Friday, January 1, 2010

News from Marina del Rey

Wednesday's sea trail to tune the rig went pretty well. It was a rainy, overcast day with hardly any wind, but with Wild Eyes' full sail up we were managing to make 3 to 4 kt which doesn't sound all that great, but for how much wind there was it was really good.

I got to go up the mast while we were out three or four times, just marking where the spreaders chaffe on the main sail and little things like that. It was pretty fun up there, but I'm not looking forward to going up when its rough out. In the end all of the sails and the boom as well had to come back off. Rigger, Allen Blunt, is going to put chaffe guards on the sails and all the reefing lines. Allen is also going to put a rack on the boom to make make the main sail easier to handle.

We're all steadily working away knowing that every extra day that I am here means I'm rounding Australia in the beginning of the Southern Hemisphere winter. I've been working with my equipment on board getting to know the new radar/chartplotter, battery monitor, radios etc while Mark from Maritime Communications completes the install of the new autopilots and Allen and Jerry press on with the electrical wiring of the AIS and Sailor 250. A very special thank you to Jason Watts of for locating and being willing to work with Thrane & Thrane on sponsoring the equipment I need. My mom spoke with Jesse Watson's mom about food planning which was great. The food is being packed and weighed and loaded as well.

So lots to do...have to run!



  1. Abby --THX for the update. Glad to know you and your team are getting everything well prepared for your adventure. You are a brave young lady to take on such a huge challenge. My congratulations to you, and best wishes and prayers for a safe voyage all the way around the globe! And my compliments to your parents & family, along with your shore team for their ongoing efforts and support. With your superb preparations, I have no doubts that all will go well for you, plus you are going to have people from around the globe cheering you on!!

    GO GIRL!
    Janell in Oklahoma, USA

  2. Whoa! Just got this from Jesse's site!
    I hope things improve by the time you get to the Horn! Go get 'em girl!

  3. All the best.
    Getting closer to sailing day
    Richard (QLD) Aus

  4. Abby,
    Great stuff! I read that Zac's trip cost over $100,000 including his $6,000 boat (wow, that was a deal!) Any idea how much your trip is going to cost? It SEEMS like it might be $250,000 or more or am I way off?

  5. Bonjour Abby,

    Aren't you forgetting something like schoolwork maybe? :-)

    Be warm, stay cool.

  6. Good work, busy little (Ab)by!
    Test and check every single detail at least three times.
    Cape Leeuwin at the beginning of the winter is a challenge in itself, plus you won't get there fresh and rested.
    Walk fast but don't run. Safety is the 1st rule of all. Suppose you would fall and break an elbow right now? Tss Tss.. ot a good idea. Take care, things are looking better and better every day.

  7. Happy new year Abby! hope everything goes smoothly for you and you can start your trip as soon as possible after everything is in place and ready. God bless you and your family.

    Marina from Turin

  8. Abby,
    Your blog dates seem to be off. This part about your sea trial didn't show up until today (Saturday) and the part with the pictures was there yesterday, but they are both included in yesterday's date! Hopefully it won't do that when you're out at sea, or we'll all stay confused as to when things happen!

  9. Your emphasis on the Australian weather window, which is an important one, seems to indiacte a course of: Panama Canal --> Cape of Good Hope --> Cape Leeuwin --> Back home to MDR.

    Sounds like a great adventure.

    Now that you are just days from departure, will you be announcing your route? Or will you keep your decision open until you are nearing the Equator and evaluating whether you should hang a left and take the Canal . . . or continue southwards for Cape Horn?

    Whether you go through the Canal or around Cape Horn, your adventure will be a great undertaking. Meanwhile there are at least a few of your blog readers who are wondering about which way you plan to go.

    Based upon reading between the lines, I'll bet any blog reader 1 ice-cold beer (payable at Seattle's World Famous Sloop Tavern Yacht Club) that your course will be via the Panama Canal.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  10. Abby,
    Is anyone manning the comments?! You're doing exciting stuff and I can't imagine that I'm really the first to comment since yesterday evening!!! Yea me! Keep those pictures coming!

