Laura Dekker Begins Solo World Circumnavigation Attempt
On November 10th, Laura Dekker, the 16-year-old Dutch Sailor who is seeking to break the record for youngest solo circumnavigator, left the Canary Islands and began the next leg of her voyage. She is heading to the Cape Verde Islands. She is more than halfway through this leg of the trip and while her blog updates seem to mostly focus on the clouds and the sun, she says like only a teenager can that everything has been going "totally super". To follow the developments in Dekker's trip, go to: http://www.lauradekker.nl
Crossing the Atlantic
Stephanie Ferguson and her family are sailing around the world on their catamaran sailboat. By Stephanie Ferguson, age 14
We were one thousand miles away from land in any direction, surrounded by nothing but water, and no company but the creatures of the sea.
Crossing the Atlantic and Sailing around the world has always been a dream of my family?s, and on Saturday, August 18th, 2001, we set out to make it a reality. On this beautiful August evening, we sailed out from Miami into the sunset, leaving our home in Miami Beach and our friends and family in the U. S. Although it seemed so sudden, it did not all happen at once.
Crossing the Atlantic takes a lot of preparation, determination, skill, and some luck. There was more preparation than anything else. The first step we took was searching for the perfect boat, which took three years. Then it took a year to prepare it for the trip; repairs, replacements, etc. During this time, my parents also worked very hard to save enough money to last us for four years of traveling. We also hired meteorologists to watch out for us and warn us of tropical storms or other harmful weather. We also had to wait and watch for a good weather window. With the help of the weather service, we chose a course first to Rhode Island, which is the closest point to jump off to Spain, where we would wait until the weather was just right. Hurricane Aaron came in the middle of this and made it all interesting, and made the waiting more important. This all took a lot of scheduling and planning, but the truth is, a sailor never keeps a schedule, because if he tries, he might rush himself into a bad weather situation, and might not make it at all. One should always be flexible when trip planning, and leave the schedule to the weather.
On our trip North to Rhode Island, we made a few stops along the way, for provisions, water, fuel, and rest. Our first stop was Charleston, South Carolina, on August 20, 2001, where we stayed for a couple of days. It is a cute town, where we visited Fort Sumter, some museums, and rested. On the 23rd, we ran up to Beaufort North Carolina, a small town surrounded by islands of sea grass, pines, and wild horses. Then on the 29th, we sighted the buoy of Montauk Point, Long Island, and sailed into Narragasset bay, to tie up at the Herreschoff Marine Museum at Bristol, Rhode Island, a tiny town on the outskirts of Newport. Soon after we were assigned a mooring at the New York Yacht Club in the heart of bustling Newport, and stayed a few more days waiting at the mouth of the Naragasset bay for just the right weather to leave on our crossing to the Azores
On the eighth of September, we began a frightening but exciting game of Simon Says, Simon being our weather service. They gave us the go ahead to leave Newport, expecting at least 5 days of good weather. It was exhilarating sailing with good winds, and making good time and everyone was very happy about finally leaving, when, 24 hours out of Rhode Island, the service called with an emergency. They called on the Sat Phone and said that Hurricane Gabriel had turned, was gaining speed heading right for us, and that we should abort and run back to port. We quickly agreed, and plotted a course to the nearest port, which was Nantucket, as we had been working Northeast. We sat in Nantucket, while we watched another hurricane, Felix move right across the path we would have been on, and approach the Azores, our destination. The waiting was getting worse, with the hurricanes like little bees swarming a beehive, and it seemed impossible to get the honey.
We moved the boat to Martha?s Vineyard, where we had friends, and could occupy our time waiting with more diversions, but we were still determined. We kept our eyes on the weather and kept in contact with our weather service. One windy afternoon, on September 21st, we had a narrow weather window, possibly the last chance to leave before the fall storms set into the North Atlantic. So we loaded up on fuel one last time, and set off out Buzzards Bay. However, fate was not done with us yet. Heavy winds and sea right on the nose forced us back again to Nantucket one more time. At dawn the next day, we set out for good, seizing the opportunity, accepting the bad weather we were going to face, and took it as a challenge. As we feared, more hurricanes did come, and much more bad weather. At the direction of the weather experts, we zigzagged all the way to the Azores dodging one storm after another.
