San Tropez France to Naples Italy

After a winter of boat repair, a hull repaint and new racing headsails, the Grateful Red was ready for the sail back across the ocean to the Caribbean. The crew leaving San Tropez was kristine\'s childhood friend their Devils\' Lake days - Page, her husband Alan, Mike O\'Connor who celebrating his new great job by again crewing, Kristine and Ken. First stop was the Island of Corsica, then the Italian Tuscan islands including Elba once the home of Napoleon, a stop in Flegrean Islands, and we couldn\'t find a slip in any Naples marina so we sailed down the coast to a marina where we could see Pompeii.

Naples, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia - the Odyssey

Charlie, Ken\'s nephew joined Ken & Kristine for his 10 week summer job as the Grateful Red Mediterranean crew. He arrived late to Naples, took the Italian train to the boats harbor. The sail from Naples followed the route of the Odyssey. past the island of the Sirens, where Odysseus was tied to the mast to hear the Sirens and his crew let the counter winds out of the bag. The Grateful Red visited volcanic islands where the six-headed monster Scylla lived and the volcano still spews lava into the sea. Through the Straits of Messina, home of the whirlpool that sucked in Odysseus\'s ship, followed by the long, boring sail along the bottom of the Italian boot with only interruptions being a few visits by the Italian coast guard (war in Libya was on going with NATO bombers flying overhead and the coast guard looking for boats full of Libyans fleeing to Italy). After a couple of high wind storms and hours of no wind motoring, the crew of three arrived in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik to Cres - Sailing with Dads and daughters

In Dubrovnik the crew jumped from three to seven with the addition of Raouf and daughter Michelle, and Alastair with daughter Isabella. Michelle and Isabella were both exciting six year old school mates in Prague with dads that were ready to sail the Dalmatian coast. Can\'t tell you how much fun this crew had going from island to Island with Raouf always looking for the best harbor restaurant for dinner, wine and cigars, while Charlie was the leader of the crew for 2015. Captain Ken took on the responsibility of morning sail lessons for the girls, with a sailing test at Cres (and if Isabella and Michelle didn\'t pass the final exam in Cres, two more weeks on Grateful Red). Charlie and Alastair were top foredeck crew; one only had to think spinnaker and the chute was flying! Ten days of a terrific crew.

ORC World Regatta

The Offshore Racing Council was the governing organization for the world offshore regatta in Cres, Croatia. There is not an ORC governing body in the USA so the ORC regattas had never had a USA built boat with a USA flag in their regattas. In Spring of 2010 the Grateful Red was measured by an ORC measurer at Port Napoleon - qualifying the Grateful Red for the ORC worlds in Cres. We had a worldwide crew of Wendell, Ken and Charlie from the USA and team Holland of Leneke, Jeroen and Clarissa from the Netherlands, Trouble...no wind at the regatta. In the 80 mile offshore overnight race the TP52 racing machines with professional crews averaged less than two knots. The Grateful Red had sterring linkage issues and did not participate in the overnight. Team Holland lead by Jeroen and Clarissa, had a part fabricated on site and repaired the linkage. The Grateful Red raced the last day, only regatta day with winds over five knots, and beat a few boats. Success!

Cres to Corfu Greece

Donley Cruise - Cres to Corfu After the low wind ORC regatta the new crew of Beth, Brian and Kat brought wind with them. The Donley cruise was from the island of Cres, Croatia to Corfu island in Greece. Five hundred miles of sailing with such famous islands as Losinj (had a nice swing bridge), Dugi Otok (the long island), the Kornati archipelago – a Croatian national park of over 140 islands and finally the island of Vis – the last of the Croatian islands. A quick overnight and the Grateful Red was in Greek waters. When the Greek god Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra he abducted her to the island of Corfu to be certain no other god saw her and they would have martial bliss. Wonder if this strategy worked. The capital of Corfu is the city of Corfu – a city from when Greece ruled the world. Jumbled streets, small shops and a terrific night light. Perfect place to stop and change crew.

