Solo #5 Taking it To the Limit One More Time
So Kiwi Spirit II and I shall set sail hopefully this Wednesday, the 1st of December, a full three weeks later than planned, to attempt once again, to sail solo, non-stop and non-assisted around the world. I shall be going by way of Bermuda to gain sufficient miles to qualify for an around the world and to respectfully challenge the record of Dodge Morgan the first American to sail around non-stop when he restarted from Bermuda. While Bermuda and back to Bermuda no longer qualifies as a sufficient distance to be considered a circumnavigation, Dodge was grandfathered in by the World Sailing Speed Record Council which has a black box on my boat and governs such events.
We have experienced some very frustrating delays. The new sails J1 and J2 (a Genoa and Staysail) got caught up in incompetence and the supply chain and instead of arriving during the first week of November they arrived last week. Then we had to wait for fair weather to feed them into the furling slots and hoist aloft. So yesterday the planned day for departure we hoisted the J1 only to find that the luff (the forward length) was at least a foot too long and could not be fitted to our gear. The sailmaker had delivered our original J1 (now has 20,000 miles on it and will be carried as a spare) so they should have known the measurements. So, on Monday, Steve Pettengill, the Project Manager will drive the sail to south Florida for re-cutting. I intend to sail Wednesday.
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As son Alan said, “it’s a toss of the coin each time dad” and he is so right. With four failures I have had some bad luck so maybe it’s time for some good luck. However, I am doing what I want to do, and both the boat and I are in good condition considering our mileage. This summer I sailed in the single-handed leg on the Bermuda One Two, from Newport to Bermuda, 635 miles and up against 23 other fine boats and skippers – some who could be considered professional. I came in second and felt vindicated no longer some guy with a little left-over cash who could buy a nice boat but did not know how to sail. So, I had to try again. No surprise at age 84 I also gained the prize for the oldest captain. On the return double handed leg from Bermuda, this time with Project Manager Steve Pettengill, we again came in second place.
The media that have followed me in the past have not been formally notified. Should I make it to the half way point just south of Tasmania, Australia, and find myself and the boat in good enough condition to continue it is then media will be notified. I have had four rather public failures and so I would like to avoid a fifth.