A Cross Ocean Experience

Seven thousand miles of outstanding cruising since November 2008 means it's time to do a little renovation and more planning for the future. Find out what ...

20 February 2013 | Fishtail, Montana, USA
15 March 2011 | Swallow Falls State Park, Garrett County, MD
07 January 2011 | Deep Creek, MD
01 January 2011 | Tacoma, WA
17 December 2010 | Sierra Madre, CA
12 December 2010 | Leucadia, CA
12 December 2010 | Leucadia, Ca
12 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
06 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
06 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
20 November 2010 | New Orleans, LA
13 November 2010 | Lexington, KY
09 November 2010 | Louiville, KY
05 November 2010 | Lexington. KY
01 November 2010 | Deltaville, VA
29 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA
22 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA
08 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA

Maiden Voyage of The Torg Blog

20 February 2013 | Fishtail, Montana, USA
Virginia Cross
We are proud to announce our new blog. In the coming months we hope to have other contributors who know this land more intimately than we yet do, thereby building for you a richer understanding of this place we now call home. A brand new website full of information and photographs for "The Torgrimson Place" will be going live very soon. Until then welcome to The Torg Blog.


An end and a new beginning

26 May 2012
The difficulty with most oft quoted adages is that invariably they are incorrect, often diametrically. No fences make better neighbors than good ones. Enemies are far better a long way off and friends close. As to the happiest two days of a boat owners life. Well that's nuts. When we bought Mandy we were full of foreboding and worry that we had spent too much, that we knew too little, and that we were chasing dreams we had no right to. Now that we sell her we have knots in our stomachs and a cavernous feeling of loss - "saudade" I believe is the word in Gallego. Of course its crazy to feel this way about a bunch of plastic, wood and canvas held together with varnish but she was our ticket to adventure. Perhaps you have to be a sailor to get it.
But everything between those bookends of angst has been almost all joy. The skills we have learned, the mentors we have followed, the fear we have overcome, the wonders we have beheld and the goodness of the people we encountered, none of this would have been possible without our little boat.
At Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas we met two young twenty year olds. Each had a boat of their own in which they probably had about $7,000 apiece invested. They came aboard Mandy in their blow up kayaks which served as their dinghies. On route to Cuba, these two young lads were bright, vital and totally engaged. How does it get any better? Here managing the Inn we have met countless folks who seem to be in a complex-life induced haze, to whom the promise of a weekend in the mountains comes laden with expectations, but in the event their senses are not alive enough in the moment to really see the place they visit. There has to be so much more. So, for those entertaining the dream, if we can give you anything, it is a nudge, a push, a shove, whatever it takes to make your leap, get your boat and cast off.
We are shortly to embark on a new adventure to the rigors of south central Montana, living in some of the most spectacular country we have ever witnessed. We now entrust Mandy to Bob and Erin Young, no doubt now full of the same excited apprehension that we had when we took over from Karen and Steve. They will be the fourth couple she has owned and in keeping with all their predecessors they plan to live aboard. For us this is wonderful since it ensures that this very special little ship can continue to be vibrant, cared for and off over the horizon on new adventures. We wish them the very very best and if they have half the fun we did they will never regret one minute.

A Sea of Trees and Glass

15 March 2011 | Swallow Falls State Park, Garrett County, MD
Virginia Cross
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See you later alligator!

