Behind every achievement of a man is the dedication of his woman.
October 18, 1970 ordinary guy, 30-year-old Scotsman Chay Blythe (Chay Blyth) went on a steel yacht "British steel"On a solo trip around the world against the prevailing winds, leaving his wife Maureen and three-year-old daughter Samantha for 10 months. The wife put a lot of effort into preparing the yacht and her husband for the trip around the world. Chai has long wanted to fulfill his dream of a solitary trip around the world. In order to find funds to build a yacht and the necessary equipment, the family sold their house, as there was not enough sponsorship money.
Chai wanted his circumnavigation to be special. Once jokingly, Blythe's wife told him "I would take it and go around the world in the other direction!" These words sunk into the soul of Blythe, and he decided that he would do so. Basically, all circumnavigations were previously carried out from east to west, although these navigators were said to have gone in the opposite direction. Since this path is extremely difficult. And all the circumnavigations on small vessels were carried out in an easterly direction, but Chay Blythe decided to go on a 59-foot yacht from east to west, without entering any port along the way. His route was unusual. After Cape Horn, instead of going north through the seas of Polynesia and Southeast Asia, he decided to stick to the desert southern latitudes up to the Cape of Good Hope. And then follow the north course home.
During the long months of preparing for sailing, building a yacht (for a long time they could not find a shipyard that would take on the construction of a steel hull for a large yacht, since the time was limited), looking for funding and equipment for a round-the-world voyage, Morian valiantly took on many worries. and hassle, solved important issues. At the same time, she somehow managed to keep her home in order and comfort, although at some point it seemed to both parents that they had completely abandoned little Samantha, but she did not complain, she also helped as best she could, was surprisingly obedient, as if she knew about the great mission of the father.
Morion took over all the documentation and preparation of clothing, linen and provisions. It's no joke to prepare food for 10-12 months! In addition, it is necessary to mark and varnish all metal cans (canned food, cans of Pepsi and beer, etc.), since during a long stay in humidity, they would corrode. And paper stickers lag behind and turn into mush, and can clog the pumps, so they are removed and marked with a marker what is in which jar. Morion never complained no matter how tired she was. She knew that one should not interfere with a man in the realization of his dreams, and she really made great sacrifices for her husband, providing all kinds of support. Friends and acquaintances also helped in whatever way they could, helped with food, handed over all sorts of packages, bottles of alcohol (whiskey, sherry, beer) helped with advice.
While preparing for the trip, the couple kept diaries. Blythe writes “I read Maureen's diary - and a lump in my throat. I seem to myself a terrible egoist, but the way it is. But from the minute that the idea of swimming took possession of me, I could not help but be selfish. Rather, I had to discard all thoughts about myself and about Maureen in order to concentrate entirely on the most difficult task: to get the yacht built and prepare the sailing. I didn't let myself get off the ground. Did I put Morion to the same test? Consciously - no, there was no need for it. She is such a devoted person, we are so united in our aspirations that she herself did not spare herself. Without her, nothing would have worked for me. Now it seems to me that I was woefully close to abusing her devotion. And if she survived, did not give up, then this is her merit, not mine. She's an amazing person. I can only thank heaven for sending her to me.
A long-awaited start. Already after a day of sailing, there were several malfunctions, I will not list them all, but they ruined the skipper's nerves. In general, during the entire trip, the number of malfunctions and breakdowns was enormous. During storms and 9-10 point squalls, the autopilot broke down, and without it I had to constantly be on watch and slept only 4 hours a day. “The endless watches at the helm were physically exhausting and intoxicating, even hypnotically acting on me. You look in the magazine - after all, I remember that I made a note, but it wasn’t ... I tried to read on the watch and caught myself reading the same paragraph ten times ”. Several times the sails were torn, the mast bent into an arc, the battery charging device failed (I even had to learn how to solder, fortunately, a friend presented a welding machine before sailing), leaks formed that flooded the cabin. All this is the smallest of all breakdowns, which were very exhausting both physically and psychologically.
But Chai learned a lot during his trip around the world. Any person, being alone on board, who fights the elements every day, somehow rethinks life and begins to appreciate the simplest things. At sea, a person becomes completely different: simple and sincere. The sea tempers spirit, character and body.
In describing his journey, Blythe often compares the elements to a serious opponent in boxing. Every time the storm strikes its merciless blow, he writes that he is in another knockdown. More than once Chay found himself on the verge of death, and the yacht underwent tremendous shocks, and it is amazing how the captain with his British Steel survived all this and returned home.
But there were also many positive moments: meetings with fishing and military vessels, even a meeting with an aircraft carrier, warm conversations over a glass of beer, telegrams and letters from relatives. The whole world followed this circumnavigation, and almost every ship that we met on board respectfully greeted the brave captain, helped with fresh water and provisions. Several times the captains and crews of oncoming ships handed Blythe champagne, whiskey, caviar and other goodies. And how happy Chay was when he found an albatross on the deck of an albatross who had come to visit, met dolphins, giant butterflies (as it turned out, the harbingers of a serious storm, a few moments after the appearance of these fluttering beauties, joy changed to a completely different feeling and the captain almost died fighting a squall ). Once Blythe found a little spider in the galley, and was rejoicing like a child that now he is not alone, he has a friend. From loneliness, sometimes I wanted to howl, sometimes there was a terrible blues and homesickness, but in the most difficult moments, Whose thought about home and family, and fought with all his might to return to his daughter and wife.
The crossing of the equator is an important event for all sailors. So Blythe celebrated him with a small feast. The unspoken presence of his wife was felt in everything and helped Chai a lot. She prepared packages - surprises for the most important dates (birthdays of family members and friends, Christmas and New Year). Thus, being far from home, Whose Blythe could somehow share the holiday with his family. You unfold the package with the desired date, and there is a letter dear to your heart and a bunch of yummy things).
We highly recommend reading Chey Blythe's book. "Unthinkable Journey" - The Impossible Voyage, 1971
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