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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
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23 November 2012
46 Photos
17 July 2012
43 Photos
 
Tortola At Last
Mark
November 22, 2011, 12:00 pm, Nanny Cay Marina Tortola BVI

I finally found time to update the blog. Since arriving Saturday afternoon, we have been cleaning the boat, doing laundry and tending to much needed personal hygiene and grooming issues. The crew was still able to make time to celebrate the accomplishment with the other boats in the rally having pain killers (a very yummy rum drink) on the beach in the evening.

Let me tell you about the fantastic crew of At Last. We were the eighth boat out of sixty to arrive in Tortola. The boats that arrived ahead of us were much larger (10 - 30 feet) and so they were able to travel much faster than At Last. As of now, there are still twelve boats yet to arrive. The team feels very proud to have sailed so well, especially when you consider the fact that two of the crew had never been sailing off shore before and two had never sailed non-stop overnight. My brother, Chris, had been sailing only a couple of times with us in Narragansett Bay so this was an incredible accomplishment for him to have completed a Caribbean 1500. Janet had never been sailing off shore or overnight and she handled everything very well. Many of you posted comments on the blog asking about Andy our other crew member. Andy Baker, is our good friend, an experienced sailor, commodore of the Cruising Club of New England, and yacht broker for Springline Yacht Sales in Mystic CT. He, by far, has the most sailing experience of all of us and was invaluable in so many ways on the trip. Thanks Andy for all your help.

Andy and Chris left Monday morning for the airport to return to their normal lives. They take with them the satisfaction of successfully completing a 1500 mile passage on a 49 foot sail boat; an accomplishment shared by relatively few sailors. It was a tearful moment for us to see them leave.

The crew felt that it was important to do something together to demonstrate our team work. So we all decided to grow goatees on the trip. Janet decided to shave hers off before the picture was taken. I don't think there will be any confusion regarding which one is my brother and which one is Andy. Apparently there is a family resemblance except for the hair.

Now Janet and I have six weeks to see the islands. We have to be in St Lucia by December 26th. We start the trip around the world on January 8th. We will stay in the BVI for a few days. Next stop? Who knows? We are on "island time" now. We will be updating the blog at least weekly though with plenty of pictures of the islands as we make our way to St Lucia. Stay tuned.

One last note... I can't tell you how much it meant to me and Janet to see the comments posted to the blog and the emails you sent to us. Thank you very much. We can receive email while on the passage if sent via the web site but could not read the comments on the blog till we arrived in Tortola and found internet access. Now that we have some time on our hands, we will be responding to your emails and posts. Thank you all for the wonderful support.

The Caribbean 1500
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Are we there yet?, Yes we are!!
Mark
November 19, 2011, 2:57 pm, 18 23.867'N:64 38.16'W, Saturday 9 am eastern, 35 miles to Tortola, ETA 2 pm eastern

At Last has arrived at Nanny Cay marina. The place is beautiful. The diffinition of a good passage.... no one injured, no one sick, nothing broken on At Last. All this is the case for us. We are all taking showers as I write this and none too soon. More to come tomorrow but for now I have to treat the crew to dinner.

The Caribbean 1500
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Are we there yet?
Mark
November 19, 2011, 8:09 am, 19 30'N:65 04'W, Saturday 9 am eastern, 35 miles to Tortola, ETA 2 pm eastern

We have not seen a sail boat or even a cargo vessel for the last six days. Finally, we spy a sail boat on radar 12 miles in front of us early this morning. We were beginning to wonder if they called off the Rally and everyone went back home but forgot to tell us. We are nearing Tortola and there is a bit of competition to see who can claim right to be the first to say �"Land Ho�". Since we left, each of the crew has completed 25 watches lasting four hours. Needless to say, we can�'t wait to land at the dock with the Rally staff greeting us with a bottle of champagne.

Mark's brother Chris, wins the contest for the �"saltiest dog�" look after 8 days at sea. I have hair envy.

The Caribbean 1500
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Dodging the squalls
Mark
November 19, 2011, 7:49 am, 19 30'N:65 04'W, Saturday 3am eastern

We dodged a number of squalls over the past two evenings. The skies are clear in the morning. Then the afternoon heat creates the clouds and they stir up the wind and waves in the evening. We try our best to steer around the bigger squalls which are more than six square miles. Then they dissipate in the night and the cycle starts up again the next day.

The Caribbean 1500
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24 Hrs to Tortola
Mark
November 18, 2011, 11:13 am, 21 17'N:65 57'W, Friday Noon eastern, 188 miles to Tortola, ETA late Saturday

We are on our last day at sea before arriving in Tortola late Saturday evening. Everyone is fine and can't wait to hit port. Beautiful weather. The seas have calmed down a bit. Andy won the fishing contest with this record breaking fish, but everyone passed on the idea of sushi.

The Caribbean 1500
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Three Days to Tortola
Mark
November 17, 2011, 6:25 am, 24 00.3'N:67 26'W, Thursday 7:00 am eastern, 370 miles to Tortola, ETA late Saturday

The smooth ride with no wind ended 36 hours ago. Since then, we have had 15-20 kts on the nose and 8-12' seas. We have not seen another boat for the last 3 days. We know they are out there, mostly to the north of us, but it would be nice to see someone else out here. We are starting to feel like we may be in episode of the X-Files or an Outer Limits rerun. Could we have been transported to a parallel planet of endless ocean never to see another boat or land again? Ok, this is what happens to crew who are sleep deprived, our imaginations run wild.

Estimated arrival at Nanny Cay Tortola is Saturday afternoon. At Last is happy with the conditions, happier than most of the crew but everyone if fine. We are starting to talk about the first thing we are going to do when we arrive in port. For most, it is a toss-up between taking a shower and drinking a beer. So we thought we would do both at the same time.

The Caribbean 1500
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Day four but whose counting
Mark
November 15, 2011, 5:21 am, 28 36.7'N:69 46.8'W, Thurday 6:00 am eastern, 677 miles to Tortola, ETA late Friday

The passage has been a bit boring, flat seas, little wind, no flying fish on deck. The crew is wondering about all this talk of the "challenges" of sailing around the world. I will be happy if they continue to doubt the rigors of our journey for the rest of the trip.

However, my brother Chris remarked this morning on our midnight to four am shift, "saling on a passage like this really makes one appreciate the simple things in life, a shower, clean clothes, and sleep.

The Caribbean 1500
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