Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hello friends and followers,

Now we wait... Over the next few weeks I will be preparing Lizzy Belle for her new journey to the sun. There are lots of logistics that need to be worked out but the idea is this. The old man and I have to build Lizzy Belle a new cradle, this could be wood or possibly steal but what is important is that it can withstand being strapped down on top of huge stacks of containers on a 400 foot vessel. On the 9th or possibly the 20th of November she will be picked up at the Port of Bridgewater and carefully packed up and loaded onto a container ship operated out of Halifax. She will be shipped to Havana, Cuba and transferred onto another ship and headed to the Dominican Republic where I will be anxiously awaiting. This should be around the 9th of December. I have to quickly put both masts back up, organize the standing rigging, redo some electrical work and book it out of there as soon as possible. From what I understand the DR is not the safest place to be unless you are on one of those 7 day, all inclusive packages. We will be heading upwind and sailing at night due to the fact that the trade winds are at their peak around mid day. Puerto Rico, which is American owned will be our first destination where we will be able to take a breath and relax. From there, the opportunities are endless...

Reflecting back on our first attempt at the Northern Atlantic:

First of all, Kevin was way too hard on himself. Although Kevin has not spent the same amount of time at sea as the Welsford's, he is a hero among men. How many people do you know would leap at the opportunity to sail to the Caribbean without ever really been sailing. I'm not sure Kevin even really knows how to swim. Yes he was sick but so was I, and so would have 9 out of 10 of the people reading this. Imagine having to endure The Zipper ride at the Exhibition for 10 days straight, take a break and know you have to do it again. That is how bad the seas were the day we left. Much love to you Kevin!

What I learned... Lizzy Belle loves it out there. Imagine waves crashing over her decks and her bow shooting right back out of the ocean to challenge the next one. Although she is over 45 years old, she still wants more. This is my kind of boat! Sailing wise, I learned that the galley is your enemy, if you have to go down for food you will be throwing up by the time you get back up. So keep the food on the deck, and lots of water. I have definitely come to terms with the idea that planning your adventure and waiting patiently for the weather is far more important than the execution. If you know me, you know i'm not a patient person. I'll be working on this, or paying the consequences again.

The new plan is a good plan. I watch the weather out there everyday and it seems as though there is no opportunity to safely sail down again myself at the moment. The best of both worlds is about to happen. I don't have to risk my life, and my dream of blue water sailing will still happen. Thanks to all my friends and family who have helped and haven't let me give up over the last year and a half!

Talk soon,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Over due update:

A lot has happened since our last post, but sailing the North Atlantic was not one of them.

Act one: the attempt.
We cast off as planned around 9:30 last Saturday morning. It was a sunny and windy day. We made good time getting out of Mahone bay. Filing just a jib sail we were pulling nearly eight knots. Unfortunately for us the wind was coming from southwest (exactly the direction we wished to go). For the first while I was running the tiller and as we past the last few islands the sea was lively. At first it was really fun to ride up the waves and sled down the other side. There was lots of spray and it was very exhilarating! Rick had not put his sea sickness patch on the night before and he was down in the cabin finishing the last of his work before we got far enough away to loose all cell service. When he came up to the cockpit he was feeling a little queazy so he took the tiller. I went below to put on another sweater and grab a snack. This was a mistake. Despite following the instructions on the sea sickness patch I got sick. Really sick. Soon after Dave went below deck. Shortly afterwards he joined me hanging of the life lines. The further we got the more it continued. Bigger waves from every direction,we all felt pretty sick. Me the worst. I'm a pretty big wuss in general but this experience I found really debilitating. Actually, thats an understatement, I was a sniveling useless mess. We all sat there holding on not talking much. All I could think was, how will we survive this for 10 days? In these conditions it would be impossible to make food or sleep and thank goodness none of us needed to poop. At some point Dave made the call to turn back. I'd like to think it was mainly based on the fact that we were headed the wrong direction (were were headed SE, because we could not go SW into the wind) but the truth is it probably had a lot to do with the low crew morale the followed six hours of puking. We turned back. Sailing with the wind was far smoother, Dave and Rick felt better fairly quickly, I continued to be sick and whiny all the way back to the bay. It was dark then we moored infront of the Welsford house. Dave was less than halfway through his hot chocolate when he announced his plan to try again as soon as possible. Rick agreed it was the proper thing to do. I was terrified.

