U. S. S. Maverick
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If you haven't already, you may want to read THE PLAN below!
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THE PLAN: The crew of Maverick is going to begin looking for a weather window for our departure about March 15 of 2001. The considerations guiding us to this date are poetic, as suggested by Tony's Theresa: 2001: A Sea Odyssey. They are gerontological, as in most likely we won't live forever. And they are meteorological, based on the need to be out of the southern half of the north Pacific before hurricane season starts in June, and not to be at our intended first landfall, the Marquesas, before hurricane season ends in the South Pacific in April or May. We are pushing this second date just a bit, perhaps, to give ourselves the maximum amount of time the in the South Pacific, since because of similar weather restraints we need to be in Darwin, Australia by Fall. The plan was concocted by routing officer Terry Shrode, who in so doing eschews the tried and true procedure of coast-hopping down to Mexico in the fall, wintering in a suitable luxurious resort, and heading west in the spring. Mr. Shrode was inspired by the dictum of Admiral Nelson of the Royal Navy, who declared, "Damn the maneuvers, just go straight at 'em!" Unlike the strategy of those more cautious cruisers staying close to shore, our itinerary offers little hope for an easy return to a safe harbor once we leave.

We expect the passage to the Marquesas in French Polynesia to take a minimum of 30 days. The maximum could be double that. So assuming that we have perfect weather on the 15th of March, and we have favorable winds and no trouble en route, we'd be in the Marquesas in mid-April. A more reasonable scenario puts us there closer to the end of the month or later. After our stay in the Marquesas for reprovisioning, repair and rest, we sail to the Tuamotus, the Society Islands, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and then to Darwin, Australia, with various stops in these areas depending on how things are going.

It is bad form in cruising, so it is said, to announce one's plans. This is because the likelihood of their successful completion is contingent on so many imponderables, and that once having announced a goal, one risks perceiving the whole enterprise as a failure if the larger target is not reached. Whatever.

We're prepared to say, disdaining tradition, that we'd like to make it around the world. Given enough time and enough money, brains and youth, the goal is certainly achievable. But of these we have quite finite amounts, and consequently I'd rate our chances at a bit south of even. Things can happen, even twenty miles outside the Gate, and perhaps in a later post I'll make a list of what some of them are--except for the ones we don't know about. In the event something comes between us and our goals, you'll be there to share the pain if we come to a bad end; or not, if we come to a really bad end.

The idea is, then, to continue from Darwin up to Bali and thence across the South China Sea to Singapore. From there it's the Strait of Malacca, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Oman, Yemen (why not visit friendly Aden?), up the Red Sea, through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean. We would like to arrive in the Med in late spring of 2002. The summer is to be spent transiting that fine sea, along the Turkish coast and through the Greek Islands, past Italy and France to Spain. In late fall we head through the Strait of Gibraltar to Madeira, then on to the Canaries and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean, the coast of Venezuela and the Lesser Antilles, the coast of Columbia and finally the Panama Canal. Arriving at last again in the Pacific we must decide whether to sail along the coast of Central America and up the Baja Peninsula, or to take the old clipper ship route 1000 miles offshore to Clipperton Island where we would tack and make our way back to San Francisco and home. It really doesn't seem possible, now that I think about it.

We have allowed two and one half years for the voyage. This is about as fast as it can be done unless one mounts an all-out racing program, which takes a lot of money and is for those with a more blood and guts approach, and for that matter more hemoglobin and more internal organs. The schedule we must maintain restricts us to, by cruiser standards, short stops and little rest. Because we wish not be caught anywhere in hurricane or cyclone season, it also means that should there be any major gear failures, health or family problems, untimely weather anomalies, or bad luck, we may not make a required weather window and will be trapped where we are for another year, perhaps putting the ultimate goal out of reach.

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