Friends, followers, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from HaveWindWillTravel! A real treat for you here, available for the first time to my entire audience: my two-hour movie from our trans-Atlantic. For those of you who are new, Phillip and I had the good fortune to be invited as part of a four-member crew to cross the Atlantic, sailing from Florida to France, this past June on a 46’ catamaran and I created my first full-length film documenting our journey. I thought it would be a great way to kick off Season Five of our YouTube channel which will be all about our TRAVELs, with our biggest voyage of 2016!
When Captain Yannick first met me (which was around the same time he agreed to let me make this tremendous voyage with him, brave guy), he had no idea who I was really, the kind of videos I made, my audience or how I might portray him and his family on film and, because he has plans to produce video documentaries of his own someday, he initially asked that I not share the movie publicly on YouTube. Now, after having watched many of my videos, particularly the movie itself, and with a better understanding of the purpose of my platform (to help share the realities and rewards of a cruising lifestyle) Yannick graciously granted my renewed request to let me share it with my entire audience, for free on YouTube.
So, kick back, make some hot cocoa, round up the last of the Christmas treats and enjoy the show while Phillip and I explore the vast historic castles, churches and smoky cigar holes in Cuba and work to get videos to you all from this incredible adventure as well as my sail to Isla Mujeres, Mexico this past November and our upcoming sail to Miami in February for the Miami Boat Show (we hope to see some of you there!). Thank Captain Yannick for inviting Phillip and I on this incredible voyage and letting me share the experience with you: a crew of four on a 46’ foot catamaran, thirty days at sea across the Atlantic Ocean. The perfect way to kick-off HaveWindWillTravel 2017!
This is it! Our official goodbye. We are out! Off! Headed to Cuba! See you next year. Phillip and I were dreaming about this moment every day at the shipyard, every time we encountered a new problem, found a new leak and had to break out another thousand. It all lead to this. We are sailing to Cuba. We’ve spent months preparing, researching and packing and we have had a great time sharing the process with you in Season Four of the YouTube Channel in our “How To” series. We don’t know when we’ll get wifi again or have time to put out our next video. It may be a few weeks. But Season Five will be all travel. We’re taking you with us in videos to Isla Mujeres, Cuba, Key West, Miami and more. Stay tuned and Happy Holidays Sailors!
And, as our continued thanks for all of your support and following along, we put together one last season finale for the YouTube channel talking about and showing you all of the safety gear we will be traveling with and covering our last minute checks (including one unfortunate discovery and repair of a raw water leak) before shoving off. As always, we hope you find the information helpful (and fun!) and enjoy following along on our journey. Stay tuned on HaveWindWillTravel’s Facebook page for updates via our Delorme tracker while we are underway. Wish us luck and fair winds and have a fantastic Christmas!
For any of you looking to do your own offshore voyaging, I have included below a link to our complete 12-page bow-to-stern inventory of the boat in case this sparks some ideas for you of what to stock, how to stow it or how to organize it. Included in here is all of our spares, boat supplies, food, fishing gear, safety gear, etc. Plaintiff’s Rest is loaded down!
And, another Christmas goodie for you! I wrote an article about our rotten stringer repair that will be coming out in the January 2017 issue of SAIL Magazine. It gives me a tingle to think how everything is so connected and truly happens for a reason. It was October 2015 when we watched a fleet of boats sail out of the Pensacola Pass in the Pensacola a la Habana Race and, when we saw a gallant 60-footer pass by that, Phillip and I decided–right then and there–we were going to make a plan to sail ourselves to Cuba. We didn’t know it at the time, but it was Captain Ryan on Libra and we’ve all since become very good friends and I now have a new marketing client who I love to work for (he pays in offshore voyages ; ) … is there anything better?) And, it was the very next weekend after we made that decision (Blue Angels November 2015) that Phillip and I found our rotten stringers. But, Phillip decided–right then and there, with the knife blade still sticking out of the wood–that it wasn’t going to stop us. We would haul out, do the repairs, re-rig at the same time and SAIL TO FREAKING CUBA! It actually motivated us further and because it was so much work getting our boat ready to go, the reward is that much sweeter. And now, right before we shove off, the story of the whole incident comes out in print for you all to read while we voyage. There is sometimes a mystifying symmetry to life that takes my breath away. The good, the bad, the rot. It all happens for a reason and always teaches you something in the process. Never give up!
Provisioning for passage. Stowing goods on the boat (according to weight). Power conservation while underway. Watch schedules. Sleep arrangements. You name it. A ton of good, hopefully helpful info for you all while we are preparing our boat to shove off for Cuba in just SEVEN days. Feel free to add any of your own offshore preparation tips in a comment below and follow us along on our voyage on our HaveWind Facebook Page where we will post MapShare updates and our GPS location via the Delorme. Become a Patron for personal messaging capabilities so you can talk with us during the voyage, get up to date photos and video posts as soon as we get wifi and join us in Key West for a Patron Party when we get back from Cuba. Oh the stories we will tell!
“There’s something magical about the Azores,” Phillip told me well before we stepped foot on Andanza to cross the Atlantic.
When the idea first started to flick like a candle flame in our minds that we might sail across an ocean this year, Phillip immediately started to overflow with what little he knew about the places we might see along the way: Bermuda, the Azores, Peter Sport Café. Now, this was long before we knew Yannick did not plan to stop at any of these places. Not a one. But it didn’t matter. While Phillip and I love to see new places and explore new shores, we also love the journey in between. Simply crossing the ocean was enough for us, but Phillip and I are both so grateful that things worked out the way they did and we had the opportunity to spend nine colorful, captivating days in that magical place known as the Azores during our voyage across the ocean.