Corfu to Siracruse Italy

Sailing Corfu to Siracuse Crew change in Corfu – the Donley’s were a terrific crew but needed to return for work – work is always an issue. The Corfu to Siracuse crew of Vicki and Steve jumped a board with one overnight with both crews telling stories. The first stop for Vicki and Steve was the island of Paxio just a short half day sail from Corfu. Terrific harbor, half empty and lots of Greek restaurants. We needed to store up supplies for the 300 plus mile two nights on the sea sail. Since the Grateful Red can only motor about 200 miles – wind was needed and found including a nice downwind leg. After a couple nights at sea we arrive in Siracuse for the regatta from the clean and tidy streets of Corfu and Paxio to the dirty broken down town of Siracuse – it was like we sailing back a 100 years in time.

Siracruse to malta

Siracuse Malta Regatta Only crew change was Charlie ended his Med sailing career as the Grateful Red foredeck in Siracuse. Did a terrific job! Vicki, Steve, Kristine and Ken were the “race team”. Again the only American flag boat in the regatta – an overnight to Malta. Started with light winds along the coast of Siracuse, had terrific winds across the Ionean Sea and ending with a drifter in the harbor. Managed to miss the freighter with the classic line “When the IAS shows zero miles in two minutes what does this mean?” means a quick gibe and avoid the freighter. Malta is one impressive fort with a terrific natural harbor and lots of war stories. The crew went to the Royal Malta Yacht club regatta reception and talked rum stories.

Malta

Malta to Valencia, and many stops in between The Grateful Red sailed the Maghreb coast of Africa then across the Med to the Spanish Balearic Islands of Majorca and Ibiza finally arriving in the port of Valencia. The crew was Fred and Paula Sheil, Molly Van Wees, Kristine and Ken. The adventure started with Fred finding the Malta go to person – Leno. Leno owned a local and close to the boat bar – a great combination. In his 20’s Leno had captained a boat around the Cap of Good Hope to bring supplies to American troops in Viet Nam – from the neutral country of Malta. His stories were worth the beers provided.

Gozo and Pantelleria Islands

We left Malta stopping in Gozo island for paperwork but Fred had no paperwork – a delay but not a hold up. Next island was Pantelleria where Kristine made friends with Vito the “dock mister” helping us restock before leaving Europe for North Africa.

Tunisia-Sidi Daoud

Tunisia was the first North African stop – site of the first Arab spring demonstrations, no functioning government and the Grateful Red was a little short of documents. Management decision was to go to a small Tunisian port that had little experience with red American sailing vessels and hope for the best. Sidi Daoud was our first port of call. Definitely never seen a red American sailboat in fact there were no sailing vessels of any kind in the harbor only working fishing boats, oily water and a broken down wharf. The local authorities were on us with paperwork (yes the forms were in triplicate using carbon paper – no computers here). While Ken did paperwork Fred mingled with the locals. How –I am not sure since the locals spoke Arabic and some French and Fred spoke English and some Spanish. After a couple hours the paper work was done and one of Fred’s local buddies comes over - psst, psst with the crooked finger. We immediately think the worst – illegal and drugs – but Omar wins out. Fred and I follow Omar to the triple locked cement incased shed – inside is not drugs …. no there is a small pool of water and the biggest lobsters. A deal is immediately struck. Fred and Ken return to the boat as the “great white hunters’ showing the girls our two huge and perfectly legal lobsters. Dinner was terrific. Darkness sets Fred and I are taking the lobster remains on shore – again psst, psst – a wave of the hand. Again we are suspicious but …. the lobster worked out so we follow our friend to the shack where the night soldiers were located. Five nice soldiers about the age of Fred and my children proudly serving homemade cous cous to their new American friends. Not only a great time (and taking pictures of Fred and I with each soldier) but they convinced us to stay another day, we hired a van to drive us around to see the local sites including the ancient town of Kerkoane. Our best time.

Tunisia - Kerkouane

"Kerkouane is in Tunisia. A city of the Pheonician and Punic periods it was probably abandoned in 3rd century BC and, therefore, largely ignored by the Romans. "

Tunisia - Sidi Bu Said, Carthage

Each of the Tunisian stops were the same – friendly people, really different and happy to have some American tourists come to their country.

Tunisia - Tabarka

Interesting stop - complete with camel rides and beer purchases (men only) at the back door of the Market.

