15 12.088 South
I had a nice thanksgiving. I ate the last of my salt cured pork, I broke out the sun oven and baked some brownies. I even had some whiskey that I set aside for the holidays. Shelf Reliance gave me the brownie mix, the sun oven doesn’t get too hot so it takes about 5 hours to bake a batch, but man are they good! I have a lot to be thankful for, I’m thankful for butter powder, my windvane, for the fact that fiberglass is stronger then it looks. To be honest it doesn’t feel much like thanksgiving when your alone.
I’m happy to have made it through the “crazy latitudes”. I call it that because it’s a infamous area, known to make sailors lose their mind. For me it started at around 9 north and continued until 3 south. That’s roughly 720 miles of thunderstorms, light winds, and opposing currents. The French have a word for the doldrums that roughly translates into “terrible miserable darkness”. I’d say that sums it up nicely. It felt like I was trying to sail through the twilight zone, I’m no crazier then when I left. The ocean can kill me, but it can’t break me. Speaking of going crazy, theres a good documentary about Donald Crowhurst and the effects of being alone at sea for to long, called Deep Water. If you have Netflix you can watch it instantly. I highly recommend it. One good thing came out of my trip through the doldrums. I was able to get a huge amount of repairs done to the boat, and I also did some much needed laundry. I’m about as ready as I can be for the horn.
Since 3 south its been head winds, head winds, headwinds. I’m just slowly beating into the seas trying not to beat my boat to death. No matter how much I reduce sail I still pound from time to time. St Brendan is getting pretty beat up. Even though the westerlies to the south of me are going to be dangerously strong, i’d rather deal with that then this southeasterly slugfest. My mast has been making a unsettling grinding noise. It started at around 35 north and has gotten louder since the equator. It might be no more then a bad noise or the aluminum mast could be grinding against the stainless mast step. Over time the stainless would win that fight. I don’t know. I prefer a keel stepped mast. I couldn’t be picky under the circumstances. All it all the Albin Vega is a great boat for its size and affordability, but theres not much room. I’ve still got a long way to go and some nasty water ahead, I’m trying to keep St Brendan in one piece. This boats been through a lot already, not to mention it’s 40 years old. Hopefully I’m out of these SE winds in 7-10 days, I could be longer. Theres only one way back home – south.
“We are all things that make and pass, striving upon a difficult mission, out to the open sea.” – H.G. Wells