  11. 01-02-10 @ 19:35
    Hi Abby,
    Thanks for the update.
    Sorry to read about the extra work, but better to be safe than sorry. Besides, you don't want to be going up that mast 'out there'.
    Looks like you have a lot of dedicated people working with you, as for yourself, getting used to all of that equipment is a major chore. Do you have individual manuals for the different pieces?
    It’s nice to see your Mom and Jessica’s Mum working together getting the food organized. You still have to pack the ship, yes????
    I know that you’re extremely busy, so for my part, why not forestall the posts until sailing time. They take time and concentration, and you could better use that time getting some much needed rest.
    Take good care of yourself, (are you taking any little companions with you?)
    You’ll need someone to talk to, maybe Tom Hanks “Wilson”. LOL……
    Looking forward to that “Sailing Day”.
    Good luck to you Abby, and may God bless and guide you.
    Michael(74)from Kingwood, WV

  12. Grant, the beer sounds great
    I agree with you
    The course will be via the Panama canal
    However I do not agree with that decision
    It seems to be the easy way round
    If you go to all the effort, just sail
    forget the canal

  13. hi Abby,
    So much to do, and you still found time to blog. I'm sure we all appreciate that.

    If you've been following Jesse's blog you will no doubt realise that she certainly loves her food, and her mum seems to have done a good job with that, so your mum couldn't go far wrong with Mrs Watson's advice.

    I hope your preparations aren't rushed, despite being very busy, as really careful preparations are so important for your safety and success. No doubt everyone supporting you is very aware of that. Brave young people like you and Jesse and others who are rising to great challenges should serve as an inspiration to your peers. Your generation will need resourceful and capable people like you in the years to come.

    I hope you don't wear yourself out before departing. Good luck with everything still to be done.


  14. Wild Eyes was staring across the channel at me today. BOY she's a bright boat with the new paint job! It put a giant smile on my face to know she'll be carrying you around the world soon. 2010's gonna be a very big year!

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Hi Abby,

    Thanks for the update on how "Wild Eyes" and yourself are getting on. Doesn't she look great in the water! You are a long way up that mast. I bet the view is amazing.

    I hope that you had a Happy New Year's party. Two of our children aged 11 and 15 went on a tramp with us to the Pinnacles in the Kaueranga Valley in the Coromandel Ranges. It was a good climb with us reaching our highest point of 759 metres above sea level. A good work out for those legs!!! The scenery was pituresque and the views amazing at the top of the Pinnacles.

    I thought of you as we prepared our gear as we took dehydrated food with us as it's very light.

    Keep up the great work with your preparations, you and your support team are doing so well.

    With warmest regards Jan (Auckland, New Zealand)

  17. One beer? Just one? :-)

    The bet should be on the to be announed route of course, otherwise if something breaks between MDR and Panama and we do pull in there all bets are off.

    Even so "quick and dirty" google earth mapping:

    MDR-Cape Horn-Cape Agulhas = 10,350nm
    MDR-Panama-Cape Agulhas = 9,500nm

    For Panama factor in 4 or 5 days allin transit time and you'd pretty much arrive Cape Agulhas at the same time with equal winds.

    1. Forfeit non-stop unassist while there's still a good chance weather wise via the Horn for no time savings via the Canal

    2. if so and all things equal risk in the middle-winter going under Australia where its conditions at 34° 22′ 27″ S are (guessing here) same or similar to Cape Horn 55° 58′ 47″ S end-Summer.

    3.Risk and time would seem to be the same either route. If avoiding the one why not avoid the other and go over Australia..fairly certain "Wild Eye's" would out pace any mysterious wooden boat creeping around there...

