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
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

The Joys of Grenada

15 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George, Grenada
We had heard that Grenada was a good place to go for boat work, provisioning and other needed supplies. I don't think we were quite prepared for how good it would be. We did anticipate good provisioning so Mark and I made a list of all sorts of meals that we wanted to cook while in Grenada. I personally was dreaming of real diet coke (the only diet soda Brazil had was Coke Zero) and had not had a real diet coke since getting some in Mauritius. Coke Light is just not the same, trust me on this.

Marie (s/v Dreamcatcher) and I took a trip to the Spiceland Mall in order to visit the grocery store there. The grocery store turned out to be an IGA and it was stocked with glorious American products. In addition to getting the items needed to cook the meals on our fantasy meal list, I also purchased crazy things like Cheetos and Pop Tarts, for no other reason than I could purchase them. And yes, once again, I am flush with Bisquick. One of the first meals we had was a huge plate of nachos with refried beans, Kraft Mexican cheese and all of the toppings. I was able to get real Breakstone sour cream, guacamole and salsa for dipping. Three dips for the nachos, unbelievable.

Marie and I made a spectacle of ourselves shopping at the grocery store. We would hold things up and yell to each other what we found. People looked at us like we were crazy and there is no doubt we felt like we were hallucinating but the grocery store really did have all of the items we had missed for the past year. The most comical thing happened when I had grabbed a Chobani yogurt to show Marie. As I turned back to get some more, two young men were taking all of the Chobani yogurt and putting it in their cart. I asked them if they were going to take it all, clearly with a look of great distress on my face. They asked me if I wanted some, apologized and explained that the store rarely got the yogurt and you had to buy it up whenever it was available. Now, this was something I completely understood. We were always told if you see something you really like or need, stock up because you may not see it again for a long, long time.

Another joy of Grenada is the fast internet. You can rent a box (much like a cable box) from the marina and Mark magically plugged it into our laptop on the boat. Phil from s/v Anastasia then helped Mark network it to our IPAD. Suddenly, we had internet on the boat on all of our devices. The first time I started using it for email I got frustrated because it wasn't working. In fact, it was working just so quickly I didn't possibly think the emails could have gotten sent that instantly. Mark had to open the sent items folder just to prove to me that yes indeed my emails were sent. Say goodbye to the endless hourglass.

We also were able to get three television stations by using the same box we got for our internet access. For the first time in over a year, we were able to see some news from the United States. Unfortunately, we tuned into HLN at the height of the Jodi Arias trial and the coverage was almost 24 hours per day. We did get bits of news here and there which was enough to make us feel like maybe the news isn't all it's cracked up to be and maybe we didn't miss it all that much. Mark did inform me that for less than a dollar a day, we could get another box which would give us about fifty television stations, including things like HBO, basically full cable with all the bells and whistles. I told him that unless he wanted me to do nothing for the next four days except watch television; I didn't think it would be a good idea. We decided against it, as tempting as it was.

After about four days in the marina getting the boat restocked and back in shape, we left for Tobago Cays which was only a day sail away. This is another joy - island hopping. We actually left Grenada as Tobago Cays is part of the Grenadines. The Cays is a group of four small uninhabited islands and well known for their beauty. We picked it because it sounded like the perfect place to relax for a week before flying back to the States.

We spent the next six days in Tobago Cays doing, well, nothing. A major focus of our time there was eating all of the food that I bought at the grocery store. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking some old favorites and Mark was ecstatic to have some beautiful steaks. There is a turtle reserve there and we were able to swim with the turtles. We took some dinghy rides but mostly stayed on the boat. We caught up on sleep which was delightful. We tried to do very few chores on the boat but we did scrub the bottom of the boat. I was again stung by something and had bites on my stomach. Mark was untouched.

At this point I really would have to make up stories about what else happened in Tobago Cays. It was relaxing but some would argue boring - not us. We thoroughly enjoyed doing nothing, having no agenda, and nothing to get done. Not that there weren't things we could have been getting done, we just made a conscious decision not to do them. I think we finally felt like we could relax for a bit and it was heaven.

There was one moment of excitement though. At two am one morning, Janet just happened to wake up and look outside just in time to see a sail boat drifting quickly towards us. The winds were blowing over 20 knots and this boat's anchor was dragging. Luckily it missed us by 15 feet but came within only a couple of feet from hitting s/v Dreamcatcher anchored just behind us. The couple aboard the sail boat finally gained control of the boat just before running into a reef but not before hitting another sailboat along the way. We felt lucky and the experience served as a reminder that we are back in the Caribbean with crowded anchorages and that coastal cruising can be more risky than ocean crossings.

