Sailing At Last

This is the tale of our journey to fulfill a passion of learning to sail and a dream to circumnavigate. Welcome Aboard At Last!

Profile of At Last and the Gorrell's

Who: Mark & Janet Gorrell
Port: Wickford, RI USA

Our Current Position

19 December 2013 | Westerly, RI
17 July 2013 | Mystic Shipyard, Mystic, CT
14 June 2013 | Summit North Marina, Bear, Delaware
04 June 2013 | Point Lookout Marina, Ridge, Maryland
21 May 2013 | Dunedin Municipal Marina, Dunedin, Florida
05 May 2013 | Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
27 April 2013 | 22 56.8'N:073 02.0'W, Nearing the Exumas & Bahamas
23 April 2013 | 18 25'N:064 50'W, The BVI
13 April 2013 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
08 April 2013 | Admiralty Bay, Port Elizabeth, Bequia
04 April 2013 | Tobago Cays and Mustique, Grenadines
29 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George, Grenada
15 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George, Grenada
06 March 2013 | Between Salvador, Brazil and St. George, Grenada
05 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George's Harbor, Grenada
17 February 2013 | Terminal Nautico, Salvador, Brazil
04 February 2013 | 153 miles from Salvador Brazil, Atlantic Ocean
30 January 2013 | Island of St. Helena, Atlantic Ocean
29 January 2013 | 14 36.9'S:22 37.3'W, On the way to Brazil
20 January 2013 | 15 55.55'S:005 43.58'W, Jamestown, St. Helena

Back in the United States of America!

05 May 2013 | Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
As Mark told you in the last blog, we had a great trip from St. Lucia to Fort Lauderdale. We did not anticipate making the trip nonstop but again we must learn that with sailing no plans are carved in stone. It did not feel like a nine day trip because every two or three days we were planning on stopping so in the end we just made three, three day trips. A small but important distinction. So much for my previous blog entitled, "The Last of the Long Passages."

One thing that did happen which is worth mentioning on this trip was an encounter with a cruise ship. I was on watch during the day and I was well aware of a Carnival Cruise ship that was passing us. According to our AIS, the ship was passing us on our starboard side and would pass us at a distance of about .3 miles. A little close to my liking but we were sailing wing on wing at the time and I had changed direction as much as I could without necessitating a sail change. When the ship was less than a mile behind us, it changed direction and crossed our stern. The end result was the ship passing us within 700 feet. I called the ship on the VHF to make sure he was aware of our presence and to see what was his intention was in terms of passing us. He was aware of our position and responded that he was just about clear of us. I "thanked" him and then ranted to Mark for about a half an hour about how discourteous it was for the ship to change direction so close to us. I took this snap shot of the ship.

We hit a very large storm right before crossing the Gulf Stream which was unfortunate. We had 35 knot winds and big seas. We decided to delay our crossing of the Gulf Stream by about eight hours in order to enter in more favorable conditions. Unfortunately, during those eight hours we were waiting it out at the edge of the Bahamas with about twenty plus large cargo ships. There were no anchorages we could tuck into and heading back into the Bahamas was going into the wind and waves. We ended up amid many cargo ships (many were at anchor) and waiting out the storm in rather uncomfortable conditions. Once the storm passed, we had a very calm Gulf Stream crossing but again hit a thunderstorm just outside of the harbor entrance to Fort Lauderdale. We again spent several hours waiting out the storm with many large ships before entering the harbor. We were glad when the sun began to peek through the clouds and we finally could head in.

Once inside, we encountered our first bridge of the intercostal waterway! Unfortunately, we did not have a cruising guide so we mistakenly thought it opened on the hour and half hour. We timed it perfectly to get there for the 3:30 pm opening. At 3:32 we called the bridge tender to find out why it hadn't opened. He informed us that we needed to call ahead of time so the next opening wasn't until 4:00 pm. So, we were waiting again. I headed the boat over to an open area of the canal to wait. We were then approached by a Sherriff's boat which informed us that we were in a security zone and needed to wait on the other side of the canal. Again, a cruising guide would have been very helpful here. Mark and I laughed that we were having quite an auspicious return to the United States!
Finally, we landed at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center and had a very nice dock hand, Tom, guide us into our slip. We were exhausted but happy to be "home."

