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Old 03-07-2010, 08:03   #1
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Reid Stowe, I Presume ?

I had been on and off following the account of mariner Reid Stowe and his attempt at spending a record breaking thousand days at sea on and off over the years. It helped get me through the cold snowy winters thinking about him being on boat sailing around the oceans of the world. So when it was announced on his website that there was going to be a flotilla on June 17th 2010 to escort Reid back into New York Harbor I immediately signed up. Since I'm based about fifty miles from New York I thought it would be a nice way to start the new sailing season. I allowed plenty of time to head to New York with no pressing schedule. My first day was a wonderful 40 mile sail to the entrance of the East River where I anchored for a day. The next leg was a trip down through the East River and Hell Gate. I anchored for the night near the Statue of Liberty. So far conditions have been just delightful. The next day Tuesday I start sailing down the 15 miles or so to Sandy Hook New Jersey where I will anchor before joining the flotilla rendezvous point on the Thursday June 17th. Like Reid I'm sailing solo and really enjoying the cruise. It's rather nice not having crew on board. I have a Nonsuch 30 so there really not much for the crew to do except sit around and drink my beer and demand to know when dinner will be ready. I kind of enjoy just doing things on my own schedule. As I approach Sandy Hook in the early afternoon after a delightful sail through New York Harbor. I see only one boat anchored there. A beat up schooner flying a yellow quarantine flag. It's Reid Stowe's schooner ANNE. I do several sail by's but do not see Reid on deck. I don't call out either thinking he might be resting getting ready from returning from almost three years at sea. I do take some photos and publish them on my blog wondering if they are the first photo's of Reid's boat since returning from sea:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: LOOKING FOR REID STOWE
I anchor several hundred feet away to give Reid his space before all the hoopla he will face when he returns to New York and to also avoid the cable crossing that runs over to the Sandy Hook Coast Guard station. Stowe's boat and mine are the only ones here. We wait at anchor until the Thursday the day of the floatilla and Reid's return to New York. NOAA is calling for winds 10 to 15 knots out of the west. Perfect for sailing north to New York I thought.

On Thursday morning I'm up a 6 am and notice that Reid has one of his sails up. A cold front had come through in the middle of the night and the winds were up a bit. Reid was anchored much closer to the shore than I was and I'm thinking maybe he has his sail up to keep his boat from swaying too much at anchor. I see Reid scrambling around on deck. A few minutes later I notice he is sailing away. Strange, I thought why is he taking off at 6 am? The flotilla is not supposed to start for another four hours and the rendevous point is only a few miles away. MISTAKE NUMBER ONE: When you see another sailor who may have had weather forecasts provided by a private forcasting company other than NOAA and they leave an anchorage you really should take notice. I decided there was no rush and proceeded to enjoy my blueberry muffin and coffee. By the time I decide to leave two hours later the wind is up even more. I go forward to take off the sail cover and notice that my snubber line has crossed over the chain and just about been chaffed through and few seconds later it snaps. Not a problem because I am about to lift anchor anyway. The problem is I am alone and now have to raise the 75 feet of anchor chain without having some else at the helm to ease the strain by motoring up. The wind is now 15 knots and the bow is moving up and down by two feet or so in the waves. MISTAKE NUMBER TWO: I take a chance that the windlass will hold up under the strain until I get the anchor up. It didn't! So now another twenty five feet of chain reels off before I can stop it. I now have to pull in 100 feet of chain in by hand while the boat is facing into 15 knot winds. This took me the better part of an hour. Sometimes only pulling in a few inches of chain in at a time. I now have a busted windlass too. Other things broke that morning you can see some of the photos here:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: SO MUCH FOR THAT!
Well the delay in raising the anchor resulted in me never being part of the flotilla. I take solace in that not many other boats participated in it either as the winds were gusting to 36 knots or so. At least I was double reefed from the start.
LESSON LEARNED: I probably should have left when Reid left or just stayed put. If I had stayed at anchor I still would have missed the flotilla but, at least I would have had a lot less damage to repair.

