Chilli has landed

This final chapter could not have been more dramatic (well it always could, my fantasy flew in all directions of disastrous, and very possible, outcomes during the final approach), but wow. What more to ask for.

Det var en mørk of stormfull aften.

The Norse sea hasn`t changed since the last time I tested it. The last 48 hours was indeed challenging, and I`ll start there, the rest will come later. “- This is Norwegian coastal radio south with the latest navigation information and gale warnings” – First VHF contact with Norwegian soil! I listened carefully just for the entertainment of hearing the voices in a familiar language crackling through the radio. “Utsira – Galeforce 7 is expected from 1800 hours”, my waters, just to get prepared for a party. Its already blowing 25 knots, and I`m sailing as close-hauled (upwind) as the waves allowed. I`ve had 30-40 and even 50 knots of wind in the Atlantic, so another round should be ok, I thought. The Norse seas are different. The mainsail was all down, with only the fock and a meter of genoa to get a bit more speed. I was healing way too much. The wind came with a few bullets of warning of what’s to come. I knew I had to reef the fock; a manoeuvre I haven’t needed to perform so far on the trip. Thirty soaked minutes later it was done. The boat moved stabile in the increasing waves and wind, 30- building to 40knots, shiverings in the hull and submerged in breaking waves but all ok. 02.30am, the last bullet for this night. “Well done girl, we did it,” I said and “knocked on wood”. A brief rest and a couple of hours of sleep. Much needed.

Next morning; new gale warning, this time force 8 – 9. 12 hours left, ok. The seasickness made a last visit to my physiology, resulting in redemption for the breakfast from the horrors of my gut, to a second fate in the freedom of the ocean. Seas continued to build throughout the day as the wind continued to increase. Minutes felt like hours, waves were building to an impressive landscape of white mountain tops with deep dark valleys. Chilli gradually became more and more a mountaineering submarine with mast, gradually developing new leaks. A constant flow of water beneath the floors from the bathroom where the air-inlet had become a hole in the roof after the fire a few days earlier. I manually pumped out water from the bilge every fifteen-minute. Occasional heavy rain, no use of hiding from the water. Thankful beyond belief I didn’t have more than a few hours left to shore, calm conditions, friendly faces and a dry bed; or did I?

I contacted the coastguard to get information of the safest entrance in to Farsund; if there was areas with even more severe conditions than out here. –“It`s all a chaos; entirely up to you to decide of an attempt to enter coastal waters or not. If anything would go wrong, a rescue operation would be impossible. You might look for another safe haven”. Great.

I marked out a passage which looked advantageous. I could sail on a close reach and keep the depth of 250-300m before turning 90 degrees towards shore and get everything from behind and surf in over the more shallow waters.

The big turn closed in and the waves and wind continued to rise, the cockpit got more frequently filled with water. The life-buoy and got loose and entangled itself in the 30m rope after the boat. “Should I attempt this at all?”- the question was racing constantly in my mind when I scouted the shore to get a glimpse of the conditions further in; white mist and breaking waves with occasional white explosions at the reefs.

I turned, tacked and headed straight towards where a light-buoy supposedly was. It was not. Blue-screen on the navigation computer for the first time in two years. The nav-pad outside was so full of water that the screen was unusable. No navigational data. I understand that the coarse is changing; the wind wane is not awake; shit. A rope has entangled itself around the air vane, so tight I could not get it loose right away. I apply the autopilot and luckily it steered fairly good. We were surfing at an impressive speed towards shore as the waves get even higher because of the gradually more shallow water. Down at the chart table, the computer reboots and are back in the game! But again, wrong coarse, headed straight for the rocks some hundred metres away, what now!? The autopilot as having a nervous breakdown, probably water damage somewhere. Down to manual steering, and memory of the map. The wind was screaming in the rigging, and the stamps-sized sail (reefed fock) was flapping violently

Finally the lighthouses got more visual and the path clear. A much-welcomed shelter behind a reef. It`s over, we fucking made it, pardon my Portuguese. Two years, 19 countries and about 15 000nm, still afloat.

A committee of wet, flag-waving family and friends at the dock, what more to wish for. Life is good. Thank you all.

I`m Home.