Despite all the difficulties, it was an amazing trip, and we had some really great days of weather. We were one thousand miles away from land in any direction, surrounded by nothing but water, and no company but the creatures of the sea. My watch was from 9 p.m. to midnight, but I loved to begin at 8:00 so that I could watch the amazing sunsets. Afterwards, I would watch the sky get dark, the moon rise and change from red to glowing silver. I enjoyed spotting the brilliant constellations that filled the sky, as I watched for boats on the horizon of the wide dark ocean. Some nights, when it was so calm that you could see your reflection in the water if you peered over the side, the reflecting moonbeams appeared to be long silver strokes of paint on what could have been a painted ocean.
For three hours I was sailing on my own, this boat across the Atlantic Ocean. I was ecstatic, and reveled in the responsibility and pressure of being such an integral part of the crew as to have watches. This was because I just loved the sailing, and loved the Ocean. However, when you have not slept enough, exhausted and grumpy, the most enjoyable thing can become more of a chore than a pleasure.
Then sleep began to be a real issue. During my watches, it got harder and harder to keep my eyes open as the days went by. I could not enjoy the atmosphere, and could not even day dream, or at least think deep thoughts like I like to do when I am alone. Even during the day, it got to the point where I could no longer read play cards, or even want to talk to anybody. All I wanted to do was sleep. Just when I was getting really bad, after 9 days at sea, we sighted the Portuguese Azores Islands, and everything was OK again.
On Sept 30, 2001, we landed at Flores, a flower covered dream in the middle of the Ocean. We spent three weeks in the volcanic chain of the Azores, calling on Flores, Horta, and Punta Del Gado do Sao Miguel. We could have spent years. It was a little creepy to be told that we were the last boat expected till spring, and ?What were you doing out there in that bad weather anyway?? We left for Spain on October 20th and arrived in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, a city near Cadiz, on the 25th of October. It was an AMAZING trip.
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean is something that few people do, especially in the fall. Some say it is too dangerous, other?s that is too risky or just plain ridiculous. But I know one thing for sure. It is a unique experience, and for most that do it, a once in a lifetime achievement. (We still need to go back!) I had a terrific time, and I am happy I could share it with you.
Find this page at: http://www.kidsaboard.com/magazine/kids_writing/crossing_the_atlantic.shtml
Our First Crossing
A young sailor writes about her family's first crossing on their sailboat.
By by Mary Allen, age 9
During our crossing we saw dolphins. I think that there were at least 60 of them. The dolphins love to swim in the wake from the bow of our boat. My Mom and Dad took a couple of movies of them.
We started our first crossing on March 12th, 2005. We sailed from Culebra, Puerto Rico to Georgetown, Bahamas without stopping along the way. It was really fun even though I was worried about thunderstorms or capsizing.
One thing that made me feel better was that we were buddy boating with another boat called Blue Moon. Blue Moon is a really pretty monohull with big sails. My parent’s friends, Walter and Christine, own and sail Blue Moon. Our boat is called Unbound. It is a Fountaine Pajot Venezia 42 catamaran. We have owned it for six months and now live on it full time.
During our crossing we saw dolphins. I think that there were at least 60 of them. The dolphins love to swim in the wake from the bow of our boat. My Mom and Dad took a couple of movies of them. In the movie you can hear Bailey and me going oooooooooooh ooooooooooh! Dolphins are cool, especially when you can watch them off a boat!
On the first two days we weren’t getting anywhere that fast, but on the third day the wind picked up so we were going really fast. We had to reef the sails a couple of times!
