the Weekly Whiffle
Wayfarer news that's crossed Uncle Al's desk this week
Monday, May 19th, 2003

Subject: (semi-)final Hughes Nughes as Lee ends his Wanderer journey
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Adrienne Faherty 
To: Sue Hughes ; Cathie Hughes ; Graeme Hughes ; Uncle Al ; Charles Russell ; MC Pitman ; Geoff Orr ; nzbudget ; Al Merrett ; Stan Murdock ; Diane Rod ; voypup ; michael Gifkins ; Frank Dye ; Brian A McCleery ; Jean Burns ; roger ; dawn and Bob ; medjrd ; Keith Smith ; ; Flaherty ; bob n Sally burnett ; jeff ; Sybil ; ; sail this ; 
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2003 2:56 PM
Subject: Big Hughes Nughes

Hughes Nughes 27 - Breaking News

Hi folks,

I'm in New York!

I sailed from Cape May to Ocean City, to Atlantic City and then to Long Beach Island where I got stuck for three days due to weather (first fog, then 30-knot winds). 

I tied up at the Spray Beach Yacht Club as a surprise guest. Some of them had seen me sail in under jib alone earlier in the day when I was looking for possible shelter only a few minutes after leaving a marina at Beachhaven, a mile north, where I'd tied up the previous night. Next day, the fog finally 
lifted and I was anxious to get going before the winds rose. But literally as soon as I cleared the marina seawall, the wind leaped up. I hoisted the jib and was doing fine, but I thought it was bit gustier than advertised. I started to think that maybe I might not sail that day and so I looked for a good place to 
anchor or tie up. (I didn't want to go back to the marina and pay $20 again.)

Anyway, I soon saw the yacht club and turned towards it just as a fairly stiff gust arrived. I wasn't bothered but I was surprised. In strong winds, I sailed into the dock and soon met a member of the club. We chatted and Howard said I could tie up for free at any empty slip. The wind was not abating, so I did that. Howard then told me that he'd seen me come and turn in, and that the gust that caught me was 35 knots which is 40 mph or in dramatic metric terms almost 60 km/h. I was pleased to hear that, because it hadn't alarmed me but I knew it was more than the forecast winds of 15-25 kts.

I soon met other members. After taking care of email, I returned from the library and the members invited me to dinner last night. It was their regular potluck Monday supper at the club and I had a lovely time. They all said 'Hi' and 'Have a drink' and 'Siddown and take the weight off' as soon as I walked in. Lovely to talk to and very knowledgeable too.

But on Wednesday, I was able to sail off in strong steady W and NW winds. I roared along on a run, a reach, and a beat at between 5 and 8 mph for 7 hours until I got to a spot just north of Tom's River at mile 8 on the NJ ICW. That's about 4 miles from the Manasquan Canal and 8 miles from Manasquan Inlet where the ICW ends. It was a really fun day albeit cold and gray, but I was sailing well and it was so nice to really get stretched out on the side of the boat after so many days of fog and light winds. I raced a Coastguard tug pushing a barge for the whole time and we went under the bridge by Tom's River together - well, he was in front a bit, but only cause I had to let him past. 

I planned to sail on to NY but the weather was forecast for rain and 25-35 knot NE winds. That's not good for the 25 mile run up to Sandy Hook and then south to anchor in Raritan Bay. Then, it's a short hop across the bay to NY harbour but that unfavourable weather is due to last until Sunday, and I couldn't face 3-4 days sitting still again. Unfortunately, conventional sailing techniques just wouldn't get me any further north. I was only 30 miles or so from Manhattan, so I decided to employ an old sailors' trick.

I rented a car.

First I tied up at a marina at Chadwick Island (only $1 per foot per night - very cheap). Then I made some phone calls and got hold of a car and nipped into the city. You see, I've come to a big decision, and here's the big news. 

I've decided to cut the trip short. This is a good deal sooner than I had planned but basically, it's because I'm finding it hard to keep enthused about sailing solo for another 2 1/2 months.

I'm alone for about 23 3/4 hours a day on average. Most conversations are short and banal. A few are truly delightful but these still only occupy perhaps 30 minutes once a week. After leaving Annapolis, I sailed over 150 miles (mostly in fog) before getting a chance to talk to another person, about anything more than the price of groceries. It's been that way from the start, and though I've met terrific people and they've been incredibly hospitable, I still feel lonely when I'm sailing. I've been sleeping at sea on a boat since Dec. 13, 2002 and I've had only 9 nights ashore since then - all in mid-January at Geoff Orr's 
house in Fort Lauderdale - bless 'im. That makes 142 nights afloat. It's starting to lose its fresh appeal.

I also realised recently that I've had specific mental images of things I'd do and places I'd go in each major segment before now (Florida Keys, Georgia Sounds, Chesapeake Bay, NY harbour, etc.) but those mental images hardly exist after NY. I've only got two things in mind for the last 500 miles - calling in 
at Mystic Seaport to see the ship museum and also walking across the road from the fishing boat dock at Eastport, Maine and buying a beer at the end of the trip. In between here and Maine, I have  hundreds of hours of sailing to do, but to be honest, doing those two things isn't worth ten weeks of my life. 

