Home > Journals > Around Alone

Ocean Planet Report
Monday, November 4, 2002 1330gmt
Pos: 10 19N, 25 57W 


Whew! It’s getting warm around here. 

Even on sailboats, which are a relatively slow means of travel, it is amazing how quickly the weather changes in just a few days. Nice to know that we can travel about this Ocean Planet (the big one, the Earth) and find the weather that suits us best! The migratory birds figured this out a long time ago…. 

It is especially hot when charging the batteries with the engine. Thankfully the sun has a much better angle than a week ago so the solar panels are putting out a good bit of free energy. They allow me to run the engine a lot less in this hot weather, which is much appreciated.

I’ve been staring at weather files until nodding out every few hours and have decided to try to cut through the ITCZ (Bozo Zone) further east than I originally planned. If the weather files aren’t lying (they usually are…), then there is a window of opportunity where the Zone will be quite narrow tomorrow and Wednesday. Brad Van Liew is going for it too which is reassuring, at least we’ll both get stuck if we’re being tricked…

We have a real problem with the broken battens. When we ordered parts to repair what broke on Leg 1 during the broken boom incident, we could only afford just enough parts to fix what was broken (actually we couldn’t even afford that but just ran up the card bills to the limit again). So, I don’t have enough parts to fix what’s broken now. What I have to do is to take longer ones from lower in the sail, cut them and move them up to replace the shorter broken ones. We have some new custom battens coming from Ted Van Dusen (yes, the same hero that built the new boom in record time) that will be better than what we have. But even with the deal he gives us we can only get the short ones to Cape Town in time by flying them with my organizer Ashley Perrin. For the long ones I butcher now, we have to buy and use the same style we have since they come in pieces that can be shipped. 

I’m going to depart from my normal cheerful tone here for a moment. I have to ask the question: Why can’t we find a Title sponsor?!? We are the only team in Class One without a Corporate Title Sponsor. If it wasn’t for the incredible amount of donations by people like Kevin and Shauna Flanigan and hundreds of others (take a look at the contributor’s page on our website, it’s amazing) this would be completely impossible. Imagine trying to put together a Formula One race car team, using donations. You can’t stock up on parts and plan ahead until you have funds, and if you get funds at the last minute it is very inefficient as you have to hire expensive last minute help and pay extreme fees for shipping. 

Is there something wrong with me? Why do all the other boats in Class One have corporate backing? Is it a disadvantage to be an American? On the plus side, in one sense I have done better than all of them to have raised so much in donations. But how do you think all of those contributors feel who have put so much into this and yet they don’t see a U.S. business entity coming forward to join them. And I don’t want hear any more of “the economy is so bad, blah, blah, blah”….if it is so bad then how come so many have been able justify putting their hard earned $ towards getting Ocean Planet this far? How come all the other boats in my division have sponsors? Are their sponsor making a mistake? I don’t think they would say that! In fact, I have talked to one in particular (I shouldn’t say who, of course), who is VERY happy to be involved in this sport for the return they are getting. I believe I can do a good job for a sponsor, I really do.

Okay, so maybe the heat is getting to me and I needed to let off steam…and if I have to make it all the way around the world on donations, I will do my best for those who put their faith in me, for they are my sponsors now! But it will take a lot more $ to be competitive, and I still want to win a leg and move up in the overall. I believe I can do that, too!

Steaming down the Atlantic,


Next Story