Day 239

Progress has been slow lately. The winds have been mostly light and out of the Northwest. I’ve sailed through thousands of miles of headwinds by this point so it doesn’t really bother me anymore. The winds have been light enough to keep the seas mild so I haven’t been pounding much. I’ve been able to keep a decent course for the most part, although I have been becalmed a couple times and just drifted around aimlessly. Usually I don’t like being becalmed but since I’m done with the Northwest Passage and Cape Horn, I don’t really care. At this point I have no more major obstacles in my path and it’s just a matter of sailing the last 5,000 miles back to the Chesapeake Bay. It’s funny when 5,000 miles seems like a short distance to sail.
Things have warmed up quite a bit. I can throw buckets of salt water over my head without the water being miserably cold. I bath and do laundry often; I’m the cleanest I’ve been the whole trip. Clean clothing smells so good! St Brendan has been holding up well for the most part. She seems to be taking on more water than normal. All my bilge pumps have broken so I’m using the oldest type of bilge pump in the world, an empty can of corn and a 5 gallon bucket. It gets the job done.
When becalmed and alone at sea it’s important to stay busy and keep yourself entertained. Last time I was becalmed I held the first annual open ocean shotgun competition. I brought a 12 gauge in case I was crushed or holed by the ice in the Northwest Passage and wound up shipwrecked. I needed something to keep the hungry Polar bears from turning me into a happy meal. So I have this 12 gauge and ninety eight 3 inch rounds, I figured I might as well have some fun. I waited for a day with no wind and very light seas. I took an old shelf reliance can tied a line to it let it float about 100 feet away and shot at it until it sunk. Then I pulled it back on board tied off another can and repeated the proses until I had fired off 50 rounds. Since the other competitors didn’t show I easily took first prize which was a cup of coffee. My shoulder was pretty sore the next day.
I try not to think much about land. Sometimes I wish land didn’t exist, as if that would make all my negative thoughts go away. It’s a ridiculous idea, I can’t live out here forever, I don’t have enough food (or toilet paper). I have mixed feelings about returning to land, so I try not to think about land but as I get closer to the finish line it’s getting harder not to. I think I’ll be happy to be back but I’m not sure anymore.
Well by 25 south I should be in the easterly trades and I’ll have those easterly winds most of the way back. I look forward to getting out of this area of light winds that I’ve been in for the last 2 weeks. But I’m not stressing it; I’ll get there when I get there.
FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS

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27 Responses to Day 239

  1. Barry Considine says:

    Yea if you don’t shoot shotgun a lot it’s a b**** on your shoulder. Hope those easterlies pick up soon. We’re all looking forward to you getting back.

  2. Ariel says:

    Funny to hear you say how good clean clothing smells because it made me wonder whether what you consider “clean” and “dirty” has changed since you last saw a washing machine. Ha ha.

    Your comments about dry land made me wonder — how long does this voyage compare to your previous ones? Is this the longest you’ve been off of land? I think you mentioned it but I forget.

    Ariel
    Mountain View, CA

  3. Phil Cathey sv We Be Jammin says:

    Sounding like a true American having fun with your shotgun HAHA. Before long you’ll be in the warm waters near BVI and possiably passing crusers crusing from Africa and the Med with good looking girls on on some big catamaran sunbaithing. Keep up the great adventure your almost in home waters.

  4. David Sterling says:

    Hello Matt,

    I love shooting but I can’t imagine popping off fifty, three inch, 12 g. shells. Yea, that will tenderize a shoulder. Returning to land may not be important to you anymore, but your return is very important to so many others. Keep telling yourself that you have to return – but you don’t have to stay.

    Dave Sterling

  5. Peter Jons says:

    Matt – Just read the article in the Washington Post. I love your adventure. Keep up the positive attitude and maybe I’ll try to make it to Annapolis to see you make that first step onto dry land. Thanks, Pete

  6. Bill W says:

    Truly amazing! I just read the article in today’s Washington Post Sports section. I shared your story with my two sons (what I know of it). My younger son, Seth, is 13 and quite intrigued. He shares a similar history. We will be following your progress for the remainder of your trip. We wish you the best!

    Bill W.
    Virginia

  7. bob dawson says:

    matt:just read post artical your quite amazing matt,glad your ok will keep you in prayer.bob in md

  8. Dr Tom Qualey says:

    Dude, you are beyond AWESOME!
    I just read the Washington Post article.
    THIS IS an AMAZING, MOVING, and WONDERFUL story
    All my best to you.
    and I will make a donation to CRAB!
    Fair Winds to you mate!!!!!!

  9. Pete Wilson says:

    Matt – like a number of the others I didn’t know of your “adventure” until the Wash Post article – the article came out 2 days after all the hyped Super Bowl hub-bub which seems pretty trivial in view of your courage, talents, stamina and vision. Thanks for carrying the mantle of a true champion!
    Good luck on the home stretch & I pray you’ll find ways to adjust comfortably when back on terra firma.
    Pete

  10. Roger says:

    Man, great writting and stamina, keep it enjoy the sunshine (which by now must be bugging you!) sun sets and sun rises, being out at see with very few sensorial persepcions hightens the sences.

