The sun rose in front of me again today, reminding me of the mornings in the south where my constant pursuit of the east had me chasing the dawn for weeks. Why am I again faced with the gentle pinks and blues of the new day when I should be trucking northwards? Well, I'm investing in my freedom.
Like any banker, speculator or private citizen I am always trying to increase the value of my position and maximise the return on investment. Instead of dollars, or government bonds my only currency for investment as a navigator at sea is miles. I can invest miles north or east and I have been agonizing about which option will provide the greatest return since before the Falklands. To help me in this choice I have been constantly analyzing market fluctuations (the weather), grounding theory in reality by comparing the actual progress of my competitors against my best guesses of their potential and responding to isolated disturbances (local squalls and cloud bursts).
It's hard to predict the future (just ask Hillary!). Even when you can, it's sometimes impossible to avoid a date with disaster. Even as Eric and I have struggled to make good our escape, the weather files have actually modeled the light winds well and after plotting various scenarios for this passage of the South Atlantic I am convinced that this is the best route given the hand we were dealt.
Why did we not follow the clean path towards the north east like Louis Burton and the boats that preceded him? We must turn to the wisdom of the ancients. The philosopher Heraclitus of ancient Greece sums up the fact that change is the only constant in the universe with his famous saying "No man ever steps in the same river twice". What is true for rivers is doubly true for oceans, and it's clear that I'm not sailing in the same ocean or weather system as Louis or, sadly, the guys rushing up from behind.
This step eastwards should pay for itself by separating me from the local fluctuations along the Brazilian coast and bringing me closer to a favourable shift in the wind that should allow me to start reaching (a faster point of sail) earlier than a position further to the west. Here's hoping for not too many more sunrises on the bow until the last home stretch by Spain. That will be a sunrise that I will great with open arms and a broad smile rather than my pocket calculator and grim thoughts of ROI!