Last Leg for Larchmont Sailor:
Will the Trimaran
Sail Into NYC in Record Time?
by Cynthia Goss and Keith Taylor
of sitesALIVE! and Judy Silberstein
(May 22, 2002) "They're almost
here, they're almost here," shouted seventh graders at Hommocks
Middle School predicting the imminent homecoming of adventurers
Rich Wilson and Rich du Moulin now into the last leg of their
Hong Kong to New York voyage aboard the Great American II.
week this time,
skipper Wilson and Larchmont's du Moulin -- should
be in safe port at the Chelsea Piers of New York City. This
has been making her way towards New York, passing to the
where tourists are enjoying sun and sand; passing the small
island of Bermuda; passing by the vast region of the Eastern
Seaboard, where millions are carrying out the tasks of their
daily lives while these two men sail their 53-foot trimaran
and make their way through ocean waves and moving weather
systems to reach home.
"Now that we are in the final sprint, I do have 'finish
line fever'," confessed Rich du Moulin via e-mail. "But
I still enjoy the sailing. Basic requirement number one:
The Hommocks seventh grade and thousands of other school
children have been following the two "Riches" and Great American
II since they left Hong Kong on March 16 to challenge the
Witch. The students and their
teachers have been along for the ride following the exploits
via computer (sitesalive.com),
and even one telephone call.
phone call cheered us up as we were glued to the water in
the Doldrums," recalled Rich du Moulin about his contact with
the Hommocks. He has found the educational component of the
voyage to be
incentive, helping him get through difficult
or boring stretches of ocean.
"The kids are looking forward to having Rich du
Moulin come back to the Middle School to tell them some more
stories like the one about getting hit by Freddy the Flying
Fish," reported Mary Everett, seventh grade teacher and Head
of the Science Department. "Several of us are going down
to the Chelsea Piers to welcome them back and to represent
Du Moulin will be prepared with another flying fish story.
Just last week he wrote in his journal, "..one of Freddie's
cousins flew into the mainsail, about 15 feet above the deck,
and fell into a puddle
of water trapped in the folds at the foot of the sail. A
few hours later as I tended the mainsheet winch in the dark,
there was another sneak attack. This fish hit me in head
and bounced right back into the ocean. I may wear the helmet
the next time I’m on deck!"
While du Moulin fended off flying fish, the science
department faced the challenge of shoe-horning the sitesAlive!
program into the Hommocks'
"It's news, it's happening, it's current, and it's very
motivational for the kids. So even though it's hard to fit
into our densely
packed curriculum, it's worth it," Everett said. "It's
a 'once in a life time opportunity' we wouldn't want to miss."
wind and weather predictions hold, the Hommocks welcome
contingent will be witnessing the Great American II
sail into harbor
As the end of the voyage draws near, Rich du Moulin has been
reflecting on the experience.
"We have been at sea on
Great American II for 66 days, 45 days longer than my previous
31 years ago,"
he emailed. "It has been an incredible adventure in many
ways. This is
a 'complex' voyage where Rich Wilson and I are 'multi-tasking.'
This is a sea passage where the goal is a safe voyage for
boat and crew. It is an educational program through sitesAlive!
Finally it is a challenge to beat the record of a great sailing
vessel from the early days of America. For me in particular,
this is a personal test of whether I can handle, physically
and psychologically, an endurance event at sea. Rich Wilson
has met this test on many previous long voyages, but I have
Du Moulin thanked the sitesAlive! team, his family and business
partner for the support necessary for the long and complex
undertaking. He was also grateful for his own good health.
"It is a big mistake to take health for granted; I am fortunate,"
Attentive and skillful sailing - plus modern technology
- is putting the trimaran on course to beat
the clipper ship record. However, du Moulin's respect for
the historic Sea Witch and its Captain Waterman continues
to grow. He wrote, "It is simply
amazing what they
able to accomplish with
their old technology and lack of external information about
"The power of
Witch in heavy seas and strong winds is still awesome,
and it was carrying cargo! For me it was essential to have
Sea Witch as a competitor. Without the competitive element,
I am not sure I could have handled this long voyage. Every
day I look forward to Rich Wilson's noon position from
which I derive a 24-hour comparison with Sea Witch," wrote
In closing, du Moulin wrote, "I have really enjoyed
communicating with all of you through these weekly reports.
It helped me deal with time
at sea, and share with you some of the adventure. Hope to
see you in New York next week when Rich Wilson and I arrive
on Great American II."
HOW THE PUBLIC CAN FOLLOW GREAT AMERICAN II: The website
tracking the voyage of Great American II is http://www.sitesalive.com. Daily
position reports and sailors' logs are posted on the site
for classrooms, students, and families who purchase licenses
to follow the progress of the boat.
For information http://www.sitesalive.com/oceanchallengelive/. The
saga of GAII will also be published in the Larchmont Gazette
and a number of daily papers, in the Newspaper In Education
supplements, and tracked on the AOL@SCHOOL program (keyword:
sitesalive). Some 360,000 students, including those at Hommocks,
are expected to follow the voyage.
The sitesALIVE Foundation addresses teacher training in
computer technology and funding for budget-constrained schools.
The mission of the foundation is to enhance K-12 education
by promoting the use of technology with real-world, real-time
content from around the world.
Photographs from the voyage: copyright sitesALIVE! 2003