A Personal Best

Day 31
Noon Position: 20 30.15S 127 12.03W

Course/Speed: S 7

Wind: E 15+ and steady

Sail: Heavily reefed, only because I’m working on a project with the tiller

Bar: 1022 (highest to date)

Sea: E 3 – 6

Sky: Clear

Cabin Temp: 85 

Water Temp: 78 (going down slowly) 
Miles last 24-hours: 159

Miles since departure: 4050

Day 31. It represents a “personal best” of sorts–as of today, the Figure 8 is my longest solo passage ever. By way of acknowledgement, the SE trades have been steady 15+ and clear all day! What joy.

It also represents my first full month at sea. 

So, what’s my take on the passage to date? 

The sum up would be that it’s been a far more difficult month of sailing than I would have anticipated, and in retrospect, I’m pleased with that, as it’s served to slowly toughen me up for what’s to come. 

Some detail for those interested…

-Progress. We got off to a slow start. Winds were generally light above the ITCZ and our daily average when we entered the SE Trades was a poor 120 miles per day. Though a beat, the trades have generally provided faster days and our average as of today for the entire passage just topped 136. We also topped (barely) 4,000 miles this month, which is solid progress and puts me “on schedule” if winds hold.

-Emotions stress. Leaving my wife and comforts of home on a venture with lots of question marks that will take months to resolve up or down…right before the holiday season…that was tough. Still is on difficult days, and I don’t think it will get much better before we are by Cape Horn and truly in the groove of the Southern Ocean. That said, at-sea habits have returned, and what a sailor loves more than all is routine. Coffee is at 6am after morning sail adjustments. Then some email. Then the ritual of sun sights begins. The afternoon is for projects, blogging. A beer at sundown. Then my scrumptious (to me) one pot meal dinners. Keeping busy is the thing, and at moment there is no shortage of things to do.

-Physical stress. The SE trades have been a physical work-out I didn’t anticipate, especially this last week of passing through the jungle of squalls. I’ve spent more time on the foredeck, much of it at night, since crossing the equator than all of last summer’s 7,000 miles getting Mo home from Alaska. All good practice! Can reef and un-reef blindfolded. Good; got it. Next? The foredeck work has also served to get me back up to passage-making strength; specifically it’s built callouses I desperately needed and fore-arm strength. And being upwind for so long, an uncomfortable ride at best, has served to build a kind of endurance I will be calling on frequently a couple weeks from now. I’ve read the Chilean weather reports. It’s going to be a ride! 


  -The boat. She’s just a champ. Taking quite a beating this last week but just keeps chugging along. 

  -The Monitor (aka Monte). Other than early issues with the latch spring, Monte has been a joy. Takes no power; steers true; knows how to tell a good story. 

  -The HOOD sails have already proved to be tough and well crafted, and the Cove Cradle on the main is an absolute winner. Haven’t touched a sail tie since departure. 

  -Electronics. I’ve a pretty complicated system from my perspective. To date, all has worked as advertised; so, thank you to Dustin Fox at Fox Electronics in Richmond for all the recommendations. -Provisioning. I’m enjoying the food (!)–look forward to the pancakes with PB&J, the pressure cooker dinners. More on that later… 

-Gear. I’ve been surprised by some of the early gear issues–the Watt and Sea down haul tether parting after 24-hours of usage, the blown batten car pin on the new main, the Monitor water paddle latch opening (likely due to my failure to install the latch spring correctly), the leak in the anchor locker, the disintegration of the new plastic gasket separating the tiller from the rudder post (today’s project)–but pleased none has been critical and each has given me some bodgering experience early in the voyage and boosted my “I can fix it” confidence.

And the biggest success? We’re still going…

To celebrate tonight…a special desert Joanna turned me onto. Ambrosia. 

13 Comments on “A Personal Best

  1. Love the status updates. Your mom came to visit your sis. She is quite the horse racing fan and loves her football!
    Take care and stay safe.
    Amy C

  2. Mom **loved** your report. Her personal best is to make the 100 feet from bed to our chow bowls, feed us chaps, and get her nose into her American Press before 8am!! She was very tickled by the reminder of Ambrosia. Her Mom used to sneak it into the house along with Bisto to bamboozle her Dad, who did not believe in packaged rice pud or gravy, but never seemed to notice the difference as long as he didnt see the packaging. Keep your spirit strong! We’re all rooting for you, tails a wagging!

  3. Great updates! Just curious about your take on the challenge of shaving if that was to be added to your list….?

  4. Randall, you’re a stud. Praying for your success and safe return. Gonna have to try Ambrosia…

  5. I’ve been reading up ( your blog) on your adventure / voyage everyday. I explain it to the boys and shared the figure8voyage with friends in Asia, Europe and the US. Everyone is excited for you. But most of all people want you to be safe. Some great photos, and the video with the Lightning was very cool indeed. Like we talked about
    32 days is uncharted territory. But you are living an adventure that other men & women can only dream about. You are in our prayers. I’m waiting to have a cold one together when you come home

  6. Look forward to reading your reports each day, cousin. You and Jo were missed at the Thanksgiving table and if your ears were burning it’s because you were definitely part of our conversations and prayer.
    Ambrosia? Will have to give that a try!

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