I’ve now sailed over 20,000 miles. I originally thought this trip would be 23,000 miles but that is because I made a bunch on waypoints and connected the dots (so to speak) with straight lines. Well you never sail a straight line from point A to point B – it’s usually a bit of a zig zag. That and my original course was closer to South America on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides. Long story short, this trip will be over 25,000 miles by the time I reach the Chesapeake Bay. Although I’ll probably make it back a bit sooner than 300 days.
I’ve made my easting and now its North! I’ve gone so far east that I’m at the same longitude as the island of Flores in the Azores. I didn’t have much of a choice, when I get up to 30 south I’ll be in the easterly trades and it’s better to have them on the beam than having them on the nose. I like being out here far from land and shipping lanes. I feel safer – that and if I get heavy weather I can use any technique I like as I have all the sea room in the world. Its peaceful here, I have my own world.
It hasn’t been all peace and quiet. It is an interesting and somewhat annoying stretch of ocean. When the wind turn northwest to north northwest you get 25-35 knots and torrential downpours. I’ve been rained on more times than I can remember but nowhere has it rained as hard as it has over the last week. Incredible rain mixed with lightning! I hate lightning at sea. I was hit by lightning once on my first boat and it fried everything (I’m lucky I didn’t get seriously hurt). When it’s blowing 30kts or so and one of these thunderstorms pass (which happens all this time) it’s common for the winds to gust up to 45+ knots. I was in one the other day and I had just fallen asleep when a wave hit my boat on the port beam so hard that (literally) everything that was not bolted down in the cabin went flying across to the starboard side of the boat. I was woken up by a rain shower of gear, clothes, cans of food and random equipment to the point where I was buried. I estimate I was knocked over 90 degrees. I haven’t been hit by a wave that hard awhile. It was as if the ocean wanted to remind me that I’m on a 27 foot boat. I wasn’t laughing this time.
When the winds aren’t blowing 25-35kts they are usually light and out of the south. I don’t move very fast but I do get some good sleep. That’s when you know you have a serious sailing problem. Some people walk in their sleep, I sail in my sleep.