are the Grafs, Sharon and Michael, of Springfield, Illinois, proud owners
of the Larabeck, a 42-foot yacht. Sharon is an ethnomusicologist
at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Michael is an engineer who
can build or fix just about anything and who caught the sailing bug at
a very young age.
more about us --More about
got its name
the South Pacific is a big adventure and we spent years planning for it.
Read an in-depth
interview of Michael and Sharon about how our dream became a
left Florida in early May, 2010, sailing to the Panama Canal, the Galapagos
Islands, and our longest trek--3000 miles--to the Marquesas Islands! We
have meandered through French Polynesia, Niue, the Cook Islands, Tonga,
and the eastern shore of the north island New Zealand. We toured NZ's south
island by car with friends, then stayed in Auckland where Sharon researched
south pacific music and culture at the University of Auckland. In
late April, we returned to Tonga, spending the summer exploring it and
the islands of Fiji.
We flew back
to Springfield August 4, Sharon to resume teaching and Michael to consult
for his former employer. Michael returned to Fiji September 1. He and two
new crew members, Megan and Tom, have just left Vanuatu
en route to New
Caledonia and Australia
where Michael will sell the boat. Stay tuned for more adventures.
We send daily
updates (via SailMail) and photos
when we find internet. We hope you enjoy following our journey.
We are sailing!
After a slow start with motoring and sailing we are on the way. At one
time we were sailing and swimming at the same time. You would jump
off the bow and then let the boat go by, and then climb back on the platform
at the stern (the boat was going 0.6 knots with no wind in sight). Now
we have 11 knots true and 14 knots apparent wind. The SOG is 5 to
6 knots. COG is 210 Mag. 270 miles to Il Huon (northern New Caledonia
islet). Our Position is 14deg47.555S and 166deg17.6125E
Today we did
some cleaning and relaxing. If the weather report is correct we should
have some light wind soon to start our trip to Australia. It looks like
a very slow but easy start. So we will see.