I hear an earsplitting “pop” inside my starboard side molar. I can’t see anything. I reach into my mouth to feel what just exploded and my molar has shattered. I feel around to collect the slivers of tooth swimming through my saliva when my port side molar shatters. I hang my head, cup my hands under my mouth and my entire set of chompers explodes, one tooth after another. Thousands of tiny pieces pile into my hands and overflow onto the floor. I have no teeth. The lights come on. I look at my ceiling sprawled with charts of the North Atlantic.

Good morning Jessie.

My nightmares are in full swing. In conversation I portray confidence. On social media I portray bravery. In daylight I portray proficiency. Should have been an actress. But when it’s dark and no one is around the pressure builds exponentialy. And all of the sudden k a b o o m it all explodes in my mouth. Shattering my teeth. N i g h t  t e r r o r s  s u c k.


Solve the worlds problems . Re- run halyard through mast . Chain plate investigation . Finalize crew .  Measure battens . Flake sails . Bleed fuel . Mount solar panel . Instal inner forestay . Put track back on foredeck . Stop drinking Monster . Instal Hydrovane . Ignore Luke’s socks on floor . Find correct alternator belt . Check all rig dimensions . Find radar reflector . Instal mast fitting . Remove all the gunky messes I made . Blog this week . Instal U-bolt fitting . Paint the bottom . Stop making so many trips to the hardware store . Draw a seacock map . Create a bumper for steering quadrant . Polyester hull at new seacock . Buff. Buff some more . Wax . Wax on . Wax off . Polish . Sand . Varnish . Sand . Varnish . Repeat 8x . Stop cleaning up the Wizards’ and Lukes’ messes . Just let it be . Make smaller goals .


Luke flew home today. Back to England. Back to HydeSails office. Our time slipped away as if I sprayed it with WD-40. I had a borderline panic attack morning of departure.  This is not our first rodeo, we say farewell every month. But this time around, I lost it at the thought of having to start this voyage without him. Before he arrived last month I was convinced I had this all under control. By the time he flew out I was convinced I couldn’t do it without him. My teeth just about shattered for the second time. See you in Montreal love.


We launched the boat today. As the truck backed Desireé down the ramp and into Lake Michigan I was beside myself. Crazed. The arctic air blew down from Canada, stirring up tomorrows predicted blizzard. And there we were – splashing a boat into the last of the ice melt. Like crazy people. Were crazy.


Desireé.  She is floating. Water drips one drop every ten seconds from the seacock in the bathroom sink. Water falls a baby sized waterfall at the engine water intake valve.  Looks like we have some leaks to fix. Rest assured, the Wizard is a fantastic plumber and I’m not a horrible apprentice.

Lake Michigan is more beautiful today than I have ever seen in my entire life. Could be a simple change of perspective. Could be the fact that I am having a complete mind-shift into living and breathing water and weather. It’s 50 feet deep and I can see the bottom with clarity. It’s jaw dropping.

Wizard’s on the helm. He looks like a kid. He is happy. I am happy. I make a promise to him inside my head that Luke and I will do everything in our power to take care of Desireé to the best of our ability.

I start the next list. We have so much to do. I don’t have time to be scared. Right now – I am incredibly excited.


Solve the world’s problems . Complete plumbing . Re-wire alternator. Fix battery charger . Collect medical kit . Order engine spares . Edson pump on a board rebuild kit . Order inflatable kayak . Pick up battens . Re-arm life jackets . NMEA2000 starter kit . Make a tool box . Fit 3rd reef on boom . Glow plug / starter switch instal . Connect VHF / AIS . Mast head light connection . Instal stern light . Leaky sink . Calm down stop panicking .   Reef lines . Rig mizzen . Balance rig . Mount propane tanks . Mount generator . Find a home for life-raft . Store books / charts . Put together ditch bag . Set up Delorme Inreach . Register EPIRB . Download charts for B&G plotter . Sand . Varnish . Silicone all leaks . Oil cockpit teak . Fill water tanks . Fill diesel . Talk with crew . Provision . Try saying the F word less .


