Progress has been slow lately. The winds have been mostly light and out of the Northwest. I’ve sailed through thousands of miles of headwinds by this point so it doesn’t really bother me anymore. The winds have been light enough to keep the seas mild so I haven’t been pounding much. I’ve been able to keep a decent course for the most part, although I have been becalmed a couple times and just drifted around aimlessly. Usually I don’t like being becalmed but since I’m done with the Northwest Passage and Cape Horn, I don’t really care. At this point I have no more major obstacles in my path and it’s just a matter of sailing the last 5,000 miles back to the Chesapeake Bay. It’s funny when 5,000 miles seems like a short distance to sail.
Things have warmed up quite a bit. I can throw buckets of salt water over my head without the water being miserably cold. I bath and do laundry often; I’m the cleanest I’ve been the whole trip. Clean clothing smells so good! St Brendan has been holding up well for the most part. She seems to be taking on more water than normal. All my bilge pumps have broken so I’m using the oldest type of bilge pump in the world, an empty can of corn and a 5 gallon bucket. It gets the job done.
When becalmed and alone at sea it’s important to stay busy and keep yourself entertained. Last time I was becalmed I held the first annual open ocean shotgun competition. I brought a 12 gauge in case I was crushed or holed by the ice in the Northwest Passage and wound up shipwrecked. I needed something to keep the hungry Polar bears from turning me into a happy meal. So I have this 12 gauge and ninety eight 3 inch rounds, I figured I might as well have some fun. I waited for a day with no wind and very light seas. I took an old shelf reliance can tied a line to it let it float about 100 feet away and shot at it until it sunk. Then I pulled it back on board tied off another can and repeated the proses until I had fired off 50 rounds. Since the other competitors didn’t show I easily took first prize which was a cup of coffee. My shoulder was pretty sore the next day.
I try not to think much about land. Sometimes I wish land didn’t exist, as if that would make all my negative thoughts go away. It’s a ridiculous idea, I can’t live out here forever, I don’t have enough food (or toilet paper). I have mixed feelings about returning to land, so I try not to think about land but as I get closer to the finish line it’s getting harder not to. I think I’ll be happy to be back but I’m not sure anymore.
Well by 25 south I should be in the easterly trades and I’ll have those easterly winds most of the way back. I look forward to getting out of this area of light winds that I’ve been in for the last 2 weeks. But I’m not stressing it; I’ll get there when I get there.
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.