Timeline

Timeline of solo sailing adventure


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Departed Sydney

24 March, 2018

Departed Sydney

My tiller snapped

26 March, 2018

My tiller snapped

What a start! A dream run out of the heads escorted by a flotilla of racing boats. Then I awoke early Monday to disaster! My timber tiller arm had completely snapped through very close to where it inserts into the rudder stock.

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Becalmed and surrounded by dolphins

27 March, 2018

Becalmed and surrounded by dolphins

Slept well and awoke to find myself surrounded by dolphins just before sunrise – a much more welcome sight than yesterday!

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Musings of an intern doctor

28 March, 2018

Musings of an intern doctor

“This is a woman that grew up through World War II. Everything in comparison is pretty decent, so the reply only rules out cardiac arrest on the basis that she is speaking.”

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Happy Easter!

1 April, 2018

Happy Easter!

Celebrated Easter morn with rum and a hot cross bun. The sea has looked like this for the last few days, very blissful sailing. The entirety of my shampoo bottle ended up in my bilge lol, I wondered why the boat smelt funny.

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I dislocated my right shoulder

2 April, 2018

I dislocated my right shoulder

In a small boat in a freezing sea with 2.5 metre waves, there was no flight possible, so it looked like I was up for a fight.

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Shoulder dislocated for 14 hours

3 April, 2018

Shoulder dislocated for 14 hours

I swigged half a bottle of Bacardi rum then swung a 5kg weight from my wrist for 15 minutes. Shoulder went back in place, I kept on sailing

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New Zealand sighted!

5 April, 2018

New Zealand sighted!

My first sighting of land in nine days.

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Safe and sound in Wellington harbour.

6 April, 2018

Safe and sound in Wellington harbour.

A wash, a good sleep and cooking freshly bought breakfast! The Rescue Coordination centre – Absolute Legends!

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All ready to depart!

17 April, 2018

All ready to depart!

Perptual Succour is restocked with water, diesel and provisions! The shoulder is excellent! Now it’s just a question of timing with the weather.

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Si vis pacem parra bellum (if you want peace, prepare for war)

21 April, 2018

Si vis pacem parra bellum <em>(if you want peace, prepare for war)</em>

Storm sails and drogue checked and readied. Less than 48 hours until departure!

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Departed Wellington

23 April, 2018

Departed Wellington

This departure is quite different. I know what it is like to face a rising sea without any thought of running to land. I’ve grown to know every inch of Perpetual Succour. I can accurately assess sea and wind state while lying in my bunk just from the noises.

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A busy night and an idyllic day at sea

24 April, 2018

A busy night and an idyllic day at sea

Two rather large tankers passed by through the night. They seemed to be more scared of me then I of them! After the moon set, I realised that the wake left by Perpetual Succour was lit by some luminescent life like a streak of stars through the water! Beautiful!

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Reading The Odyssey and cooking damper

25 April, 2018

Reading The Odyssey and cooking damper

I spent much of today sitting in the cockpit hand steering. Not an entirely unpleasant situation! It was quite a nice day with sunshine galore and little cloud cover.

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A guest arrives

26 April, 2018

A guest arrives

This little bird first came and sat on my lines this morning. Then he sat on my clock. Then he went to sleep on my table.

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Vale my little friend

27 April, 2018

Vale my little friend

Sad tidings! My new friend has gone to a better place.

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Practicing celestial navigation and cooking pancakes

28 April, 2018

Practicing celestial navigation and cooking pancakes

I finally made more than 100 miles in a 24 hour run. The last few days have been between 60-90 miles. The house battery is now fully charged with the input from the wind today, and it means I can now crank my stereo player back up to max and…

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In which I introduce Bruce

29 April, 2018

In which I introduce Bruce

It is a tradition to name the steering vane. It is a beautiful, entirely mechanical, piece of engineering that allows solo sailors to exist. No one could steer across an ocean by themselves. I called him Bruce to save confusion, as the philosopher Python suggests. Bruce is much better at…

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Crossed the International Date Line

30 April, 2018

Crossed the International Date Line

The winds came up with a vengeance not long after my last post. A single reef quickly turned into a second reef as the night commenced. I made the lazy mistake of not getting into my wet weather gear to put in the second reef, and returned to my cabin…

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It’s blowing a gale!

1 May, 2018

It’s blowing a gale!

I’m in the middle of the roaring forties, and I’ve had nothing but headwinds for 4 days. These mythical tales of westerlies are damned lies! A mildly delayed update. Things were getting a bit too lively with double reefed main and half furled genoa. It’s been raining on and off…

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My thermos mug disappeared!