Especially if it is ten weeks away from my gal.

It is a sudden announcement but not a sudden decision. I know that I haven't done all that I planned to at the start. There's no getting away from the fact that I'm quitting before getting to Maine. Most folks say Maine is the prettiest part of the trip. I'll agree with that since I've seen Maine from the land and it's lonely but lovely. However, scenery and solitude weren't ever reasons for doing this trip. The real reason for doing this trip was not to see the beautiful US east coast, or even to learn to sail. It was to overcome a huge lifelong fear of the sea. I'm over that now - well, at least 85% of that irrational fear is gone and so I'm satisfied that my reasons are right. 

I realise that every sailor needs to keep a healthy respect for the sea (a respect or caution that is the fulcrum of a balance between fear on one hand and technical competence plus confidence in equipment on the other hand). Before this trip, I had much more fear than that. I've always had faith in Ian Proctor's boat and Frank Dye's gear (fully justified, of course) and finally I've acquired some competence. The sail up Barnegat Bay on Wednesday was proof of that. I put on my wet weather gear, whacked everything up the mast, cinched it in tight, hiked out and just flew along - gusts, whitecaps, wakes - it was all just bloody good fun. A fantastic way to finish sailing - on a fast run all stacked out.

And I have had enough adventures to fill a good book - and that's what will happen next. Right now I'm busy seeing a little of NY City and enjoying my first night in a bed for ages. Feels strange! NY is brilliant though, and I'm so thrilled I got this far. I wish I could have sailed up under Verrazano Narrows Bridge and then up the East River to the South St. seaport docks, but you can't fight the weather in a boat this small. I'm satisfied that with 2200 miles done, that the last 30 miles are a 'gimmee' as golfers say.

I've talked to Anastasia Hopkinson (remember her from Annapolis?) and she's keen to buy my boat so we've agreed that she'll come up on Sunday to collect it. I'll catch a ride with her back to Annapolis and do a little sailing with her on her new boat (Wanderer). It'll be awfully hard to part with my beautiful wee yacht but Anastasia will be a good skipper and she'll get the right kind of sailing with her. I plan to go sailing with her on Tuesday or Wednesday - maybe I can race against her own Wayfarer.

I'll start the journey home to NZ from Baltimore on Thursday and will arrive in NZ on Saturday (Friday US time). I have some very important business to take care of there. See my Mum, see my gal, write a book, get a job, etc. That'll keep me busy. There'll be only one more Hughes Nughes to come from Annapolis. But there should be a book out in due course. I'll keep you posted on that.

Hurroo for now,


Subject: more from Lee
----- Original Message ----- 
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2003 10:59 AM
Subject: Thank You

Hi Uncle Al, 

I will send another, final, Hughes Nughes from Annapolis early next week before I fly back to NZ on Thursday, but I just wanted to thank you for posting the bulletins for the last 5 months and also for trying to arrange for people to sail with me recently. It was nice to know that you and others were interested in the trip. It made a difference, I can assure you, to get emails like the ones I got from Olaf, Bill Schaumburg, Ton in Holland, Frank Dye, yourself, etc. etc.

I would have enjoyed sailing with other Wayfarer owners immensely, but in the end, I guess it wasn't to be. As soon as I decided to end the trip, I had second thoughts, but they changed quickly with the weather (now blowing 30 mph and about 45-50 F and gray) and the expectation of seeing my gal at home. And also with the fun of writing the book. It'll be delivered to the publishers before the end of August and should be in the bookstores for Christmas. I'll keep you posted in case anyone wants a copy. It'll have an ending you won't expect, too!

Many thanks,


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Al Schonborn 
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 10:38 PM

Hi, Lee:

Congratulations on an amazing feat! I'm astounded that you managed to live on a Wayfarer for all those days and make it as far as you did! I still remember Ralph Roberts after a week on his Wayfarer, telling me he never wanted to see the boat again!! I look forward to reading your book and will be happy to promote it on the Whiffle Web. Do keep me posted. Just finished Straight from the Horse's Ass this past weekend and really enjoyed it - which is saying something since I almost never read non-fiction.

I can imagine Adrienne will be thrilled to see you - our loss will be her gain! It's nice to hear that Anastasia will be taking over the care and nurture of Wanderer, since she seems to have the perfect attitude towards sailboats. Here's wishing you a fine flight home. I have the feeling that I will never make it to NZ (too long without a smoke!! no W regattas!!) so must ask you to have a few beers for me and Marc - as we will in your honour here, and especially on our way down to next year's Midwinters!! If you're ever in this neck of the woods, please let me know so that Marc and I can take you out for a few beers.

I don't want to close without telling you how impressed I am to hear that you were working on overcoming a fear of the sea. You hid that very well and certainly seemed relaxed and were sailing very well the time we were out off Cocoa Beach! Congratulations again on your marvellous sailing feat, and thanks for the entertaining reports!

Your friend,

Uncle Al (W3854)