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

A Warm Welcome in a Beautiful Place

26 October 2012 | Le Caudon Waterfront, Island of Mauritius, Indian Ocean
The welcome to Mauritius was spectacular. We arrived at about 7:30 am local time. We were greeted with shots of rum, a fruit basket and a welcome bag of goodies. Alan (s/v Bronwyn) also handed us a fresh baguette, which we proceeded to eat immediately. There were many fellow fleet members there to welcome us after our two week passage. After our shot of rum, we were invited over to s/v Peat Smoke (who arrived 1 mile ahead of us) for a shot of whiskey. I cannot remember the last time I had so much to drink before 9:00 am. Thus began a long series of celebrations. Every time a boat arrived a whole group of people would come out to welcome the boat, even if the boat arrived in the middle of the night. The biggest celebration occurred when s/v J'Sea arrived. John and Linda had to hand steer for almost the entire two week trip due to their auto pilot failing.

While in Mauritius, Alan and Mark (s/v Bronwyn) invited us to head out for a day of touring in their hired car (rented car). We set off with a rough sketch of where we were planning on going but really just set out. We visited the Bois Cheri tea factory which was founded in 1892 and had an intimate tour of the factory. We were able to walk through the entire factory getting really close to the machinery. Next we went to the Chamarel Rum Factory where we had a quick tour of the factory, a rather lengthy rum tasting and then an exquisite lunch at their restaurant.

After the rum factory lunch and a stop at their store (where I purchased the vanilla flavored liquor), we went back to the tea factory for our tea tasting. The view was spectacular and the tea was the perfect way to end the day.

We also did a day long tour with the rest of the World Arc Fleet. Unfortunately, Mark was left behind at the boat working on the heads (more about that in one moment). We started out at the Labourdonnais Chateau which was a restored mansion which was originally built in 1856-1859 and part of a large sugar cane plantation. We visited a Sucre (sugar) Factory which was converted into a museum. Sucre production continues to be one of the major economies in Mauritius in addition to tourism. The Dutch introduced sugar cane production to the island when it was colonized by them in 1598. One third of the island was devoted to sugar production at that time. We also visited the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens. The gardens were renamed after the Mauritius' first Prime Minister who was elected to office in 1968 when the island gained its independence. The botanical garden is home to 85 different types of palm trees. I had no idea there were so many kinds. The interesting thing about the botanical garden is that there were trees from all over the world there. The garden had many plaques announcing who had donated the tree and where the tree was from. The result was an amazing collection of the most interesting and beautiful trees from around the world.

As mentioned in my last blog, there are multiple items on the list to fix while we are in Cape Town. Unfortunately, sometimes items become a major priority before you are ready to deal with them. Soon upon arriving in Mauritius we realized that we were unable to dump our holding tank (the tank that holds the waste from the boat). We have two ways to empty the tank - one by using the macerator pump which macerates the waste and then dumps it overboard - the other by pumping out the waste through a fitting on our deck which is typically done at a marina with pump out facilities. Mark and I quickly discovered that our macerator pump was broken and our holding tank was full. Thus, we were no longer able to use our heads (toilets) on board. Luckily, we were at a marina where there were toilets available to use 24 hours per day. We won't go into what we would have had to do if we were in an anchorage! We quickly learned that there were no pump out facilities in Mauritius and probably there wouldn't be any in Reunion Island either, our next stop. We had someone look at the macerator pump and we were told that the bellows was broken and they could not get a replacement part for it for at least one week, maybe two. Mark spent the next day taking apart the macerator pump (an odoriferous and messy job) and taking apart one of the pumps for the head which has some identical parts. He also called Island Packet to see if they could provide us with any other helpful information on how to fix the pump. They disagreed with the first diagnosis of the problem and told us that our duck bill valves were probably inverted. We liked that diagnosis because Mark found two spare duck bill valves already on the boat. I arrived back to the boat around 5:00 pm after the tour and Mark filled me in on what he had done and learned. I took a look at the two pumps which he had taken apart and started trying to clean up some of the mess (not fun). Within a few minutes, I told Mark that I thought we could replace the duck bill valves. He confirmed that if we did take apart the pipes leading to the pump (where one of the valves was located) we would not have a volcanic eruption of the holding tank but rather have about 1.5 cups of waste to deal with. I said let's do it. So we spent the next 3.5 hours taking the rest of the pump apart, replacing the duck bill valves (which were inverted, thank you Island Packet) and putting everything back together. Once done, we turned on the macerator pump and the holding tank emptied. We celebrated by using the toilets. Replacing these duck bill valves is now the foulest job I have done on the boat, followed closely by cleaning the shower drain pumps and the primary water filter on the water maker.

