Over the last few days Keith has been battered by winds of 40 knots. Classed as a force 8 Gale, the conditions have meant he’s had to battle with ongoing repairs to the wind vane self steering system and to one of the running check stays that adds strength to the mast. The Bay of Biscay is notorious at this time of year and for sure it’s lived up to its reputation. Keith has coped admirably with everything that has been thrown at him and has successfully been able to keep up with the running maintenance and the repairs to keep his boat going through the big seas and high winds.
Despite his disability, Keith is a very capable sailor and he’s taken everything in his stride. And regardless of the heavy weather, he’s even found time to enjoy the sailing and has been amazed just how well his boat Marathon performs in such adverse conditions. However last night he had a catastrophic failure of the furling mechanism that connects the heavy weather jib to the fore-deck. Throughout the night and without sleep he’s worked tirelessly to fix it, but unfortunately the furling gear cannot be fixed onboard. Therefore with a heavy heart Keith has regrettably decided he has no choice but to make a temporary stop and is now heading for port in northern Spain to make the necessary repairs. The rigging is brand new and he certainly wasn’t anticipating failures of this nature.
Clearly this voids the none-stop element to the voyage, but Keith’s dream is still to circumnavigate the globe. He will still take on the Southern Oceans and the Roaring Forties with only the lonely albatross for company. And he will still face the mighty Cape Horn alone before sailing home to complete one the pinnacles of sailing achievements.
As I write this on Keith’s behalf, I feel immensely proud of him, and proud of what he has achieved. Just getting to the start line has been a battle. He’s put every last penny he has into this project and I’m sure you will agree with me that Keith is already a winner. This is just a glitch and by no means a failure. I know from the number messages he’s received from all around the world, that you will support Keith all the way as he makes his repairs and continues to complete what most of us would never dare to do – sail single-handed around the world.