Slow Down, You Move Too Fast!

I was sitting here thinking about my journey over the past several years. Before I started sailing full-time, I remember being impatient trying to get somewhere in a car. I would drive to or from Utah, which would be anywhere from 9-11 hours, depending on where I lived in California or where I was visiting family in California. And I would drive between 55 and 80 or 90 mph. I remember pushing the speed limit as much as I felt safe doing so, sometimes going way over it, just so I could shave an hour or less over a 9-10 hour drive.

I think of those times compared to what I’ve been doing for the past 3 years. I”ve been circumnavigating the globe, a journey of approximately 27,000 miles, at 4-7 nautical mph, which is close enough to land-based mph. It has definitely given me a new appreciation for patience and speed. It has forced that impatient person inside of me to quiet himself and just enjoy the passage of time, or in other words, the journey. It has made me realize that just about any goal is possible if you just whittle away a little bit of it every day. When you travel 100-150 miles per day, you realize that you will get there when you get there and there’s really no way to rush it, especially when you have limited resources, such as diesel in the tank or wind in the sails.

Take the passage we just finished across the Atlantic. St Helena to Brazil was around 1800 miles. We knew it would take about 15 days at 5 mph, which tends to be our average speed. So we just settled down, as that being our baseline, and hoped for the best, knowing that increasing our speed to 7 mph would shave off 4 or 5 days. But the stress of trying to do 7 mph over a 2-week period is not really healthy or sustainable. It’s like trying to sail under schedule. Every sailor knows that as soon as you put a tight schedule on your passage that Murphy is going to get involved and frustrate you to no end. You’ll end up burning through your diesel just so you can get there when you said you would get there, rather than just enjoying the sail. I’m not saying that we never use our diesel. There is a bottom threshold. Typically, if we get below 3 mph, we’ll start the motor just to stop the wallowing. But as long as there is wind, we are happy to do 4 mph all day. Trying to push yourself all day for a top-knot speed just causes anxiety and stress. I’m happy just doing 4 or 5 mph as long as we’re making forward progress.

As I think about the next couple weeks of sailing, and then another couple weeks beyond that to Panama and the completion of my circumnavigation, I’m grateful for 3 years of “slow” passages and a forced reduction in speed, relative to my life before. I hope I continue appreciating it when I get back on the freeways at home and really enjoy the beauty around me as I drive through California, Utah, and other destinations. I encourage all of you to slow down sometimes and enjoy your surroundings. Enjoy the destination AND the journey!

Our current position is 2°22’29” South 39°24’18 West. We are about 20-25 miles off the coast of Brazil, dodging tankers and fishing boats day and night. We try to run without broadcasting AIS unless we get close to boats that can’t see us. We do this because some cruisers have run into problems out here with crime. We’d rather avoid that sort of thing if we can help it. Everything is going well with the passage. We are eating well and enjoying each other’s company. We should be reaching the Ilha dos Lencois in a couple of days.

We were sailing along yesterday, using the asymmetric, and out of the blue, Brian decides he’d like to go for a swim. So we socked the sail and trailed a rope behind us and all got in and refreshed ourselves. I love being out there and spent a good 10 minutes, although for me the boat was going a little slow. I like it when there’s some drag and I can pull against the rope and go even faster, speeding from one side of the boat to the other like an underwater skier. There were 8 minnows swimming under our boat, I’m assuming for safety. And the bottom of the boat was extremely clean considering the nasty river we were moored in for the past week. A noonsite.com article we read said to expect nasty crud on the bottom of our boat after staying in that river. I guess the paint job Brian got in Cape Town is doing its job.

Thanks again for following along. Be sure to subscribe below by email to get new updates, especially when I’m at sea and can’t post to my personal Facebook page. Or you can follow my posts on Facebook by liking my blog page, Living Large by Living Little. You can also find me and follow me on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media by searching for the same name and following me there.

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