En route to Portugal -or- How I got fat again and what I'm going to do about it.


It's Day 4 at sea on the final leg of our Transatlantic on Kinship. We're about 189 miles out from Lagos now, sailing along almost dead-downwind with the full mainsail and the solent jib poled out to windward, making 6 knots in just over ten knots of breeze. There are the slightest hints of whitecaps on the water, but the sea is flat, the sun is out and it's rather comfortable on board.

We only just set sail about two hours ago, the previous 24 spent motoring in very little wind. It's a bit of a luxury being able to motor at 6 knots rather than bob around and wait for wind, but it also gives a different flavor to the trip. On Arcturus last year we simply didn't have the fuel to motor. On ten different occasions we were forced to drop the sails completely and wait for thw wind to return. It always did - our longest calm spell was 15 hours - but sometimes it felt like it wouldn't. But now, anytime our speed drops below 3-4 knots, we simply turn on the 'donkey' and put the hammer down. Our slowest days run thus far has been something like 120 miles, which nearly equaled our fastest day (144 miles) last summer on Arcturus. But, this is a different trip, and I am not complaining. We also have a fridge and freezer onboard, which makes for some other luxuries we're not used to. I ate a cold pear for breakfast this morning! We have lettuce in the fridge and porkchops in the freezer. Ursula is making goat stew for dinner.

So, for lack of anything really earth-shattering to report, I'm going to proceed by transcribing a hand-written journal entry I wrote the other night on watch alone. Gives you a good idea of what goes on in my head out at sea and sitting by myself in the cockpit. (Previousl,y I had sketched a bunch of drawings for ways to modifiy Arcturus). Here it is...


11 June, Sunset

Do you know what I have just eaten? Try this - one fist-sized chunk of the sweet bread Tim got in Santa Maria (slathered with butter), the coconut pastry from the pack of four, one bite of another pastry, three fig Newton cookies (they tasted like my childhood), a pack of M&M Peanuts, and three chocolate-covered biscuit sticks. I feel awful! And there are bees swarming around behind my eyebrows thanks to all that sugar.

Sometimes I suppose one has to reach new lows to get back on top again. I did this to myself today hald-deliberately. The two weeks in the Azores were a wine-and-food-fueled binge, completely unsustainable and utterly unhealthy. My standards were lacking - bread was eaten daily and I consumed so much cheese that I was bound up for two days. The food was generally wholesome - mostly local - but I slipped, ever-so-slightly into gluttony. And today was the bottom.

It started with the chicken salad. Made from meat pre-cooked from the grocery store in Bermuda (and frozen in the boat's freezer), it was of the same stuff I had only just today denounced as one of the two most distgusting items on supermarket shelves available today (the other being a close relative, namely factory-farm eggs). And I ate it anyway. And my guard lowered. My body is not 100% yet - it's still only our second day at sea and this always happens - so I ate a large chunk of the good bread with olive oil for an afternoon snack. Guard down again. And then that small slice of leftover lasagna. I wasn't even really hungry for the salad I had just eaten (which, conversely, was excellent). Not totally satisfied - and on watch alone - I got into the sweet bread and the rest is history.

So, here we are, ground zero as it were. I'm the fattest I have been since meeting Mia, and the most lax on food and exercise than perhaps ever (since I reinvented myself after high school). I'm rushing on sugar and sedentary at sea. I haven't done an endurance event in over a year and a half (since my last half-Ironman), and my long runs are scantly an hour lately. I have not eaten anywhere near like I just did tonight, but it's been a long, slow buildup leading to this one moment of gluttonous depression. So I'll start over again, tonight. No more shitty coffee. No more bread. No more pasta. No mroe saltines or shitty chicken. No more chocolate. No more snacking. Just good, wholesome food. No more cream or that awful UHT milk. No more fake Stevia. Wine in reasonable quantities (can't give everything away, right?). No more grocery store meat. Start exercising, for real this time. Plan for an event in October or something. Do some yoga on the boat. These passages are supposed to be enlightening, not make me sick (like I feel at the moment. I should have stopped with the pastry, but man, once that ball starts rolling, it's off a cliff I go. I can't remember doing that since Australia, when I was hungover and ate a carton of ice cream - which I did more than once). I'm good at being healthy, so why don't I start? Now, I need to take a bite of apple to get this taste our of my mouth. Ugh.