Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Nice Idea While It Lasted

Somewhat predictably, the sunny forecast for nothing but southerly winds that got us thinking about a visit to Tristan da Cunha lasted only 24 hours, and the next forecast suddenly promised us the third northerly blow of our passage. That blow is meant to reach us tomorrow, and it put an end to our dreams of making the ~400 miles of northing that separate us from Tristan.

There was also a patch of seven and a half meter seas recently forecast for our operating area. Numbers like that tend to focus you on the job at hand, and got me thinking about just getting to Cape Town already rather than noodling around the South Atlantic, trying to reach the most remote inhabited island in the world. Luckily those 7.5 meter seas were also short-lived in the forecast. Once the northerly blow passes us by we are meant to have quite stable weather for days on end. Hopefully this forecast is the one that lasts.


I was working on this theory of how traveling the world in your own boat is a great antidote to the small-world, limited-expectation outlook of our present age. Every hopeless chronic traveler needs a grand self-justifying theory. Bruce Chatwin had his idea that nomadism is the native state of humanity, and what have I got?

I still think there's potential in the idea, but for now its development has been put on hold by one of those supremely mundane matters that sailing is prone to. When we were getting under weigh again after being hove to for northerly blow #2, I was tethered in the cockpit and prevented from quite reaching the primary winch by the length of the tether. So I leaned over at an unnatural angle to grind the winch and hurt my back.

I didn't hurt it terribly badly, but badly enough. When I got out of bed the next morning Alisa had to help me get my boots and raingear on, and I slept in the same boots and raingear last night rather than go through the assisted-dressing routine again.

There's plenty of sail handling on a passage like this. You're always reefing or polling out the jib or jibing in response to a wind shift. And doing all that with a I-can't-get-out-of-bed back sort of took the joy out of things for me. And it put a stop to any idle theorizing on why sailing across oceans is the Right Thing to Do.

The back is well on the road to recovery now. I think I'll take my boots off before I go to bed tonight. Might even treat myself to a clean pair of socks. Plus we seem to be done with the icebergs. Galactic is generally trending positive.


I was commiserating with Elias about what a long time this is to be cooped up, especially for the under-10 set.

"Lions on the other end," was his reply.

That's the thing about youth. Youth sees the concrete, and doesn't need theories for justification.

This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!


  1. "Lions on the other end". What a terrific response.

    I've been following your great journey for some time now (1-2years). Enjoy & stay safe.


  2. hi, just saying hi. hi to alisa.