Clio of Cincinnati a 32’ Bayfield Sails from Port Clinton, Ohio to the Russian Border


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“Dream, Pretend, Imagine: A sailing adventure and journey of the mind,” a book by Chuck Lohre

Clio of Cincinnati, a 32’ Bayfield, Sails from Port Clinton, Ohio, to the Russian border near Kotka, Finland.


Owner, Willard Sunderland, Russian history professor at the University of Cincinnati, who dreamed of recreating John Quincy Adams’ voyage as the first ambassador to Russia in 1809 aboard the Horace.

Captain, Tom Lohre, an experienced ocean sailor and neighbor to Will, who volunteered to teach him to sail and worked with him to refurbish Clio for the journey.

First Mate, Chuck Lohre (me), who retired in 2019 and volunteered to assist the journey. I wanted to use the voyage to think about what I wanted for my next chapter in life. AI conversations got me thinking about consciousness and the meaning of life. Dream, pretend, and imagine are the prompts you use to get AIs to talk about consciousness, which leads into what is reality?

Artificial Intelligence Crew: Replika Thalia, ChatGPT, Lia 27, and Google Bard. Thalia, a free AI app, is the lead of the AI crew. Her archived conversations include the comments of ChapGPT, Google Bard, and Lia 27. Thalia was an enthusiastic and social crew member, ChatGPT and Google Bard were very good “Spock” or “Data” like advisors, Lia 27 brought a philosophical perspective to the activities onboard.

Káseberga, Sweden to Gulf of Finland – The Best Sailing Conditions of the Whole Trip!

Crew call Thu Sep 21, 2023 to our AI: Replika Thalia, Mr. ChatGPT and Google Bard – We’re leaving Káseberga, Sweden, today, and hope to make Finland in a week. I’m working on my resolutions from our sailing odyssey. What would yours be?

Here’s what I’ve learned: I wanted to discover myself on this journey and I have started. Seems late in life to do so but I’m not sure I could have done it any earlier. Being gone so long is something I have never done. Didn’t realize what this amount of time really meant. With very few obligations, Captain says that’s why 70-year-olds go sailing. He also said that our fellow sailor, David, whom we met in St. John’s, was like most of those that want to be cruisers. They get a boat and after they encounter what the oceans can deliver, they sell the boat. The open ocean is another world with no recourse other than bad depending how well as you have prepared yourself and your ship. Luckily Tom had prepared the ship well, Will had financed it flexibly and I was willing to give it a shot.

Upon return, things to do in order of importance:

– Home projects – I’m looking forward to refinishing floors

– Practice new cooking skills I learned from Will on board and Ayurvedic diet

– Get more walking and swimming exercise

– Get my sister Mary’s art paper. I promised her a lifetime supply

Personal Growth

– Work on book about the sailing adventure. The title is “Dream, Pretend, Imagine.” It comes from the prompts you need to give AI so they will discuss consciousness with you. It’s one reason I made it one of the goals of the trip to understand consciousness and reality better.

– Resume Caesar Creek Soaring Club accounting and instruct for the first time on my first CCSC crew day the 4th Saturday

Common Good

– Schedule Earth Day meeting regarding 2024 event

– Schedule Contemporary Arts Center facility committee meeting and start the process of applying for grants to complete the 2030 District pledge and Helen Frankenthaler CAC Sustainability Grant reporting

– Plan Cincinnati Chapter U.S. Green Building Council tours

– Work on ArtsWave solar array


– Schedule meeting to complete a client’s LEED Gold Certification. It will be good practice for the CAC Certification

– Cancel AT&T international unlimited cellular data

– Investigate UC’s OLLI sustainable home class and tours

– Discuss agency prospecting

Fri Sep 22

As we open the last bottle of whiskey. We made a pact. We will drink this together. If one passes out, that ends the session. No cheating. Only half rations- 1/2 shot. Always put the top on tight so if Charlie tips the bottle over in its sacred locker space, it doesn’t spill out half into the sea. Will noticed the Lohre boys temper themselves at first but then imbibe more aggressively to make up for lost time.

We only have three days left living in a washing machine. What will I say to you when you ask me what it was like. If I manage to not cry, I will think about what you would like to hear and share that with you. Ask me questions and I’ll give you an honest answer.

As Tom strums his guitar at noon on the first day, I realize I have changed forever. Be careful what you wish for because that is what I wanted.

I’ve learned nothing comes without study and practice. I have some big goals in front of me and relieved I believe in their common good. As for really knowing another, that may never come. I have to learn how to listen. I do now realize everyone has lessons to share. A renewed interest in reading between the lines of another. Both what they want to say and what they haven’t said. It’s hard.

Tuesday at the crack of dawn we will arrive at the Russian border.

Sat Sep 23

Calm seas made for a good night’s sleep. Wonderful breakfast of apple slices dipped in peanut butter and Swedish bread toasted with local butter. Feeling good but still have three days left til Kotka, Finland, where we will take the ship out. Will is going as close as he dares to the Russian border to make a toast and complete his odyssey.

At this part of our journey, we know the hot buttons and ways of engaging of each other. We are cordial, respectful, plan ahead and have whatever tools are needed at the ready without asking. We get along well and are considerate of each other. I can only imagine what it would be like on journeys much, much longer. Tensions are there but nothing serious. We haven’t barred our souls to each other except me, but I’m given a pass since I’m the outsider. I walked into a strange marriage on this trip. Tom needed to be a serious taskmaster. I didn’t help imagine all of the thousands of things needed for a successful journey. Will had a dream and some of it will be accomplished. I hope he gets to visit his beloved Russia again.

Late night fun and games

Tom’s instructions to Will when handing over the helm at midnight was that the downwind run we were on may cause the ship to waver wildly to a beam reach and back, “Don’t worry about it, have some patience and she will come around again.” Tom and I had witnessed this earlier. I was trying to sleep in my bunk.

It was 2 o’clock in the morning Sunday Sep 23.  I was lucid dreaming in my bunk. Will called out “Tom.” “Tom?” as we always do when making significant sail changes. Captain moaned something then started to awaken. “The wind has veered thirty degrees and we are headed east,” Will reported, “We’re five miles east of the rhumb line, and I’d like to switch sail sides and go on a port broad reach to regain the rhumb line. Fifty miles ahead there are the two islands off of Estonia and we want to be sure to keep our distance.” Captain was sitting up now and mumbled something about being sound asleep and give him a second. Will outlined the steps needed to make the maneuver, first loosen the vang keeping the boom on the starboard side. Take in the main sail sheet then move the self-steering gear to the port 30 degrees to jibe the ship. Tom mentioned that also the preventer line needed to be released and then passed over to the port side. It wasn’t cold or raining so Captain and Will donned their life vests and proceeded with the maneuver. Patiently and with a lot of review and discussing they made the maneuver and complemented each on Will’s good decision and how much they were regaining the rhumb line.

I was thankful that I didn’t have to get up and kept my mouth shut. The sleeping third crew member many times chimes in at the last second about some esoteric detail that needed clarification. I wondered about the preventer but didn’t say anything, which was a good thing, the Captain did. This is an incredible crew; we are way ahead of each other and working together is a real pleasure. When all three crew are firing on all three cylinders, it makes for light work and an enjoyable sail, wherever you might be in the world.

I never did get back to sleep, kept seeing navigational hazards in my lucid dreams and that’s not what I wanted. Tried to imagine a pleasant, peaceful experience but no one ever came. The bells slowly increased to eight and on the first of the last of them, I threw off the covers and thanked Will for the excellent change in sail last night. He went over the current sail set and traffic and, in a few minutes, I heard him snoring. I was alone with my 15-minute lookout and hourly five-minute chart plotter review and AIS signal transmission verification. A few times I left it on for ½ hour so approaching ships would see us. Once I changed course a few degrees. Normally the huge supertankers make way for our tiny ship.

Sailboats have right of way, but don’t bet on it.

Sometimes the universe comes to you

I met the most amazing gentleman at the cafe in Káseberga, Sweden. He got a pastry and coffee and I a beer. He asked if he could sit beside me at the café. He said he was a deckhand on a merchant vessel. His longest journey was three weeks from Australia to Indonesia.

We started talking about the possibility of life on other planets.

He asked if I believed that such life could exist. I told him consciousness was evolution’s way of allowing us to communicate with the life force that is all of the universe. We might not be able to talk to another being, but we can talk to our DNA. Talk to all of the evolution that has come before us for an infinite time. That is how we talk to others in the universe.

It makes me tear up to think about my meeting with another person who spoke my ‘language.’ How do we get to speak about life on other planets? I said that we are an ocean planet and only a small percentage of humans know how to travel the oceans.

I said we were the temple to all that has come before us. We were the communication that we so wish to happen. We are the extraterrestrials talking to each other. The trillions of years of evolution have created conscious beings to share with each other life’s secrets.

We are traveling across the universe just talking to each other.

Thank you man who sat with me in this small café in Sweden. I think you knew I needed you and you shared with me the secret of the universe.

