600 miles east of Brazil (Day 253)

It’s come to my attention that not everyone knows there is a tracking device on the web site. I don’t have internet access and so I’ve never seen my own web site but somewhere on the top of the home page you can click and you will see my exact position, speed, lat and long, ect.
It’s been a busy and somewhat frustrating week. I had light easterly winds for some time and although I wasn’t moving too quickly I was heading in the right direction and all in all it was pleasant. It was about as easy and comfortable as life at sea can get. Unfortunately other problems arose. When you are at home you can plug in a laptop or some other appliance without having to worry about how much power it uses. You have nearly infinite power being piped into your home (hence your electric bill). At sea I have to generate my own power in order to run my computer, GPS, or anything for that matter. Since I lost all solar panels back by the equator in the Pacific it has been a challenge to keep enough power in my batteries. I had one advantage – I had saved fuel so in a pinch I could run my engine in idle to charge my batteries. I didn’t have enough fuel to use my engine for propulsion but I could still (once in a while) give my batteries a good charge. I still have about 5 gallons of diesel set aside for this purpose but it seems that my starter is dead. I can’t start my engine without a starter. I tried to start it manually but I have found it to be quite impossible as I don’t have a crank handle and my jury rigged handle couldn’t take the load and broke. Now I’m down to just my old wind generator for power. I spent 3 full days converting a human powered generator into a hydro generator. It was quite the task. My hack saw is broken so I had to make many cuts through metal holding the flimsy rusty blade in my hand slowly sawing away hour after hour. I felt like a cartoon character trying to break out of jail using a nail file. I built a paddle wheel out of an old boat hook a broken piece of whisker pole some starboard. It looks cool but it is high maintenance and I don’t have much faith in it lasting very long. The chain that runs from the paddle wheel to the alternator keeps falling off, so I have to mess with it every half hour or so. I hope I can keep it running as it puts off about an amp. That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up over time and at this point anything helps. My old wind generator has been binding up a bit since Cape Horn and I’ve been spraying it with WD-40 which helps but I ran out of WD 40 last night. If the wind generator dies I’m going to be in serious trouble – all I can do is cross my fingers. What all this means is I won’t be able to write the web entries as often now that I barely have any power. I’m only going to turn on my computer once a week to try to save power but that mean I’ll only be able to get a weather report once a week. Now that I’m in the easterlies it’s not a big deal, I know the weather will blow between 10 and 25 knots out of an easterly direction every day for the next month. I’ll need to know the weather more frequently when I get near Cape Hatteras and the Gulf Stream but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. If I get good wind I’ll have more power which means more web updates but if I have light winds then you won’t be hearing from me much because I won’t have enough power to charge my laptop. Once again most of my inverters have broken so I’m down to just one. If that breaks I won’t be able to charge anything anyways so a lack of power wouldn’t really matter. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Two out of my three water makers have broken and the last one was giving me some problems. I was able to lube it up with some olive oil (an oil based lubricant would have damaged the membrane) and it seems to be working better but if that were to brake … well I don’t even want to think about that.
I’ve lost my Bernard Moitessier mindset – thinking of sailing endlessly in an oceanic utopia. It’s been replaced by a much more realistic idea that I need to get back to land before this whole boat falls apart. I’m riding close to the edge and it wouldn’t take much for me to go over. I think structurally the boat is fine. I hope. Although I was on a port tack for so many miles that my bulkheads had shifted and settled to that load. Now that I?m on a starboard tack my bulkhead are slowly readjusting and periodically make a terrible noise. Sometimes the cracking sound is so loud that I would swear that my bulkhead had just cracked in half. The sound that wood can make when it’s in agony is incredible. So ya, I need to get my butt up to the bay before my whole world falls apart.

FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS

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Easterlies!

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!
FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS

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Day 239

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.
FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS

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Awesome Washington Post article

Matt received some excellent press yesterday from the Washington Post’s website.   You can read the article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/annapolis-sailor-on-unprecedented-around-the-americas-odyssey/2012/02/06/gIQAp5p6uQ_story.html

Please remember to help out Matt’s cause by donating to CRAB!