Find this at: http://www.kidsaboard.com/magazine/kids_writing/crossing_the_atlantic.shtml
Trip Of A Lifetime
By Jack Laurence, age 12
We rode these waves like riding a ride at the amusement park. I thought it was fun and exhilarating, but my mom didn't fare as well.
We rode these waves like riding a ride at the amusement park. I thought it was fun and exhilarating, but my mom didn't fare as well.
It was a nice crisp cool morning and I was packing my bags for a week-long sailing trip from my home city, Seattle, to the San Juan Islands and back. The whole reason that my mom, my sister and I were going was because a family invited us. Well, enough small talk. Once we loaded the car, we headed to the docks. On the way to the docks, I was quite nervous, but then again, kind of excited because I had only gone sailing once before, when I took a sailing class. About 20 minutes later, I could make out a couple of boats bobbing up and down like corks. We parked the car and loaded our gear into the carts where we would push them to the boat.
Once we got to the boat and looked around, I was in awe of the boat's fiberglass hull, wood railing and magnificent cabin. Finally, after about one hour of loading and instructions, we got underway with Jay, the dad, at the helm. I was at the bow taking in the sun. The salt water splashed in my face as the boat sliced through the waves, leaving the harbor and going up the east side of Whidbey Island. It was the spray of freedom adventure and bravery!
After about two hours had gone by, Jay called me over to drive the boat. It was such an honor to be in charge of this 40-foot sailboat for the first time. The task was a big responsibility but I felt so free, like a kite in the wind.
I was having so much fun that the days went by quite quickly as we went from port to port. Up to this point, the weather had been great and no one had become sea sick. On the third day of our trip, however, I woke up to the violent movement of the boat, slipped into my clothes, stuck my head out the hatch and a spray of sea water hit my face. There were walls of water towering six to seven feet high and then suddenly disappearing again into the water. So I waited nervously about 30 minutes, trying to be polite to our host, wondering if we would get out of the harbor. Before long, everyone was up, so we quickly got on our raingear, which took a bit of time. After that, we made sure that everything was tightly secure and got out of the harbor.
Once we were out, I took the helm as Jay plotted our course. Hour after hour after hour the boat went up and down. We rode these waves like riding a ride at the amusement park. I thought it was fun and exhilarating, but my mom didn't fare as well. She got seasick, but no one else did.
Eventually, we got out of the storm as we docked in Port Townsend for the night. In the morning, we ate breakfast, got on our raingear and listened to the weather report. "Wind 40 mph, with 15-foot swells . . . small craft advisory," said the radio announcer. Then I realized I was about to endure one of the biggest storms I have ever seen. The next thing I knew, I was gripping the ropes that were nearest to me with rain hitting my face like needles. The water washed over the side of the boat. It was so rough that all the books and luggage fell off the shelves, making a mess. After 9 hours of wind, waves and adventure, we arrived in Seattle at the harbor where we started. I was so relieved that we made it through that storm! We unloaded the boat, swabbed the deck, got in the car and pulled away from the harbor. Then I realized that this was the trip of a lifetime and I'll never forget it.
Find this page at: http://www.kidsaboard.com/magazine/kids_writing/jack_laurence.shtml
Why Kids Like to Sail to Georgetown
Popular cruising spot is hit with the younger generation.
By Liz Brasler, Age 13
Kim, Darlene and myself also found an abandoned bar on another little island with a lagoon and a seawater swimming hole.
The Bahamas: Our trip down to Thunderball grotto Bahamas was amazing, we had so many varied conditions and one day, we had no wind and the seas were flat so we decided to have a play day. We launched the dinghy into the water and got the kneeboard out and went skiing. There is nothing like skiing in mile deep water let me tell you that. That evening just before sunset we went for a plan o sub behind the boat before having a bath in the deep blue ocean.
