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Ocean Planet Report
From Around Alone “Ground Zero” in Newport, RI 


Whew! Where were we? It has been a dizzying pace here, grueling but exciting as the other boats are arriving here for the start of the 2002/2003 Around Alone race.

One of the coolest things about getting ready for this adventure is the really neat people you get to meet. The sort of folks who set out to race sailboats around the world are very interesting and a lot of fun. We are all under a lot of stress, but help each other with advice, jokes, and minor ribbing to ease some of the pressure of the endless preparation. 

Some of the great fellow skippers that are here now, in no particular order (next update I’ll do a review all the boats themselves) are:

Aboard the 40 footers in class 2 (the 40 footer class is going to be a great “race within the race”): Alan Paris of Bermuda aboard BTC Velocity. He is fast talker, quick-witted with a snappy sense of humor and also seems to have a good handle on his boat and systems. 

Here is his boat:

Skinny, we like that!

Dereck Hatfield of Canada with “Spirit of Canada” is a very relaxed guy who looks like a tough and strong sailor. He sailed here direct from the Azores the “north” or the hard way in remarkable time for a 40. He and his partner Patty Ann have been fun to talk with. I like his strategy to raise funds, I wonder if we should have tried it (his boat is COVERED with names!): 

Here’s Derick and Alan having a rest this afternoon.

This was before we all got together with photographer Billy Black and our friends to run out and greet fellow American and class two entry Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal. We had beer and pizza ready for Tim and his crew as they had a SLOW trip back from the Azores, so we knew they would be ready for it! Here you can see how excited Tim’s crew was to arrive!

Also just in town is Brad Van Liew, the favorite in class two aboard “Tommy Hilfiger’s Freedom America” (that’s a long name!). Brad is a good friend and loves to joke around, but his boat is very serious:

We still have a lot to do on my own rocket, Ocean Planet, but at least she’s clean thanks to “Bam Bam” (Andrew Oleksiak):

We are working on a number of things at once, one that I’m really excited about is our all new running rigging by Samson Ropes, it’s gorgeous! Thanks to my pals at Svendsens Marine and to Jason Winkel for all the splicing work, well done guys.

The only other 60 in town now is Thierry Dubois’s “Solidares.” Theirry is very experienced and it will be fun to race him! More pics later as I don’t want this letter to get too big….

I’ve been going at it full speed except for a quick trip last weekend to Seattle to be at my brother Steve’s wedding, where Jeanie and I met at the airport. This is the first time we’ve seen each other for months. A day and half later we said goodbye at the airport…a short time together until she makes it out to the start in New York. No one said this adventure would be easy….9 months until I get to go home again…wow!

Thanks so much to the supporters who keep sending the donations. We are getting closer, but I’m still having to cut some corners that I wish I didn’t have to…but we will be at the start, somehow, no matter what, I promise. Just keep ’em coming as I need to at least make the boat safe as possible for the race!

More soon,


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