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

Fun with Family

21 May 2013 | Dunedin Municipal Marina, Dunedin, Florida
Passing Key West

Our sail to Tampa was uneventful. We were sad to pass the Florida Keys without a stop but alas the schedule forces us to move on. We also found out that there are few places that we can visit in the Florida Keys due to our draft. Although we have only five feet of keel, many of the places in the Keys are shallower than that! We thought there would be much more opportunity for lots of stops along the way. We were also surprised that there were so few places to anchor along the way also. Florida appears to have many more marinas than anchorages.

Along the way, Mark's ongoing love affair with flying fish continued. He was sleeping down below and suddenly we both heard a noise. He asked if everything was okay above while I thought something happened down below. Mark quickly realized that a flying fish had hit the hatch above him, fell onto the screen, popped opened the screen and then landed with him in bed. At this point, he no longer screams with these close encounters. He grabbed a paper towel and quickly realized that the flying fish was quite big. His head and tail peeked out at either end of the paper towel. Mark threw it overboard and we were hopeful that he survived. Mark wiped some fish scales off his bed, shook out his blanket and then went back to sleep.

That was not our only encounter with nature during the sail to Tampa. We also picked up a medium sized white bird in Key West. He stayed with us until we arrived in Tampa. He looked a bit sick and would not eat anything I attempted to feed him. He stayed at amidships for the trip and buried his head under a wing. I became quickly concerned about his health and decided to name him Bob. I instructed Mark to look out for Bob and we began the Bob watch. When a change of shift occurred we updated each other on Bob's status. To tell you the truth it didn't change much. He stayed in the same position for two entire days. Bob left us, without saying goodbye, the morning after we arrived in Tampa. He did leave us quite a mess on the deck, having also used our boat as his personal bathroom for two days. Mark would have appreciated an alternative form of payment for the ride.

We arrived in Tampa close to midnight. We ended up picking up a mooring ball in the dark at St. Petersburg Municipal Marina. Not ideal but we were anxious to get settled and the area was well lit and well-marked. We were a little bit familiar with the area because we were there a mere ten years ago. That was when we took a live aboard learn to sail course with Colgate Sailing School. We let that thought sink in for the next couple of days. Ten years ago - learn to sail course. Today - a completed circumnavigation.

Chris (Mark's brother) and Mark moved the boat to the lovely town of Dunedin Florida right after we arrived in St. Petersburg. I was happy to spend the day with Chris's wife, Sharon, relaxing at their home. Dunedin is a wonderful town which made us homesick for Wickford, RI. Lots of restaurants, shops and people walking around. Many of those people stopped by our boat after they heard we had just completed our circumnavigation from Tom and Matt the very nice staff at the marina.

While we were in Tampa, Chris gave us a wonderful gift of a painting to commemorate our adventure. For those of you who do not know, our spinnaker has the letters "AL" on them. Not for Al but rather At Last, although we do affectionately call our spinnaker Big Al. The signs on the side of the painting are many of the places which we visited along the way, including the restaurant in Bora Bora called Bloody Mary's. We cannot imagine a more perfect and thoughtful gift. We have hung it prominently on the boat on the wall across from the stairs leading down into the main salon. No one will miss this incredible work of art.

While in Tampa, we flew to Austin, TX to visit Mark's mother. We were given the suggestion of visiting Franklin's BBQ while in Austin which has been given the title of the best BBQ in the country. The BBQ has been featured on Anthony Bourdain's show on the Food Network and written up in Bon Appetite magazine. Mark called them before going because he heard that there was often a line and they would sell out every day. They are only open for lunch and it was recommended that he get there early. Mark arrived at Franklin's at 8:45 am and was the 45th person in line. A very entrepreneurial gentleman was renting lawn chairs for $5. Mark finally had his BBQ at 11:30 am and brought it back for the rest of us. It was the best BBQ I ever had and Mark will acknowledge that it was worth the wait in line.

We enjoyed both of our visits with family in Austin and Tampa. Seeing everyone again was just what we needed. It is amazing how quickly you settle back in with everyone and soon forget you were gone that long at all. We are grateful to be home and we understand that our family is very grateful that we are home safely. Mark has promised his mother who is almost 87 that we will not be doing this again as long as she is living. Apparently, she missed her little boy too much!

After almost two weeks in Tampa, I am happy to say that we had done relatively little on the boat. It was good to have a break. I did need to cook a bunch of meals and freeze them for the passage home. As I was cooking the meals, I felt relieved that this would be the last time I would be cooking these meals for passages. Then I had the thought that at some point in the future, I will probably be wishing that I needed to make these meals again. Yes, I will miss these passages. Not as much for the passages themselves, but for the journey to another new and exciting location. As Mark says, everyone has a love hate relationship with passages.

We had decided to stop in St. Augustine on our way back home. We are trying to get home by the beginning of June but don't want to spend too much time at sea. It turned out to be a four day trip. There was absolutely no wind and it was unbearably hot. For the first time, Mark decided to keep all the hatches and portholes open because done below had to be about 100 degrees. It became impossible to sleep down below when the sun was out. Not a good thing when you are desperately trying to get some sleep. Well, Mark was down below sleeping and I was at the helm in flat, calm seas. I then encountered a huge rogue way and suddenly the bow was underwater scooping up a ton of water and depositing it through several of the open hatches and portholes. I had no time to react and it was over as quickly as it began. Cleaning everything up and drying everything out was unfortunately not resolved as quickly!

We also got stuck in a thunderstorm that was so big we could not out maneuver it. We had thunder and lightning all around us. It was almost 4 am and the start of Mark's shift, so I woke him up a bit early. I had gotten the boat buttoned down for the storm and was beginning to be hit by 35 knot winds. I had forgotten to put the IPad and the laptop in the stove which apparently will protect these devices if we were to be hit by lightning. Now that is something I cannot begin to understand. We said a prayer that we wouldn't get hit by any of the lightning that was hitting all around us. We do have a static dissipator at the top of the mast which is supposed to help reduce the chances of being hit by lightning. Again, I cannot begin to understand that. Well, either it worked or we were just incredibly lucky because we survived the lightning storm which Mark says lasted several hours. I had gone to bed and slept through it.

Lastly, as we were passing Cape Canaveral we heard from the Coast Guard that a rocket was to be launched by NASA that evening. They said that if you entered the security zone willfully you would incur a $200,000 fine, go to prison for ten years, and your boat would be confiscated. If you negligently entered the security zone there were lesser penalties. We were outside of the security zone, but only by about ten miles. We were anxious to see the rocket fired but despite a close lookout we saw nothing. It did provide a bit of excitement, particularly as we heard the coast guard contact boats and tell them that they were going to enter the security zone and needed to change their coarse.

All of these conditions left us with a rather unfavorable view of our passage from Tampa to St. Augustine. One good thing was riding the Gulf Stream current which kept us going over 9 knots for the better part of a day. We also were close enough to shore to get cell phone and internet access (on the IPad through cellular service) for a good part of the trip. After a year and an half of having difficulty getting internet while on shore having it at sea seems like a miracle. At the end of an already difficult trip, the wind clocked around coming from the north against the current so we were beating to windward in 20+ knots of wind and pounded into steep waves for a few hours before we entered the harbor to St. Augustine. We were thrilled to land at St. Augustine Municipal Mariana; a lovely marina in a very interesting town.
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!
7 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