I’ve been in Annapolis for nore than two weeks now, and it’s again been quite the whirlwind adventure. In some ways Annapolis now feels like home, but as the seasons are changing and the clock is ticking, it also feels like time to go and keep on moving. The boat show was busy but awesome, we’ve got more sponsors and supporters coming on board, and some exciting new boat projects are being lined up, which will help me get solo over to Europe in the Spring. I had been planning to take some time off the boat after our next leg to Charleston, but as it turns out, my smartest option right now is to leave the boat on a mooring ball in Annapolis for a few more weeks and then head out of town from here. When I return, it will certainly be colder and I will likely blow through the Carolinas a bit quicker than planned and try to get to Florida.
I have found a lot of support and good people here in the Chesapeake. Probably more than anywhere on my adventure4 thus far, i’ve been made to feel at home in Annapolis. A large part of that is undoubtedly due to the connection with US Patriot Sailing and with it’s director Peter Quinn, but in general, I have found a very cool marfne industry and boating community full of good people that have been enthusiastic about helping this campaign move forward. To all of the people who have helped me here in Maryloand, I truly can’t say thank you enough.
During the boat show I would estimate that more than 1,000 people came through the boat. It was great to engage with the public and find support, one follower at a time. We also sold upwards of 75 pieces of swag, which helps fund the campaign for a couple of months, at least for my baseline expenses to store and insure the boat plus some basic logisitcs. I also engaged with a handful of sponsors at the show and signed up some new ones, and met a few parties that I hope will eventually come onboard. We had a sponsor sailing day, which was great to get some supporting companies onboard. I think we’ve now had New England Ropes, Ronstan, West Marine, Racing the Wind and Elvstrøm Sails all on the boat, which is quite cool.
Sparrow on the docks during the Annapolis Boat Show. Pretty awesome opportunity to have the boat and the campaign exposed to so many folks! Thanks to Sheila and Mary from the Annapolis Boat Show and Spinsheet magazine for making this opportunity happen.
On the second to last day of the show we took a group of about 16 teens from the Bronx out sailing with a non-profit after school group from the Bronx called Rocking the Boat. The kids were such a nice and polite group of kids that had already been learning about wooden boat building, sailing, conservation and the marine industry. I expected calm conditions, butn instead we were all powered up and crushing 9 knots with 20 people on the boat in 12 knots of breeze. Super fun sail and the kids were stoked! So happy I can share this boat with some young kids that would not otherwise get to be exposed to a boat like this.
A couple of days ago I took out a group of 9 veterans sailing with our partner US Patriot Sailing. It was a light wind day, but it was gorgeous out; sunny and warm and no one got sea sick. We threw a kite up and crept along on the super flat water and everyone had a really great time. It reminds me of when I began sailing, to see how much people can enjoy being on the water and sailing for the first time. It’s really cool to be able to share this super neat old race boat with a lot of different people, and to know that it’s a special experience for them.
Great to get to engage with the veteran community and the US Patriot Sailing family while here in Annapolis. Hopefully we’ll get out again before I leave town.
As well as doing quite a lot of sailing on the boat – with sponsors, a Sailing World magazine shoot, with veterans, a school group, and with sailmakers – i’ve also been lining up some press coverage and also maintenance and projects. When I get back from a brief trip to California, I should be building and installing a lot of running rigging from New England Ropes. I should also be installing my new stack pack and mainsail cover from Chesapeake Sailmakers and Elvstrøm Sails. I also have a number of other small projects to work on before departing Annapolis and heading south in late November, now.
Unfortunately, just after returning out to anchor after the boat show ended, Sparrow got slightly wounded when being dropped off by the water taxi at night. The boat is still fine, but there is a definite ‘ding’ in the hull that now needs to be repaired. Due to the definite indentation on the boat, there is surely some degree of structural damage and broken fibers which will require a professional composite repair. A haul-out is beginning to be planned for mid-January in West Palm Beach, where the boat will get a bottom job, full vinyl wrap, hull repair and probably new electronics and general re-fit before my solo TransAtlantic qualifier and potential Caribbean racing.
Stoked on a series of nice portraits by professional photographer Jon Whittle, which will appear in an upcoming article in Sailing World magazine.
I am now about to head to Calfornia to take care of selling my personal cruising boat, which I just purchased this Spring before I knew I would be racing Sparrow around the world. I also plan to do a lot of video editing and other campaign administrative work before reutrning to Sparrow. Around November 10-13 I should be back in Maryland building and installing running rigging, sail covers, etc and then it’s off to Amsterdam for a huge global marine industry trade show called METS. Once back from METS, it’s again a few days in Annapolis and then we’re looking to head south around November 23 with an eventual destination of West Palm Beach, Florida before January 16.
The adventure continues, onward and upward!