    ...that and I'm sure Colt would love to be a sponsor with their beautiful slim profile Pocket Nine which weighs in at 17 ounces and features a round top slide, no-snag rear sight, wraparound rubber grips and stainless finish. Inludes two six-round magazines, the perfect 9mm designed for young ladies.


  18. beer dude (7:09 pm) - Are you suggesting Abby shoot her fellow circumnavigators? Man, you're a case! As for safety, there is NO way the two routes are a toss up! Cape Horn in March is supposed to be "planned suicide" - is that what you want? Easy to be a "patriot" from your armchair. Let Abby and her team make their own decisions. If she chooses the safer route, she still has a record and so will Jessica. Sounds like a win-win to me. This is one patriot who would rather see his heroine come back in one piece! This betting stuff is dumb!

  19. The problem with Feb/Mar at Cape Horn is that it's the time of heaviest rainfall and the rain is freezing cold! Without a dodger, how's she supposed to keep Wild Eyes aimed directly into 12 to 15 meter waves? That's why they say you'll get no sleep for 3 or 4 days because you can't let your guard down for a minute...and then there's those rogue waves that can be up to 100 meters. You'd have to hit those head on or they'd pull you under! I'm glad Abby's got real heavy seas experience so she can do this safely!
    Roger in Boston

  20. If the plan is to stop from the get go, might as well try for the Cape. If it necessary to stop there or anywhere after so be it. You might even conquer it. Any forced stopping there after be it South Africa, Australia etc. is insignificant. At least you'll have the Cape Horn feather in your cap. Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin are small fry after that. :-)

    Or are we going to see if Jessica makes it around unassisted. If not (let's pray she does), then the Panama Canal can make sense if that is indeed the new primary objective. Youngest around with stops and assistance since she had to stop and seek assistance.

    I don't think it is though.

    I think it will be what feels right for Abby and her team nothing more nothing less.

    We'll just have to wait and see.

  21. Happy New Year Abby and Family! (You scallywag blog followers too, lol)

    WOW Abby, what a fine looking vessel! My she looks yar “easy to handle, quick to the helm, fast, right. Everything a boat should be!”
    The sponsor list is coming along nicely as well!
    Good of Mrs. Watson to submit gustation/ingestive direction.

    To the sea!

    Mike D
    Landlocked in Philadelphia, Pa, USA

    RE: - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle - January 2, 2010 1:11 PM
    I’ll take that beer! Bring on the Horn!

  22. While I've bet 1 ice cold beer that Abby will take the Panama Canal . . . I don't have an opinion one way or the other on which way I'd like to see her go.

    Abby will be out there all alone, day and night, in conditions that may sometimes be quite challenging and even life-threatening, regardless of which route she takes.

    So, not wanting to take on any of that karmic weight of suggesting she should go one way or the other, I'll just be relieved when she gets back safely.

    From a safety perspective, the Canal does seem as if it provides a safer way around. She would avoid Cape Horn (always a good idea), and in case her autopilots go out or she loses her radar or other electronics, there would be more ports to put into for repairs by beginning the voyage on the Atlantic Ocean side of the world.

    The West Coast of South America, especially as you get further south, isn't too rich with ports.

    Another nice thing about a Panama Canal route is that it removes Abby and Jessica from a head-to-head competition.

    Abby, if all goes well, will beat the age record (via Panama) set by Zac and Mike.

    Jessica, if all goes well, will beat the age record (via Cape Horn) set by Jesse Martin and David Dicks.