It hailed big style today. Shit.


Today. Right now. I don’t know what to say. Hard to sum up the past two weeks. Still attempting to sail out of here Monday morning. I should probably not be typing. I should probably be packing. However I have had handfuls of lovely humans stop by the marina this week to wish me luck, to tell me they will be following along. I want to thank those of you for that. I have had a few of my closest friends drive far out of their way just to come lend their time and helping hands. I have a father who has been working day and night to make this happen. I have a mother who despite her worries has taken on a handful of responsibilities with a smile on her face. I have a brilliant sister who is busy being a professor but always finds time to check in with me. I have another half who might be all the way over in England but who talks me through every project, who can answer all of my questions, and who trusts me to make all of these things happen, all in a British accent.

Okay. I am off for now. Thank you for following along. Please contact me if you have ties to any marinas, yacht clubs, docks, mooring balls, anchorages etc. We will be passing through Lake Huron, Detroit river, Lake St. Claire, Lake Erie, Welland Canal, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence Seaway… Montreal, Quebec city. Any connections help !


final week -3

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17 thoughts on “T e e t h S h a t t e r i n g

  1. Hi!
    I’m in Montreal, Quebec and I’ve been following your blog for sometime. Your photography from the Great Loop trip is incredible and has inspired me on some adventures for Quebec.
    I’m not familiar with the sailing in the area as I am here on a student exchange. However, I am a sailor and familiar with boats for all of my life and I am super willing to give you any help you may need as well as a warm meal in Le Plateau, Mont Royal if you wish.
    I really want to be of any assistance if possible.
    Fair seas,

  2. You inspire me. Selling the houseboat. Back sailing by next season. Small trailerable single hander with auto pilot (no one wants to go any more). Maybe take the wizard for a sail !! Sail safe, this is not a race !!

  3. I go girl. Me and Bitchen go way back to the bike days. Wish i could have helped. Keep us posted. Do you have crew to Montreal ?

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. I have great friends who live in Quebec. I will contact them when you need. #SpringLaker living in #Florida.

  5. Jess, in 2010 the Elissa II spent 6 weeks at Navy Point Marina, Sacketts Harbor New York. Bill and I were with Elizabeth in nearby Dexter on Lake Ontario while she prepared to deploy from Ft Drum. It is just south of entry to the St Lawrence. Excellent Marina services and great staff. If I can get myself and my act together to complete the Loop, it is where the Elissa II will cross her wake.

  6. I went to HS in Canada and have friends along your route primarily in Parry Sound area (HS here) could likely find you a real bed in this area for a night or 2, but also in Toronto (sister), Montreal and probably half the other places along the way. let me know if I can help

  7. Depending on your time in the Parry Sound area my wife and may be able to help you guys personally (plan to be there next month). I have a house 30 minutes from PS in the village of Rosseau, I can put up for a few nights (dogs are cool). Even If I am not there I can get you a ride there let me know.


  8. I know you are extremely busy getting ready to set sail, and I wish you the absolute best on your journey!
    But I have a question for you…
    I looked at a 1982 9.4 S2a at a marina yesterday in Holland, Mi. And I would like your opinion on making the great loop on that particular model and size of boat. I have novice/moderate experience sailing, with the largest boat I’ve sailed, being a PY26 on Erie. Do you think this would be a decent boat to make this trip? It would be myself and a friend. The boat has an inboard yanmar, wheel steering, hood roller furler, 2 mains, a 130 jib, and a 135 (I believe) roller genoa. Thank you in advance for your opinion!

    1. Hey Rick !

      Looks like the perfect little loop sailboat. We traveled with a handful of different kinds of sailboats ranging from 25 to 45 feet, some with drafts up to 6 feet. Inboard engine is great. We left with two sails only and they lasted the entire trip haha shows how often we actually sailed… we relied on our engine a little too much and should have pushed our sailing abilities a bit more. But hey, we became mechanics along the way. GO FOR IT !!

  9. Is your English friend flying back to sail with you? Or who is doing the Atlantic crossing with you? How many can a sailboat that size handle? Thanks.

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