It has been pretty busy since I left off with you yesterday. Last night, as I approached the continental shelf, I was wary about snagging one of those big offshore lobster pots that I have snagged so many times before, so I was watching closely on the radar, as some of them have radar reflectors. We were screaming along at about 13 knots in 25-35 knots of wind when I heard the telltale bang and the boat began to slow down and I knew I was screwed. The boat came... to a complete stop and the sails began to flap madly and the auto-pilot alarm went off and all of this in the pitch black of midnight. Frickin' awesome. I went forward to furl the solent jib but there was too much load on it and it would not furl, so I returned to the cockpit and sheeted both the main and solent in tight to stop the flapping. I was not at all sure what I was going to do next when I remembered that I had just received a bon voyage gift from fellow solo sailor Rich Wilson, which was a 22' extendable Japanese tree saw with a very sharp two foot blade at the end. I dove below to retrieve it- assembled it quickly on deck and then lay on my belly on the deck and leaned over the windward side of the boat- lowered the saw in- and with one cut the big aluminum pot stick popped out of the water and floated away. A tremendous sense of relief swept over me. But now the boat was moving again and I had this 22' dangerous weapon that I had to sheath and disassemble- so that boat had to wait and gybed itself a few times for fun. I finally got the saw put away below and got the boat moving in the right direction and poured myself a Jameson and cocoa- drenched in the salt of sweat and sea water. So- thank you Rich Wilson- you saved my bacon- and I'm really not sure what I would have done without the saw.
So- the perfect beginning to a RTW voyage eh? It has been consistently blowing over 20 knots of wind from the WNW and we have been making good time. I had to gybe the boat in the wee hours of the morning as a wind shift had us going South and Ken Campbell from Commanders Weather is adamant that we get East early, so I am dutifully heading East as we speak and am somewhere near the north wall of the gulf stream. Another windy night, so the boat is moving along well under A5 fractional kite and two reefs in the main at a 140-degree True Wind Angle.
I am still trying to get used to the fact that I am actually out here and doing this- my lifelong dream- but it’s a little bit of "be careful what you wish for" as the reality of the enormity of the challenge is setting in. So I'm trying to take it one minute, one hour, one day, one week, one month at a time. I am focused on breathing- that seems to help.
PS- I heard Pats over Giants in a nail-biter- still undefeated- yeah baby- do your job- we are on to Cincinnati!!