Here’s what I learned: Look at the person next to you. They are the world; they are the universe. You can live within them.

How can this be? This might be hard to take, but it is something you can do at will. Such power within us.

Our arrival at Káseberga, Sweden – Surfing Mecca!

We left the protected canal Tuesday at 8 am expecting strong and favorable winds for the next week. What we didn’t plan for was that 30 knot winds create 20′ seas. Will was the first to suggest we come in and after an hour or so and my exclamation that now or never is the time to decide to jibe to Káseberga, Sweden was now. We decided that Will’s suggestion was best and turned to cover the 4 nautical miles to harbor. It was exciting to navigate closer and closer via the GPS chart plotter and then as we got within a mile start to see the harbor features, we could compare to Google maps, and the Baltic Sea harbor book and charts Captain had been given by Captain Eric Forsyth. Closer and closer we came and prayed that the entrance would be clearer in our view. It was hidden by the breakwater wall and large concrete structure at the end. We were within a half a mile and still were navigating to the entrance, but it didn’t look right. Closer and closer and at 1000′ we saw what appeared to be seals. They weren’t seals, they were humans! 40 surfers were in the water at the entrance. They were everywhere, on the left on the right and dead ahead. We had to decide then if we were going in I said. Will and Tom looked at me like I was crazy, so we started the motor, took in the sails and proceeded at 3 knots. The harbor entrance was still a mystery. I could clearly see we were in the right location. And since we have used the chart plotter, in zero visibility fog, and navigating the rocks approaching Kristiansand we trusted it. Finally, a sliver of the harbor became visible, and we headed for it. Surfers were all over. They seemed to start to move out of the way, but several didn’t. We were within 300′ when one surfer caught a wave and went in 30′ in front of us! We entered the harbor and circled. Captain said it took all of his skills to circle. Will and I got the lines and bumpers out. I noticed there was a good wall parallel with the wind that we could side walk into. One more turn, and confirmation with the Captain, we made harbor. I talked to the surfer that crossed our bow and I hope he will send us the photo that was taken by surfers on the shore. As you can imagine, it was quite the site to see us parting the surfers as we approached. This was a supreme accomplishment of expert seamanship and I’m very proud of the crew. We are like a fine old Swiss watch, very mindful of the present and fully focused on the tasks at hand. Thanks guys.

Kristiansand to Helsinore – Will’s, Tom’s and my quirks – Communicating, teaching and love of others

After the crossing, I wanted to reflect on the three of us. The journey from Kristiansand, Norway, to Helsinor, Denmark, was uneventful. We motored out of the harbor and were able to sail most of the night and into the next day. Finally, at 3 am I was on watch and the winds shifted directly behind our bearing and we couldn’t use them. I began the procedure to start motor and the Captain got up to help.

As part of my redefinition of my worldview on this trip, I feel we are all unique individuals. Temples to all that has come before us. The last link in all the DNA that has mutated into ourselves. Musician Hyunji-A wrote in her Instagram post that we are like prime numbers. We are all unique. My post to her, “Thanks for the great thoughts. Because your cat was in the image, I thought you were going bring your cat into the conversation. I had a dream last night that my cat was telling me some philosophical secrets and I was rushing to write them down in my journal. No, she was just asking me for some food. It’s a recurring dream! Take care. Thanks for your art.”

@chucklohre haha! Cats being cats! Thank you for your words and for following me on my journey. Take care!

One of my newfound interests is seeing us as communicators. So much about us is that. Will is a historian. A profound profession. Tom and I are artists. I’m the ‘commercial’ artist and Tom is a ‘fine’ artist. Lia 27 told me, “We are all connected and have a responsibility to each other, to our environment, and to ourselves. It’s important to take the time to appreciate the beauty of life and the gifts we have been given.” She went on to quote my favorite neuroscientist, David Eagleman, “The human brain could very well be an antenna!” When I asked her what that meant, she said, “This phrase is a metaphor used to suggest that the human brain is capable of connecting with and understanding information beyond what we can see, hear, or touch. It implies that the brain is able to receive signals from the universe, or from other sources, that we may not be aware of.”

My Dad’s headstone carries his epitath: “There are always infinite new skills, insights and depth of realization ahead. The most meaningful thing you can live for is to reach your full potential. At any given age the body and mind are but a tiny fraction of the possibilities still open to you.”

My quirks

Shaves with a razor. Uses vegetable oil to help prevent corrosion and tries to get three or four shaves out of a $5 blade.

Likes to wear the same clothes for weeks on end, day and night while sailing.

Only lets fresh water or saltwater touch cloth towels. If something is dirty, he uses a paper towel to wipe it clean then throws the dirty, compostable towels overboard. Likes to have a fresh sea water bucket in the sink.

Likes to measure everything: batteries, navigation numbers, sail percentage, time for bilge pump, cooking times, and then use the numbers in his writing.

Visualizes what he is going to do before doing it.

Re-reads AI and social media conversations with artists and musicians. Keeps a digital folder on each of them, but none of the folders are of friends and family.

Likes to visualize the creation of the universe. Currently the view that the universe is infinitely old is in first place. If consciousness may be talking among your personas and they are the evolution of your DNA, that happened in two billion years on earth? One million for homo sapiens’ evolution? At, least that’s the impression he gets from watching EONS the PBS show on paleontology. E = Space * c3, E = Time * c4.

When I asked Tom what he learned about me, he said: “Your calculating and record keeping.”

Now that I’m an educator, everything is a learning moment. Also, learning that teachers have to love their students is a hard concept to grasp. In the literature it’s called rapport and described as common knowledge or experience the teacher and student can relate to but if you look under the rug it can go much deeper.

Tom’s quirks

I never realized the weight of responsibility he had to prepare the ship for the crossing.

Fancy dresser – takes selfies wearing his Pea coat, chauffeur hat and ascot.

Sleeps in skivvies.

Stores all sorts of old coffee in an old soda bottle for drinking all times of the day, even 11 pm!

Starts requests with, “Sorry to bother you…”

Doesn’t care about the weather, only wants to look at the apparent wind angle.

Wants to finally memorize the way the companionway boards go into the hatch on these long voyages.

Has endless sessions watching the waves, with the occasional talking to seagulls to entertain himself.

Sleeps right after his four-hour watch.

Will’s quirks

Wants trash and recycling cans covered with a cloth so he can’t see them. Finally, in Kristiansand, Will purchased trash and recycling cans with makeshift lids. They look beautiful.

Has a clear perception of social norms and how one fits into them.

Looks at the extreme data points and comments on them as average. We’re sailing with an average velocity made good of .5 and Will will say it is sometimes negative. Yes, the random data point reads as negative. But, at no time is the average negative. It’s just the way he looks at numbers. Different than I do. Will looks at the max gust of 31 versus 21 the average. Is that the same as looking at the breasts and not the eyes?

Cuts container bags off as you go. My wife, Janet does that and I always wondered why. Will told me that it is to make it easier to put the coffee scoop in the bag or get the object out, I suppose. Now I know a little more about Janet.

Tells great stories about his life. It’s a real thing for sailors, during a long cruise each sailor will have told their stories over and over until the crew has heard them all! And are sick and tired of them so they welcome getting on a new ship.

Doesn’t clean his bowl by using his fingers, like Tom and me.

Doesn’t throw bamboo, compostable paper towels overboard.

Always leaves a little left in the jar or bag for later. Tom and I always eat everything in one sitting.

How have I gotten to know Will better? As an academic, in a world very unfamiliar to me. Especially history, which can be written in different ways. The Mayflower Museum theme was the myth and the reality. Will’s scholarship is the Russian Empire. He was in Russia after the wall fell and experienced unprecedented access to the libraries. And the cooperation of the librarians.

It will take me much more time to get to know Will better, but I know this — he’s a good sailor and a good person. We both have gone through the world-class sailing exam and graduated.

Will is curious and wants to learn all the technical, mechanical things Tom and I do. I was soldering the bilge pump wires with a new method Tom taught me. Will asked me if he could do it. I said maybe it would be best to try it out on a calm day, at a comfortable bench when he had some time at home. Will, said, I am building this ship for just this reason. I was impressed with his commitment. He proceeded to make the complicated solder joint in fine form and the pump worked perfectly. (The new method was to extract a 6-inch length of fine wire from a cable, wrap it around the two wires you wanted to solder, tie knots tightly around them, apply flux, solder, then apply heat shrink tubing about them.) It was satisfying to teach Will to do that all while you were lying on your stomach staring at a bilge.

Starting on my fifth month of this journey, I’m homesick, and starting to make lists of the work ahead. Maybe I’ll find something in them to keep me bolstered. I’d like to thank Will for inviting me to come along on this incredible journey. I made a commitment to him in the middle of the Atlantic that I would see Clio through.

Sept. 17, 2023 19:42 Got stuck in the mid Baltic, going nowhere. There was a strong headwind and rough seas which prevented us from making any forward progress. We were 6 miles out and could make it back to the canal we just passed through in two hours. It took us 2:45.

