Location: Underway, 43.50.3'N 08.23.9'E

We awoke to a slightly warmer morning on our last day at anchor in Villefranche, France. The past few mornings have been quite chilly. This quickly gives way to warmer temperatures as the sun peaks over the East side of the cove, and we all shed our warm layers. Following a delicious egg scramble courtesy of Bryant and the other chefs, we mustered in the cockpit. We started off by going over the ‘station bill’ in our respective three watch teams; basically, this is all the procedures that each team is responsible for in emergency situations (fire, man overboard, taking on water, abandoning ship, etc.). The shipmates are catching on to the vast amount of knowledge the staff throws at them very quickly.

As skipper of the day, I then went through the passage checklist (with lots of assistance from the rest of the crew) to ready Argo for the upcoming passage to Italy. This includes everything to get the boat ready to sail and depart, i.e., removing sail covers, securing the chart house, deck, saloon, galley, and bunks, checking engine systems, navigational equipment, etc. Once ready, we sweated the sails up for the first time and set off. There was definitely an abundance of excitement in the air as everyone is now becoming settled into their new home and ready to sail. The weather was perfect, with low winds. Around three hours later, the alarm began to ring throughout the cabins. ‘Man Overboard! Man Overboard!’ – Our first ‘mob’ drill at sea. All shipmates rushed up the companionways to find watch team three on-duty spottings “Oscar,” the dummy fender floating in the distance. Watch team 1 launched the dinghy as watch team 2 dealt with the deck and gathered medical supplies. We all performed our assigned tasks that we had gone over in the morning and practiced rescuing ‘Oscar’ the fender. It took us 10 minutes for our first ‘mob’ rescue, not bad in my book! We will only get faster.

After the drill, we continued the 18-hour passage to Portovenere. We were treated to a stellar French Rivera farewell as we ate a fantastic shepherd’s pie for dinner. The sky caught fire, and we had front row seats to a spectacular sunset off our stern. As a media professional, I felt like a kid in a candy store! During ‘squeeze,’ I inducted everyone on board to the Game of Life, a favorite of mine, and learned of everyone’s pet peeves. We now sail into the night, rotating watch teams every 4 hours. See you in the morning in Italy! Life is great.

Matt H. aka TahoeMatt


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