Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire

I am off the big ocean, but now into a big race!


I have come back in off the ocean, and have had a full week to recover. Ok, well most of that week was spent getting my life back together and getting the boat ready to be shipped off to Chicago for our big race this year. Before the boat was shipped off, we did have a chance to take two Toronto Star reporters out, and have an article published about our next adventure. Now I have been shipped off to Chicago too, but unlike the boat that went on a truck to get here, Greg and I shipped ourselves by air. I’m not sure what it would cost to ship Cerulean by air, but I’m sure there is a reason that even Larry Ellison doesn't ship his yachts by air… 

Cerulean at Crowley's
Greg and I did arrive in better shape than the boat, which needed a little welding to fix the instrument stack. Garrett, one of out crew members, picked us up at Midway Airport, and took us to Crowley’s where the boat has already been launched. Garrett has been working on it already and put some lovely bottom Pettit paint on for us. 

We started setting up and rigging the boat. Lunch was at a little Fish and chips smokehouse place outside the marina. It had many pictures of famous people that have eaten there:) 

The smokehouse at Calumet Fisheries, South Chicago

Tony and Ellen have been wonderful enough to let us stay with him in their downtown Chicago condo that overlooks the yacht club. Garrett dropped us off. In the morning we took the train back to the boat, and sailed, ok, motored in no wind, up to the Chicago Yacht Club. 

Chicago streets

View of the yacht club from the condo window

we ate dinner in Filini's, the restaurant in this building the Radisson Blu Aqua - fantastic!

Taking the train back to the boat


I shopped and cooked a lot of food today. The dinner menu for the race includes Lomo Saltado, Pork and Potatoes, Lasagna, Butter Chicken, Sausage and Beef Pasta, Chicken and Beef Fajita Sautee with Sweet Potatoes, Breakfast includes Cheesy Potatoes, Bacon and Cream Cheese Buns, Pork Strips, Hard Boiled Eggs and Oatmeal. Lunch will mostly be Meat and Cheese Sandwiches, including Fresh Sautéed Chicken Breast Strips, Sausage on a Bun and Hamburgers.


We went out for a long sail today to check out the ariel - to make sure we get reception 15 miles off shore. We were not getting a great signal out there and will have to somehow extend the ariel. 

At the beginning of the trip, I put my i-phone down on the counter while we were handing out shirts. When I came back to get it minutes later, it was smashed. I think the fridge door got dropped on it. 

The wind was blowing fairly strongly - 20 to 27 knots, and the seas were quite choppy, with waves in many different directions. It was what is commonly referred to in the sailing world as a “mixmaster”! I was on helm, for the first couple of hours, and later Greg and Tony took over. On the way in, Garrett drove. 

Several people on the boat went through various levels of seasickness, but we sailed though and arrived safely back at shore. 

Andrew is feeling unsure about whether he wants to continue with us. He experienced some of the worst seasickness and I think that is new for him. He is going to see how the next sail goes. 

Garrett decided to head off to a hotel room to get some sleep. He was adamant that he was not running away, he would be back, he just wanted to get some good sleep and do his laundry. He was quite adamant about it and repeated that he was not leaving us several more times. 

Tony invited everyone back to the condo and we had some snacks. Greg and I went out to get my i-phone replaced, and the guys headed out to get some food and sleep.

Tony Driving


So we get a text first thing in the morning that Garrett, who was not bailing, really, not running away, just needed a hotel room for the night, was bailing on us. He will not be racing the Super Mac. He would not answer his phone and would not call us back. He did text when we said we would not try to talk him out of it, but it would be nice to have an explanation of why. He had several different reasons. He felt that people on the on the boat were not capable of rescuing him if he fell in. He said he wasn't “jiving” with the crew and having a great time. He said he didn’t think we would win because the crew wasn't good enough. He wasn't getting paid and we were spending money on other things. He said he had already left the city. He didn't want to talk to us in person because he didn't want to have us make him feel guilty. I would guess that we never will know the real reason that he quit. He may not even know himself. No matter what, things like this, where the person is unwilling to talk about things, and let them fester inside, are almost always more about them than other people. He later told other crew that it was about the money. We had been quite clear that we were not paying crew and were disappointed that he had somehow come on board expecting payment when we had been quite clear that there was none. This is an amateur boat and we want to keep it that way. We do not have $400 per day for 8 people to sail. that works out to $3200x2 weeks = $44800… Plus all the other expenses we have incurred to get the boat here, and meals for those two weeks, and hotels, and flights for the crew etc, etc, etc. Anyway, it is not a rabbit hole we can or want to fall into. We are an amateur boat, we are clear about it, and we want to stay that way. We bring very good food for during the race, and buy some meals before and maybe after the race. There is some simple food on the boat that people can prepare before or after we race. We do shots of rum and provide gear such as t-shirts, duffle bags and hats, and usually give away most of the gear we get from our registration bag to the crew. We put a lot of money into the boat, and pay for registration and shipping and cleaning and preparing the boat and so much more.

We went out for a night sail. the wind was much lighter, 5-10 knots, and the water was fairly flat. We did code zero and spinnaker practice, man over boards and general crew practice. I think Andrew is feeling better about sailing - no one got sick and things went much better. 


Our boat did not pass inspection:( But it’s ok, a $30 piece of anchor chain is really all we need, and West Marine will deliver that tomorrow. So we are ok.

The big party event was tonight. It was really great, lots of good food and free rum, beer and champagne. We met lots of people, and had lots of good conversations. One person we met had done forty Mac races! We did not meet anyone who was racing in our fleet. 

Sailing back to the Chicago coastline