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Dr. Robert Erdman & Dr. Terry Soule

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Where in the world is Dr. Erdman-Our First Night on “OUR TIME”

Finally, I made it to Antigua and into English Harbor the morning of December 29, 2016.  I stopped blogging for awhile because we had major issues with the boat and the manufacture was giving us a hard time covering the sail drives under warranty.  It is a long story that goes over a number of months and we were advised not to discuss.  Happily, the boat was restored to working order and many of you have seen me working in the office January through mid-April.  I thought it might be fun for Toni to give you her perspective of her first experience with the boat.  This is from my wife’s perspective.

I am not a sailor-yet. However, I am in love with a man who loves sailing, so, I go with him- sailing.  Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my time on the boat.  At first I typed, “thoroughly enjoy my time on the boat”, and then thought better about it and took “thoroughly” out.  There is the nagging issue of sea sickness.  My, oh my, as I literally expel a heavy sigh; only if blogs came with sound effects.  My life holds great promise of adventures filled with both people and places to get to know.  There are future sunrises and sunsets to inspire and and stories yet to be written.  All this lovely hopefulness is cast with worry over being able to handle the seas.

After 30 years of owning and running a small business we sold.  It made great business sense to turn our profit (and save on taxes) over into a new business adventure.  So we bought a brand new 45-foot catamaran and plan on living our dream before our bodies tell us it has to remain only a dream.  Yes, Robert agreed to purchase a catamaran for stability. The new cats are terrific, roomy and steady. We have decided to put the new boat in charter until we can fully finalize our work commitments.  So, in the meantime, someone else is enjoying my sunrises, sunsets and people and places. We expect to get to sail our boat a couple of months per year.

My husband, Robert, was part of the three-person crew who sailed her from her birthing port of Les Sables d’Olonne, France.  He arrived in France November 5th, 2017 and finally took off from port on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th. After very rough seas, weeks of delays and sail drive issues the crew and boat arrived into English Harbor, Antigua on December 29th, 2017. It was a joyful sight to see my husband at the helm and cry out “Ahoy” as he approached the dock.  Our lingering hug was memorable. We gave him two nights of land rest before our family of five jumped aboard for our short acquaintance sail.

Our dream of sharing two weeks with family aboard “Our Time” was cut short by the multiple weather delays.  We were so happy to at least have seven days and six nights together to get to know our boat.  But that does not qualify me as a sailor nor instill the confidence I need to be a worthy sailing mate.  I have three twenty-something young men for children and they are all doers.  I have to remind them and myself that mom needs to learn the water maker, the bilge alarm, the navigation system… I have to learn to trust the boat and myself on the boat.  I still fret every time we drop anchor questioning, “Will we hold.” 

I have had a whole six nights on our boat, “OUR TIME”.  The very first night aboard was December 31st. This very first night out represented years of dreams, hopes and anticipation. We were happy, excited and exhausted.  Imagine getting your first brand new car.  It still smells so good, is clean and you feel so free.  You can go anywhere!  Until you simply get tired. Whenever we are out on the water we tend to rise and set with the sun.  And soon after leaving English Harbor we went a very short way, and tucked into the lovely Carlisle Bay with a hotel on the beach.  Truthfully, I cannot even remember what we did that first night.  Did we cook a fancy meal? Pop a bottle of wine? 

What I do remember in going to bed soon after sundown and worrying if the anchor would hold.  Darn that big rock on the downwind side of the bay.  I kept dreaming we would drift towards it at night.  I even began to imagine what boat against the rock banging would sound like if we did hit.  As I dozed off to a restless sleep I got up once to peek out the cabins windows to get my bearings.  Were we dragging?  Are the hotel lights in the same general direction?  And there snored my man oblivious to my cares and concerns.  Heck, he just finished a two month crossing in horrible weather, this bay peacefully calm to him.  I went back to bed, rolled over numerous time, said my prayers again and knew I would have to learn to relax. I did fall back to sleep.  Until I wasn’t asleep any longer.

