Arrived to Port Lincoln from Robe. The owner has a family crisis and has decided to expedite transport of the boat by truck from here which will take two days. Ashame for us as we were really looking forward to the welcome in Esperance and Perth. So Linda and I are off to Bundaberg to see ISIS and sail the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef before I fly back to Hawaii and then on to France to race minis…
On another note, here’s the excerpt from the book coming out called – ‘The Courage Companion’ described in an earlier blog entry. Should be a great read…
Achieving Your Dreams: Youngest Person to Circumnavigate the Globe Solo Thinks Taking Risks is the Easy Part
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” –Seneca
Brian (“B.J.”) Caldwell, 34, began to dream of circumnavigating the globe while spending summer breaks from high school providing yacht deliveries, a job that contributed to his sailing over ten thousand miles while still in his teens. He formulated a plan to take off exactly 100 years after Joshua Slocum set off on the first successful solo sail around the world in 1895 and on June 1, 1995, B.J. departed on his own quest. Sixteen months and 27,000 miles later, he set a record as the youngest solo circumnavigator in history.
Twenty five years later, B.J. is relaxed as he describes why he was apprehensive before taking leave of shore. “I was just very anxious to finally get underway, as I’d been hoping to leave since age 15 and had already circumnavigated countless times in my mind,” he said. “In my case reaching the start was by far the biggest obstacle versus those encountered along the geographical lap around the planet.”
For the rest of us, the thought of being pummeled by extreme waves in an open ocean in a small boat might be the daunting part!
B.J, who divides his time between France, racing aboard his Open 650 race boat; Hawaii, where he has a yacht delivery business; and Australia, where he plans to attempt to win the 630 nautical mile Sydney Hobart Race (widely considered one of the most difficult races in the world) a second time—describes how he dealt with fear during his solo voyage, and gives us all a lesson in living life with true power and courage.
This competitor says that the scariest part of his solo voyage is that “the success of the trip is, for the most part, is destined for success or failure before it physically begins during the big preliminary conceptual decisions such as routing, type of boat, budget etc.,” B.J. says, “Strategic decisions impact the results and once decided upon and the launch button is pressed, those decisions can’t be retracted.”He further states that “one of the biggest obstacles I faced was paying the costs of the trip. I was terrified that this goal might turn out to be only a pipe dream.”
B.J. was well-prepared for the physical risks of his trip. While still in high school, he sailed from Hawaii, intending to circle the planet in less than one year. He changed his plans, visiting Samoa and Fiji in favor of a fast passage, and arrived in Port Villa, Vanuatu, and (New Hebrides) 34 days later, having covered 3,400 miles. His next stop was Cocos Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean, and then 2,300 miles to Mauritius where the weather deteriorated until he was capsized by trade winds. The impact bent his solar panels and dumped a foot of water in the bilge, which ruined most of his provisions.
His next destination was Africa. Close to shore, the day before Thanksgiving, he barely avoided being run down by a tanker in the busy shipping route from the Arabian oil fields. Ten hours after he arrived, there were thirty foot seas along the 100-fathom line. B.J. describes the near-miss with the ship as being the most dangerous moment of the voyage. “Just the sickening chance that something besides Mother Nature would stop me was impossible to comprehend,” he said.
B.J. has an unusual response to fear. “The longer I’ve done this, the better accustomed I’ve come to understand what are productive levels of apprehension and at what point I believe it becomes detrimental.” He says, “Generally, the worse it gets, the more I laugh. A little, or, better yet, a lot of humor can combat fear far better than anything else. So I tell my crew in tough situations “You know it’s getting pretty bad if I’m laughing hysterically.”
His advice for those of us who daydream about pursuing our dreams? “It’s often been said, but needs to be drummed into our minds until we really believe the words and what they mean… Never give up, don’t take no for an answer and remember above all that persistence and hard work will ultimately enable the means to achieve your goal to materialize, usually just when you thought all hope was lost. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of persistence.”
He continues, “You should also do it for the right reasons. A record pursuit might open professional doors later but, first and foremost, you need to do it because you love your pursuit and would rather do nothing else. If it’s reached the point where achieving your dream has become your reason for living or a kind of personal religion, you are ready to ‘not take no for an answer.’”