The race of my life has become a race for my life. I feel what Jack London’s gold digger heroes felt escaping south from the murderous winters of the north. Every day must be used to its fullest. Simultaneous multitasking has become the norm. My interaction and communication even with close relatives and friends has shrunk to a minimum, and I was not able to post any update on the developments of the last couple months.
And there were many: Puffin’s new rig got tuned with the help of Bill Bingham (the excellent rigger of Seawanhaka Boatyard), and it came with a couple of surprises. The old boom was longer than the new one, so the foot of the old main sail had to be cut back. The boom rubs against the restored dodger when the main is trimmed for close-hauled sailing, etc.
Moving on to a new battlefield to minimize my frustration has become my survival tactic when I cannot find a prompt solution for any given problem. So, upon Mark Andres’ recommendation and with his involvement, we burnished the Sea Hawk bottom paint the moment it had hardened. Luckily Mark DeNatale and his family also jumped into this exhausting job to help knock it out. Once this work was completed I could install Puffin’s new prop and hydro generator—but it was already October by this point.
Visiting the 2017 Annapolis Boat Show
The Annapolis Boat Show was my last chance before the GGR to hook up with marine suppliers and manufacturers to seek their support.
The drive between New York and Annapolis—there and back—is rarely fun. But thankfully my old friend Jeno Soros—who was my racing mate in the ARC ’95 ocean crossing—joined me for the ride. He flew from Toronto to LGA, where I picked him up.
The Boat Show was great and very rewarding. I did not pick up any major sponsors, but it was a good opportunity to interact with the existing ones. Bernie and Scott from Selden personally brought me a couple missing rigging items. On behalf of Sea Hawk Paints, Mark Andres organized an excellent dinner presentation about the 2018 GGR for the “Salty Dawgs” at the Salty Dawg Sailing Association’s Annapolis Rendezvous on October 5.
Chris Lang from Bainbridge International (www.bainbridgeintusa.com) sponsored me with a nice Plastimo bulkhead compass. Scott Smiles from Life Cell (www.lifecellmarine.com) contributed his clever lifesaving invention, which stores crucial survival gear within an emergency flotation device. Many thanks are also due to my other sailor friend Brian Clark, who “housed” us on his 47′ Beneteau during our visit, which helped keep our overhead low. Well, I have never been rich financially, but I am truly a millionaire in terms of the number and quality of my friends!
Jeno wanted to race back to New York and see Puffin before he took off for his home in Toronto. He spent his short visit on Puffin measuring and making templates for the remaining carpentry work. Within 10 days he had already sent me (by UPS) what he made in his shop in Toronto! How can I possibly return such a gesture?
Launching Puffin at Last
And the big day finally came! On October 10 (just after Columbus Day), Puffin was launched during the midday high tide. She got really spoiled by the assisting Seawanhaka Boatyard crew and her former owner’s widow and son, Johanna and Matt Nally, who drove from upstate New York just for this occasion. Ian Gumprecht, as a responsible team manager, showed up with Father Jesse and a bottle of good champagne, which was consumed professionally by the involved parties (including Puffin) after the Father’s ship blessing. Robert Farrelly filmed the ceremony with his new Canon that he purchased for the occasion. (Please find more photos of Puffin’s launch in our dedicated post linked here!)
The moment of celebration was hard-earned and a long time coming, but new challenges were lurking just around the corner.