>The 2nd merry go ’round

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To reach the start of the Mini Transat I will sail around the world a 2nd time! After our second Southern Ocean yacht delivery from Tasmania, the phrase – “Once is not enough”, is truly our catch-phrase.

Linda Pasquariello will buy my base away from France – the Albin Vega 27 “ISIS” to circumnavigate for a non-record pleasure ‘lap’ in January 2011 from Cape Town, South Africa.

To double my available war chest to race in France in 2011, I will set the bounty of cash from the sale aside until come early 2011, when after a yacht delivery – will enable a strong double punch with both the UK & FR Mini Fastnet Races, 1,000-nm qualification before potentially gaining entry to the 2011 Transat 650 solo race from France to Brazil.

If I’m not qualified for 2011, then I will have two more seasons of French racing and Fastents to refine my craft before the real attack in 2015 after a new circumnavigation record on another boat. If I got into the 2011 edition the saying goes that the first participation is for practice anyway.

If I were to go to France now due to our available time-frame and budget – it would allow me to do only one race and the solo qualification when I could use that same funding to double my budget for 2011 and do twice as many races…

Tough but perhaps more prudent. In the meantime, I will sail from Bundaberg, Australia double-handed with Linda to South Africa via the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands, Darwin, Cocos Keeling, Mauritius, Reunion and South Africa where I will step off to board the quicksilver to France for the 2011 season… And Linda will begin her solo around the world voyage.

…Thus our current circumnavigation begun last year in Fiji will enable us both to sail around the world twice as we continue on to Fiji when she finishes in South Africa and me the Transat 650 2015 after another solo planetary jaunt with another woman…boat!

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>18 is new & arbitrary

>”18 is new & arbitrary”:

‘Alexander of Macedon was 16
when he won his first battle.
We may be most aware of
societal norms,
but do not forget the edges of the
Bell curve, and never doubt
human ingenuity and experience,
even in the very young…’

Brian’s book Clockwork Excerpt Part #2:

…Clouds skudding by a crescent moon,
showers of illuminated spray, a rumbling ocean,
an overworked windvane, Mai Miti is being sent.

Braced in the cockpit, my hands gripping the
twin stainless handholds either side of the hard
dodger, my leeward foot is locked horizontally
to the motion and there’s an abundance of miles
to be had. With half a furled jib and scrap of
mainsail, Mai Miti forges across a million
wavetops reveling the hard thirty-knot breeze
by throwing aside blankets of exploding spray
and foam.

I can’t help but think if I were aboard an Open 60
that could make upwards of 400 miles a day
solo with these conditions. That would
be 2,300 to Mauritius in 6 days with an easy
350-mile a day average versus the 17 it would
take on Mai Miti. Something akin to a 300%
increase in speed and power! But for the price
of a million dollars.

I’m a hopeless romantic and slave to progress.
To rip across this ocean on the fastest wind
powered solution that technology permits
would be finding the harmony of Jonathan
Livingston Seagull. To see the Great Wandering
Albatross dashing over wave tops in the height
of a gale is the meaning of perfection to me.

One day in the not distant future, a French
15-year-old female model with a background
of cruising experience to bear would embark
with a Formula-1 Open 60 program to boot,
and obliterate the record in three months,
perhaps finishing before her 16th birthday!
Of this I have no doubt.

My future daughter ?!
For me, becoming the youngest to circle
was the means to find my way back to
the sea and myself.

At time of publication, “Orange 2’s” crewed
50-day circumnavigation mark is reality.
Bruno Peyron did much too further ignite
my imagination on his global promotional
tour for “The Race” to Tahiti. Crewing aboard
the 1st Jules Verne Trophy winning –
“Commodore Explorer” that circumnavigated
in 79 days from Hawaii to French Polynesia,

I saw the future at 31 knots boat speed and
consecutive five-hundred mile days.

The day the local Hawaiians can embrace
this future will be a revolution. There is a
tremendous interest in the exploits of the
traditional wood sailing canoes that colonized
the islands from Polynesia. To correlate this
love with the horizon of a new day will create
a whole new generation of seaman and foster
the dreams of speed in the minds of the islands’
racing teenagers weened off cult-movies such
as “The Fast and the Furious” and “Blue Crush”.

If you took Club Med or any 600 mile a day
multihull back in “the day”, of the
voyaging canoes and clippers-
they wouldn’t say-

“No, we’ll stick with our 100 mile a day relic
and run out of provisions to honor tradition!”
I don’t think so. It’s not too difficult to imagine
how fast they’d embrace evolution with eyes
wide open.

So it’s with these thoughts I nursed Mai Miti
onwards. I think sailing around the world
alone is more a voyage toward yourself and
the 27,000-mile geographical course is simply
‘the distance to here’. The longer it is, the
harder it gets, the more it teaches you about
yourself.

To me this abundance of free time is bliss.
But ignorance can be bliss too. This lifestyle
is nothing short of a curse. It’s no less potent
than a drug. Once you’ve been down this
watery road there is no turning back.

Life ashore resigns you to long for and dream for
the day when you can find liberation and your
way back to the mermaid. Life becomes oriented
to scheming for the places, hardships, gales,
sunsets, beaches, and memories of faraway
exotic ports and moments.

At least the people that haven’t experienced
it don’t know what they’re missing. In Buddhism
they say that all human suffering is caused by
desire and longing. But that said, much as the
saying about it being better “to have loved and
lost than to not have loved at all”, I agree.

