Day Three – Finding Companionship

Today’s blog won’t be too long as 6 of my 10 fingers are bandaged so it’s tough to type. My wounds from day 1 became infected after being wet and dirty for 36 hours so I was forced to pull out my medical kit and play doctor for an hour this afternoon. I’ve put BNP antibiotic cream on, jelonet dressing to keep them dry, gauze and tape so my important fingers like index and thumb are fat and not too dexterous but they’re healing. I’ve got 5 different kinds of antibiotics in my medical kit, so I’ll see how they look in the morning and whether I should start a course of Cefalexin or not. An infection when I get to the middle of the Pacific, where a port of refuge is 1 week away could be deadly so I’m fully stocked up on all the medicine I could need and have a mini pharmacy on board. Hopefully I don’t have to use too much of it though.

The weather that greeted me in the morning was 10-15 knots with a true wind angle of 130deg, so I felt confident enough to unfurl the full genoa and shake out my third reef. My second reefing line is toast from the first day’s carnage, so I’ll have to wait until I get to the Pacific and things calm down to re-run a new line. The forecast was for wind to build throughout the day though, so I wasn’t comfortable letting my first reef out and stuck to the solo sailors’ mantra of “Reef early. Reef often”.

When alone on a boat or indeed anywhere, one instinctively finds companionship in the unlikeliest of places. I watched Cast Away in the afternoon and could so relate to Tom Hanks’ character’s relationship to Wilson, the Volleyball come best friend. My “Wilson” was becoming the third reef. I could have easily not gone with one and that would have been a monumental mistake. He’d gotten me through some intense weather, and I couldn’t have been more grateful. As I was shaking him out and thanking him for his efforts that past two days, I noticed the block where the reefing line pulls the tack down to the boom was completely busted. I was able to pull the line out with my hands. How did it hold in those conditions yesterday? Could I have lashed the main in such strong winds with my hands so beaten up if he hadn’t held on? I really don’t know. I do know that my respect for my new pal was even greater after seeing the state of the block. Good work holding on buddy. Good work.

Before watching the movie, I had my first shower (which was much needed) and made a yummy steak sandwich, the first “cooking” of the trip. Sitting there in my bunk, eating lunch and watching my iPad, the audio streaming through the sound system, I felt pretty happy. I looked up at one of the many signs I put up inside the cabin to “nudge” behaviour and thoughts such as “clip on” and “be safe”. This one was above me so I could read it when laying down. It reads “You got this”. I thought to myself, you know what, I think I do.

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Rory Hunter


Entrepreneur. Chief Executive Officer, Song Saa Collective. Pioneers of sustainable development in South-East Asia. The collective includes Song Saa Resorts and Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago. 2006, co-established the Koh Ouen Marine Reserve, Cambodia’s first-ever marine protected area. The reserve has since expanded to 400 square kilometres and has gained the support of Monaco’s Prince Albert II. 2013, founded the Song Saa Foundation, an independent NGO dedicated to preserving Koh Rong’s underwater sanctuaries, providing alternative means of livelihood for its residents and bringing much-needed healthcare and education to the region. Speaker at international conferences, including the G20 Summit in Brisbane in 2014. World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Member of the prestigious Young Presidents Organisation. Former advertising executive and worked for multinational firms including Saatchi and Saatchi. Graduate, Harvard Business School; studied sustainability and resilience, Stanford University: Global Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School; BEcon, Sydney University. Completed the Coast to Coast in 2015, one of the world’s toughest endurance races, set in New Zealand, in 17 hours; offshore sailor, downhill skier, long-distance runner and proud dad of two boys.