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

Whew, looks like we made it!

13 April 2013 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
Final Awards Dinner

Our time in Marigot Bay and Rodney Bay in St. Lucia was full of fun and celebrations. It was also an emotional time as we began to contemplate the enormity of what we had accomplished and to bid farewell to all of the incredible people who joined us on this journey.

First up in Marigot Bay was a welcome BBQ mixed with a night of karaoke - the event was curiously called a baraoke. The fleet had been apart since our landing in Grenada so it was a wonderful start to our celebrations. It was at least the third time that we did some karaoke (Bali and American Samoa being noteworthy in my mind). I assure you our singing did not improve over time. I sang "You've lost that loving feeling" to Mark with a fantastic group of backup singers while Mark sang "Addicted to Love" with a similar reinforcements. We really need to work on our acts. A great time was had by everyone!

The rest of the time in Marigot Bay was spent socializing with the fleet. We had several lunches with Steve (s/v Southern Cross) and will dearly miss those impromptu lunches where we sit and talk for hours. We sat with Anastasia and Brizo for the dinner in Marigot Bay and I couldn't help but think about all that we have shared with them over the past 15 months. We have watched Kathryn and Audrey grow up into such incredible young women - to think that they are circumnavigators at ages 11 and 8.

As we left Marigot Bay, we began the parade of sail to Rodney Bay. Twenty boats participated in the parade of sail - quite a feat to get all of us lined up in the right order! Sixteen of the twenty boats completed the entire circumnavigation from St. Lucia back again to St. Lucia, while the other five boats had joined us somewhere along the way. It was well publicized that we were having this parade so there were many boats that joined us along the route and then others on shore waving and congratulating us. When we passed a very large cruise ship there were hundreds of people waving to us from the various decks of the boat. We waved back enthusiastically, feeling like local celebrities. Our good friends from Australia on Spirit of Alcides did a fantastic job leading the parade. We had a "finish line" where Rally Control member Suzana took our picture and gave us a hearty congratulation as we became circumnavigators. I cried as would be expected from me and Mark hugged me so tightly. As we told Andrew Bishop, director of World Cruising Club, the biggest highlight from our trip was completing the circumnavigation safely, the boat and ourselves all being in one piece. Truly, that is the big accomplishment. As we pulled into Rodney Bay Marina, we docked the boat and felt an incredible sense of relief. We were back, all was well.

After all the boats had tucked into their slips, there was quite a celebration on the dock. Lots of hugs and congratulations. We were quickly moved to a pool side welcome reception at the Ocean Club which is part of the marina. We all had a rum punch and yummy h'orderves. Being poolside, spunky Caroline (s/v Peat Smoke) suggested that the World Arc women take a dip in the pool fully clothed. It took me about three seconds to take off my watch and get in the pool. In the next half an hour just about everyone was game and the antics were fantastic. As each new person decided to join us in the pool there were shouts of encouragement and yells of congratulations. It was a perfect way to celebrate our accomplishment. Once all had settled down, Rally Control took this amazing picture of the soaking wet lot of us.

After cooling off in the pool for quite a bit, people started to return to their boats to get dried off and dressed up for the final dinner at the Royal Rex hotel. We had our welcome dinner at the same place 15 months ago before we left St. Lucia. Returning led to many a discussion of our fond memories of the humble beginnings of our trip. The dinner was fantastic and we enjoyed watching each boat step up to receive their recognition. Paul (aka Rally Control) introduced each boat with some memorable tales from our time together. At Last was the boat who always had diet coke and Bisquick on board (Paul is also a BIG fan of diet coke). We were also remembered for our stellar fourth place honorable mention for the longest leg from Cape Town to Brazil. We received a plaque, a bottle of rum (what finish would be complete without it?), certificates commemorating our circumnavigation and a wonderful book filled with photos. Each boat submitted five of their favorite photos from the trip to Rally Control but we were unaware of the fantastic keepsake that the photos would transform into.

This map shows the route that we followed over the course of the last 15 months. Whenever we look at a map of the world or spin a globe, we are struck by how far we have come. According to the World Arc statistics we have traveled about 26,000 miles in those fifteen months and visited 17 different countries. When I look at the map all I can see are the long distances over the vast oceans. Our longest passage was for 21 days across the Pacific Ocean from the Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas Islands (2,980 nm). The second longest trip was 16 days from Salvador, Brazil to St. George, Grenada (2,546 nm). Despite completing our circumnavigation, we still have about 3,200 nm to go. This will bring our grand total of miles for the entire time we have been away to over 30,000 miles. And remember we have traveled these miles going on average 6.3 knots (7.56 miles per hour). As Steve (s/v Southern Cross) so eloquently put - one wave at a time.

