• “Land was created as a place for boats to visit”
By Randi Somers
Sailing solo and with reefed sails, Rick Morris cruised into Homer Harbor Thursday afternoon, ending a voyage around the Pacific that he started July 3, 2009 on “Freestyle,” a 1975 Westsail 32-foot cutter.
Leaving the North American mainland from San Diego, he visited the Marquesas Islands, Society Islands, north island of New Zealand, Soloman Islands,Vanuatu Islands and Japan among many other Pacific Ocean landfalls before sailing up the Aleutian Chain to Dutch Harbor. Over the years he had 13 crew members from eight different countries, he said, making the final leg of the voyage from Kodiak to Homer solo.
After being weathered in at Adak, Dutch Harbor and Kodiak for several days, he headed into Kachemak Bay and tied up in Sunshine Cove overnight, waiting for the auspicious time to enter Homer harbor. Even though the weather improved some, 30-knot winds had him reefing and then shortening sail to just a jib for the final leg.
During his voyage, he kept up a blog on his website. His mother, Karen, said he is thinking of writing a book about his experiences.
His final entry reads:
“I made it into Homer Harbor at 1400 (2 p.m.) and family, friends and two reporters greeted me at the dock. In reality, I made it to Kachemak Bay at 0600 but because it was so early I tied up in Sunshine Point across the bay at a family friend’s homestead.
No one was there, so I got some well-deserved sleep after the 20-hour crossing from Kodiak. Even the bay welcomed me home, giving me beam reach winds gusting to 30 knots. It was a bumpy 30-minute crossing from Sunshine Point, but I got to finish the trip by sailing right on in. The crossing from Kodiak was excellent. The weather in Kodiak was sunshine, not a cloud in the sky.
As the day went on, I saw the clouds coming in and before nightfall it was overcast. I had all the sails up and moving right along but I did have the engine helping me make good speed. The weather in this area can be very fickle, turning into gale, so I wanted to get through in a timely manner.
I am home with mom (Karen Morris) at the moment. We have been visiting and catching up. This will be only the second time in three years I have spent a night off the boat. I will have to adjust myself to the real world again and it will be good to keep both feet on the ground for awhile.
After removing perishables from Freestyle Friday, I plan that she will winter in the harbor and next spring I’ll haul her out and get everything shipshape for weekend sailing when time permits. I am planning another adventure in 2014 so will have to hit the bricks for the time being to make it a reality.”
The Homer Yacht Club held a welcome home party for him after their race Saturday. He is a long-time member of the club.
More details are available on Morris’ webpage, http://sailingfreestyle.com.
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