The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Saying Goodbye Is Hard To Do

Cathy Norrie

Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37
November 24th, 2019

Don’t take your love away from me

Don’t you leave my heart in misery

If you go then I’ll be blue

[Saying goodbye] is hard to do.

That’s just how I felt on September 1, 2019 as I watched my husband and co-skipper, Bill Norrie, sail away in Pixie, our BCC 28, from the dock at Port Renfrew B.C. … without me!

Our first circumnavigation began 8 years ago from Bamfield, B.C. and that time, I was aboard with Bill on our PSC Crealock 37, Terrwyn.  Having two skippers is considered a short-handed crew, but of course, we also had Monti (our Monitor Wind Vane) who was our third crew member. We completed that circumnavigation in June 2016, and I think that was when the seed of a second circumnavigation was planted in Bill’s mind.

Bill has spent the last two years planning and preparing for this epic journey.  Now that is enough content for another very long article! I decided not to go this time for a couple of reasons; one of the most important was the birth of our first grandchild, John, last February.  At three months early, he and his parents have had quite a stressful time.  I hope I will be able to help alleviate some of the stress.

The Bon Voyage party for Bill and Pixie was held on Saturday, August 31 at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.  Many friends and family were there to help send Bill off in grand style.

BCA members: the Calgary chapter contingent.

One of those people was Karen Sullivan, who sailed across the Strait from Port Townsend in their beautiful boat Raven. The following are some words and photos from Karen:

Adieu for Now to a Great Sailor

In late August, Raven crossed the Strait to Canada, to anchor in Cadboro Bay, about four miles east of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club is there, and our friends Cathy and Bill Norrie, who are members, have a Bristol Channel Cutter named Pixie, that is so beautiful and seaworthy that just one look at it will roll your socks up and down.

Skipper Bill supervising the warp in his going away outfit.

I was also amazed to see that Lin and Larry Pardey had given their Cape Horn charts to Bill, and as we gazed at them in Pixie‘s cabin, Larry’s precise navigation marks showed the track they had made, the one we’ve all read about. It was wonderful to see.

Bill and Cathy had already circumnavigated aboard their Pacific Seacraft 37, Terrwyn, back around the same time we were sailing our Dana 24, Sockdolager, to New Zealand. So it’s not like Bill doesn’t know what he’s in for. His dream is to sail around the world mostly nonstop, and on Monday, September 2, he left Canada for Hobart, Tasmania, nonstop via Cape Horn, where the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans collide. After rounding Cape Horn, he may stop at South Georgia Island. From there he’ll go past the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin. You can see where he is and follow his mini-blog at Pixiesails, or you can search for PixieSails on Facebook.

Bill sailing Pixie down the lane.

He could hardly wait to get offshore and be out at sea, solo. He loves it out there. His planning, preparation, knowledge and skills are second to none. It’s 7,900 miles to Cape Horn. He’ll be approaching it in late November or early December. So Bill, we wish you the fairest of winds, and low seas, and strong hands for hanging on, and clear eyes for seeing your way to a safe return in a year or so. Cathy will be waiting for you, surrounded by her many friends and family.

As Bill cast off his lines with the help of his many friends, he set sail and did a swoop past the docks full of cheering well-wishers. Aboard Raven, we took Cathy out several miles to accompany Bill on this beginning. As Pixie sailed close alongside Raven, she was breathtaking in her sheer exuberant beauty, heeling slightly, wavelets splashing across her chainplates, with the promise of much more splashing to come.

Karen and Pixie.

Bill looked ecstatic and Cathy was, as you might expect, a mix of emotion, mostly happy for Bill, but also full of concern for his safety. She’s one brave woman. And he’s a chaser of dreams who loves the sea, and sailing, and living life to its fullest, more than almost anyone we know.

Voyage Update

Update of Bill’s voyage as of Monday, September 23, 2019: Bill is currently at 014° 20.744N, 118° 41.848W / Course: 159° @ 4.4 knots. Here is a message (unedited) he wrote at midnight the night before:

“117W to go before getting out of this no problem may need to and in fact I expect as much. Tony Gooch crossed Equator at 117  so we are keeping good company.

Middle of night to give this time of day some added pleasure and not to dread it even made myself a cup of Campbells tomato soup.

Had to rescue M2 [our 2nd Monitor wind vane – our 1st one is still on our previous boat, Terrwyn] as wind died and now back up and flying albeit virtually SOUTH 160M , then checked gribs and this is OK

Was lucky all day breeze held 12K NE and here we are at 14:42N  and 118:45W  good enough  still bucking Southern Equatorial current of ~.6 K and water temp up to 30.2  Unbelievable! Never seen it that hot. Hurricanes need temp 30 to have energy to go all bad. So glad I’m out away from that disaster setup.

Going to be OK the next 2-3 days could be tough with dead air patches but must just plow along  SE gribbs don’t show local thunderhead breeze and they are everywhere.  So dark  in daylight. Truly gloomy and muggy and I refuse to admit it but  shuuuuuu…. trying to be depressing, will not let it be so.”

If you would like to follow Bill’s progress you can go to the Blog Tracker at It shows his track and any comments both he and his land crew post for him. I will try to write a regular report regarding Bill’s progress.


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