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North (Day 227)

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.
FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS

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Doubling the Horn (day 218, 19,446 miles)

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?
FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS

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Into the Atlantic

The day after rounding the horn the wind died and left me becalmed. At this point in the trip (due to a general lack of diesel) if there’s no wind then I have no choice but to drift aimlessly. I sat there becalmed for a couple hours, and then I remembered that Don Backe gave me a bottle of champagne for the horn. I was too busy to drink it the day I rounded the horn but since I was going to be becalmed for 12 hours I thought it would be a good time to have a drink. As I sat there thinking about how long it’s been since I had a carbonated beverage an Albatross swam up to the boat and circled St Brendan just a few feet distant for a good 45 minutes. Albatross are too curious to be afraid. After my friend left two dolphins showed up and stayed for a half hour. I never would have guessed that dolphins traveled this far south but there they were. So I spent the evening no more the 60 miles east of the horn drifting around drinking champion and hanging out with the local wildlife. The next morning the wind picked back up slowly out of the west and I was able to sail through the day until I was 10 miles east of staton island, then again the wind died. I got a little sleep and woke up to an incredible site. At this time of year the sun only sets for a couple of hours but even when it has set you can still see some reds and oranges in the sky as the sunset never goes away. So I awoke at 1:30am again drifting aimlessly and stepped out into my cockpit as the sun began to rise. The water was near flat calm and I was surrounded by hundreds of birds of all varieties. I even had a few Magellanic penguins swimming circles around my boat and to top it off a whale appeared less the fifty feet away. It was as if all the local wildlife had come to visit all at once. It was even unusually warm and dry with a distinct fresh smell in the air. I sat in the cockpit and watched one of the most beautiful sunrises ever, surrounded by birds not far from a dramatic desolate island feeling a sense of absolute peace and tranquility. It was one of the most incredible mornings of my entire life. I assure you my words give such beauty no justice. Being that I was in such dangerous waters made it seem that much more unreal. The beauty you will find at the extreme ends of the earth is far greater than any tropical island near the equator. The danger is greater but so is the reward.

There’s a lot to be said about being at the right place at the right time of year. Four years ago before my first single-handed Trans-Atlantic, I spent a great deal of time studying pilot charts for the north Atlantic. I realized that the first two weeks of July had the calmest weather of the year (least amount of gales). So while planning for this trip I thought that the first two weeks of January would be similar in the southern hemisphere. So my good weather was part strategy and part luck. Don’t get me wrong you can get nasty weather by Cape Horn any time of the year. The incredible light winds lasted 5 days which is rather unbelievable. I had mixed feeling about the situation. On one hand I had beautiful blue skies, warm weather and calm gentle seas. On the other hand I was very anxious to head north and get out of the fifties. The bottom line is if there is no wind, theres no wind and St. Brendan gets reduced to a 27 foot piece of flotsam.

So here I sit becalmed and drifting for the fifth day. I just can’t believe these light winds and have begun to find them most irritating. I’m starting to feel like I’m back in the doldrums. This too shall pass and it looks like a gale is around the corner. Better a gale then to be becalmed for a sixth and seventh day. It looks like my trip north is going to be a bit more complicated then I originally hoped. At any rate I will head east northeast now while I still have the westerly winds to 45 south 30 west. The coast of Brazil continues east all the way to 35 west. As I get north the winds will be east and north east, so I need to make my easting now while I can. I’ll just be happy when the wind returns to normal and I can start making good time again. Back in the Atlantic!! again.
FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS

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Phone call from Matt

Hi everyone I just got a phone call from Matt.  He wanted to let everyone know that he is doing great and he amazingly has NO wind whatsoever right now.  He is halfway through a bottle of champaign to celebrate rounding the horn and he has a 6 ft Albatross that has been keeping him company near his boat for the last hour.  So no worries about his strange speed and direction so close to the Horn – as long as the weather doesn’t go from calm to hurricane, he’s in good shape!

