Sometimes circumstances accumulate to a point to where a unwelcome but wise decision must be made - and right now I am faced with exactly that. The final straw occurred over the last two days when I learned from the WSSR (Word Sailing Speed Record Council) that even a successful restart from Bermuda and back again would not give me the record I seek as the oldest to have solo circumnavigate the globe as by the new rules I am short 346 miles.
Here is a quote from email received yesterday.
“I understand what you want to achieve but the problem is that Bermuda to Bermuda does not comply with the "Around the World" rule ……. as the distance is too short. Dodge Morgan's voyage in 1985/6 was prior to the agreed definition and ruling, but has been generally grandfathered historically, although this route is not acceptable today. As previously discussed, this is why we have always timed the start of your attempts from St Augustine, as the attempt for the RTW, and then re timing you at Bermuda for the Dodge Morgan "record"………. “You need to extend the route by at least 346NM.”
So really the best solution is a restart from St. Augustine, to Bermuda without stopping there, circumnavigate back to Bermuda and without stopping and end in St. Augustine. This I have now decided on given the following:
Leaving from here will not qualify as a solo circumnavigation (see above).
Issues with power generation remain. Previously, one hydrogenator down gave me enough power to add power to the system – now it takes two or three.
Our instruments that monitor input and use of power are not cooperating and thus efficient power management is not possible. Seems the charging system has lost its “memory“ No expertise here in Bermuda.
There is a repeat issue that the voltage from the solar panels may decrease the input from the hydrogenators. Again, no local expertise.
One of the two freezers overheats and is inoperable. No replacement here in Bermuda. Questionable expertise. Domestic and marine are two different skill sets.
Autopilots still not 100% though it appears we have them operable again.
We need a generator as a backup and no small marine diesel generators available here. When I originally had the boat designed I did not wish for a generator as twice on my previous boat I had got as far as South Africa and was still green (no hydrocarbons such as diesel, gasoline, propane etc.) but now that has been achieved by another and so that record is not mine to set. Also given the hydrogenator issues this would be a wise backup. The engine alternator just cannot produce enough power – a generator is far more efficient.
There is not time this year to return to St. Augustine and restart some weeks later. Latest advised departure date is mid-December to avoid the worst of the Southern Ocean weather.
So here we have it. Big disappointment but then again an opportunity to get it right and certainly an incentive for me to stay fit and well.
I cannot end without thanking my wife Catherine for her continued support of this project and to Steve Pettengill, the Project Manager whose tireless and resourceful efforts have been and will continue to be needed and finally my son Alan who from far away in New Zealand and like Steve has soloed has given encouragement and advise at every step. The team remains together.