Roaring Forties (16,120nm)

I was pretty far from my original waypoint off Easter Island. I underestimated just how far west the SE trades were going to push me. I’m so glad to be out of those southeast headwinds! The good news is I’m still on schedule, and should be rounding the horn by mid-January (or earlier). The climate is changing in a hurry. The temperature has been down to the low 50s at night and I’ve been having days with that grey featureless sky and steady rain. I even had a bit of fog which I thought was pretty funny. After the Arctic, fog has become a joke. The water has also gotten cold. I regularly take saltwater showers. Well, I guess it’s a shower. I dump a couple of buckets of saltwater over my head, lather up with soap and shampoo, then dump a few more buckets on myself and call it a day. I did it a few days ago and was shocked by how quickly the water has changed temperature.

I’ve officially given up on fishing in the Pacific Ocean. I’ve lost too many lures to sharks. About a two weeks ago I watched a shark bite right threw my wire leader and run off with my lure. I’ve had several hard plastic lures get bit in half, other lures with hooks ripped off. I use 350lbs test and relatively small lures, so it takes a big fish to steal my lure but it’s happened so many times in the Pacific that I’ve decided to quit fishing until I get into the Atlantic. There are less sharks in the open Atlantic, the open Pacific seems to be full of Oceanic white tip sharks. At least I’ve run into a few of them. I don’t think about sharks very often, as long as I’m above the water line they don’t really matter. At this point sharks are the least of my concerns.

I still have plenty of shelf reliance freeze dried food. I’ve also gained back most of the weight I lost in the Arctic. Between a healthy diet, pulling on lines and pumping my water maker, I’m in great shape physically. Although between pumping my water maker and wrestling with my sails 24/7 my hands have become pretty chewed up. It hurts to make a fist. I’d say I’m doing pretty good considering I’ve been underway for 184 days strait. I have been craving chicken wings lately, or a fat slice of cheesecake, or a pint of Guinness. Ok I lied, several pints of Guinness. Anything unhealthy sounds awfully nice. Then again I never get tired of my shelf reliance food.
I crossed into the roaring forties with the winds blowing 30kts. I thought that was an appropriate introduction. I imagine I’ll see much stronger winds before I get to the horn. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen. It’s really up to Poseidon; all I can do is give it my best. Whatever happens, I doubt it’s going to be boring.

17 thoughts on “Roaring Forties (16,120nm)”

  1. I thought I’d share a dream that I had about you a week or two ago, Matt. You see, we were in a pizza place. I was standing at the counter ordering a LARGE pizza for us and explaining to the young lady taking my order that you had just spent way too long out at sea and that you were in great need of hot pizza and cold beer. She asked for me to point you out, so I turned and pointed to the real rough looking sailor with the big grin on his face (you) and she said, “Ohhh, he’s kinda cute, what’s his name?” Just as I was telling her, I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. Is this my dream or Matt’s dream? What’s going on? Wake up Dave, wake up!” I woke myself up and thought, “That was close. I bet Matt was trying to infiltrate my brain so he could get more Dream Power, kind of like what those computer hackers do by surreptitiously networking millions of peoples’ PCs together.” Good try Matt. By the way, the pizza that I ordered was pepperoni, green chili, mushroom and garlic and the two pints of Guinness were a gift from your sweet young admirer.

  2. Hi Matt. Thanks for the updated good news. It’s been great following you from entry to entry. Like being there with you – at the top of the mast, or some such place. Yea – right ?! Two days ago, Dec. 14th, we celebrated your buddy, Roald Amundsen’s arrival at the South Pole 100 years ago. Wow ! Please wave and salute ‘the flag’ as you swing by close to his tent. He’ll be mighty proud to make your acquaintace, cosidering your own personal achivements. Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas, and a spectacular rounding of ” The Horn” ! With prayers and kind thoughts. Tore -‘TheViking’.

  3. When I did commercial fishing in Alaska, the constant work and cold water would cause my hands to really stiffen up as I slept. In the morning, I had to massage my hands in in order to be able to close them. Of course if you couldn’t move your fingers, it was hard for one hand to massage the other, so I would kind of roll them from the finger tips, folding them into a fist over and over until the fingers could move and then work the other hand. I don’t miss those days too much.
    Now, working carpentry in the arid high desert, my hands dry out and the skin splits at the callouses. Rubbing in some Bag Balm and then donning latex/nitrile exam gloves while I sleep for a few days gets them back in order. Bag Balm was popular on the Alaskan boats.
    You might be able to substitute plastic wrap for the gloves and vaseline or sunscreen mixed with some iodine or something for the Bag Balm. Good luck, I look forward to your posts. -Tim

  4. Hello Matt,

    I’m glad to hear you’re staying fit. It is important for physical and mental health. Legend has it that anyone that rounds the Horn can pee into the wind. The few that round the Horn are also permitted to wear an ear-ring in there left ear and may dine with one leg resting on the table. It is on my bucket list.

    I’ll see you in an Annapolis pub with the leg on the table come Spring.

    Dave Sterling

  5. So happy to hear you are getting your weight back up and that your nutritional status is good. You should be in prime shape when you get home! How is your Shelf Reliance food supply doing in terms of variety and remaining amounts left to sustain you? Do you feel we judged the amounts well enough to provide your nutritional support throughout the rest of your journey? I sincerely hope all will go well with you for the rest of your sailing adventure. You’re an awesome sailor!

    Merry Christmas. We’ll all be thinking of you.

    Karol Harlan

  6. Hey Matt: Best of the Season to you!

    While we are all warm & nappy sitting ’round
    our trees and DVD’s..
    You are & will be,
    out there in a world where there is no ‘rewind’.

    Caution to you man!,
    & may the sea give you that hairsbreadth
    of luck when you need it most!

    Please & thanks for keeping on updating us.
    Wayne C.

  7. Good to hear your on schedule to round the Horn. Your dry hands is caused by salt water and tropical sun, you need to greese them up for a few days and a few days out of the heat and sun you’ll feel better. Would you have eaten the sharks or just having fun with them if you had got one on board ?

  8. Way to go Matt! You’re an inspiration to us all. I get up every morning, check your blog, then check how the Volvo Ocean Race boats are doing. Lucky to have these two incredibly awesome ocean adventures to follow this Christmas. Good luck rounding the Horn. OMG Rounding the HORN!! Fair winds and following seas to you!

  9. Well, another Christmas is here already! Merry Christmas, Matty Moe! Rachel is coming here for our traveling New Year’s Feast in the neighborhood. Uncle Bob is cooking for us on New Year’s Day. We will surely raise a toast to your health and safe voyage. See you in Anapolis! Love you, Mom

    I’m pretty sure this day is just like any other day at sea for you, but still, “Merry Christmas” –hope you have something special in mind to help you celebrate this Christmas at sea. For sure, you will never forget it! Also, sending wishes for you to have a blessed New Year and to complete your incedible voyage safely!

    Janell in Oklahoma, USA

  11. HI MATT,




  12. Dear Matt,

    Great reading all of your entertaining entries! I am so proud of you, keep going, you are almost there! You are an inspiration for all of us šŸ™‚ (Also, I hope you’re practicing your chess skills while you’re there- I’m looking forward to another match next time I see you…If I remember correctly I won last time? lol) Love u, your cousin, Tusa

  13. Merry Christmas Matt !! The wind is up here in Poulsbo WA (Puget Sound) … I’m thinking I have to check the boat … and then I remind myself of your endeavors and progress towards the Horn! You’ve accomplished so much … Godspeed and wave at the Horn for all of us as you pass by!! Tom

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