Untying the dock lines in St. Georges, Bermuda and sailing towards Newport, Rhode Island on Kiwi Spirit required quite a few adjustments to ‘normal’ life on land. This was the Double Handed leg of the Bermuda One Two Yacht Race and a great opportunity for me see how the Captain of this fine vessel (AKA Dad) was coming along in his training for the solo voyage around the world that commences on November 30, 2013.
Adjustments are many, but here are a few that make the short list. Sleep patterns change. That familiar “go to bed at night wake up in the morning” morphs into an attempt to take a 3 hour nap on a bouncy bed at a constantly changing angle, trying to be prepared to spring into action if the conditions required it. Ever tried using a toilet that moves? I don’t advise it! How about preparing meals in a kitchen that rocks and rolls as you decide on the meal’s contents, some of which end up where you want them to? The physical demands are fairly unique, movement becomes focused on balance and upper body support using hand holds as Kiwi Spirit bounces along with random movements that require a firm grip on your surroundings. Sail handling requires short bursts of effort followed by minor tweaks to sail and wheel, or long periods of coaxing the vessel through light winds which requires constant focus to “keep her moving.” There are, however, long lazy periods where auto pilot, wind strength and direction allow relative inactivity. On two occasions in the middle of the night (these never happen in the daytime) we wrestled down a recalcitrant massive sail in 20+ knots of wind speed that took all our strength to contain. Also, sailing in dense fog at relatively high speeds listening for fishing boats gets the heart rate going a little and being sure not to fall overboard is another important adjustment to consider, as the possibility of being found in the middle of the night is less than 50/50.
If the above sounds like fun, then you are the right kind of person to take up the sport of off-shore sailing. If not, then I hope this gives you a small insight into the depth and breadth of the challenge that Dr. Paris is undertaking.
Kiwi Spirit Boat Specs
Length: 63′ 8″
Width: 17′ 9″
Draft (keel up): 8′ 7″
Draft (keel down): 14′ 9″
Displacement (weight): 31,750 lbs
Records being Challenged
• Oldest to solo circumnavigate, nonstop and non-assisted at the age of 76
• First to complete a green voyage with no gas, diesel, propane, etc
• Break Dodge Morgan’s 150 day record from Bermuda and back
• Establish a St. Augustine and back record via Bermuda