While sitting on Southern Cross one afternoon, I remembered that they had a scale on board. Both Mark and I know we have lost weight since starting the trip but have not had the opportunity to weigh ourselves since we left America almost one year ago. Both of us hopped on the scale and weighed ourselves. Between the two of us, we have lost 50 lbs. I won't disclose how much Mark has lost but I can tell you I have lost 15 lbs. Mark's comment after getting off the scale was that he feels emaciated. He went back to our boat and happily ate a bag of potato chips.

While in Mauritius, we found a movie theatre that had movies in English with French subtitles. Given that Mark's wish while on the Indian Ocean Passage was to go see the new Bourne movie, we were ecstatic to find that the Bagatella Mall's movie theatre was playing the Bourne Legacy. The night before we left Mauritius, Cathy and Steve (s/v Southern Cross) joined us at the movie theatre and we happily watched the movie. We had to go back for seconds on the popcorn because the large container was smaller than the smallest you would find in America. And forget about extra butter. But curiously, no one was complaining.

The morning we left Mauritius, we had a multi-cultural blessing ceremony on the dock. Two Catholic priests, a Buddhist monk, a Muslim religious leader, a Hindu religious leader, and a Jewish rabbi all participated in the service. This ceremony was truly indicative of the unity of all of the religious groups on the island. There is much respect for all cultures and all people in Mauritius (1.2 million in total). Everyone we met talked of tolerance and acceptance of all the people on the island. We had one of the best welcomes from the people of Mauritius out of all the places we visited. The people and their graciousness certainly make Mauritius a wonderful place to visit.

Fun and Games at Sea

24 October 2012 | Le Caudan Waterfront, Mauritius
We have arrived safely in Mauritius, one day ahead of schedule - yeah! We had an excellent sail despite a rather slow start the first three days or so. We spent the rest of the trip trying to catch up and pass other boats. We did get somewhat concerned about the named cyclone, Anais, which was about 250 miles north of us as we entered Port Louis, Mauritius. Luckily, the effects of the cyclone were minimal and it passed well northwest of us.

The passage from Cocos Keeling to Mauritius is the fourth passage we have now made with our new crew. Britt and Shadow have been an amazing addition to the At Last team. Mark and I have certainly been getting more sleep which has been astonishingly helpful. I thought people might want to take a look at our new shift schedule while we are on passage:
Janet 7:00 am - 12:00 pm
Mark 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Britt/Shadow 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Janet 9:00 pm - 12:00 am
Mark 12:00 am - 3:00 am
Britt/Shadow 3:00 am - 7:00 am
This schedule far beats the three hours on and three hours off that Mark and I were doing while we double handed the boat. I actually get to sleep from midnight to 7:00 am in the morning. Seven hours of sleep in a row while you are on passage is delightful.

The cooking has been made much easier now that Britt and Shadow are on board. We try to split up the cooking as much as possible with me cooking one night and then Britt and Shadow cooking the next. Mark still has not jumped into that rotation. We did make a majority of our meals while we were in Cocos Keeling and froze them in anticipation of this trip having big winds and big seas. We have had such breakfast delicacies as blueberry and poppy seed pancakes, broccoli and spinach Bisquiche (a quiche made with Bisquick) and spinach/bacon/potato breakfast burritos. One evening for dinner we had artichoke fettuccine with a lemon and Parmesan sauce. Shadow and Britt also eat very healthy (we have decided it's because they both grew up in California). Our snack bin of potato chips and cookies has been replaced with homemade trail mixes, dried fruit and soy beans - much to my dismay. Shadow does not each much meat so we have been doing more vegetarian dishes - much to Mark's dismay. Shadow does give Mark any meat that she picks out of a meal or gives Mark her portion of meat that is served so I think Mark makes out just fine in the end. I have learned much from their cooking and I have introduced Britt to such things as fluff, Bisquick and canned goods. Britt had never eaten much of anything out of the can before this trip. Remarkable!

