Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Endless Journey

Alas, a photo of Martin!  Out in the middle of the North Pacific.  Martin at the helm.
Martin and I decided to hold off from posting for a few days out of respect for the loss of Sarah Young, a crew member on the Clipper race boat, ICHORCOAL.  What a terrible tragedy. We were heartbroken. Martin and crew have had a rough couple of days because the storms have continued to be rough.  So, they are back at it trying to get through the elements.  I have had little contact with Martin because of the weather, but even the littlest of contact suffices... for now.  I have a few posts that I will be posting the next few days from Martin so check back regularly.  Here is one that he sent to me last Thursday.  


"When you look at a map the enormity of the Pacific Ocean becomes clear.
Sailing from Qingdao to Seattle takes up 120 degrees of longitude.  The earth has 360 degrees, so you quickly see that sailing across the Pacific means sailing 1/3 the way around the globe.  Another way to think about it is if you look at Google Earth, the Pacific Ocean takes up the whole page.

Previously my longest sailing passage has been from the Galapagos Islands to the Marqueses Islands in the South Pacific.  A trip that took 18 days during which we didn't see another boat or plane for 11 days straight.  I remember that those 18 days seemed to take forever, especially for my wife Kym.  This North Pacific passage will take about 30 days and is in much rougher conditions.  As I think about how far we have come, and yet how far we still have to go, it feels like it will never end.  The good news is that we have 20 people on board to make it as enjoyable as it can be.

One of those crew members who makes it work well is Amancio, a production company owner from Spain.  Amancio manages all the food and provisions on board Visit Seattle.  In China he worked hard with Alex, a female investment banker from NYC, to plan, find, and stock up on everything we needed for the voyage. He then organized it all into daily food packages etc.  Need more hot sauce?  Only Amancio knows where it is buried and can dig it out. The daily cooks or "Mothers" rely on Amancio for the menu and ingredients before they can start chopping and dicing for lunch or dinner.
I've been truly impressed by Amancio's diligent and tireless provisioning efforts on our behalf; he is also a great sailor and navigator.

The food on board our boat has been wonderful and one of the keys to our happy crew, particularly for the RTW's (round the world racers).  We've had everything from shrimp, steaks, and pork loin dishes to name a few, as well as fresh bread and cakes for dessert.  This is one difference between the Clipper Race for amateur sailors, and the Volvo Ocean Race for professionals where they eat only freeze dried foods on board to save weight.

During the last storm, I saw Alex cooking for 20 while bouncing up and down and side to side.  I don't know how she did it as all I could do that day was lay on the floor nearby and puke.  We gave her a big round of applause for the great meal. I truly dread the day when it will be my turn to be Mother. Working in the galley is the fastest way to bring on my seasickness and I'd much rather clean heads and bilges, or work on deck in a typhoon.

I wonder if I can work out a trade.