I was startled awake by that banging noise I dreamed up in my head. Only, I was not dreaming.  I literally fell out of bed in a rush yelling out to my sound asleep husband, “Rob, Rob what is it?” I laugh now because I clearly remember that just a bit of light from the hotel or moon reflected off his bare bottom as he stumbled out on deck.  Thank God neither one of us broke a leg in our haste.  What day did I mention was our first night out?  December 31st.  Apparently, on the island of Antigua, in this Carlisle Bay, the hotel was shooting off fireworks along with two other celebratory showings north and south of us.  At least I can honestly say that I will never forget my first night aboard our new boat.

We were both so shaken up and tired that we barely watched the beautiful show.  It was loud. We assessed the potential harm from firework shells launching out over the water in our general direction and simply went back to bed.  We just wanted quite. I carried another concern to bed.  I was wondering if my brand new boat was going to show scars in the morning light from firework debris. In hindsight this would have been a great photo opportunity for a future blog.  That thought never entered my worrisome brain. All I could think about was what would it really sound like to hit that big rock and how would I even know it with all this noise.

Toni, is a trooper and is keeping an open mind, heart and attitude with my dream of sailing.  She has never done a long sail that extended also through the whole night and I plan to push, I mean, encourage her to do longer and longer sails as we take a month off this Spring to “test-drive” a new lifestyle.  Our next trip we will continue sailing around Antigua and head over to the Island of Barbuda which is about a five hour sail. I hope to bring my ninety-year-old father along for a week. He inspired my love of boating and I with trips to the Bahamas.  I look forward to sharing time with him out on the water, again.  Stay posted for our next update.  And please, if you see Toni, tell her how lucky she is to go sailing, I could use the help.

 

 

By stallo@officite.com
January 12, 2017
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So Christmas dinner was good.  The chicken was cooked perfectly and the roasted potatoes brushed with duck fat, a French thing, was also very good.  My peach cobbler was fine but not great as we are low on sugar and butter so I used less then I would have liked.  The microwave that also can be used as an oven worked but cooks slower so more time is needed when using it.  We tried using the microwave for the veggies after the chicken but the microwave portion of the oven no longer works.   Shame as it looks so nice.  (It Will probably be replaced with a straight forward more reliable microwave.)  The boat has a gas oven which does not do a good job and the captain does not allow us to use it on this delivery voyage.

The day after Christmas we washed the boat down and cleaned the salt off the chrome. It does not take long for the salt to try and pit the metal.  This will be a chore to be done every time I see the boat along with many other boat duties.
So I have been asking the captain if it is normal for the waves to be this big all the time since we started all the way back in France.  He says it will get better in a few days or he simply ignores me.  At this point in the trip, we have put in a lot of miles and we are less then 400 miles to our final destination and now he admits that this has been a rough trip.  He says he has never had a trip that did not have breaks of nice calm water.  This one has never been calm.  He said that the last crossing he was on just before he came on my boat, he considered their roughest day as being still calmer then this trips best day.  Read that twice. And say "yuck". So,  ah-hah, I knew I smelled a rat.  He did not want me to get discouraged so he kept saying in a few days it will be calmer as he thought it has to get better.  It just never did.  
 
So let's talk about what the constant hour after hour tossing does to you mentally.  I am trying to wash dishes bracing my body against the cabinet, dealing with sloshing water and setting the dishes so that they do not slide off the counter to the floor.  After doing this simple task, that is now not as simple,day after day some four letter words that you normally do not use start flowing freely.  Everything is difficult.  Walking must be done with a free hand or two holding on with every step.  If you do not hold on tightly you will fall.  

The captain fell today when he was up high working on the boom.  The waves knocked him and he'll fell a couple of elevation changes of the boat down.  I saw it happen and gasped as I saw the fall but was busy holding on tight myself.  He was fine but that was close as he was heading in the direction of overboard.  So the constant movement would be fine for a day or two but over many days it is draining and it starts making you mad that it will not give you a break.  Not complaining but giving you reality.

Tonight it is clear and the stars are out and Venus is so bright in this pitch black ocean.  It is so wonderful without the light pollution.  I do not see half the number of stars when I am on land with all the lights.
  
