Thursday, March 8, 2012


Noon Position: 46 37' S, 00 28' W, SOG 6.3, COG 060, Day's Run 138nm,
Week's Run 890nm. After a rolly night of force 6-7 and tolerably large
waves, I was greeted this morning by a pair of black and white dolphins
tearing down the face of a steep breaking wave just off my stern,
glittering in the bright sunlight. It's nice to see the sun again - I
think it's been about a week since it hasn't been miserably overcast. I
find it noteworthy that all of the books I have on board about similar
trips - Robin Knox-Johnston, Bernard Moitessier, Webb Chiles - were
written over 30 years ago. I think the most recent solo
circumnavigation (not southern ocean) book I have on board is Tanya
Aebi's, and even that is from the 80s. I don't know of any really good
more recent books that deal with similar trips. Some of it is probably
due to the vast improvements in technology - sailing around the world in
a relatively slow, displacement hull is almost an anachronism in the
world of the Vendee Globe and Volvo Ocean Race, but I know that people
have sailed around the world solo more recently than the 70s. Maybe I
just didn't look hard enough. I ended up really enjoying "The Grapes of
Wrath" - my complaints were a bit premature last time, I just hadn't
given the book enough time to get rolling. I'm now reading the "Diary
of Anais Nin" - I'd never heard of her plucking the book off a shelf
before the trip, but good lord - I'm reveling in her writing. It's an
orgiastic blend of emotion and analysis, and glorious to read. I've
been taking it slow - reading a chapter here, a few pages there, while
keeping a less intense side-book going as well. There have been some
splendid books so far on this trip - I find myself wanting to quote
paragraphs to an invisible companion, email selections to random
friends, read whole pages aloud to the storm petrels pattering in my
wake. I suppose it's just a natural extension of my nasty habit of
reading newspaper articles to people at breakfast, particularly when
they've just finished reading that section of the paper, but still.
I'd love to hear whole chapters of Midnight's Children read out loud,
the whole book was almost like an epic poem in the rhythm and pace of
the language. I find myself reading and re-reading Moitessier's
rounding of Cape Horn in "The Long Way," wishing I could so describe
even half so well my own experiences. I've always been a voracious
reader, but I don't ever recall feeling so moved by the written word
before. I can't imagine what doing this trip would be like without
books - I don't think I'd want to try.


  1. My goodness, Eric. That is quite varied reading -- Steinbeck
    to Anais Nin! I suppose, since there are few recent books about
    circumnavigation, that you'll have to be the person who
    writes the book. Perhaps you can take a new perspective -- talk
    about what it's like to have the electronics? Reading is wonderful.

  2. Eric my friend, I've been tracking this blog since you set out, and each post brings me nothing but increasing respect at your ability to pursue and accomplish your goals. Not to mention your blossoming secondary career as a literary critic. Your insights about the written word are making me re-evaluate even the 15 minutes of pleasure reading I steal for myself during the work day.