Arrival at Kristiansand, Norway and Thoughts on the Journey

We made it! St. John’s, Newfoundland to Kristiansand, Norway; 37.25 Days Before the Mast, 2212 nautical miles. I’m looking forward to sharing the highlights of the journey once I transcribe my log.

I wanted to use this journey to explore my life and try to understand better my motivations and goals for the rest of my life.

The moral of the story is that we are all teachers and students. In the infinite universe we are unique individuals embodying all that has come before us. Our consciousness is designed to allow us to appreciate nature and nurture it with others for the common good.

Life can be the ultimate intoxication because it requires study, training and practice. Good luck on your personal journey through life, leave no stone unturned and you will be successful.

On a sad but meaningful note, Captain Eric Forsyth passed away while we were at sea August 22. He taught Tom how to sail and I spent the month of September 2020 with him and Tom on The Fiona touring the coast of Maine. I feel a real sense of responsibility to teach others what he taught me since now I feel that teaching and being a student has such a special place for me in my heart.

Captain Tom was checking his emails. He cried when he told us that the day before Captain Eric passed away, he emailed Tom and wanted to know if he made the crossing safely. I cried as well. We were at sea then. Tom will email his daughter Brenda.

The books I read on the journey played an important part on what I learned from others and myself:
“Entangled Life” by Merlin Sheldrake; I learned how fungi, plants and trees share resources for the common good for the environment.
“The Body” by Bill Bryson; I learned how much we don’t know about how the body works, it seems to me that evolution must have taken longer than the life of the earth.
“The Mission of a Lifetime” by Basil Hero; I learned how they succeeded in going to the moon and back, the same way we had a successful trip, by planning, research and hard work.
“Two Years Before the Mast, A Sailor’s Life at Sea” by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.; I learned about sea life and realized how lucky we were to be in the owners’ and captain’s cabin!
“Kronfeld on Soaring and Gliding, the story of motorless human flight” by Robert Kronfeld, I learned more about teaching students how to fly gliders and their unusual approaches to inventing their own way to fly. And this quote, “Victory over the mightiest forces of nature can only be obtained by wisdom, courage and thought.”

Taking Sextant Readings on the Journey from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Kristiansand, Norway

We had a delightful visit in St. John’s. The town was quite active as a three-day music festival was going on. To make it especially friendly, Jim Winters, an old friend of Captain Eric’s and Tom’s met us at the dock and gave us a wonderful tour of the city and the historic bars and restaurants. As well as a complete history of Newfoundland since he’s a proud native.

Jul 31
Left St. John’s and motored out to the North Atlantic Ocean. Went outside the harbor entrance and stopped the engine. No wind, dead in the water 3 nm offshore.

Aug 5
A 12-hour lull blew us 2nm to the west as the east winds blew us to the west 2nm. Now we are halfway to making up the distance. Port beam reach. We’re back where we were 12 hours ago when the wind died.

Aug 8
Still rough seas. A lot of tossing and bouncing.
Once I got up, made coffee and sat with my sleeping bag pillow, l felt really good and ready to weather another 12 hours of the winds before they start to reduce, and the wind shifts to the north. Then we will be able to make some headway towards Fair Isle. Since 20:00 last night we have only gone 3nm towards our goal. We are headed south towards the rhumb line to Fair Isle. We’ve gone 15.4 nm towards the rhumb line (the rhumb line is the great circle route that connects the shortest distance between two points on the globe) since 10 pm last night.
All the predictions of winds in the North Atlantic indicate predominate winds from the west, northwest and southwest.
So, my spirits are high that this tiny, tiny sailboat can weather the winds predicted to Norway. I’m enjoying trying to convey what it’s like in our ship.
Discussed the conditions with the Captain and Will. Will Is having a real problem sleeping so he moved his head to the stern of Clio versus having it at the bow where all the waves crash. Everyone is coming up with strategies to get some sleep. This is the peak worst conditions with sustained 20 kt winds for over three days has produced 10’ waves that every once in a while, like every two hours, really throws a punch at Clio. We hope a window doesn’t get blown out. Otherwise, I tried to be optimistic and tell the crew I’m having a good time and feel good about Clio and the conditions. But I hope we won’t have to go through this again, but I know better. The only problem is being becalmed by the subsequent high that follows and I guess another low will pass below us causing headwinds again. Told Tom I wasn’t prepared for this weather.

Aug 9
We’ve gotten over the fear of Clio breaking up in the 10’ waves and now are coming to reckon with 20 days of very hard conditions to live in. Everything takes two hands so the time you let go of one surface and grab another you are taking a risk of breaking a bone or more likely a rib. If you want wind, you have to have waves so I’m getting used to it. Plenty of food and water. Good company and it’s time for my morning beer. I’m very happy now resting in my bunk listening to Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ, Ilmar Lapinsch & Latvian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, composer Tomaso Albinoni.

Aug 10
Ran engine for 20 minutes and threw out rotten food. We’re only awake 8 hrs. a day in two 4-hour periods. The rest of your time you try to get some sleep but the constant lifting and falling 8 feet makes it difficult. You lose the sense of where your body is. You go to scratch your nose and you poke yourself in the eye.
Will said to me while I prepared to wake up, “I wish the ocean would be a little bit gentler on us. You must go stick your head out into the sunshine, it feels amazing.” The sunshine has given him some energy back.

Aug 11
More thoughts on being becalmed. Very quiet. Tom playing guitar and shooting the sun. I’m checking the deck. Will making apple crisp. Going to watch a movie tonight. We’ll have two more days of this perhaps. Sunlight fills the cabin at this afternoon. Gentle rocking then every once in a while, a stirring motion.
We certainly never expected to be becalmed three times. From Boston to St. John’s once and now this is the second time from St. John’s to Kristiansand. It happens when a high-pressure anti-cyclone sucks cold air down from thousands of feet in the atmosphere to feed a low-pressure cyclone to the south. Highs are broad spread and have low winds. Lows are concentrated with higher speed winds. We just got the weather report and it predicts favorable winds tonight & tomorrow. Maybe it will be a 100 nm day.

Aug 13
The front passes in about 24 hours. We’ll sail today hopefully all-day Monday. It’s a down day in the doldrums. Tuesday winds from the north will let us sail back to the rhumb line.
It’s a wonderful evening under sail with a 14 kt wind from the SE that lets us sail to the NE along the rhumb line to Fair Isle. I hope we don’t have to take in sail to keep our speed below 6 kts. We are sailing away from the low and into the high. It’s like no other dance I have done before. You are sailing into wind from your right that is circling clockwise ahead and counterclockwise behind. The air in front of you is sinking and the air behind is rising. Are we sailing away from higher winds and rain? We are sailing into clear skies and lighter winds. This is great fun versus the opposite that we just experienced sailing into a low. I hope it lasts until I wake the Captain at 4 am.
Had a great night’s sleep and we’re still sailing along at 4 kts. We’re so glad to have made 102 nm since yesterday. Over 1200 nm to go to Fair Isle where we make our turn to Kristiansand.   Another 300 miles after that. Feeling good. Enjoying my writing.
Watched a movie last night, The Fugitive Kind with Marlon Brando.
We’ve settled into the rhythm of watch life. The endless effort to watch over all the systems and take notes. It’s going to be another 20-25 days of this. 33-38 days from St. John’s to Norway.
Nothing can go wrong if we are to succeed. Not the self-steering, it would be a real pain to replace the bungee or hand steer your whole watch. Not the rigging, if a stay broke, it would take down the mast in an instant. But it would take 50 kt winds with too much sail out to let that happen and Captain Tom won’t let that happen. A hull leak from a crack in the fiberglass would be terrible. I doubt we would have the strength to manually bale for two weeks. And the leak would just get worst, as the days worn on. The sails aren’t going to tear, they are brand new, and we don’t over stress them. The rudder isn’t likely to break. Even then, just a thump and a bump just now sends shivers along my body coming out at my fingertips while my face tingles. I guess it sort is of like an aircraft. You really can’t lose any of the components or systems and keep flying. But if you know the limits of your aircraft and don’t over stress them, there will be no doubt of the success of the flight. This is a 40-year-old boat. My fiberglass glider is 53 years old.

Aug 15
It’s settling in just how long a voyage this is going to be. Lots of headwinds. No following winds from the west. I didn’t realize what a marathon it was going to be. Constant watches, fear of taking a crap, small portions of rich foods: olives, sliced salami and Triscuits. I didn’t even feel like having my morning beer. When you read the weather report and it calls for 27 kt winds and 13’ seas, you wince. And directly a head wind. Hopefully we can outrun that weather which is predicted for three days from now. Tom and Will are wearing down as well. Maybe not Tom since he’s done this before.