Act two. waiting.
Deciding the the main force working against us was attempting to leave on a day when there was a gale force wind was coming directly against us. Dave and Rick set to looking at the forecasts and trying to decide when to try again. Looking like it would be atleast a week until the winds changed to northerly, I left Mahone bay to go a spend sometime with my family who I haven't seen much of over the last 6 or 7 months. I told the Welsfords I would be back on Friday.

When I showed up I found Lizzy Belle out of the water sitting in the hard for repairs. Apparently Dave had suspicion that some sort of valve may be rotting out of the bottom due to installing it with the wrong type of hardware (I should have asked more details about this). Turns out he was right, and the piece came off in his hand when he started pulling at it. By the time I showed up the boat was fixed and ready to be put back in the water, but they guys did still not have a plan. There was talk of trying the straight to Bermuda route again, but the forecasts were still not cooperating. There was talk of going down the coast but the shadow side of this is that it could take well over a month.

With no real plan other than "going nowhere at least for another week". I was beginning to worry for Dave, he has put so much of himself and his money into the boat and his only plan has always been to get somewhere warm so he could live on her for the winter.

Act three. a new plan
Finally a new plan with real dates emerged. Rick has struck a good deal on having the Lizzy Belle shipped to the Dominican Republic. The plan is now to fly down to the Dominican meet the boat then sail from island to island in temperate waters. I'm really pleased for Dave that he will get to achieve the dream of living on Lizzly Belle all winter. I'm really pleased for me that I don't have to endure the seasickness of the North Atlantic again for awhile. The boat won't arrive in the Dominican until December. I had planned on being away Oct-January so for me the timeline of the trip has now become complicated. I may have to look for a place to live and start working again....

Dave will continue the adventure and get to live his dream, if you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a small sailboat in the Caribbean with the most adventurous person you've ever met. Stay tuned to Dave's future updates of this blog!

Friday, October 14, 2011

WED OCT 12th 9:00AM
Finished shooting the feature doc and got home in time to eat thanksgiving dinner with my family. Spent Tuesday running around franticly trying to get prepared for the trip because Dave and Rick want to cast off at 2pm today! I finally got my Blue Cross health insurance. ( I lied to Dave and told him I had it weeks ago....) I stuck on my first sea sickness patch and went to the travel clinic where I had my second dose of immunization needles. Now down to Mahone bay to start loading onto the boat.

WED OCT 12th 2:30PM
After franticly preparing all morning, Dave and Rick have called off today's departure because of a storm moving north from Bermuda. We all breathed a sigh of relief, pulled off our sea sickness patches and were thankful for a little more time to get ready.

The space on the boat is tighter than one might think. I thought I would be able to take significantly more stuff on the boat than I had taken on my six week motorcycle trip earlier this summer. I was wrong, Dave saw the pile of stuff I packed and quickly nixed a lot of it. Among the items that did not make the cut were: my skateboard, hiking boots, rock-climbing shoes, several books/magazines, hammock, camping stove and a pelican case of camera accessories. I also cut down the number of socks, hats, t-shirts and pants I had packed. In the end I'm carrying slightly LESS than the amount of stuff I had packed for the bike trip!

THU OCT 13th
Here for your enjoyment is a video tour of the Lizzy Belle:

FRI OCT 14th
This morning we are sitting on the shore in the fog watching the weather and testing our satellite phone and other electronics. Rick is trying to develop a system that might let us post on the blog while at sea! This afternoon will be our final trip to the grocery store as we are plan to depart first thing tomorrow morning.