor most of the trip. This made for a pretty boring sail but we did finally get to see lots of Marine Life.
3 Humpback whales
Dozen or so dolphins
2 great white sharks! One chasing a seal!
Note: it was not a sunfish, it had a Dorsel fin and a tail fin that was 8 feet behind that. It was also chasing a seal so I don’t think a basking shark does that either…
Thanks to a Gloucester friend of Morgan’s who was also in the race but left a day ahead of us, he secured a slip at Journeys End Marina for us in Rockland, Maine.After showering, we followed a recommendation from a friend back home and headed to The Pearl for a delicious seafood dinner and a few beverages.
To our pleasant surprise, Rockland was also hosting a Blues festival. There was a venue next to the restaurant that was playing music when we sailed in but after dinner, the festival moved to Main Street. They shut the street down and different blues bands played every few blocks. People were popping in and out of bars, strolling, dancing, and grooving to the half dozen music groups. It was pretty neat and a beautiful summer night for it.For us, it was a great way to cap off an amazing trip.
We all slept back on the boat, some stumbling back later than others. The next morning, we recovered our sore brains with some mouthwatering grub at a local diner.All 5 of us joined the clean plate club at the Brass Compass Cafe. I highly recommend the Penobscot Crab Benny!
By the time we walked back to the boat, my uncle Lee had arrived with Jeff’s truck. He had flown in from Washington State to Boston the night before, gotten the truck loaded with all the cruising stuff and drove up to us.He and my dad are taking a week to cruise down the coast back to Newport.
We piled in the truck and headed to Morgan’s parents back in Gloucester to retrieve our cars and undo the tangle of logistics from over a week ago. It’s hard to believe we have done a great loop of the Northeast in just a week.
At the time of this writing, it was exactly one week ago that we were popping the shoot and aiming for Brazil Rock off Nova Scotia 250 miles away. It already feels like it was all just a dream. For me, this was an amazing adventure to be able to sail with my dad and closest friend while also getting to know new guys.
Thanks to my crew, dad, and all you for reading and following along on another Persistence Adventure.
Sunday we head off on an adventure but this time we are leaving Scruffy and Persistence behind. Brandon and I are racing in the Marblehead to Halifax Race but on separate boats. He will be on Verissimo, a 62-foot custom yacht, which is the same boat he raced with for Bermuda. (Poor guy…)
I will be sailing with my dad and friend Morgan on his Catalina 36, Pau Hana. Needless to say, Brandon will get to Canada before me. Morgan and I are in charge of provisioning so we divided that she get all the snacks and stuff to make Breakfast and Lunches. I took on all the dinners to get us to Halifax and then onto Maine after the race.
I am a little stressed with all the “real work” I need to get done before I go so I took the speedy approach to getting this done. One pan meals that each combine a starch, veggies, and a meat.
Lasagna made with Raviolis and Chicken Sausage
Chili with Sausage, Onions, Peppers, Tomato Paste, and Beans
Beef Stir Fry with Veggies in a Teriyaki Sauce
Chicken Korma inspired dish with rice and veggies
Buffalo Mac and Cheese
Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots, and Celery
By using a grill to cook all the meat at once and then utilizing the 4 burners to cook the rest of the ingredients. I was able to prepare 6 dinners in just under an hour.
After a delicious dinner of freshly caught Scallops cooked in White Wine with Garlic and Butter, we headed back ashore to get some ice cream. I saw a place earlier on our walk, BuddhaBerry, so we decided to check it out. It was good but WOW was it busy. It was one of those places you add your own toppings but it was so crowded that your cup was melted before you could even pay. So we ate our soupy cold treats before headed back to the boat.
Apparently, we missed the Fireworks that were the night before, we could just see the Fireworks in Greenport as we puttered back to the boat. This was probably a good thing as our little guy is not a fan of fireworks.