Tonight at dinner we discussed the remaining  food what we would/ could like to make or eat.  For me it was opening the can of corn, draining it, adding some chopped onion and tomato and sprinkling some balsamic vinegar on it.  The captain is eyeing the frozen sausage and Christine, she will make the frozen meatballs.  We agreed to have everybody try something and maybe share.  The captain hates corn and will stay far from it; so, yet another dish he will not eat of mine.

Today was also a big laundry day. Clothes were hanging up wet on the outside of the boat.  That is my big excitement, to have a clean shirt to put on. Hence, laundry is done a lot by me.  I have the time!  So with my time I can read, write, watch a movie, do dishes, do laundry or throw the dead flying fish overboard and clean up the big mess they make.

Tonight on my regularly scheduled watch, I am writing this and the captain was down below. He noticed on the navigation system a ship going in the opposite direction, and going to pass close to us.  My job is to know this when I am on watch.  I am to view our surroundings, at minimum, every 8- 10 minutes. He did not tell me and wanted to see how long it would take before I noticed.  Well to my amazement a half an hour went by and the ship went past and my face is glued to writing this story.  Oops!  

He made me aware of the situation and asked me how much time went by before my last get up and check and I said about 10 or 15 minutes.  He said no it has been 30.  He said that he sees this all the time.  People on watch think they can be on the computer or iPad and they easily loose track of time.  Danger is that in that time a ship can close in on you.  He wanted me to learn that lesson very clearly and that I did.  So he is now on watch and I am now practicing safe typing off my watch.

So the crossing is nearly done.  I flew to France at the very beginning of November and will be done with it at the end of December.  Weather and mechanical delays have really made the whole thing go a lot longer and slightly delayed my return to the office.  I will squeeze in some family time on the boat at the end which I am enormously grateful. I will find quiet bays with beautiful beaches to make sure the time with family is the best it can be.  

During my time away I lost a mother.  I always knew the importance of family and this time away was very reflective and reinforcing of many of my guiding life principles.  So was it worth it?  I was out of the office for a long time and that makes things more difficult for many people.  I thank them all for putting up with it.  I learned more about what it takes to go further then just the next island on the horizon.  I do want to sail further than I felt comfortable in the past so that experience is vital.  When I add up what I learned against the cost and the challenges it created  then, yes, it was worth it.  If possible, I encourage you to take extended time for yourself as a retreat to sort things out.  We all need that.  If you can and choose to take a break for your norm, go ahead and add to it, make it interesting too! 
Robert

 

January 09, 2017
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I start writing this as I am half way from the Cape Verdee Islands to Antigua; the final big push to OUR TIME's home base. We left the Verdee Islands, just off the coast of Africa, with real concerns about water intrusion into the saildrive of both engines and the oil being contaminated by water. Water in the oil that lubricates the gears is a bad thing. We arrived in the islands with water in the gearbox so the proper thing is to haul out the boat to fix the problem. Not possible to do haul out here. So a diver did what he could to replace the seals and we flushed the gear box with fresh oil multiple times. May have worked, not sure yet. There is some water in the oil but may be a little bit that did not get removed with the multiple oil changes.

The first six days on this leg was all sailing with huge swells and waves. I found myself apprehensive and I got up multiple times when I was not on watch to check on the boat. The thunder of the crashing of the waves against the side of the boat and the howling wind and the tossing of One's body below gets you concerned-at the minimum. Ok, yes I was scared. I know you wanted to know that. We sometimes just had a small triangle of the forward sail (jib) up with the rest pulled in tight, no main sail raised at all and the wind and sea still pulled this heavy beast along faster then many would go with all the sails up.

Today it is choppy and we continue to experience big swells; however, not as bad. I am rejoicing over the calmer water. Calm? Not at all! It is all relative. It is amazing what you can get used to. Most people would say it is a rough day and if you have a choice you would opt to stay in port. No port for me. Not for another 1100 nautical miles. Who's idea was this? I am actually not complaining, just laughing at myself. It is no different then the people who decide to run a marathon, hike a mountain, bike across the state or country or take a year to knit a huge quilt. Many of us chose to do something that may not be easy ,but do it for the experience and the accomplishment. I totally solute all you out there who get up off the couch and do your "thing." Good for you! You will regret more at death what you didn't do then what you did do!

