Take a moment to reflect back on a moment in your life when you were on the cusp of a new big phase of being. Perhaps it was the first day of high school or university. Maybe it was your first day of a new job or army boot camp. Maybe your wedding day or a big move to a new city. Choose a moment now, and reflect on it. Do you remember how you felt at the time? Were you excited? Scared? Nervous? Cool as a cucumber?
As I write this, Jeannine and I are sitting across from each other at Montreal's international airport while we wait for our connecting flight to bring us to England. We are on the cusp of a big trip, to places new to us, and with the promise of many new experiences and adventures in the upcoming year. And I am finding it hard to define how I feel about it all.
Before I get into all the feelings, I'm going to give you a rough outline of what's on the horizon, so you understand where we are, and where we're going. Last year we commenced a 13-month trip that included 7 months of sailing and tropical exploring in the South Pacific islands of French Polynesia and Fiji, and culminated in some house and farm-sits back in Canada before we re-established our permanent residence in New Brunswick Canada to have a place closer to family. We've just finished spending two and a half months doing projects at our house, visiting family, and part time work, and now we're on the move again.
We're heading to England because we have connected with an Amercian family who have bought a sailboat in England, and they want it moved back to the USA. But due to moorage being removed seasonally, the boat doesn't need to arrive until the end of April 2023. Enter the concept of "slow delivery". We have 8 months to get the boat from England to New Jersey. Due to world weather patterns, ocean currents, prevailing winds, and other factors, our plan will take us in a bit of a horseshoe circuit to get there.
First, we'll aim to get south from England to Portugal as soon as possible to get out of the worsening fall conditions in northern Europe and the Bay of Biscay crossing. Then we can slow down a bit taking our time in Portugal, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, and the Cape Verde Islands (Africa), which will be our jumping off point for our Atlantic Ocean crossing in December.
From the Cape Verde islands we expect the ocean crossing to take between 14 and 20 days (depending on conditions), with the plan for us to arrive in Antigua by Christmas day. From there we can slow down a lot more, spending the rest of the northern hemisphere winter in the northern Caribbean and the Bahamas, before making our way to New Jersey for the end of April.
So are we excited? Definitely. This is the perfect time in our lives to undertake this sort of trip. We're going to have new experiences, a boat mostly to ourselves to explore interesting parts of the world, and the promise of a summer in the Caribbean.
Are we scared? Scared is a strong word, so "nervous" may be a better fit. On a big trip like this there are a lot of unknowns. What about the weather? How's the condition of the boat? What do we need to know about entry and departure formalities at all the countries we're going to visit? Where are the safe anchorages and fuelling locations? What do we do when things inevitably break and need repair? These are all questions for which it's impossible to have all the answers before departure. In life, and in sailboat cruising in particular, there are a multitude of unknowns that we need to just accept as part of the life. If we waited until we knew everything, our journey would never begin. So we step out into the unknown and start the adventure anyway.
Cool as a cucumber? On the surface maybe. Like a duck in a current. Smooth and calm on the surface. Paddling like crazy beneath the surface as a new chapter unfolds.
So there's the outline plan. Jeannine's been paddling like crazy on the house projects, which is why if you've been following our Youtube videos you haven't seen as many releases lately. We have one more video in the hopper to be released soon. It's one more video from our time house-sitting in Fauquier, BC in the spring. Keep an eye out for it it's a good one. The last ones were more about the projects we did there, while this one is more about the fun stuff. Then we're going to fast-forward and start putting together videos on this new sailing trip. More to come!
Now that we're leaving Canada our great Public Mobile SIM cards won't be in use, so we won't be able to receive SMS/MMS/text messages at our usual phone numbers. That said, our intent is to get local/European data SIM cards so we will keep checking in on our data-capable communications methods including:
Whatsapp: +17789360050 (Kevin) / +15069874771 (Jeannine)
Boat Name: Assarain IV. This is a 13.11m (43 ft) J133 sloop-rigged monohull sailboat.
MMSI number, EPIRB information, and Predict Wind / Iridium Live Tracking link to follow soon!
Let us know if there are any MUST-SEE or MUST-DO items on our route!