Thursday, January 09, 2020

All at sea for a Cape Horner bid ... and how

It’s the anniversary of sailing around notorious old Cape Horn back in, well, memory seems to suggest 1981. Could it really be so long ago?
The question happens to have been put to the bathroom mirror. It raises its eyebrows satirically and nods a wry at least that long ago.
I ask the book of the voyage, Loner, if this anniversary might warrant a bow? It seems not to hear.


Real problems began near the start. The vital wind-vane self-steering gear wouldn’t work, didn’t work, until far down the South Atlantic.
It’s quite likely that if the genius behind Autohelm hadn’t been such a generous friend and helper, I doubt that I would have navigated that mighty beast, Spirit of Pentax, as far the Equator.
And when I think back, all the way to those crazy days, I remember that it was the huge army of helpers who deserve the congratulatory pats on the back.
Gorgeous Lilian, such a brilliant supporter, packed the food for every meal for the 14 months the voyage might take (if a number of becalmings were to happen), and each in its own waterproof package, and every one with an encouraging message.
Artist Bob Abrahams worked on a smashing design for the yacht's appearance, and guided the painters.
I hoped, I expected, to circumnavigate in perhaps ten months, but seafaring always has the risk of a series of long calms.
The schooner had no engine, so a flat calm would mean being stopped still, even going back the way I had sailed if a malevolent ocean current dictated it.

Writing in haste

When I made it and arrived back in Plymouth, Loner, waited to be written and in a hurry because somehow or other I found myself entered into a round-the-world solo race from the US just six weeks later.
Writing Loner in haste was far from a good idea …
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at ...


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