Now where was I? So still trying to squeeze in some time with the family in Antigua if I can get there. We have planned, re planned and re planned the family timetable. I know Wind running around 18 to 24 knots. Sounds good doesn't it. Could be if I had the right downwind sail on board. The wind is straight from behind with fluctuations of 15 degrees or so on either side. The genoa sail I have needs it more steady or it backwinds and can damage the sail. Best not to risk the damage. A good downwind sail has been picked out and is on my wish list. For now this is what I we have so we are now motoring until the wind changes. This all means, it simply takes time and patience.

Motoring makes it easy but burns diesel. This boat can easily do 1500 miles on a tank of diesel with no sailing and much much further when motor AND sail. With really good fuel management for only battery charges you can go over three months without refueling. Add a couple more solar panels and it can be much longer. Food, water(if you do not have a water maker)and repairs are the typical limiting factors.

Yes repairs! The starboard engine is not charging. It is responsible for charging it's own starting battery and the "house" batteries, not so today-the battery went dead. The bad news: this is happening and will have to be fixed. The good news: in the short term we have a switching mechanism that can dump power into that battery from the port side. At this moment we feel we will be ok wth this situation.

Today our reality is lots of rain squalls which means on the flip side of life, lots of beautiful rainbows! We had to pull out the cameras. At one point ,we were sailing to the end of the rainbow. Perfect heading! We did not get there in time, I surmise the pot of gold must have already sunk. Rats. Our reward comes in The rain washing the boat. A heavy rain is welcome as long as it is short term and does not drag on. We have not had long term rain yet, so yeah.

Fresh food is something that goes quickly on a boat. Publix still does not deliver on the Atlantic Ocean. The bananas are gone, half a cucumber left, one apple, no more oranges, a couple of onions and about four potatoes. Our after dinner conversation circles around the canned peaches and fruit cocktail and which of those yummy items we will have for tomorrow's Christmas dinner treat. Hah, what are you having? The main course will be microwave/convection cooked chicken. With a few spices on top. Have to let you know how that dinner goes. Tonight it was leftover rice and peas with frozen meatballs heated up. I liked it as I was hungry. What really are my choices? So, I choose to like it all.

December 19, 2016
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So we arrived in the port in Las Palmas of the Carnary Islands (off the coast of Africa) on a Friday (12/10/16) at around 11:30 pm and docked against a concrete wall by the fuel dock. Not an ideal spot but that is all we had available. The next morning we got up early, 7:00 am and we were able to start fueling by 8:15 am. Captain Andy and crew member, Christine, then hit the grocery store for a big load of food as it had to last until we make it to Antigua. Even though we are going to the Cape Verde Islands as the next stop, it will only be a very fast stop for gas and go. I also picked up more fishing gear as the equipment that I picked up in France fell apart after one use. I do not know where it was made but it looked good but had zero durability.

We ended up leaving the Canary Islands just before 11:00 am the next day. This was less than a 12 hour turnaround which was a record for this captain by many hours. He likes this port a lot and is never in a rush to leave; but, I really pressured him on time. This did not make him happy but made me happy. I am trying to get to Antigua to spend some time on the boat with my family. I had to win at least one battle.

So we left and motored for 24 hours averaging around 8.5 knots. The wind was not favorable but by 9:00 am the next day it was and I put up both sails fully and turned off the engines. There is a glorious sound/ sensation of sailing under wind power with no engine; I love the peacefulness of water rushing past the hull. We reduced speed without the engines so it is a trade off of enjoyment and speed. Our speed went down to 6 knots or so. WE NEED MORE WIND! Quick someone eat a can of beans!(Ok, so my humor is sophomoric- still).