The World Arc boats dressed for the celebration

Now that the World ARC is over, we do not have the yellow brick tracking system for you to follow our progress via the World Cruising website. But we will update our location on the blog several times per week so you can track us using Google Earth via our blog site. Just click on "Our Current Position" which is located on the left hand side of the blog's home page.

Mark spent much time having some much needed work done on the boat upon arriving in St. Lucia. Two men who worked on the teak before we left St. Lucia were on the dock to greet us when we arrived. They were happy to help clean our hull which had caked on salt which needed to be removed with vinegar and some elbow grease. Joseph helped us get the stainless polished which took him almost two complete days. Considering that we only put 5,000 nautical miles on the boat in the five years before we left the trip; adding 26,000+ miles in the past year and a half has definitely aged the boat. But we still get many compliments on the beauty of At Last and she is in great shape with no major problems throughout this trip. This is a real testament to the quality that Island Packet builds into their yachts. And when I had any questions and issues regarding our boat systems, Island Packet Yachts were very responsive and helpful. They certainly deserve the fine reputation they have for outstanding service.

Mark wants to blog about the list of problems the fleet had so that other potential circumnavigators can prepare their boats well for what they might experience. If anyone has questions to ask us about the WARC, our preparations, anything, please send us an email via this web site and we will be happy to reply. We may post the questions (anonymously) and our responses on the blog after we arrive in Tampa. We want to help others share this dream.

As our time in St. Lucia winds down, we have said many tearful good byes to people we will never forget. What we have shared with the fleet over the past 15 months has bound us to each other for life. Mark and I are still overwhelmed by our accomplishment. I think it will take a long time to fully understand the impact this trip has had on us, our views and how it has undoubtedly changed forever the course of our lives. Mark and I certainly have not integrated the words brave or adventurous into how we would describe ourselves. We will need to work on that for a while. Mainly, we feel we are so fortunate that we were able to do this and we are thankful that we are safe and sound. We also feel incredibly lucky to have had so much support from our family and friends. You have sustained us on this journey.

Now we are starting another great adventure. That is returning to the states, and deciding what we want to do with the rest of our lives. Should Mark return to a similar job he used to have for 30+ years or start a new career? Where will I be working? Where should we live? How should we live, what kind of life style do we want? These are the questions we are asking ourselves now. As we make our way to Florida and then back to New England, we will continue to post to this blog and share the answers to these questions as they come to us. Our home coming there will be quite the experience for us in many ways. So, stay tuned.

Bequia…a real gem of the Grenadines

08 April 2013 | Admiralty Bay, Port Elizabeth, Bequia
Another quick day sail of 15 miles and we arrived in Bequia. Several other World Arc boats were already there and they sent out a man in a skiff named Don't Worry to help us tie up to a mooring ball very close to shore. We were delighted to be in another much protected anchorage with what seemed like a tremendous amount to explore - shopping, dining, beaches, etc. Bequia did not disappoint.

The anchorage is Bequia is quite active and every morning you can expect people checking in to see if you need anything. The bread man offered fresh baguettes and croissants. Daffodil Marine Services was happy to pick up your dirty laundry and return it later in the day clean and folded. They would also bring you ice and pick up your garbage. On shore there was a man offering us fresh lobsters and would even cook them for you and deliver them to you. There didn't seem to be much that you couldn't get here in Bequia.

Several boats joined forces for a tour the day after we arrived. The island is 7 square miles and has about 6,000 people living on it. The main industry for the island is tourism with the second being fishing. Bequia continues to be an active whaling station and local whalers are allowed to take up to four whales per whaling season, which is only during February and April. We saw the whaling station which is on a very small island next to Bequia and we also saw one of the whaling boats. It was unbelievable to think that a boat so small continues to be used to hunt whales. It seems quite dangerous to me!

Of great interest to our tour group was the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary in Bequia. Orton King is a 75 year old Bequian who started the sanctuary in 1995. Since that time, he has released 913 turtles back into the waters around Bequia and other Grenadine islands. He takes turtle eggs and raises them until they are around five years old and able to live on their own. The turtles which are the endangered Hawksbill turtle live to be 200 years old, not reaching maturity until they are 40 years old. Once full grown they are able to stay underwater for three to four hours at a time. These turtles can only see and hear, they have no ability to smell or taste. They eat jelly fish when they are young until they are able to dive deep enough to eat food off of the coral reefs. The turtles we saw had such personality. We all were quite captivated by the turtles who were quite curious of our presence.

