I have been in the throes of packing and crisis management for two days, but I wanted to share some of the last minute preparations. We will be loading up the boat and car this evening to head down to Beaufort, N.C. to get ready for launch. Weather looks favorable for Tuesday across the wide spectrum of locations we will be crossing to get to Annapolis over about three days.
As I go over the boat, I keep thinking about how significant the contributions of several companies have been to this project. McMurdo, which makes personal locator beacons and emergency AIS units which I will be carrying on my life jacket was the first to jump into the journey. Their technical and support people have been extremely supportive and their equipment was an essential component to adding a measure of safety to a long trip alone in big waters. The units are very lightweight and hardly noticeable on the straps of my life jacket. I have had them on through practice sails in the ocean and the lower Chesapeake and didn’t even know they were there. Here’s hoping I never notice them at all.
I am also carefully packing aboard the Gill clothing that has so dramatically raised the level of my game. Over several years of building to this trip, I have cobbled together a system of clothing that got me through. But after test trips with the Gill base, mid and out layers, I feel for the first time that I have an edge. My friends will understand when I say, I can barely bring myself to fold the clothes and stuff them into the waterproof Gill bags because it seems like an indignity to such finely crafted materials. But I am going to need it, so I am going to stuff. Even though it pains my aesthetic. Ow. Stuff. Gently, stuff.
But the biggest crisis emerged only two days ago one a critical piece of my navigation system failed through corrosion. My friends at Magellan pulled it all out of the fire, overnighting a new GPS unit from California so that I would have enough time to carefully replot and re-enter the coordinates for my 320 nautical mile route. I have 27 waypoints that I needed to replot and re-enter, and it was no small task in a schedule that was already tight. You really know who your friends are and when they will go to such lengths to help you out. I can’t thank them enough.
And speaking of friends, my Laser buddy Doug came through again, offering a loaner of his older Magellan when mine failed. We have a running joke, that about every time this year we get together to exchange the unit for a loaner. Well, it was at least nice to see you again. Friends are the people we can count on when it is inconvenient. And my enabler in chief, Mike, was there to help with the handoff. Mike lent me his boat last year to set the record. This year, my new friends at Shoreline Sailboats in Avon, N.Y., volunteered for that duty. It is inspiring to me to see others share the passion for adventure and sailing. I can promise I will do my very best.
Now, back to packing and loading. We have a lot of gear to put in the van and some zen time.
Thank you to my sponsors for the Beaufort to Annapolis distance adventure: Shoreline Sailboats of Avon, N.Y. who provided the boat that will get me there. McMurdo who provided the safety and emergency alert gear. Gill, who provided all of the clothing that will keep me safe during the journey. And Magellan, who provided the GPS navigation system. (in a pinch)
Thanks also to my project coordinator, media specialist, biggest fan and promoter, and spouse, Lisa. And To Mitch Brindley, the coach at Old Dominion, for all the support and advice.