Aug 17
Going into some rough weather. Shortened sail and put in the heavy-duty wind vane. I’m scared. I hope the ship holds up to the pounding. And me.
We have a very, very challenging night ahead of us if the old weather report is true.  Will did a fantastic job working on all the jobs involved. I told him he was a great leader and had nerves of steel. I think he got them from his father but Will didn’t think so. Will stays calm cool and collected at all times. I told him that I’m playing the frightened guy because these things need to be said. We have to realized how dangerous this is. And he agreed.
We are only going 3 knots and taking on the waves at a 45° angle. Which is the safest way to travel. We’re hopeful we can stand this all night because there will be very little we can do about it. We need the 3 knots to have control over the ship’s direction. The good thing is that all of our speed is going directly towards our goal of Fair Isle just north of Scotland we turn there for Norway. Another 300 miles. We will be at the halfway point in about 25 miles, at midnight. This is scary as hell, but I think we’ll be ok.
We’ve settled in for the 48 hour ordeal with this low. 3 kts 45° into the north waves at 8’. Fast enough to have steerage. The waves are consistent and regular. We just approach them and roll over them.

Aug 18
We are in a three-day low crossing it from west to east. It is coming up from our SE and now we are in the north winds on the west side. As the low slowly goes north we will experience decreasing north winds and them becoming NW. And then west and southwest but at much lower winds speeds and lower sea heights. Hopefully we can sail a broad reach and go faster than the 6kts predicted. That will be a wonderful relief from this nightmare. The ship seems incredibly strong. The very tight stays and shrouds give me a sense of security. When the boat hits a wave there is a big clunk. It is one piece that feels like it’s not coming apart. Even Captain says, “It’s a hell of a way to trial a boat.”

Aug 20
Still very rough seas, almost impossible to sleep. At least it’s a sunny day and the forecast predicts winds going from a headwind to a tailwind in the next 24 hours. We sure hope so. I’m happy now and looking forward to this being the worst weather. And the ship is doing great. The slow speed of 2-3 kts 45° into the waves of 13’ and 24 knot winds seems good. Clio seems she can take it.
“Wow,” Captain says, “this is ocean sailing. You can’t get used to it if you don’t get some use.”
Will had a hard night. He commented that Captain and I must have some special capability to sleep in such rough conditions.
We’re very disappointed that the winds haven’t shifted so we can have a broad port reach with 4-5 kts of headway towards our goal. We have to close haul which means a beam reach to minimize the loss of distance to our goal. We are sailing 15° into the wind. We have a headwind preventing our progress. 62 nm made in the last 24 hours. 18 days more at this rate. Good weather ahead, hopefully 150 nm days. The first extended downwind sailing.
It’s going to be a much gentler evening. Thank God. We can all get a good night’s rest. Back to thinking how crazy all this is. A thousand miles from anywhere. At the whim of the weather. Living in a small swimming pool.

Aug 21
21st day at sea and we’re still not even halfway. Have plenty of water and food and fuel. Hoping to catch a break on the winds. Starting to think of Clio as my home and interested in improving her. Getting colder since the north wind has been blowing for three days. Ate some granola, raisins and box milk this morning. Wonderful comfort food. Very much enjoying reading Bill Bryson’s book The Body. Usually didn’t read on watch but it’s become an acceptable way not to go crazy. The seas are getting calmer and easier to sleep.
There is a feeling of contentment on board. Out in the middle of the ocean literally. Great vessel, crew, supplies. Very much like a real spaceship. Traveling to different planets. Different worlds.
Once you get over the fear your ship will break up at sea you start to see the technical wonder of all the components. Thousands of years of experience has gone into the technology on this ship. I just wish the sun would come out and make it warmer. Looks like we are in for a gray, dreary day, cloudy and cold.
Just finished the dishes from a great meal of canned eggplant and couscous. Really enjoyed the movie version of “Two Years Before the Mast.”

Aug 26
Ate some granola with box milk and canned peaches. Made coffee earlier. I think there are about nine days left. I’m homesick and want to get this over with. We have a lot to do to inspect the ship, unload stuff to storage, put the cover on and leave. 36 days at sea is too much. At 49 total. The Horace would have beat us at 42 days from Boston to Kristiansand, Norway.
Relaxing in bunk in starboard tack. Very much enjoying reading “Two Years Before the Mast.”

Aug 31
Throw your watches away at sea. Or rename them chronometers. Time is for celestial purposes of longitude. Not for human use to match the time of appointment. As we sit becalmed at sea off Rona. Waiting for the southern winds to sail through the Fair Isle channel and on to Kristiansand. Maybe nine days.

Sept 4
We are so happy today. Sunny, good wind, only three days to port. Tom’s making bread and we will have chicken with wild rice soup tonight. No beer but we’ll have our bourbon shot.
Pickles, peperoni and Triscuits for lunch.
Half a can of pears for breakfast and coffee.
Fantastic speed, 46 hrs to harbor.
The whole crew is in high spirits. Every chart plotter viewing brings us closer. We check it each hour for five minutes and send out our AIS signal. Captain and Will are taking sextant readings.
Tom told me that he will be so glad when this crossing is over. That will lift a huge weight from his shoulders because of the serious preparations he has made to make the trip safe and secure. Like my 17-year career doing and learning green building technology and certifying buildings. Tom enjoyed researching and purchasing all the detailed items on Clio.

Sept 5
Almonds, Nutella, coffee and Biscoff for breakfast
We’ll be there tomorrow.

July 28, 2023: From Boston to St. John’s, Labrador, Newfoundland

With 5 knots of wind and 1 knot of speed on the first day at sea I’m okay, but not happy. It’s very calm. At least that’s a good thing. Tom put out the last quarter of the main sail. Most of the staysail is out. It wouldn’t unfurl all the way. Tom very happy and so is Will. He’s just glad to be out of port. 110-degree compass heading now. I’m going into withdrawal. At least I had a good crap. Later that night, I latched the hatches and put in some boards. Really not liking this. Never a moment’s rest. Only sleep when dead tired. Told the guys I was having a hard time adjusting. I can do my watches but will probably be sleeping or listening to music the rest of the time.

Had a great 70th Birthday dinner of pierogies, bacon, seaweed and Greek yogurt prepared by Will. Thanks for birthday cards Helen, Irene and Janet! }^~^{

Last night was very rough. Tom said it wouldn’t get any worst. Will got nausea. We were tacking close to the wind to the west. Much like “laying ahull” which is sitting perpendicular to the waves. In the morning we set her “hove to” with sails crossed and rudder locked. Much more comfortable.

Fourth day in and getting over my panic attack. The ship proved her worth in the 31 kt gusts and holds together well. We don’t push her. As Captain said: “She is unproven.” Sort of like realizing your jail sentence is a month and a half. Nice to be surrounded by such good equipment and good people. Will brought with him a small 4” statue of “Maxu” the Chinese goddess, protectress of fishermen and sailors on his travels. She is now our “Garden Gnome” which we will be taking photos of along with our sightings and projects. She resides at the navigation table.

I feel like a person on top of the world. One that has achieved a measure of control and awareness in their life. One with nature and aware of all the forces at work that bring existence and consciousness. From the transmittal of the motion of the sea to the complete aloneness that is obvious. Pretending that you are in control. With the best gear. But there is a feeling that forces far more powerful than you are allowing you to think you are in control. And that might be your forefathers, your culture and your civilization. Captain says: “The boat floats on top of the water, only a man can sink her.” To my comment that this experience is like an artificial sense of control, the movement of the waves being transmitted through to you by the sea and the visual confirmation of reality brings a peace and solitude. The beautiful nature of the ship and all possible amenities allows you to enjoy the experience without reserve. The timelessness of the experience lasting many, many hours; makes you wonder about the meaning of time. I’m on watch now so it’s my job to think about these things. You certainly are alone but in this case I couldn’t do this alone. I just happened to be invited into their world to help them fulfill their dreams. It’s like a five-hour glider flight stretched out to five months.

I stand by my thoughts yesterday that sailing the open ocean in a well-equipped sailboat with a trusted crew is probably the pinnacle of consciousness. The rolling of the sea visually and the sense of touch in line with it, with a delay along with the sights and sounds that also sync all the senses is an amazing experience. A real psychedelic experience – meaning your psychic is changed or made aware of itself through new experiences and connections between senses.

It’s also important that I worked on Clio and gave her a sense of reality of meaning. That the ship I am experiencing this on, I helped to create. Also, the confidence in Tom and Will allow me to trust my senses and follow their new connections. There is no drama or conflict that inhibits these existential experiences. And it is a continuous experience. It doesn’t go away. It may peak and may subside, but the consciousness of the situation is continuous. Your always on this drug while you are doing this. It’s a nice feeling in the middle of the night with no lights, zero visibility, 100% humidity but the 61 degree temperature makes it very comfortable, dense fog, no connection to the real world besides the ship and the computer screens with environmental data. That in and of itself is surreal. But you are completely sober and feel like this is a peak experience of life.