Algeria - Chetaibi

Finally we sailed on to Algeria. Half the size of Europe and one of the top ten oil producers in the world with a government run by the Muslim Brotherhood. Definitely not a tourist haven. Immediately upon entering Algerian waters we were met by the Algerian Navy – again a little short of paperwork. Captain of the destroyer was quite friendly. We sailed to the Algerian ports of Chetaibi and Collo. Definitely never seen an American boat in these ports. Every Algerian wanted a picture with the Grateful Red, USA 42 sail number and American flag in the background. Mobbed is all I can say. (Friendly mob)

Algeria - Collo

In Collo, Fred and Ken took a stroll through town. Discreetly two soldiers follow behind. Why we ask – if something happens to an Algerian not a problem but if something happens to an American – “there will be lots of paperwork”. All military management is the same – limit the paperwork. We couldn’t change money to pay for diesel (diesel was about ten cents a gallon) but with military approval Kristine traded a Grateful Red T-shirt and hat for 25 gallons of diesel and a couple bags of ice. Kristine was invited to his “official office” to sign his log. Two pictures in the office – Che Guevera and President Obama.

Majorca and Ibiza

A two day two night Mediterranean crossing to Majorca where we met up with our French friends – Guy, Renee and their boat Cachou at the Copa del Rey regatta. Blender party! Spent a night in Ibiza – party capital of the Med. Molly and Ken did a reconnaissance of a local club that holds an easy 1500. Definitely a party capital! After over two weeks for sailing, visiting and exploring the Grateful Red docked in Valencia harbor.

Valencia

While Ken and Kristine took a trip back home, Fred and Paula stayed and enjoyed the great marina and city of Valencia.

Valencia to Benalmadena

The Grateful Red spent a month at the Valencia marina having both repairs and upgrades. The key repair – Pat the refrigerator technician flew in from California to Valencia plus Ken hired a local refrigeration repair man. The result – the Grateful Red again has cold beer. Took four days to repair the refrig compressor. After a month Ken and Kristine returned to be joined with George and Teri for a Spanish coastal cruise – looking for a Spanish bull fight that never was to be found. The first leg was an overnight to Puerto de Santa Pola. While the beer was cold the instruments/auto pilot continued to have issues. With such a “crack” crew the spinnaker was deployed on the next leg a sail to Port Cartagena. Cartagena is also a NATO naval port and ………. on our way out a NATO submarine cruised …. and I mean cruised at about 20 knots ….. past us. Quite a sight. Another over night to Almerimar along the Spanish Costa del Sol coast. The Costa del Sol has miles and miles of over built and empty condos. With winds variable to none the Grateful Red motored to the port of Benalmadera where Teri and George took a cab to the Malga airport tp return and ….. the new crew of Ron, Niki and John arrived. Ron’s planning was terrific arriving in time to have a leaving and arriving crew party dinner in Benalmadera.

Benalmadena to Gibraltar and Morocco land visit

A new crew with experienced Grateful Red sailors Ron, Niki, Ken and Kristine and a newbie – John set sail from Benalmadera. The mission is to sail across the straits of Glbraltar to the Spanish enclave of Cueta on the Moroccan coast. Not only do the straits have tides and currents of the Mediterranean Sea meeting the Atlantic Ocean but it has more commercialize ….. read huge big boat …. traffic than anywhere in the world. The crew decided to motor across the straits with Ron driving and Ken manning the AIS system. Result – successful crossing. At Cueta Ron and John were the Grateful recon team to determine the best method to visit Morocco, places to see and way to travel ….. camels? Rent a car and drove to Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountain range was the decision with Ron as the designated driver. Ron was a great driver. Chefchaouen is a mix of Arab and Berbers who were pushed out of Spain in 1492. They built mosques, baths and tiled courtyards only in the color blue, planted fruit trees and declared Chefcaouen a sacred city. Had an overnight in a local B&B and a great time touring with Niki and John. The next day Ron drove the rustic gravel road back to Cueta. Another motor back across the straits with the big commercial boats cruising at 20 knots to the British enclave of Gibraltar. The only road to the airport went a across the airport runaway – timing is everything. John and Niki returned to the Accenture work world, Ron flew back to Pip and Ken and Kristine spent the next two weeks in Gibraltar preparing the Grateful Red for the ocean crossing back to the Caribbean.

