Day 37 – Going Nowhere in Horta

I’ve had a busy 24 hours, but feel frustrated, because I did a lot, but accomplished nothing. Roberta said I was grouchy today, and it’s possible she is right…

I get uncomfortable when things seem disorganized. As I mentioned yesterday, many of the boats are planning to leave on Thursday to go to another island here in the Azores. We’re staying in a hotel, so I’m a little out of the information flow. Today I spent several hours on the docks to see if I could confirm the plans for our departure. I felt a little bad trying to talk to people, when everywhere I went people were hard at work on their boats. At each boat, as I found the owner, I would say “Is Thursday still on?” The response was always something like, “Are you planning on going?” To which I would respond “Absolutely.” And they would say: “Great, let’s do it!” Then I would dig in a bit deeper and say: “When are we leaving?” only to be told, “I don’t know.” Or, sometimes, just to verify that everyone was on the same page I would ask: “Where are we going?” To which I would be asked: “Where would you like to go?” One person I spoke with mentioned several Division 2 boats that were going that I hadn’t known were going.

Nordhavn has spoiled us. My experience today highlights how valuable Nordhavn has been on this rally. For our departure from Bermuda, they scheduled a captains meeting, where all the details were sorted out. For our landing in Horta, they had an advance team who made sure everything was organized. Prior to the trip, they put together a book that was hundreds of pages thick with every imaginable detail, and many I would never have imagined, thought out for us. The people at Nordhavn have been awesome, as usual, and I cannot thank them enough.

One of the things I like about boating is that it is a generally laid back lifestyle. There are days you hang out in port, and days you anchor, and days you don’t know what you are going to do until something motivates you to get moving. If I were traveling alone, that’s exactly how boating life should be, but in this case, there are 18 boats involved, and some percentage of them are going to move en mass to another island, and some of them aren’t. Some of them are looking to me to be their escort vessel. As I write this email, I am not sure when we are leaving, or exactly where we are going, or by what route. Perhaps there is a precise plan, and I just haven’t unearthed it yet.

The actual run to Terceira and St. Miguel appears simple. It’s only 150 to 200 miles in what appears to be okay (not bad, not good) weather. The tricky part is that a lot of logistics need to get sorted out. How or where will we reunite with Emeritus, the Division 1 boat that isn’t departing Horta until Sunday? Do we have reservations at the marina? How will the Division 2 boats reunite? When? Does my new crew know we are leaving? If we are leaving early, should I move aboard the boat tomorrow night? Etc. Etc.

It was sooooo much easier when Nordhavn was orchestrating everything, but in this particular case, we are “off the planned agenda.” The Nordhavn staff I’ve spoken to about this all agree that it’s a great idea (going to Terceira and St. Miguel), but they correctly see the organizing of this side trip as our responsibility, not theirs. There’s a cocktail party kicking off an hour from now. Hopefully all my questions will be answered and I will be kicking myself for spending the day agonizing over the details… On a happier, but also “nothing accomplished” note, Roberta and I spent a lot of the last 24 hours thinking about “Should we consider ordering a new boat from Nordhavn?” We love Sans Souci, but there are some compelling reasons why this is the right time to ask ourselves this question. Nordhavn has several new models coming out that we have thought about: the 55, 64 and 72. We’ve ruled out the 72 as too large for us. Roberta and I want a boat we can run alone. We are very private people, and like the feeling of running the boat ourselves. Even as much as we love Sans Souci, there are days when we think it is more boat than the two of us can handle alone. We looked at the plans for the 64 last night and were blown away. It’s one heck of a boat! But, we also decided it was more boat than we need. Roberta is looking at the plans for the 55 now, and it looks perfect, but as we study the plans we keep noticing ways in which it is different from Sans Souci. The 62 is tough to beat, and we have Sans Souci set up exactly as we like it – with one exception, and that is what has us looking at plans. We currently have four staterooms: a very nice master stateroom, and three relatively small staterooms, each with their own also small head. For this voyage, that is perfect, but this is not normal cruising for us. Our normal trip is really just Roberta and I, and on rare occasions another couple. What we really want is two deluxe staterooms with equally nice heads. I’m not sure how serious we are. The probable outcome is that we will do an interior remodel on Sans Souci, after shipping it back to the U.S. as originally planned. One of the factors causing us to think about this is that it is expensive to move the boat from Europe back to Seattle. Plus, Nordhavn is opening a new sales office in the U.K., and it would be SO simple to just have them sell Sans Souci in the U.K. and deliver us a new boat to Seattle. Another possibility is to just order a new 62 outfitted exactly the way we want it.

And, continuing in the vein of “not accomplishing anything,” I spent some time on the boat today trying to get the television working. Sans Souci is unusual in that we are already set up for European television. We have a Sea-Tel system that receives satellite television, and two different receivers, one for French television and one for British television. A quick side note: We added the French satellite receiver so that I could practice my French. What I didn’t anticipate was how boring French television is, and how much fun British television is. As serious as I am about my studies, I find it impossible to force myself to watch French television. My challenge today was to get ANY television working. It may be that we are still too far from Europe, or it may be that the system isn’t working. After hours of effort, I am no closer to knowing whether or not I have a problem.

And to top off my day:

As I am finishing writing my daily update, my internet connection has stopped working. I am using a dial-up service that has worked great the last few days. It is slow (standard dial-up modem speed), but has been working reliably – until today. Argh!

I want to go back to sea. Life is so much simpler…

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