Tropical Storm Claudette off Nova Scotia

We're just hours from departing Lunenburg now for the return passage to Annapolis, and Tropical Storm Claudette is making me re-think our departure plans. Matt, one of our crew, went to the Fisheries Museum this morning, and it's all the tour guide was talking about. I had seen a small depression on the GRIBS yesterday, but apparently sometime this morning it officially got a name.

Andy & John Harries in Lunenburg.

I met Derek Hatfield on the dock this morning, the only Canadian to complete the Vendee Globe aboard his 'Spirit of Canada' Open 60. Mia and I first met him in Toronto, so it was nice to chat with him again here in 'real life' so to speak. His boat is tied up on the Wicker wharf in town, and he actually just sold the boat to a Norwegian sailor called Bjorn. Derek and Bjorn are leaving Thursday to deliver the boat to Oslo, and were also talking about the weather. It won't affect us though, as it's far offshore and already east of our position. The coastal forecast is only calling for 10-15 knots of wind from the south, so a nice easy start to the passage. By the Gulf of Maine crossing, we should have 25 knots from the northeast, so we'll have some boisterous downwind sailing by then.

Aside from Derek, we've met a LOT of well-known sailors around these parts. Eric Forsyth, the legendary ocean voyager I had on my podcast last winter, is here on his Westsail 42 'Fiona,' getting ready to sail to Scotland. Mia and I had lunch with John Harris yesterday of Attainable Adventure Cruising (looks like I might start writing for the site!). And John Kretschmer was here last week, so we just missed him. Kinda like Bermuda, Lunenburg this time of year seems like a way station for ocean sailors, and what a cool thing to be a part of!

Eric Forsyth's Westsail 42 'Fiona' - he built it from a bare hull.

And in the most serendipitous of occurrences, a small aluminum racing boat called 'Grey Ghost' rafted onto 'Fiona' yesterday just as we were walking down the dock. We'd actually passed the same boat in the C&D Canal during the last leg of the DelMarVa Rally, and commented on how cool it looked. Turns out it belongs to a guy called Phil Parish, who was the boatyard manager in Georgetown, MD when my dad was my age and getting his Chesapeake 32 'Sojourner' ready for his first Bahamas trip with my mom. That was in 1979! My dad talks about Phil all the time - he was a mentor to my dad, helped him refit the original 'Sojourner' and let him have free reign in the workshop at the yard there. I never met him in all these years, and what a cool place to run into him! I had a bourbon onboard 'Grey Ghost' with him, rafted alongside 'Fiona' - it was a surreal experience. Phil invited my dad and I to come visit and go shotgun shooting in Georgetown this fall, which we will absolutely be doing!