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August 2001

Dear Friends:
"Where are you heading?" Everyone seems to ask. For 6 months our answer has been, "not sure." It still is. We have provisions on board for the Azores, Spain, France, the Cape Verde Islands, South America from the Amazon River to Montevideo. But, after five years of pretty intense schedules, of voyages with set destinations, we have decided to let life flow at a very leisurely pace. Now that we've left Virginia our plans are to savor a few more days at Bermuda, then set sail towards 35 degrees N latitude, 45 degrees W longitude and at that point make the final decision based on exactly how we feel that day, or on a list of pros and cons or most probably, on the toss of a coin. Grand thing is, since no one is expecting us at any specific port or destination, wherever we turn up will be the right place.

Norma Tillett, owner and caretaker of our first love, Seraffyn, shares a quiet moment during the fun and games of our joint, Cruisers farewell weekend.


We had a really busy time once we flew back from New Zealand to re-commission Taleisin. First Larry had to put new gudgeons and pintles on Seraffyn. Seraffyn had spent two winters in a tiny enclosed marina near Beaufort, NC where several boats were experiencing electrical problems. Seems stray current in the water from faulty dock wiring (electrolysis) was attacking her bronze fittings and turned the pintles to reddish powder. Lesson: it pays to check the water around your boat for stray electrical current before you choose your marina storage berth for the winter. Meanwhile I took care of spring varnish work and the paperwork of introducing Cruising in Seraffyn's 25th anniversary edition.

When the Tilletts (owners of Seraffyn) told us Ashley Butler planned to sail Ziska into the creek on his way down the bay, and that several other voyaging friends wanted to say farewell as they headed for new destinations, we planned a weekend party that grew to include 70 friends for a barbecue and party games, with 25 staying over for a blueberry pancake breakfast. Toss the boot, three-legged race, carry the water balloon race. It took a few minutes to persuade some of the more conservative folks to join in, but once the hilarity began, everyone became involved. Sure was a fine way to say good-bye to the lovely folks we met during our time at Krentz Marine on the Yeocomico river off the Potomac River, up the Chesapeake Bay on Virginia's Northern Neck. Then the work started in ernest.

Survivors of the farewell weekend (It actually lasted three days and ended only when a heavy rain storm washed us all out).


We traded our 18 year old, battered and bruised 8 foot Fatty Knees tender for a brand new one, then spent three days adding all the special features we like, gunnel guard fendering, foot blocks for rowing, sculling notch, etc. New chain arrived (5/16" high test) are needed to be marked, Larry added a running headstay so we could bring the foresail on board to change it. (This is still in the experimental stage so can not tell you much except that it seems a better arrangement for really rough seas, but does need some modifying.) Our work list seemed to ebb and flow, sometimes having more cross outs than jobs to do, then the other way around. Meanwhile I spent two afternoons a week buying provisions, stocking the boat up to cross oceans. Eighteen hundred dollars worth of canned, dried and vacuum packed goods came on board. From band aids to cashew nuts, canned chicken to capers, pencils to toilet paper, the list seemed endless and the storage spaces bottomless. But with a final purchase of 11 - five litre boxes of Almaden Merlot, Taleisin settled onto her fully-laden lines.

Party over, the owners of Ziska, Taleisin and Seraffyn set to work re-fitting and provisioning. Ziska headed for New England, Seraffyn up the Chesapeake toward New York and Taleisin for Bermuda a week after this picture was taken.


Special to this trips provisions was that Kay Assenmacher, who lives near Krentz Marine, is a book store buyer. She invited me to join her for three days at the Chicago Book Fair. There she helped me select about 40 books from those being offered for free as readers copies to entice buyers like Kay. So our bookshelves are overflowing with good things to read.

Finally, on June 20th, we set off down the Chesapeake, wind against us but eager to be on our way. We beat down to Fishing Bay on the Piankatank river in 20 knots of wind which proved a good shakedown. Everything stayed in place and what small shifting did take place in lockers, gave ma a few spaces for last minute specialty items. (I didn't want to be forced to shop for more in Bermuda as prices can be 45 to 60 percent higher on the island.)

Taleisin's farewell sail with friends in the Chesapeake.


When we finally set off on June 25th, we sailed right into the center of a high pressure system and had a slow lovely drift right to this beautiful island. I enjoyed every bit of that eight days at sea (620 miles). Complete disconnect, no phones, no wallet, no reason to spend money, nor to be on time, no work lists. We both indulged in reading, eating and planning our future.

And yes, when we sailed into Bermuda we did meet someone from our distant past. Tango, the 43 foot, 50 year old Hinkley sloop which last shared an anchorage at Suvarove atoll in the Pacific Ocean 14 years ago was here. The reunion was special, as was our reunion with Bermuda friends from 3 years past. Now our evenings have been filled by Andre and Zinnia on Paget Island, Gil Outerbridge at her shore side flat in St. George and now the young folds who run the local water sports center here in Grotto Bay.

Taleisin's farewell sail with friends in the Chesapeake.


Though as usual it will be hard to say goodbye, hurricane season is threatening and we must be underway within a week or two. And, the Bermuda authorities limit sailing visitors to three weeks stay. So we will soon be sailing toward that magic waypoint where we will finally have to make a decision. As soon as we reach our next destination you'll know if we choose to go north, east, south, or southwest.

Sincerely,
Lin and Larry Pardey


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