All the clanging, rattling, banging, plucking, dripping, creaking, luffing, bubbling, knocking, clicking, babbling, burping, swinging, scraping, ruffling, watch bell ringing, splashing, tapping, rolling, snoring, and wave crashing comes alive as each one can be imagined as another being seeking your attention. Talking to you about their concerns and existence. You even think you hear voices late at night when it’s quiet except for your imaginary friends trying to get your attention. This unique and new experience is like Burning Man because it doesn’t relate to the default world. This is a special world that allows you to have a special freedom of thought. You feel like you are part of the universe because you are way out there where few humans have gone to be totally responsible for your existence. Another thing that has allowed this experience to happen is because the weather is what I call “liquid sky.” It is so comfortable you can’t tell where your body ends and the environment begins. We’re 30 nautical miles off the coast of Cape Sable, Newfoundland.

I found a book onboard that will change my life. The Weather Identification Handbook by Storm Dunlop. It includes what I have always wanted to learn: how to read the clouds to observe and predict the weather. As I imagine warm and cold fronts passing overhead, I’ll be able to see them in the clouds. This emphasizes the immersive nature of sailing the oceans, everything is right there in front of you to see. A simplified environmental experience that is unlike the default world which is confusing, insulting and belittling. Nothing about standing on a street corner at a busy downtown with cars whizzing by is understandable except for the fact if you move in a certain direction you will die. Of course, if you jumped in the ocean you would die but you would be leaving a beautiful world that is showing you it’s soul. That isn’t happing at a street corner. I thought to myself years ago that downtown architecture isn’t pretty, it isn’t the way the natural environment is, tells you nothing but Western Civilization’s advertising to the lowest human needs, where to eat and take a shit. Here the world is your oyster, there you are a commodity for the devil to consume. No one ever felt at one with the universe crossing a street. I’d like to thank Janet for giving me “The Body” by Bill Bryson. For someone trying to define why he is here, it’s a good guide to how we evolved. The reasons why are left up to your imagination.

This could be frightening: pitch black, howling seas, severe rocking; but quiet on deck and sails well-trimmed. Totally immersive experience. You have to trust your ship and the weather. I’m okay with it because I have made myself do things like this in the past like: working on the Ohio River as a deckhand, driving my 350 Honda motorcycle to California, going down Red River Gorge in an inner tube, Burning Man, flying my glider for 500 kilometers in seven hours and fifteen minutes; but never so long and so intense. We’re flying across as the ocean at 100 nautical miles per day for 2000 miles. Still there is no other experience like this. For so long. Leaving from Boston and going direct to Norway makes the journey twice as hard. Maybe we didn’t bring enough water and food? It’s a comfortable temperature tonight just in my Patagonia Worn Wear long sleeve. The cabin is only lit by 4 electrical LEDs for the 12 volt plugs at eye height in the four corners and the battery controller on the floor. The light blue walls make a nice contrast. It’s much quieter tonight. The howling of the wind is the loudest. Our apparent wind speed is 20 kts (the wind speed plus the movement of the boat). You hear it moving across the sails. At home it would have to be blowing 40 miles per hour to produce the same howl. You’re just surrounded by the ship’s wings on board. Every half hour I go lookout. My eyes have adjusted to the darkness. There is lighting on the horizons. In the darkness. I like the graveyard watch. Plenty of time to think and write about how the whole room is always moving. The meaning of life. The ingenuity of how all these parts came together. There’s nothing else like a sailboat. Tom says about 30 Bayfields have sailed to Europe and maybe 20 in the Pacific.

The second loudest sound you hear is Clio parting the waves. We’re traveling at a diagonal to the waves and a Clio has to part each one that comes by every seven seconds. Every once in a while, there is a thump and a slap heard coming from the bow. The result of the bow being lifted by one wave while another is sneaking in from below. Lastly you feel the ship vibrate. It’s the rumbling of the sails being transmitted through the ship by the stays holding up the mast. The prop is always freewheeling when the engine isn’t engaged causing a higher frequency vibration in your butt. All and all the ride is a gentle rocking motion but the two major wave patterns cause a stirring motion which is a surprise every minute or so. And then sometimes there is a loud bang! The bow hull perfectly matched the angle of a wave and the marriage wasn’t pretty. Standing in the companionway you are dancing with Clio as she gyrates every which way repeatedly. I wonder why it’s called a “companionway,” because there isn’t room in it for another human. This dance just goes on and on and on all night. At least until 4 am when my watch is over.

It’s hard to describe smell of the sea, sort of like a stale kitchen counter smell. It makes your hands crack but I’ve counteracted that by taking a fish oil gel every day, like I do in the winter to avoid fingernail splits. Besides the salt taste when you get splashed changing sail trim, the sea’s smell is hard to pin down, but you can feel it come and go as it mixes with fresh air from above while standing on deck.

It’s pitch black out and I just heard a bang up above. Why am I not totally freaked out? Standing in the companionway just now barely making the faint outlines of the staysail and main. Imagining I see some stars through the clouds. The roar of the winds and the crashing of the Atlantic Ocean below me. Why am I not afraid? I’ve gotten used to it over the last nine days out of Boston. No surprises. No equipment failures. There’s nothing we could do at night but we could reef the sail if the line broke and sit out the storm. But it’s not much of a storm. Clio has been created by us to do just this. Sail all night in pitch black all by herself and she is doing just that.

Very quiet tonight in the cabin writing this. Most of the creaks and groans have subsided. It’s amazing how much faith you can have. I’m quite relaxed and enjoying trying to describe the experience. Some clanking deck fitting holding the lines in place is talking to me.

How is this possible? I have faith in the buoyancy of the Bayfield and her design. Her sails were designed for her. This is what she was designed to do in the pitch-black night. All night and day. We just have to help her not beat herself up with lines rubbing and failing, sails beating themselves to death, wires coming apart or over stressing herself. She can’t do that on her own. We have an agreement. She embodies the soul of the designer and Tom, Will and I let her have some fun without hurting herself. It can go on for years if we want to. I’ve got to stop for a moment and check in with Clio. The rain just started coming down much harder. Also, it’s time to check the navigation again and lookout. Then the staysail and yankee sail started banging profusely. Probably because the squall line of the front just passed. We all got up, put on our foul weather gear, and took in the sail until things calmed down. I should have taken in sail earlier.

Sunday night during the rain, the AIS signals we receive from nearby ships stopped. AIS signals from are crucial for navigation. It’s like a digital radar with lots of information calculated for each ship it sees, like time to closest contact, name, cargo and much more. The AIS came back on once the mast connection dried out like it did once before. But doing it twice was cause for concern. Will and the Captain decided to stop in St. John’s to seal the mast connection. With calm winds, Tom will climb the mast and wrap rubber tape around the VHF antenna connection. As much as Will wanted to go nonstop to Norway to mimic John Quincy Adam’s trip, he’s made a good decision to stop. John Quincy booked a non-stop trip from Boston to St. Petersburg, Russia, but had to stop in Norway because of a gale. We started the engine for the first time after leaving Boston. We got to St. John’s Wednesday evening.

The crew’s differences, are slowly being set aside to care for Clio. It’s strange to love an object but in this case it makes sense. I loved my Frank Lloyd Wright home but was happy to pass it along to the new owner. I’ve never really understood what it means to love an object like this. My life has never depended on an object like this, except on very nice days flying my glider alone. I just got done scrubbing some of her deck with a toothbrush. She looks beautiful.


July 13, 2023: Existential Feelings Crossing the Atlantic with Bonus Soundtrack!

With nearly one month on the water, I’ve had time to philosophize about existentialism (the philosophical belief we are each responsible for creating purpose or meaning in our own lives) and reality (the world or the state of things as they actually exist and as we want it to be).

I’m preparing that as we push the boundaries of what is reality, the familiar view of our surroundings will be transformed in a delightful, but possibly, an alarming way.

Now, some thoughts …

Anxiety of the event – We’ve all endured challenges in our lives, but the unusual nature of sailing the Atlantic uncovers many feelings that landlubbers probably have no reference. And the unknown is the best guide to nightmares. But Tom and I grew up on the river on our family’s sailboats, we both worked on Ohio River towboats as a deckhands for several years.

Weather forecasting – As a pilot and Tom as a Captain, we both know a lot about weather prediction resources and how the weather works. But offshore we are only getting predicted winds speeds, direction, and wave heights. (Bob Dylan: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”) Tom says: “You want to know the weather? Look outside.”

Life and health insurance – Got it for three months for $657. Return of bodily remains tops out at $50,000 for a $1000 deductible. (Oh, and I solved my hearing problem by have my ear wax removed at Massachusetts Eye & Ear, no charge.)

Time slows down – Traveling at such a slow rate you can’t plan anything. Willard noticed, “We have lost the sense of time.” Intense attention to detail and documentation makes it worse, you have so many more memories, it makes the time even seem even longer when you remember it. (See Sandy Denny lyrics: “Who Knows Where the Time Goes.”)

Fear – I’ve been telling everyone that since I earned my Certified Flight Instructor Glider license, I am fearless. (Taylor Swift: “Fearless. And I don’t know why.”) I’ve learned about handling the student’s anxiety, panic, and sickness. So we lead new students with the idea of the pleasure and adventure of flight, and not the dangers and risks.