The next day, we woke up and headed to the Market for bagels and lox. Brandon came here in the Fall to check out a boat in need of repairs and remembered they were good. Sag Harbor reminded me a lot of the quaint towns of Nantucket, Newport, and the alike with a more New York City vibe. There were a lot of people!
The winds were light out of the West when we headed North and East for Fisher’s Island. We looked at the Currents in our Eldridge and were confident if we left by 10 am, we should be in fair currents the entire way. We did a little motor sailing and then around 11 am, we were able to turn the engine off and sail.
The current through Plum Gut can rip a couple of knots, so we motor sailed through there to keep up momentum. By the time we were through, we turned down (for what?) and put up the Spinnaker. We fly an OOOOooollllllddddd kite. It has a stamp that it was used in 1978 and it represents the best of the 70s in all its glorious colors. It’s a Rainbow!
We also have a symmetrical spinnaker which means ALOT of lines. Once we decide to fly a kite, it means there are at least 15 minutes of getting the pole, lines, and kite set before we can haul it up.
Lines needed to get the kite up:
Port Aft Guy
Starboard Aft Guy
Line to attach the Fore Guy to the Deck
Topping Lift from the mast
Topping Lift Connection on the Pole
Pole height line
Cone Up line
Cone Down Line
Gear to get the kite up:
Spinnaker with Sock
Port Spin Block
Starboard Spin Block
Port Guy Block
Starboard Guy Block
Reaching Strut and a sail tie to hold it back
Not complicated at all.
However, once we got it going, we cruised at 7 knots through the water and nearly 9 with the current. We were at the Race, the cut that starts Long Island Sound between Orient Point and Fishers Island, in less than an hour.
It was such great conditions that we decided to check the forecast for Tuesday the 4th one more time. It was forecasted to be light and we have already been to Fisher’s last year so we decided to “send it” home to Jamestown and stay in Dutch Harbor.
Back Blog/ Side Note: We sailed there on a long weekend in August last year staying on Block Island Thursday night then sailing there on Friday morning. Neither of us had been there before so we went to West Harbor and then dinghied into the “yacht club.” The Fisher’s Island Yacht Club is a little adorable building on a small grassy lawn with a beautiful porch and rocking chairs. When we walked around the island (this is pre-folding bikes and this trip is the reason we asked Santa for them.) we were shocked how we didn’t see anyone. It was almost creepy because there were all these houses yet no cars or people.
With the autopilot and the kite full, the highlight of our trip was taking the bean bags to the bow and lounging in the shade. I think Scruffy was most happy with this as well.
Instead of heading to the East side of Jamestown, we went to Dutch Harbor. A place we travel just a mile by car but 9 miles by sail away and its another world. It is always low key and peaceful.
Our friend Cassie’s family lives on Watson farm so we took the dinghy in for a fire and a cookout with friends and family. Scruffy immediately saw a skunk on the beach and even was able to catch up to grab some fur. By some grace, we were all spared an very unpleasant evening escaping with our noses in tack!
We made it back to the boat after some merriment and fireworks (poor Scruffy). We had a nice sleep in on the 4th coupled with breakfast and a swim before heading to the other side of the island to put her away.
It was an amazing mini trip and I was finally inspired to start this blog. Thanks for reading. I plan to update with recipes from the boat, notes from our refits, and tales of our Persistence Adventures!
It’s been an ongoing joke onboard Persistence, our C&C34 that we have had for nearly 4 years that “this would be great for the blog.” So here it is, a few years late but not too soon, a blog on the adventures of two 30-something sailors and their little dog, Scruffy.
Sunday, July 2nd, 2017
I start this blog sitting in a bean bag chair with a glass of white wine left over from a dinner party on board last weekend back in our home port of Jamestown, Rhode Island.I am looking at the sea wall of Sag Harbor, NY. Scruffy, our 8-year-old Silky Terrier, is snoozing in his bed behind me in the shade of the boom. He likes to make himself comfortable. Brandon just got back on board from a swim/snorkel where he found a couple of scallops. I plan to cook those up with butter and garlic tonight with a little more of that white wine for dinner.
