Saturday, February 18, 2012


Noon Position:  53 36' S,  53 27' W, SOG 5, COG 090, Day's Run 120nm.  A cousin of mine from Chicago found a website,, which lists present and past solo circumnavigation attempts.  The webmaster  offered to include me on the list, but kindly requested "a short paragraph explaining his mission or motivation for the journey."  Seeing as how I've been enjoying a lovely string of weather, with not much to do but sail fast, dry out wet charts, sails, and potatoes, and smear  grease liberally on anything that's even thinking about chafing, I thought I might oblige, since I realize that I never really posted anything along those lines in the first place.  The lack of such a statement is due to a combination of the fact that it seemed largely self evident to me why anyone would want to sail around the world, and that I didn't really have the time or motivation for any such vaguely public introspection before I left.  There are a number of reasons behind this journey, some of them which have faded into relative obscurity at sea.  Why Alone?  One of my goals was (and is) to really live life, to fully experience the highs and lows, to actually accomplish something difficult.  My life on shore, or even the relatively "civilized" life afloat that I led prior to this trip, is cushy and insulated.  I was rotting slowly from the inside, and didn't recognize the rot.  There were some hard moments, difficult times,  but in many regards they were more the exception that proves the rule, and in some cases the bad moments are enabled by the slackness that that life allowed.  I can't afford to screw up and do something stupid out here - Even if I do everything right, the sea can still kill me.  There's certainly grandeur and glory here, but it's tinged with and heightened by the ever present threat of the sea.  I need to be functioning at 100% just to break even and keep things together.  So much of what I found myself valuing ashore, whether wealth, success, power, is wiped away by a single day alone at sea.  Whether I have a car, or money in the bank, or the respect and adulation of friends and peers doesn't do a damn bit of good if the furling line chafes through, or a breaking wave puts the spreaders in the water.  There's a purity out here, which makes the living all the sweeter - the highs are higher, the depths are deeper, and every day I learn a little bit more.  I went to sea to save my soul, and this circumnavigation provides a powerful setting to do so.  I'm living richly, fully experiencing the grandeur and the terror of the sea. On a slightly less grandiose scale, I've always wanted to sail around the world, and also to round Cape Horn, ever since I heard my first sea story as a wee young lad, so combining both into a Southern Ocean circumnavigation seemed like a good way of killing two birds with one stone.  How's that for a daily dose of melodrama? ; )

1 comment:

  1. I am going to read this post whenever I feel sorry about myself or when I am feeling like life is "hard". You are so right about rotting on the inside. I feel that way a lot in my life and I honestly don't know how to get away from that. I love following this blog and reading along. Enjoy.