Yikes! I’m not ready to leave her. I’m not ready to say goodbye to standing watch alone in the middle of the starry night. I’m not ready to let go of my wonderful home. No Regrets does not mean no sadness; I feel deliriously happy and achingly sad at the same time.
Of course it is what I wanted. And I’ll be ready just as soon as I say I am, and let go. And…very important…her new owners Tom and Jane are wonderful people who plan to do a ton of work bringing her back to near-new condition.
John Lombardi (builder) has been tremendously helpful, and the boat is in the right hands for the upcoming refit. Chris Lombardi has been great as the broker.
And what to say about Hallie, who insisted that she come here to work with me on the boat, and without whom I could not have completed the work. She has toiled nonstop for three very long days. But that’s only one star in the Milky Way of her contribution to this voyage. She has supported me every nautical mile, whether in spirit, or handling my financial affairs back home, or flying to join me in Tahiti and Australia and Brazil and the Caribbean and Wanchese. Always there with the love and support. A partner on so many planes! (Get it?)
And…there is a sweet little trimaran parked right next to No Regrets. I wonder if she might be for sale………..
Is this the end of the blog? Time will tell, but I think not. Regardless, this would be a great time for all you readers who haven’t commented (as well as those who have) to post a comment with your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you!
We chose to come to Wanchese (near the Outer Banks of North Carolina) because John Lombardi works here. John built No Regrets eighteen years ago. We thought he would be the perfect person to do the work needed on the boat. Might be fun for him, too, to see one of his creations many years later.
After making a plan to meet John in Wanchese, I was contacted by his brother Chris, who is a yacht broker, saying he had a client interested in an Atlantic 42. After some more arranging, his client is flying in at the end of this week. We’re going to see how much work John can get done in those few days, and how much I can make the boat presentable!
But first we had to get here. In Southport we had a fun dinner with Pip, who had sailed aboard Ransom in the BPO to French Polynesia. Then up the Intracoastal Waterway to Wrightsville, where we anchored for two nights to let some stormy weather pass over. Lots of reading for two days. Then on up the ICW to Swansboro. We anchored there, but dragged in the shifting current, so we tied at the town dock. That worked out well for getting groceries and for doing some cleaning of the side of the hull alongside the dock.
Then on to Beaufort, NC, where we stayed in the fancy/expensive marina right in the historic heart of town. And where my distant cousin Emily, whom I had never met, came to visit, along with husband Bob, my sister Nancy and her husband Frank. They all treated the crew to a superb dinner — much appreciated! I could easily have stayed a while in Beaufort, and taken Bob up on his offers to show us more by land or sea. But we were on a mission, so off we went in the morning, on up the ICW to Pamlico Sound. We had the current with us through the narrow channel, and the wind with us once we got into the open water, so we made great time.
In the afternoon the wind nearly died, and then came up with a vengeance (29 knots) as we approached our chosen anchorage. Made for some exciting sailing beating into the shallow creek. It was a spot that simply looked protected on the chart; I had no idea what the area would be like. In fact it turned out to be remote…almost desolate…just a few lights in the far distance at night. Beautiful.
Next day we had another great sail up the sound, and we selected another nook on the chart for anchoring. Again, completely empty. I had no idea that Pamlico Sound had such wilderness.
In the morning we were off one last time, again with a good breeze, to Wanchese. So…if things go well, this may be the end of the line! Done. Our mission now (which Bob, Joe and I got a start on over the past several days) is to clean everything and remove three years (and more) accumulation of “stuff” from the boat. Monday the boat will be hauled, so work can begin on the bottom and the saildrives. Then Bob and Joe will depart, and Hallie will arrive to spend the week working with me. Then we show the boat, and head home. Maybe I will be back in a month to sail the boat to New England. Or maybe the boat will no longer be ours. It’s all journey…
Thirty years ago I had sailed across the Atlantic and back, and sailed into Bermuda, our last stop before returning home. After being boarded by Customs to clear in, I took the dinghy ashore. And as I was approaching the dock I heard a familiar voice shout, “Hey, Zeke!!” It was my cousin Cliff, vacationing on the island, and by huge coincidence coming to the dock just as I did.
Well, when we anchored in Charleston (because there was no space available at the marina), I was trying to reach Customs on the phone when I hear it again — “Hey, Zeke!!” And yes, it was Cliff! And Cousin Bill as well. Cliff was helping Bill bring his boat Salty Paws north after an East Coast and Bahamas adventure. We each knew of the other’s general plans, but did not know the details, and I had no expectation of seeing them. Sure was a nice welcome!
I had arranged to meet with Galen, son of a close friend…living on a fascinating boat…now in Charleston after trucking the boat from Oregon to the headwaters of the Mississippi and voyaging down the river…Gulf of Mexico…East Coast…who knows where yet to come… We all (Galen, Bill, Cliff, Bob, Joe and I) went to dinner at an upscale seafood restaurant. Great oysters, great seafood, great beer, but especially great company and a very nice way to celebrate returning to the USA.
Salty Paws rafted alongside for the night, and left at dawn. Galen stayed aboard No Regrets, and in the morning we motored up the ICW (intracoastal waterway) a few miles to take him home to his “Channel Princess” riverboat. We were treated to a visit to this unique and very personalized boat. It exudes stories. They kind of bounce off the walls and echo in a ghosty vibration…many people have clearly been aboard…much music…good times…tall tales…and the vessel seems to have absorbed it all and is alive with the energy. I guess you have to be there to feel it!
I wanted to get some miles behind us before nasty weather arrives, so we bought fuel and groceries and filled water (no charge for water!), and we headed out a short cut to the ocean. The chart says 2 feet of water in the Cut, but it was nearing high tide. On the other hand it was windy and there was a nasty chop. Going aground would have been a serious problem! But the depth was fine.
Once we got over the sandbar we had a delightful sail through the night to Southport, NC. I took a pre-dinner nap, during which the crew caught a small fish. And in the morning when I got up, they were busy filleting another one!
Probably my last night at sea for a while… As Hallie wrote to me: You seem so happy when you are sailing thru the night, as if you are connecting to your soul, your spirit and the heart and soul of the earth. Your peace. The ocean is your muse, your mistress.
Certainly there is poetry in sailing through the endless darkness beneath the shooting stars.