2 May, 2018

My thermos mug disappeared!

I’ve had my first real serious disaster of the trip. I have a very practical thermos mug with a sealable lid. It disappeared yesterday. I can’t for the life of me find it anywhere. Now I’m reduced to precariously balancing an open mug and gulping it down before it spills….

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It’s been a few days since I’ve seen the sun

3 May, 2018

It’s been a few days since I’ve seen the sun

I’ve been reading Chichester’s account of going through these same seas. It was interesting to note that his vacuum flask mysteriously disappeared not far into the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps there is a professional hot beverage container thief operating in this area – Nothing marked on the charts. The trouble with…

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Lost my electronic charts for the South Pacific

4 May, 2018

Lost my electronic charts for the South Pacific

I put aside my laptop last night to pick up my coffee cup, and a particularly big wave hit right at that time, sending my laptop flying. The laptop is fine, but the SD card, upon which all my charts are stored, fell out and parted neatly in twain. I…

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Chicken Teriyaki!

5 May, 2018

Chicken Teriyaki!

A gourmet meal to celebrate the second best leg of the trip! It’s interesting, I’m double reefed and it feels like plenty of sail, but the wind is only blowing 15 knots. I think that the frigid air blowing straight up from the depths of Antarctica’s ice chest means that…

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Battling a low pressure system

7 May, 2018

Battling a low pressure system

Yesterday came some of the most beautiful wave formations I’d ever seen. It was like watching a complex military drill! The sky was absolutely alive with birds. There was this one bird that really caught my eye, I’m going to say it was a Petrel, screaming through the trough of…

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Halfway from Australia to Cape Horn!

8 May, 2018

Halfway from Australia to Cape Horn!

An exhilarating sail today. Lots of spray, lots of heeling! I’m making good progress east with another 140 mile run! In terms of longitude, I’m east of both Hawaii and Tahiti! Obviously a fair bit to do in terms of latitude! Lucky Winter is soon upon us, or I would…

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The calm before the storm!

9 May, 2018

The calm before the storm!

I’m sitting dead becalmed with sails flapping. To the west is a beautiful sunset with every shade of orange and red possible. The old adage goes, “Red at night, sailor’s delight. Red in the morning, sailor’s warning”. I’m going to ignore it this time around. To the north, trouble brews.

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Drogue is deployed!

10 May, 2018

Drogue is deployed!

Big storm, 50 knot winds…

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Just when I thought it was over… knocked down by a force 10 storm

11 May, 2018

I thought the gale was over and I was feeling rather smug and self-satisfied. Suddenly I could feel the wind picking up as strong as before. As I got out into the cockpit, the entire contents of Hell, its first reserve team, and the rest of the substitutes broke loose.

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Crossed the 40th latitude this morning

13 May, 2018

Crossed the 40th latitude this morning

There must be a magic line that immediately gives nice weather! For the first time in what seems like two weeks, I had the sun shining all day, a flat ocean, and a 10 knot breeze that started on my port quarter and ended up on my port beam by…

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I’ve had to halve my morning ration of oats

14 May, 2018

I’ve had to halve my morning ration of oats

An overcast blustery day so not the best day for sitting out on the foredeck sewing, so I spent the rest of today reading. The only thing that is a bit of a worry in terms of stores is my porridge. I have porridge, with a few sultanas sprinkled, in…

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Why I’m taking the long route to Los Angeles

16 May, 2018

Why I’m taking the long route to Los Angeles

By staying low I have managed to circumvent effects of the cyclone season in the South West Pacific, and in hindsight there were a few nasty systems that I was happy to be nowhere near. I’ll take a Southern Ocean force 10 storm over a tropical category 4 cyclone! There…

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A momentous occasion!

17 May, 2018

A momentous occasion!

I rocketed along all night with a strong tailwind and drew parallel with Sydney this morning. Moderate tailwinds throughout the day meant I didn’t quite make the pace I did overnight, but I still made a good day’s run of 125 miles. This puts me parallel with Newcastle this evening!

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I’ve had to start rationing my book reading…

18 May, 2018

I’ve had to start rationing my book reading…

My reading has morphed into a fairly systemised approach. I usually have three books running, a novel, a ‘wholesome’ book, and a bedside pre-sleep book to flick through. I’m having to cut back a bit as my supplies are quite low, but then again I’m not spending as much time…

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Consequence of book rationing – I made a computer game!

19 May, 2018

Consequence of book rationing – I made a computer game!

