March 8, 2012-In Our Own Words
When we crossed the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas in 1998 I told Fred, "If all of our passages are as good as this one, I could cruise forever." Well, in the following 15 years we faced more challenging conditions and less benign seas, and often it caused us to ask the question, "Why are we doing this?"
Upon making each landfall we knew why: another culture, another country, another adventure, another Island to explore, and it made the difficult passages worthwhile. We became addicted to the new landfalls, but there have been some tough oceans to cross: The trip to New Zealand, the South China Sea, and more recent ones.
Our first attempt to cross the Indian Ocean was so daunting that we turned around and almost vowed to quit cruising. Since then we have crew aboard, always good friends, to ease the load.
With Pierre we crossed the most challenging of oceans, the South Indian Ocean. The ocean was dreadful but sailing it with Pierre was great.
John and Jennifer joined us for the leg from Mauritius to South Africa and helped us cope with days of 40+ knots of wind and huge seas. They were tough.
And after Fred & I sailed down the renowned South African Coast to Cape Town alone Randy and Laura, joined us for the Atlantic crossing.
The Atlantic, likely to be our last ocean crossing, has been the best ever. The sailing has been easy, with rarely even a sail change. In addition to the great sailing conditions our 2 hours on, six hours off, watch schedule, affords us much rest and plenty of time to read, play cards, and think about all the world's problems, and the friendship has been wonderful. Life doesn't get much better. What more can I say?
Sailing across the South Atlantic Ocean has been windy and wild, mellow and mild. Night watches have been mostly graced by a full moon and a galaxy of stars & planets; nights so clear that I feel I could grab a star and tuck it away in my pocket.
Hours on watch thinking of this & that (all sorts of stuff actually) makes us realize that we are but a tiny speck on this vast ocean.
This trip aboard 'Wings' is really about the journey, not the destination, though the thought of wandering along a beach in the coming days is a welcome thought, as is a diet coke with heaps of ice, and a crisp green salad.
The southern Atlantic has been the easiest of the three oceans I have crossed. 'Wings' has taken us across this ocean with speed and grace; our former yacht, 'Pollen Path' would have loved this trip.
Each passage has a character, like each ocean does and each vessel. Some passages, however optimistically they are commenced, can turn out to be rancorous and petty, the tone is sour, based on the people aboard and how they relate to each other. On other passages, and this passage of ours is one of these, the mood and feeling is one of cooperation, accommodation, and generosity; it is a happy ship.
On this passage it has all has been about the crew; We are all seasoned sailors, exceptionally competent, and well used to the close quarters of life at sea, and knowing that on a small ship it is only kindness towards the others, acceptance of each person's individuality, and accommodation to their needs even when they don't coincide with our own, which keeps a ship a happy ship, as this has been. Judy, as ever, has been consistently cheerful, optimistic, generous, hard working, and easy going, and always, a back-up to me. We all rely on her judgment. Laura has been adaptive in the face of adversity and new surroundings, resourceful, helpful to everyone, also generous and uncomplaining (and a great cook). Randy is one of the world's natural born sailors and I think he now knows how to sail Wings, and fix it, as well as Judy and I do, and he is always willing to pitch in and do anything that is needed, whatever it is.
This is an exceptional crew and we have all worked hard together and worked hard to stay together. In this we have been very lucky.
And so, with an easy ocean to cross, a great ship to carry us, and a very special crew, the character of this passage is one of happy contentment.
It has been, so far, and I expect it to be to the final landfall in Brazil, a very, exceptionally, excellent passage.
Fred & Judy (and Randy & Laura), SV Wings, South Atlantic Ocean
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