Saturday, July 21, 2012


Noon Position: 32 11' N, 118 42' W, SOG 5.8, COG 010, Day's Run 100nm.
I'm settling in for the last 100 miles or so to LA, trying to get a lot
of sleep today since I know I won't tonight. In a lot of ways, being
out at sea is a lot easier than being inshore, even in a gale, as
there's nothing to worry about hitting. From just after Cape Horn until
I was in the trades in the South Pacific I saw no ships, the only thing
I had to look out for was a single iceberg. Now i'm seeing a few ships
a day, and aware of far more just over the horizon with AIS. I think I
was pretty lucky with weather this trip, despite all my moanings and
whinings about being becalmed - in all those miles in the southern ocean
and a close encounter with a hurricane in the north pacific I never
really had sustained wind over what I estimate to be force 9. There
were certainly dangerous situations, but never really what one would
term "survival" storms, the kind of weather that is a very real
possibility on this route. Jesse Martin, who until a few years ago was
the youngest nonstop solo circumnavigator, was knocked down 5 times in a
row in while enduring something like 48 hours of force 10 wind on his
approach to Australia, The Moitessiers had to run under bare poles, hand
steering for 6 days before a succession of monster gales en route to the
horn, the Smeetons were pitch-poled end over end by a huge breaking
wave, even W.A. Robinson was nearly pitchpoled on board his much larger
(~50 tons) Varua. I took 3 knockdowns before I learned to be very
vigilant and aggressive in keeping the boat before big breaking seas,
and despite steadily worsening conditions escaped further damage after
my third roll in the Indian. Sometimes it really does seem that some
sailors attract storms and some attract calms, despite the apparent lack
of logic of such a statement.

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