I’ve now doubled the Horn, which means I sailed from 50 south to 50 south non-stop. Back 100 years ago it was common practice, but these days boats usually stop along the way and round the horn in a series of steps from safe anchorage to safe anchorage (understandably so). I spent 22 days in the furious fifties and I had a good time. I had four gales in a row before the Horn but the weather has been nice ever since. That gale I saw coming decreased in strength and it only blew 30kts and the one behind it did the same thing. I love the temperature down here; it’s around 55 degrees which is great for me. At night it gets a bit colder and I can feel it when I breathe, all wrapped up in my warm sleeping bag. What can I say, I’m a Celt. My ancestors didn’t live in warm sunny places. I’ve been spoiling myself by making blueberry pancakes every morning (thanks to self-reliance) along with a cup of coffee. I’ll tell you, life is pretty good!
St. Brendan has become some kind of beacon for the birds. It’s common to see birds offshore but they usually don’t follow you. I’ve had at least a dozen birds circling my boat for the last week, 24/7. There seems to be four different species, one of which chirps all the time. As I get further from land I also see the Wandering Albatross which are the biggest and I would assume the oldest of the lot. It’s nice to have friends, although they are not much for conversation. I’ve also been growing a colony on tube barnacles on my stern since the mid Pacific. It’s kind of like having an ant farm except they don’t move around much. It’s nice to be around anything that’s living.
My water maker broke a few days ago. I was able to take parts off my old broken water maker and fix the other one. Within a few hours it was back in working condition. I’ve also had 2 out of 3 of my GPS units break. I took all my GPS units off my Pearson 323 along with my windvane and my wind generator. We couldn’t raise enough money to buy new equipment so a bunch of my equipment was heavily used before I left Annapolis. Sometimes you just have to make do with what you got. One of my GPS units had over 35,000 miles on its odometer before it died so at least I got my money’s worth. The one working chart plotter (Raymairne C70) is in good shape and I think it will hold up until I get back. My AIS is also broken (which sucks) and I don’t think my VHF is working anymore. They have different antennas so that’s not the issue. My wind generator stopped working a few days ago but all it needed was some new wiring. The nice thing about doing all the work on a boat your self is, when things break at least you have a chance of fixing them. I know every wire and bolt on this boat. The real kicker is my bulkhead that supports and takes the load of my deck stepped mast. The bulkhead itself is fine but for some reason it’s pushing its self slowly up through the deck just starboard of the mast. You can see its imprint on the deck. This has been slowly getting worse over the last 8,000 miles and although it sounds bad I don’t think it will rip itself up through the deck. If it does I’ll patch it up with scrap wood and resin and carry on. Generally speaking more things have broken that have kept working but I don’t let it bother me. The good news is my monitor windvane is still steering like a champ. All in all I’ve put over 40,000 miles on that windvane over various trips (I love my windvane). My PredictWind satellite communicator is still giving me weather report and allowing me to send these web site updates, so all the important things are working fine. There’s no reason to rush on back to Annapolis. I’m going to baby the boat and I’ll get back when I get back. I like it out here, why would I want to return to land?