magnify
formats

Inncredible Journey~ It’s been an adventure just to get here from where we started in Les Sables France (the home of the famous Vendee Globel single-handed round the world race) to the gran Canaria where Columbus himself set off from on his first, second and fourth voyage to the New World.

The ARC has kept us busy all week with fantastic seminars, daily Sundowner happy hours followed by nightly events ranging from the Gran Canarias Tourist Board welcoming extravaganza and last night’s wild Masquerade Night probably to be topped by tonight’s Farewell Bash. Definitely designed for the designed for the party animal, I’m doing my best to keep up but I slip away to a good night’s sleep and a happy sunrise the next morning.

The welcoming ceremony was a minature Olympics-style opening ceremony where each nation’s participants (over 30 nations) gathered together at the start point complete with flags and then lead by the Gran Canaria brass bandplaying New Orleans-style street music proceeded in alphabetical order parading down and around the marina which is all visible to the city of Las Palmas. Since we’re in Spain we, Estados Unidos, were toward the front just behind Estonia and in front of Russia (which I can’t remember how that worked). I was the designated flag bearer and I doubled up the flag with my colonial ‘Betsy Ross’  13 colonies flag (being this is a British organized event). First mate Andrew Starr held up high the Republic of California flag which is always a big hit wherever we go.

The parade ended with ceremony and speakers ending with all the flags of all the countries raised on flag poles simultaneously with a fireworks salute. This pretty cool little event sets the stage and is a reminder to all that what we are about to do is a major personal and team event. It’s been an adventure just to get here from where we started in Les Sables France (the home of the famous Vendee Globel single-handed round the world race) to the gran Canaria where Columbus himself set off from on his first, second and fourth voyage to the New World. We’re all excited and focusing now on all the last minute details of preparation.

No turkey for my crew this Thanksgiving Day but we’ll put together our own little feast nonetheless.

Brian

Captain of the Inncredible Sea Lodge

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on Inncredible Journey~ It’s been an adventure just to get here from where we started in Les Sables France (the home of the famous Vendee Globel single-handed round the world race) to the gran Canaria where Columbus himself set off from on his first, second and fourth voyage to the New World.  comments 
formats

Fifth Crew Member Changes 11/18/2012

The fifth crew member position has been hard to settle down and we’re now on our third change. First a Brit named Trevor whom I was excited to have on board with a range of skills adding to the others had conflicts arise at the last minute with testing for his commercial pilot’s licensing in Great Britain. Then came along a fantastic substitute, Steven from California, with an excellent sailing resume bringing years of experience aboard plus the tremendous bonus of being a doctor. Steven did join us in Lisbon and sailed with us on the wild ride down to the Canaries. Sadly a health issue arose and he made the prudent decision to not continue across the Atlantic. Steven will be missed and thankfully his recovery is progressing well. Our stores of medical supplies provided what was necessary to aid in his recovery.

So the fifth position was again empty. Each of the previous crew member candidates came through friends’ recommendations – a comfortable way to take on someone as opposed to courting someone out of the blue. And the thought of going without a fifth member was worth contemplating too. Quite a handful of boats are going with two, some families with two or three adults and children are going too. So there’s nothing magic about having 5. So i was resigned to letting that possibility develop in a more organic way without pushing it.

Upon check-in with ARC on our arrival in Las Palmas, our ARC representative named Katie graciously orientated us and as conversation ensued her origins arose as a Mainer, that sate that claims ‘the way life should be’. She also recommended that we introduce ourselves to a young couple from Maine at that evening’s Happy Hour who will be serving the beer and wine. And so we did with short conversation because the bar was swamped with thristy sailors.

So just coincidence or divine providence brought us together again, this time as candidates for crew member number 5. Unknown to me they had already checked out my websites both the winery & lodge and the INNcredible Sea Lodge. Eric and Emily came calling to introduce themselves when their contact Katie heard we were thinking of a replacement crew member. After a  interview covering a gamut of topics, Eric’s resume as both a charter sailboat captain each summer in Maine and a delivery skipper back and forth several times along the east coast brings much appreciated sailing experience as well as youth. Emily works each summer as an innkeeper mid-coast in Maine and was quick to notice the significance of our boat’s name INNcredible Sea Lodge. Eric quickly touted Emily’s cooking prowess. I know the skills of a seasoned innkeeper and Emily’s experience will add to the culinary skills of both first mate Andrew and myself. I did warn her that we have no freezer, no microwave, no canned food and everything we eat is made from scratch. So their combined skills are excellent additions to any crew.

