Wow, I've finally made it. It took a little longer than expected, totaling 30 days at sea. I could have increased speed with a better sail configuration, having sailed 90% of the way on a single headsail. Don't ever cross without at least one spinnaker pole! Anyway, it's amazing to be here, and thank you so much to everyone who donated to my Fundraising project, and to those who even sent some money directly so I could have some nice food on arrival! I'm really quite overwhelmed, with emails, comments, and a whole new list of things to do and organise. Life sure was a lot simpler at sea... But then again, that simplicity bulked up over time, and now I'm snowed under! The website has been down for awhile, and it's taken me four hours of solid work to figure out and fix the problems. Thank you to Marty for spending a lot of time also attempting to fix it, and for dealing with the podcasts over the last month - I hope you enjoyed them. I know I certainly enjoyed having 'someone' to tell my stories to. The last two are in the archives if you're interested. It was pretty neat to think I was calling from the middle of nowhere, sending information back onto the web, being listened to by many. Thanks for all the comments of support, and I must say, having them forwarded to my phone certainly made some of the dark days light again. Thanks Dad for forwarding them - Sorry I couldn't reply, but my phone is not equipped to - It can only receive.
Over the thirty days I wrote a little journal, which I'm including below. The quotes are all from books or music I was reading or listening to at the time - In the next post I'll paste the remaining 30 days.
Thank you so much to everyone, and I'll post with some photos and anything else I can think of soon - Unfortunately my camera broke, so I only have a few photos... But I'll dig something up!
I left today, with nice winds and a birthday present at the marina office from Tudor (thanks again!). The man at the Diesel pump also gave me some tshirts and explained to his friend that yes, I was actually leaving to cross the Atlantic right now, singlehanded! To which he didn't believe.
Conditions went from nice sailing to moderate... Feeling seasick.
"I'm a seasick sailor on a ship up north, I got my maps all backwards" -Beck
Tired and very annoyed. Large cross swell. Thrown across cabin from bunk by slamming cross wave, frankly I'm amazed nothing broke (including me)... Constellation is a battle axe. Very little sleep and am overpowered but I'm too tired to change the headsail down.
Everything is wet. Copious amounts of water entering the cockpit from breaking waves. Lying in bunk with eyes closed, but unable to sleep. Again, thrown out of bed violently by a cross wave. Is the whole trip going to be like this? I couldn't do 25 days of this.
Conditions getting much better. Boat rolling a lot. I've spent so much time trying to stabalise things, but nothing works. From staysail-like configurations to even attempting to haul the storm jib up the main! (I cobbled something together, but it didn't really help). Finally got some good sleep last night.
Called my Dad, and asked him to email Rich in Oregon for some weather advice, and to see if the Tradewinds were far enough North to consider turn for Barbados yet. (Writing again in the afternoon) The wind has strangely has disappeared! I'm becalmed! I caught an enormous fish today. It was too big for me to eat alone, and I couldn't bear the thought of killing it and only eating half. Sent it back to sea. Getting a little frustrated by the lack of wind...
One week at sea. Becalmed all night, but at least I slept well. The wind has now turned Westerly??? Strange. At least I can sail South West quite comfortably... Lots of water over the deck though, as the swell is a little confused, and choppy. Drank coffee and ate muffins for breakfast and finished one of my books today. (Thanks Mai Ly!). Stood on deck for awhile and yelled for no real reason. (Writing again in the afternoon) Received Iridium SMS from Rich regarding weather... Which to paraphrase was "You might sail into a wind hole if you keep going that direction" ... Too late, I already did! Because of the large cross swell in the first few days, I spent too much time going West, and now I'm paying for it. Based on a projected course, Rich gave me weather updates and gave me a waypoint to aim for where I might find good winds again.
I didn't sleep very well last night, with variable winds fooling the windvane, having me up and down out of bed trying to adjust it and get every mile out of what was available. Which didn't really add up to much... I should have just sailed in circles and gone to sleep. Depressed most of the day, and spent some time in the sun to try and cheer up. It didn't work, just giving me a headache. Made scrambled eggs with canned asparagus for lunch, and tried to read a little, while listening to Miles Davis. Unfortunately I have one of Miles' albums from the early 1990's - My god, what a terrible period in his career... I haven't plotted my position for two days now, because I know we will have progressed so little. Which would probably make my depression even worst. Ate mashed potatoes for dinner.
It's incredible how overwhelming the smell of things is out here. The smell of a match is amazing!
"The majority of men lead lives of quiet desperation" -Thoreau
Made pancackes and phoned in another podcast. I also received comments from the website as well as friends from home, which really made my day. That little contact lit me right up! My high spirits were dampened somewhat by a squall in the afternoon and lack of wind...
"To be truly challenging, like life, a voyage must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest" -Stirling Hayden
Wind still light and coming from the wrong freaking direction (West/West South West)... Really confused about the weather now. Ended up calling Takir in the Kazak ship to see how he was going. Their vessel is about 600nm in front of me, and they left on the same day! I guess in those first few days of hairy sailing they got a good few miles under their belts, and got closer to the trades before the wind change. Having said that, Takhir said there was only light wind at his current position...
"Every ship is a romantic object, except the one we sail in. Embark, and the romance quits our vessel and hangs on every other sail on the horizon" -Emerson
Ok, new forecast from Rich, predicting one more day of WSW wind, then calm, then a reappearance of the trades! Hooorah!! Bored today. It's hot and I have another headache.
"I look out of my window in the morning when I rise, as I would out of a port-hole of a ship in the Atlantic" -Melville
At last! The forecast was out a day on the emergence of the NE winds (a good thing). A gentle F3 wind is now coming from the North, and we're on a beam reach heading WEST!! Doing 4kts, boat stable with the main up, very enjoyable. A flat bank of clouds is overhead, extending to the horizon. The sailing is perfect!
"For whatever its merits, I would like to think that there is just as much of frustration and failure as there is of free-swinging, fare rolling times when, however rough the going, you have the feeling "Fuck it! I wouldn't swap places with anyone else for anything on this earth" -Stirling Hayden
Wow, two weeks at sea. There is something so driving about the sun rising from the stern, and setting on the bow... It's like a the sun is giving you a navigational wink, and an aesthetic burst before illuminating another hemisphere.
"Fear by day; terror by night" -British small boat lore
Depressed. Hardly slept last night. Boat is rolling like hell (Wind shifted to ENE am under Genoa alone). Lay on the floor of the boat, as it's the lowest centre of gravity, but still, impossible to sleep. 1700nm to go .. Boat going fast. Found my first flying fish on deck.
I'll post the remaining 15 days soon!