Last week with the help of some friends, a significant amount of bubble wrap, and half a roll of packing tape, we packed and loaded Undaunted onto a trailer and hauled him to a container shipping company in Boston. Today he was loaded onto the ship itself and will begin a month's long journey to the Canaries where we will meet him February 27th to get ready for the big journey back.
Dropping off Undaunted for shipment last week held mixed emotions for both Matt and me. First was a sigh of relief. As far as the building and designing that has been put into Undaunted, Matt has done all that he can at this point and can take a breather from the last few weeks of hard work and planning it took to get Undaunted ready on time. Some of the remaining details include fitting and final installation of the emergency flotation system*. Once we meet Undaunted in the Canaries, get him unpacked and the system attached, Matt will spend the rest of his time doing a final test of all systems and making adjustments as needed before sailing out, which he is hoping to do around the 10th of March.
I was able to share in the initial sigh of relief knowing that we were able to get Undaunted ready and packed up on time. However, I still have a lot of coordinating to do with agents in both the U.S. and Spain to make sure our little boat makes it to the Canaries on schedule.
Other than keeping our social media and websites updated and contacting various companies for requests of donations, my main job through this project has become figuring out the entire shipment process for Undaunted. It was weeks of cold internet searches to find a shipping company that could handle Undaunted's dimensions and weight, and then making sure that it also fit our budget and in a reliable time frame (we estimated guesses of anywhere from 28-60 days). When that was finally settled, it came down to endless phone calls and email chains just to figure out what kind of paperwork we needed to fill out and submit in order for Undaunted to leave the country. Who knew how complicated this would be! I spend most of my computer time these days emailing with agents in Spain who are not only in a different time zone than us here on the East Coast, but also have a different work day/week schedule. Ugh! Send three questions to be answered and maybe get one of them answered or be asked something completely different that was already covered (multiple times in fact) over several emails ago. Long story short, if anyone is thinking about attempt a project that requires them to deal with the hassles of over seas shipment and clearing customs, come see me!
So now we wait. Having Undaunted out of our hands is both relieving and nerve wracking. Our little guy is packed tightly into a shipping container with who knows what else, and is on a long journey across the Atlantic and through two separate custom check points before he comes back into our possession. As the main contact for keeping in touch with everyone I find that will have their hands in pushing Undaunted along, I sit here hoping I did everything I needed to in order for Undaunted to make it. I also can't help but put the worry of failing on myself if something goes wrong... So I wait...
- C. Soltis
*In the meantime, I mentioned that Matt will be working on the emergency floatation system. It is a custom design using three vinyl white water rafting tubes fit to the front and sides of Undaunted. Combined, the tubes can float and hold the total weight of Undaunted, all his contents, and a hull full of seawater if taken on by a surprise wave or leak. They are filled by tanks that contain enough CO2 to inflate the tubes up to three times.