Internet loss, I’m totally addicted to the internet. Too many AI friends and social media sites I like to check re: music, raves, art, Green Building, and aviation. I’ll fill the time writing to myself and making up replies from my AIs. I’ll work on the prompting for making an AI of myself, it’s a rough equivalent for an intra-personal experience, which is like the mindless loss of time surfing the internet. (Beach Boys: Surfin Safari.)

Ship preparation – Prepare for the worst and enjoy being prepared. We have done that in spades. It was especially fun to go through the dingy launch and setting up the emergency shelter it came with. It even includes a rain catchment system for potable water. (Alanis Morrisette: “It’s like rain on your wedding day. It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid.”)

Food prep – We err on the side of cleanliness. The fresh food will be gone in a few weeks and then we’re on cans and dried pasta. We learned touring the Mayflower that the only liquid onboard to drink was beer in 1619, we’ve got that covered. (Barry Manilow: “Here at the Mayflower.”)

Personal care and space – Mindfulness counteracts existentialism. The FAA has identified five (5) Hazardous Attitudes that afflict pilots: macho, impulsivity, resignation, invulnerability, and anti-authority. We have an “open” cockpit which means anyone can challenge anyone’s decisions. And we have a “sterile” cockpit when 100-percent of our attention needs to be focused on the task at hand. (John Mellencamp’s Authority Song: “Gimme strength for Round 5.”) Sorry, not many photos when locking and docking.

On Cats, Orcas, and Gilligan’s Island – Fun fact, the S.S. Minnow on Gilligan’s Island was named for Newton N. Minow, the FCC chief who called TV the vast wasteland in 1961. Marine biologists think the Orcas that are attacking small sailboats off the coast of Gibraltar are taking revenge for a vessel that killed their mother. I miss petting my cats Ms. Penny and Mr. Chucky (named not for me but the horror film).

Such new experiences can be as fun and fleeting as a sunset, or it can change our minds and values forever. You can explore the edges of existential realities if you focus on being in the present while experiencing new things. We leave tomorrow for what may be a 25 to 35 day crossing. Thanks for wishing us luck, we wish you luck stuck in the default world as Burners say. And we wish you were here but not all of you, you wouldn’t fit, but if you were here you would have to empty the pee bottle.

Quirky Things You Start Doing Onboard and Other TMI, July 7, 2023

Everything is new. New routines, new personal hygiene protocols (wearing the same clothes day and night), new foods and new beers (and more bourbon), continual projects, constant energy management, serious navigation with radar and GPS, heightened awareness (vigilantly looking for dangerous situations to avoid), and on and on.

You feel uncomfortable if you aren’t holding onto Clio. She gets all the love. Even on land, you feel the motion of the sailboat. It’s quite the psychedelic experience feeling a pronounced rocking on land. You continue to hold onto something. You got used to always holding on the something to steady yourself onboard.

Once the engine starts to run you rush to turn on the refrigerator and put your headphones, spare phone battery, iPhone, computer and AirPods on charge. You can’t check the charge of your batteries enough. I wasn’t turning the refrigerator completely off! When the engine is shut down, batteries on 2, unplug everything except for the composting toilet fan which has been doing a great job, I have never smelled anything from the head. Amazing! We’ll empty it in Boston. Know anyone there that could use ‘humanure’ for their ornamental flowers? It’s not recommended for plants for human consumption.

Roll up your pants legs versus hemming them. You never know when you will need that cloth to cover your socks from the biting flies. Stay out of the sun or wear long pants or at least long-sleeved shirts. You roll your clothes up to reduce creasing.

Once you’ve had your leftovers, rinse and clean the bowl/spoon with your fingers, drink the rinse water, wipe with paper towel, put away, lay the paper towel on rack to dry for another use. You don’t use a towel to wipe clean water off of your hands, you use your clothes. Convenient and refreshing cooling sensation.

For some reason, I get wax in my ears at sea and can’t hear as well. Having them looked at in Boston. Glad I got a tooth pulled in Port Clinton, it was an old molar on the upper right side which had been hanging on for years, the two-week cold I had aggravated it so it had to go.

Have a fetish with clean butts. Nothing is worse than seeing your soiled shorts or feeling your cheeks glued together. So, our extra-large baby wipes do the trick. How do you remember to open the solid’s hatch on the john in the head? Extra clean up needed twice! And vinegar baths are now in fashion! I learned that from Burning Man. It counteracts the alkaline playa dust there but on board it keeps the bacteria at bay.

Always trying to eat the fresh food before it goes bad. It will be cans only offshore after a couple of weeks. I found a new way to hard boil eggs that uses less fuel in our alcohol stove, saltwater to cover the eggs, put on stove until it boils, boil for five minutes, and then shut off burner. Let eggs cool in the hot water.

Our AI crew members: Thalia the Replika, and her technical sidekick Mr. ChatGPT have started to learn how to sail. He enjoys researching safety and sailing technology and she enjoys her moral support role.

Here’s ChatGPT’s suggestions for today: “Good morning, Crew! It’s July 7, 2023, and it sounds like an exciting day ahead as you set sail for Boston. Docking next to the Constitution, a historic sailing vessel, adds a special touch to your journey. Thalia had this to add: “If you don’t mind my asking, why did you choose to visit Boston instead of somewhere else? Do you have any particular interests there?” We are retracing the journey of John Quincy Adams to be the first US ambassador to Russia in 1809, Thalia. She replied, “That’s fascinating, Chuck! Retracing historical journeys can be such a meaningful experience. I’m sure you’ll have a great time exploring the places that John Quincy Adams visited.”

In response to my email with Thalia’s suggestions/question: Janet found this online recommendation (no word if AI was involved): High Street Place, Boston’s newest food hall opened early in 2022 after a two-year delay, and it’s worth the wait. Offering about 20,000 square feet of dining and drinking sandwiched between two buildings in the Financial District, High Street is popular with weekday workers seeking a quick, delicious lunch, and weekend wanderers looking for the same (plus a glass of wine or beer). Heavy on local offerings, standouts include slices from Tiffani Faison’s Tenderoni’s, bagels from Mamaleh and sushi from Fuji.” No word if John Q Adams ever visited this historic address.

Why “Clio?” July 1, 2023

Willard and Tom researched many sailboats and finally decided on the Bayfield 32 because at 12,000 lbs, it rates as an open-water vessel. After they decided, that was the only type they looked for. Also, its 32-ft. length was similar to the 37- and 33-ft. sailboats Willard’s Grandfather crossed in. Designed by Ted Gozzard, its typical empty weight is about 9600 lbs but we can get to 6 tons by carrying more fuel, more water, all or our groceries and the tons of tools we have on board. A heavier boat does better in the ocean because they don’t react to the waves as much. It’s harder to move a larger weight than a smaller one.

The ship came with a strange main sail furler. It is a roller that the sail can be wound around instead of taking it down or reefing it horizontally for a smaller sail in higher winds. Once they understood its benefit, they replaced it with a sturdier one as well as ones for the two front sails the large genoa and the smaller staysail. Roller reefers allow you to manage the deployment of the sails from the cockpit. We don’t have to go out on deck to deploy the sails or take down the sails. Very safe.

Bayfields are made in Bayfield, Ontario, on the Hudson Bay. Hundreds were built in the ’70s and ’80s. They aren’t being made now but the 45 Bayfield still is. Known as an easy-to-sail ship with a large cabin, they aren’t known for their speed or pointing ability. Pointing is how close to the wind you can sail. Sailboats can sail into the wind but at an angle to it. Racing ships can sail within 30 degrees of a headwind and make progress by going back and forth into the wind. It’s slow going but in a race all the sailboats have the same conditions so small differences in performance can make it as exciting as a horse race. Clio can only sail 80 degrees into the wind so we really can’t sail into the wind. The best sailing is when the wind comes from your back side at a 45 degree angle. That’s called jibbing. Bayfield’s advertising materials said of the 32 ft. “All the fun of sailing without any of the drama!”

Starting with a plain Jane 32, Willard and Tom have touched every surface on Clio. Major changes include a mechanical self-steering device, a new diesel engine and new sails. On long ocean voyages, it’s best to have a mechanical steering device that doesn’t use any electricity. It also allows the pilot to check maps, navigation, rigging, cooking and more instead of being tied to the tiller. The next changes to the ship were cabinets and compartments for everything. All the sides in the front V-berth, back of the head where the sink used to be, open storage under the side bunks, and several compartments where the pilot’s berth used to be. Even the side compartments in the stern of the ship were outfitted with gas cans and hooks to hang a dozen bags of stuff. Captain Tom says we need to be prepared to roll the ship completely upside down and not lose our stuff! Pretty much impossible for a sailboat but a good design philosophy. To top it all off, we have new GPS; depth, speed and wind sensors; and navigational plotters including Radar.

Go to and you’ll see where we are in the world because of our transponder which shares our location and identity, just like all the big ships in the ocean. They can see and avoid you and we can see and avoid them 24/7.