The next day after our arrival, we went to customs to check back into the United States. We had called the Coast Guard the day before we arrived and they took information over the phone and informed us that in addition to needing to go to the customs office, our boat would need to be boarded. We went to the customs office thinking that we would spend the better part of our day sorting it all out. We arrived at the customs office, they checked our passports, confirmed that they had the information we had given to them over the phone on their computer, and then told us to have a great day. Mark asked if that was it. They said yes. We were on our way. This was the easiest customs check-in process of our trip, as it should have been.

Our next stop was to the largest West Marine Store in the country, right in Fort Lauderdale. What a great experience. Not only were we able to get everything on Mark's list, the sales staff were extremely helpful and quite chatty with us about our trip and future plans. Even I had a great time. Next, Mark ran some other errands while I went to the local Publix to go grocery shopping. When Mark came to get me I was close to tears. Not from the sheer joy of a large grocery store but rather because I was completely overwhelmed. The store was the size of a football field and I had way too many choices.

While in Fort Lauderdale we were able to get quite a few television channels and we reconnected to Sirius Radio. After not reading the news, seeing the news, watching television or listening to NPR for over 1.5 years, we were plugged back in. Mark's brother has a cell phone for us and once we reach Tampa, our connectivity to the real world will reach a great new level. I cannot wait.

Here are some things that we re-experienced over the past six days that we have truly missed....the evening news with Brian Williams, NPR including Car Talk and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, PGA golf, Law and Order SVU, the Young and the Restless, doing my own laundry in commercial grade washers and dryers at the marina, appetizers of pepperoni and great cheeses, tide laundry detergent, Bounce dryer sheets, real diet coke and really cheap, tacos with all of the fixings, fast internet from the boat, La Crema Chardonnay, 60 Minutes, Ketel One Vodka, a shower drain pump from West Marine that we have been searching for since before South Africa, going to a restaurant where the menu is in English and we know what everything is on the menu...Some of these things may sound silly, but they have all brought us great joy and appreciation to being back in the United States.

Since the day we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, the weather was full of rain and thunderstorms. We originally planned to stay here for two days but ended up needing to stay six due to the weather. According to the locals, it was unseasonably wet and stormy. We used the time wisely and ended up doing many, many jobs on the boat. Mark had a spectacular time unclogging the anchor locker drain which had a mud blockage. While being very helpful and supportive, I took this picture of Mark hanging upside down trying to get at the blockage. It was quite the sight!