Maps of the journey

Log 6; Azores – North Atlantic

08.07 Day 38: Departure Azores
I’m tremendously happy I decided to stop in Horta, what a place and community. I`m possibly overirrigating my experience after the social, culinary and sleep deprivation the five weeks prior, but it felt truly great to have a taste of home, Europe.
The departure was a scene taken straight out of a overly sentimental movie, as Chilli strolled out of the marina and around the anchorage to wave goodbye to all new friends.
Back on the blue, feels like being back at the office after a dreamlike vacation in a dimension containing solid ground, other humanoids, port wine and green vegetation, but ok, last leg. Feels like I’m almost home, just another 2000nm to go and the weather prognosis is good. Should go fast.

09.07 Day 39
No wind, but favourable current and good speed with the engine. It`s nice to not worrying about running out of fuel. My conservative estimation of 20 days to Norway will most likely be less, possibly almost a week less.
I feel pretty bad, nausea without really being seasick. Attempt to shake it off with a good swim in the fresh water and “Old stuff still does the trick” by Farmers Market on sax, impossible to play but the “adhd-rabbit-state” this music induces is always fun. Reality is the totality of experience, so adding a bit Balkan jazz to this slightly miserable state balances the equation somewhat.



10.07 Day 40
Two years since departure from Oslo!
How times have changed, I feel way more experienced and grown up, but at the same time younger.
Pus off at 03.00 am previous night and Code 0 from morning.


avskjed2.jpg(Departure from Aker Brygge, Oslo, 2 years ago)

22.00; Heard a loud bang, I run up; the huge code 0 has fallen down and lies plastered to the bow and long-side the hull in the water. Rescue operation goes ok. Can`t see any damages to the sail, luckily. The socket-bolt of the block holding the halyard in the top of the mast has snapped. Got to fix it when the sea is flat. We do okay with genoa and fock on poles.


11.07 Day 41
The AIS alarm goes off non-stop for three hours this morning, because of a fishing vessel following me 3nm south, super annoying. The boat has been rocking sideways as if I had lost the keel the whole night, and I just endure this madness of motion and “BEEP, BEEP, silence two min, BEEP” as I try to get some more sleep. Nausea and complete lack of appetite, slice of Abacaxi for breakfast.
Since it`s Mathias` birthday, I make myself a good dinner for the first time since Horta. The Appetite comes back, good move, thanks ginky.

12.07 Day 42
13.07 Day 43
Grey and misty
Clear, sunshine and bath-time
Grey and misty
Fixed the halyard block in the masthead, filled diesel from the three cans at the aft deck, checked the engine, filled motor oil and spliced eyes for the shackles in the new set of genoa sheets I bought in Horta.
“All I know is Tonight” – Jaga Jazzist on the sax
14.07 Day 44
The world is black and white; the water silver and black, scarp white mist everywhere. The horizon is 100m away in all directions, my world is small and the external absent.
Water is flat, which makes it a day for coffee!
Freezing cold and dripping wet outside. Surprisingly lot of birds out here, seems like the same five Albatross-seagulls follows us.
The AIS has been mostly out the past days, and I made another go in fixing it. The unit apart, nothing interesting there. Went over the cabling and the antenna, little bit of wiggling and taking out some coils and suddenly it works! Damn china crap, but ok, Im happy. Hope it get me home.


15.07 Day 45
Pus off at 03.00am, finally. Almost no wind, but hey, 2knt equals 48nm in 24 hours!
It`s almost as much moisture above as below water, and ice cold.
A tanker at three nm ahead of me, no visual contact what so ever.
Donna Lee – Charlie Parker on the sax (maybe in another ten years I’m able to play it?)
Some QSO`s (HAM) with a Spaniard, Italian, Austrian and a German guy; radio in good working order. Good to know. Hope to reach QST-LA on Sunday
Halfway through Douglas Murrays book “The Madness of Crowds”, highly recommended. I`m also lost halfway out in “Papillion” – Henri Charrière, absolutely insane story. Mandatory read before you die. (Why is`t it a Netflix series based on that book yet??)

16.07 Day 46
Sailing has seriously started; top speed of 8.5knots!
Got the Code 0 back up after it went in the water some days ago. Bit of entanglement, but alright. Still whole.
Slow night, so the daily nm count is just above 100nm, but considering that I had about 2.5knts through the night, its pretty great.
Remembered my sub-woofer project I had in mind a year ago; finally built it out of a 10l water-can and gaffa-tape, and wired it all up. Woof woof
I`m now on latitude of Bristol, soon home!

