Another departure for Project Zeno: farewells, demonstrations of
friendship, solidarity and support, off on the year 2000 adventure
following the tracks of history. Our Elban friends gathered with their
boats to escort 7 Roses as far as Scoglietto, the small guardian island
of Portoferraio. On the dock we receive endless wishes for good wind,
kind thoughts, and personal gifts ranging from wonderful homemade jam
to a good book to read on the trip. 7 Roses is docked right under the
windows of my childhood home. A tiny figure appears in the window to
watch once again as this granddaughter sets course for the horizon.
In my life as a sailor, the most difficult moments continue to be those
when I must leave the people who are dear to me, the "goodbyes" and the
"see you soons" that are not always possible. As with every choice,
this one too has its price to pay: the many sacrifices, the farewells,
Repainted and adorned with colorful sponsor stickers, 7 Roses and her
escorts sail around the perimeter of the port twice before setting sail
for the lands to the west.
The departure was planned for Sunday the 20th but was postponed by a week
due to the late arrival of technical materials. This somewhat welcome
delay allowed us to stay a few extra days at home and gave us an extra
chance to resolve the inevitable little problems that never end on a boat.
The radar, a gift from the city of Venice, was installed. The rigging
was almost completely replaced and the wind pilot finally found just
the right spot on the transom. Between one little job and another, two
weeks flew by without a moment's rest. Preparations for a voyage are
always tiring, the list of work to be done and materials to buy grows
longer as the deadline nears. As in life, the most difficult step to
take is deciding to cast off the moorings and set sail.
Elba, the last Italian stop for Project Zeno, was our longest stop since
leaving Venice. Thanks to the help of the Esaom shipyard of Portoferraio,
much work was done on the careening, the paint on the hull was re-done
and lots of little technical details were taken care of. Help also
came from a number of Elban organizations including the Naval League,
the Nautical Circle of San Giovanni, the Cavo Circle and the Friends
of the Sea. The city of Portoferraio and the Naval League organized a
conference and CONFCOMMERCIO offered lovely refreshments for the event.
NAVIOP and Elba Informatica helped with programming and finding a laptop
computer. Gelsi sailing equipment made us some side covers out of canvas
to add to the cover made in Livorno. And Discount DICO supplied us with
good Italian products for our galley. Many private parties expressed
interest in the Project and as always the irreplaceable collaboration
and support of my family were not lacking. The list of everyone who
so kindly offered help would be too long if I mentioned every name and
therefore I extend thanks to my island and the islanders whose thoughts
will accompany us on the many miles of this long voyage.