Date

Day Twenty – Back on track

I awoke before dawn, eager to get myself and Ahyoka sorted. Thankfully the sky was relatively clear, so after a strong coffee and some muesli, I got started on repairing the mainsail, reminding myself to take it slow and “measure twice, cut one”.

After about an hour, the repairs were looking pretty good and I felt far more confident that the main would in fact be OK. I hoisted the sail, casting a nervous eye over my handy work.  The Dacron repair was smooth with no air bubbles and seemed to be holding nicely with no impact to the sail’s shape.

Phew!! Now, let’s get back to it!

The sense of relief was palpable, but what was more noticeable was the impact to my mental acuity and motivation. With one part of the boat now in order, I felt like working through various other tasks that had been put off due to the recent storms. I set about cleaning the entire boat, in particular the heads, pulling out and airing all my bedding and doing a full load of washing. I filled up the fuel tank and then did a full stocktake on all my consumables.

The results of the stocktake were particularly promising. By all measures I’m using less than anticipated/rationed and this gave me further confidence that I’m absolutely able to continue the journey and that, bar any major breakages that can’t be repaired, I have what’s required to get us to Cairns, even though it’s going to take close to 6 weeks.

For anyone who’s interested, below is the result of this morning’s audit:

Diesel (used for both propulsion and power generation):

  • 260L used:
    • 148hrs genset
    • 70.5hs main engine
  • 540L diesel remaining

Water:

  • 27 x 5L bottles remaining
  • Used 12 bottles so far which averages out at 3.15l/day, so based on current consumption I have 42 days remaining (I have probably about 20-25days sailing so this is plenty as I could reduce rations if needed)
  • 20L of emergency water from rain harvesting (only to be used in a truly worst-case scenario)
  • Water tank 1 = 90% (approx. 180L)
  • Water tank 2 = 10% (approx. 20L)
  • I’m now only using the water tanks for washing up, boiling water and brushing teeth, so now I’m not using this for showering there should be about a month’s worth in the two tanks combined.

Food:

  • 30 days of good quality dry food remaining (all fresh food now consumed)
    • Each day’s food is packed in its own bag so there’s no thinking about whether or not I’ve got enough left, which helps to reduce any rationing anxiety
    • Breakfasts are either muesli or Weetabix with powdered milk and fresh nuts and honey (all pre-packed)
    • Snacks comprise protein bars, dried fruit (mango, dates and apricots) and nuts (almonds, cashews and pistachios), oatmeal biscuits and packets of Doritos or Chips every couple of days as a “treat”
    • Lunches are a mix of tuna/sardines/salmon on either puffed corn circles, pumpernickel or rye bread or peanut butter sandwiches
    • Dinners are either various freeze-dried options (which actually taste pretty good), pastas with tomato sauce, curries with canned vegetables or various root vegetables which last well (eg mash potato, or my special “hash”)
    • I take 1L of electrolytes each day given how much one sweats in the tropics – Pocari Sweat is the brand I have which, contrary to its name, is rather delicious.
    • Coffee/tea – though if I’m going to run out of anything its coffee which was by and large an after though to the rationing, though a much appreciated one. I will not, however run out of tea. Certainly, not before I run out of water.
    • Desert is either a small ration of dark chocolate, two short bread biscuits or two Tim Tams, which I generally have after dinner (once the washing up is done) while watching a movie or TV series (the only time of day I watch any TV)
  • 10 days emergency rations
    • 5kg bag of rice (with soya sauce or chicken stock for flavouring)
    • 2kg of oatmeal
    • 6 dozen eggs covered in Vaseline so they’ll last 6 months
    • Cans of condensed milk
    • Various cans of things like baked beans and spam

Gas (Cooking):

  • Still on first canister and I have 3 spares so more than enough

All in all, I live a pretty good life out here and don’t feel like I’m wanting for anything (other than human contact of course).

There’s a typhoon forming to my west. While it’s no danger, I missed it only by a matter of days, which only heightens my feeling of unease. I have approximately 700Nm till I cross the equator so around a week of uncertainty, however the lower I am latitudinally, the less likely there will be a typhoon in my path. I’m also now in motoring distance of land no matter where I am for the rest of the journey, which is a significant improvement to my risk profile. If I was caught out a week ago there was simply nowhere to go. Nowhere to shelter. Nowhere to hide. As you get plenty of warning when typhoons form, if there looks to be the risk of one anywhere near my path I can now simply motor south and/or to a port of refuge, which feels much safer, though I can’t completely relax until I’m across the equator.

To be clear, I was planning on leaving a few weeks before I did, which was just before the typhoon season in the northern hemisphere starts and just after the southern hemisphere cyclone season has come to an end. The main reason for leaving later was the multitude of items I required for this trip either took longer to get to HK or simply didn’t make it due to the significantly reduced air freight capacity from the virus. I always knew I was “running the gauntlet”, but my sense was it was either now or never so after doing all the analysis, I felt the risk was manageable, albeit not zero.

