As I sit here watching the tracker move on the screen, I can’t tell you how envious I am of the Kerstens and of the next crew. I’m now following the TIOGA instead of being aboard her. It’s difficult to put into words the feelings I have about this accomplishment and the people I experienced it with. The seven of us aboard for the first leg of the Atlantic Tour worked and supported each other to insure a fun, safe journey. As a 7 person crew on a 44 foot sail boat for 14 days, there is no place to go, no place to get away, and it takes special people to get along in close quarters even in the best of conditions. To the Captain and my fellow crew, Thanks for making this voyage so awesome! Oh, the fun we had! The memories will be with me forever.
So Let me tell you a little about the TIOGA family – the Captain and Crew of the first leg
LoLo the youngest of the crew at 14 was our entertainment director. When the weather was cold and rainy she opened up her “Club LuLu” and invited us old sailors in to dry off and warm up. She would bring out the music and get us all to sing along and often she would just sing to us. A real joy in raising our spirits.
Nick at 16 is an amazing sailor. He has a great teacher in his father and has the same natural instinct and ability when at the helm. He takes the helm and is totally at ease. His off time was equally divided between reading, eating, or sleeping. I worried he’d grow to dislike me since he followed my watch and I was the one who had to wake him. He did tell me late in the trip he didn’t hate me me for waking him up. I’m guessing this won’t be his last transatlantic crossing.
Ulf, my watch partner, is a machine. The most physically fit 50 year old I know. When we talked about renting bikes, he suggested we bike to the top of a volcano, which was basically like riding to the summit of Mount Washington. He is always first to jump up to change sails – usually trying to put up the largest sail on the boat. Other than the Captian, I’ve sailed the most blue water miles with Ulf, he’s a good sailor and a great friend – I even learned to put up with his jet engine like snoring.
Dan / Uncle Danny was as solid as a rock and always had a smile. He is our diesel specialist and The comedian of our crew (he hardly ever repeated the same joke twice). When the 2nd storm hit, Dan was at the wheel and the rain started to fall – it rained harder than I’ve ever seen, Dan just sat at the wheel singing songs with a big grin on his face. He got the nick name uncle Danny when one night we were getting ready to climb in our bunks and I jokingly asked , “Uncle Danny could tell us a bed time story, to our amazement he proceeded to recite perfectly the opening pages of the children’s book Madeline.
Corinna, the Captains Wife, and our gourmet chef. She was never designated to be the chef, she just took over the galley. TIOGA is her second home and if you’ve ever been a guest in her house, you’ll know how it is on TIOGA. An accomplished sailor herself, she did it all and never without a smile and her eye makeup! Really!
Captain Philip, a life long sailor who started with TIOGA and a dream, and put thousands of hours of time to prepare TIOGA and his crew for this adventure. His skill as a sailor is only slightly topped by his skill with a spreadsheet. He knew the big storm was coming and had us sail towards the eye of the storm to the area with less wind and waves. When the storm hit, he took the helm for 8 plus hours to insure his crew and his boat would be safe. For that we are all greatful. I can never repay him for giving me this opportunity and all that he’s taught me about sailing. A great sailor and a true friend. I’d sail with him anywhere, anytime, through any storm.
and Me, I’m the fix it guy. They put me in the hole, upside down and I go to work. See, my sailing skills are not so good, but I’m learning. I like doing what I can to contribute, and love the adventure. I live for the special moments that take place when out on the ocean. You’ve heard through our blog of what it’s like to sail long distance. The difficulties in getting dressed, cooking, eating, and going to the bathroom. Why would I do this. Here is one of those moments I live for. It’s the highlight of this voyage for me. Two days after the big storm, the seas had settled down and the winds were perfect. I had the 4am to 7am watch, my favorite since I get to see the sun rise. Ulf, my watch partner was a little tired and asked if I would take the helm so he could take a cat nap. With Ulf asleep in the cockpit, and the Captian and rest of the crew asleep below, It was just me, the wind and the waves. Just as the sun started to break over the horizon for the start of a beautiful day, I heard some splashing. I turned to look and there were 2 dolphins, one on each side of the boat, no more than 5 feet away, just swimming along with me. They stayed with me for only a few minutes before swimming off. For those few minutes I was on top of the world, watching a beautiful sunrise with a dolphin escort, it doesn’t get much better than that!
I look forward to following Tioga on her journey to Germany and to joining her next June for another adventure,
P..S. Uncle Danny – Yes I believe it, Yes we signed up for this, and Yes we did it!
July 17, 2015
[category 2015, nht2azo]