Happy New Year to the PBS clan! It’s going to be an exciting year!
First off, I’d like to share something I’ve been planning for a few months now. On February 12th, I’ll be flying down to Antigua to participate in the RORC Caribbean 600 yacht race! When I sailed with Paul Exner back in June, I mentioned to him that I wanted to crew the race with Andy Schell aboard his 1972 Swan 48 Isbjörn. At the time, the trip was already booked up with a waiting list. Paul is skippering the race and is pretty good friends with Andy, so when an opening came up Paul mentioned my interest. When I got the message from Andy, I without hesitation jumped on the opportunity.
Andy Schell and his wife Mia run an expedition business called 59° North. Their clients book berths on some of the most interesting and challenging passages the sea has to offer. He’s even taking Isbjörn up to the Arctic circle in 2018. He also hosts a podcast called On The Wind Sailing, wherein Andy shares his essays, conversations, and interviews with sailors from all over the spectrum, from Nigel Calder to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. If this piques your interest, check them out!
The race starts and finishes in Antigua, winding through the Windward Islands, up and around St. Martin, down to Guadeloupe, and back to Antigua. It officially starts on the 20th, but I’ll be doing a few days of diving and exploring the island, then a few days of practicing aboard Isbjorn prior to the race. It’s going to be one hell of an adventure and learning experience. I feel like I’m going from 0-100mph with my sailing, and I believe that this race will definitely take me to the next level, testing everything I know to date.
Meanwhile back on planet Earth, I’ve been doing quite a bit of sailing locally and not a lot of work on Lorilee, heheh. Last week I did manage to install a main AC breaker/distribution panel and a new battery charger. Lorilee was never wired with an AC breaker, so essentially she was just a big extension chord from the shore power. Now she’s fused and wired with proper electrical protection. The new charger is a 50A Sterling ProCharge Ultra. I chose such a beefy charger simply because the seller offered it to me at the same price as the 30A model. Not exactly “minimalist”, but I couldn’t pass it up. So far it’s been great! Next on the list is dealing with some chronic engine issues I’ve been ignoring, which deserves a post all to its own.
2016 ended on a very high note. As mentioned in my previous blog, I’ve met a very special someone, and with her I’ve done some great eating, exploring, and sailing! We’ve sailed her father’s Nacra beach catamaran, a spritely little Pearson, and crewed several times aboard the Sea Star Base Galveston’s Gazelle, a 70-ft aluminum schooner. I’ve even taken her out on Lorilee several times and had a great sail on Christmas Eve-Eve!
Going into 2017, I have many things to accomplish: several boat projects, fitness goals, and most of all, becoming totally debt free so I can work less. I know my writing has grown sparse over the last few months, so I intend to write more often this year. Much to look forward to!