Home again and awake. I think I just regained enough brain function and strength to properly thank everyone for all of the support, good wishes and positive energy sent out during this long quest. It meant a lot to me, and I know it helped bouy Lisa, too. Chalk that up to a breakfast of strawberries, blueberries, croissants, chocalate and champaigne. That's my after.
It was a battle of extremes this time. Crossing two treachorous shoals along the MidAtlantic Coast, wrestling six foot swells and 30 knot winds off the Outerbanks. Fighting through calm, haze and current at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Dodging massive thunderstorms in the lower Chesapeake, outlasting a bout of fatigue that caused a temporary loss of vision, enduring a night of hypothermia, a slow light wind glide in the upper Chesapeake and a final burst of 20 knot winds to finish in a light rain in the dark of night.
I arrived in Annapolis in the very first hours of Independence Day, about four days after departing Beaufort, N.C., bruised, tired but feeling very fulfilled by the long journey. I know Lisa has been sharing the adventure with you all along, and I appreciate everyone who followed the action on the Yellowbrick tracker. I plan to right a more detailed account of the journey soon, but wanted to take the first opportunity I could muster the strength to say how much I enjoyed sharing this all with you.
I finally got a chance to see Lisa's video footage from Beaufort and Virginia Beach and was amazed how beautiful the settings were from outside the boat. In the boat was a constant battle to maintain focus and order and I tried never let my mind stray from the mission.
But I could not help but thinking so many times that to call this trip a solo voyoage is a misnomer. It took a team of people to properly organize, plan, prepare for and share this trip. So to my many friends who gave so freely of their time and energy to help me -- thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can't fully explain why, but this trip was important, and you all made it possible.
Mike Moore, for the tireless support over four years; Mitch Brindley, head coach of the Old Dominion Sailing Team, for all of the encouragement, advice and help for over a decade; Greg Lanese, for the great technical innovations and trip planning -- I'm pretty sure you saved my life; Sam Scudder and Gunnar Stumpe of the Sail Carteret club, for welcoming us with open arms to Moorehead City and providing a place to rest before leaving, a place to set up, giving your time to provide a chase boat for the difficult route out into the ocean and for the invaluable local knowledge that got us across the Cape Lookout shoals without harm; to Joe for spending so much time shadowing the difficult leg into the Chesapeake Bay and to all of the people of Old Dominion University sailing community that have been my friends and mentors over the years. To the generous people at Severn Sailing Association who opened their beautiful club in Annapolis to Lisa and I so that we would have a safe place to land and recover. (I am starting to think that every July they starting looking over the horizon to see if some crazy guy on a laser is pulling up to their floating dock) To Marlene Plumley of Anne Arundel Dive company who was there for Lisa at the finish and provided the excellent food and juice; Bill Jenkins, the skipper of the Legacy out of Virginia Beach who took Lisa out to wish me well off Cape Henry and to Sarah Angell and Mitch Bennett who jumped on their boat with Lisa to try and greet me off Annapolis. (we were just ships passing in the night, in the end.)
Thanks to Kyle and Darren Leonard, who so deeply believed in this quest that they provided a brand new Laser and sail to make it possible. (and safe) You both have been so much fun to talk to and share this adventure with. We seriously have to do a podcast for Shoreline Sailboats. I hope that we can both continue to promote community sailing in our communities and I hope this is just the start of a long friendship. And I definitely want to come sail sunfish with you guys up in Avon. (Have you ever heard of the Hampton Roads Sunfish Challenge and Dinghy Distance Race run by my friend Jonathan Romero in Hampton Roads every year in early fall? Perhaps we can have you down for this great event on September 19 and stay at my house)
I also want to thank McMurdo, who provided personal locator becons that provided such a big measure of safety. And thanks to Gill, who provided the clothing that made such an endurance trip possible. Your gear was a huge comfort in the big blows off Hatteras, and I think kept me alive when I was developing hypothermia on day three. Thanks also to Magellan for providing the GPS that guided me along the way (and overnighting the unit I needed to get it there in time)
Last, but not least, thanks to Lisa -- for everything. And to my children, Z,I,A,Q who gave me the strength to endure when I needed it the most. This was for you.
More to come.
To all of the people who have shared this journey with me, and in so doing, become part of the story