The captain came in behind me after I did the sails and then showed me what I could do better, to tweak them a bit. That is why he is here- to help me to become a better sailor, which I appreciate. His strong criticism of my cooking during this trip is an unpaid bonus that he has thrown in for free.

From now on to conserve fuel we will run on one engine when the wind is very low- like it is now. So with a good wind we can do 8-12 knots but when it is down to 6- 7 knot we kick in one engine. The 6-7 knots is walking speed and when you have many hundreds of miles, well, you get the message. Patience is a virtue.

With the extra time today I went through all the stainless steel railings and fittings and cleaned all the built up salt off and wiped them down with fresh water. I felt like there was enough salt chunks to fill a salt shaker. People pay for sea salt. I need to save it.

Tonight Christine made a chicken curry again with rice this time. It was wonderful. I will not get tired of her chicken curry. I was supposed to lose weight on this trip but that is not going to happen. The boat is well stocked with food including lots of desserts that should never have come on board. Way to tempting not to eat.

Laundry! Let's talk about it. From France all the way down to the Canary Islands is has been cold or at least cool. So you do not sweat as much which is good but you still have to wash your clothes. Most boats this size have a very limited amount of water to use and have to fill up from shore. So washing uses a lot of water as does showering. Water consumption can be a real issue. The tank will go dry fast. This boat has a water maker that can operate even if just one engine is running. So in effect we get very clean water, (better than your city water), in reasonable abundance. That is fantastic! It is a luxury that I like very much and tastes very good.

Trying to shower on a rocking moving boat is difficult and dangerous. You should NOT have both hands soapy at the same time as one should be holding on to the grab bar at all times. Really! To not do so with this much movement invites a nasty fall. So we only take showers only when it is reasonably calm and still the above care must be taken. We have to skip most days. TMI for some of you. For guys standing in the bathroom will not get you the sharpshooter award on a rocking boat. It will get you a mess to clean up. Sit, tuck and go is a good boating mantra. Again, perhaps TMI.

Today I got out of bed very early, way before my watch. The racquet that was going on in the cabin was scary. Waves were hitting the side of the boat hard and in the cabin down below it sounded bad. That was not all. I could feel the back of the boat lurch sideways then quickly stopping and throwing me sideways in the cabin. I thought it would be better to be on deck if we are having a problem, so I went up to investigate. After looking at the huge swells and only moderate to large waves, I decided we were not in danger at all. The boat could do it. Over the course of the day the big swells and waves were 45 degrees off the port aft quarter moving now to almost directly aft (basically, I mean, back left side of the boat and moving behind the boat later in the day). Should stay that way for the next two days. That is good. We need the waves and wind to make a sharp turn to the right toward the Caribbean. That will be the trade winds we want to pick up. Time will tell if it works out.

Speaking of time, what do you do all day on the boat? Well the first thing to understand is that even in fairly calm conditions you cannot walk or move without holding on. One hand should ALWAYS be on the boat. The movement of the boat does not stop and that wears you down so you always feel a little tired. You want to sleep. We are going to have somewhat rougher conditions for the next few days at least and we will definitely be lethargic.

I am writing this blog, listening to music on the stereo, I have a fishing line out and contemplating what is the next thing I am going to eat. I wash the dishes, manage the water maker and keep a constant eye out for any problems. With that much time it also gives me time to think about life and what I need or want to do. Life is busy back in the States so this "retreat" is a very good thing. I think about family and friends. I think about my close relationships and many other meaningful things. This time helps me to fine tune my priorities. This is a spiritual experience for me. It is well worth it.

Is the trip what I expected it to be? The answer is yes and no. Everybody should always be trying to learn and while I will be learning more on sailing I also know there is still so much more to learn after this trip. So, yes, I knew I would get more experience and become a better sailor and be very familiar with the boat. That was expected. I also knew the time would give me time to think about life and I was so looking forward to that. That expectation was met. I did expect to be seasick much more but instead I have found my sea legs very quickly. I did have one moderately bad day and the second day of mild seasickness. I really developed an appreciation for how important it is to fully look at the weather, as often as possible, when you are on a boat. I have been too lax on that one in the past. That is seriously important.

