It was a mad scramble to get ready to leave on May 24th. I’d officially been standby since May 15th, but there were still various loose (and some not so loose) ends to tie off. I hadn’t had a chance to do a full test on the camera system. An iPod of audiobooks on philosophy was still on its way from the East Coast. Stickers for the boat were being ordered but had not yet arrived. We hadn’t done any sea trials since the extra ballast had been installed. The new website hadn’t gone live yet.

And suddenly, when I received that phone call from my weatherguy on the morning of May 23rd, it was all systems go. Not exactly “now or never”, but with weather you never know when you’ll get another chance.

My first reaction to the weatherguy’s phone call had been, “No, I can’t – I’m not ready”, my second reaction was to ask, “Am I ready enough?” And the answer was, “Not yet, but I can be by midnight tomorrow!” So I went for it. Everybody rallied to the cause and by midnight on May 24th I was ready.


I felt about 95% ready. I knew I would never feel 100% ready – perfection is rarely achieved – but 99% would have been nice.

But as things stand at the moment, I am glad that I took the calculated risk and set off anyway. As it turns out, the external video camera is not working, to the chagrin of my documentary producer Bill Chayes, but apart from that I’m managing without the things that had not arrived, and the Brocade is having the best possible sea trial of all. It may have helped that I tend to set a very high target. It may not be possible to get 100% of the way there, but 95% of a high target is better than 95% of a low target.

I think back on other projects that I’ve planned, that faltered and fell by the wayside because they didn’t have a deadline. So I fussed over the plans, revising and refining, wanting them to be perfect. which, of course, they never would be, and so they never actually made it off the drawing board and into reality.

They say that: “Success happens when opportunity meets preparation”. I don’t know yet if my mission to reach Hawaii will be successful (although confidence is growing daily) – there are still many miles to cross and many weather systems to encounter – but I do feel glad that I was forced to take the plunge when that rare weather window opened up. There comes a point when you just have to take a leap of faith, knowing that although you could possibly be more ready, you’re ready enough.

[Photo: the on-board menagerie: Squishie the dolphin, Quackers the duck, and Chirpy the robin. Chirpy says hi to the 4th graders at Cottage Lane School! I think he’s bringing me good luck so far.]

Other stuff:

The gale force conditions subsided slightly this afternoon, so I was able to get a few hours of rowing. I’ve been amazed by the favourable direction of my drift the last 24 hours – making quite decent headway west, even though the wind was coming from the NW. I assume it must have been the combination of the set of my rudder and the deployment of my sea anchor. When I pulled the sea anchor back on board this afternoon in preparation for rowing, I found that it was in a right old twist, with the tripline all wound around the main line, and each of those then twisted around itself. It took me about an hour to sort out the tangle of lines. I’m just hoping that I haven’t now lost that magical configuration that was taking me westwards!

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