As if dictated by the migration of birds La Forza was due to sail north for the summer and I was only too happy to help in the effort. So from Montreal I flew to Sint Marteen to call La Forza home for nearly six weeks.
La Forza ready to sail north.
Before the 1550 nautical mile passage there were extensive preparations to complete which Nicolas, Lia and I attacked with reckless abandon. Bilge pump maintenance, new deck fitting attachment, rigging inspection, sail repair, bow-thruster and propellor maintenance, provisioning, and cooking 10 days of food for the passage were but some of the necessary activities before we set sail.
Nicolas and I rebuilding the generator cooling system.
Tensioning and lubricating the steering cables.
Digging through the line locker to access the bow thruster.
Nicolas tightening the mast-to-deck bolts after re-tensioning the rig with 75,000 pound hydraulic jacks.
Like in the BVI’s but this time with a real harness and 100ft up! Re-attaching the jib halyard and giving the mast and standing rigging a thorough pre-passage inspection.
Nicolas and I preparing to use an underwater drill to re-secure the bow thruster fairing to its housing.
After Nicolas rebuilt and re-pitched the entire 3′ diameter Max-Prop underwater it was my turn to secure all the bolts and refill the housing with grease.
As we were heading to lobster-pot country we also installed a line cutter ahead of the prop.
Lia and I making sure we look fashionable in our foul weather gear.
Tristan making sure he’ll float if he falls overboard.
Nicolas and I also got a little racing in thanks to an invitation from Ernst, the island sailmaker. Aboard Jeanneau 20s we got about 10 races in over the two Saturday’s we were there, taking an overall 4th in the regattas.
Nicolas and Ernst prepare Miss Tandfog for the regatta.
View from the committee boat as we head upwind from the starting line.
Soon Scary Gary joined us and with our able crew of four it was finally time to cast off the lines and make our way through the drawbridge of the Simpson Bay Lagoon to the open ocean. An uneventful eight day passage awaited us with sporadic winds and much calm air requiring the iron jenny for nearly 130 hours of the trip. Still, we were granted a few hours a day of glorious sailing and hand steering, blasting north through the Atlantic Ocean day and night as if a freight train on her way to the next scheduled station.
Running shoes drying after a morning half marathon around the Simpsons Bay Lagoon, my last run before setting sail that afternoon.
Gary taking a nap in the staysail before his first watch of the passage.
It took a little while for poor seasick Tristan to get his sea legs.
One of many beautiful sunsets as we sailed north.
Boat work never ends, even while on a passage! Nicolas and I sanding the teak cockpit table on a calm night at sea.
My night watches were midnight to 4 AM so with camera and tripod in hand I again took to the deck in an attempt to capture this incredible experience.
Reaching along at 10 knots through the night.
Sailing in rolling seas under a full moon.
Hand steering under double reefed main and staysail after a small rain squall.
Fun with waypoints, nearly 500 of them in fact, to spell out a little message on the chart-plotter for Nicolas when he came on watch at 4 AM.
Scary Gary in the cockpit, ready for a north sea gale.
Nicolas pretending there’s some urgency to trimming the jib.
Scary Gary imparting some nautical wisdom to Tristan. Not long after this we found Gary reading the New York Times to Tristan – perhaps too many days at sea does drive one a little crazy.
Nicolas on watch.
Tristan on watch.
Did I mention going a bit crazy at sea? We found this flying fish on deck one morning and thought it would make a nice (stinky) necklace.
Not even at sea can you escape the chores of laundry.
Friends at sea.
After suffering a year of beard jokes from my friend Dave I decided this passage was the time to shave it off. However since I had 8 days to do I artistically shaved it off bit by bit. Here’s day 4 or so.
Gary getting some morning exercise jumping on the fenders.
Look! No hands!
Tristan peering down from his secret stash of rum in the boom.
Gary’s response at hearing we’ll pull in to Newport a bit later than planned.
Gary collecting donations for our first dinner ashore.
After 8 days at sea we pulled into Newport, Rhode Island in time to clear customs and get dinner ashore.
Safely docked and dwarfed by most of our neighbors.
The America’s Cup catamarans assembled for races in Newport.
MOD70 trimarans racing out the Newport channel.
Sunset over the Jamestown Bridge from our cozy anchorage just north of Newport.
Our three weeks in Newport meant welcoming 1st Mate Rodrigo back aboard, continued boat maintenance, a charter in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and ample socializing with friends and family.
The crew of La Forza and Inukshuk descend upon the streets of Newport.
Lunch aboard with my Aunt Marge and Charles.
A gourmet dinner for my friend Gisele and the La Forza crew.
Tristan golfing with friends from Manu and La Forza
Celebrating Gisele’s birthday on Second Beach near Newport.
The charter in Nantucket meant more provisioning, boat preparation, and perfecting my bar tending skills. Luckily the charter went off without a hitch (barring the live shark that was brought into the main saloon one night) and we returned in time for me to make a quick trip to Rockland, ME for a few days to check on Northern Cross, who though lonely looked as wonderful as ever.
Buried in provisions after the most ridiculous grocery store experience of my life.
Lia showing off her chef skills with the start of another four course dinner.
The maine course.
A rainbow over Martha’s Vineyard after an evening rain squall.
Ghosting along Edgartown Harbor as the sun sets over Martha’s Vineyard.