Solstice Sails Again
Donate to help get 'Solstice' seaworthy & support Paul Exner
Note: We're doing donations directly through 59º North, Ltd - that means NO FEES from the standard donation sites like GoFundMe, who charge 5%. Our credit card processing fee is 3%, but beyond that, ALL donations will go straight to Paul through our business bank account in the quickest & most efficient way possible. We get NOTHING from this.
September 23, 2017 // Update from Paul
Paul finally called me last night via sat phone from Mulligans in Nanny Cay. He sounded like his old self, full of positive energy! I love the way he described the devastation there with a sense of awe at the power of nature instead of a sense of depressed anxiety. I can't wait to have a beer with him and hear the full story!
Anyway, Paul & Liz are FLABBERGASTED by the love you all gave and has no words for how thankful they are. I'm coordinating with his parents back in Wisconsin to get them the money we've raised (it's a cash-only society now in the BVI, but they are able to withdraw money from the bank after waiting in a long line). They've got enough $ for the immediate future and are all good with food, clothing & shelter, but the money we've raised will be a huge boon to helping them rebuild in the medium-long term. Paul has started a wish-list of things he needs for the boat that I'm now focused on sourcing for him.
Speaking of Solstice, she's in good shape. Paul said that the mast of a 50-footer fell on top of Solstice, but the fall was broken by the hefty bow & stern pulpits and the lifelines, so the hull and deckhouse are undamaged. The mast is intact as well. The Monitor windvane is smashed beyond repair, so I'm working on sourcing a new one for him. The main challenge now is getting all the other wrecked boats out of the way so they can work on Solstice. That will take time, so it appears that mid-late November will be the earliest that any work party will be able to go down to help.
Paul is stoked to get back on the high seas and is confident Solstice will be sailing by January 2018, so if anyone wants to book passage with him this winter, business is open! I'll also be working on Solstice's sailing schedule with Paul & helping him launch an updated website that we started together back in May when I was still in the BVI. So stay tuned for that.
If you signed up for the BVI work party, stand-by for an email from me with updates on how that will go. For now I'll be a main point of contact with Paul, so get in touch with me if you have any news for him. His FB feed is flooded with goodwill messages and they don't have the bandwidth yet to read it all, so they're very much incommunicado.
And BTW, Liz is already exploring ways of getting her pottery up & running again. Aragorn's studio in Trellis Bay, where she worked, is in the process of rebuilding, and according to Paul, it's in Aragorn's interest to start selling art again, as that's HIS business. I know there were some of you who wanted to help get Liz some art supplies, so stay tuned for that as well.
And if you haven't donated yet, the site is still live at 59-north.com/solstice. We're at $13,500 & counting! THANKS everybody!
-Andy // Writing from Sweden
The situation in the BVI...
59º North will seed this fund with $1,000, and we encourage you to donate as much as you can. The money will help rebuild Solstice, and importantly, provide needed funds for Paul & his family to live while they rebuild their business and their lives in the BVI.
As many of you know, Paul Exner is a dear friend of ours at 59º North, and Isbjorn's racing & relief skipper. 'Pablo' as we affectionately know him by, has sailed thousands of miles aboard Isbjorn and is one of only two people I'd trust to skipper Isbjorn in my absence (he did so in fact in the 2015 Caribbean 1500).
Hurricane Irma devasted Paul & his family's home island of Tortola in early September, miraculously sparing his beautiful Cape George 31 'Solstice,' but not sparing his home. They're moved in with neighbors, so have a roof over their head, but it will be a LONG time until any sense of normalcy returns to the BVI.
Paul's business depends on having 'Solstice' seaworthy, and that's where we're stepping in to help. His Modern Geographic company runs much like 59º North, in that he offers ocean sailing passages aboard the beautiful cutter in the Caribbean and beyond.
Solstice BVI Work Party // Tortola, date TBD
In addition, we're organizing a small work party to go to Tortola with backpacks, tools and a good attitude, to help rebuild 'Solstice,' just like Paul came to Annapolis to help us with Isbjorn in the fall of 2015. To apply for the work party, click the button below. We are only accepting a VERY limited number of people for this, so do not be offended if you don't make the cut. We don't know when we're going, where we're staying or how we'll get there, so you'll need to be adventurous!