The views from the higher elevations on the island were quite striking. Its topography was quite varied for such a small island. From Fort Hamilton built in the 1770s, the views of the water and its coral in Admiralty Bay were particularly striking. These beautiful views just never seem to get old!

While in Bequia, we also organized a trip to Princess Margaret Beach which reportedly is the best beach on the island. It is a quick dinghy ride from the anchorage and on the beach is a delightful restaurant called Jack's. About fourteen of us spent the day there and we enjoyed swimming, a fantastic lunch and several beach games. Hannah (s/v Working on a Dream) introduced us to the Swedish game called Kubb. It is a game where you knock down sticks sitting on the sand with baton like sticks. It was great fun as was our traditional game of bocce ball which has become a real favorite. We swam repeatedly as it was very hot and again we ended up doing some pyramid gymnastics in the water.

Hannah (in the Panama hat) who taught us Kubb gets ready to throw

Unfortunately, the time in the water had repercussions for me. I did remember getting bitten while I was in the water but no more so than several others who also felt a little bite or two. The next morning, I had red welts covering my entire body, apparently the work of sea lice. I tried to count but gave up at about fifty bites, most of which were on my belly, which was curious seeing as I had on a one piece bathing suit. For those of you who are faithful blog readers, you may remember a similar incident while we were cleaning the bottom of the boat in the Marquesas Islands. In our trusty medical kit I found Benadryl and hydrocortisone cream. I used both liberally but found that dousing the bites with vinegar was the best way to relieve the itchiness. Despite the unbelievable discomfort of the bites, I will always remember more fondly a fantastic day on a beautiful beach full of fun!

We thoroughly enjoyed our five days in Bequia. We stayed there longer than expected due all of the enjoyment we were getting on the island. We decided to skip St. Vincent Island due to the reports of great crime on the island. We were sad to miss Wallilabou Bay in St. Vincent which continues to house a set from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Several other boats did stop there and said it was fun to see. We instead decided to make the long trip directly to St. Lucia from Bequia which required us to leave at 6:00 am in order to get to Laborie by nightfall. We did arrive in Laborie in plenty of time. It is a very small and quiet anchorage with a tricky entrance lined with reefs. We entered safely with s/v Anastasia and s/v Spirit of Alcides. We enjoyed sun downers on Anastasia and a one night stay before sailing to Marigot Bay in St. Lucia. There would begin the end of the World Arc activities and the celebration of our circumnavigation.

Beautiful Islands, Beautiful Beaches

04 April 2013 | Tobago Cays and Mustique, Grenadines
We returned to Tobago Cays and picked up a mooring ball in anticipation of a big BBQ on the beach on Petit Bateau island which is part of Tobago Cays. Charles of s/v Dreamcatcher organized the party with Mr. Fabulous (Jean Claude) who is one of the many men who visit the anchorage with their wooden skiffs offering everything from fresh bread, fresh fish, t-shirts, ice, etc. Jean Claude was happy to organize a BBQ for the World Arc fleet offering lobster, fish or chicken with all of the fixings.

Jean Claude picked everyone up (I think about fifty of us joined in the BBQ) and drove us to the beach. There were big picnic tables and probably another fifty people there. We had a huge table where everyone was able to sit together. The food started coming out and there was more than enough for everyone. When the lobster came out the platter was enormous, each lobster was too big for the plates we had brought from the boat. Somehow we managed to eat and eat, barely finishing all of the food that was provided for us.

The next day Andrea (s/v Anastasia) and I were headed over to Peat Smoke to remove the stitches from David's (s/v Peat Smoke) toe, which he needed after an unfortunate fall into the bilge several weeks ago. Andrea and I had volunteered to help out after David's wife Caroline admitted complete inability to handle the task. Andrea and I certainly lacked the medical training but were quite eager and had some limited previous experience. Andrea had removed stitches from her husband Phil's finger several years prior and I learned to sew in grade school and had removed a nasty splinter from Mark's foot with a scalpel on this trip. David was quite nervous to say the least but the whole event was quite anticlimactic. Andrea was quite skillful with the scalpel and I pulled out the stitches as they were cut by Andrea. We did get several nervous radio calls over the VHF checking on David and the status of his foot. I guess it didn't help that we spent another two hours hanging out on Peat Smoke long after the stitches were removed.

We stayed only two days in Tobago Cays, having already spent a week there shortly after arriving in Grenada. From there we went only a few short miles to Mustique. The island is well known for the 97 private homes on the island, many owned by the rich and famous. When we got there it was Easter week, so 95 of the 97 houses were occupied. As a result we were not able to tour the island but were confined to the beach along the main anchorage and the main port. We could go to two of the very exclusive restaurants on the island but needed to hire a taxi to take us there and back. It left us wondering who exactly was on the island currently and wouldn't it be fantastic to catch a glimpse. We had no such luck!

