Day Sixteen – Acceptance

There were no major mishaps today, at least while the sun was up. Just what I needed. A solid day’s sail on or above the rhumbline, so every mile I sailed got me a mile closer to Pioneer Channel. While we sailed hard on the wind, seeing my bearing remain relatively steady throughout the day gave me a sense of comfort to know that at least I was moving in the right direction. It’s difficult sailing hard on the wind though, so each mile was well earned.

My ailments are slowly healing, my thumb in particular which, while still sore and swollen is now on the right side of healing.

There’s also much less water in the bilge so I’m fairly confident it’s not a leak and rather just water that got in under trying circumstances.

As the sun set, I got a lift from the wind and sailed much higher than I had been all day, almost due east. This meant I could watch the sun set on my transom while the moon rose off my bow. With so much beauty surrounding me it was hard to know where to look but nice to be able to allow the ocean and nature to captivate me again, my worries from the previous day dissipated, at least for now.

As the light from the sun started to wane, the moon came out in all its glory (one day off full) and I sailed directly into a silvery highway that seemed to go on forever. The ocean spectacularly reflecting the light of the moon all the way to the horizon. Sailing into the moon’s reflection was a special experience and another moment from this trip I’ll try and etch into my memory, unlike the rest of the evening that followed.

I slept on deck for much of the night as the wind and the swell picked up around 9pm and as we were hard on the wind, the crashes off the back of the waves were deafening downstairs. It feels a little like you’re stuck inside a drum a giant is beating, while throwing it (and you) around on his knee. The sounds are unnatural, unsafe and unwanted. It’s when I feel least safe, downstairs in the middle of the night being thrown around like a rag doll and the boat sounding like it’s going to break any second.

I think what it must be like for prisoners of war. Having to endure long periods of torture and isolation, with none of the creature comforts I have. Laying there, I imagine the sort of tools they’d use to survive and try and apply a similar approach. I recall studying the Stockdale Paradox while at Stanford and I try and remember all the key points. From memory, it’s about retaining hope that you will get home while accepting it may take much longer than you’d like, delicately balancing optimism with realism. I do recall that while Stockdale was in prison, those who thought they’d be home before Christmas (and weren’t) were the ones who didn’t make it.

Not finding sleep on deck, in part due to the brightness of the moon I move back downstairs. I lay there in my bunk, wincing at every crash landing after going over particularly large waves and focus on practicing acceptance and gratitude. Grateful for my freedoms, my health and for being loved. Accepting of my pace and the time it’ll take (or not take) to get home and that while I’d much rather be reaching or running, sailing into the wind is simply what I need to do right now and that it all will be OK. I remind myself I’m not in a rush. This is a time to be present, to be in the moment so I sit back, watch the moon through the window and breath. Just breath. 

6 Responses

  1. Just saying hi today mate. Glad you had a nice day of sailing in the right direction. As I write this and I check your tracker your starting to pas the only landmass for many many nm’s Colonia island – not sure you’re able to see it, but I’m sure you have a pair of binoculars on board and would be taking the time to seek a visual sense of comfort coming from seeing land. Looks like you’re on a good tack now and hoping the enjoyable sailing conditions remain. Although I am seeing you’re at 2.6 knots @ approx 131 degrees – so although frustrating slow and in the right direction must be feel like a welcome option as opposed to rough seas and rain…at least for a while.
    Will check out the moon tonight and wonder how you’re doing. Would be awesome to do a video chat while you’re in the middle of the pacific! Haha sage sailing mate. Xo

  2. Hi Rory,
    Life at sea is never easy. Apart from night and day, wind, rain, heat, pressure systems and swell, Sail setting, Tweaking, eating, sleeping and all the rest….you have the all encompassing task of keeping Ahyoka and yourself comfortable and safe.

    Life on land tho can be similar. The day’s weather determines what seem mundane choices; if you golf or garden, BBQ or cook and eat indoors, or do paperwork or inside chores. The difference is choice and circumstance, and unless you are mad, going full at it on an “off day” with a power tool, the priority is safety!

