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Just to take a brief reprieve from the Italy blogging, here is a post about two folks I’ve met in Saint Augustine who have done a transatlantic voyage and sailed around Europe and the Mediterranean. I included the radio platform for the story as well, both of these stories I wrote for WUFT News in Gainesville, Florida. I hope you enjoy their story as much as I did.
The beat of the ocean against the hull of her ship brings peace to many sailors, and is a sound not soon forgotten. For Kourtney Patterson and Pete Grundvig of Saint John’s County, they listened to this sound for 43 days straight, as they made an adventure few take on alone across the Atlantic on their 50 foot wooden cutter, Norna.
The boat was purchased by Pete in a shipyard in Saint Augustine, Florida for a magnanimous $10 after a propane explosion on board left little behind. As he was fixing her up, he met Kourtney, who was living on her own boat that was slowly falling apart. Together they rebuilt Norna, a Dutch ship, with dreams of leaving Florida far behind. The couple had originally intended to go sailing just around the Bahamas and the Carribbean, but with the death of Pete’s father they decided to extend their journey into a transatlantic voyage.
The voyage across would take them 43 days
Kourtney had very little sailing experience and had only been sailing twice in her life previous to the journey. She laughs now saying, “Actually how I spelled it [Norna] when we entered Bermuda was NACHO-OCTOPUS-RHINOCEROS -NACHO-ALLIGATOR. They still let us into the country so that was good. Since then I’ve learned the international alphabet.”
The trip did not come without hardships, at one point the couple saved their mast as the stays broke through “jerry-rigging” as Kourtney claimed. When asked why he decided on the voyage Pete said “I’ve always wanted to travel, go places, and surf, and eventually it just became a love of sailing.”
Both talk of their experiences with a twinkle in their eye and grins on their faces. When reflecting on why the transatlantic voyage is so special Pete said, “The emptiness of it, the manmade things aren’t there. I think that’s one of the big draws for me. To see nature and be in that element which we don’t belong in, out there especially. And you learn quickly you can’t be out there for a long period of time. But it’s beautiful really”.
There voyages included stops starting in Spain and going all along the Mediterranean Sea.
Now back in Saint Augustine after their two and a half year voyage, Kourtney works for herself in her online business Paper Sailor Co. and is the author of two books, “Accidental Sailor Girl”, and “Saving Libby the Lobster”.
The couple intends to continue their nomadic sailor lifestyle and plans of a Pacific crossing are in the making. Kourtney says “Once you get out there and see the beauty, it’s all worthwhile.” For more information on Kourtney and Pete visit www.papersailor.com.
heres the radio story!