Sailing the Atlantic: A dream coming true
Ted Goodwin has had a deep-seated dream for more than 20 years, and now it’s finally beginning to come true.
Goodwin, 66, has long peered into the future, seeing him and his wife, Marilyn, embarking on an extended sailing odyssey across the open Atlantic Ocean.
Plans, he said recently, “are coming together” to begin an 18-month, 8,500- to 9,000-nautical-mile journey in the Goodwins’ Island Packet 35 sailboat, Cygnus (the swan), in May 2013 from Jupiter, Fla.
“It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever bitten and chewed off,” he said. “But if I don’t do it now, with only a few good years left,” he said wistfully at his home in Punta Gorda Isles, “I may never do it.
“My philosophy,” he added, “is that any life that is truly worthwhile is punctuated with dreams, is nourished by dreams. To reach out and sustain your goal always begins with a dream. And you have to work to make those dreams come true.”
The voyage will be in two phases. In phase one, Goodwin and two crew members, fellow Island Packet 35 owners whom he is still recruiting, will leave Jupiter, sail to the British West Indies, then to Bermuda, where they will meet up with a World Cruising Association regatta heading to the Azores.
In the Azores, the two original crew members will fly back and Marilyn will join her husband for the rest of the voyage.
“Marilyn said that if I could get to the Azores safely,” Goodwin smiled, “then I could probably get her back home.”
Phase two will involve sailing to Lisbon, Portugal, then along the coast of Morocco to the Canary Islands. They’ll leave the boat in the Canaries for three months, returning home for a break.
Then around Easter 2014, back to the boat, they’ll head due west across the Atlantic, following the same currents and trade winds that propelled Christopher Columbus in 1492.
They’ll then stop in the Eastern Caribbean, Goodwin said, returning home again to wait out the hurricane season, returning in October for the last leg back to Punta Gorda, planning to arrive about Christmas.
While the Island Packet 35 is regarded as one of the most stable blue-water (open-ocean) sailing vessels, Goodwin said, the Cygnus is a special hull. It’s already been around the world via a five-year journey with its previous owners.
Also, Goodwin has made major modifications, including installing a wind turbine and two 200-watt solar panels to provide full battery-power capability, and a water maker to convert sea water to potable water for drinking and cooking. Additionally, he has rigged the boat so he can sail it “single-hand” from the cockpit.
They’ll also have a single sideband radio, email capability and a satellite telephone for communication.
He admits that since he’s primarily used to coastal sailing, blue-water sailing will provide a special challenge, but one particularly scary incident has proven to him that he and the boat can meet the challenge.
Sailing from the Keys to the Dry Tortugas, he ran into a sudden micro-squall that churned up waves to 15 and 16 feet, rocking and rolling the boat severely. “I broke two ribs,” he said, but the boat came through unscathed.
“Sailing,” he added, “is in my blood.”