We knew that it was important that Dragonfly could sail on the trip back to California. Al anticipated a 14-18 day trip and didn’t want to motor the entire way, it wasn’t a safe proposition. Al found a temporary mast in Hawaii. He made the necessary modifications and put it in place with new rigging. He found some used sails and with the help of the crew, they prepared and raised them. Al fixed the engines and addressed a variety of other typical things that need to be done before a passage.
Al recruited a familiar crew which consisted of :
Emerson is our nephew who was on watch when Dragonfly was dismasted. He has been sailing with us many times and is familiar with it’s systems. He enjoys hand steering and trimming the sails. Unfortunately this sail and rigging configuration wasn’t ideal. However, it still responded to his changes. We were very happy to see Emerson get back out sailing after the dismasting experience. It demonstrated his confidence in Al and Dragonfly.
Jim (Emerson’s father and Sheri’s husband). Jim is a professional photograher and professor of fine arts in Indiana. Jim and Sheri (Jill’s sister) have also sailed on Dragonfly multiple times, including a passage from Florida to Belize in 2013. Jim also has a background in engineering and love for cars, so his mechanical skills are always good to have around. He was assigned the job of being the communicator for the trip, using our new tool described below:
Joe a long-time cruising friend of ours. We met Joe in 1996 when Al was building Dragonfly. Joe was also building a Kurt Hughes catamaran and had been in the marine industry for many years. His insights and experience were always a great help! When we went sailing on our own boats, we spent many many days together enjoying the cruising life with Joe and Helen his wife. Joe wanting the Pacific experience, was happy to come along.
Ready for the trip:
After everyone arrived, they modified the sails and did some sea trials. Unfortunately the first main sail blew out, but they were able to get another sail locally. It was small, so it would be like they were double reefed all the time, but it was far better than nothing.
This time they had a Delorme InReach on board, which would allow us to exchange text messages and automatically provide their position regularly so that everyone could watch their progress online. We were also signed up for Predict Wind, so Jill was able to provide them the forecasts and recommended headings via the text messages.
Jill’s mom’s health had been failing steadily and was now on 24 hour watch in home hospice.
Dragonfly left Hawaii on July 24th, 2017 on their 2400 mile trip. They hoped it would take 14 days, but knew that they may have to pass thru the doldrums.
Three days later, Jill & Sheri’s mom died quietly at home.