Monday, December 6, 2010

A Look Back Before I Look Ahead

I have some good stories to tell you about my time in South Africa, but before we go there I thought a brief recap of Leg 1 from La Rochelle, France to Cape Town, South Africa might be of interest. My wife Meaghan posed these questions to me, in her best attempt to egg-on my communications of the lifestyle aboard an Open-60 alone at sea for 28 days. Here goes…

Best Moment?
The start and finish

Worst Moment?
The start and finish

My answer to these questions comes for different reasons. The start in France was amazing and a big “wow” moment for sure, but it was also hard to get my head around being alone for a month. The finish in Cape Town was also hard because I really enjoyed being out there. It was the end of a special experience with Le Pingouin, getting to know her and creating a relationship with a boat I will spend thousands of miles on alone.

Favorite Meal?

AlpineAire is my staple whenever I am offshore. It is a great product that offers what the solo racing environment requires – light, compact, easy-to-use energy. I brought a variety of their dehydrated meals (about 80 bags to be exact) but here are my favorites…

On a special day (maybe once a week or a Sunday morning with mellow breeze) I like to customize the Bandito Scramble. It is the only AlpineAire product I take that actually needs to be cooked, but it is a great one. I add some water to the egg powder and the potatoes and peppers are already in there. I have been known to add a little onion and chorizo if it is onboard. My regular favorites for dinner include Leonardo da Fettuccini or Forever Young Mac and Cheese. All I have to do is heat some water with my little camping stove, throw it in the AlpineAire bag and let it sit for 12 minutes. I picked up some miniature packets of spicy oil used for pizza in France that adds a nice touch.

My typical breakfast is Grawnola, which I discovered right before departing Charleston. This adds diversity to my diet and is a raw, yummy, fiber source that helps my whole messed up digestion process function offshore. The Grawnola bars are super convenient if it is rough and I need to be on deck, but the regular Grawnola in a cereal form is my favorite.


When we were in La Rochelle, France the Mayor held a ceremony to welcome us and recognize the Eco-60 Class and goals of sustainability. In the process he gave me a bottle of Cognac (lucky for me!). Once in a while offshore I would have a small shot or sip of the Cognac in the evening. I have to say the biggest treat while sailing offshore is yet to be had. JC Caso is part of our small team and his parents live outside La Rochelle in France. They are some of the sweetest people I have ever met and knowing I was headed off for the long race, they cooked several homemade dinners from their farm raised products in the country and canned them specifically for my journey. This is not your Chef Boyardee canned food but homemade dinners like Beef Bourguignon. Of course cans are heavy so I cannot justify taking many, but I am planning one per week in the Southern Ocean.


Music. I am not that into music, but when you don’t have any for 28 days, it is painful.

Packed too much?

Nothing. There were no extras onboard.

Biggest difference from last race?

The biggest difference I can identify is that in general I don’t feel the pressure to win as much as I did in 2002-3. I am having fun with it and genuinely enjoying being offshore. Don’t get me wrong. I am racing as hard as I can, but I am enjoying the experience more.

I am busy preparing for Leg 2 which will set off on December 12 from Cape Town and send me south into the Southern Indian Ocean headed for the next port of Wellington, New Zealand. Thanks for checking in and taking part in the adventure.