May 2nd 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Dave and Val

A bad, bad day.  I emerged at about 3.30, + took over the helm from Monika.  At about 5, the same thing happened as yesterday morning when I was at the helm – the engine cut out.  Seemed to be the same problem, so we had to go through the same procedure – engine covers off, + checking the fuel thro’ the various filters.  When we’d just about discovered what was wrong, Dave called a little pow-wow, right there, amongst all the junk.  It seemed a crazy thing to do, because, even more than yesterday, we were just drifting in heavy-ish seas, with no means of control, so we were just pitching + rolling, + gear was spilling around down below.  Anyway, the point of this little board meeting was ostensibly for Dave to consult with us as to our situation, but effectively for him to tell us that he had decided to turn round + go back.  First reason, the engine; second reason, the mast.  Nonsense, I’d say.  I think his heart wasn’t in to the trip in the first place, + these relatively minor problems merely provided an excuse to swing round + head back.  We hadn’t given the boat a proper try.  All right, we had to do some repairs, but that was why we’d loaded the boat up with so much junk, to do running repairs if we had to.  And at the first sign of trouble, we turn back.  Val + I both felt sick.

Anyway, we turned back, + motored for about 2 hours, + Dave came into the cockpit to say we’d try something.  We turned round once again + put up the sails.  She sailed beautifully.  And then after 2 hours, Dave turned us round again, + sailed us back towards Panama.  Unbelievable!  Just destroying any pretence that we were turning back for practical reasons.  Oh, much verbal agonising from Dave of course… the shit.  Val + I more or less shared the wheel for most of the day.  The sailing was beautiful – calm, peaceful, relatively easy.  Val + I hit the sack, together for once, at 8.30.  What a great big wet wank.

You are going to have to forgive me a little here, I feel. I – well, we – was just so angry with this huge turnaround in our hopes, and I felt I had to lash out… and Dave was the obvious target. Actually, I was far too harsh – continuing into Earth’s biggest ocean with various things starting to go wrong was definitely reckless in the extreme. Even so, the fact that, actually, we were so little prepared was a major factor. Dave had done very little sailing, so tackling the Pacific was a step too far, especially with a newly refurbished (and amateurishly refurbished, at that) boat was dangerous. And despite the the fact that we were well-provisioned was no help, as it was not stored in a way suitable for being at sea. And having trays of eggs crash onto the cabin floor was not sensible.

So I was very angry, even if a lot of that was irrational.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    But I get the anger–probably mixed with disappointment. Now you’ll have to start all over in your plans to get across the Pacific. Can’t wait to see how you get out of this mess! Writers say that it’s the obstacles that make the story great, so maybe this is one of those…

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