From Don Backe, Executive Director, C.R.A.B.

Dear friends and fellow sailors,

Matt is fighting a gale about half-way between North Carolina and Bermuda. Weather is slowing St. Brendan and requiring all his seamanship to complete his circumnavigation of the Americas.

St. Brendan’s motor can not be started because the alternator failed and the hand crank doesn’t work. The wind generator and solar panels wore out and don’t work. So, batteries cannot be charged.

Matt’s phone batteries are very low and he’s conserving every second. (His emergency communications’ equipment is OK.)

So, sea, wind, wear and tear have dished up a real challenge for Matt. His MacGyver spirit is high and he’s heading home, despite all that.

He’s planning on setting foot on-shore for the first time in 25,000 miles-at-sea, at noon, Saturday, April 21 at Annapolis City Dock.

I hope you can join us in your boatin’ shoes!

Don Backe
Executive Director

33 thoughts on “From Don Backe, Executive Director, C.R.A.B.”

  1. I figured the last bit would be tough, with Hatteras and the Gulf Stream. Thanks for the update, Don

  2. We spent a few days with your dad and Uncle Jim this weekend. We had a big toast to your fortitude and courage. Can’t wait to see you again!

    We are praying hard for you, Matt.

    Love you much,
    Aunt Betsy

  3. God speed Matt. The last few hundred miles look like tough ones. Even down here in Australia we are watching you, and wishing you all the best. I would love to be there to welcome you home, but it is a long way from Sydney.

  4. I just ran into this blog a couple of days ago and spent part of the interim reading the previous entries. All I have to offer as comment is, What a Magnificent Journey! and, I pray that you and St. Brendan make this last bit safe and sound – or at least as sound as is possible. Godspeed….

    Martin Lentz

  5. The weather looks rough for the next several days. Hang in there Matt, your almost home.

  6. Matt…you have proven to be quite the test for the mid-Atlantic…keep give’n em hell son!!

  7. Thank you Mr. Backe. Hope I can meet you one of these days. Matt’s Gramps (my father, a “Navy guy”) would be so very proud of Matt. I wish he was here to take this all in. I suppose at this point, so close to the end of the journey & fighting this gale with virtually all power gone, Matt would simply say:
    We know God’s mighty hand is on him these last nautical miles.

      1. Me too, me too. Gramps is with him and in our hearts this whole journey.

  8. Dear Don, thank you SO MUCH for the update. With Matt’s power situation, I had already resigned myself to not seeing any more blog updates from him. I think like most of his fans, we’re constantly watching his progress and looking at the passageweather website….making predictions and wondering how and when he’s going to get through the gulf stream. Perhaps between sunday and tuesday. And THEN I worry about how he’s going to get any rest coming up the Chesapeake…. such relatively narrow waters and traffic compared to the open ocean… but at least, hopefully less wind and waves! he’s SO CLOSE, but still so far. If we were at home in Alexandria, VA we’d BE THERE on the 21st, but alas, we’re moored in Barcelona, Spain. I sure hope someone shoots some video! Watching constantly,,,, Alison & Chuck

  9. We are watching your progress every day and continuing our prayers in your behalf. May your boat hold together long enough to get you to your destination! George Hall will be there on Dock awaiting your arrival. I’m hoping there will be a little time for pictures! I’m anxious to participate in your celebration, but it will have to be in spirit only.

    Via con Dios,

    Karol Harlan

  10. “He knows alone who has wandered wide,
    and far has fared on the way,
    what manner of mind a man doth own
    who is wise of head and heart . . .
    A better burden can no man bear
    on the way than his mother wit;
    ’tis the refuge of the poor, and richer it seems
    than wealth in a world untried.”

    -The Words of Odin the High One, The “Havamal”

    1. I love that piece Julia as it fits so well. Thank you for knowing it or finding it ,then sharing.

      We are all so waiting and hoping and praying that St. Brendan holds together as fiercely as has her young captain! I hope Matt feels the love of so many from all over this world who he hath inspired .

      Quiet down Aeolus and gently bring him home.

  11. Good luck Matt, Im rooting for you. I have been watching the tracker over the last few days and he appears to be coming to shore? Any word on that anyone? I know about the gale near Hatteras but it looks like he back tracked a bit and then started heading west?

    I’m keeping an eye on you, while praying for you safe and successful return HOME from the sea. ‘Odin’ said it well …. I knew the fellow. We are from the same corner of the planet.He also gave us the name of the-middle-day of the week. And ‘Tor’ – the next day. Oh well, brother. Set your sails right – and, keep the nose pointed north toward Annapolis. We are all anxiously awaiting your landfall.

  13. Looks like Matt timed it perfectly! he headed west slowly and got to the eastern edge of the gulf stream JUST IN TIME for some south/southwest winds (if passage-weather is to be believed)! with the wind and the stream pushing him north now, he should get to the mouth of the bay within a couple of days! wooooohooooooooo! only 200 miles as the bird flies. And it looks like he should have enough wind to EXIT the stream and head NW into the bay. watching him minute by minute! it’s fun to put his lat/long on google earth and do see exactly where he is…. GO MATT!!! Once he crosses the cross-over line near the mouth of the bay, can he throw out his anchor in some creek and go to sleep for 24 hours?????

  14. 5.2 ain’t baddd either. You are a winner, Matt ! See you soon …..

  15. Wow Matt, looks like your getting a sleigh ride to the Chesapeake from where I’m sitting, but I know it might be something totally different where you are. Hope you and St. Brendan are doing OK. …………your at the “gate!”

  16. Woot! Looks like he’s nearly past Hatteras with a great forecast until at least the 17th! Go Matt!

  17. WOW – the final 100 miles (+/-) to Norfolk ! WELL DONE – GRATULERER, Matt !!!!!!

  18. This may be WAY off the mark, but Matt, it looks like with current forecast, you’re either going to have to shorten sail a lot to slow down, or you’re going to have to go in circles for a few days, or you’re going to have to park somewhere, if you still plan the grand entrance into Annapolis on the 21st. We have a deep water slip on Herring Bay, 25 miles south of Crab Town, and we have a guest bedroom, and you would be welcome to heave to there, if that would be helpful for you. (You could even have early reunion with family before the crowds arrive to greet you at the Hall of Fame on Saturday.)

    1. Dave,
      Thanks for the offer, but Matt will not step off of St. Brendan until Saturday at noon in Annapolis. That is what he has decided, so you can take that to the bank. However, I don’t know if he will accept tying up and plugging in to shore power. I hope he does, because he needs so rest and the bilge pump needs some juice.


      1. He’s welcome just to the slip and the power. We’ll throw him a cord (or he can throw his to us). We might even manage to hand off some beer and pizza, or whatever else he wants, within limits of local grocery stores.

      2. Oops. I forgot. No motor. We’ve sailed our boat into the slip when the motor failed, but we live up a narrow channel, headed SE to NW, so if the wind is wrong, he wouldn’t be able to get in. And, if the wind is from SE, wouldn’t be able to get out. This may not be such a good idea.

  19. At this rate, it looks like Matt crosses his wake and enters the Chesapeake Bay early Tuesday, 4/17, morning. Just in time to meet the IRS filing deadline, which has probably been his number one worry priority over the past year.

  20. Matt hasn’t quite “crossed his wake” as of Noon GMT, but he will do so soon.
    Is there anyone out there in a boat filming this? Or even a live feed so that we can watch from wherever we are? Waiting for each hour of updates is very suspenseful.

  21. ” FULL CIRCLE ” ! Totally Fantastic, Matt. A heafty Viking CONGRATULATION !
    You have written major ‘Naval History – 101’.

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