Beaufort - Annapolis. The Final Chapter

Sun 25 Jul 2010 19:32

Beaufort – Annapolis.   The Final Chapter

Beaufort is described as an historical delight, but we felt it was more like a set from a Stephen King film, with strangely empty streets filled with immaculate white wooden houses, rocking chairs swinging ominously back and forth on wooden balconies and wind-chimes creating the required musical tension.  Not even so much as a shop existed to buy a pint of milk. 


Stranded here, whilst Miles headed briefly back to the UK, I had no choice but to set to work on all of those jobs that we had never quite got around to – ok, given my lack of any real practical ability, I have to admit that this didn’t really amount to much more than cleaning, polishing and sanding, and well, maybe a little catching up on those disaster stories...

As some of you may know, before we left I had somewhat of an obsession with reading sailing disaster stories. Well, Miles being away gave me the opportunity to rekindle this pastime......with a vengeance.  Google is a magical tool - searches such as 'Cape Hatteras yacht disasters' kept me occupied for many a night time hour.  As you can imagine though, there was more than a little trepidation when the time finally came to leave - the downside of my obsession was that I had come to believe that every boat venturing around "the graveyard of the Atlantic" would end up in the perfect storm, in a swell resembling a mountain range, fighting for life for 60 hours before hope of rescue.

Despite my protestations though, we set off, only to sail into a blanket of thick fog 100m from the marina entrance.  It must be an omen, I said.  A signal of our impending doom, I said.  When we heard the unmistakable thudum, thudum of a large propeller, I feared we wouldn’t even make it as far as the ‘graveyard’.  I have to say that the realisation that there was a large oil tanker steaming directly at us in a very narrow (and shallow) channel did not exactly help my state of mind.  As it appeared like a ghost ship out of the fog, we headed towards the area of the chart that appeared to be labelled land – better to go aground than get run over by an oil tanker Miles reasoned, as I waved animatedly at the GPS.

Definitely an omen, I said.

Omen, or no omen, we headed out to our impending doom:


.......Ok, just maybe I had over-reacted a little.  We ended up motoring all the way around Cape Hatteras, not really sailing until we reached the Chesapeake. 

The wind did pick up as we headed through the narrow (and by now dark) entrance to the Chesapeake (doesn’t it always), and continued through the night - allowing us to make up a little time on our mammoth journey – I’m sure I didn’t agree to another sailing marathon, but as I saw Newport disappear quietly in to the background, realisation hit that we were set for another night out of bed!

The night passed without incident – and as dawn broke, with it came a new British government and the inevitable thoughts of returning back home....or so we thought.  It seems that the British public couldn’t quite make up their minds – and then, neither could the politicians (thank you Richard for the updates!).  Luckily, we were a little more decisive, and headed up towards the top of the Chesapeake for the very last leg of the journey. 

The Chesapeake is undoubtedly a beautiful cruising ground, but being somewhat limited by draft (and time), we headed straight to Anapolis, anchoring just in time for a last post passage sundown drink on Trippy.  With it came a little sadness, and also a little pride.  We have travelled 8000 nautical miles, been to 22 countries, felt every emotion, but have always stuck together and always had fun.  Trippy has been faultless, never once letting us down (despite our best efforts) and has provided us with some of the most exciting sailing I think we will ever experience. 

The trip has been an absolutely fantastic.  It has tested us, and it has also rewarded us immensely.  It has undoubtedly brought us closer together as a couple and given us a deep respect for each other.  Miles has been truly incredible – not only did he totally rebuild Trippy and sail with a novice half way around the world without incident, but he also understood.  That can only come from someone very special.

We must have been mad, but hey, who says that’s a bad thing?

Thanks to everyone who followed us, and came out to see us along the way – it’s been fantastic.