Well, fellow sailors, friends, race friends and just random folks who stumble upon this blog.

I have finished the race, cut to the chase, 4th place in our class 1.5hr (corrected time) behind third place. But let me say this about this race. It is impeccably organized and executed by the organizers. If any of you read this I say kudos to you. Of course there are always nits that could be picked but overall an outstanding effort. I was particularly impressed with the level of help offered when we entered the Duluth harbor in finding our birth, walking down to our dock, flashing lights at us to help navigate to a HUGE unfamiliar port.

So, last night we arrived, scrambled through the boat de-pigging the mess 4 days on the water will leave. Coil the lines, pack the sails, throw out the garbage, and of course the most important part, toast a safe and successful arrival at the end of the race with a rum drink!

After that, since I’m cheap, I and the rest of the crew took part in the free beer provided by the race. I wish now I would have taken a picture of the brewery, because the Helles Bock Lager that I was drinking was on par with anything that Jhonny Bros Brewery would make and lived up to our motto “Happy not Hoppy”.

Finally, off to the room, Joel (Retired Teacher and new friend) needed a place to crash and I had two beds so we headed off to the Sheraton where a gloriously clean, soft, quiet and comfy bed and room awaited. Of course, if any of you sailors are reading this, you cannot put two sailors who just spend 4 days on a boat racing over 340 nautical miles together in a room together and not have them sit and rehash and second guess and replay the race like young school kids. Which is exactly what we did until about 3am.

Then it was up in the morning, Joel and I grabbed some breakfast (thanks for picking up the tab Joel), and then I said so long to him as he was riding back in the limo.. yes think full on, Cadillac XTS Stretch limo.. and I was flying home. I of course took the opportunity to hit the sack again and get a couple of more hours of sleep.

Total aside. Not for anything, but I had it in my head that Duluth would be flat. I was blown away by the hills and such of the city. Reminded me very much of a little San Fran. Also, the friendliest people around. I think I could go and hang out there for a long weekend or maybe longer and have a really good time.

So then it was off to the airport. Again the super friendly cabbie, told me all about his town on the way out to the tiny little airport where I jumped over to Minneapolis. Well, of course while I was waiting, mom, texted me and was wondering if I was still going to be on time for a 3:30 pm arrival. Unfortunately, my first reaction in my head was “mom, you don’t know how to read your texts!” But thankfully for me before I sent that I went back and looked and saw that indeed my original flight did arrive at 3:30. When we did the merry go round of flights when arrival times were shifting all over hell and back, I thought I ended up back on my original flight time, but alas did not, it was a later time.

Well that wasn’t so bad, but being tired, and being ME, I didn’t really pay close attention to the connection time in Minneapolis. So I land, thiking I have all the time in the world (why? I have NO IDEA!) to make my next flight.. so I’m walking.. ok sauntering, towards my gate and my phone starts BONG BONG’ing… strange. I look, its the Delta notification telling me that my flight is boarding!!!!!!

Holy schnikeies… Any of you who have been in MSP, know that it is CRAZY long and if you have to get one end to the other you are going to have to hustle. So hustle I did, because I DID have to get basically about 80% the distance of the terminal to my gate. Thanks to Landon and Gregg at A2 crossfit, I am in better shape than I’ve been in years and I was able to do an easy jog for the distance without being winded or … wait for it, you wont believe it most of you… sweaty!

But I get there, basically walk directly on the plane, wedge myself into the middle seat, watch about 5 episodes of Hogan’s Hero’s on my phone on the way home and when I exited the doors at DTW, there were Mom and Dad to great me with a great big smile and a hug. What a great welcome. We returned to my house, ordered a Cottage Inn (sorry Faz) pizza had a beer, sat on the patio and shot the shit about all kinds of stuff and now here I am.

What is left below is a collection of pics from others and video’s I didn’t get a chance to upload until now. Enjoy!

Entering the Soo Locks From Lake Huron
The Locks Pumping Water Like Mad
Leaving the Soo Locks into Lake Superior
Complete Time Lapse of the Soo Locks Traversal
Gitche Gume at Dusk with Competitors on the Horizon

9 Replies to “Terra Firma Once Again”

  1. Followed the race on the app, and I must say you are so lucky/crazy/brave to participate in this! Enjoyed following along and all the pictures and videos. Welcome home!

  2. Welcome back Bill! I had fun watching the race online and imagining all those discussions that must have taken place about navigating decisions – especially when it seemed every other boat was doing something different than you guys! Sounds like you had fun. Glad you are back safe!

    1. Great job, Bill and crew! Thanks for giving us a window into what sounds like a challenging and fun time on the water. Hope to see you on dry land soon!

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