Jessie and Luke, she American and he an Englishman, are engaged, but instead of planning their wedding like other couples, the two of them decided to put their relationship to a test on a joint Atlantic crossing on board the slightly aged Desireé...
Just two years after Jessie completed America's Great Loop with her friend Katie she sets out on her next big adventure. Shortly after getting engaged to her Mr. Right, Luke, the two of them decide to give up their plans for a big marriage and put their relationship to an ultimate test by crossing the Atlantic. Two-handed across the Atlantic, from west to east and on the northern route - a great challenge full of dangers...
First planning began as early as January 2017, with the aim of starting the adventure in spring. Jessie is appointed skipper as she is legally responsible for the boat owned by her father. Together with her co-skipper the first preparatory measures are set in place: determine the route, draw up lists of necessary materials from new sails and an up-to-date navigation systems to life-saving equipment and provisions.
Jessie, Desireé & Luke
6000 nautical miles on "America's Great Loop" together with another seabird called Katie, on bord a 27 ft Cal named "Louise". Many have read her entertaining blog on the voyage or the articles in Cruising Outpost and on Sailing Anarchy about two landlubbers on a leran-or-die-mission to sail the inland waterways and Eastern seaboard of the United States of America. Including Bahamas and Canada. They made it, and came home with two years of quality live-aboard experience. 60% coastal cruiser, 40% adventurer, 0% regatta sailor.
A 1962 Pearson Invicta 37′ ketch owned by Jessica’s father. Old fashion shallow draft long keeler with centerboard designed for CCA rules. It won the 1964 Newport to Bermuda race. The first GRP boat to win this prestigious race. Jessie does not know what CCA means, nor GRP. "Racing stuff," she calls it. There are still 20 of these hulls. It has made four Atlantic crossings in it’s time. Jessie's hull, No. 8, has not seen salt water since the mid-70s, at least. It is in pristine condition and it is expected of her to keep it this way.
Sailing everything and everywhere since 1995. 60% Racer, 40% adventurer 0% cruiser. He sailed an 18 ft catamaran double-handed 2000 nm around Great Britain because he was bored of sailing up and down the coast. Humbly he refrains from mentioning he holds a speed record for sailing around Britain. Later he sailed a 1937 wooden 15 sqm 1700 nm from the UK to Sweden. Just for fun. He does enjoy difficult situations, no doubt, and likes to keep the spinnaker up too long. Maybe a match for his oddest sense of humor.
It is mid-March 2017 when the Desireé is made seaworthy in her winter storage. The engine will not start and needs to be overhauled, the radio equipment has gone missing and needs to be replaced, new sails and life-saving equipment needs to be ordered - apart from all the ususal tasks to be attended to in winter before returning the boat into water. It happens, at last, on April 6th. On Lake Michigan at still icy temperatures. Back in the water some last small leaks are taken care of and the survival equipment gets tested extensively.
Across the Great Lakes On April 17th, Jessie sets off on the first three major stages through the Great Lakes and the Welland Canal up the St. Lawrence River with three changing crews. The Desireé finds a temporary new home port at the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club after 14 days and about 902 nautical miles. Jessie spends the time waiting for Luke, who has returned to his homeland England meanwhile, with the cultural and culinary exploration of Montreal - and further preparations for the great adventure, of course.
Iceberg ahead At the end of May the waiting is finally over, Luke arrives in St. Lawrence and the two sail their first 138 nautical mile leg together to Quebec, where the new sails are bended on before the crew fights their way out of the St. Lawrence stream against the tides into the St. Lawrence Gulf, finally reaching the coast of Newfoundland in mid-June after a first sighting of icebergs - the actual starting point of their ocean crossing.
On May 26th, the weather conditions are so favourable that the two adventurers set off on a long journey, leaving Conception Bay around the northeastern end of Newfoundland and heading for the open Atlantic. After just six days, the two of them have already covered a quarter of the way and use the North Atlantic Current all the way to England. They arrive on the Isle of Scilly on July 12th after seventeen days at sea, having conquered waves up to 15 feet and 2017 nautical miles in their wake as well as many small and not so small adventures. And what is all imprortant to them: the y set foot on land still as a crew and a couple.
The whole story of Jessie, Desireé and Luke and their Atlantic crossing to be relived in detail is available on Jessie's blog: katieandjessieonaboat.com. There is also an account of her first voyage around America’s Great Loop and other projects still in the making. And there is also a goog chance to meet at least one of the crew on stage at the Sailing Center of boot Düsseldorf 2019 where they will give a talk about the tour.