You may have heard the rumors (though hopefully Interpol hasn't), and I can now confirm them. Mer and I are headed to Europe a week from tomorrow on something of an epic, month-long journey into the underbelly of sportboat racing in Europe.
Our trip starts in the UK, where we'll be visiting an old friend (to borrow his pickup truck). The ensuing week will see us scurrying to Southampton to pick up the new trailer, to the Dover-Calais Ferry enroute to Belgium to get GBR 592 off her lovely Sevenstar Yacht Transport ride. A day of trailer/boat fitting, and then to Civitavecchia, Italy to get on another ferry to Sardinia.
Melges Pre-Worlds and Worlds should be a total blast, especially at a top spot like the YC Costa Smeralda, and we'll be doing a full program of live coverage for you - our first European OTW Anarchy ever - and with Worlds run entirely on weekdays, it ensures a wonderful procrastination tool for all of you at the office that week.
Once the event is over and we're back on the mainland, we've got another long ride ahead of us - it's a straight shot from southern Italy to the Northern coast of Germany, where a ferry will take us and the boat across to Rodby, Denmark, then another push nearly to the arctic circle to finally arrive in Oslo, Norway - where we deliver the boat to her proud new owners.
Trailerless, we can mosey down the coast a bit on our way to drop off the truck back in the UK, stopping wherever strikes our fancy.
When our honeymoon (and SA "Road Trip") took us to New Zealand and Australia, I started a thread asking for some advice about flights, etc. As always happens here, Anarchists contributed some amazing information that opened the door for us to see much more than we thought we could while doing it more cheaply than we thought possible. It was great to have it all in one place so we could access it any time we were near a computer, and we've been told a few times since by anarchists that the info that y'all contributed in that thread helped out later travelers to Oz and NZ. We thought this one - seeing as it is touches so much of Europe, would be a great opportunity to get some good information assembled from you guys about a road trip/boat trip that'll take us through 11 or 12 countries, and across a whole mess of water. It'll also make our lives much, much easier, and hopefully introduce us to a bunch of new SAers across Europe.
OTW Anarchy will go live closer to the event, but we'll be posting our itinerary soon on this thread, and we are looking forward to seeing the great recommendations that you come up with about the exciting places we'll be visiting.
It will help some contributors to know a few more things about us and our toys for this one. This is Mer's first time to Europe proper, though I've spent a significant portion of my life there - over 6 years if you add it all up. She speaks Spanish and English, while I speak French and Spanish fluently and Italian passably.
Our trusty steed for the ride is a Nissan Navara pack-up donated by HISC sailor James Hill. Until Oslo, we'll be hauling a Melges 24 around - total length of trailer is around 9 meters. We're both US citizens, and pretty bulletproof when it comes to traveling off the beaten path.
What Do We Want to Know?
Frankly, anything you got. You know a great place to stay somewhere near our route? Spill it. Is there a cool regatta somewhere in the same date range? Share it. Otherwise, we'll be asking plenty of questions, and we're sure y'all will chime in often, and we thank you very, very much in advance.
If there are things that you want to know, ask 'em and we'll try to find out the answer. We'll be sharing everything we can think might be of value, from shipping a sportboat across the Atlantic to finding the red light districts in the most interesting of cities.
Until the event begins and we put on our OTW Anarchy hats, we're the shore contingent for Team "Sevenstar SLAM," a/k/a Team Yoga, a/k/a Team I Won Yoga, a/k/a Team Gill, a/k/a Team GBR 592. The owner of the boat is Anarchist SimonS, and it's one that too many anarchists have crewed aboard to name them all. Simon's crew for Worlds includes Hill, Strauss's brother and Melges 24 owner Quentin Strauss, with San Diego's own Billy Hardesty, current World Champion tactician, calling the shots. This World Championship is bigger than anything possible in the US for the class with 117 boats registered already, and the calibre of the fleet is ridiculous. Simon's best finish at a Worlds was in the low teens, while Quentin finished in the top ten at least once. We clearly were much more valuable as roving reporters than as sailors, and while we're bummed that we won't be sailing, we're extremely stoked to get this opportunity to be there in the thick of the action, sharing it with all of you.
Here's a pic of our lonely steed as she was lifted off the trailer on her way to Zeebrugge, Belgium. She's still aboard ship as we speak, and we hope she's not seasick.
Thanks in advance - enjoy the ride. I know we will.
Edit: Thanks to Ullman Sails for taking over as Title Sponsor of this whole mess. Dave runs one of the most respected operations around, and he shows his appreciation of the SA community by supporting this fun report.
Also thanks to Joe Fly Racing Team, our Technology Partner, for helping us figure out some of the electronics that we need to do a good job of this from the NE coast of Sardinia.
More on both later.