Summarizing our Pacific crossing

Woohoo! We did make it across the Pacific ocean – from Mexico to French Polynesia. I would say that we made it in one piece, but that would not really be accurate. But, before I get into that let’s talk about the stats (I do love my stats).

The total distance of the passage ended at 2,908 nautical miles taking 26 days and 1 hour. That is easily our longest consecutive voyage, and will likely never be eclipsed. We ended up sailing 2456 of the 2908, with our longest stretch of sailing lasting just over 10 consecutive days without use of the Perkins. Towards the end we did another 7 day stretch, but in the middle there was a bit of back and forth with the final 36 hours being under motor the whole of it.

Good times

Before I continue, I want to be clear that not everything was bad. My memory holds on tightly to the hard times, so I tend to complain too much. But, we did enjoy quite a lot of good times out there. The sunrises and sunsets can be very dramatic, and with the right clouds to give some assistance they were breathtaking at times. The stars, once the moon went dark on us, were spectacular as well, with the full Milky Way visible for 360 degrees out there. We did see a wee-bit of wild life (dolphins and birds mostly) although not as much as we expected. And hey, we did cross the equator. That’s a big deal.

After a couple weeks we made up our own game show style game; “Will it float?”. So much of our fresh foods were having to be tossed overboard as we could not cook in the seas we had causing a lot to just go bad before we could get to them. Testing of whether or not any specific item would float brought some joy to an otherwise boring part of the day, for a minute or two anyway.

Every day Kerri and I took time to overlap our on/off watch during breakfast and dinner. We didn’t see each other much more than those couple hours each day, but with no distractions our time meant something more than normal. Early on I began to miss her as we normally spend much more time together. Still, it is a good feeling to have as a reminder of our love.


The first week (more west than south) started very easy, with light winds and calm seas. However, by day-3, as the seas picked up and Meriwether began to roll back and forth, things started coming apart – literally. Over the next few days nearly all of our boat issues took place. First our boom-vang mounting point was ripped right off the deck. This also freed one of our main sheet blocks from the deck. Then our VHF radio stopped working. No symptoms to speak of, just dead. One morning I looked up to see our Starlink dish basically dangling by a single thread of a single screw. It would have taken a swim seconds later if I hadn’t jumped up and grabbed ahold. And not long after that we noticed one of the mounting screws for the whole solar arch had snapped, putting the entire array (and starlink, iridium, and gps antennas) at risk. The brand new furler line snapped (snapped!) causing the sail to completely unfurl and for me to have to spend an hour, in rolling seas, disassembling the furler drum and replacing the line. Our toilet fan stopped working early on a well, causing a hell of a stink the rest of the trip. To top that off, our alternator charging would start an early vacation by refusing to charge at any more than 20 amps (we use 12-15amps just to run the boat). And lastly, the wall clock battery died. The quantity of problems in a short period of time was very debilitating, emotionally and physically. I was constantly putting one fire out after another, all while the boat was rolling violently side to side.

Later on we would have multiple steering wheel issues, one of which was very concerning. In the final week we would find that our new solar blanket was dead thanks to the sea, and our topping lift would break making for a bit more difficult reefing. Nevertheless, none of the issues were critical enough to turn us around or think we would have to call for help. We continued on after bandaid solutions were applied to each problem, and most have since been resolved completely now that we are in French Polynesia.


Very unexpected to us both was the weather. In our second week, as we approached the Intertropical Convergence Zone near latitudes N10 to N5, the number of squalls (short duration storms) began increasing. Each squall could bring a simple rain, or gale force winds. It’s just a roll of the dice. While early on it would just be one or two squalls in view, by N8 there was a literal wall of never ending squalls on our horizon with no way to avoid them all. Every “storm wall” we broke through exposed yet another wall-o-squalls a few more miles south, only to require breaking through, and the sight of another wall. This went on for a few days, but it was the moonless nights that were the hardest. We could not see the storms at night, so we would just get hit by wind and/or rain abruptly and without warning.

Eventually, about mid way through that area, we did get hit by a proper gale force event with winds in the low-to-mid forties. We were already fully reefed down and running from the weather, but after an hour of that and no end in sight we finally made the call to heave-to and ride it out in a relatively safer way. It was blowing hard and Meriwether was heeled over 30 degrees but taking the weather nicely enough. Eventually the wind and waves would ease and we got back to heading south towards French Polynesia. It was our first Gale Force event in our five-plus years on the boat. It sucked, but in the end it was a learning experience and I came out the other end with more confidence in us and the boat than before. I was just happy the solar array was not torn right off the stern of Meriwether – which I thought was a certainty at the time.

