Yet Another Year of Persistence Adventures

So much happened in 2018 that every time I sat down to write about it, I was daunted by the task of all the details that had passed since my December 2017 post. It’s hard to believe how many adventures we packed into just one lap around the sun. Between my work with the Volvo Ocean Race, a summer to recuperate, and a Fall of spontaneity, we have trekked, flew, sailed, eaten, and imbibed our way around the world.

For 2019, I am making it a goal to write more to share both our adventures onboard, around the world, and in the house. Those who know me, know I love to cook and bake when I am home. This is a recent life adventure that I really enjoy exploring and quite a lot of Persistence is required when learning something new, so I hope you enjoy or are inspired to try some of these recipes.

So here are the highlights of 2018:

Dec 2017 / Jan 2018: Australia

We spent Christmas and New Year’s in Down Under as Leg 3 of the Volvo finished in Melbourne. Brandon joined me on this stopover but we tacked on a few extra days before and after the event in Sydney. The highlights were seeing the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart start on boxing day, New Year’s Eve fireworks in Melbourne, and catching up with our friend Chris who took us up north to see some of the amazing beaches.

Late Jan 2018: Hong Kong

Hong Kong harbor in the background.

For those who follow the Volvo and our team, you know that tragedy struck for us here and this was a very tough part of the year. Stress and sorrow mixed with cultural and professional eye-opening experiences. Reflecting nearly a year later, I have learned how to take any experience thrown at you and turn it into a way to grow.

Feb 2018: Bring on the snow in Vermont

Paradise Woods at Sugarbush, Vermont

Once again, we rented a ski house in Vermont with 6 of our friends and 3 other dogs. It was a great winter with good snow, good company, good food, and tasty drinks. Vermont is a place for us to unwind and every weekend I was home, we packed Scruffy in the wagon, put on our favorite podcast or comedy station, and headed the 4-5 hours north to look for the white gold.

March 2018: New Zealand

My one day off spent biking around Auckland.

Next on the adventure was New Zealand, our boat was damaged in the accident in Hong Kong so it was sent by ship to the next stopover. As our situation was still ongoing, I arrived earlier than expected and spent 3 weeks in the land of the sheep and kiwis. It was mostly working in a city atmosphere and long days but I did get a chance to get out and experience some of the beautiful countryside.

The view from Wahine Island, a small island off Auckland filled with wineries.

My dad came to visit at the end of the stopover, so we rented a car and got out of the city for a few days to see more. This is the country I would want to return to the most.

Dad and I at a Waterfall
Dad and I at the hole in the rock in the Bay of Islands

But what about Scruffy?

Sad puppy. Fun fact: He started eating blankets whenever I was gone for more than a week.

My travels did keep me away from my little four legged friend. Luckily, we have wonderful family especially Brandon’s mom who could stop by during the days I was away to keep the little guy company. This is a dog who really has never been left alone since I work from home.

April 2018: Brazil

Just down the road from the village. Taken on a morning run.

Unfortunately for our team, despite getting back on the water for the race. The boat suffered a dismasting and had to retire from the leg. Thus, putting us even more on the back foot for the race. However, resilience runs deep on the team and despite all the hardships, everyone held their head high and laughed every day. No one ever gave up which was a true testament to the characters I had the privilege to work with every day.

The boat was repaired in time and a week in Brazil was amazing. We were in Itajai, which is southern Brazil on the coast. It was part industrial, part small city, and part tropics. The coolest part was seeing the capybaras!

Large rodents called Capybara come out after the sun goes down are like giant hamsters.

May 2018: Persistence launches

First sail of 2018 on Cinco de Mayo!

May the Forth be with us! Persistence had her earliest launch ever on a grey cool day. Bundled up we took her for the first harbor burn (a lap through Newport) on May 4. We spent our first night onboard a few days later awaiting the arrival of the Volvo boats. We headed out in the earlier hours with Scruffy to catch the finish in drifting conditions. The blue boat secured the podium making it the first leg completed since arriving in Melbourne before Christmas.

Scruffy cheering on the boys and girls at 6am on May 8.

It was great to be home for one of the stopovers. Sleeping in my bed and bringing Scruffy to work help relieved any stress that comes with usual craziness of the stopover.

#1 Fan

June 2018: Europe and Bermuda

The end of the Volvo took me to Cardiff, Wales, Gothenburg, Sweden, and finally Den Haag, The Netherlands. It was just a month on the road non-stop. A reprieve for a few days with friends in London mixed in with enjoying the last days of working with the team and all the friends I met along the way especially my fellow media collegues from the other teams. As fun as the 9 months has been, the end was bittersweet because it meant coming home and back to a life of relaxing and fun with family and friends.