This is our first time cruising to Sag Harbor and Long Island. We have taken a mini 4th of July vacation to find new places to cruise and thought given our 5-day break, we’d venture beyond our usual Block Island and Cuttyhunk 20 mile jaunts and go a little further.
We left Narragansett Bay on a whim on the evening of Thursday, June 29th.Our plan was to try and leave early Friday if the forecast was right as it was looking to blow from the Southwest and Long Island is exactly south and west. The backup plan was to just turn downwind and head to any of the Elizabethan islands. We accepted full well that everywhere would be crowded for an extended 4th weekend.
However, after sailing myself on Thursday as part of a weekly J24 series in Newport. The wind was down so we decided to “send it” to Block Island go get a jump on the projected wind.The boat was already provisioned so Brandon scooped me right on the docks of Sail Newport around 8 pm and off we went.
The wind was nice and calm so I went down below and brewed some coffee in anticipation of a late night. Then I made some beef stir fry for dinner. Sadly, we were lured into a false sense of calm as the wind picked up by Point Judith and we slogged upwind in the dark for four more hours. Both of us have pretty solid stomachs, but l let’s just say we both got to taste that stir fry again…
Scruffy loves the boat….Most of the time… It took hugging him the entire way to Block Island coupled with a half of a doggy anxiety pill to get him there.By 2:00 am we were pulling into the Great Salt Pond. Luckily, for us we have been here countless times, I even lived here most of my college summers, so we are comfortable in the anchorage.We actually found a private mooring and assumed no one was coming to grab it at that time of night.
Once we were settled, both of our sea sicknesses immediately dissipated. Of course, cruising with a dog means sleep is still a dinghy ride to shore and back away. By 3 am, it was finally lights out.
Friday morning we didn’t get up until nearly 11 am, I felt hungover from the seasickness.We are fortunate to have a dog with a camel’s bladder so it wasn’t until nearly2 pm after I made breakfast bowls of eggs, sausage, onions, peppers, beans, and avacado that we made it ashore. It was still blowing well over twenty knots so we decided to stay another night instead of trudging upwind again.
My parents gave us folding bikes last Christmas so we loaded those for the first time in the dinghy. They fit perfectly in the sail bags for our main and jib as not scratch the floor boards and bodies. We went to shore, put scruffy in the milk crate we affixed to the back of Brandon’s bike and headed to town for errands. Brandon needed a hat as we left in a hurry and his was in the car. I also left my sunnies on the J 24.
Having bikes is awesome! It gives us the ability to quickly venture with the dog a little more than we could. After some errands, we went to Paynes and Mahagony Shoals for a mudslide because you can’t come to block island and not have a mudslide…
Then we headed back to the boat around 5 pm, we were both still exhausted from the adventure the night before, so we took naps then arose 8 pm8pm to have some gourmet dinner of Annie’s Mac and Cheese with some leftover chicken. We took Scruffy in for one last relief then promptly went back to sleep.All in all, we did a lot of sleeping on Block Island but it was grey and windy, so what else is there?
We woke up leisurely on Saturday and I made blueberry pancakes, took Scruffy to the beach to tire him out before heading out again. the wind was down to 15 knots now but we decided to head towards the forks of Long Island which would be a close reach. The funniest part of our dog walk was Scruffy was thirsty and we found a half filled water bottle. I opened and took a whiff, it was Bacardi… I almost vomited on the beach.
We left around 11am from Block and headed 270º W to Shelter island.It took us 5 hours to go 31 miles which is great for us.We had a reef in the entire time. The wind would go from 17 down to 12 and the sun would peak through just long enough to get our hopes up before disappearing again.
We anchored in Coecles Harbor on Shelter island around 4:30 pm. The cruising guide informed us that this is one of two allowed anchorages on the island. There’s nothing here but an anchorage. The land is a nature conservancy for birds so kept to the shoreline to walk Scruffy.