The INNcredible Sea Lodge is a generous sized vessel with four wonderful staterooms each of which however are already taken with Captain (that’s me) and crew, albeit only one in each room. So my offer was the coffin berth in the port bow, a cozy but snug quarters for two. Eric and Emily actually have experience calling an even smaller coffin berth home on occasion. So after a final interview this afternoon, we will bring aboard a fifth crew member replacement times two.

Brian

Captain of the Inncredible Sea Lodge

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on Fifth Crew Member Changes 11/18/2012  comments 
formats

The INNcredible Sea Lodge landed this morning in Las Palmas of the Gran Canaria. 11/14/2012

 

 

Las Palmas of the Gran Canaria

700 nm later 4.5 days (nights and days) sailing south, the INNcredible Sea Lodge landed this morning in Las Palmas of the Gran Canaria about 250 nm off the coast of West Africa. Water is 77 degrees, air is about that too, skies are overcast ready to dump some rain. But we made it, leg 2 of the INNcredible journey home.

Now we get 10 days of safety checks and seminars, classes on everything from weather and routing to rigging and even Fitness at Sea, all the while making ready ship and crew for the Big crossing. Oh yes the 10 days will be peppered with happy hours and other forms of commerodery (help me with this spelling) building through story sharing with hopefully believable content.

Once we push off out to sea on the 25th, we must sail almost 3,000 nm across the Atlantic to St. Lucia non-stop. Non-stop sounds great if you’re flying but this non-stop could take three weeks. This will test not only skills but everyone’s willingness to get along. Way back, a couple months or so, I wrote a letter to the crew candidates describing what they may be getting themselves into and said that on the INNcredible Sea Lodge our motto is “All for one, and one for all”. You could call us the Sea Musketeers.

Brian

Captain of the Inncredible Sea Lodge

 

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on The INNcredible Sea Lodge landed this morning in Las Palmas of the Gran Canaria. 11/14/2012  comments 
formats

Gorgeous, beautiful Lake Atlantic glistening in the sun. 89 nm from our destination Las Palmas Gran Canary 11/13/2012

Gorgeous, beautiful Lake Atlantic glistening in the sun, the world is made of one color –BLUE – with many shades and the water temp has risen to 74.8, Yippee! We’re running a little too fast to jump in however and if we used a tether and were drug along we’d might as well tye a hook on and troll for the big one. I’ll put Nate out first, he informed me the first night that he doesn’t like being in the water, never has.

Its 1400 (2PM) and our position 28 07.829N / 015 21.661W is only 89 nm from our destination Las Palmas Gran Canary. Our ETA is 0600 tomorrow, a little bit early for good light but if we’re lucky we’ll get a fish on and have to slow down for a fish fight reeling in the feisty scaled bundle of protein – hold that thought.

So the boys on board, my crew, had to enjoy a classic for dinner last night: brown rice and vegetables which they all gobbled up with accolades. Remember that we’re not opening cans here, I provisioned with all fresh vegetables, fruits, rice, beans, etc. and all our cooking is from scratch with the help of our two pressure cookers in less minutes than Rachel Ray ever dreamed possible.

One thing is for sure, we may not win the ARC race across the Atlantic but we’ll eat better than any other yacht in the fleet of over 250. That I’d challenge any boat afloat.

Today every one has shed their foulies for the very first time and are lying around, yes on the trampoline, in T-shirts and shorts – a happy crew, happy captain too!

Brian

The Captain of the INNcredible Sea Lodge

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on Gorgeous, beautiful Lake Atlantic glistening in the sun. 89 nm from our destination Las Palmas Gran Canary 11/13/2012  comments 
formats

What a difference a day makes!! 11/12/2012

What a difference a day makes. Life is good. Seas are laying down, winds are moderating, water temp is up to 73.3 degrees F. That’s exciting for that’s what I’m anxious for – warm water. And I’ll be suiting up for a dive under to unclog the water intake of the generator in the port hull. Crew is starting to find their own rhythms.

