s/y Nine of Cups
Rescuing  Sadko
February-March 2008
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We first met Noel Marshall in 2006 in Puerto Williams, Chile...the bottom of the world. We
were rafted up to the
Micalvi (an intentionally grounded munitions carrier which served as
yacht club base) and Sadko arrived and rafted up to us. He had crew aboard, but we
learned that many times he was a single-hander. We shared pleasantries and a glass of wine,
but left within a few days for Ushuaia.

In Ushuaia,
Sadko arrived a few days later and once again we spent some time with Noel
and got to know him a bit better. We signed up for an Antarctic trip and found that Noel
had done the same. We wanted to go as a once in a lifetime opportunity, but not aboard
Nine of Cups. Noel was interested as a reconnoitering trip because he definitely intended to
take "
Sadko to the Antarctic the next season...which he indeed did!

Aboard, "The Little Red Ship" to and from
Antarctica, we learned more and more about
Noel and his sailing experiences, for his travels were not the usual, but rather to Japan and
Russia and Greenland and definitely areas less traveled.

When we left Ushuaia to head north to Uruguay, Noel was leaving at about the same time
and we chose to travel in "loose company", a phrase with which we were not familiar at the
time and which became our private joke. "Oh venerable loose one...", we would greet him in
e-mails. He would respond "loosely speaking" or "regarding loose plans" or "dearly loose or
loosely dear friends".

Noel left us in Piriapolis, Uruguay and headed to Buenos Aires to prepare
Sadko for her
Antarctic passage. We visited him in BsAs a few times and he visited us in Montevideo ...
always we stayed in touch.

In 2007, after the completion of his Antarctic passage, Noel returned to the UK for some
medical issues leaving
Sadko on a mooring in Ushuaia. He discovered that he had cancer
and began treatment in the UK immediately. Poor
Sadko was a bit stranded.

After much consideration, we offered to fly down to Ushuaia and rescue
Sadko by bringing
her to Piriapolis, Uruguay and hauling her out for a well-deserved rest. Noel took us up on
our offer. We left "Cups" on the hard in Panama and flew to Ushuaia to ready "Sadko" for
her passage. Lucky for us, Noel was feeling fit for travel and met us in Buenos Aires on
Valentine's Day 2008 and we traveled together to the bottom of the world once again.

Ten long, hard days (made easier by the 18-20 hour austral summer days) and
Sadko was
good to go. It took a diver two full days to clean a year's worth of growth from the prop and
hull bottom. Noel was not only feeling fit, he was feeling great and had more energy than
both of us put together. We spent hours learning about
Sadko from stem to stern and finally
it was time to leave.

We left Ushuaia on 25 February. Noel hugged and kissed us good-bye at the dock and
watched us sail away in his
Sadko. We promised we'd take good care of her.
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Noel Marshall
Mar del Plata, Argentina in 2006.
Sadko sits serenely at anchor at Bahia Relegada
close to the Harberton Estancia.
David checked out the rigging and re-rigged
halyards for the upcoming passage.
Ushuaia is beautiful. We never thought we'd return there, but
there's a Patagonian legend which says if you eat the calafate
berries (like local blueberries), you'll always return. We had
eaten them and we did return...the legend must be true!
We moved Sadko from her mooring immediately the day we arrived
and rafted up next to
Saudade on the AFASyN dock. Saudade
belongs to Mariolina Rolfo & Giorgio Ardrizzi, authors of the
Patagonia & Tierra del Fueglo Nautical Guide aka "The Italian
Guide". We had the opportunity to meet and get to know them both
and actually answer some editing questions regarding the English
translation. Noel had the chance to chat with them about a new
anchorage he had found to be added to their guide,  "Caleta Sadko".
Our job was made infinitely easier by Roxanna
Diaz, owner of Ushuaia Logistics. Roxanna was
a godsend in more ways than one. She's now the
Official Cruising Station for
SSCA in Ushuaia.
Our previous passage down the Beagle Channel and through
the Strait of LeMaire to Piriapolis was a rather rough one.
The gods must have been looking out for us this time. The
passage was relatively calm, fast and pleasant. Gray skies,
however, were pretty much the norm during the passage.
Sadko's pilot house-like design, however, kept us much
warmer and more comfortable than we thought possible.
Once in Piriapolis, we wasted no time in
scheduling Sadko's haul-out. She was high and
dry three days after arrival.
In Piriapolis, huge logs are used to prop up the boat
and it is prudent to then attach wooden cross braces to
provide additional support.
We e-mailed Noel daily during our passage, but there wasn't much to say. Things were going well and we were making good
time...the weather was cooperating famously. We arrived in Piriapolis on 8 March 2008 at about 0700. Friends, Cath & Mike
Whitby (
Breila) were expecting us and met us at the dock with fresh coffee and media lunas (croissants).

We wasted no time in getting
Sadko hauled and decommissioned. The local SSCA Cruising Station host, Jean Petley, provided
transportation around town and to Maldonado,  making our job much easier.

Within a week,
Sadko was resting comfortably and prepared to be left in peace for awhile.

Stats of the trip:  Total distance logged:  1482 nm.
                        Total days elapsed: 13
For more information about
Noel Marshall   click here
The local SSCA Cruising Station host, Jean Petley,
drove us to Immigration and helped with whatever
we needed. Above, Jean and Marcie share a toast at
a Ladies' Luncheon which Jean hosts monthly and to
which Marcie was invited.