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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Fiddler's Green
Shakedown Cruise: 9600 Miles From Oriental To The Falkland Islands
July 24, 2016
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one hand
The crew: Andy, Andrez, Thomas

Andrez makes clear that in a few years he and his wife want to take off on the boat he just picked up in NC. He speaks with almost a shudder about not wanting “Fiddlers Green” to become a “vertical cruiser.” He smiles as he explains: “It’s a boat that sits in the harbor and doesn’t go anywhere.” Except up and down with the tides.

One reason some of the Falklands’ few sailors opt for vertical cruising is the weather. “It can be flat calm and a gale can come up. It takes a long time for them to come up, and a long time for them to disappear. It’s rare to have 50 knot gales, but 40 is common.”

“Sailing there is good, but you are not going to leave port in 30 knots of wind. At least not twice.”

on deck
On deck preparations on the eve of departure.

“We go out for day sails, but we kind of like going out for week sails. Because the way the Falklands are made, you can find anchorages two hours apart. But it is for people who are prepared for that environment.”

“Most sailors who arrive there have experienced crew. We get about 10 or 12 visiting sailboats a year.” And when they do come, the small sailing community, gets together with them. “One of those was Bernie Harberts who told me about Oriental and TownDock.”

Andrez Short.
Once arriving in North Carolina, Andrez and Thomas spent every day preparing the boat for the long journey to the Falkland Islands.

It was a visiting boat, a family from Australia, who came to Stanly ‘s harbor more than 3 decades ago and got Andrez interested in sailing. He taught himself to sail over time, practicing in the harbor.

Eventually the Australians sold that boat. It went through several owners until about 20 years ago, and Andrez bought it. He made more changes. In 1999 he and Allison set off to live on board Alpha Carinae, named for a bright star in the southern sky.

In that first year, while in Trinidad, Allison gave birth to Thomas in a Port of Spain hospital. All did not go well. “Tom was born seriously ill. He didn’t breathe for 17 minutes, didn’t have a heartbeat for 15 minutes.” Andrez says, “The delivery people in the hospital rushed him off to neonatal care. We didn’t think Tom was going to live.”

Thomas did survive. In time, Andrez steered the boat to the UK and the family sailed on from there to Norway (A few degrees closer to one of the poles than the Falklands are.) They returned to the Falklands when Thomas was 2, having put 15,000 miles under the keel in 3 years.

Thomas Short.

This 10,000 mile trip will be an opportunity and a challenge for Thomas who’s not been aboard a sailboat since he was two. He’s looking forward to it, he says, “I’m just bored waiting while we get ready to go.”

The trip to Oriental to get the boat and sail her home was postponed until Thomas graduated school and finished his final exams. “This trip will be a lot of his growing up.” Andrez says. “I was a weekend father, so when he finished school, I wanted to do something really special with him and for him. This will help him with his independence and may give him some ideas of what he might want to do with his life.”

Andrez explained a little of his history behind his renewed fascination with getting a cruising boat. “I used to read a lot, but I had not read in along time. but then I was given a Kindle a year and half ago. I have read 46 books since then, about sailing and adventure. The books I read have to be true. I am not interested in novels.

“The first one I read was about a couple with a boat that had everything I wanted. I fell in love with the boat when I read their story. What I wanted was a steel hull, something that can take a pounding, can go on the beach if need be, one that I can fix. Any serious boat that is old is made of steel.”

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Posted Sunday July 24, 2016 by Melinda Penkava

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