I present to you space invaders ala Pacific Ocean. 1049 lines of the pure goodness of ANSI C. Driven by a bullet proof object/entity based engine with collision detection and rudimentary physics capabilities. A little complex for space invaders, but I wanted to make it scalable. The graphics are not…

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Becalmed and serenading the ocean with some Aussie classics

20 May, 2018

Becalmed and serenading the ocean with some Aussie classics

I’m saving my diesel for contingencies, but I run the engine for 15 minutes every couple of days to keep things turning, and the other day I found the throttle unit had seized inside. I took it apart and solemnly pronounced its departure from this dear world once I had…

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Inched 25 hard-fought miles today

21 May, 2018

Inched 25 hard-fought miles today

Not to worry, I have 830 pages of Grimm’s Fairy Tales to teach me to be content with my lot, but at the same time dream of great things! It’s seems a little strange to be spending so much effort for a couple of miles, but I’m only 300 miles…

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I took my first full star fix today!

22 May, 2018

I took my first full star fix today!

When you use a sextant to take a sight of a celestial body such as the sun, you don’t actually get a full position. You just a get a line on the chart, and you could be anywhere along that line. However, if you take multiple sights of the sun…

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A month since I departed Wellington

23 May, 2018

A month since I departed Wellington

What have I discovered in this journey of 5000 kilometres since New Zealand? No ground-breaking theses of philosophy or knowledge. Perhaps a greater familiarity with self. I’ve experienced, but perhaps not understood, many paradoxes. I’m further away from my family than ever, but never felt closer to them. My world…

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A sail! A sail!

24 May, 2018

A sail!  A sail!

I tried to hail him over VHF, but he never replied. Perhaps his radio wasn’t on, or perhaps he thought I was a pirate. “At first it seemed a little speck, And then it seemed a mist: It moved and moved, and took at last a certain shape, I wist….

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An island is beckoning to me

25 May, 2018

An island is beckoning to me

I think it was when I saw a bird species I’ve not seen before, that it really struck me. What an abominably foolish thing it is to be sailing all the way across an ocean, and on passing one of the most isolated islands in the world, continue right on….

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A busy night filled with squalls and a new daily record!

26 May, 2018

A busy night filled with squalls and a new daily record!

I had an awakeful night. Every hour or so, a squall would come through and I would go out, reef the sails, and then unfurl them in some short period. Finally I got to sleep at 5AM, and awoke at 10AM to a lovely day with a strong north-westerly, but…

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My love for you is like salt

27 May, 2018

My love for you is like salt

One of the pleasures of the last week has been a re-acquaintance with Grimms fairy tales. With a televisionless early life, there are only so many books in the book case, and we had a thick volume of the above, which I read many times over. “Goose Girl at the…

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Bad dreams and little headway

28 May, 2018

Bad dreams and little headway

I don’t know if it was the dream, or the fact that I’ve made so little headway in the trade wind belt, but my mood just didn’t seem right today. I awoke this morning to find that I was entering a squall. It must have come on relatively quickly, as…

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A history of my fishing endeavours

29 May, 2018

A history of my fishing endeavours

I started out from Sydney with 4 lures, a fishing rod, 80 lb line and not a clue of what I was doing. I still don’t have a clue, and now I don’t have any lures either. I started off over the Tasman, dragging the lure behind attached to a…

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I’m at the end of my fiction stockpile

30 May, 2018

I’m going to check my box of books, but I think thus concludes my fictional stores, apart from a volume of the complete works of Shakespeare. The moon is incredible this evening. There is little swell, and no wind. Just a quiet cool night with a perfect full moon reflecting…

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Trade winds at last!

31 May, 2018

I’m starting to see northern hemisphere stars low on the horizon – I can see Ursa Major tonight. At first I thought it was Ursa Minor, and I was seeing the pole star, I was so excited!! Until I realised that was impossible as I’m not yet past the equator….

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Mythical trade winds…

1 June, 2018

Mythical trade winds…

A disappointing night’s run of 25 miles followed by a moderate day gave a total run of 75 miles. I’m beginning to think that these mythical trade winds are a practical joke, aided and abetted by centuries of literature, to play on poor sailors crossing through these waters for the…

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The halfway bell is ringing soundly!

2 June, 2018

“I confident that I’m in the trade winds now. It feels like the bell is ringing in my ears and I’m now surging in preparation for the final kick. I guess I’m a fair bit further than halfway in this leg, but the emotion is there nonetheless…”

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Passed parallel with Cape York!

3 June, 2018

Farewell to Australia! I then raced on to another 130 mile day! Only 9 degrees of latitude away from the equator, and now I’m averaging roughly 2 degrees every day! The wind has started to come around to the east as expected deeper into the trade winds. This means less…

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Another baptism… and three days to the equator!