    The interesting thing will be whether either Abby or Jessica is able to make it around without having to put into port for repairs. The nonstop part should be particularly interesting to watch: Kind of like the Triple Crown in horseback racing, where the first step is the Kentucky Derby, and then Preakness (or whatever is the 2nd race) and how the excitement builds to see if one horse will actually make it all the way. The same holds here: If Jessica makes it past Cape Horn without damaging her boat, we will all feel great about that accomplishment, but realize there is plenty of weather between her and the southern tip of Africa. If she makes it there without breaking down, then we will all be holding our breath to see if she can make it across the often stormy Indian Ocean, around Cape Leeuwin to home. If she manages to do that, the record for youngest, nonstop, unassisted will likely stand for a very long time.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  23. Thank you, Charles. I am 100% with you. And with Grant.
    The Cape Horn is not something where to go "tentatively", when you are alone on a tiny nutshell, even (or worse?) a speedy one.
    Abby's life come first, her solo round second, and the unassisted-nonstop stuff would be nice, but it comes only third, not to speak of the youngest, 4th.
    Any solo sailing around the world is already an incredible performance. The rest is just matter for barhangers.

  24. Hi Abby,
    A little late but Happy New Years to you and to all your support team, it brought a tear to my eye to see your Mum getting in contact with Jesse's Mum about food matters, so really cool to see we're all on the same page, can't wait to see you finally off and sailing blue water!

    Cheers Abby...

    Clint - Melbourne

  25. @Charles . . .

    Believe the "Colt" reference was to pirates that might be encountered if Abby were to travel the northern route around the top of Australia. Zac had an interesting experience in those confined waters and at one point had a handgun out and ready.

  26. I am happy to be corrected. Pirates generally drive Zodiacs not "any mysterious wooden boat" as the poster indicated. Sorry I read hostility towards Jesse and/or Dilip. I can see your point as a pirate could have a wooden boat. Bottom-line, I'm protective of all our adventurers and would like to see them all succeed.

    P.S. Why can't we use our name and make the url optional?

  27. Hi Abby
    You certainly love climbing the pole.
    Sounds like you've got everything covered as far as being scared of heights is concerned.
    Good luck.

  28. "Colt"
    an american icon
    every american should have one!

  29. Have you packed your toothbrush as yet?

    Hervey Bay, Queensland. AU

  30. Happy New Year Abby, another day closer x

  31. Your Oklahoma Well-WisherJanuary 4, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    Happy New Year to you, your family, and your team, Abby! More hard work to go... Looking forward to more blogs & pictures by you to let us know how it's all going and when the launch date is... Take good care! Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

  32. Abby---I just read Jessica's blog and she is having trouble with the extreme cold. Think about having at least 2 ways to warm up the cabin and have someone who really knows what they are doing trouble shoot NOW what might fail at 0 degrees F or below.


  33. peeps need to relax. we haven't even set sail yet and we don't even know where we are going yet. i'm betting a single cold bottle of beer not even Abby's this jittery :-)

  34. Hello Abby! The clock is ticking down for departure time! I have been following Jessica's blog, and heard about your voyage through Zac's blog. I found out about Jessica through Zac's connection with the "Do Hard Things" book and website. I live in Rhode Island, about an hour away from where you picked up Wild Eyes. I am excited for you and admire your willingness to pursue your dream. Also, I admire your parents for loving you so much that they are supporting you to help you achieve that dream! As I vowed to Jessica and her family, I will lift you up and cover you with prayer throughout your voyage. Father God. Please give Abby and her family and support team calmness and focus during this final preparation stage. Give them strength as they work toward completing the check lists on reduced sleep and missed meals. Comfort them from worry and doubt. Allow them to be humbly confident that You have provided all that is required in talent, resources and abilities. Cover them with your protection. May this effort and Abby's voyage honor and glorify You. In Jesus's name. Amen!
    Grace Fellowship Church
    North Stonington, CT. USA

  35. Get on with it already. Cape Horn, or the whole voyage isn't worthy much at all, really. From a public perspective anyway.

  36. @Charles

    As per your question: Why can't we use our name and make the URL optional?

    The answer is the interface is VERY clunky. But . . . you can use the Name/URL without using a URL.

    Just choose the Name/URL option. Enter your name. Leave the URL blank and click on Post Comment. The dialog box will return. No Problem, just click the button again. At this point it will return again, and ask for you to input the oddly formatted security word.