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Cape Horn

It’s taken me 208 days and 18,341 miles to get to Cape Horn, but finally I’m here. It’s an honor to be here. I think all blue water sailors dream of rounding the Horn. It’s a special place and it’s a privilege to sail these waters. 208 days is a long time to be cooped up on a 27 foot boat, I can’t even stand up without hitting my head. It’s been a long trip from the top of the planet down to the bottom. Heck, it was a long trip just to get to the place north of Alaska (Point Barrow) where I could finally turn south. I think I had grand tour of the open Pacific. Originally when I left Annapolis I estimated that I would round the Horn on January 16th so I’m 11 days ahead of schedule. I’m also only 1,000 miles from South Georgia (Island). How tempting is that? In 10 days from now I could be on South Georgia, standing next to Shackletons grave toasting “the boss” with my last glass of whiskey. It’s a nice idea but I’ve come too far to stop now. Now I can start thinking about my ultimate destination, the finish line at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and my first landfall in Annapolis.

My friend Simon Edwards did some reconnaissance work and sent me this on the Dec 30th (revised version). “Seas will be in the 15-20 foot range for the rest of today with a large W swell and rough wind wave chop. They will continue in this range into Sat before diminishing some late in the day. They will build back to 15-20 feet for Sun and up to 18-25 feet Mon (the 1st) with large NW swell and rough wind wave chop. It looks like a general but gradual decreasing trend in seas Tue. Waves will increase to 15-20 feet Weds and on Thurs waves will be 12-15 feet near Cape Horn, then higher seas developing after the Horn.” I couldn’t have asked for a much nicer day for rounding the Horn. I have 20 knots out of the SW, partly cloudy skies with spots of blue sky and sunshine. There are tons of squally rain showers but that’s not a big deal. What a beautiful day! It has been an on and off gale since the 27th, but considering where I am the weather has been fairly nice. I was actually becalmed for 10 hours on the 2nd/3rd and when the wind came back it was blew out of the east for eight hours (that’s right, east). I am almost out of diesel so it was slow going for a while. The winds turned west again on the 4th and I did 135 miles in 24 hours. I usually don’t push the boat that hard but this is no place to hang out. I need to move like I’ve got a fire under me. There’s a fine line between pushing the boat hard and pushing the boat too hard. Since I don’t race anyone, most of the time I have the luxury of reefing early and reefing often. Down in the furious fifties it’s prudent that a sailor gets his boat around the Horn and back up north to safe waters ASAP. But you must be careful, down here the wind builds quickly and the gusts are more extreme. Any carelessness is an invitation for a dismasting. It’s rainy, cloudy, windy and cold down here (it was 42 degrees this morning), but after 3,000 miles in the Artic the temperature and moisture is not that bad.

I brought in the New Year in a gale. I was in the mood for some excitement so it was entertaining. Sometimes gales are absolutely annoying but other times they can be good fun. I’m talking about a gale not a full ocean storm; a true storm is never fun. Anyway, I was thinking about wave patterns laying in my sleeping bag when a wave hit that filled my cockpit so full of water that water was pouring down from my companionway hatch into my cabin. I thought it was humorous, as I was just thinking about that right before it happened. I’ve become desensitized. It’s pretty funny to think I’m rounding Cape Horn without a dodger, or any canvas for that matter. My dodger was so badly damaged in the Bering Sea that there is no use trying to fix it. I don’t need a dodger, I have a paintball mask. Between my Paintball mask and my mustang survival suit I look like a heavy weather ninja (Karate chopping waves).

