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Counting down...

We have now been back in Portsmouth for a a little over a week and have stayed incredibly busy getting the boat ready for the sail down south. There's been no time yet to do all the things we were going to do to fill the empty days we thought retirement would bring. That yoga mat, flute, knitting and kindle have not seen much use, hopefully we will have time to enjoy all those things soon enough. We have had time to check out most of the restaurants in town though. So if you're ever in the area, favorite restaurant by far - Still, great drinks and tapas, best neighborhood hang out - Humboldt Steel Corp. (strange name though) - nicest bartenders, good music and pizza by the slice, best italian - Maninos (actually the only italian), worst atmosphere - Roger Brown's (we were in great company though, and to be fair, it was the Zombie Pub Crawl in town so everywhere was kind of creepy).

Here's a short walk through town, it's a small town ...

Tony's been busy setting up communications so we can stay in touch with everyone and checking every aspect of the boat to make sure we are safe at sea. I've been busy filling every square inch of space on the boat with food for the trip. No chance of anyone going hungry, finding where I've stowed it may be a challenge though. My new favorite gadget is the vacuum sealer. That thing is amazing! Just about everything on board is now air tight and vacuum packed. Hopefully we have plenty of meals to get us through both rough and calm seas. We get packages delivered daily, don't know what we'd do without Amazon Prime, love the two day free shipping. It's amazing that you can keep coming up with new things that you need. We are feeling that we're ready to get on with this journey, we can't afford to delay it much longer. I am also looking forward to having some pattern to our days, at the moment they just seem filled with nervous energy.

The learning continues as well. There were seminars yesterday to talk us through setting up communications, diesel repair, preparing the boat for ocean travel and a women's round table. Susan is a popular name with this group, all named in the same decade. Interesting to see the issues and concerns other women have. Biggest on the list was preventing sea sickness and feeding a crew. I feel like at this point we don't even know the questions we should have (you don't know what you don't know), There will be more seminars on Friday about practical health tips, safety and management of emergencies, so we should be ready to go with all our new knowledge by Sunday.

There will be daily radio checks and weather reports sent to all the boats when we are out at sea. It is reassuring to us, and hopefully you as well, that we have the support of the group, even though ultimately we know it comes down to the four of us on the boat to handle any issues that arise. The rest of the crew arrive Friday and we will be heading out Sunday morning. The route will take us south to Hatteras then east for 70 miles across the Gulf Stream. That part can be a little rough depending on the wind, preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. After heading a little further east we then turn south to pick up the trade winds down to the British Virgin Islands. Sounds like smooth sailing, doesn't it?

For any of you interested in following us on the sail down to Tortola, you can track us by downloading the YB Race App, adding ARC Caribbean 1500 Race to your races, then view my races and pick the Caribbean 1500 2017 race. If you really zoom in you can see Spindrift (well, actually where Spindrift should be at the dock, we hadn't arrived yet when the picture was taken). I know they call it a race, but it's kind of like a marathon, it's not how quickly you finish but just finishing that counts.

As we make final preparations for the trip we are getting anxious to leave, not sure what challenges the next leg of our journey will bring but feeling confident that we are ready to meet them. And all the medals, rosaries, holy water and prayers supplied by loving friends and family will surely keep us safe at sea!

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