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Freedom - Blog 16 Monday 4th December 2023

Editor: CJ

Good Day to you All.
Firstly, thank you for all your messages, good wishes and encouragement (faithfully conveyed by Dave), which are much appreciated by all the Crew. We are especially amused by those of you who join in the spirit of the adventure and even enter ‘crew banter’. Apparently, some are vicariously, fully, living the voyage by dressing in their Sowesters for dinner whilst enjoying the blog (no names but thank you Charles and Sue Russell Smith for your enthusiasm!).
Sailing progress is good and the ‘trades’ seem to be well established for the rest of our journey. They have been blowing 16/20 knots from the WSW for the last 48hrs and during the last 24 the squalls seem to have died away. It is sunny and warm with high cloud and a few lower puffy white clouds skiding by above us. We are sailing goose winged with no 1 reef in, to protect the hole in mainsail. To rectify this latter issue we have designed and prepared a spreader end protector, made out of hose pipe, we just need someone to go up the mast to 2nd spreader height - quite a task in a heavily rolling sea (Nige stop being such a whimp and get up there!). We are now averaging about 150 miles a day and our currently estimated ETA Rodney Bay, St Lucia is Saturday afternoon. We will be leaving on the 17th Dec for home after some boat cleaning & maintenance coupled with a little R&R and possibly some rum. All being well, we will be met on arrival by Ian’s wife Gill, his two sons Sam and Harry (and their respective wives Cath and Beth) and his granddaughter Evi, Jules and my brother Nigel’s wife Christine. We are greatly looking forward to seeing them all.
However, having said that, as timescales seem to becoming more predictable, there is a growing realisation that the trip will come to an end, something that the majority of the crew are not looking forward to. We have together mused that we might sail through the finish line and carry on to the Pacific via the Panama Canal. According to captains Cook, Peruse and Mottissier (Bernard) Tahiti has a lot going for it, perhaps via the Galapagos, Marcassias and Easter Islands? Apparently there is currently a six week queue at the Panama Canal so perhaps we’ll head south to Brazil and take in some surfing, for Simon, on the west Atlantic coast. Calling in at Rio and possibly Buenos Aries have a certain appeal followed by Cape Horn or the Magellan Straight/Cooks passage. Alternatively, we might head SW to Cape Town and then tackle the roaring forties before dropping Simon in Perth for Christmas (‘24)? ….Stu brings us all back to earth by saying he is getting off at St Lucia as he needs to go home to feed the Goats and see Dougie (his grandson).
Undertaking this trip makes one appreciate the vastness of the ocean (and we are only crossing the ‘narrowest’ bit). As you will no doubt be able to discern from this blog, the crew (well, certainly me…), are now firmly into the ‘rhythm of the sea’ with its fascinating ever changing character and mood.
The nights have recently been moonless, also sometimes cloudy and often very dark. I find myself sitting in the cockpit with the very dim lights of the nav instruments (they are dimmed at night to aid night vision) contemplating mortality and many of those family and friends that have gone before. I imagine they are sitting with me in the cockpit (and perhaps they are), and I metaphorically chat with them; my mum, grandmother, Sheila, Charles and Nonie, June, Stan Webb, Spud, Francis, David Robinson, Steve Robo, Grant, Coops, Jean Healy..the list is of course is extensive. Some how they seem closer out here and it feels good to remember them, be with them and smile, not least to appreciate the love, we have been blessed to share!
Simon says one of his mates always says it is later than we think…so it is good to be experiencing these things whilst we can…….the awe and wonder of the planet, solar system, universe and just being alive.
According to Simon, Crew conversations are apparently beginning to repeat themselves, although fortuitously with advancing senility we are able to enjoy them just as much the third time round!
The boat is currently peaceful and quiet, Stuart is on the helm, Simon has just completed sluicing the cockpit and sweeping the cabin floor, Ian is ‘reading’ whilst Nigel takes rest, building himself up for his big mast climb!
As you will be able to tell Freedom is living up to her name in body and mind… certainly in my case anyway…
On that note we are all sending you love and glad tidings, wishing you joy and happiness in your daily pursuits.
The Freedom Fighters.

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