    You are ,making good progress and choices now in the right direction, although the washing machine is tough and draining. I will never forget the sound of the banging and crashing in my bunk, thinking at any moment the yacht would split in two. And when I was off watch, and the “on watch“ tacked, Good Grief, I thought the Sheets and Winches were coming thru the Hull!! But Ocean going Yachts are designed for this…it will pass, And does, and you do become accustomed to it… even sleeping squeezed onto the bulkhead or dangling off the Leecloth.

    South of Colonia, if the forecast remains, you should be able to ease off to a reach, while achieving the right general direction. (but don’t truly on me for weather routings… your excellent shore team will do that). The good thing about the weather is that it is ever changing!

    Today for me was frustrating, like yours at sea. Trying to do various jobs in the garden, but it was just one of those days where I should not have been wielding a power tool of any sorts. So I just had to accept the smaller less dangerous jobs, and puddle along. Content with a little progress but not what was on the Master Plan!

    You have to cut your cloth to the circumstances, do what you can and need to, but don’t push too hard… there is always tomorrow.

    I have however been been pondering why you are predominantly Diurnal?

    Would a wee watch system help with the challenges of nightfall, and usually what seems to be the worst weather, but usually due to that extra dimension of darkness.

    Perhaps you would entertain a 4/4 or a 6/6 or a 4/4 thru the night and a 6/6 during the day? It takes a slight adjustment – but after a day you are there.

    I appreciate you have your Yellowbrick tracker, Grib files, contact with your family and shore team to consider, but alarms will help you achieve these daily check ins.

    Your rest is important. Your ability to be alert and respond as required is imperative. Why not give it a try for a few days and if you can get some quality rest in the calmer periods, you will be more prepared for the night time challenges. The other side of the coin is – with reduced sleep, when you are off watch… you have no trouble sleeping even in a washing machine!

    So long as your AIS is powered up, your autopilot and windvane is set on course, and your head clear, you will get that required and well deserved rest.

    Don’t worry about the timings of getting home…only managing your water, fuel and provisions, and of course the integrity of your principality of Ahyoka.

    I am certain that no matter what date or time of day or night you arrive, you will receive the most glorious welcome from your family and friends, and even strangers…. waiting for you, to welcome you home.

    Rory, You have no timeline, just like the rest of us in Lockdown. Che sera sera. Mañana, Domani, Tomorrow, Whenever……

    Just enjoy every moment of every day. You are under no pressure. This is not a race. It is Your Life Experience. Enjoy it, Savour it, Capture it, Live it.

    I take my hat off to you doing this voyage alone. But I am comfortable that you are more than up to it.

    Fair WInds my friend

    Bonnie Scotland

  3. Hello Rory,
    Wow!..what a journey you are on.😳
    I admire your immense courage and fortitude….
    Plus, the trust you have in the power of breath. When the chips are down, clearly you realise that’s all there is.🙏
    Am a friend of your folks..and Barney🐕
    Stay firmly strapped on..and the very best of wishes for a calm, safe ocean from now on🙏

  4. Whilst I am no sailor or deck hand, it sounds like an adventure. All the while a massive journey of stamina and mental strength.
    The moon is absolutely beautiful here at the moment and I hope it lights and guides your way. Still a while off, a belated happy birthday for the other day. No doubt it made you think of the safety of land and your own bed.
    Sail on old friend. A positive mindset will definitely hold you in good stead for the nautical miles ahead. X

  5. Been following blogs with trepidation for you from quarantine quarters here in HK. At least, Rory, you only have to fight with the boat, the elements and yourself!!! As a very close to shore sailor, I am happy to be in quarantine and not on your boat. Re your prisoner of war bit, I was reminded of this quotation:
    “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Maybe you have heard it before? The elements are certainly stimulating you and forcing you to respond. Keep safe and well and hope that bottle of champagne is still intact – expect it will explode when you open it in Cairns.

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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.