Saturday, April 21, 2012

Solo Around the Americas: Film at Eleven.

The flags at City Docks were flapping away with the wind straight on the nose when I arrived at about 10:30 this morning.  The wind was strong enough to make the flag pole bend and the direction would make docking without an engine tricky.  Matt's ETA was 12 noon.

Some people come early to events like this because they want a good seat.  Your diarist comes early so he can lay claim to a good camera spot.  I was early enough to claim a prime spot just beyond the tent.

For those who haven't had a chance to look at Matt's web site  this map gives a Cliff's Notes version of the voyage.  CRAB stands for Cheasapeake Region Accessible Boating.  Matt's voyage raised $80,000 (so far) for this group who help handicapped individuals get out on the water in small boats.  The goal is $250,000 and CRAB is still taking donations.

While we waited I watched the Annapolis YC Opti  kids go through practice drills under the watchful eye of a coach boat.  In the distance I could also see a couple of fast moving boats.  I'm tempted to think that John Zseleczky and Bill Beaver were out in their foiler Moths but the boats were too distant for a positive ID.

About a quarter after eleven the spectator fleet departed so we knew he was getting close.  This is Woodwind II. She takes passengers on short bay cruises and is also hired out for events such as this.

This skipjack also headed out with a load of paying customers.

When they bring out the bagpipes you know things are getting serious.  Some people think that pipers are festive.  I tend to associate them with the funerals of policemen and fire fighters who have died in the line of duty.

Finally, right at high noon Brendan, Matt's Albin Vega 27 swung around Horn Point and into view.  This boat is the same as the one which Classic Moth Boaters Grant and Amelia are sailing down in the islands,

The spectator fleet escorted Brendan into Annapolis harbor.

After entering the harbor Matt sails Brendan past the Severn Sailing Association's club house.

Meanwhile the town's fire boat added to the festive mood.

He did a slow loop of the harbor.

He passed my vantage point and proceeded beyond the dock were he'd finally tie up so that he could heave to into the wind a drop his sails.  Brendan does not have an engine.

I think the fire boat missed an opportunity.  Instead of shooting water into the air they could have power washed that hull!  Which is worse, the marine growth or the pollution?  This boat was at sea 310 days.
Safely berthed.
After Matt came ashore things moved back to the tent area.  By the time I made my way from the dock to the tent I was well towards the back, but then again how many bloggers allow you to study the backs of people's heads?  There's not a boring head in this entire picture.

But fear not, dear constant reader.  This is where the magic of 9 mega pixels and a 10X optical zoom earn their keep.  Much speechifying took place.  Noted yachtsman Gary Jobson was the MC.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and his wife were among those to officially welcome Matt home.

The Governor's wife, who avidly followed Matt's journey, noted that he was wearing this very same "Popeye" t-shirt back at the departure party almost a year ago!  Good thing there was a fair breeze and we were up wind.

You can read more about Matt's arrival here:

After the speeches were finished and the crowd started to drift away I went over to Pip's hot dog stand for a foot long "Chicago Dog".  Most satisfactory!

One last look at Brendan.  Aaaah, it'll buff right out.


  1. Cheers, Matt! More of a man than this blogger, for sure.

    And yes, Bagpipes always bring a tear to my eyes.

  2. Wish I could have been there too. What an amazing feat!

  3. Baydog/Tillerman: Yes it certainly is an amazing feat. He suffered break downs of his desalination system (among other things) and on at least one occasion was knocked down to the point where his mast tip was kissing the water; a broken port hole in the dog house and it would have been "so long, Matt".

    Two of the four years I spent "boating with the Government" back in the 70s were on a 378 foot Cutter out of Boston. We did a lot of ocean station patrols, mostly parked off the south tip of Greenland. Even in a ship of that size and capability there were times we took a hell of a beating. I know that people go to sea all the time in small boats but I can't begin to imagine being out there in a 27 footer. During the remarks he made after coming ashore Matt indicated that since fear leads to panic, it's an emotion you can't afford to take to sea. Easier said than done!