Counting Down the Days

Saturday is The Big Day, culminating almost two years of preparation. All but one of the boats leaving from Key West are here, and the last will arrive shortly. Jimmy Cornell is here, with his boat Aventura, and his wife and daughter and crew. We’ve had our first briefing, plus a social gathering. I look forward to getting to know the other crews better. So far I’m mostly trying to remember names and who’s on what boat.

Two boats have just withdrawn. One due to health issues of the owner, one due to lack of funds. Both crews are here, and delightful people. Very disappointing that they won’t be voyaging with us. The size of our fleet is much smaller than originally planned. We will have 7 boats leaving from here, if we include Jimmy, who will be sailing on a different schedule, but meeting us in Tahiti. There will be 6 boats leaving from Martinique, and joining us in Panama. Two or three other boats are leaving from other points, and will join the fleet in the Pacific.

We still have issues to deal with. Number one on the list is of course engine-related. In our last episode we were rebuilding our starboard engine. That was completed, and the boat returned to its liquid element. But, believe it or not, on the sea trial to test that engine, the other one started to smoke and make unsettling noises! So the port engine is now in the shop being rebuilt. Can we get it back into the boat and tested in time for Saturday’s start? Stay tuned…

Some think our engine rooms are cursed, and we are going to suffer ongoing problems. I prefer to think that, like getting my appendix out, we are doing some serious preparation, and things are going to be better for our efforts. It would be naive to think all the problems will suddenly stop, but I do think we are doing everything we can do now to improve the situation.

Lots to do this week. Today we started finding places to stow some gear that has never had a proper home. That makes me happy — finding places for things. And, in fact, finding out exactly what things we have. We discovered that we have 6 inflatable life vests with safety harnesses, plus 2 more without harnesses, plus 4 additional harnesses (not inflatable). Of the twelve total, we gave 6 away to the boat next door. Better to have less stuff, and be clear about what it is and where it is… Much more to do along these lines. We’ve done an initial big shop for non-perishable food; we will of course have to do another toward the end of the week for perishables (though not much room left left in the galley to stow them).

Another potential hurdle is our safety inspection to be done by Jimmy Cornell. I think we’ve done all the right things to pass this inspection, but a lot is open to interpretation, and Jimmy will be doing the interpreting.

Things are going to start happening in rapid succession, and I’m sure that many smaller items will get pushed off the list as Saturday approaches. All part of the fun. đŸ™‚

Here we are, with our Blue Planet Odyssey flag flying.


13 thoughts on “Counting Down the Days”

  1. Love hearing the nuts and bolts of your journey, Zeke. I agree – get all those nasty issues taken care of now – before you head to the wild blue yonder. When do you get to Tahiti?
    woohooos for your departure,


  2. Zeke,

    I am sure you are anxious to get started. Obviously with this many issues before you begin, there will be plenty once you are underway. I hope they are all manageable.

    Good luck buddy!




  3. Hello, Zeke. Wishing you a wonderful, safe trip! I am so pleased that the connection that you have made with the Lewiston Middle School students, and weren’t their questions (and your responses) great?
    Your blog is showing the marks of an upcoming author, and I look forward to reading your entries throughout your trip.
    Cousin Bill


    1. Southern route! The northern route was through the elusive Northwest Passage. Three boats tried that; two turned back because the ability to get through the ice was uncertain; one made it. Glad to hear that you are following my adventures!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Best wishes to all of your crew and those of the rest of the fleet. Have lots of fun once you are under way! Cheers!


  5. Sorry to hear about the engine problems, especially since you have two. However, it’s better to have them here in the States than in the middle of nowhere. Question: will you be carrying fuel on deck for the extremely long passages, or limiting yourselves to tank capacity/sailing?


    1. We carry two 5-gallon jugs of diesel fuel, in addition to the nearly 100 gallons we carry in 3 tanks. For most of the trip this is probably more than we need (and thus unnecessary weight that impacts sailing performance). But for some areas, such as around the Galapagos Islands, having lots of fuel can get you through the nasty areas near the equator, where wind may be non-existent except in squalls. I’m sure monitoring fuel usage will be part of the story leaving Panama, and leaving the Galapagos (where it would be prohibitively expensive to buy more).


  6. Fingers crossed for all of you for Saturday, Zeke!
    Tell Bill the wind chill here is only 9 below and Melissa says “We’re good with it.”:)


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