RANDALL REEVES I
f you're like us, you're wondering what you're going to do now that the Figure 8 Voyage is over. What will you read, now that Randall Reeves isn't writing a blog post every day? What will you check obsessively, now that Moli's tracker is stationary in San Francisco Bay, her outbound track crossed, the loops closed? What will occupy your imagination? Like a good book, we found ourselves reluctant to reach the end. It's hard to believe that the Figure 8 is over, but on October 19, Reeves sailed back through the Golden Gate, with nearly 40,000 miles under his keel, having completed the first-ever singlehanded circumnavigation of the planet both latitudinally and longitudinally in just under 13 months. It's hard to believe that someone conceived of the Figure 8 at all. A few months ago, we traced the route across a globe with our finger, going past Cape Horn, circling the Southern Ocean and circumnavigating Antarctica, then past Cape Horn again, up the east coast of the Americas, through the Northwest Passage and back to San Francisco. In theory and on a fractional scale, the voyage
seemed straightforward — just go round and round. But then we consider the oceans it went through, the endless miles, and the wear on boat and skipper. Equally difficult to conceive was the idea of someone actually pulling it off. We intercepted the 45-ft custom-built Moli and Reeves outside the Gate on the 19th, before heading to Sausalito Yacht Club for the official reception. Randall's wife, Joanna Bloor, was MC-ing, and as we were waiting, she said of her husband over the microphone, "Hopefully he hasn't pulled a Moitessier," referring to Bernard's infamous shunning of the Golden Globe Race finish in 1969, when he continued to sail around the world alone. Reeves met and interviewed Moitessier years ago, and has always held him in high esteem. For some reason, the idea that Randall would keep sailing didn't seem that far -fetched. Or rather, it seems likely that he'll go back to sea sooner rather than later. Writing on his blog about his return, Reeves said, "These will be my last hours alone with Mo, and I feel an urge I can’t define. Not to be out to sea again,
LATITUDE / TIM
'Moli' sailed back under the Golden Gate Bridge in mid-October under gray skies and light wind.
Page 58 •
• November, 2019
but an agitation. A thing I have ardently desired is imminent. Do I desire it now? There is a sense of foreboding, not at the idea of being home but rather at the display that will accompany my return. Will I be what people expect? Will I remember my remarks? Will I make a sailing blunder for all to see? Having passed so many difficulties, having relied so often on my own resource and on Mo's extraordinary ability — and still to be worried about what others will think. It appears I have not left my faults behind. 'What we have done, we have done,' I say in my own defense." We should remind everyone that the recently completed Figure 8 was version 2.0. Reeves first set off on his ambitious dual circumnavigations in 2017, but lost both his autopilot and windvane as he was approaching Cape Horn. He was forced to put in at Ushuaia, Argentina, for repairs. Then, in the Southern Ocean, Randall took a vicious knockdown and lost a pilothouse window and some electronics. He sailed on to Hobart, Tasmania, where he made the decision to hit the reset button and start the Figure 8 anew. He would go on to make a solo circumnavigation of some 25,000 miles via the Southern Ocean in three stops. (He put into Hawaii for a few days before returning to the Bay in July 2018.) "Not so remarkable," Reeves joked, "except that it may be the longest shakedown cruise in history." We would contend, if we may, that the story of the Figure 8 is perhaps even more remarkable in that an entire lap of the planet preceded it. When he embarked on the Figure 8 2.0 on September 30, 2018, Randall Reeves was immediately becalmed, and made for Drake's Bay to wait for wind. "It was an inauspicious start," Reeves said at the Sausalito Yacht Club reception. The time spent waiting, he said, allowed his mind to race and contemplate
The November 2019 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.