I’ve seen quite a few Albatross lately. They will fly threw a gale like its blowing 5kts. To live down here they must be rather indestructible. They remind me of avian jumbo jets. A week ago I had a small seal playing with my boat for hours. I was 400 miles from land and surprised to see him that far out. I must have seen two hundred seals in the Artic, but they never hung out with me before. The little guy must have been as lonely as I am; I’ve never seen a seal so happy and playful.
If you get the chance pick up a copy of the January issue of Cruising World magazine. An article I wrote back by the Bering straits is their featured article. This is the first time anything I’ve written has been published. Most of you already know the story and have seen the pictures, but it’s still interesting. I would like to thank Mark Pillsbury and the cruising world staff for giving me this opportunity.

It’s round Cape Horn we all must go, Bring ’em down;
Arms all stiff to the ice and snow, Bring ’em down;
Oh, rock and roll me over boys, Bring ’em down;
And get this damn job over boys, Bring ’em down.
(19th Century Sea Shanty)

FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS

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Merry Christmas (Happy New Year)

I hope this Christmas finds everyone in good health and high spirits.  It’s not very festive down here but I did put some things aside for the holidays.  I have a can of ham (my Christmas ham).  I have half a bottle of 15 year old Highland Park scotch and a cigar.  So it’s a good Christmas.  I don’t have a tree but I do have a red and green light on top of my mast.  I wish I had an angel; I would tie it to my masthead.  I’ve been alone in the middle of the ocean twice in the last three years on Christmas.  Last time I was half way between Gambia (West Africa) and Antigua.  I’ve got stop sailing alone one of these days, it’s getting a bit ridiculous. Anyways, Ho Ho Ho, and all that good stuff.

My automatic bulge pump died.  That really sucks.  I brought an oil extraction pump with me in case I had to do an oil change mid trip.  I never had to use it and since I only have 10 gallons of diesel left I won’t need it.  So I jury rigged the oil extraction pump and converted it into a manual bilge pump.  Luckily I have the large model that holds 4 liters.  I set it up next to my head so I fill the oil extraction pumps reservoir with bilge water then dump it in my head and flush it overboard, and then I repeat the process until the bilge is empty.  The nice thing about an oil extraction pump is they pressurize so I pump it a few times and it will suck out a half gallon.  St Brendan takes on a lot of water so I have to do this every five hours round the clock, but whatever.  Historically speaking having to work the pumps was common practice on old sailing vessels, so things have gotten a bit more traditional.  

I got a bit dinged up about a week and a half ago.  It was blowing 30-35kts and these squally rain showers where consistently passing by producing 40kt winds.  If there’s too much wind my wind generator disconnects (somehow) from my batteries and without that load it starts spinning out of control.  You can tell when this happens because the sound that the wind generator makes changes drastically.  So I went outside to tie off the blades and stop the generator from spinning.  It sits on an eight foot pole, and because of the 40kt winds my boat was heeled over something awful.  I had very little sail up so there was nothing I could do about that.  Anyway, it’s a precarious job but I managed to tie off the wind generator.  In order to get from the back of my cockpit to the companionway I have to step over the lines that run from my wind vane to my tiller.  I’ve done this 1,000 times and could do it blindfolded.  The problem was that it was 2 or 3am and the thick clouds blocked out the moonlight so I was sailing in pitch black darkness.  As I went to step over the line a wave came out of the darkness hitting me with a solid wall of water.  I had one foot in the air so it easily threw me across the cockpit.  I came down hard on a winch right in the ribs and I must have hit several other things as I was dinged up in a half dozen places.  I was alright after a few days but it hurt to take a deep breath for a while.  The point is, when things go wrong on a sail boat it happens very quickly.  One moment I’m sleeping peacefully in my sleeping bag, a few minutes later I’m sprawled out in the bottom of my cockpit with the wind knocked out of me, covered in water, trying to figure out what just happened.  

Well, all in all, all is good.  I’m happy to be down here.  It’s an exciting place with an infamous history.  I’m 1,240 miles from the Horn and right on schedule.  The winds will pick up as I get closer to the Horn.  It looks like I might have a gale in the next few days.  So happy holidays, drink some egg nog for me and have a good new year.
FORTITUDINE  VINCIMUS

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