America’s Cup Racing in San Diego

We were invited to attend an event centered around America’s Cup Racing on Sunday, November 20th. It took place at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, in a tent that was set up next to the Midway Museum. In this photo, you can see the tents to the left on the Navy Pier. To the right is the cruise ship terminal. In the foreground of the cove between the piers is the New Zealand vessel. In the background you can clearly see a French and an American vessel. Farther in the background a few more vessels are not as clearly visible.

At 1000, the event started. A speaker explained the history of the event. The 1851 World Exposition was hosted by Queen Victoria in England. As part of the festivities, there was a sailing race around the Isle of Wight (a 53-nautical-mile course). 14 British ships and one American ship, named America, competed. America won. The prize was a silver trophy, now named after that ship, the America’s Cup. A few years later, the America crew donated the trophy into a trust to be used as a perpetual challenge trophy to promote friendly competition among nations.

Over the years, the rules changed and the racing event slowly evolved (there were even several court cases to help determine what were fair rules). In the last few years, the sport has changed dramatically. It used to be that, Continue reading America’s Cup Racing in San Diego

Passage from Oakland to San Diego

When we initially arrived in the Bay Area, we stayed in South Beach Harbor marina, next to the AT&T ballpark in the heart of San Francisco.

As much as we loved being in the city, we didn’t enjoy the slip we were in at the marina. There was no Internet, it was a long walk to shore and it was so rolly we felt like we were at sea, particularly in the afternoons when the wind picked up. Christi would find any and every excuse to get off the boat, so she didn’t get much work done on the books.

After a month, we moved across the bay to Jack London Square in Oakland.

We enjoyed our time in Oakland. Not only was the marina good, we were in a great location. We had easy access to the Continue reading Passage from Oakland to San Diego

More About Part 2 of The Unexpected Circumnavigation


Part 2 of The Unexpected Circumnavigation: Unusual Boat, Unusual People covering Australia to Oman is now on sale! Read the first few pages on Lulu’s “preview” feature and read an excerpt from Chapter 1 here (starts on page 18)!

Jeff Merrill wrote an extensive book review for the Nordhavn.com site.

Many people have asked us why they should buy our book if they can read our blog for free. Just like Part 1, the book is very different from the blog. Here are a few of the differences between the two:

  • Prologue: Picks up where the Prologue of Part 1 left off. It focuses primarily on the research we did as we planned for our journey and addresses the majority of the questions we were most frequently asked.
  • Several new stories from the journey – And there are some really good ones!
  • Many details have been added that were best left undisclosed while we were still on the journey (sometimes we didn’t want our parents worrying about us; sometimes we didn’t want to incriminate ourselves!)
  • In Retrospect sections with great insights — so you can see the situation through the eyes of a newbie as we learn, while simultaneously seeing the same situation through the eyes of experience.
  • Streamlined stories – some complained our posts were too long and detailed, the book is a condensed version they will enjoy more.
  • Formatting is first person, through Christi’s eyes – Some complained they didn’t like the third person format, so they will enjoy the book more.
  • Actual dates on each post. On the blog, the dates are not real time, which is a significant piece of information for anyone hoping to follow in our footsteps.
  • All profits will go to our cruising fund. The more books we sell, the sooner you can start reading about our next journey! So, buy one and get all your friends to buy one, too!

People have also asked us why we broke the series up into four books instead of only three. We had very different experiences in each of the four world regions, so it was best for each region to have its own volume.

  • In the South Pacific, Part 1, we spent most of our time in sparsely populated areas communing with nature. And we did a lot of rough sea time, learning about boating the hard way.
  •  In Asia, Part 2, we were mostly in densely populated areas building cultural bridges. Our sea experiences were also different from the Pacific, with both our best and worst passages occurring in this region.

Exploring Grasse, France

When we originally scheduled this trip, Friday and Saturday were Eric’s day off to sightsee. Sadly, at a relatively late date, his company decided to send him to Luxembourg for a meeting. He was up at 0430 and out the door at 0515 for the airport.

Christi got up with him and took him to the airport. She worked on blogs for a couple hours, took a bath, and otherwise puttered around until 0930. Sure that traffic must have cleared by then, she took the car to the town of Grasse, a mountain village north of Cannes that is the perfume capital of the world. Christi took the highway to the Cannes exit, but instead of heading south towards the beach, went north into the mountains.

Since she had gotten up so early, she was starving at this point. Right off the exit, she found a boulangerie/patisserie  (bread/dessert bakery). She ordered an individual size goat cheese quiche. She wonders if she got the right one, since it was loaded with bacon but didn’t taste much like goat cheese. She also ordered a pain du chocolate (chocolate croissant) and a beignet (donut). She sat in the car and scarfed them down before heading up the mountain.

The road was narrow and somewhat windy. She had read there were flower fields surrounding the town of Grasse, so she was surprised to see that it was completely built up along the road, with no fields to be seen anywhere. The buildings were an odd mix. Some were old, as in Medieval, some fairly new, as in probably the last few years. Commercial and residential properties were mixed, with a mechanic shop next to a private mansion. She noticed signs for three different perfumeries along the way.

The heart of Grasse looked medieval. In the center of town, there was a parking garage. She turned off the main road and headed towards the garage, but she missed the entrance. She found herself on a scary one way road back down the mountain. It had dangerously sharp switchbacks, obviously originally a horse trail, not a car trail. At a couple points the road split, in both cases, she made the wrong turn. The first time, turning around was easy because she came to a roundabout, but the second time, the road dead ended and she had to make 30 point U-turn to get out of the tight little alley.

The road ended near the bottom of the mountain. Sigh. She noticed a sign for one of the perfumeries that said it was close by and decided to go there instead of back up the hill. One, she didn’t want to drive that scary road down again and two, she really liked the name of the perfumery, Fragonard, because there is a Rococo-era (early 1700s) painter by the same name whose works she particularly likes.

The facility was new and modern looking, probably built in the 1960s or later. They had old equipment on display in the parking lot.

Inside, the Continue reading Exploring Grasse, France

Lou Castel, Vieux Ville, Nice, France

Today was Eric’s big day–he was scheduled to do a presentation and be part of a panel. He left the hotel extra early this morning to meet with the other panel members to do a run through before the conference started. Sadly, Eric’s session was the very last of the entire conference, so it didn’t have great turn out. But, the session itself went well overall. He was done in the mid-afternoon and went to lunch with some co-workers before driving back to Nice.

Christi left the hotel around 1000 and caught the 217 bus to Nice. This time, she went three stops farther before exiting the bus, which dropped off even deeper into the historic district than she had gone yesterday. She followed the windy roads up the hill until she arrived at the Lou Casteu park’s gate. In the hilly area, the buildings looked even older than in the flatter parts she had visited the other day. This is a shot of the streets of old town from the gate.

From what Christi can tell from Continue reading Lou Castel, Vieux Ville, Nice, France