Capt. Mike
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG
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Old 29-07-2010, 12:39   #2
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Did you actually follow the antics of Reid? I followed his "journey" if it could be called that over on Sailing Anarchy.
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Old 29-07-2010, 13:06   #3
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The guy has done something I could not due...that right there deserves my respect.

His handing of his responsibility or affairs or his personal quirks...is none of mine.


Sorry you missed out on the flotilla...and suffered some damage....like you say lessons learned...but I would caution you on following suit on what another boater does or does not do...Hind sight is always 20/20 and who was to know...you had the NOAA report he might not had had anything different...just antsy to get going....it was his big day after all....and he has become an expert of sailing know where to burn up time, so for him the clock meant nothing....and probably felt better on his nerves having something to do rather then lye at anchor...
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Old 29-07-2010, 13:31   #4
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I'm with you. But the guy basically went out and saied in a circle for 1000 days. Never went anywhere and when he did it was at 1.2 knots.
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Old 30-07-2010, 05:54   #5
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I don't think he was a nut case. Anyone who can build a 70 foot schooner and sail it around the world pretty much alone has to know what he is doing. I did follow Reids journey and while some of his posts were a little too "new age" for my taste. I still admire a fellow who builds, maintains and can sail his boat out in the open ocean for several years. As for not going fast I think that was the point. It was about spending "1000 days at sea". Not getting anywhere fast. As a cruiser I find those who go out and just race around bouys for an hour or two only to return to the same harbor as something not worth my time or of interest to me. Personally, I did not buy a sailboat to just go fast or sail around bouys once or twice a week. I'm more interested in enjoying the journeys I make. So in that sense I think I can understand Reid's trip more than the racing crowd at Sailing Anarchy. But, hey there's a lot of water out there and room for all types of sailors.
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Old 30-07-2010, 06:43   #6
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There was a really interesting article about this guy in a Cruising World magazine. Unfortunately the mag is on my boat so I can’t give an exact citation. Regardless, I found this “character” interesting to say the least. He was really a portrait of one of the less conventional sailors getting around out there.

I kind of get his thing about karma though. Recently I dropped off a quite narcissistic and materialistic “mate” mid passage who despite being an ex-navy officer informed me that during all his time at sea he had never seen a whale. Maybe his materialism had held him back from being at one with the ocean which I feel was reinforced by the fact I followed in the wake of a pod of whales for most of the second half of the passage. This kind of reminded me of Reid’s incidental drawing of a whale in his navigation path and how he had seen this as an indication he was in sync with the sea.

Please don’t think I am against military training or disciple. Similarly, it is almost a paradox that Reid credits his ability to lead his artistic seafaring lifestyle partially to the disciple he learned through his serviceman father.
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Old 30-07-2010, 07:04   #7
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Originally Posted by NACRADUDE View Post
Did you actually follow the antics of Reid? I followed his "journey" if it could be called that over on Sailing Anarchy.
That SA thread on Reid was (is) unbelievable ... someone should publish it someday.

What you doing over here NACRADUDE ... things that slow over on SA.
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Old 30-07-2010, 07:24   #8
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Yea, just cruising around trying to learn all I can.

But anyone idolizing Reid should reevaluate their thought process
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Old 30-07-2010, 07:41   #9
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Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
I don't think he was a nut case. Anyone who can build a 70 foot schooner and sail it around the world pretty much alone has to know what he is doing. I did follow Reids journey and while some of his posts were a little too "new age" for my taste. I still admire a fellow who builds, maintains and can sail his boat out in the open ocean for several years. As for not going fast I think that was the point. It was about spending "1000 days at sea". Not getting anywhere fast. As a cruiser I find those who go out and just race around bouys for an hour or two only to return to the same harbor as something not worth my time or of interest to me. Personally, I did not buy a sailboat to just go fast or sail around bouys once or twice a week. I'm more interested in enjoying the journeys I make. So in that sense I think I can understand Reid's trip more than the racing crowd at Sailing Anarchy. But, hey there's a lot of water out there and room for all types of sailors.
For one thing, Reid didn't come remotely close to sailing around the world. More like be a bobber in the Pacific for 1000 days. The boat wasn't even seaworthy in my opinion. I mean come on, he had a piece of sewer pipe for a bow sprit, his sails were **** etc.