4 June, 2018

Another baptism… and three days to the equator!

“When I put the sails up, only God takes them down”. It’s reputed that the clipper captains of old used to mutter this through clenched teeth and salt crusted beards as they ran in front of massive southern storms. Their profits depended on fast trips from Australia to Europe, carrying…

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The solitary life of sailing alone in the Pacific

5 June, 2018

The solitary life of sailing alone in the Pacific

When I started to make it known that I was leaving to sail by myself across the Pacific, I was partly taken aback at the general positivity that I encountered. I had expected more opposition, but mostly got raised eyebrows at worst. There were harbingers of doom of course, and…

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The equator looms!

6 June, 2018

The equator looms!

The winds came after my last update, so I left it double reefed after all! I set my alarm for two hours with the intent to get some shut eye and re-hoist sail after it passed. I used Leonard Cohen as a relaxant against the noise and drifted off. The…

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60 miles to the Equator!

7 June, 2018

I had an unsettling experience last night. I was out in the cockpit adjusting the trim of steering and sails, when suddenly there was quite a brilliant yellow-white light out of the corner of my eye. My recollection is that I picked it up about 20 degrees above the horizon,…

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Equator!

8 June, 2018

Equator!

Hello from the Northern Hemisphere!!!!

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An unchanged speck in the ocean, despite another milestone

8 June, 2018

An unchanged speck in the ocean, despite another milestone

We crossed the equator just after sunrise. There was no visible sign as I crossed hemispheres, but sometimes the best things in life can’t be seen! I splashed myself with a bucket lest I be barred from the courts of King Neptune, and poured a dash of laphroaig into the…

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We had a karaoke party last night

9 June, 2018

We had a karaoke party last night

The entire crew came up on deck and took it in turns to sing the classics. It got a bit raucous, but the only audience were our old friends Lupus, Scorpius, and Sagittarius. They say sounds waves have trouble propagating through a vacuum, so we sang extra loud just in…

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Claustrophobic clouds

10 June, 2018

The sea had a menacing feel today. Quite unlike what I’ve experienced previously. I think it was the cloud formation. While overhead was clear for most of the day, the horizon was cloud-filled at all points of the compass. They weren’t decently shaped clouds either, just hazy off colour white…

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Doldrums finally

11 June, 2018

Doldrums finally

I’m writing this while sitting in the cockpit hand steering. It was a bit of melancholy day weather-wise. Squally, confused seas, no sun, dead calms. Sounds like the doldrums to me. I was visited by a pod of dolphins. There would have been at least…

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A proper breeze, a good pace… and a helicopter!

12 June, 2018

A proper breeze, a good pace… and a helicopter!

Waking up and finding out how far you’ve travelled is a little like unwrapping a present. Enthusiastically I worked out my position to find I’d drifted 10 miles south-east in the heavy equatorial counter current. Not to worry, we had wind and we kept a good pace. My oats and…

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Individual hills randomly traversing the sea

13 June, 2018

In the doldrums, I think I forgot that it was possible for blue skies to exist. Instead there was a Mordor-esque foul greyness that suggested doom and foreboding. I wouldn’t use the word overcast, that would be too kind. At any point in time, there would be multiple projections…

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1400 miles from Los Angeles!

14 June, 2018

1400 miles from Los Angeles!

Over the last twenty-four hours, I’ve been seeing, for the first time, various flotsam and jetsam floating by. Mostly small plastic containers or fragments. I think I see something every four or five miles. There are three equatorial currents. The north…

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Another beautiful sunset after a hot and humid day

15 June, 2018

I had pencilled in runs of 120 miles once I got out of the doldrums and back into the trade winds. However, with only seven knot winds and two metre rolling swells, it’s hard to maintain an average greater than four knots. The winds will increase eventually no doubt. The…

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An abrupt change of wind

16 June, 2018

I went out on deck to see the line of clouds associated with the clash of systems, when, before my very eyes, the wind went from filling one side of the sail to the other side. I’ve never seen such an abrupt change in wind. I rubbed my eyes and…

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Every good medical kit includes a screwdriver

17 June, 2018

Every good medical kit includes a screwdriver

When you start on a new tack, often objects emerge out of the ether as as your world is tilted from one side to another. A self-tapping screw appeared on my floor this afternoon, and eagerly embedded itself into my heel. Curiously, it had no objections to entering with a…

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Antibiotics and my 200th flask of tea

18 June, 2018

My heel gives me a little grief, but fortunately there are no marathons to be run out here so I cope just fine! It is probably a little overkill, but I administered a dose of intravenous antibiotics and am following this with a course of orals. It went in a…