I don’t want to come across as reckless though as I don’t believe this trip is. It is, however, an adventure and adventures always carry risk. That’s what makes them exciting. I needed a sense of adventure in my life again. I wanted to feel alive and I didn’t want to spend another 10 years sleep walking through my forties and early fifties. It was always going to be a gamble coming when I did, but in the end I’m glad I came. I’d much rather be sitting here, getting slammed by squalls and considering typhoon paths than in Hong Kong worried about the economic impact from the virus, the protests and the geopolitical direction of the US-China relationship. All events I have no control over. Even typing those words sounds intensely boring and uninspiring. No dear Reader, I needed a change and I’m immensely glad I’m here, even if I am half terrified at times.

The afternoon and evening had that wonderful calm, stable feel to it and I knew there would be no squalls today. It meant that after all my chores were complete, I was able to spend the afternoon resting and reading which, to be honest, was greatly needed as I’m feeling quite fatigued.  My sense is this stability won’t last long as the forecast is for more intense tropical cells in the days ahead so I best enjoy it while I can. And I do. I enjoy it greatly, feeling my heart calmed and body soothed by the gentle seas and the wonderful, constant positive sailing straight towards Pioneer Channel. Step by little step I’m getting closer.

5 Responses

  1. Ah, Rory, what an adventure it is! You’re keeping me on the proverbial edge of my seat every morning (Colorado time) awaiting your next post. And that’s for a variety of reasons–the enviable distance you have from the world’s surreal tragedies and battles right now, the beauty and realness and humor in your writing, your ability to share the vulnerability and experiences in a uniquely inspiring (and terrifying at times) way, and for the simple reason to know you’re safe!

    Sending you a big hug, a big smile, and wishes for good/safe sleeping conditions! 🙂

  2. What a relief Rory. Good job on the mainsail. Your second last paragraph is fantastic. You are a true wordsmith in so much that you have explained with lucid words exactly why you are doing this and how you are feeling. Even for someone like me, so far detached from your own realities and adventures, I can now appreciate what drives you on with inner strength and positive motivation.

    Everyone here in Ayrshire, looks forward to your blog posts and in a way you have provided a much needed distraction from the Virus and the terrible goings on in the USA.

    Keep sailing, keep posting and keep smiling.

    Uncle Donald.

  3. Lucas asked me today ‘can we look at Rory’s boat on you phone daddy’ so we look at it and I explain to him where you’re going and the challenges you go through. He obviously doesn’t understand it all but he enjoys the little chats. So thanks for that 😁. Looks like you’ve made some good distance in the right direction in the last day or so and glad you got some reprieve today.
    James and Lucas. Xo

  4. Hi Rory,
    I have looked forward to your posts every day and wonder what new adventures await you each day. Your openness and vulnerability is aspiring and I am so glad you are where you were meant to be. You don’t come across as reckless but a man who has carefully and diligently mapped out his course for a magnificent trip of a lifetime. You are finding yourself in the isolation of the sea and I admire the way in which you are so honest and open about your feelings and what is going on at sea. The fact that you include the good and the not so good parts of your day shows us exactly how you are travelling.
    Keep up the great work and I look forward to tomorrow’s post.
    We will continue to pray for safe travels and hope your friend visits you again soon.
    Regards Michelle

  5. Rory,
    It looks like the sail repair went well as you have been trucking along at +5 knots all day. Well done and welcome progress.

    Great to have the yacht Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion. A tidy Yacht = A tidy and focused mind.

    You can now relax knowing your ship is in order and you need not worry about resources.

    As you have plenty of resources at your disposal…I strongly recommend a Bucket Bath! Even a hot water one, perhaps just before bed?
    I found having a top to toe wash, but especially a hair shampoo was revitalising! After about a week, I thought I had a family of Ants in my head….

    I love the comments from Marie Claire re the Pinot Gris and the Cashmere Slippers, but more importantly, the recognition that life is for living. No regrets, and Tomorrow will bring a New Dawn.

    My Dear Uncle Jack always said.. It’s not the Golden years, but the Rusty Years…In other words… do what you can now, when you are fit and able.

    Likewise, my Dad always said, Procrastination is the thief of time.. and …Make Hay while the Sun Shines….

    So my friend, it’s Seize the day. Life life, live for today, Carpe Diem. And that is exactly what you are doing.

    As I write, you have just passed from 6 into 5 deg North. So 360 nm as the crow flies to the Equator. Although I see you are sailing at about 120 deg, so wind permitting, around 5 days sailing?

    Windy does show some light airs, as expected in these regions, so you will have to steal yourself for some more patience, but hopefully your Wind-seeker or A Sail will help you keep moving in the right direction.

    Perhaps you will have Pigtails and a Jack Sparrow Beard by then to Meet and Greet Neptune as you pass through the Golden Line?

    Be sure to take a picture of your Latitude at 0’00’000 🙂
    And if you are really dumb lucky, the Sunset or Sunrise at the same time??

    Hope you have some good rest and another great Sail tomorrow,

    Fair Winds

    Bonnie Scotland

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Rory Hunter
Sailor

Bio

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.