I've been sailing and racing sailboats since I was 6 years old. I'm 46, and in nine years I'm dumping the house to sail wherever the wind takes me. Don't bag on the racers because you neither have the will or the tenacity to do it. We are all sailors, regardless of how we choose to do it. Hell, we could all be stinkpotters for that matter. I bought a C&C 27 two years ago to start racing it all the while learning anything I can about what it takes to cruise for the rest of my life. I'm outfitting the boat far more that I should but I'm learning a **** load of information so that I'm totally prepared for when I cast off the dock lines on a significantly larger boat. I trully admire the REAL cruisers that bounce around the globe on their own clock and will be joining you in a few years. Reid is not someone I would emulate.

By the way, there is a great forum over at SA that is exclusively for cruisers. You might want to check it out.
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Old 30-07-2010, 10:14   #10
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I don't think "Idolize" is in anyone's vocabulary around here when talking about Mr. Stowe...certainly not mine.

Respect comes from many angles.

I respected Dan Osborn's skill at rock climbing very, very much...I though him a fool and predicted his death due to his total lack of fear and "His respect" for gravity.

I respect Reid Stow for doing something I could not do...which is remain isolated afloat for over 3 years....I think him a fool in other areas of his life as well.
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Old 30-07-2010, 10:23   #11
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But the guy basically went out and saied in a circle for 1000 days.
yeah... but it was a BIG circle...
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Old 30-07-2010, 10:46   #12
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For one thing, Reid didn't come remotely close to sailing around the world. More like be a bobber in the Pacific for 1000 days. The boat wasn't even seaworthy in my opinion. I mean come on, he had a piece of sewer pipe for a bow sprit, his sails were **** etc.

I've been sailing and racing sailboats since I was 6 years old. I'm 46, and in nine years I'm dumping the house to sail wherever the wind takes me. Don't bag on the racers because you neither have the will or the tenacity to do it. We are all sailors, regardless of how we choose to do it. Hell, we could all be stinkpotters for that matter. I bought a C&C 27 two years ago to start racing it all the while learning anything I can about what it takes to cruise for the rest of my life. I'm outfitting the boat far more that I should but I'm learning a **** load of information so that I'm totally prepared for when I cast off the dock lines on a significantly larger boat. I trully admire the REAL cruisers that bounce around the globe on their own clock and will be joining you in a few years. Reid is not someone I would emulate.

By the way, there is a great forum over at SA that is exclusively for cruisers. You might want to check it out.

Acording to his track he did sail around the world - including rounding the 3 great capes. Sounds like Reid has done much more than you when it comes to sailing.

Good luck
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Old 30-07-2010, 11:09   #13
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I think Charles Doane’s article about Reid is worth reading:

COMPREHENDING REID STOWE: His Various Purposes | www.boats.com
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Old 30-07-2010, 12:45   #14
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Acording to his track he did sail around the world - including rounding the 3 great capes. Sounds like Reid has done much more than you when it comes to sailing.

Good luck
Have you got a link showing him rounding those three capes?
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Old 30-07-2010, 13:16   #15
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Capt Mike of Bianka, I actually watched you hauling your anchor from my shoreside point of view that day! I only live 15 minutes from Sandy Hook and most early mornings have me out there catching the Sunrise; and again later in the day watching the Sunset and Moonrise if there is one. Like the other night's Moonrise was SPECTACULAR from up at the Twin Lights!! An orange orb I have never seen glow so bright, save for one Harvest Moon many years ago. Had I known it was someone from the CF I would've gone down and borrowed my buddies dink and rowed out to help you! Give me a PM shout next time you are down this way and I'll gladly take you on some shoreside errands to some fine vittles! I was intrigued by Reid's vessel so I watched it while she was in Sandy Hook area.

June 19th/20th were the Red Bull Air Races at Liberty State Park, near the Statue of Liberty. I hope you hung around on the hook for that! It was darn good flying if I say so myself as I spent both days at the Park watching from the Podium area.
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