Around The World Voyage : Commentary : Leg 4

May 18, 2002

Distance made good last 24 hours- 175 miles
Average speed 7.3 1725 RPM
Fuel burned last 24 hours 86 gallons (including generator)
Fuel remaining 643
Range at current speed with remaining fuel using data from last 24 hours- 1,308 nm Distance remaining to Panama Canal 724nm
Course 279
ER temp 113 F

Mike’s meatloaf was the finest that I have ever tasted in my life (sorry Mom, sorry Marcia). With Loggins and Messina’s “Full Sail” playing in the background and 10 foot seas welling up around and under the stern of NORDHAVN as she proceeds towards Aruba, we dined on Mike’s latest offering. Feeling loquacious from the lingering effects of happy hour, I posed the question of why one can feel so relaxed and unstressed in this environment and why it is so difficult to attain the same feeling at home in our regular work-a-day world. Jeff and Mike each offered thoughts, but neither really explained it. Jeff I think came the closest by saying that while at home; our work and responsibilities never end. A responsible person can work 18 hours a day and still not be finished. While on this boat, the rest of life is put on hold and we are not held responsible for it. I know intuitively that my business partners and our employees back at PAE are facing the same old daily fair of stress, problems and deadlines but for 3 weeks, I am excused from it and my only job is to get this boat safely to Acapulco.

We have an unwritten rule at PAE that the guy who is out of town on business or pleasure is spared from bad news unless it is absolutely necessary. For example, I have no idea what the stock market is doing. DON’T TELL ME!! (Unless it is up). Noooo, that means that if I’m told nothing then the market is down. Ahhhh, the “peaceful easy feelin” is slipping away- Jeeeffff, where is that blender….

I am missing my wife Marcia tonight. She was supposed to be on board for the leg from Barbados to the Panama Canal. Except for the reporter from Singapore who made the passage to Phuket, Marcia would have been the first female on the ATW. She is an excellent writer and wordsmith and could have given a woman’s perspective on the experience. Since she was a child, she has been fascinated by the Panama Canal and wanted to see it. Unfortunately, as NORDHAVN’s schedule slipped forward, it came into conflict with her son Rod’s graduation ceremony from Hastings Law School that takes place this coming weekend. She is in the Bay Area as I write this but is staying in touch by e-mail.

We have now gone totally native and are shirtless and shoeless 24 hours a day. It is a chilly 82 degrees at night and about 90 during the day. The way that we use the air-conditioning gives us the best of both worlds. Only the two staterooms are air-conditioned and are held at 72 degrees. This keeps them dry and comfortable for sleeping. The salon and pilothouse are left open for the breeze to blow thru. As mentioned, we close and lock the aft salon door at night when only one guy is awake.

We cannot get over our good fortune with the weather so far. We continue to get pushed along by the Caribbean trades and 10 foot seas right on our stern. Today we picked up some current and at times saw steady 9s on the GPS and several “surfing” readings in the high 11s. The wind, seas and current that we are experiencing are the same that demoralized and defeated me while traveling the other direction on MALABAR VII 31 years ago. More on that later….


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