The highlights were going to the Harry Potter sets outside London, getting backstage tickets to Beyonce/JayZs first show of their tour, the long days and short nights of Gothenburg, and finally getting to drive the Volvo 65. The Hague was actually one of my favorite stopovers. Maybe it was because it was the end and I had less work, or it was the beautiful beaches, restaurants, and location.

While I was gallivanting around Europe, Brandon competed in his 3rd Newport-Bermuda Race onboard Verrisimo. It was a slow race with little breeze so it took longer (5 days!) so as soon as he hit the dock, he was off to the airport.

July: Eat, Sleep, Sail

I flew home on July 1 and from there on, I was on a kick to relax. I still had other clients to work with and Brandon was still working but as soon as 3:30 rolled around – quitting time for Jamestown Boat Yard. We hopped onboard to go for a sail around the Bay.

Persistence became my office and Scruffy napped on deck. We headed to Potter’s Cove on Prudence Island with Morgan and Jay for the 4th, spent a weekend on Block Island mid-July, then wrapped up the month competiting in Newport Yacht Club’s Solo-Twin Race. A 60-mile overnight race sailed with just two people. We finished 2nd and most importantly in front of my dad sailing on his Catalina 36.

August 2018: P-Town

Persistence’s big trip of the summer was a 5-day sail to Provincetown at the bitter end of Cape Cod. We left on a Thursday evening a set the kite to sail downwind to the mouth of the Cape Cod canal. We dropped anchor around 2am and then got up around 6am to catch the current through and reached over to Provincetown 20 miles away.

Once there, we didn’t have the best of weather but we relaxed, read books, cooked, then explored via our foldable bikes when we got a break. Luckily for us, the wind even cooperated on the way home so we did a lot of down wind sailing. On the way home, we spent a night in Cuttyhunk. It was 5 days of the relaxing sailing we needed!

September 2018: Wilson West Trip

In September, I headed out to work in San Francisco for the Rolex Big Boat Series where I got to see my aunt and grandparents followed by a trip up to Washington stated to see my grandmother and family in Bellingham.

The sailing season is still not over either! We took a weekend trip circumnavigating Aquidneck Island, something we had never done actually. We spent one night at Third Beach then the next at the Foglands in Tiverton before sailing around the island.

By this point in the summer, I have happily conquered a half dozen books, something I had stopped doing in recent years. I had forgotten the great feeling of getting lost in a good story!

October 2018: Block Island Columbus Day Weekend

Five years ago I invited a boy to join me out on Block Island for my favorite event of the year: Newport Yacht Club’s Mitchell Regatta. It’s a pursuit race out to Block Island (one of my favorite places on the planet) followed by a Bloody Mary Content and an Appetizer Contest. This year we took 2nd place onboard the mighty Persistence, witnessed whales, dolphins, and camels, but even better was we won the appetizer contest with Roasted Brussel Sprouts topped with Bacon Jam and served to look like little boats on Block.

October 2016: Chicago and New York

In late October, I headed out Chicago Yacht Club to cover the US Sailing National Championships and Brandon came along for the last half. We tacked on a few days of exploring a new city taking in the sites, the food, and a improv show at the iconic Second City.

The next weekend we headed down to NYC and Brooklyn for a wedding of Brandon’s cousin. It was a whirlwind month of travel and we were looking forward to some weekends at home.

November 2018: BVIs? Why not?

Well, the idea of being home didn’t last long. My friend Morgan works for a charter company that rents yachts all over the world like a timeshare. She secured a free charter in the British Virgin Island but only found out about a week in advance and asked Brandon and I to accompany her and her husband, Jay. After some thought, we decided: why not?

For a week, our home was a 40-foot Catamaran. We each had our hull which made it nice to spread out. After a long flight followed by a tricky provisioning trip to the grocery store, (you have to plan a week worth of food/water and booze) we were off. Brandon and I had been here many times so we acted as tour guides for Morgan and Jay’s first trip. It was a very fun week of relaxing and adventures. We packed a lot into 7 days.

It was both humbling and inspiring to see the devastation that Hurricane Irma brought to the Islands and the resilience of the people there. Many areas are still destroyed while others have already rebuilt and are open for business. Areas were almost unrecognizable from our trip there nearly 18 months ago yet some places appeared like nothing had happened.

End of the Year: Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Wait…Where did it go?

As soon as we got back from 85ºF and warm water, it was up to Vermont for Thanksgiving were nearly 2 feet of fresh snow awaited us. We were skiing the trees in November! The skiing was some the best we have at the Bush. We went back up again in mid December as it kept snowing but then…it rained 🙁 We still went up for Christmas and luckily the earlier snow pack helped preserve the skiing conditions but only to a point.

We came back to Rhode Island for a very quiet and relaxing New Years (in bed by 11) which was a stark contrast to the very busy way the year began but was so fitting as we rest up for the what is in store for 2019! Stay tuned and I promise to write more frequently 🙂

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