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Keeping a Lookout

As every experienced sailor knows, bad things can happen when you don’t — or aren’t able to — keep a constant lookout while underway. Here’s a great example of that, pulled from our email box today. 

As regular readers know, we’ve been following the solo nonstop circumnavigation of Washington state-based sailor Jeff Hartjoy, 69, whom we count among our sailing heros. In his thrice-weekly blog posts he describes sailing conditions that few West Coast sailors would relish, at least not day after day after day. On Christmas morning things were going pretty well aboard Jeff’s Baba 40 Sailors Run. Winds had downshifted from 40 to 30 knots and he was looking forward to a nice big breakfast. Having cleaned up the mess after a pot of coffee was launched across the cabin by a "rogue" wave, he decided to go up on deck and have a look around.

In this file photo of Jeff Hartjoy, he seems to be saying, "Whew! I cheated death yet again." Cheers to you Jeff. Be safe out there. 

Sailors Run
©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"I pushed open the double companionway doors and felt I had entered the world of Oz, as right before my eyes was a huge iceberg, more than a mile long and some 800 feet high. My knees shook as I gazed in disbelief as we were already past it and could have just as easily T-boned the thing. It appeared to be about a mile away."

To save power, he does not run radar constantly, but once he got it up and running, he found that it was actually four miles away, "but its enormous size made it seem much closer." The ketch’s track showed that she had passed within two miles of it, a safe distance, but a bit too close for comfort nonetheless. "We had truly lucked out," says Jeff. "I thought I was north of the icebergs as the ones I have the locations on, are all 200 miles to the south of me, from now on the radar stays on 24/7."

You can follow Jeff’s often-humorous, sometimes-frightening posts here. And join us in keeping our fingers crossed that he arrives back in Ecuador safely — sometime around his 70th birthday in April.

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