The choice to make a 2500 mile detour was made for me by Civid19 and Bristol marine. Andy Tyska with Bristol Marine reached out to me back in February and offered to repair/refit the boat to help with my last leg of my journey. I thanked him for his incredibly generous offer but said it’s a bit too far out of the way and I was anxious to get home. A few months later as every Caribbean country closed down around me I reached back out to Andy. Even with all the shutdowns and uncertainty he said his offer was still good and to sail on up.
The sail north was an interesting one. There was tropical storm Arthur, unknown closures and quarantine requirements since they were changing daily, and an epic hangover to start the trip since I left the day after my birthday. My goal was to get to Bristol Rhode via Bermuda but both were closed when I left and Arthur ended up changing course for Bermuda. This gave me a few days of rough weather and calms afterwards making it the slowest trip I’ve had so far on Tiama. This ended up working well for me since Rhode island was opening up as I arrived. Arriving in Bristol completed the boats circumnavigation. It is pretty cool bring the boat back to the same marina that launched it 37 years ago and entire Bristol marine crew was extremely welcoming.
Its really difficult doing big projects on anchor. I fix things as they break and do general maintenance but generally don’t start any projects that would prevent me from moving the boat in a reasonable amount of time if necessary. Tying to the dock and having a storage area gave me the opportunity to really go through the boat and check everything. It has been since South Africa more than a year ago since Tiama spent any time at a dock. Its obviously been longer than that since I’ve gone through my safety gear. My newest flare and life raft expired in 2005 and handheld vhf’s in my ditch bag were corroded beyond any chance of working again but overall the boat and rig are still in good shape though.
I’m writing this now from St Thomas while Bristol marine is taking care of Tiama. Almost every project I’ve hired out in the last 6 years I needed to redo or repair myself so I usually keep a close eye on anyone working on the boat. This is the first time I’ve trusted leaving Tiama somewhere while other people work on her. Having this trust gives me the opportunity to do a few yacht deliveries so I can afford to update my safety equipment and hopefully get a radar as well. I have sailed over 30,000 miles solo without radar but would be nice to have that added layer of safety especially up in the New England fog.
This seems like the Benjamin Button of sailing journeys. I started on a 50 year old decrepit boat with very little sailing experience. 3 years ago I bought Tiama with the help of everyone that donated to my gofundme and because of people like Andy and the Bristol marine crew she has been improving ever since. I feel like every trip is a bit easier and safer than the trip before. It looks like I’ll arrive in Hawaii with the boat I should have left on and with experience I should have had.