Late Sunday night (or actually at about 2 a.m. Monday morning), Ocean Planet and her crew arrived in the wonderful town of Charleston, SC.
Our arrival back in the US of A was made even more exciting by a fantastic greeting by fellow singlehanded sailor Brad Van Liew, who zoomed out in the pitch darkness to greet us with his new speedboat, even bringing cold beer! If you don’t know Brad Van Liew, he was the only American finisher in the last (98/99) Around Alone, becoming one of my heroes in the process. Brad is also preparing for this year’s race entering Class 2 in his 50 footer, and becoming sort of the “scout leader” for the few other Americans in the race. He just landed a big sponsor (I’m not at liberty to say who), so with Ocean Planet as the only American boat entered in Class 1 (the high profile “Open 60” division), I should be next, right?
The sail to Charleston was the best trip on OP so far, with moderate broad reaching almost the whole way. The last day slowed down with light air, but 1300 miles in 5-1/2 days was so relaxing after banging upwind to Antigua from Panama, and then Antigua Sailing Week! We had a great crew aboard, including Kevin Flanigan, the man (along with his lovely wife, Shauna) who is mostly responsible for making it possible to build Ocean Planet. Kevin really cares about the ocean and gets as bummed as I do when we see trash in the otherwise perfect sea. We hope to make a difference, so please remember to keep our ocean planet clean.
Today we are pulling the rig out here at Charleston Boat Works and hauling out today or tomorrow. It seems like just yesterday that we were out of the water in Alameda, but that was more than 10,000 miles ago! There is a LONG list of stuff to do to get ready for my transatlantic qualifying voyage, and I need to be ready to go by mid June. Let’s see, that gives me….ONE MONTH??!! Yikes! All volunteers are invited (begged?) to help out, as I need all I can get to pull this off. Hopefully, we will meet our matching grant offer put together by supporter Hank Grandin…..so we can pay the yard bill! Please join me, Kevin, and all of our supporters in this (final?) effort to make the start of the Around Alone. If we can get OP ready so I can complete the qualifying sail, we are bound to land a sponsor!
And I promise to get a haircut…;-)