    Again, it is clunky, but it works.

    Another option is to choose "Anonymous" and just sign your name at the end of the message.

    Don't know why this interface is so poorly designed, but these are the two workarounds I've found.

  37. 100 *meter* waves? Anonymous up there's getting a little carried away. The only reference I've ever seen to ocean waves of that amplitude is in reference to a potential tsunami resulting from a meteor impact. 100 ft is extraordinary by itself... In fact, a little googling and I couldn't find an account of one that large. 60-70ft or so in a few instances. If Abby runs into 100 meter waves, she's in a Roland Emmerich movie.

    30 ft, however: not unusual. Might even call them typical as you get into the southern ocean - so there's plenty to be concerned about without getting hysterical.

    Abby: I have faith that when you're out there, you're going to make the best decisions in the moment, in concert with your advisors, future meteorological data and observable sea state.

  38. Would like to congratulate the Web master of Abby's site for allowing such a free flowing discussion. I'm on record as not caring which way Abby goes, but there have been strong opions voiced both ways, and other opinions voiced against voicing such opinions. ;-) I admire Abby's team for providing an open forum.

    @Anonymous, is likely at least near the mark when he says: "i'm betting a single cold bottle of beer not even Abby's this jittery :-)

    @Eddie makes a good point about wave height. Waves are bad enough at 20 and 30 feet. The scary deal comes with rogue waves, which are kind of mathematical collisions in which a couple of 30 foot waves combine to make a temporary 45-foot mountain of water, or worse.

    Most of the sailing is actually fairly smooth, as the ocean (fortunately) isn't a nonstop storm. But when it does kick up, waves can do crazy things, especially when the train of one wave intersects and momentarily combines with that of another. And you get the birth of a rogue.

    @Mike from Grace Fellowship Church sure wrote a nice prayer. I think anyone heading off on any kind of an adventure could do with help like that. When I was Commodore of the World Famous (I've always wanted to make that part of the formal name) Sloop Tavern Yacht Club in Seattle, a couple of pals were heading off on a Seattle to San Francisco trip and asked me (for the fun of it) to say some words to help placate the sea gods before they left, and to provide a toast to sailors and the seas.

    I did, and they got the tar kicked out of them a few hundered miles off of San Francisco. Have always wondered about that one. ;-) On the other hand they survived the voyage and sure came back to port with some great stories.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  39. Grant, I'll give it a try...if it shows my name, we'll know it worked! On Jessica's and Dilip's, the url is labeled optional.
    Eddie, I agree, 100 meters or even 100 footers are VERY unlikely! I think Anonymous has an overactive imagination or maybe recently watched the film 2012 where the waves were lapping on Mt. Everest! I'm confident Abby knows how to "take a wave" even if it's a thirty footer.
    Also, ditto on making sure you have redundant heaters Abby! Hands and feet don't work very well when they're freezing! You might want to try to pick up as a sponsor as they could hook you up with battery heated clothes, socks, and gloves! I doubt those litter batteries would tax your big solar arrays! Take care!

  40. Oops! "LITTLE" batteries!

  41. Hi All,

    I have just read Abbys updated home page
    Does this mean she plans to stop and anchor?
    I do not see the words "Non Stop"

    "Since becoming a teenager, she has had her sights set on making history as the youngest person, male or female, to circumnavigate the world. Not only does she plan to accomplish this feat alone and unassisted, she plans to do it without once taking refuge on land"

    Maybe Grant can clarify


  42. Hi Abby,
    Hope all goes well today.
    I will be like hundreds of others following your journey.
    Best of luck,

  43. We all cross the ocean of life in our own allegorical lifeboat - trying to reach some far shore. You have chosen to learn by entering a new trinitarian relationship - God, you, the sea. Our prayers go with you. Be smart, be resolute. Many look to you for inspiration, and I can't wait for the book. Godspeed. Now, sail.

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