That night I made bruschetta as an appetizer with Gin and Tonics made with my favorite gin, Barr Hill gin from Vermont. For dinner, we had boat stuffies. Brandon dove in Block Island next the boat and I kept them In the fridge.To mKe them, we fire up the grill and put them in cold.You keep an eye on them and as soon as they open, you dump the clam juice in a bowl and shuck out the meat. I cooked up some onions, garlic, peppers, and sun dried tomatoes down below the. Mix the juice, clam meat, cooked veggies, bread crumbs, paprika, worchestire sauce, and a little cayenne pepper with an egg to make the batter.Then I put the batter into the shells in the boat oven for however long it takes to drink a G&T. When they are just crispy on top, grab a fork and eat em up.No hot sauce needed, the cayenne is just the kick to balance the salty brine.
After dinner, we turned the V-berth into a movie theater. We have a mini projector that can connect to an ipad and using a white shirt, we can watch House of Cards all night long. However, once all three of us snuggled and got the Netflix going (I downloaded it prior) we were asleep before the opening credits were over.
I awoke around 8 am on Sunday to blue skies and calm wind! Something we hadn’t seen since Thursday. I love cruising but my biggest peeve is when everything is just a little moist. So when I woke up to dry conditions, I got everything clothes pinned to the lifelines to dry. A dry towel can make all the difference on board.
I brewed up some coffees and we took Scruffy back into the Nature Conservancy shore walking him North around the spit that makes the channel.I wish I had my camera because the little guy just laid down in the water for a while like a mermaid. I called him a mer-dog.
We headed back the boat and soon after setting sail for Sag Harbor just 5 miles away. It was a light westerly which made for a lovely Sail. We anchored outside the break wall next to one of Brandon’s customers, a Swan 53 called Auroa. Francesco, the owner, came over to say hi.Poor Scruffy was so excited to see him that he fell overboard as he wagged his body so hard as he approached by dinghy.Aurora broke free of her mooring last fall here in Sag Harbor and ended up on the sea wall so we have gotten to know Francesco this winter as his boat was at the yard getting repairs.
He invited us on a sail, but having just arrived, we decided to go ashore to check out Sag Harbor.We loaded the bikes and Scruffy once again and docked on the town docks.We biked around a little to see the homes. My dad texted me the night before and said “you’d like Sag, it’s quiant.” He’s right.
Like I mentioned, having the bikes are great because they extend what is possible while cruising. Last summer, we went to Fishers Island for a weekend and we were stuck walking within a mile or so of where we landed. If you’ve ever even to Fishers, there’s not much within a mile of the Yacht Club.That is when we thought bikes would be helpful in our pursuit of exploring the places we cruise. So thank you, parents, for these great Christmas presents!
We are also thankful our little dog puts up with all our adventuring antics. We affixed a milk crate to the back of Brandon’s bike and lined it with a towel, attached a harness, and off we went. We practiced last weekend in the neighborhood first to make sure he could handle it. He basically just sits in it and sniffs the air.
So back in Sag Harbor, we went for a ride then locked up the bikes and walked Main Street.Scruffy met a lot of other dogs.Sag is very pet friendly. Every shop and restaurant has a dog bowl our front. Like some of us may bar crawl in a town, Scruffy did a dog bowl crawl. Sampling every dog bowl in town.Thank goodness for his kennel cough vaccine…
Around 3 pm we came back to the boat, I went for a swim and then Brandon tossed me our float. Scruffy doesn’t like it when we go swimming. He cries and barks and plays lifeguard. So Brandon put his life jacket on and lowered him the float. Then he was happy:
After I got out, I decided it was about time to start this blog. So if you have read this far then you are a true friend. I’m now own to Rosé and Brandon has rigged us new jack lines.
I have also been watching these crazy skimboard/ jet skis/ don’t-know-what thingies flying around us. See photo.
Now I’m off to make scallops and pasta. The plan is to head to Fishers tomorrow on our way home.