We are leaving tomorrow for the sail to Tampa. It should take us about three days. We are not planning on stopping unless we run into some unexpected bad weather. We have now purchased a cruising guide for Florida and the Florida Keys so we will know where to stop if we need to. While in Tampa, we will fly to Austin to visit Mark's Mom. Other than that, we plan to have fun with Mark's family there. Maybe just a few more boat projects!
Vessel Name: At Last
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 465-02
Hailing Port: Wickford, RI USA
Crew: Mark & Janet Gorrell
Hi, We have been sailing for more than twelve years, chartering in the BVI, Leeward Islands, Chesapeake, and Florida. We completed many US Sailing certifications. We have been saling At Last for the last four years in New England between Nantucket and NYC. Mark has crewed on deliveries to St. [...]
For those of you who know Mark, you would agree that he is a very conservative and risk adverse person and one who suffers terribly from motion sickness. So, you must be wondering how he could give up the security of a wonderful job to sail around the world, especially in this economy. Well, [...]
Home Page:
At Last's Photos - Main
Back in the US and heading home
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 3 June 2013
Our time in Marigot Bay, Rodney Bay and other photo albums commemorating our trip
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 19 April 2013
Stops in Grenada and the Grenadines
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 28 March 2013
Carnival and Old Town in Salvador
25 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 17 February 2013
Photos of this unique and friendly island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean
18 Photos
Created 16 February 2013
The pictures from our stops in Richard's Bay, Durban, St. Francis and Cape Town.
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 14 December 2012
Halloween party and a visit to a volcano
21 Photos
Created 23 November 2012
Our time in Mauritius
46 Photos
Created 23 November 2012
Our visit to the atoll of Cocos Keeling, Australia
23 Photos
Created 21 October 2012
35 Photos
Created 18 September 2012
Our time in Mackay, Cairns and Darwin Australia
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 5 September 2012
Our time in Port Resolution, Dillon's Bay and Port Vila
43 Photos
Created 17 July 2012
Our time in Denarau and Musket Cove, Fiji
20 Photos
Created 6 July 2012
Our visit to Vava'u Tonga
56 Photos
Created 21 June 2012
The Islands of Suwarrow and American Samoa
27 Photos
Created 8 June 2012
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 29 April 2012
26 Photos
Created 29 April 2012
This gallery include the passage from the Galapagos and photos from Hiva-Oa, Oa-Pou and Nuku Hiva
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 11 April 2012
These are pictures of the passage to the Galapagos and our experience on the islands of San Cristobal, Isabella and Santa Cruz
2 Photos | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 2 March 2012
Here are photos of the passage to Panama, the San Blas Islands, the transit through the canal and events yet to come.
11 Photos | 6 Sub-Albums
Created 22 January 2012
A compendium of pix of our various excursions around St Lucia
5 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 6 January 2012
These are pictures from the last of the Leeward Islands.
25 Photos
Created 19 December 2011
Photos of Terre-De-Haut, an island part of Les Saintes southeast of Guadeloupe.
13 Photos
Created 18 December 2011
Here are more photos of English Harbour taken form At Last as we left Antigua for Guadeloupe
10 Photos
Created 16 December 2011
These are the pictures of our passage from Antigua through our stay on Guadeloupe
28 Photos
Created 16 December 2011
These are photos of Admiral Nelson's Dockyard and our trek to the top of Shirley Heights overlooking English Harbor
42 Photos
Created 13 December 2011
Here are some photos of the islands as we were leaving Nevis, passing Montserrat and arriving at Antigua. A pleasant 50 mile motor sail into 10 knot head winds. I took a nap for 90 minutes. Blogging keeps me up late at night.
15 Photos
Created 13 December 2011
Pictures of Nevis
14 Photos
Created 11 December 2011
These are pix of Saba, Statia and St Kitts as we passed by them to sail to Nevis
18 Photos
Created 11 December 2011
Pictures of his homes and yacht on the island as we passed headed for Anguilla
11 Photos
Created 5 December 2011
7 Photos
Created 2 December 2011
Some of the photos of the passage that hit the cutting room floor
27 Photos
Created 22 November 2011
These are pictures of some of the results of the recent outfitting for the trip
8 Photos
Created 19 October 2011
These were taken last year sailing in Long Island Sound by Yacht-Shots. My colleagues at Baystate Health were kind enough to have three copies of one these photos printed and framed for me as a going away gift. A large one for home, one for the boat and one for my desk. Very Special!
6 Photos
Created 19 October 2011
This is a compilation of photos taken over the first four years of cruising on At Last in Naragansett Bay and Long Island Sound with close friends, family and the Cruising Club of New England, a wonderful group of sailors.
55 Photos
Created 1 October 2011
At Last is painted in January of 2008
4 Photos
Created 1 October 2011
At last is delivered, commissioned and has its maiden voyage just in time to be in the 2007 Newport Boat Show
6 Photos
Created 1 October 2011
These are pictures of the layout of the IP 465 and the interior of At Last
12 Photos
Created 1 October 2011

Profile of At Last and the Gorrell's

Who: Mark & Janet Gorrell
Port: Wickford, RI USA

Our Current Position