The Sailor’s Journey – 3

Matteo is just south of the Tropic of Cancer Friday, November 7, on the 18th latitude, roughly 100 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. The sun’s rays are at their northernmost point on the Earth, appearing directly overhead at local noon time. It starts to get really hot.  To follow the current position of Matteo’s sailing route, please click on the Tracker (The stream of faces seen on the tracker are all sponsors of Matteo Miceli.)

He’s been on his way for almost three weeks. According to the tracker, he has travelled more than 2000 nautical miles, 800 of which were in the Mediterranean. Not as much as Matteo has hoped to sail in this amount of time, but because of the storm  that hit the Eco40 in the Mediterranean and the subsequent lack of wind, Matteo took three days off to repair the boat and remove water that was trapped on the boat.

ScreenshotWindchart 20141023

The wind speed and direction of Matteo Micelli’s route during the storm and when sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar

The average sailing speed that was recorded by the on-board computer has been about 7 knots (or 13 km/h or 7 mph) and the fastest speed has been 12 (22 km/h or almost 14 mph), lasting approximately 10 minutes.

The average wind speed recorded so far on the journey exceeded 40-45 knots (70-80 km/h or 46-51 mph) and lasted for several hours, with the strongest wind recorded at 56 knots (100 km/h or 65 mph), lasting over 10 minutes. (Image)

We will now return to the part of the journey just after the storm, roughly 10 days ago, and continue with the story in two parts, leading you up to the present date…

…The information above, recorded with the on board computer, had all been affected by the storm that the ECO40 encountered while still sailing in the Mediterranean. After the storm, Matteo reports very calm days with little wind, which is a good thing because the not so little amount of water that entered the middle area of the boat had to be pumped out and a leak near the rudders also needed to be fixed.

His vegetable garden also took quite a beating due to the storm. On the second day of the journey, Matteo could harvest some radishes and salad (image) and one of his two chicks, who he began to call “Blondie” and “The Brunette”,  laid an egg – so scrambled eggs from the microwave were on the second evening’s menu. This however, was one of the last decent meals he would have for quite some time….

The first harvest from garden.

The first harvest from garden.


The garden, illuminated with solar energy in its overhead container, before the storm hit.


Blondie in her cage



With water in the boat and the turmoil of the storm, there was no time left to even try to catch some fish for dinner. Matteo had to reduce his diet – the fish would not bite nor would Blondie or the Brunette lay any eggs.

His consisted on 100g carbohydrates, 100g dried fruit and some dried dolphin he had luckily caught, dried and salted on his first day.

Because of this, Matteo had to open three packages of freeze-dried food, which amounts to approx. 600 calories and eat three energy bars at 200 calories each. Matteo has 100 bags of freeze-dried food for emergencies.

On October 26, Matteo writes of the difficulties he has of understanding his limits. He is a professional sailor and racer. He built a high-performance boat for this journey, with which he wants to certify record times. However, he has had to learn his limits, learn when to rest and consider his own safety. And of course there is the problem of no wind…

With all this windless time on his hands, Matteo writes “…only today I find myself thinking of the challenging project I set for myself. The commitment not only to myself, but also to all of those who help to make this project happen, of spending a lot of energy by sending my passion and enthusiasm in messages several times a day to everyone following this journey, then taking care of all the electronic devices, the desalination for water, having hot water only when there is sun, making sure the solar panels, turbines and wind generators are working properly. With no wind, my thoughts are somewhat melancholy but actually things are going great. The blonde made one (egg) today and after catching a dolphin- there were fresh fish and eggs for dinner!! (image)

On Oct 31, Matteo finally caught the Trade Winds and could sail at about 11 knots ( 20 km/h or 12 mph). The tone in his messages is back to normal: jovial and optimistic. He has passed through the Strait of Gibraltar safely. Not an easy thing to do with little wind and a busy shipping lane, however the ships avoided the Eco40 and Matteo avoided them. On the next day still passing through the strait, Matteo reports how lucky he was to not be in the shipping lane that day- with a line of ships passing by constantly. He encountered an Italian ship with his fans and chats with them on the radio channel. They wish him a safe trip and tell him “…if those chicks (Blondie and Brunette) onboard keep resisting (laying eggs) – they’ll be even more famous than you!”

Tonight’s menu: Dried fish, sprouts and 50 grams of carbohydrates (half of an energy bar).

Dried fish and sprouts

Dried fish and sprouts

The sunset ends Matteo's journey through the Strait of Gibraltar.

The sunset ends Matteo’s journey through the Strait of Gibraltar.

A beautiful sunset ends the night and the journey through the Strait of Gibraltar is safety over. Now on to the Atlantic…

Part 2 to be continued…

This info was sent by satellite by Matteo to Prof. Paolo De Girolamo at University of Roma La Sapienza.
To read the story from the beginning please click here

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