Gradually and painfully we are beating north and upwind in a choppy rolling sea. With 20 knot winds, we are inching closer to top right corner of Brazil. My worry is that whether the sail repairs will hold up? And somewhat ironically, had we been some days earlier or some days later the winds would have been more in our favour.
Also, while internet access is extremely limited on board, I am really appreciative of the wonderful well wishers and messages. Thanks. It will be on return before I get a chance to go through them all. From the Equator home we will be doing an appeal for the Atlantic Youth Trust charity and I hope it will be supported.
Could the poor luck in wind direction be linked to the breaking of my Maori Pounmu good luck stone around my neck? Its chunky and it broke when grinding the winches. Hopefully the bad luck will be temporary - as I have replaced it with the spare - also blessed by the Maori priest in Auckland, which is a lighter and sleeker Pounmu stone….
On reaching Recife and turning the corner, the winds should come our way. And from here our holy Mecca: The Equator. I have little doubt, filled with Vestal Virgins and Commonly Maidens dancing at the Meridian with King Neptune. After this, it's the trade winds: up past the Caribbean and doldrums, west around the Azores High and a brisk Spring arrival in Le Sables d'Olonne, Western France, we hope and I remain nervous…
To make progress and for decisions, The Residents Association have been very active. With each tack and windshift, our navigation tactics are having to be debated. The exasperating experience in the hot sun, has convinced me that democracy does not work.
And during of all this debate, an old friend John McDonald called from the middle of the Cooke Straights on his way to Sydney. He says that he has been following our logs and the "Skippers slow demise into insanity".
Well John, we have news for you.
The Straights, are so named by the great explorer, whose 250th anniversary is being celebrated shortly in New Zealand. The Straights separate the North Island from the South Island, while John - in your strait jacket - on board the Cruise Liner, enjoy your trip!
With democracy, decision making is divisive, inefficient, slow and it is hard to get things done. And, as Adolf Hitler might say, declared by our resident monkey on board, and Association President ( also named Adolf)
"Either lead, follow or get out of the way".
Be that as it may, democracy is the best system developed to date by the human race to run advanced educated societies and for progress - giving everyone their say. However, at some point you have to make a decision, tack on the windshifts, change course and get on with it.
Referring to John Mc's comment on madness. Over my lifetime and various adventures, whether it is starting a business, heading out on my own across the Atlantic in a 16 foot inflatable experimental sailing liferaft or meeting Jackie Onasis, they say:
"Sure he's mad, odd as two left feet and not all there"
Or something that that effect implying that you are a person to be wary of, to put down, avoid his new ideas, ways of thinking and not be accepted. In short, we fear agents of change.
I have stated clearly before in this Log that this to me that labeling something as "mad" is a cop-out. It basically says that the person making the comment, in my humble view, does not understand. And when this happens, people are quick to put what you are doing outside their comprehension zone.
In a way, by going our "on a limb" you are breaking with convention. This makes many people feel uncomfortable and threatened. You become a subconscious threat to what is their norm and for that reason they box you out.
In total contradiction to this, to undertake unusual activities such as taking a 60 foot boat on your around the world you have to be distressingly sane. Quite simply a person who is "Mad" in the conventional sense simply would not survive.
The reality is you have to be very organised to prepare for voyages and run a boat, make a business work or survive families sure as the fella says "Unless Chaos is organised it is Panic" So my message form this log is to all: Relax. No worries. Sure we'll all be a long time dead and only the good people die young anyway.
That said, each minute, hour and day, I live on the edge and take risks. Our boat is constantly powering along and, such are the forces and loads, you never know what is going to happen next. Walking the decks, changing sails, tacking or gybing, anything can happen.
Just yesterday after emptying a bucket of waste (the biodegradable variety - need I say more) I slipped and fell after mis-timing a wave with the bucket in the other hand. My leg was hurt and the end of a winch handle narrowly escaped poking my eye out.
Anyway, living here in total isolation, I could be in a space capsule or trapped in a prison cell. Here off the coast of Brazil. As one does, I reread some 30 verses from Oscar Wilde's famous "Ballad of Reading Gaol" where he was put-down for " moral crimes " - namely for being gay.
This was his last work since being sent to prison. On release, he suffered from ill-health. And he resided in a low-rent Paris Hotel. He is said to have hated his bedroom wallpaper and it was reported that his last words were " Something has to go".
In my case still beating upwind, " The wind has to shift" and the same could be said for this capsule where I have been boxed this past 45 days,
A little depressing, Wilde in the Ballad was referring to love. He wrote about a friend who he had met in prison for killing his wife and he was destined for the Gallows.
So from my cell on this boat, where the headwinds have killed my love of sailing (for the moment) I extract and co-relate while not ultimately agreeing with the great writer's thesis. And while I would never kill a wife, with justification the wife could kill me. Go figure.
"Yet each man kills the things he loves
By each let this be heard
Some do it with a bitter look
Some with a flattering word
The coward does it with a kiss
The brave man with a sword.
"Some kill their love when they are young
And some when they are old
Some strangle with the hands of Lust
Some with the hands of Gold….
The kindest use a knife
Because the dead soon grow cold
Some love too little, some too long
Some sell, and others buy.