>The New Youngest – Jessica Watson

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An article today in the local Australian newspaper about the giant welcome being organized for 16-year-old Jessica Watson in three weeks on Sydney Harbor when she will become the new youngest solo circumnavigator got me to thinking back to my recent meeting with David Dicks in Perth and our own trips that now seem like a hundred years ago but were actually only fifteen…

…A long time to me considering I was 19 at the time! Here’s a sample of a draft, I’ll contribute more in the months ahead…

Clockwork

‘’Give me a spirit that on this life’s rough sea
Loves to have his sails filled with a lusty wind,
Even till his sailyards tremble, his mast cracks
And his rapt ship runs on her side so low
That she drinks water, and her keel plows air.”
Conspiracy of Charles, Duke of Bryron
 
PROLOGUE

Moonlit waves, cast afire by the prince of tides – the moon and her soul-mate – the starlit sky, conspire to waver my resolve to stop and claim the fabled age record. For me, the pursuit of a record is the means to a more ominous but gratifying cape to round, befriending that stranger of the subcubconscious…the ‘real’ me.

For sixteen months, I’ve been a constant sentinel to nature’s magic. The growing intoxication with this simple existence at sea, allows me to forget the finish and to savor what remains of the world. The call of the sea had blinded me years before, ever since I’d stepped back ashore as a young boy. To cope with land, I’d cherished and developed my passion. My love through much evolution – like a pearl, became something others would pay to see through.

To find my way home to the sea, I had to do ‘it’ younger than anyone that had gone before. My passion had to become something of a hard physical currency, to satisfy the hungers of the material world. They needed tangible proof of my devotion. To justify the wager, they needed the inspirational value of a first, or rather, the water smudged marks of a world record.

To reclaim the happiness I’d long remembered, I would have to discriminate far too many stops in beautiful places for the sake of a time record. The money was on the table – to see me circle the Earth younger than anyone in the history of sail, and I couldn’t have been happier!

…Now twenty thousand miles later, I nurse “Mai-Miti” through her longest passage.

Passing north of the Galapagos Islands, steep waves crash down the length of the deck as we crawl upwind. The only way to progress in the face of the unfavorable seas, wind direction and current is to push my hard-driven bride near one hundred percent. But I try not to push Mai Miti past her tolerance as one critical gear failure could spell the finish of the record.

I prefer to spend my excess time advantage over Robin Lee-Graham’s record to better insure a successful finish. It was French triple solo round the world race winner – Christophe Auguin who said, “only push when you must”.

While I pace myself on the last stage, I dream of a circumnavigation without stops. The proximity of the finish dictates our heading but it’s the voyage i’ve come to love.

For the moment i have a several thousand mile lead over 17-year old Australian David Dicks from Perth, Western Australia. An ocean in back of me in the Atlantic, David and his S&S 34 – “Seaflight”, were rounding the ‘antipodal’ (halfway) mark of their nonstop circumnavigation at Bermuda, during the middle of hurricane season.

As David threaded his way past several storms, the pronounced rotation of developing cyclones was discernible on the weather maps north of me…with still five thousand miles to reach ‘home’.

One hundred years after the first solo circumnavigation of the world by Joshua Slocum in 1895-98, a global race was underway between two teenage sailors. Chances were that we’d both lower Robin Lee Graham’s 21-year age mark for circumnavigating the world alone. When you got right down to it, it never really was just never the record that got us out there in the first place but rather simpily being at sea -no matter, David Dicks and I were in a race to do so – one going eastward and the other west…
 
*Official records cross all meridians of longitude, the equator twice, are completely solo without ever taking aboard crew and approved by the:

 (WSSRC) ‘World Sailing Speed Record Council)

 Outright Youngest Solo Circumnavigation Records as of 2010: http://www.worldsailingrecords.com

“3 X Americans, 3 X Australians & 1 British”

1970 – American Robin Lee Grahm, 5 year circuit, age 16-21 (Official youngest with stops)

1996 – American Brian Caldwell, 16-month circuit, 19-20 (Outright Youngest with stops)

1996 – Australian David Dicks, 8 month circuit, 17-18 (Outright Youngest solo & nonstop with assistance)

1999 – Australian Jesse Martin, 10 month circuit, 17-18 (youngest solo nonstop without assistance – not outright)

2009 – American Zac Sunderland 1 year circuit, 16-17 (Outright Youngest with stops)

2009 – British Mike Perham 1-year circuit, 16-17 (Outright Youngest with stops / *several months younger than Zac)

2010 – *Pending: 2010 Australian Jessica Watson 8-month circuit – Outright youngest solo, nonstop & unassisted- age-16

>Live to fight another day

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‘The smart guy is the one thats adaptable and fluid – the dumb one doesn’t learn and keeps going back for more with the same formula hoping for an improved result or something along those lines the saying goes. And not kicking a dead horse but my recent quote below for the ‘Courage Companion’ book imparts influence on my decision as well…

“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.” – bj caldwell

While this indeed has been a winding path to the Transat 650 – I’m in it for the long haul. For me, it’s my overall objective that matters more than a particular skirmish or year.

It’s been a perfect year to date racing in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race with Jon Sanders. Where to from here? In my prolonged mini campaign and specifically the Classe Mini – the two big victories to date even if they were not veritable podium wins were my double 5th place results in both the 2003 & ’04 Mini Fastent Races against eighty boats (though I was 1st-placed non-French finisher ;-).

My decision is to consolidate my resources for a stronger approach for 2011 onwards…

The double punch next year is to do both the UK & FR Mini Fastnets which run every other year – thus making 2011 a tempting and vast target. With a few yacht deliveries this summer and a sponsor to boot will make a strong hand of cards to attack.

 

*Regarding my idea for The Race 650 around the world event for mini 650’s – its on-hold due to interest and economics – time will tell if she returns !