Circumnavigation Abandoned – Heading to Cape Town
The President of the boat designers at Farr Yacht Design, after seeing the photos of the failures and repairs, as well as his recognizing that the design of the rigging attachments to the yacht were inadequate for ocean sailing, emailed me to say:
“I have to say looking through them that I’ve become really concerned. My recommendation is to stop and regroup. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but I don’t believe that you should continue into the Southern Ocean in this state. I think it would be irresponsible to do it. I think you have too many substantial problems to head into harm’s way. The boom end failure is a substantial one. The jury rigged mainsheet arrangement looks very prone to chafe. That, combined with the jury rigged reefing arrangement, leads me to believe that a substantial failure is possible. If that occurs, you will quickly end up in a loss of mainsail situation. That by itself could quickly lead to a dismasting… I think the widespread failures across so many systems, would have kept a crewed grand prix boat on shore. To have this combination of problems in your injured state is inviting disaster… Please make the prudent decision and stop.”
From Commanders Weather who have been routing me, stated after a comprehensive outline of various strategies:
“I am very sorry, but the safest decision will be to head for Cape Town. And, getting into Cape Town is sometimes not very easy!”
From Cabot Lyman, the owner of Lyman Morse, the builders:
“I am in complete amazement and awe of your accomplishment so far -you have the complete respect of everyone who has any knowledge of this project and the many thousands of miles you have already sailed puts you in the category of the very few. Is it prudent for you to stop in Cape Town. Yes, are we all disappointed – yes – extremely so.
And so I have decided to abandon and head for Cape Town, some 1,700 miles away. To continue in the face of the sage advice above would be foolish in the extreme, and cruel to my wife, family and friends. I must now abandon this dream.
Life is full of disappointments- some big, some small. This is a big one as it involved four years of planning and execution. Made bigger still by the involvement of so many others, designers, builders, family, friends, and through social media, several thousand more, all now disappointed and perhaps relieved that with the mounting difficulties that the only right decision has been made.
I should say I am sorry to disappoint so many. But there is one thing I can say and that is, “I tried,” and that my spirit did not give up until those that I must respect made it clear to me that it was over. My physical condition improves daily and is not part of the decision.
There will be no second attempt. It will be a full year before I could start again and I have asked enough of my wife and family already. The boat will be shipped from Cape Town to Maine, restored with the lessons learned, and be the fast family cruiser for which she was intended.
There will be more blogs. In the meantime, to one and all, thank you for your support. Now, some eight days to Cape Town.
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