We returned to the marina three days before flying out to the States. We arranged for some work to be done on the boat while we are away - the teak is being redone and the mainsail repaired. I had a long afternoon in the spa at the marina getting my hair and nails done. We anxiously prepared to see family at the wedding in Tampa. Nothing could begin to explain the joy we felt boarding the plane knowing that our loved ones were going to greet us in Tampa.

The Last of the Long Passages

06 March 2013 | Between Salvador, Brazil and St. George, Grenada
The passage from Salvador to Grenada was the second longest passage of our trip (16 days), the longest being from the Galapagos to the Marquesas (21 days). When people ask us how we do these long passages, we are struck by the complexity of answering this question. We enjoy the challenge of them but who could possibly admit to liking a situation where you go 16 days with only sleeping 3 hours at any given time. Now, that just sounds crazy.

Again on this trip our focus was more discussions about what's next in our future. We are looking toward ending with the World Arc in St. Lucia in April and then heading back to New England. I would say heading back home but it is difficult to use that term when you no longer have a home to go back to. Mark and I keep trying to think in positive terms, calling the return to work our next big adventure. When we tell people that we are going back to work the most common response is "that's awful." Although we feel ready, it is hard to think of ending the adventure we have been on for the past 16 months.

We did enjoy our last long passage. We made a list of all the places we wanted to stop on the way from St. Lucia to New England. We spent a bit of time whittling down the list because we would have needed another 16 months to accomplish the first draft. Our original plans would have put us back in New England early this summer but we have decided to take a bit more time to get home. We keep thinking that we may never have the chance again to roam so freely up the East Coast of North America. My goal was to pick places that would never have us sailing again for more than three days at a time. Thus, we are saying good bye to long passages.

This last passage provided us with many interesting sights and long forgotten sailing situations. We were first struck when we left Salvador that we were finally on a starboard tack thus the boat was heeling in the opposite direction. We were also sailing close hauled and the wind was such that we were heeling over quite well. The current was on our nose along with the wind which was another novel sailing condition for us. Given that we have been sailing downwind for most of the last year, we had become unaccustomed to the boat heeling over so much. It took us about a day to adjust to these new conditions and readjust to the feel of sailing close hauled against the current.

As we approached the equator it just kept getting hotter and hotter. That was especially uncomfortable given the already excruciatingly hot weather we had just left in Brazil. It was painfully difficult to get sleep during the day because it was so hot down below. All of the hatches had to be kept closed due to the wet and splashy conditions which added to the heat in the main cabin. These conditions left us a little sleep deprived at times and definitely less agreeable.

We passed a large oil rig off the coast of Brazil which was lit up like a Christmas tree. We also saw a military vessel for the first time at sea. It must have been doing some sort of maneuvering exercises because it kept changing direction. The first time it turned and cut across our bow I was a little concerned. We still were about two miles away but that seemed closer than I wanted to be to a military vessel which appeared to be from Germany. We were lucky to see only cargo ships during this leg as another boat in the fleet was hit by a small fishing boat at night. We did not see any of these fishing boats which often run without any navigation lights at night. We stayed a bit further off shore to lessen our chances of an encounter which appeared to work quite well for us.

The trip was also one of the wettest passages we can recall, particularly around the equator. We had squalls during the day and even more so at night. The squalls were huge - one was 12 miles in diameter. They would last for hours, with rain pelting down which gave you zero visibility. The squalls sometimes had no wind, wind up to 35 knots and wind shifts of up to 90 degrees. Needless to say trying to sail through these was difficult at best and often raised cause to turn on the engine.

The current was quite favorable during the trip once we were further up the northern coast of Brazil. It was often pushing our boat up to three knots. This shortened our expected trip from 17 to 16 days. Yeah!! We were sailing a consistent 9 knots one memorable afternoon.

Although we did announce in our last blog that we finished our circumnavigation by crossing our furthest eastern point of longitude, I have to eat my words. We had several lively discussions with other boats about what constitutes a circumnavigation. Although I firmly believe that crossing the longitude is sufficient, others (you know who you are) believe that we need to actually cross our original track. I am happy to celebrate it again when entering St. Lucia. In fact, I would say that this type of accomplishment deserves as much celebration as possible.

When we arrived in Grenada, we took a slip at the very nice marina called Port Louis Marina. We were greeted by s/v Dreamcatcher who helped us with the boat and gave us a baguette and delicious cinnamon rolls. We were anxious to get things settled on the boat and head to Tobago Cays for some rest and relaxation before flying to the States for Mark's nephew's wedding.
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