A Miss
1938
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A Miss

A Miss

A Miss

They say a miss is as good as a mile. A miss in this case amounts to 0.4 miles. In fog no less. ‘They’ we’re obviously not sailors of small vessels.

The AIS alarm sounded letting me know that there was somebody nearby. Nearby is usually no cause for concern but a Closest Point of Approach (CPA) of 0.1 miles with the other vessel doing 18 knots is. 18 knots implies big.

I waited to see if they were going to alter to avoid. No change. With less than 15 miles separation and a closure rate implying that we would be on top of each other in less than about 40 minutes, I called.

“Yes, yes. I have you on AIS. Will go astern of you. Thank you.” was the short, accented reply. After a very uncomfortable 15 minutes or so, they altered to port a couple of degrees. Just enough to clear my stern by an oceanic whisker.

All well and good you might say. No harm, no foul you might say. A miss is as good as a mile you might say. I would say you’re wrong.

The problem lies in the assumption that everything will continue as it is right now. That nothing will go wrong. That all will unfold exactly as it should and always has. In other words, a perfect world.

What would have happened had I slowed down just a fraction at the last minute, the result of a change in the wind? Or steering failed. Or a halyard breaks? Or a sail tears? Or I have to avoid something in the water? Or the prop picks something up? Or. Or. Or.

Instead of avoiding by a hair’s breadth and therefore allowing for nothing, avoid by a wider margin, say a whole 1.5 miles, and allow for anything.

I felt stocked and pillared watching them go by. I waved a friendly hello as they passed but I suppose elephants ignore gnats.

My brother’s definition of a superior pilot found its way to my lips and I whispered it aloud at the disappearing stern of CSAV Trancura.

The superior pilot is that pilot who uses his superior judgement to avoid those situations that neccessitate the use of his superior skills. 

Follow my tracks in real-time:
https://bit.ly/svseaburban

 

16 Comments
  • BT
    Posted at 10:41h, 02 July Reply

    Bert, you are amazing! Following you progress and posts with great admiration for you courage and wishing / willing you success. You are on the downhill run now. All the best from an Aussie follower BT ( 2 degrees of separation from your Uncle Joe).

  • Sandi Lyon
    Posted at 03:20h, 06 July Reply

    That looks about right. When it’s hot out in the ocean, its foggy and wet on the Wet Coast. That means you’re on the right track, heading the right direction. Finally. Woohoo.

  • Anita Kuntz
    Posted at 00:10h, 08 July Reply

    Following you journey and am truly amazed.

  • Suzan Persons
    Posted at 15:43h, 09 July Reply

    What an amazing journey!!

  • Karin Hill
    Posted at 15:27h, 13 July Reply

    Been following you for a couple of months now. What an amazing journey! Your blog is insightful and humorous. Almost home. Safe travels!

  • MountainJack
    Posted at 19:52h, 14 July Reply

    Has to be an amazing feeling to be so near home, Bert.

    Have spent months at sea “steaming”, not sailing, gaining my sea legs with the constant motion just became second nature. Getting back to a stable platform at dockside or over on the beach left me wobbly for a day or two. Cannot imagine how you’ll feel after a year of hardly ever being stable. There is that other thing having been on your own for that long; the familiarity of constant aloneness , the feeling of approach avoidance, being forced back into humanity. Might feel as though you could just extend a little bit more and savor the experience just a little longer…naw, probably not.

    Welcome back home, Bert. You’ve completed one heck of a feat.

  • Arthur Oliver
    Posted at 04:33h, 15 July Reply

    Getting oh so close. What’s the ETA?

  • estelle C whiddon
    Posted at 02:58h, 16 July Reply

    Bert, your homecoming Saturday will be a joyous occasion! I have followed the voyage daily and hope your arrival home brings much joy.

  • Peter Jungschaffer
    Posted at 07:19h, 18 July Reply

    This has been so great. Thank you!!!

  • BT
    Posted at 09:50h, 18 July Reply

    Hi Bert, you are just a few hours away from home. We are cheering for your most successful journey. We are especially amazed at the sailing conditions below Australia and New Zealand, as we can have some very big polar blasts hit us at this time of the year. Cannot imagine what it was like to sail through that type of weather. Can only take of hats off to you I amazement. Hope that you make it to Oz for a visit. What a wonderful achievement you have accomplished. /bt

  • Antonio Corbelletta
    Posted at 16:15h, 18 July Reply

    Congratulations! What an adventure! Well done. I have enjoyed tracking your voyage everyday just wish I would have know about it earlier, from the beginning.

  • Suzan
    Posted at 18:13h, 18 July Reply

    Yeahhhhhhhhh Bert!!! You have done it!!!
    Happy Homecoming – And stay safe!!!
    It isn’t the same world that you left!!
    I’m going to miss reading your travels and your adventures!! But thrilled that you’re home (almost) safe and sound!!
    Next trip around the world, hope that you’ll stop along the way and post your photos of the locals and the ports!!

  • Raegan Elford
    Posted at 19:23h, 18 July Reply

    Soldier who has logged more sea time than this Navy sailor.
    What an incredible accomplishment (the journey vice logging more sea time than I)
    BZ

  • Marianne Scott
    Posted at 18:25h, 19 July Reply

    Congratulations on your accomplishment! I guess we will have to put up a plaque commemorating your voyage on the Victoria Harbour wall.

    Hope to see you this week.

    Marianne Scott

  • Tom Cory
    Posted at 07:40h, 23 July Reply

    Congradulations Bert from Annapolis MD. A Great Adventure.

  • Mark
    Posted at 12:24h, 29 July Reply

    I don’t think that anyone that attended Estevan Junior High could have imagined that this was in the future for one of it’s students. I checked in at different legs of the journey and was fascinated every time. Congrats!

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