Thunder ball Grotto is where they filmed the James Bond movie Thunderball. Thunderball grotto is made up of a few little islands one of which is the home of the cave which is an underwater cave with a big air duct under the mountain and a whole at the top letting light in and giving coral a chance to grow. Kim, Darlene and myself also found an abandoned bar on another little island with a lagoon and a seawater swimming hole. After spending only a day we sailed down to Georgetown once again. We made the same as last year kids day and everything else that comes with the Regatta. But this time we stayed longer and I made some wonderful new friends. We did so much together that I can't recall all of it but these are some of the things that stick in my mind.
We hade two different forts for one the girl's fort and the boy's fort, go figure. The boys always stole things from the girls ground fort, so we built it in the trees. Yet still things would mysteriously go missing. The only problem was we didn't know were the boys fort was so I climbed into a tall pine tree and watched the boys go into the bushes. One of them had bright red pants on needless to say we found the fort and took our things back. After Regatta was over and there weren't as many kids left we formed a club, girls and boys in a yellow shed that stood on the beach. We had lots of fun in it and also came across a wrecked dinghy and broken motor.
We fixed up both and we now had a means of getting to boats incase of an emergency. Katie on the boat Grace and I also formed a kids game group after bible studies twice a week. One handed tug o war, pudding eating, egg toss, and much more, including a relay races which involved running with an egg in your mouth. Maggie one of my friends tripped and bit the raw egg Yuck! They also had bonfires on the beach and we would get some dry sticks and start a bonfire of our own. Unfortunately one of the younger kids marshmallow sticks caught on fire and in the hurry to turn around and put it out they caught someone's pants on fire MINE! I still have two scars and my pants still have burn marks but other than that I turned our no worse for wear. We always used to go to ocean side on the other side of the island and to get there you have to cross a cut in the land about 100yards/meters wide, but only about 4.5 ft deep or up to my chest. I always ended up carrying at least one person across being the oldest and it is not funny when dinghies speed by you practically running you over.
There were often good waves on the other side and we would spend hours playing in the waves but at least one person would watch for sharks on the beach, for more than once we would have to get out of the water until the sharks were no longer a threat. We also had sleepovers, games night and movie night. One evening all the kids is the harbor were invited to go to a big powerboat to watch Shrek. The owners had two monkeys and when we arrived were doing all sorts of tricks it was great.
I also learnt how to play volley ball and belive it or not became quite good believe it or not and was allowed to play with the grownups. Some of you who saw me playing volley ball when I was just starting may in fact, are, probably shaking there heads buy I got better believe it or not.
Ali, Greg, myself and Nina, Greg's dog went for a walk on the other side of monument beach, named for the monument standing at the top. Greg said he new a short cut and led us straight up a rock face. It was so steep I had to put Nina his little Jack-Russel in my backpack with only her head sticking out, we finaly reached the top rested a little before carrying on down the other side. At the other side we swam and played at a pool near some rocks were we did some cave exploration. Greg also found a huge piece of sponge which he wanted for his dinghy but the piece of sponge was so big two people had to carry it and I was one of the lucky two who had to carrry this piece of sponge which was wet and weighed a ton for what seemed like a mile.
One day a new friend of mine was asked on a sort of date to go to ocean side with him. She had never been on a date before and asked me if I could please tag along behind them and make sure everything went smoothly.
We, me and two other friends, took a path into the bushes which lead nowhere, yet we kept going bundu bashing our way through the foilage. I was in front to make sure the path ahead was safe, and it was a good thing too for I walked right through a spider web and the spider the size of my hand black and hairy with yellow strips starts climbing up my leg I quickly brushed it off, chose another path and only later when we were back on the beach did we find out that the spider was deadly. Thank goodness I didn't know when the spider was on me or I would have panicked. Well you have now heard my fondest memories of Georgetown I hope you don't repeat some of the accidents mentioned here like never run with and egg in you mouth, even if you don't play with fire you might get hurt by it and never stray off paths into giant spider webs. We left Georgetown on the 14th May bound for Bermuda somewere in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Find this page at: http://www.kidsaboard.com/magazine/kids_writing/liz_brasler_why_kids_like_georgetown.shtml