Southern Cross Completes the Circle

It’s official – the 2013 Atlantic Cup has come to a close, and Mia and I are back in Annapolis. Yachts in the Old Bahama Channel fleet are making their way north after having finished in Ft. Lauderdale a week or so ago, and the Bermuda fleet has made their landfall in the USA.

And with that landfall, the Lagoon 380 Southern Cross has closed the loop on a circumnavigation that began in 2011, touching soil in the USA for the first time since that November. Normally the news items on the World Cruising Club webpage are devoid of any hint of who wrote them. In this case, I’m inserting myself in the story because I have a connection to Steve and his boat that started in the fall of 2011.

Southern Cross participated in the Caribbean 1500 in 2011, sailing with the fleet from Hampton to Nanny Cay. At the time, the boat was already entered in the next World ARC in 2012. After a very slow, light-air passage in the 1500 in 2011, Steve was particularly concerned that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the World ARC fleet, struggling with the idea of a circumnavigation and thinking of dropping out altogether. True, his Lagoon 380 was one of the smaller boats in the fleet, but then World ARC follows the Tradewind route round the world, and catamarans fare pretty well off the breeze. We did our best to encourage his participation, but when I left Tortola that year, it felt as if his decision had already been made. He’d stick around the Caribbean and do some cruising, then head home again to the US East Coast when he’d had enough.

Fast forward a year, and I’d found out through the grapevine that Southern Cross actually did take the start in St. Lucia in the 2012 World ARC and was somewhere in the Pacific. Steve had come around, and was indeed keeping up with the fleet and pursuing that long-term dream of his. 

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When he arrived in Tortola this April for the Atlantic Cup – finishing World ARC in St. Lucia earlier this year where he started over a year ago – and checked in to the Rally Office for the event, there was a noticeable change in his personality. Something was lifted from Steve, a stress that had been there prior to the start that fall of 2011. He’d been over the horizon with Southern Cross and conquered his dragons, those dragons that plagued him in 2011 after finishing the ‘1500’, that doubt that had crept in and clouded his dream. And he returned again to tell about it.

Steve’s buoyant personality lifted our spirits for sure in Tortola as we organized the event, and it was fantastic to see him getting excited to complete the final part of his long journey, the journey home again to the USA and back to the Chesapeake where it all start in the fall of 2011. And his positive attitude created opportunities – when he was short on crew only one day before the start, he quickly found 4 more to join him, and suddenly one turned into five. 

And after a five-day passage back from Bermuda, I got this message from one of Southern Cross’ crew (who only flew out to Bermuda the day before they departed) this morning at 4am: “Hi Andy…Steve, Stefan and me are arriving into the Chesapeake!”

With that, the long journey home was complete. Congratulations to Steve Spracher, Southern Cross and the people that helped him around the world. Dreams do come true.