Finally Getting a Handle on Randall (Reeves)

Moli slowly emerged on the horizon, a bright orange stripe on her mast distinguishing her from the other boats that had gone out to meet her on Saturday. We were on Mike Dodson’s Beneteau 41 NoSnow, and intercepted Randall Reeves and Moli off Ocean Beach, near Mile Rock. About 10 boats congregated, the VHF buzzed with “Welcome home, Randall”s.

A singlehander’s work is never done, even when they’re so close to the finish line. Randall Reeves tweaks sail on Saturday off the Cliff House and Ocean Beach.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

We were out here just under 13 months ago, when Reeves departed on what he dubbed the Figure 8 2.0, one of the most inspired and grueling circumnavigations in recent memory. With his return to the Bay, Reeves has sailed somewhere around 39,000 miles, circling both Antarctica and the Americas singlehanded.

Reeves sailed out the Gate for his second Figure 8 attempt on September 30, 2018.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

In a medium-sized, short-period swell, Reeves and Moli and the flotilla sailed off Ocean Beach, before making a slow turn toward Baker Beach and the mouth of the Bay, timing his entrance to do a sail-by of Point Cavallo, where a crowd was waiting.

We’re not sure what the official ‘finish line’ for the Figure 8 was, but the Golden Gate is certainly the symbolic start/stop of many a journey.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

We were dropped off at Sausalito Yacht Club, where another crowd was eagerly waiting. And waiting. Reeves was apparently tidying away his sails and preparing fenders and docklines, while his wife Joanna Bloor joked, “Hopefully he hasn’t pulled a Moitessier.” The 41-ft Moli eventually made her way to the dock, and was serenaded by bagpipes — of course.

A member of CYC plays the pipes, while a member of NBC films Reeves and Moli putting into the dock.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
Reeves makes the last turn into the dock at Sausalito Yacht Club.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
A crowd of family, friends and members of the media came out to welcome Randall.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim
Reeves’ ‘lovely wife’ Joanna had met him in Halifax, Nova Scotia, during the summer, but Saturday was a reunion just the same.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

Once docked, Reeves was handed a microphone and gave thanks to the many people who’d made the Figure 8 possible. “It takes a village,” he said. There were a number of people on the “land-ops team,” Reeves explained, who handled logistics and maintained the immensely popular Figure 8 website.

Reeves expressed his gratitude to his shore team. “My job was easy,” said. “All I had to do was sail the boat.”
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

Once his boots hit the dock, Reeves was instantly whisked into interviews and posed for countless photos. We did our best to make sure that he had a glass of champagne in his hands. At the ceremony was Moli’s former owner Tony Gooch, who presented Reeves with a plaque from the Ocean Cruising Club commemorating Randall’s extraordinary achievement.

Tony Gooch, on the right — who sailed and circumnavigated Moli as Taonui — presented Reeves with a job-well-done trophy.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

Stay tuned for a Figure 8 feature in the November issue of Latitude 38. For now, we will tip our hat to Randall Reeves on a job well done.

A rainbow over Richardson Bay capped an extraordinary circumnavigations, and a lovely afternoon at SYC.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

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