Discovering new places, people and cultures by venturing off the main thoroughfare down obscured alleyways, in rumbling rickshaws lead by locals who have walked those roads barefoot since they were a child is why we travel. I expect to feel the same kind of wanderlust awe as we traverse Havana, watching old Chevies putter by, following puffs of smoke from women on a balcony, wandering around with my mouth hanging wide open because I’ve simply forgotten all about it in my wonderment. That sounds a little Alice in Wonderland but that is how I feel when we step onto a new shore: exuberantly overwhelmed and proud to be just mad enough to have embarked on the journey I did to get there.
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Where do you want to wander to?
As Phillip and I spend these last days preparing for our voyage to Cuba, my mind for some reason keeps traveling back to the Azores. Probably because it, too, was a place where I could have never imagined myself because I simply could not imagine it. I couldn’t see the colors, the lushness, the curiosity of the birds that ate my bread crumbs until I had actually been there. It was even more magical than Phillip could convey and I thought I would take a moment to share it with you as I believe the culture and untouched parts of Cuba will strike us the same way.
Azorians wake every day to the sight of the Atlantic Ocean.
The peak of the Pico, basked in pastel looks upon us on the island of Failal.
Each day began at this colorful café over coffee,
and often ended with wine at the same table. I love the ever-changing view from my office.
Cobblestone streets and centuries-old buildings scale the steep hillsides.
I stumbled upon this while walking the streets one afternoon alone, a local wedding, held in the back patio of a home.
The sea wall, with its many ship’s badges and boats, is a nautical museum.
Yannick, chatting with a French family cruising on their Ultramar as the father added their emblem to the seawall.
There is a feeling of connection when you find badges from fellow sailors who have come before you, s/v Testarossa which won the ARC Europe 2016 race and the infamous Pam Wall’s Kandarik which came through in 2006.
I found beauty everywhere.
Final resting place overlooking the vast Atlantic. I don’t think I would mind ending up here.
En route to the farmer’s market where we brought fresh produce each Tuesday, fresh fish on Fridays and a fresh baguette every day.
Every meal was a delicacy.
But don’t get me started on the cheese. I could a do an entire post about cheese in the Azores. It was all made locally from the very cows you see roaming the hillsides. Each island made their own special breed and blend of cheese and cheese came to your table, no matter where you went, moments after you sat down. Ahhh … the cheese.
Voted, hands down, our favorite meal in the Azores: Octopus Salad drizzled in lemon, oil and fresh cilantro.
The best way to spend your day? Simply go for a walk. Explore. See. Soak it all in.
You see? Magical. I don’t know if I will ever find myself again, in a cloud.
This was a moment that stuck with me. We often stopped at this little cafe on Porto Pim and this man was there every time, nibbling on cheese and bread and just watching, everything, everyone, quietly. He was such a fixture at the place, the birds would come up and eat out of his hand.
Peter Sport Café. What can I say?
Peter Sport Café was a destination all its own. There is an energy in that place that fills your lungs when you walk in the door. You know you’re breathing the same air a thousand other sailors drew in before you having themselves just crossed an ocean to get there. Respect—for each other and for the ocean—resonates with every man’s eyes you meet. And when you and your crew come in to the Café for the first time, having just docked your boat on the historic seawall, pulling off hats, wiping salt from your brow, slapping each other’s shoulders, you make a bit of a scene because you’re energized by what you have just accomplished. The folks who come there every afternoon for a beer or the folks who have been in the Azores for weeks, likely having work done on their boat, can spot you instantly: the crew that just made it in. But, once you stay a few days and have a few beers there, you will start to blend into the regulars and you’ll smile when you see the next motley crew of sailors, walking in for the first, slapping shoulders and pulling off hats. Congratulating your crossing with a drink at Peter Sport Café is a memorable experience.
I hope the first drink Phillip and I have in Havana brings me the same air of comradrerie with people there who have rich stories and experiences to share.
Very exciting video for you here guys. Our 4th Gift of Cruising will be a five-day offshore adventure sail from Pensacola to Miami with us on s/v Libra to attend the Strictly Sail Miami Boat Show, boat show tickets included. Super cool, right? We will depart out of Pensacola February 10th and sail to the show. I will be speaking at the show (so you can come heckle me!) and Libra will be IN the boat show so you can come walk the docks, tour her and meet Phillip and I while you are there. We will give this gift away at the $500 Patron reward level — help us make this happen by becoming a Patron and emailing me to let me know you are available during the passage dates and you want to go on an offshore voyage. In addition, if you would simply like to go ahead and book this passage to make the trip with us, feel free at SailLibra.com! We would be excited to have you! Thank Captain Ryan with SailLibra for this generous donation as well as my many Patrons who make these Gifts of Cruising possible. Get inspired. Get on board.
Also, because it is the season of giving, I put together another full-length video for you all on the channel in our Boat Tours section. It’s my first motor vessel tour! I didn’t even know Gulfstar made motor yachts, but this one was certainly impressive. Twin Perkins diesels, a generator, water-maker, 500 gallons of fuel, 250 gallons of water and insane amounts of storage. Thank Phil for the tour of his 1979 Gulfstar 44, m/v After Five. I blame all Video Annie comments in the outtakes on the wine he kept feeding me while I was working! Enjoy the tour!