Next question-How is it sailing on the ocean for days on end? Something that I suspected but have confirmed is that for me sailing is a means of transportation. Like getting on a plane to go on vacation; this is somewhat accurate but needs more explanation. If the plane trip is an hour or so it can be fun, minus TSA! However, if you encounter delays and it goes on for days it can be tough; but, you may need to power through to get to that special vacation let’s say, in Australia. So, I am all for the short sail in the Caribbean between Islands. These are tons of fun and sailing is great. You get a fun stop to look forward to in the near future. Even a couple of days continuous sailing are fine.

The longer sailing venture, to be jostled about for a long time such as the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean crossing becomes another matter. It is not so easy. It may be a trip that has to be done to get your floating house to French Polynesia or such. Many a sailor loves to go on a day sail then stopping for a beer at the end of the day. A great day! Now a long sail can be fun but make no mistake it is exhausting and seeing land can be quite exciting. So to be perfectly candid I do like shorter sailing that gets me somewhere.

I can and am willing to do the longer sail to also get me someplace. Best to plan as many stops that are reasonable. I have seen videos of many couples traveling the world on their sailboats stopping at all the ports along the way. They want to see all the sights and to break up the trip. When they do have a long sail they have a big smile when they see land. So there you have it a somewhat short answer to a big trip.

Wednesday A.M. now and last night on my 8-12 my watch the ocean was angry! Big swells tight together and a heavy chop to go with it. We were surfing swells up to 15 knots and only had the Genoa out with one reef (the main sail on a lower setting). The winds were 24 knots with higher gusts. As we wereand still are trying to move fast, we had both engines going at a moderate speed of 2200 rpm. We cut one engine off to bring the boat down to a safer speed. I felt better going a little slower but the captain said the boat can do it and more. He has been filling my head for weeks with heavy seas breaking boats or stuff on boats that I felt better with a bigger safety margin.

We also had 2 flying fish on deck. So with the first light we saw them but they were already stiff so instead of eating them they are now bait. I have heard tht flying fish are a tasty treat. And I hope I have the opportunity to try a fresh one sometime duringthis voyage.

We are trying hard to get to the Cape Verde Islands fast and take a quick12 hour break from the waves and fuel up. Once we leave there it will be a 12 to 14 day stretch without seeing land or anybody else. It will be the last long stretch to our final destination. Long range forecast is for solid winds and plenty of rocking. One or two days is fine but 14 days is a lot of work. You are tired at the end. I do hope to get a fresh flying fish to eat! That gives me something to look forward.

Well, better yet, instead of flying fish we just caught and ate dolphin; also called dorado. Yeah! It was not a big one only about 7 pounds. Success! During the sail at night I had to clean off four flying fish that landed on the deck. One came flying through the air into the cockpit, hit a full cup of coffee that the captain just set down and sent the cup flying to the floor making a mess and a flopping bloody fish. Crazy how they get so high and into the boat!

We arrived in port at Cape Verde at 2 A.M. last night (12-14-16) and had a couple of beers then bed. Woke up this morning and the captain, who took the worst watch/ shift, has asked for a day of rest after the 4 and half days sailing into the Cape Verde Islands. He said if I gives him/us rest he will pay for gerry cans that allow us to carry more fuel onboard so that we can motor fully if needed and make the date to rendezvous with my family. I agreed to his pleading for rest.

I am at the cafe right at the foot of our dock and boat. I plan to clean the boat today by washing it and getting in the water and scrubbing the waterline. More after the crossing.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Dr. Erdman

December 13, 2016
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We left Cascais, Portugal at 10:30 am Monday (12/5/16) and it is now 10:00 the next day Tuesday. We are heading to the Canary Islands and expect to be there Thursday night (12/8/16). So far on this leg of the trip, on the water, the weather has been good. The chop is 2 to 3 ft. but the swells are good size and they are diminishing. This really is not as bad as we expected. The weather was much worse 18 hours prior to our departure; there were gigantic waves crashing over the wall protecting the marina harbor. So, the weather reduced very quickly. I am VERY happy about that. I did not want to be bounced around like a pinball and possibly damage the boat. As you can imagine, it is better to have a solid breeze and low waves.