The first week of this passage was quite rough. Britt, Shadow and Mark can all suffer from sea sickness but everyone has done quite well. Sleeping has been a problem for everyone with the boat rocking so much due to huge waves (12 - 15 feet). Shadow and I are sleeping in the cabins now due to our new watch schedule. We have had countless conversations on the techniques employed to keep us from sliding off the beds at night. We keep joking that we should take pictures of everyone sleeping on passage. All the pictures would fall into two hysterical categories. First, the ones where people are so tired their mouths are open and they are drooling. Second, the ones where arms are gripping and legs are draped over nearby cabinets in an attempt to stabilize oneself enough to actually fall asleep.

We have spent a lot of time trying to entertain ourselves and trying to imagine that we are anywhere other than on a rocky passage through the Indian Ocean. (The most difficult passages of the circumnavigation will be from now through Cape Town, South Africa.) Shadow made us some Mad Libs (Google it if you don't know what I am talking about) the other day and we enjoyed the resulting stories entitled - Blue Times on At Last, One Loquacious Day, and The Indian Ocean is a Coffee Table. Shadow and Britt have a study guide for the GREs on Shadow's Kindle so everyone has been working on strengthening their vocabulary on this passage. When the generator was working on the passage (no longer, it sprung another water leak), we decided to watch a movie. Britt, Shadow and I turned on the air conditioning, popped popcorn and watched a movie in the aft cabin while Mark was on watch. The movie would have been a bit more enjoyable if each of us wasn't constantly on guard for the next big wave that would slide us off the bed. We also had to turn off the air conditioning because we couldn't hear the movie due to the noise from the air conditioning and the generator. It got a bit hot in the cabin by the end of the movie but the popcorn and the movie were fantastic.

On Friday afternoon on the passage, I asked what everyone wanted to do this weekend. We began to come up with amazing scenarios about what we would do for the weekend if we weren't on At Last and in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Mark wanted to go to Ruby Tuesday's for nachos and baby back ribs and then to see the new Bourne movie at the movie theater in Enfield, CT. A simple plan but it sounded absolutely brilliant to me.

Sometimes what one finds to occupy their time can be quite fascinating. Mark decided to start listening to every song on his iPad in alphabetical order by title. Mark's iPad has over 8,000 songs; he was currently half way through the letter "A." Shadow commented that this mission was indicative of Mark's meticulous and dedicated nature. Mark then confessed that previous to this mission, he had been listening to originals and remakes of songs on his iPad. He had come to the conclusion that the originals were always better than the remakes even when the remake was done by the same artist. He gave us the example of the song "Money" by Pink Floyd which they redid multiple times from 1970 on. After much listening, he was convinced that the original was the best. It was hard not to be impressed with his thoroughness.

Mark has been continuing to teach Britt and Shadow as much as he can about sailing. They are very fast learners and are handling their watches very well. They have been managing their shifts completely on their own (sail changes, course changes due to large cargo ships, etc.) They have also enjoyed tracking our progress in relation to other boats. As we say on At Last, a bit of competition between boats is healthy. We have also all gotten quite competitive with comparing the average speed during each of our shifts. Britt and Shadow are now giving Mark a run for his money although with the amount of tweaking of the sails Mark does, I cannot imagine any of us beating him.

Music also plays a very important role in our passage. Britt and I sang a brief song to the fleet over the radio the first night of the passage - "Good Night, World Arc, Good Night." Lew (s/v Brizo) responded on the radio by asking if it was a distress call. I personally didn't think our rendition was that bad. Shadow and I the first day out changed the words to "Here comes the sun" to 'Here comes the wind." Our other favorite song to sing requires some preliminary explanation. Whenever the heads (toilets) aren't working correctly (which seems to be an ever increasingly problem), the green light on the toilet goes off and a red light goes on indicating the toilet has a problem. Whenever this happens, we break into the song "Roxanne" by the Police starting with the line "you don't have to turn on the red light." Mark also played for us one evening, "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple in order to provide motivation for catching up with a boat that was ahead of us. It worked like a charm!

Now, I don't want to give everyone the impression that life aboard At Last during a two week long passage is all fun and games but focusing on the fun and games makes the two weeks go by so much faster...
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