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2015-16 Solo Round The World - Day 52
GryphonSolo2 in actionBilly Black

Solo Round The World 2015-16

Solo Round The World 2015-16 – Happy Sunday to you all and congrats to our NE Patriots for a big win over the KC Chiefs. Although I could not watch the game, I had excellent play-by-play commentary coming from a number of friends which was really fun, as I had to be up through the night anyway to help guide my faithful stead through a pretty good cold front.

So it is blowing a steady 35k – gusting to 45k – from the West and I am headed as downhill as possible to the SE to ease the strain on the boat and just try to surf along with the wind and wave flow. The key is picking the optimal wind angle so that the boat does not round up in the gusts but also does not wallow around as a result of sailing too deep. So I sit below at the nav table and dial the auto pilot settings up and down and try to keep the boat moving nicely and not get overwhelmed.

While riding through this gale, I am reminded of a skiing trip to Alta, where Kim and I joined up with some other folks to hire a guide to take us to the hidden sweet spots on the mountain that others might not find. Our guide was an Austrian fellow named Dieter, who was very clear in his instructions and honest about the risks. At one point we took our skis off to hike up a narrow, icy trail to get to a summit that lead to an area of virgin powder and Dieter quietly stopped the line and said, ‘You are now entering the ‘No Fall Zone’, so please be very careful as you climb, because a fall would not be good’. We all turned and looked down the near-vertical slope and understood immediately what he was saying. I feel a little like I am in the ‘No Fall Zone’ down here in the roaring forties!

So geographically , GS2 and I are now just North of the Prince Edward Islands (South African) and the Crozet Islands (French), but I don’t know much about either of these so if someone could do ‘the Google’ and provide some historical tid bits, that would be great.

Random observations

It’s cold and gray and wet and it makes me want to stay in the cabin in my sleeping bag- it’s gonna be a long two months of this…

There are birds circling the boat almost all the time. Although they are pretty and fly very gracefully, they look to me like they have only food on their minds. Reminds me of the old spaghetti westerns where the vultures used to circle after the big gun battle…

I watched the movie ‘The Butler’ with Forrest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey about the civil rights movement and it was excellent.

I just finished reading ‘Left for Dead’, Beck Weather’s story of survival on Mt. Everest. I saw the movie ‘Everest’ while I was in Cape Town and enjoyed it and have also read Jon Krakauer’s book ‘Into Thin Air’ which is also about this same incident where a storm swept up Everest and many climbers were lost. Pretty good read from multiple perspectives- his wife included.

I have now started Neil Young’s autobiography ‘Waging Heavy Peace’ and 40 pages into it, seems pretty good. Neil Young is a weirdo rocker for sure- but a savant whose music I have always enjoyed- so this should be fun.

I just rediscovered a semi-random bunch of Podcasts on my iPad which are mainly the NPR TED Radio Hour and a number of ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ episodes. I listened to a TED talk about Quiet and Stillness and Introverts vs Extroverts which was quite interesting given my current monastic situation. I realized I had not spoken a word in quite a while. Some might say that’s a good thing..?! 🙂 Anyway, some good intellectual stimulation for my brain.

So that’s about it from the lunar module down under. I’m already dreaming about rounding Cape Horn- every sailor’s ultimate quest- but that is a long way out- so maybe I need to focus on getting past Australia and New Zealand first.

by Joe Harris

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