So what

19 June 2010 | Deltaville, VA

Now Mandy rests at anchor in Jackson Creek, a bucolic corner of the Northern neck of Virginia mostly serving as a playground for the well to do of Richmond who weekend here in waterfront cottages and on their racers and cruisers. We however cannot rest for we are committed to bringing Mandy back to top shape so that we can pass her on to her future owner in the condition that we have enjoyed her. The marina here is cruiser friendly so for a modest fee we avail ourselves of the showers, the laundry and the internet, the holy trinity of cruiser basic necessities. We will pause here a while for in addition to maintenance we also need to re-enter the job field, both short and long term. In a town of eight hundred and with only bicycles for transportation the short term options are limited, but Virginia is working at a local restaurant doing a bit of everything and made $14 dollars in tips the other night. I'm a kept man and getting to like it.
The difficulty of adjusting to a land and reality based life has long been noted and echoes of Moitissier and even Crowhurst reverberate through our less confident moments, but we always knew this was coming and having it pre-defined makes it manageable. So when it's all said and done what have we over and above a collection of great sunset photographs? We have been back in the States for a little more than a month and possibly the most startling observation is the staggering wealth displayed here. In Nicaragua we spent time and were helped by a lawyer and university professor, Ivan Aguilar, from one of Leon's foremost families. His hobby is deep sea fishing and to indulge it he keeps a practical twenty year old single engine sport fisher at his creek side "marina", a short jetty with an office/apartment fashioned from an old forty foot container on piles. Ivan is one of Nicaragua's privileged. Motoring north on the ICW from Charleston to Norfolk we passed countless hundreds of houses, each in excess of 6,000 square feet, enough for three families, with long complex finger piers housing brand new sport fishers that boast two or three monstrous outboard engines. These houses are not owned by the country's elite, but by plumbers, dry-wallers, steel workers and store owners. The owners of all these waterfront dwellings, right down to the smallest weekend cottage, spent a part of their Memorial Day holiday weekend driving around their lawns on ride-on mowers. In most of Central America it was common to see a man spend a few days bent over, cutting his grass with a machete. How did this disparity arise? We are not smarter, nor do we work harder. We certainly have more natural resources and, despite their inadequacies, we have better institutions, less bent on exploiting individual citizens. Nevertheless I can't help thinking that the vast reserve of amassed capital wealth is a legacy from an era when perhaps we did worker harder and smarter. Have we done our best to preserve that legacy or are we in the midst of squandering it? In Charleston I broke a small threaded rod that serves as the locking mechanism for my folding bicycle. Upon arrival in Deltaville I asked at the boatyard if there was a machine shop close by to weld it. On inspecting the little bolt, the yard foreman suggested, straight faced with no hint of irony, I buy a new bike, it would be cheaper! Are we completely mad? In Mexico, Nicaragua and Cuba this bike had been coveted and if there now, at no great expense aside from care, would be kept in good working order for the next twenty years.
There have been so many thrills and deeply satisfying experiences in this trip that it is hard to distill the essence. As I crouch on the side deck rebedding a cap-rail I am watching Bernard and Elian, 27 year cruising veterans , getting ready to sail back to France. Quietly, methodically, without the need of much talk, they go through a many times rehearsed protocol of preparation. It takes more than a day but as they draw closer to a departure time they exude a simple confidence in their boat, their skills, their ability to exert control over almost anything that may occur. To a small degree we have done this also and watching them I am envious, for within these parameters you know that you come close to self reliance. Within a contemporary "in the system" life this is impossible. There is so much beyond our control, dependant as we are on entities too large to relate to and too complicated to comprehend. It is empowering to immerse oneself in a life where preparation, experience, attention to detail and a modicum of luck define completely the outcome of choices you make.
This blog was started as a way to keep family and friends appraised of our travels and we have been fortunate to gather a fair readership with more than one hundred and fifty visits most weeks. The vitality of the comments and other communications has made the whole exercise most enjoyable. We have been encouraged to attempt to use the blog as a basis for a book and may succumb to that vanity if we can gain a clear vision of a narrative structure that might help avoid the final iteration being grossly dull. To find a publisher the blog readership is an asset, but since no one wants to read of our trials and tribulations in Deltaville we must now bring this to a close. A mailing list of readers would be something concrete so if you have even a slightest interest in a book (or if you don't) please send us a contact e-mail (to richardcross686@gmail.com) which we promise to use only to harass you in the future to buy our tome. Any comments and suggestions would also be welcome and listened to.
By making the leap and getting out there we have come to better realize, mostly through the repeated kindness of strangers, that no matter where you are, the world is full of modest strong people doing their best for families and friends. The realization has been heartwarming.

The End, or is it just the beginning?

18 June 2010 | Deltaville, VA

I have been asking myself this question rather frequently of late. Our physical journey with our beloved boat "Mandy" seems to have come to an end. Our spiritual bond with her, not so. We wince when we have to talk about selling her and it brings a lump to the throat looking through our Picassa albums in this cruising blog. After we have finished Mandy's facelift, she may not sell and in a couple of years it is conceivable we will begin again. Or the end of this cruise may be the beginning of a whole new journey for her with some one else.

We are at the bitter end of our "cruising kitty" which has driven us back into the job market. I am still writing and selling articles for cruising magazines, and along with the hard work of stripping and re-painting the boat, I am working part time as a Chef at a local restaurant. A career I started, and turned away from at the beginning of my adult life.

My father's life came to an end last week and of course I have been dwelling on his spirit and where it may have wandered. He was a wanderer in life and I have to think that if there is any thing afterwards, he is still on the loose on fresh ground.

In the cruising life we have had to get used to beginnings and endings of close relationships. The cruising community is as fluid as mercury. We have met couples along the way with whom we have bonded like family, and sometimes spent as much time on their boats as we did on ours. But there is the certainty that there will come a day that one of you will depart on a different course, weepy good byes ensue and another ending is reached.

Maybe this end of the 'sailblog' is the start of our work to create a book.
The possibilities in life make me dizzy sometimes and I have to leave you with this quote (seen on a tee-shirt belonging to David Clarke on the schooner Winfield Lash) that I feel sums up a good ending:-

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body - But rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, loudly proclaiming; "Wow. What a ride!"


11 June 2010 | Deltaville, VA
Beards and the high seas go together, so here, just in time for Father's Day, is a fine collection of facial cultivation.

Vessel Name: Mandy
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol Channel Cutter 28 - http://www.capegeorgecutters.com/BCC28/index.html
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA USA
Crew: Richard & Virginia Cross
Having spent 30 years in the racehorse business we felt it was time for a different kind of adventure. Both originally from England we have sailed for fun for over 30 years. We have owned MANDY for five of those and are planning to head south for Mexico etc. in November 2008 - ready or not. [...]

There Goes Mandy!

Who: Richard & Virginia Cross
Port: San Diego, CA USA