Tuesday, February 13, 2018

One Hellish Pancake Day I won't forget



Shaken and stirred was certainly my most memorable Pancake Day, but the activity involved not just any unlikely attempt to cook, but the galley and the whole yacht herself, as the 38-footer was thrown about in one of the fiercest Southern Ocean storms I endured in many professional years afloat.
I was heading northwards for Cape Town. That gorgeous yacht took a mighty battering, even while she was hove to. Of course there was no chance to cook on that Pancake Day, but by jamming myself
into a corner, I was able to perform a sort of magic that seemed so astounding back then.
I sent emails to friends in both hemispheres and by the morning received replies from many of them.
I was able to use amateur radio to effect the astonishing magic. What a dream time it seemed back then. Me in the Southern Ocean, so enormously far from other humans, writing and sending off emails while all Hell erupted around my little ship.

While the elements battled ...

Readers of Sailing to Purgatory probably remember the episode well.
And while the elements battled outside, I was able to be in touch with the world among the swilling water and the yacht's gymnastics. Emailing via Ham radio probably changed singlehanded yachting forever.
That appalling spell of weather was to be recalled in court about a year later after I had been ambushed and detained on a trumped up charge of smuggling. You've got to be a very clever sailor to smuggle goods ashore when you are no closer than 1,100 miles.
The prosecution - the crooked prosecution - actually brought a weather 'expert' to court to show that there was no bad weather on Pancake Day and Valentine's Day in that segment of the Southern Ocean.

The rage of the ocean

I thought I could easily dispute that, for I had taken a photograph of the rage of the ocean, as I tell in Chapter 43 of Sailing to Purgatory...
Continues on the blogs for my sailing adventure story, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com

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