Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Rod offers some br-x-t beating beams

Back in commercial yachtmaster days, I was commissioned to take a once beautiful ocean-going yacht from Portugal to the Cape. It was not exactly the straight-forward voyage I expected.
I knew Thunderbird from some years earlier when I delivered to St Helena island.
She was a fine vessel, well prepared and in very good order for the voyage which was a really pleasant, and upon an ocean in a remarkably benevolent mood.
However, when I arrived at the Portuguese port to sail her alone to South Africa - a seven-week voyage I anticipated - the yacht showed a distinct lack of maintenance.

Tender loving care

The tender loving care usually lavished on such a smart possession had been very noticeably overlooked.
Give or take this or that, she seemed seaworthy, and I sailed off solo.
There’s nothing like an ocean to show up a vessel’s faults. Soon it was clear that she was never going to be sailed solo all that way.
After a week or so, I accepted the obvious and sailed into the Canary Islands to find crew. I phoned good friend Gerry Adamson in Hampshire, who had been such a help with the preparation of Spirit of Pentax for my singlehanded circumnavigation.
She knew just the person, a recommended and reliable fellow, even if he lacked sailing experience.
Rod must have lots of seafaring in his blood for he adapted to sailoring remarkably quickly and soon proved himself to be just about the perfect crewman.

Running repairs

We made Cape Town in excellent time in spite of a number of running repairs along the way. … Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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