I’ve finally made it into the easterly trades. They are still pretty light but they will become stronger as I head north. This is a pretty big deal because it’s the last trade winds I’ll be in before the Chesapeake Bay. I will still have light winds by the equator and I’m sure the wind will blow out of some other direction at some point but I should have mostly easterly wind until 25-30 north.
A couple nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night to empty my bilge and check my course. I noticed one of my fishing lines was tight. Fresh fish, I could almost taste it as I pulled the line in hand over hand. Well my fresh fish turned out to be a piece of flotsam. I had a hard time falling back sleep and I finally dozed off just as the sun came up. I was dreaming that I was sailing around on a super fancy yacht with Keira Knightly and she was totally in love with me. She handed me a glass of wine and I went to give her a kiss. All of a sudden she started making this loud honking noise. I remember thinking, why is she making this noise? A second later I woke up to realize it wasn’t Keira making the noise it was a giant freighter honking at me with its incredibly loud horn. I stumbled out into the cockpit and since I haven’t seen a freighter (or any vessel) in thousands of miles it took me a moment to fully grasp what was happening. The freighter (Yasa Team) was so close I could almost talk to the crew who were standing on the bridge deck waving to me. I must look awfully small from the deck of a freighter. The freighter must have seen me and came over to check me out and make sure everything was ok. It’s very rare for a freighter to do so, as they usually don’t even keep a decent lookout let alone stop by to see how things are going. My VHF is broke so I wasn?t able to talk to them. Yasa Team passed by then turned back on course towards Brazil. There was no way I was going to fall back asleep after that so I started pumping my water maker to make a cup of coffee. I saw another freighter heading the same way an hour later, so I must have passed through a shipping lane.
I’ve seen a bunch of random junk in the water the last five days or so. I don’t know why there is so much trash around here. I hit something a few nights ago and I could hear it bouncing off the bottom of my boat as I sailed by. It was too dark to see what it was but it sure sounded big.
All is good out here but Don Backe (the founder and executive director of C.R.A.B) got some kind of infection that nearly killed him. Last I heard he was in the hospital and so weak he couldn’t lift his arms. I’ve been worried about his health this whole trip but now I’m really worried. Apparently he’s getting better but it still sounds bad to me. Without Don’s support this trip would have never happened. I owe a lot to Don and look forward to seeing him (nice and healthy) when I get back. So get well soon Don.
I would like to thank Dave Sheinin for writing a great article about this trip. It should really help with fundraising. I would also like to thank Victor (MR. NWP) for various weather routing info that he’s been sending me since Alaska. Thanks guys!
Matt's motivation for the trip is to show people, particularly those with disabilities, that there are no limits to what can be accomplished in life; and to raise money for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), a nonprofit sailing program for people with disabilities, based in Annapolis, Md. Click here to learn more about CRAB.