Sleepless in Newport
Burnin’ the midnight oil in the Mecca of American Yachting.
Here in the land of (past) America’s cup glory, alongside the late Peter Blake’s huge “SeaMaster,” sits the only U.S. entry in class one of the Around Alone. She is getting a lot of attention from the yard (Newport Shipyard) and some great helpers of mine, but yours truly, the skipper, is in a bit of a daze.
Sometimes I think it might be interesting to list all the individual ongoing projects in one of these updates, but each one is a long story in itself (possibly entertaining, depending on your point of view). My helpers assure me that I’m actually more organized than I feel, but the fact remains that we need to drum up a pile of dough to make the start. Right now I’m up in the boatyard’s “crew lounge” hammering out e-mails and phone calls, which is nice since it’s air conditioned in here. I need to focus on fundraising, but it is SO hard for me to stay away from the boat since I am such a mother hen! A lot of the boat is different and custom so I need to answer questions on the fly as everyone comes by or calls on my phone.
When I can go by the boat, I accost onlookers, inform them about the coming race, myself, and shove donation forms in their hands. The reactions vary from total disinterest to enthusiasm. Now and then I get lucky and some have helped out. The time to help is NOW! Some supporters asked me whether we were going to do another “matching grant” effort. Time is so short that I don’t have time to organize it, so all I can say is SEND MONEY NOW OR I WON’T MAKE THE START. SERIOUSLY, WE NEED ABOUT $95K IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. So, only 95 people need to send in $1,000….;-)! A few folks that had been holding back came thru recently, so I keep telling myself it is possible.
With all this stress, good thing I have been taking my Mariner’s vitamins! Also a big help is the prototype “Prometan” energy and protein bars (see www.intensivenutrition.com).
Key helpers, Bam Bam (aka Andrew Oleksiak) and Quinn Olsen have headed back to Charleston, SC, to other biz, but they will be back in a couple weeks. Agnes Powell (who usually works on better paying gigs than this one) is here for another week to help on PC, wiring, and other tasks. A lot has to be done by the boatyard here now, which is going to be expensive. Bam Bam, Quinn, and Agnes are working for next to nothing.
Newport is rather touristy, but an atmosphere of sailing character is everywhere. For example, I was sitting in restaurant soon after our arrival when I looked on the wall next to me to see a drawing of the smiling caricatures of the Titans of buoy “yachting”: Ted Turner, Ted Hood, Lowell North, Dennis Conner, etc. Day chartering is evidently booming here with rides on various craft like the replica of the famous schooner “America.” Also here are countless restored 12 meters along with several of the mega yachts we saw in Antigua. Hopefully I can meet some of the owners….we need to shake some change out of this town!
Big thanks for the hospitality of Billy & Joyce Black, who have been letting me crash at their lovely house and raid the fridge…;-) We’ll have some of their pics up on the site soon….
Hangin’ at the sailing bars and playing guitar for tips!