Updates will be posted at Paceship.org remotely during the voyage.
Mid-may is upon us, and with the sounds of Stan Rogers "Barett's Privateers" setting the mood on this chilly Calgary night, I find myself on the final approach for the now INEVITABLE launch of my 1972 Nova Scotian built Paceship East Wind. I have signed a numerous work orders for not only the rigging repairs to the William Bligh, but also have scheduled and paid to have her mast stepped on the fourth, and the launch on the ninth. My train ticket from Newport News, Virginia for Saturday 7 June has been bought, paid for, and reserved for the trip back up to Portland, Maine. I'm looking at storage places for the Bronco down in Virginia but it's always possible I'll find someone who lives in the area to keep it at their house until the voyage is over.
My feelings this evening must be similar to that of a war weary soldier, who has heard that the enemy is signing an armistice, but still has to wait through the shelling for the last bit of metal rain to end. The William Bligh has been held hostage by circumstance, lies, and my own lack of self discipline: She is a victim of me being gone all the time because of my job, and unable to have attended to her for the last few months, beset by the discoveries of multiple breaks, missing items, and other things by the less than reputable broker whom sold the Paceship to me, and the fact that I could have saved thirty grand in the time that has gone by, but I have a problem saving money until the last minute. Even with all of this, I feel somewhat triumphant in that I have finally navigated by way around all of these obstacles, and will soon no doubt be sailing my way to Bermuda and down into warmer weather. I realize that there hasn't been the huge fanfare that seemed to overwhelm me back in January, but perhaps a June cruise is not as special on its surface as me risking my neck because I have truly nothing to lose in January. Speaking of which, I think the greatest fault in my own judgment was not expecting the ice and snow in Maine. I had never even been to Maine until I bought this vessel, and my only experience on the ocean in January was in Hawaii and off California, where it occasionally got "chilly." The thought of sliding off the decks and into the rolling sea because a layer of frozen spray had never entered my mind, and was my only true fear. Nevertheless, that fear, however justified, had no impact on my postponement of the voyage, which was truly a monetary issue to do with catastrophic cracks that were found in the spreader mounts.
Because June may seem like cake for the majority of cruisers, I intend to make it more of a voyage of exploration and discovery. No I'm not crazy, and no, I don't think it's the 1700s. Certainly we won't be searching for a westward route to the spicelands of Asia, or even seeking out unexplored territory to plant a royal Spanish flag in; what we'll be looking for is interesting sea life to do stories on, and recording and documenting weather phenomenon in the Sargasso Sea around Bermuda. We've probably all searched for sailing videos from ordinary cruisers online, and while we come across interesting snips from voyages, they're not very well produced, and don't really have any aim or focus. BY producing many short videos, like my Eco Observer
series, I can keep the focus on particular things, and hold the attention or the easily distracted internet generation. Just like before, I will be highlighting failures or equipment and my own shortcomings, and hopefully, we'll all have a laugh and find what I am doing not only worthwhile, but inspiring, and a demonstration of what an ordinary man can do when he puts his mind to use in an effort to escape the proverbial rat race.
So whether you're with me or against me, you'll wish you came along.
Robin Scott Johnson
s/v William Bligh of Portland, Maine (Paceship East Wind)
s/v Hard Knots or Tempe, Arizona(Capital Yachts Newport 20)