Gibraltar to Safi

After a two layover of instrument issues and repairs in Gibraltar the Grateful Red was ready for the first leg of the ocean crossing back to Western Hemisphere and the Caribbean ---- Gibraltar to Las Palmas in the Gran Canaries ….. with a stop in Safi, Morocco to Marrakesh. Matt, Gordie and Paul arrived ready to sail. Gibraltar to Safi is a 500 mile run. The initial winds were terrific and the Grateful Red was blasting so much that Ken lost track of fuel consumption. Soon the wind died, than we ran out of fuel and finally the fog rolled in. Did I mention the “fog”, visibility was zero. We more or less drifted in to Safi port, we could hear the waves crashing on the rocks but couldn’t see the rock – 100 {e5b62957b3804ab7f47eece8c936dd4b822dafb6efd3f6ca02827a1c1cc3266f} by the chart no visuals. At eleven in the evening we tied off to a work ship in Safi harbor – the harbor had only commercial boats and the Grateful Red.

Marrakesh Visit

Ken’s friend Mohammed had arranged for a driver to Marrakesh …. and the driver was still waiting in Safi. Skipped most of the paperwork and off to Marrahesh. Mo had also arranged a Riad or private house that was rented out to guests. Finally at two in the morning the crew was asleep in the souks of Marrahesh. Mo had arranged a guide and three day tour of the sights, sounds and snakes of Marrahesh than back to Safi for the sail to Las Palmas.

Safi to Las Palmas

Another 300 mile sail to Las Palmas. Safi is the port where it was proved that one could sail from Africa to South America in boat built solely of reeds and materials found in Africa. The current from Safi to the Caribbean is two knots – essentially one can and has floated from Safi, Africa to the Caribbean When the Grateful Red started the winds were less than ten knots, a milk man dead down run and ….. now filled with diesel ….. use of the engine got us on the way. By the end of day one we had the main reefed in and in Las Palmas in two days of sailing. Next sail was the ocean crossing – Las Palmas to St. Lucia. Gordie, Paul and Kristine did some island touring with ken and matt trying to resolve instrument issues for the crossing.

Las Palmas Departure

After a successful Gibraltar to Las Palmas sail the Grateful Red had a number of instrument issues primarily no auto pilot. Paul the instrument guru was flown to Las Palmas for onsite part change out and repair with Ken helping. With repairs ongoing the crew of Curtis, Jack and Mark arrived. In the ’09 crossing Curtis, Jack and Ken crewed the Grateful Red the 2,300 miles from Bermuda to the Azores. For the 3,000 mile return crossing from Las Palmas off the shore of Africa to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean – the earth is fatter in the middle -Mark joined the “crossing” crew. A successful safety inspection by the race committee, rounds of preparatory beverages and completed instrument upgrade the start date arrived with the boat ready. The Atlantic Rally Crossing ’11 had approximately 250 participating boats, about 10{e5b62957b3804ab7f47eece8c936dd4b822dafb6efd3f6ca02827a1c1cc3266f} catamarans/90{e5b62957b3804ab7f47eece8c936dd4b822dafb6efd3f6ca02827a1c1cc3266f} monohulls with an average boat length of 57 feet and the shortest boat was 32 feet – the Grateful Red at 40 feet was on the small size. As the Grateful Red motored out of the Las Palmas slip the throttle cable broke – boat could not be motored – a 3,000 mile sail and the Grateful Red was towed to the start line! The start was windy, crowded and a blast. For the first 15 days the winds, weather and crew were terrific. Fifteen to twenty five mile an hour winds, downwind sailing – spinnaker all day at eight plus knots, drop the spinnaker in the evening and sail reefed main at six to eight knots at night – fabulous sailing. The Grateful Red was on target for a 17 maybe 16 day crossing hopefully beating the 17 day crossing accomplished by Mr. Columbus in 1492. Life is good.

ARC Regatta Crossing

On day 15 the “Christmas winds” started to decrease by day 18 the wind velocity was zero! The Grateful Red was floating only 300 miles from the finish. With only enough fuel for about 50 miles of motoring and limited amount of cold beer crew morale dipped. Hard to work a midnight shift when the boat speed was two knots with a 1.5 knot current. One full moon night the crew just dropped all the sails and floated. By hook, crook and lots of irritating sailing at two knots by day 20 the Grateful Red was within 50 miles of Rodney Bay marina in St. Lucia – the finish. The last few gallons of fuel was used to motor – the Grateful Red arrived mid day of the 20th day at the finish. Successful crossing!

Arrival in St. Lucia

Sailing Crew and Land crew were overjoyed to see one another! Long time at sea and a long time for family to wait!!!