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It never rains but it pours

19 June, 2018

It never rains but it pours

Well it’s not raining, but I’ve had 20 knot winds for the last six hours. Almost as if the sea, repenting of her poor showing of the last week has dumped everything she’s got into my double reefed sails. If memory serves me correctly, these are the strongest winds I’ve…

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Opposite day

20 June, 2018

Fear is a funny thing. I know that the worst a squall can do is give you a good soaking as you take in sails. However, when the meanest and toughest looking squall in the East Pacific is in front of your mast, it takes your breath away a little…

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Squall after squall

21 June, 2018

Squall after squall

A pretty little boat, floating under darkened skies, scantily clad in storm sails, and not a breath of wind! That’s right folks, the orange sails came out today. I’ve had squall after squall since last night, I may have jinxed myself a little by suggesting that we were nearly clear…

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“That’s enough for now, ay lads”

22 June, 2018

“That’s enough for now, ay lads”

When I was a speck in the south west Pacific, a run of 115 miles had little meaning outside of the rather obvious fact that I’d sailed a good day’s run. There doesn’t seem to be much tangible difference between 7,825 miles to Los Angeles and 7,710 miles to Los…

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It’s been a tough 72 hours

23 June, 2018

The last 72 hours has been rather mentally and physically challenging. I’m forever reefing and unreefing sails, I’ve not managed more than an hour of unbroken sleep over this time. A week of a close hauled upwind course doesn’t help one relax either! The nautical almanac…

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When you discover you have a screw loose

24 June, 2018

The small lug screw that holds the shaft to the engine coupling failed today, and the whole shaft and propeller exited and descended some four kilometres to adorn Davy Jones locker. It left a cavity through which water…

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A full night of sleep at last!

25 June, 2018

The hole remains plugged and the water remains properly situated! I tacked back west today. Tropical cyclone ‘Daniel’ is in full swing 750 miles to my south east, and I can make more progress north on this tack. At this stage, there’s no cause for alarm – at worst it…

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It’s been a real grind for the last ten days

26 June, 2018

It’s been a real grind for the last ten days

I’m now trying to make my way east, but the winds haven’t been too kindly and the best I could do was north. I think the best case scenario is landfall early next week, but more likely mid week. Maybe Wednesday morning LA time. Poor Daniel has been downgraded…

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Excellent winds!

27 June, 2018

Excellent winds!

It’s the patronal feast of my beautiful boat (Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour), and we celebrated with our best run since the doldrums. 120 miles and not an inch of it was west!!! The best thing about..

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They say all in life is about timing

28 June, 2018

They say all in life is about timing

Nature, as it often does, gently called my name this evening. The call had a certain solidity, and, being an obliging kind of chap, I proceeded to dialog over the side. I’m now shivering in the cabin, awaiting the kettle. There is a lovely passage..

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Blue skies and sun laden seas!

29 June, 2018

We burst into blue skies and sun laden seas in the late morning. All the pretty white horses, running on the wave tops, shook their flowing manes, glorying in the reflected sparkles. After 10 sunless days, a bit like these faded memories of bedsheets, baths and dry towels, I was…

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270 miles to go!

30 June, 2018

270 miles to go!

Today, I sailed 133 miles at bearing of 55°, which just so happens to be the general direction of Long Beach. The winds will probably drop a bit tomorrow evening, but Monday Los Angeles time seems like the probable day for landfall. My food stores, on the whole, have worked…

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Vegemite and pancakes

1 July, 2018

I’ve decided that I’m not going to make any predictions about what future winds hold in store for me. I will just observe what is given to me, and sail accordingly! My ship proximity alarm went off again today. Not long after I saw it…

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As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean

2 July, 2018

As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean

I completely lost my wind early last night and drifted about ten miles overnight. This morning, I’ve never seen an ocean so flat and still. It would be foolish to get all hot and bothered about this, what’s another day when you’re amongst friends, so I took a cue from…

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The sight of so much beauty sent him slightly off his nut

3 July, 2018

It is now after dusk, and I’m just passing the northern tip of Santa Catalina Island and then will turn right for the Long Beach harbour entrance which is about 30 miles away. The lights of Los Angeles are illuminating the horizon in a way that you don’t…

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Cleared Customs!

3 July, 2018

Cleared Customs!

Cleared customs! Now on the final leg of the journey, should arrive later tonight

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America. A beautiful country.

4 July, 2018

America. A beautiful country.

Many months ago, I had a vague notion that I was going to conquer an ocean. If anything, the ocean conquered me. After the final storm in the roaring forties, I understood a little better. A little boat does not conquer oceans. Big ships try to do this, succeed for…

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