The anchorage was much calmer than Tobago Cays and we were quite grateful for the peace and quiet. The water was crystal clear and the main harbor only had about 20 boats in it, a far cry from the 50-60 in Tobago Cays. We managed to do a couple of projects on the boat - we finally found the problem with our fresh water pump - a collapsed hose that wasn't allowing the water to flow through it properly. After several hours of working at diagnosing the problem, we discovered the collapsed hose and Mark was able to quickly replace a portion of the hose. Victory!

On our first evening in Mustique, we enjoyed a meal at the very famous Basil's Bar, again no celebrity sightings. We also had an excellent cocktail hour at The View, a local bar overlooking the harbor. There were quite a few World Arc boats there that evening and we ended up back at Basil's for a BBQ with a live band. Overall, the island was a bit expensive but we enjoyed the calm and beautiful anchorage greatly.

More of Grenada

29 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George, Grenada
After seventeen months outside of the United States, we flew into Miami on our way to Tampa for Mark's nephew's wedding. Upon arrival in Miami, we had to go through customs and immigration. On the form we needed to complete, it asked us to list the countries we had visited since we left the United States. The line was a bit small to list the seventeen countries we have visited since we left in October 2011. It was one of those moments when the enormity of what we have done began to overwhelm our thoughts.

Spending time with our families in Tampa was another overwhelming experience. It was incredible to see everyone. Allison and Travis's wedding was absolutely beautiful and a wonderful reason to return home early for a family reunion. Mark and I were again reminded how difficult it has been to be so far away for so long.

Once we returned to Grenada, we were happy to see the great job that was done on our teak while we were gone. A fine Grenadian named Thaddeus ended up sanding down much of the teak toe rail and filled many of the cracks. It was amazing to us how the heat of this trip had absolutely degraded the wood. We also got back our main sail which we sent in to have a rip repaired. We are coming to the conclusion that we are going to need to replace the main sail soon. It has really taken a beating on this trip. Unfortunately, this is a very expensive item to replace!

Our favorite taxi driver in Grenada, Mike, picked us up at the airport and greeted us with a warm welcome back to Grenada. We arranged to go on a tour with him before we left Grenada and we were very happy we did.

Our first visit was to the Clarke's Court Rum Factory. The factory opened in 1937 and made sugar and rum with the sugar cane grown on the island. Unfortunately in 1990, they stopped making sugar and in 2003 stopped using the sugar cane made on the island because sugar cane growth on the island had diminished significantly. Many of the sugar cane farmers ended up selling their land when the land on the island became so valuable that selling the land was much more lucrative than continuing to grow sugar cane. Now the distillery and several others on the island work together to get molasses from Trinidad imported for the production of their rum. We left the factory with a wonderful sipping rum called Old Grog which has been aged for five years and an award winning coconut rum.

Grenada (the Spice Island) is quite well known for its spice farms and we were able to visit one on our tour. Nutmeg was brought to Grenada in 1843 and much of the spice is produced on the island. Unfortunately in 2004 the category 4 hurricane Ivan destroyed approximately 70% of the nutmeg being grown on the island. The people of Grenada have been trying to rebuild the spice production on the island which was incredibly hurt by the hurricane. While at the spice farm we saw all sorts of plants, herbs and trees. Many of the herbs and plants could be used as medicine when brewed as a tea to cure everything from cancer to hot flashes. We even saw the plant used to produce the main healing ingredient in Vicks Vapor Rub. Very interesting!

Before leaving Grenada, we continued to take advantage of the fantastic and fast internet. Mark worked diligently on our taxes which you would think would be much easier since we didn't earn a dime through employment last year. Now that is a weird feeling. We also began to work on other realities of moving home like health insurance and car insurance. Again, it is odd to think about needing car insurance when you haven't driven a car in a year and a half. We joke about whether we will know which side of the car has the steering wheel or what side of the road to drive on. All of these things continually remind us about how different our lives have been and what it will be like to make the transition back home.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Grenada. It is a beautiful island with very friendly people. The internet was incredibly good which was a real treat. The IGA grocery store couldn't have been more like shopping back home. Being able to plug into the dock with 110 electricity (which we haven't been able to do since we left the Caribbean) gave us endless air conditioning - a real treat. We wish we had more time here but we need to catch up to the fleet for a BBQ on the beach in Tobago Cays!
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