Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Week Before (October 27-30, 2014)

The birthday boy

The birthday boy

It’s Joshua’s birthday today so we celebrate the beginning of his 7th year on this planet. The crew is arriving tomorrow but there is still a lot to do. Matt is filling out vessel and crew member registration forms in preparation for entry to Bermuda. He emails everyone to find out dates of birth and other personal information. One crew member’s birth year comes back as 1936. Matt looks at me and says something along the lines of “What the hell …?” We quickly do the math – 78 years old. We look at each other stunned. Despite one’s level of fitness, the likelihood of a broken bone (or hip) is exponentially higher in an 80-year-old than in a 30-year-old. Still, there is nothing to be done at this point except meet the crew when they arrive.

After a flurry of activity the next morning (packing bags, cleaning the boat, making diagrams IMG_2112of where things are stored, clearing out space for the crew’s provisions), the boys and I get kicked off the boat. We check into a hotel about 2 miles away and leave Matt the car. The crew spends Wednesday working on final projects and getting last-minute supplies.

Tashtego's progress

Tashtego’s progress

They depart Thursday around noon and head to Newport, RI. Newport is where all the boats in the rally are meeting and where they will wait for a weather window. I take the boys to the New Bedford Whaling Museum (amazing – field trips are so much more fun than formal boat school) and we track the boat’s progress on the SPOT tracker. It is so cool to see their passage throughout the day (and a good test of how we will track them to Bermuda and beyond). The boys and I stay in Fairhaven one more night because we still have packages due at the marina and still have other local errands to do.

October Days & Passage Prep (October 2014)

IMG_2109Matt and I had talked about crew selection and criteria. We felt youth and strength were critical particularly since the captain, although spry and fit, is 74 years old. As Matt updated me on conversations with the captain, I would occasionally ask if we knew ages. Matt said one was a woman in her 50’s and the other male was thought to be in his 60’s. “What?” I say to Matt. “What about our criterion about age?” He shrugs his shoulders and said he left the final decisions up to the captain. He buys some chocolate as surprise provisions for the crew. “Maybe you shouldn’t buy so much,” I say. “How do you know you’re not going to end up with a bunch of geriatric diabetics?” Matt smiles. “More for me,” he says.

A leaf print on the sidewalk

A leaf print on the sidewalk

Our days are spent mostly working on boat tasks but we get out to the fort and hurricane wall and exercise in the mornings. The boys and I do school at the library and run errands. It’s a town with about 10 gorgeous buildings (church, library, high school, etc.) built for the town by a Standard Oil exec. We get to the glass museum in New Bedford and have seen the passage of time in the changes in the leaves.