Home > Journals > 2005: After the Vendée Globe

Ocean Planet “East Coast Tour” news,

Dec 16, 2005

A nearly full moon is rising as we head into the final night at sea of our voyage to St. Augustine Florida. We just left Charleston, SC a few hours ago….. In many ways this trip, which was supposed to be a short jaunt down the coast, has been an epic little voyage.  Not from extreme weather (which we carefully avoided), but as both a meaningful return for the boat and I to places loaded with memories from the lead-up to the 02/03 Around Alone and eventually the Vendee Globe. It also marks the beginning of a new phase in the life of OceanPlanet 1.

Our first stop at North Cove Marina on Manhattan Island, NY, was a return to the scene of the start of my first solo circumnavigation and what turned out to be an epic voyage and monumental learning experience.  Our return there was made special by a wonderful reception by the Manhattan sailing club and many sailors from New York.  We are discussing a very exciting collaboration with the sailing club and the OceanPlanet Foundation that  could allow many more sailors the chance to experience this great boat.  More news on this front later, but can you spot our rig hidden in the skyscrapers?

Stop # 2 on our journey was Norfolk, VA.  This was one place that we had not been before, but it was interesting and a good time to regroup, catch up on communication, and get a little work done on the boat.

Perhaps just as nostalgic as the N.Y. stop was our last stop in Charleston, SC.  This is where I spent several months preparing for my first solo transatlantic crossing (a qualifier for for the Around Alone). Charleston is also where fellow solo ocean racer Brad Van Liew and family resides, and it was the first chance we’ve had to meet and talk since before I completed the Vendee Globe.  To get his congratulations at last, in person, was really gratifying. 

Brad and I had a great late night talking about the future of American solo ocean racing and what we can do to raise the level of U.S. participation to the very top of the sport.  We have some real ideas and between the two of us we have a lot of connections to help make that happen.  If I can pull it off, the OceanPlanet II program will be just the beginning of a full-on “program” to take the best America Solo sailors and create a collaborative/competitive platform for all of us to raise our game.  I always dream big (if you haven’t noticed), but I’m willing to work hard, and even put my OceanPlanet 2’s “skipper’s” spot on the line if we can create the right situation.  Of course we need to bring in the resources to do it at that level, but I’m working on it!

Meanwhile, we are motoring on OP1 across a smooth sea heading for St. Augustine.  Young Donald Lawson is on deck relishing every minute of his opportunity to be on board. Our other crew, Helen Babalis is off watch, and here I am again at the Nav station writing to you as I have for what seems years now.  Wait, that’s right, it HAS been for years!!  

We’ve come a long way…all of you who have supported this dream…this boat..and of course myself.  Racing Key West Race Week, coming up in only one month, won’t be the perfect racing for this boat.  But it will be a fantastic gathering of great OceanPlanet supporters and great sailing.  It will be show the boat to what is perhaps the greatest gathering of great American sailors and meet great people.  OP1 is NOT a bouy racer, but in the spirit of fun and fast sailing it is going to be a great time.

Bruce Schwab, Skipper