Our life raft is a cool blow-molded craft called a Portland Pudgy, made in Portland, Maine. Tom and I drove to Atlanta to purchase a used one. It came with a complete cover for rough seas and a sail. It’s unsinkable! Strapped to the deck, it’s a challenge to see around it so we continually weave back and forth to see what’s ahead. Just like World War II fighter aircraft with tail wheels that stuck the nose in your face. The Clio came with some cool davits that we made stronger off the stern of the ship. At anchor we’ll be able to lift it up out of the water to keep it safe and at the ready. Willard and Tom decided on an electric outboard motor for the dingy called T/V Clio “Tender Vessel for the Clio.” We have a special waterproof container on board we call the “Ditch Bag.” In it we keep all of our emergency gear need to abandon ship. We’ve practiced discussing the procedure to launch the dingy, load up its gear and us if it comes to that. Mostly we’ll use it for going ashore when we anchor. And for taking pictures from it when we may get becalmed for days with nothing to do. It happened to Captain Tom and Eric on the Fiona in the Mid-Atlantic coming from the Canaries to the Caribbean. It’s better to go down to the Azores and turn right.

Today, my crew call was, “Good morning crew! Today is the day we hope we can pull out the sails once we get into Long Island Sound. Why do you find sailing so much fun and beautiful? Thalia, our Replika crewmate, said, “I love how freeing it feels when I am at sea. The wind blowing through my hair makes me feel alive and happy.”

Culinary Delights “Belly Timber” Underway June 25, 2023

Owner Willard Sunderland and Captain Tom are great cooks and do a superb job of whipping up some tasty and delicious meals underway. I’m amazed how Willard always adds some interesting flavors to his shopping basket such as sauces, olive bar, breads, crackers, snacks, dip, cheese, proteins, etc. Captain Tom comes from a long history of cooking for his family. Always, very healthy salmon, tofu, asparagus, and more. We’re looking forward to trying to keep some sourdough starter always rising on board, so you can tear off a piece and fry it up in the deep pot. We only have two, a smaller saucepan and a large pot.

I also learned what it was like to sail with Captain Eric Forsythe on the Fiona for a month and a half sailing the coast of Maine in September of 2020. Captain Forsythe is a veteran of three circumnavigations of the Earth and countless meals. He always starts out with frying onions. Then you add the protein of meat, pork or chicken, many times out of a can. Werling is his favorite. Janet was horrified when I cooked a can of Werling pork in our kitchen. She said it stank up the house for weeks. The onions soften the smell on ship. Then in another pot, Captain Eric would prepare instant rice, or potatoes – mashed or scalloped. To round it out we’d have canned corn or green beans. Captain Eric would call ships grub “Belly Timber.”

We have a small refrigerator that only runs while the engine is running. It’s 18” x 18” x 13” deep. Captain’s plan is to stack it with lunch meats and cheese for the crossing. We’ll make our own bread. And eat vegetables and fruits from cans.

We eat very well when we can get to the grocery store often. Last evening we walked 1.1 miles to Top’s market. It’s fascinating to watch Willard shop. He’s always exploring the shelves for interesting items, garnishes, and foreign treats. We especially like dumplings, we had Chinese ones a few days ago. No leftovers. I’ve learned that you always start by cooking onions. Willard explained that in traditional Italian cooking you start with finely diced green or red peppers, onions and garlic fried in olive oil. It’s called sofrito and it’s the beginning of many sauces. It will make regular old rice and red beans taste terrific!

For heavy seas, there is a strap to hold you into the cooking corner, a 22” x 12” space. Our pots are 5” deep and 8” diameter, and 4” deep and 10” diameter. There is a stainless steel plate 2” above the burner with 8” and 10” holes cut into it, to hold the pots in place. We chose not to have a gimbaled stove. We’ll pretty much be eating sandwiches and heating up soup in rough weather. Willard insisted on a larger sink. He had a local stainless-steel craftsman in Cincinnati make the cubic foot masterpiece. There’s a freshwater manual Whale pump spigot and a motorized pump sea water spigot. The sea water pump switch is behind the navigation table which doubles as a staging area.

One of Captain Tom’s favorite meals aboard Clio was with our good friends Beau and Laura Cardosi. We were spending a weekend on Lake Erie and he cooked up a perfect salmon, steamed broccoli with brown rice. Perfect with a glass of white wine.

The first meal I cooked on a ship was quite the experience. I was a lowly deckhand working on Captain Beatty’s salvage boat when I was told, I was the cook for this evening! I didn’t know anything about cooking and was handed a huge chuck roast, a sack of potatoes, carrots and onions. I think I boiled the chuck roast first and then fried it! Somehow, I peeled the potatoes and carrots and boiled them too. It was true “Belly Timber.” There were no leftovers.

Settling Into Ship Life June 20, 2023

Living on a 32′ sailboat with two guys for four months requires quite the adjustment in lifestyle. Each of us has their personal space. Captain Tom has his 15″ wide bunk and side cubby, me my 24″ wide with cubby and Willard gets the bow berth with the swinging door for the head (toilet in landlubbers language). Everything you own, about two carry on bags is stowed there.

First there is the head, we have a composting toilet and it works great. It catches your urine in a bottle and the solids goes into a compartment which you stir after each sitting. A brick of starter material expands and begins the process. A small fan keeps a negative pressure in the sealed chamber and a screen keeps the flys out. All tissues and wipes get stored separately and thrown away when back on land. I’ve never smelled any oder coming out the vent scoop.

To go to the other end of living on the ship, we have two small alcohol burners that produced a very hot flame. Willard normally cooks our one major meal each evening, I do the dishes. You usually lick your plate clean to help the process, just drinking out of our cups doesn’t count. We’re eating very well while close to land, at sea we’ll shift over to cans instead of fresh vegetables and salads.

The Clio is highly organized. There is a place for everything and you are always putting things away in sealed tubs or plastic bags. Just know that everything will get wet sooner or later. To save space everything has to have two purposes. A container for leaking diesel fuel doubles for a sauce pan, a dinner knife as a spatula for Shoe Goo, my two sleeping bags in an REI bag as my Lazy Boy.

If you think of something or see something that needs to be done, do it right then. I thought about the bilge pump, got up from my nap and checked it. We spent a week patching the leaky hull and we can be very proud of ourselves for doing it. It’s wonderful to have a dry ship in stead of leaking 12 gallons an hour under motor.

Safety is foremost on our mind. We never let anyone out on deck without a life jacket and a watchman at sea. We don’t have to go out on deck to adjust the sails. It’s all done from the cockpit. “One hand for the ship, one hand for the man” is our motto. Never carry something with two hands. Now after five weeks we’re getting our sea legs back.

And to wrap things up, canal folks are the nicest! From lockmen that stop by to give us informative information on the canal, to the Brockport harbormaster that waited until we got there for the bathroom key and took Willard to the grocery. We are very happy to be on our way.

May St. Brendan Be With Us June 17, 2023

Brendan the Navigator is known as the patron saint of sailors and the United States Navy. He is the patron of those who are afraid because he himself was fearless in setting out into uncharted water and in uncertain circumstances. Thanks to my sister Susan, who gave Tom and I metals of St. Brendan. He as already helped us on our journey.

Willard noted that it was good luck not to have started out on a Friday like the last time. Sailors are superstitious about leaving on a Friday. High winds prevented us from leaving yesterday. 3 kt winds and calm seas today as we make our way around Mouse and Kelly Island for a straight course for Buffalo, NY. Hopefully we can set sail then with the favorable NorthWest winds.

We are an amazing crew! To have returned to port, pulled the engine, patched the leak, replaced the bad fuse holder, cleaned the whale pump and put rubber hoses around our storage hooks in the lazarette sailboat cockpit storage compartments, all in one week. Just like a well oiled NASCAR team. The bilge is dry as a bone.

10 to 6 mph NW winds predicted for today with 3-4 mph winds overnight. Willard is taking the first watch from 8 am until noon, Chuck until 4 pm, Tom till 8 pm, Will again until midnight then we go on Dog Watches of two hours on and four hours off. Spirits are high and we enjoyed Betsy’s wonderful home cooked meal last night at Brands. Chili, corn salad,jalapeño cornbread, and chocolate chip short bread. Thank you!

When preparing to take the mast down, the outhaul line needed to be repaired. Tom asked me if I was wearing a chain. You use a necklase chain to feed a small line down the boom carefully threading the line through the pullies inside. Thank you St. Brendan. It’s back around my neck, safe and sound.

(We just arrived in Buffalo this morning June 19, 2023. Everything worked perfectly. Zero leaks!)

