My wife and I just docked at Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville, Florida, after a trip from Miami. A short time later this–thing–and a character sailing it shows up. Turns out his name is Gilles Girrard, born in France but is from Washington, DC (same as us) where he works as a gardener and is married to a staffer at CBS news. He’s just getting in from a 32 DAY, 1,600 mile sail from Puerto Rico on his 23 footer. Had a few technical problems with broken shrouds and the U.S. Navy while offshore but a relatively easy trip he says compared to the trip TO Puerto Rico: 38 DAYS, upwind.
So Gilles gives us a "tour" of boat, sharing sea stories and maybe a little too much of his Puerto Rican rum. We were fascinated by the seemingly unseaworthy condition of his boat but he, the master sailor, was up to the task, and well versed on the challenges he had to overcome–navigation, water rationing, provisions and keeping the damned thing afloat.
The highlight of OUR trip was meeting him at the end of our trip. We felt so lucky to have met such a charming and great man. And sailor. – Anarchist Phil.