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Apsara: Messages From The Boat:

Sea trials completed, calibrating instruments, 2 weeks until sail...

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Date: May 17, 2003, 6:00 AM Lat: 63° 43' North; Longitude: 22° 42' East
Pietasaari, NW Finland, Gulf of Bothia Wind: E @ 8 knots Boat Speed: zippo
Barometer: 1015 (Rising) Temp: 50 F Skies: Partly cloudy

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We felt, momentarily, as if we were, perhaps, descendants of Shackleton… but we were only brave enough to put the bow about 4 feet in.

Saturday night and getting ready to join the crews of some of the larger yachts for dinner in town at the second best restaurant – the Indian Finnish place (go figure, there is also the Turkish Pizza joint which, shockingly, is not very good).

We had a bit of blow last night as another front passed through with the barometer dropping 12 mb in 24 hours. Winds from the north were gusting to thirty and the rain lashed our faces as we checked our mooring lines. We are moored stern-to the sea wall, facing north, with two bow lines tied to large orange mooring balls. Our stern is about 3 feet from the wall and any additional stretch in the lines or slippage on the cleats and we’d be on the wall – a little nerve racking. So we tightened the bow lines bar tight and added a third line. Down below we played backgammon and made a nice dinner.

Today is bright and mostly clear with light winds. No carpenters banging about the boat at 7:00 AM so we sleep until 8:30. Nancy is up and out before me to do some yoga on the vacant pier and wave good by to Tai-pie whose wine came in on Friday and they left today, planning to run mostly non-stop to England, 1800 miles and about eight days.

Apsara is now officially a sailboat. We have a new suit of six sails and, with our sailmaker from Ft. Lauderdale flown in for 3 days of testing, we were able to finally sail the boat. Unfortunately, lack of wind, pouring rain, and an abundance of ice outside of the channel kept us from logging many miles under sail but the necessary sea trials were completed and everything looks great. We were able to poke our nose into the ice, and are attaching a pic of what it looks like outside the channel. Obviously, we are hoping for some warm sunshine to open a path for our departure in about 14 days.

The boat has more storage space than we thought when we first arrived, and most of our things are now stowed. Storing the sails is another story altogether – and Scott is now working diligently to remove the beautiful teak carpentry from the forepeak in hopes of carving out a few spaces large enough to hold the massive bundles. Outside of this minor demolition effort, the major carpentry projects should reach completion by midweek. We are now down to smaller tasks, such as what to do with the specially designed spice drawer that fits the local Finnish spice bottles perfectly, but is about 3mm to small for ours.

We expect to take the boat out again on Monday or Tuesday to calibrate the instruments, and later in the week we are hoping to do some sailing in preparation for our trip across the Gulf of Bothnia.

In other news, we are very excited for Kathleen Hancock and John DeRose, who are the proud and loving parents (or “forever family” as they say in China) of Jamie Min from Hunan Province. Our thoughts have been with them this week, and we can’t wait to meet her!



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