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

How deep is the Intercostal Waterway?

04 June 2013 | Point Lookout Marina, Ridge, Maryland
We had a fantastic stay in St. Augustine! While we were there we went out to lunch with one of our faithful blog followers, whom we had never met. Jim lives in St. Augustine and several times emailed us inviting us to visit. We took him up on it as St. Augustine was a great stop to get out of some nasty weather!

While in St. Augustine, we became typical Memorial Day Weekend tourists. First order of business we bought tickets to ride the trolley for the next three days. The trolley ride was actually quite fun and informative. It was an easy way to see a bunch of the sights in St. Augustine and you could hop on and off all day long.

St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and the Castillo de San Marcos fort was built during the 17th century. After nine previous forts were built out of wood, the current well preserved fort was built out of coquina. This rock which is made of compressed sea shells is so well able to absorb cannon balls without cracking that it was never destroyed in battle. In fact, the only time the fort changed hands was through a paper treaty rather than by battle. We were lucky enough to be at the fort when they were firing off two cannons. The ceremony was done by a group of volunteers who dressed in traditional garb, all except for their ear plugs. I was grateful that we weren't in the bay on the sailboat when the cannons went off!

We were also lucky enough to be in St. Augustine when El Galeon was on display which is a replica of the 16th century Spanish galleon ship. The replica is 170 feet and 495 tons. We spent quite a bit of time aboard asking all sorts of questions to one of the men on board who sailed the ship over from Europe. It takes about 1.5 hours to get their sails unfurled and ready to be used. The crew does have to climb the masts to the sails in order to unfurl them. The ship sails about as fast as our sailboat. Because of the rounded bottom of the boat it rocks quite a bit at sea, leaving most of the crew seasick for the first couple of days. Because the ship has to comply with current maritime standards, it does have radar, autopilot and all of the other modern conveniences. Mark and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and wondered how we could volunteer to do a leg on the boat. Now, that would be fun!

We stayed in St. Augustine a few more days than expected trying to wait out some stormy weather. We ended up leaving before the weather cleared and took the Intercostal Waterway (ICW) from St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach, Florida (the last stop before entering Georgia). Luckily, a neighbor at the marina gave us all sorts of great information on how to safely make our way along the ICW. The great thing about the day on the ICW was all of the scenery. It was a great change of pace to have something to look at besides water and an occasional cargo ship. The frustrating thing was how much attention you need to pay along the way. No more reading a book or watching a movie while underway. Luckily, there were plenty of beautiful homes, boats and docks to look at.

We did run into a bit of trouble along the way. We were a bit nervous about the bridges which all were about 65 feet in height. Our mast height is 62 feet but we have a three foot antenna on the top of our mast making us just able to fit. We did end up waiting for the tide to lower outside a bridge because the marker showed the height to be at 64 feet when we arrived at high tide. We waited about an hour while the tide came in so we could have our 65 feet of clearance. At the next bridge, the water level measured at 64.5 feet. Instead of waiting, I suggested we give it a go. We now know that we can get under a bridge at 64.5 feet. Mark refuses to investigate any further whether we could get under anything lower. So 64.5 feet is our absolute lowest clearance. Good to know.

That really wasn't the trouble though. We were trying to find a suitable place to anchor for the night and we wanted to get as far as we could up the ICW. We decided to go until the sun went down as we found a great spot to anchor up a way further. At about 6:00 pm it became low tide so we started to really watch our depth gage as some of the areas we were going through had about 7 - 8 feet of water. The first time we ran aground was in the middle of the channel in 20 feet of water where suddenly we hit 4.8 feet of water (we draw 5 feet). With a bit of reverse and some turning we were quickly on our way. Over the course of the next two hours we ran aground another 3 or 4 times (can you believe we lost count)? Almost every time we would tap the bottom a bit, maybe get stuck for less than a minute, and then maneuver the boat into deeper water. One time Mark needed to pull out the main sail which heeled us over enough to get free. When we finally arrived at Fernandina Harbor Marina, we decided to pick up a mooring ball instead of anchoring because all we could think about was waking up the next morning, aground, and leaning over. It was well worth the $21 for a good night's sleep.

The next morning while we were getting fuel at the marina, the gentleman helping us told us that because of the full moon the tides were particularly troublesome right now. He explained that low tide was probably 1 - 1.5 feet lower than usual. He further stated that his buddy who works for a local towing company has been particularly busy over the past week freeing boats which had run aground. We certainly felt better after that conversation!

After getting the fuel (too much motoring lately), we exited the ICW with a sigh of relief and entered the Atlantic Ocean. We went back to reading our books and relaxing a bit more. We certainly were no longer fearful of running aground. We again needed to motor almost the entire way up the coast and again we headed to shore to get out of some bad weather. We entered the Chesapeake Bay at night which was a little unnerving given all of the cargo ship traffic. We stayed just outside the shipping channel and didn't have any problems. We found a small marina at the mouth of the Potomac and pulled into our slip late in the day. We were so happy to find that the marina has a restaurant on site and we quickly tied up the boat, checked in and went to dinner. For some reason both of us were exhausted from this trip despite it only being five days. We had a quick dinner, two glasses of wine went right to my head, and I was fast asleep by 8:30 pm.

The day after we arrived, I was quick to find the laundry machines. Despite doing seven loads of laundry in St. Augustine, we had a bunch more to do. Mark went to the service department and got some oil so he could change the oil in the engine. We have been running the engine so much lately that it needed to be done. It has been a wet and windy stay here at Point Lookout Marina but a nice break.

Tomorrow morning we are leaving bright and early to go up the Potomac to Washington, DC. We are so close and we cannot pass up the opportunity to visit there. We will pass Mount Vernon and Quantico along the way. There is a marina right next to the Washington Monument where we are planning on staying for a night. Sounds like it will be an amazing visit!
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