 

Last night I made my Blue Water Fish Chowder: Chopped onions (I packed 30 pounds of onions on board but three days in it’s obvious I’ll need about 50). Every soup starts with onions. In the pressure cooker went four whole fish, whole garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper to boil down. After 10 minutes pull the bones and heads out with tongs. Then throw in fennel, onions, hot pepper…YumYUM!

Brian

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on What a difference a day makes!! 11/12/2012  comments 
formats

INNcredible Sea Lodge Update 11/11/2012

At Sunset Sunday we decided to drop the sails and head DDW and ride the 5 meter swells at our back (a much more civilized way) so we could have a less eventful night and each crew getting some real sleep albeit only 3-4 hours. Motoring with the two 54 HP diesels at the most efficient 1600 RPMs gets us going about 6 knots; but with the 25-35 knot winds and 5eter swells at our back our speed over ground averages 7.5 knots and sometimes surfs at 12. The new comfort level not only allows sleep but food prep. I made an onion soups for the boys who are still talking about the Colcannon I made a couple days ago. Today I will venture farther into a fish soup starting with whole fish boiled down into a stock. Bread is holding out and showing its age but thats perfect for dunking into hot soup.

Our current position: 33 35.089N  011 51.888W with an ETA Las Palmas early on the 15th.
It’s all good just rough,

Brian

INNcredible Sea Lodge

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on INNcredible Sea Lodge Update 11/11/2012  comments 
formats

Blue Water Update 11/10/2012

We set sail late afternoon Saturday and pounded through some initial confused seas, leaving quickly to run with the front of a storm moving in. The winds started at 15-18 knots but quickly made it into the 20s. We reefed the first reef. Winds accelerated into the 30s gusting to 45. We were moving 8-12 knots all night long riding building seas which we couldn’t see to determine the actual size until daylight. Rising 5 meters with breaking wind waves these swells were coming mostly from  behind but slightly to our side and we scurried through trough and peak looking out for the breaking tops. Here it is 24 hours later and we traveled an amazing 200+ nautical mies under one raging squall after another. Not the most pleasant ride but we’re on our way to the Gran Canaries. Everyone is alive, tired and rotating watches at the helm. ETA Las Palmas too hard to call – I’ll update tomorrow.

Brian

The Captain of the INNcredible Sea Lodge

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on Blue Water Update 11/10/2012  comments 
formats

Let the Journey Begin

Leaving SFO tomorrow morning, election day, flying back to Lisbon, Portugal. The INNcredible Sea Lodge awaits El Capitan and its new crew members to join First Mate Andrew whose been waiting patiently on board. After stashing away all the gear, provisioning with a month’s worth of food and cases of Portuguese wine, the sails will be hoisted and the INNcredible Sea Lodge makes way down the Atlantic coast to the Canary Islands.

A near 700 mile trip, weather permitting, should take us 6 days sailing round the clock. If all goes well we treat ourselves to a stopover in Morocco. The allure of that African culture is strong so we hope the weather gods are with us.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on Let the Journey Begin  comments 
formats

Stress levels find relief in season’s first rain

inncredible_sea_lodge Captain brian Fitzpatrick

Captain Brian Fitzpatrick

What’s wine, rain, sailing and grapes have in common? Everything when you are the winemaker/grapegrower and captain readying for the longest ocean crossing of your life.

There is such a thing as good stress which energizes and drives you to accomplish so much more if you just ride then wave that it creates. After a long fantastic harvest which started August 20th, yesterday October 21st was our final day of harvesting all our 15 varieties of grapes. And today its raining, raining hard and for the next three days. Perfect timing as the ground soaks up that much awaited water, the vines hydrate in luxury for the first time since last spring and when then rains stops the tractors start discing and tilling to prepare the soil for planting our winter annual cover crops in every other row in our vineyards.

Every fermenter in the winery is bubbling away happily making new wines. One more bottling to do this week (2009 Zinfandel), a dozen press loads to empty the fermenters when ready, barrels to be filled …

And putting on my Captain’s hat, the final push to collect all the non-food provisions needed for a hundred whatifs aboard the INNcredible Sea Lodge as November 6th quickly approaches and its time to fly back to Lisbon to restart the Maiden Voyage.

All good

Brian

The Captain of the INNcredible Sea Lodge

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off on Stress levels find relief in season’s first rain  comments