Last night, while we were far away from all the lights of land, I believe I saw Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and possibly Neptune. I used an app on my iPad called SkyView to help me locate the sky spot I was viewing. Then with binoculars I was able to pinpoint the planets. I saw several shooting stars, the Milky Way and a very nice moon set into the water; deep orange as it was setting. It was very nice. I also believe I saw another galaxy. Just as you see pictures of galaxies and what they look like, as I was scanning with the binoculars I saw what looked like another galaxy in the sky. My college astronomy class has really paid off on this seafaring trip. That was a very nice bonus!

It is a beautiful sunny morning right now but there are menacing clouds on the horizon. Maybe, if I talk nice to them, they will leave us alone; worth a try. Now it is time to do the house, I mean, boat chores: the laundry awaits and we hang it up all around the outside of the boat. Nobody will care that we are literally a sailing laundry mat- no one around to see us. If it rains that is just an extra rinse cycle. Then dinner preparations; a typical crew dinner on the boat consists of potatoes with onions, zucchini and tomatoes. Wednesday am (12/7/16), my regularly scheduled 8-12 watch was reasonably calm and quite. Not another boat all morning. I played the music up to the helm station and enjoyed the slightly cool sail. It was very relaxing and pleasant. With boating there is a lot of "work"; so, it can be easy to lose sight of the fun part. I made sure to embrace this AM time as it is what I came to enjoy.

This afternoon I made lunch for all of us of a pasta, tomato, and onion and pesto salad. It was good. I will be honest, I have always considered myself a good cook; however, the captain shudders when I cook as he hates my food. Captain Andy thinks he is a gourmet cook. He is better than me, I will admit. He did like this meal but would never admit it; instead he gave me corrections on how to make it better. He was right but it still was not too bad. Come on Capt. Throw a crew member a little rope.

Tonight, Wednesday 912/7/16), Cristina made curry chicken and it was fabulous. She is a good cook which is a nice bonus to her competent sailing ability. She is a mountain guide in the mountains of France and does sailing periodically to have a change of pace. She is tough in a good way!

So the real questions: mentally how is it to be on the boat so long? First, being away from my family is tough. In the over 30 years my wife and I have been married, we have never been apart for more than four days at a stretch. So you can see we are like glue together. So that is tough. The company of the other two crew is more of a working/ business relationship and not a friendship. They are friendly and nice but are very different culturally. That does not fully feed the social need. Known family and friends would eliminate this emptiness all together.

The other question to address is: Do I still like sailing? The short answer is absolutely yes! But it is not always "smooth" sailing. No one likes being seasick; nor do I. Until you get your sea legs if it is rough; it is an endurance game. Not fun. There are often things to fix/ tweak/ or repair. If they do not cost a bunch of money or are reasonably easy to handle then that is just fine. You always have a concern about possible big problems that could occur. This is to be expected as normal as boats have something breaking all the time. On that count we are good, so far. Right now the Genoa sail is up, a mild breeze, sun and we are moving along nicely in mild sea conditions. That is what you shoot for and makes it all so worthwhile. These pleasant conditions will not always happen as you may have rain or stronger seas. The key in the future is to be patient and monitor the weather and I must be willing to sit tight until it calms down or is acceptable weather and sea conditions to cast off. I am learning that you cannot push it too hard.

As far as being bored, there is some of that. Books, writing/ journaling, or having my wife along for the voyage, will help with that. It is an attitude change. It is very difficult for me to let go of the quick pace of the real life that I have lived for over 35 years. My mind is always on the office or home. It is a constant struggle to be in this moment. That will never change for me or it has not changed thus far on this voyage.

I plan and hope to get another blog out after the Canary Islands. I never know what the communication availability will be at the next port.

Until then, I hope all who are following my adventure are well, safe and making their holiday preparations. A special, “Thank you”, to all of you who are and who have shared that you are praying for my safe travels.


Robert Erdman





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