Advent, Day 4: Notes From The Deck Of The Adventuress

Dear readers,
 The Maine for an adventure a day, each day of this advent season — big or small, by land or sea, with friends or solo, in image or word, exuberant or contemplative, real or conceptual. We live in a state of wonder, its wide open spaces anticipating our
hope and joy.

On the fourth day of advent we  bring you Michael Norgang’s notes as he sails from Maine to the Carribean. Advent, adventure, ADVENTURESS — need we say more?

Sitting comfortably in the dog house of Adventuress with the wind howling outside and the boat pitching with every gust and swell, I enjoy thinking about the chain of events that have led me here as delivery crew on Adventuress.

About three years ago I was hired by Rockport Marine and was one of three carpenters to begin restoring this same boat. My first day at RMI I was instructed to pull a garboard plank constructed of two inch thick teak that was through-bolted and tightly fit. In the words of my project manager, we were going to “take a look.” With a feeling of trepidation, but with Taylor Allen’s encouragement, I took a two inch chisel and proceeded to demolish what, at the time, was the most expensive and exotic piece of wood I had ever touched.

From that first day forward I have been lucky enough to be involved in a lot of Adventuress’ reconstruction, including framing, floor timbers, sternpost, planking, splining, deck beams, deck, and deck structures. This project quickly turned into one of the most amazing restorations that I may ever be a part of, and now I find myself helping to sail her to the Caribbean. For me it is all a bit surreal.

Since Adventuress’ launch I have gotten more and more involved with sailing her; starting with short sails for commissioning and sea trials, then racing the ERR Regatta and all the fun that entails. I could not say no when I was asked to crew her south for the winter. This is the first delivery of this caliber for me and it has been a steep learning curve. Weather windows and provisioning, safety, and mechanics are some of the things I’m trying to absorb from my crew-mates. Each aspect gets broken into smaller and smaller details that all factor into a successful and enjoyable journey.

Four days ago Adventuress set sail under trysail, foresail, and staysail, with a destination of Newport, Rhode Island. The day was crisp with favorable winds and I felt comfortable watching such a familiar coast slide by with such a familiar deck gently moving under my feet. The trip to Newport takes about 36 hours at eight knots, straight across the Gulf of Maine, through the Cape Cod Canal and across Buzzards Bay. This first leg was a good test for us all. We saw everything from steady winds and light swell, to heavy rain and bitter cold gusty winds, accompanied by five foot swell with salty spray that hammered the deck. This weather, especially the cold, forced us to sail smart and trust each other.

What felt like a stronger, if not colder, crew arrived in Newport with the goal of picking up the last provisions and choosing a solid weather window in which to cross the Gulf Stream into tropical waters. As of yet that window has not arrived. We continue to wait as a nor’easter hammers us here in Newport harbor. As the the wind howls outside the port light, I am grateful for the experience of captain and crew that has prevented us from being at sea during this storm. Saturday the 10th looks promising for our departure and we will try to slip across the Gulf Stream riding the high pressure that should follow this gnarly storm.

Till then, I continue with the many details and last minute preparations. I look forward to writing more about this experience once in Bermuda, our next destination our way to Antigua.

Cheers and Love,
Michael Norgang