    Fair waves and winds

  11. Donald & Janet says:

    What a great story! We just read about your voyage in the Hearald Tribune in Sarasota, Fl. You have done well and you are truly the seaman of olden times, when the call of the sea just had to be followed. God Bless you and keep you safe on the last leg of your journey. Fair winds and following seas to you.

    I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,….John Masefield

  12. Marlene says:

    Matt,
    I read the article about you in the Washington Post yesterday and was so awed about what you are in the midst of doing! My husband and I are novice sailors and we have our boat in Edgewater, Maryland, not far from Annapolis. We complain about how much we don’t like shooting between the crab lines that are in abundance on our way out of the South River. Hearing your story and what you’re experiencing caused me to feel silly and embarrassed about complaining about crab lines in our way! I’m so glad to know that there’s this blog so that I can “look in on you” and know of your progress. I hope the winds pick up soon and are manageable. You are in my prayers. As for wondering if you’re ready to be on land, I can understand your hesitancy. There’s something so refreshing not to have to talk with people, do regular chores, go to work, listen to the news, sit in traffic on the highway, etc. Yet, I think being on land will be good for you when you return. There are many people who will be glad to see you. I’ll keep in touch. May the wind be with you. Marlene

  13. Carol says:

    I am a member of the Albin site and someone posted a link to yours. I’ve only read this entry so far, but it made me want to start at the beginning and follow it on through…so you may get comments from long past posts. I just cannot immagine going the route you are in a 27 ft boat. It is fantastic. Our Albin 27 in a stinkpot…but we have had a Catalina 22 and a MacGregor 26X(power sailer). Your boat looks so roomy compared to some we’ve looked at. Having watched the episodes of the crab fishermen in the Bering Sea….wow…how did you do it. I guess my reading thru will tell me how you kept warm.

  14. Rosemary, Baltimore MD says:

    Matt,
    I cannot get your story out of my mind. Amazing endeavor -really beyond words. St. Brendan was our school patron while growing up in CT. May St. Brendan protect you and guide you back to safe harbor in every sense of the word. God bless you.
    Be well- Rosemary

  15. Hugh Kelly says:

    To recap….over 20,000 miles non-stop at sea, assorted fishing tackle, a bow and arrow and now we hear about a shotgun aboard and the only fish story we get the whole trip is about the Mahi that got away? That would explain why sailing is your passion.
    I guess turning around and coming back for a fishfinder is not an option at this point…. :)
    As far as mixed feelings about returning, I’m sure more than one kind soul in Annapolis will spring for a seafood platter and a pint or two at the Boatyard Bar and Grill upon your return – toilet paper is on the house. C’mon easterlies.

  16. Matt: We saw the Washington Post piece and admiringly logged onto your site. What a saga! We’ll be running a piece about your project in the upcoming issue of our nonprofit AtlanticCoastWatch newsletter which will be out in a couple of weeks, and hope that by then those prevailing easterlies and then the Gulf Stream will be wafting you comfortably toward home. Bravo and all best,

    Roger

  17. Allen C says:

    Many wishes of good luck and thank you for the inspiration to continue to work on understanding the world around me

  18. ScottandBetsy Rutherford says:

    Go Matt Go,

    What a remarkable achievement? I’m sure Las Vegas had odds that you wouldn’t make it this far. You should be very proud of your skills and sanity. I know we are.

    Look forward to seeing you soon.

    The CA Rutherfords

  19. M says:

    My father owned a Vega, and for years, he was editor of the Vega Association newsletter. He is gone now but would be proud of your achievements, Matt.
    Best of luck and stay safe.
    M

  20. sherri says:

    sandusky, schenitto, santorium… ad nauseaum. sir matt the brave, waving from the front page of the online wa-po, “PRICELESS”!

  21. Sharon says:

    Matt, you better hold onto your hat. I hear its blow-y at Cape Hatteras. I wonder if that’s where the phrase comes from? ~S

  22. Sid says:

    “pretty sore”… how big was the bruise on your shoulder?

  23. Stewart Stubbs says:

    How is it that I’m just now hearing about one of the great solo sails in the annuls history? Matt, be careful with the reentry process. You’re part of nature now. Humanities’s jarring impact will be quite a shock. It will indeed be a process. Just get through the initial shock, and find a quiet place for a while.

  24. Tom says:

    Matt … I’d sure concur with Stewart … and add to not let your “guard down”. I’ll bet being so close to Rio (well – relatively) is tempting … not to mention the affect of being in the home stretch – and the familiar waters of the Caribbean. Sleep with one eye open … knowing the collective prayers, best wishes, and admiration of those who follow your amazing voyage! And all the best to the stalwart St. Brendan!!
    T.Rose
    V1690

  25. Brenda Talley says:

    I am in awe of your journey and look forward to reading your blog. Be safe on the last 5000 miles.

    Would you be interested in sharing your experience with a group of deaf-blind campers in June in MD? The camp is all about “overcoming obstacles” and I am sure you would have a lot to share. Brenda

  26. Hi Matt. We had CRAB reps over for our regular ANSA meeting in January. It reminded me of a year ago when you were the rep. I was thrilled to see the article a week or so later in the Washington Post. You have thousands of new fans. Don’t be too tempted to sail too close to Rio on your way up.
    Continued fair winds.

    Harvey Snyder, Past Commodore, ANSA

  27. Pingback: Matt Rutherford: A sailing great on lonelines | Spinsheet

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