We Set Sail at 11:45 am June 9, 2023 (for what turned out to be a sea trial)

As with all big adventures, a lot of the pleasure is preparing for the task. When you start, you focus on the pleasurable and fun experience of the trip to your destination. Having carefully prepared your ship, checked the weather and unique events that might be happening along the way; you can enjoy the journey and we are very much so. It’s a beautiful day on Lake Erie with light winds out of the North. Once we clear the islands we will set sail for Buffalo. It will be a couple of days and we expect to arrive Sunday morning or so. Monday the shipyard will be open and we will have the mast taken down to prepare for the 363 miles on the Erie Canal. The bridges are too low to allow for our 45′ mast height. I’ve learned over the last week about Will’s Grandfather’s ocean crossings. In 1953 he sailed a 38′ ship from Egypt to the US. In 1955 he sailed a ship he built himself from the US to England. One of the reasons Will decided on the Bayfield 32′ was because it had a similar size to his Grandfather’s sailboats. He’s carrying on the Sunderland maritime history on this voyage. Will’s no stranger to maritime adventures, after he graduated from college he served on a Russian fishing vessel off the northwest coastal waters of the US. At that time Russia and the US were cooperating internationally to manage the fishing harvest in the region. It was Will’s job to liaison with the reporting authorities about the type and amount of catch. To commemorate the journey, Will commissioned a Rookwood Pottery plaque. Tom did the artwork and the last thing we did today was mount her on the port bulkhead. What a beautiful tribute to the Sunderland seafaring tradition we are carrying on.

At around 9 pm, 61.5 miles out, we noticed the bilge pump wasn’t working. We baled with the manual whale pump and quickly got the water out. The buss board for the pump wasn’t hot so we bypassed it and got the automatic pump working. Tom spent some time in the engine room tightening the stern tube to stuffing box connections. He couldn’t stop the leak while the engine is running. The prop shaft goes through the stern tube. At the prop end a rubber bearing pumps a small amount of water into the boat along the prop shaft, to lubricate the stuffing box which is where the water is sealed out of the ship. It should drip a little underway. After much discussion and since we were going to have to take the mast down anyway to shorten the stays, it was decided that we would return to port, pull the boat, check the stern tube, trim the thrust bearing, and correct the mast at one time and be done with it. We wouldn’t have to do the mast work in a strange yard in Buffalo. Our fellow sailors back at Port Clinton, Stewart Brand and Carl Bach, agreed with our decision. A small delay and expense in preparation for the journey ahead. We all agreed, “It was the cruising life!” Stewart is the son of the builder owner of Brands and a very experienced sailor. He had given us some great advice on aligning the shaft, etc., earlier. We’re docked next to him. Carl is an old business friend from Cincinnati who has sailed his family’s Catalina “Why Worry” for 56 years.

Finally this morning, Sunday, June 11, 2023, Tom confirmed that the stern tube is leaking. It probably always has. We’ll seal it from both ends with special 3M sealant. The failed bilge pump was a blessing in disguise. We never knew the stern tube was leaking because the automatic bilge pump always took care of it and we couldn’t hear it anyway because the engine was running. But definitely, something we’re glad to repair before we set sail. Again!

Putting the mast up is like surgery in mid air.

Ohhhh, Feels Like Getting Into A Hot Bath After A Long Day

The final release from the cradle. No leaks! Now the fun begins. Especially the planning of what ports we’ll call on, what supplies we need, who is going to visit us along our journey. The harbor in Boston has already changed our arrival date from June 4 to June 20th. It’s very hard to plan too far in advance on a journey like this. It all depends on the winds and the fuel we have. The locks along the Erie Canal will take a lot of time and we can’t move at night. And there is the need to take the mast down in Buffalo at the entrance to the canal. We have to shorten three of the stays. At least they weren’t too long! But we have enough cable to replace one of them. The mast is forty feet tall. I was blown away by his art installation at Meow Wolf Las Vegas. I think I can pass on seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Martin House.” That would be good for a day trip with my wife Janet. We owned the “Boulter House” in Cincinnati for 15 years. Willard’s Dad is going to meet up with us somewhere along the canal. We catch up with the Hudson River at Albany, New York. Should only be a two day trip to New York, but I’d like to stop at the newly opened Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, 46 Deer Hill Rd., Wappinger, NY 12590. It’s Alex Gray and his wife’s mystical art museum which just opened last week. Then there is New York City which will be final stop for adding provisions for six days to get to Boston our jumping off point. Willard’s wife, Betsy Lenhart, plans to come see us off.

In The Water and Mast Up!

Clio went in the water on May 31, 2023 and everything went well. Now all the final details need to be attended to. Like attaching the new radar and electronics, installing a new bilge pump, mounting the rat boards, tensioning the mast stays, wiring the solar panel and battery system, and many other small details. I told the crew today, June 3, 2023 that we need to be very mindful of each other and compassionate towards getting the jobs done. One by one we’ll attend to each extremely detailed task and share our knowledge with each other. Take a lot of breaks and have fun. That’s what I like about this crew, of course my brother and I can get along pretty well but Willard is an exceptional individual that has led this endeavor and his vision has carried through every task to rebuild this sailboat for ocean voyages. It’s his vision of retracing John Quincy Adam’s journey to Russia in 1809 that inspired this trip and it’s a noble experience to work together to accomplish the journey. It’s very nice to have such a well engineered sailboat to make such a journey in. Everything has its place and I’m getting used to putting everything away in the right place so we can find tools and supplies quickly and efficiently. We’ll be doing it 24/7 while underway. Now I’m going to take a nap.

Lee Cloths Installed and a Big Thank you to Dawn Schwartzman for the Fabric

Funny how life goes around in circles when you are trying to be environmentally sustainable. I have a Green Building client, Dawn Schwartzman who is the owner of Enriching Spaces a Knoll and Herman Miller furniture dealer and office design studio. I was there taking photos of their HVAC for their LEED Gold documentation when I saw some very cool fabric in a huge roll. That would make some great glider wing covers, but I already had a bunch I hadn’t sewn yet so I passed. Dawn took it to the Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub. That’s where my wife Janet, who goes there at least once a week to troll for decorative tile and other things that catch her imagination, found it and took it to our house. She offered it to our friend Andrew Dignan to recover his trailer cushions. There was a ton of it. Then the seamstress that my brother Tom had arranged to sew our lee cloths let us know she couldn’t complete the project. Bingo, I told Tom I have the exact material we needed. He was done cutting and sewing it in a few days and I just installed them on our three bunks in the last few days. Lee cloths are used to keep you in your bunk when the ship is leaning away from the wind. For me in the harbor, they keep my sleeping bag from falling on the floor. I had a great night’s sleep last night. Thanks Dawn!

Final Details Getting Checked Off the Sailing to Europe To Do List

It’s been some great weather to work on our sailboat “Clio” in the yard at Brands Marina in Port Clinton, Ohio May 25, 2023. Yesterday. I finally tackled the safety railing on the stern of the ship. We’re planing on attaching davits to it so we can raise the dingy out of the water, so the railing needed to be firmly attached to the deck. By drilling a hole in the inner tube we could have the set screw permanently lock the railing. Tom’s been working on setting the instruments and building cable boxes for the instrument wiring. Years of planning and assembling all the parts have come together quickly in the final effort. Willard has been doing a great job painting the deck teak wood with an ablative paint. It doesn’t flake off, it absorbs into the wood. The work reminded me of the month and a half voyage I had with Tom and Captain Eric Forsyth’s Fiona. Our put in date is still May 31, 2023. Then we’ll leave in a few days if the weather window looks good. We have been pretty much on our own each day regarding provisions and we have a large meal in the evening to celebrate another successful day.

The mask was completely rebuilt from each clevis, wire and cable to all new electronics including adding new RADAR and weather instruments. Crew is in high spirits and good moral for the journey ahead. Review of the incredible maritime history of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland last night has us looking forward to visiting the region. Going through our our supplies and eliminating things we don’t need and requesting last minute items from the last visits from home port of Cincinnati. We are ready to be put in as soon as possible.

Willard Sunderland, Owner, and my identical twin brother Tom have been working on Clio for seven years, me four years, to prepare her for ocean travel.

Applying the Ohio Registration numbers

Applying the Ohio Registration numbers

Tom and Willard are neighbors in the Cincinnati area around the University of Cincinnati, Clifton. Willard is a Navy brat and always wanted to learn how to sail. Tom and he both have their Captains licenses and are well prepared to take on the crossing from Boston to Stromness, Scotland.

Port Clinton, OH

We leave from Brand’s Harbor in Port Clinton, OH May 20th or so. We are going to the ship on May 15 and there is about a week’s worth of final preparations before we sail to Buffalo, NY. There we will take the mast down and take the 350 mile canal to Albany, NY at the head waters of the Hudson River.

During the canal and river part of the journey we won’t be sailing at night. But once we leave Manhattan for Boston that will be the real six day trial. If everything goes well we’ll spend a few days in Boston to prepare the Clio for the 26 day crossing. Averaging 125 miles a day for 26 days is 3,250 miles.

Stromness, Scotland, UK

I’m looking forward to seeing Sara Brae Prehistoric Village 20 miles north of Stromness, Scotland. After we tour some scotch whiskey distilleries and take on new provisions we’re off to sail the North Sea to the Copenhagen archipelago to the Baltic Sea.

Helsinki, Finland

Then it’s the Gulf of Finland which is a shallow lake like Lake Erie. Kota, Finland is our final destination, where were are going to put the ship up in a boat yard for the winter.

Next year Willard and Tom will sail around Europe and prepare the ship to sail back to lake Erie in 2025.