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

More About St Helena

30 January 2013 | Island of St. Helena, Atlantic Ocean
As Mark promised, I am adding more about this unique place before we blog about Brazil
St Helena landfall at dawn

On the rest of our passage across the Atlantic, Mark and I were left talking about St. Helena and decided that it really is an amazing place. We were struck by the friendliness of everyone on the island. When walking down the street, people didn't avoid eye contact but rather always smiled and said hello. Life there has not been infiltrated by cell phones, the internet, ATMs and life seems more relaxed and calmer for it. The town is very quaint and there was always activity of people walking around.

The people we met there were quite remarkable. Robert, our tour guide, knew the history of the island inside and out. He proudly carried a notebook full of pictures of important events and places on the island from years and years back. He showed us the changes on the island even bringing us to the future location for their first airport. Robert had lived the history of the island and clearly was proud of its heritage.

The two women who gave us the tour of the home where Napoleon was exiled on the island were also as enthusiastic as Robert about the historical significance of this site. They retold the history of Napoleon's captivity with exceptional detail and enthusiasm. We were standing in the room where Napoleon died and even the room where he bathed and it carried with it the air of great importance. Napoleon was held on the island under guard from 1815 until he died there in 1821. He was buried in a four coffin tomb which preserved his body quite well until the French retrieved his body 19 years later. During those years, the tomb was under guard the entire time.

Napoleon's tomb

Hazel was another kind and generous person on the island. She ran the Consulate Hotel which also housed one of the nicest places to eat on the island. We went in on Sunday to have lunch but soon learned that the hotel's café had closed and the only other restaurant which was open didn't have enough food to feed the 11 of us who wanted to eat. Hazel received word that we were looking to have a meal and she reopened the café for us. She even let us put the entire meal on a tab because we had all run out of St. Helena currency by Sunday and there were no ATMs on the island. Hazel even went so far as to loan another boater a good sum of cash to get him through till the bank opened. After serving us our meal, she left us alone in the café to enjoy the afternoon asking us to just shut the door on the way out.

St. Helena is certainly not an easy place to get to and we found that probably the hardest part was once we got there. At anchor, we were able to call a ferry service (a small skiff that would take about eight people at a time) from our mooring field to the dock. While we were there the swells were so large that getting onto that dock was a bit of an Olympic sporting event. The driver would time it very carefully swinging us adjacent to the concrete dock as the swell was at a low point, you then grabbed a rope which was hanging down from a bar at the dock, waited until the swell would raise the boat even with the dock, and then at the top of the swell you would swing/jump/tumble onto the concrete dock. We were quite curious at first why so many locals would stand around the dock and watch the ferry usher people to and from the anchorage. It quickly became quite clear that it was a form of entertainment on the island. Getting ourselves in and out of the boat was trouble enough never mind when some of us had full water jugs, groceries, dry/clean laundry and boat batteries to maneuver onto the boat. As with most things in boating, we got used to it, maybe even skilled at it and now it has become another great boating story to be told again and again.

Ferry boat and dock (aka Olympic event)

We were sad to leave St. Helena. We did leave with real St. Helena coffee from the Rosemary Gate Coffee Estate established in 1994 on the island. A bottle of gin and rum also accompanied us from the St. Helena Distillery - the most remote distillery in the world. Paul Hickling taught himself how to make spirits after he purchased a very expensive distillery machine from Germany in 2006.

We feel very lucky to have visited St. Helena before the airport becomes functional. Surely the culture of the island will change dramatically with the influx of people visiting the island. We hope that all future visitors enjoy the warmth and kindness of the people of St. Helena, we certainly did. There are several pictures of St Helena posted in the photo gallery.

St. Helena...a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

20 January 2013 | 15 55.55'S:005 43.58'W, Jamestown, St. Helena
And a beautiful and welcoming rock it is. We arrived here safely in St. Helena after a wonderful 12 day sail from Cape Town, South Africa. We had good wind most of the way but the last four days or so the winds were light and the trip became quite slow. We were determined not to use the motor and we succeeded in only using the motor for 0.6 hours during the entire 1720 mile trip. We averaged 6 knots and at times were rolling around doing less than 4 knots. We would have ended up with zero engine hours if it wasn't for having our auto pilot fail - yet again. This time when it failed we actually lost our steering because the wheel became locked and we were unable to steer to port. We had to douse all of the sails quickly and turn on the engine. Mark quickly diagnosed the problem and disengaged the auto pilot which gave us back our steering. I hand steer for the next two hours while Mark installed the spare autopilot - quite a feat while underway. I am eternally grateful that Mark bought a spare auto pilot after our first problem with it in the Pacific Ocean and also grateful that my husband has become such a mechanical genius on the boat. This may be a bit overstated but installing the new auto pilot negated us having to hand steer for over 1,200 miles. He is my hero.

St. Helena is an incredible place. You can only come here by boat and we learned from customs that they have about 200 sailboats arrive here each year. They also have a couple of cruise ships that stop here and one actually arrived while we were visiting. There are about 4,000 people living on the island and everyone is incredibly friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed a tour of the island where we visited the home where Napoleon was exiled on the island for the last six years of his life. On the way back to the main town, Jamestown, we stopped at the home of Paul Hickling who runs a distillery out of his garage and learned a lot about making rum from cactus on a remote island.

St. Helena has no cell phone service. The internet is limited here. A couple of cafes sold Wi-Fi for $12 an hour. We could use the browser to search the web but not download email. So we are very behind on email. Sorry to those of you waiting for an email response. It won't be till Brazil before we can use email again. It has been a short but very worthwhile visit. We will update the blog with more about St Helena when we arrive in Brazil.

We are leaving tomorrow for the 14 day sail to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. We have fixed a bunch of things on the boat and provisioned with some fresh fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, we will have had four nights of excellent rest here in St. Helena. We are ready to go and looking forward to the trip.
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