I understand I`ll miss this life, even this strange (so far) never ending solitude, with days which only differ to each other in how the weather is behaving, and my energy level. Miss the purring of Pus, the changing skies, this simple life. Retrospect on the current. I`m also in love with the idea of all the possibilities I`ll have back home. Access to friendly faces, external input, admirable people and the possibility to ask someone else than my self about anything and everything. Stabile ground and routines.
I`m reflecting a lot back on all the phases and chapters of this journey, all the people! (see the crew list on the webpage!) Especially Brazil, what that time did to me, all I learned, what marks it has left and how I miss my girl, friends, Tonanzin (the community) and the wild magic climate and nature there. I`m looking forward actualize the agreement with Filipe, to travel the Amazon river, to the mountains, together, in 2029.
Paradoxically enough, what I look the most forward to is the freedom I do not currently have or have had since I left Norway; real access to a society. It seems so limitless! The grass is always greener, and all of that, and no matter where one are; it`s always possible to make a prison out of it, but it`s all about harvesting the fruits of perspective prom the other side; imagine living the exact same life over and over; what would your next decision look like?



Log 5; Last leg – Azores

Just a super quick update before I lose connection.

I left Horta two hours ago after an amazing and intense last chapter with the sailing family. Friends everywhere, both new and familiar faces.

Further updates will come every week via Mathias. And again, If anyone feels like writing anything to me, provide a interresting article, a strange news story or whatever, please do 🙂

Log from the last days before arrival in Horta:

Log 5

27.06 Day 33

Silent and favourable current. Speed this morning; 4.3knts, while moving about 1.5 through the water, insane! Much needed morning-bath. Checked hull and propeller, some gooseneck-barnacles but otherwise clean. Prop needs grease. Engine on low rpm for a few hours to charge, make water and move stupidly fast considering the circumstances. Some strange hammering from Pus on low rpm, hope it`s nothing serious, but I will adjust her valves when we get to the Azores.

Full clean-down of the boat; floors, roof and walls. Stuff grows everywhere in this humid climate. It feels like this symbiosis of our common state; I`m not clean unless Chilli is clean. It`s no point in washing ether if the other is not. Mutual caretaking.


28.06 Day 34


Strange observation; I heard a humming sound, like a large propeller plane flying low. Did`t see anything, but the experience of hearing something alien to the (immense variation of sounds the) boat (is able to compose and come up with) was really strange.

Dreaming of home.

Diving in Charlie Parker.

5 minute dolphins


29.06 Day 35

It all depends un todays and tomorrows progression. If Im not getting within the range of about 100nm of Horta, that is what I have fuel for, by Tuesday night, I might end up drifting around until next week. The wind is going to die completely down and eventually turn around against my direction, so lets keep the speed up! 300nm left, and doing 5knts (=120nm/24h); so far so good! 

2 minute dolphin. Really jumpy


30.06 Day  36

Land in sight! What a insanely strange phenomena: land. This massive piece completely out of any reasonable proportions, like an alien space ship rising out of the ocean straight in to the low dark roof of clouds. A stationary rock, round little island; Corvo. First evidence of alternative surface matter to water in 31 days.

It`s almost ridiculous; after so much drifting, counter currents and slow progression, now, the past 200nm and the 20 hours I have left, almost out of diesel, I`m blown away in great speeds despite the light winds. It looks like its no longer a far fetched fantasy to reach Horta tomorrow, which is seriously nice considering that the coming weeks weather around the islands is a high-pressure boble without any wind for sailing, and if any, in my opposite direction.           


01.07 Day 37

All sails and engine. Hanging on the very last bit of wind, and great speeds.

Wind died 2 hours before arrival at 02.00 local time. AIS Died just when I got close to the coast, typical.



Smell of fresh lands, and cows, how I missed this!




I later found out that the engine had run dry of oil, luckily only because the oil-pin had popped out. The engine was also only standing on three of four mounting pods, and acted completly jelly. All good now, boat full of fresh food.
I Can`t say Im thirsty for ocean already, but it feels like being back to normal every-day life after an exiting vacation ashore.

Estimation is 20 days to Norway. Im headed slightly west the first 1-2 days to catch some winds before heading directly for the Hebrides, Orkney and Kvinesdal.

See you soon

// Martin