Through out the trip the humidity levels rose and rose. Within a week of leaving Mexico the moisture level within the boat was basically dripping. It didn’t help that the first few rains came straight through the deck and into the interior of the boat, so leaky our deck was after 2 years of dry weather. By mid way through the trip it was impossible for anything to completely dry. Our clothes, our bodies, our bedding, all stayed damp and still are today. Mold was rampant by the time we got to French Polynesia.


The vast majority of our time during the crossing was complete and total boredom. Each of Kerri and my 4-hour watches required little to no boat input. The wind blew consistent in speed and direction for a week or more at a time, which is foreign to us, and our auto-pilot took 99% of all the workload.

Each of us had many books to read. I focused on audio-books, which suit me nicely on these long sails. I can entertain my brain while keeping my eyes up and alert to weather, wildlife, and issues. I listened to no less than twelve audio books, watched a few movies and shows that I had pre-downloaded, and on one weekend got to watch six hours of Formula 1 races. Even with all of that, I still found many, many hours of nothing but boredom.


Emotional stages

We spent the first few days just finding our rhythm. Tired was the name of the game then, but after a couple nights things were looking up and we were going through the stages of excitement and awe. “We are doing this” sorta thing, and we even smiled from time to time. It was insane and exciting to think we were going to cross a huge ocean on this tiny boat.

By the time we starting having things break on the boat our emotions soured. It was hard, and the ocean was winning. Frustration had set in due to the sea state, breakages, and the overwhelming distance we still had to travel at the time. This stage held on for a week or ten days, until we got through the Intertropical Convergence Zone and had a half-day or relaxing weather (finally) to calm our nerves.

During the third week we were content and mostly in good spirits. All the fires had been put out and the boat was still moving along at a good pace. We saw our first signs of other human life, and even talked to another boat on the VHF a few times. We saw the end in sight, and we hit the big milestone of crossing the equator.

The last quarter of the sail was just about urgency to get there. All we could do is watch the miles count down. Nothing else mattered but getting there. 500, then 400, then 300 miles to go, coming at us one day at a time but we were still making good progress. And then the wind died. With 200 miles to go we were barely crawling along, and only due to the ocean currents, not the wind. So desperate we were to finish this long voyage that we cranked up the old diesel-donkey and motored for 36 hours to get there without having to extend the trip and additional night or two.


Kerri and I talked about whether or not we would do this again if given the opportunity. Not surprisingly she was 100% against it, but surprisingly for me so was I. By half distance I was fully content with a life that would never take me on another 20+ day sail in the ocean. The ocean is big, and mean, and never-ever stops. It doesn’t give a care in the world that it is tearing us apart, it will keeping doing it. It gives no breaks, no mulligans, no easy times. If it sank us it would simply wash our remains under with the very next wave and never think of us again. I’d be happy to not do this again, but happy I did do it this time.

Meriwether did extremely well. Yes there were many issues, but I remind myself all the time that this boat is nearly 50 years old! Find me a 50 year old car that would drive 2908 miles without issue, and cars have it easy compared to boats, by far. She took care of us through the gale, and got us and our full home (32,000 lbs of boat and belongings) across an ocean. That is saying a lot.

Now that we are in French Polynesia we get to take a couple days to unwind, restock, and get going again. The Marquesas Islands have some amazing scenery and people to explore. Then we will move on to the atolls another 500 miles to the West. A few hundred more miles further West is Tahiti, where we may get to relax again before departing for another island country. But, that is all well in the future. Right now we are just trying to make it through this week and the next.

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8 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    Good story!

  2. Trent says:

    Congratulations to you both! A tremendous accomplishment! Enjoy your continued adventures!

  3. Walter Ford says:

    Wow congrats to you both!!!!


  4. Patrick says:

    Congrats! I appreciate the realism. We’ve had some minor equipment issues lately and I don’t like it even when I can deal with it at anchor! Sounds like seasickness wasn’t an issue so that’s good.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks Patrik. Yea the sea state, while gross most of the time, wasn’t bad enough for that. The feeling of our boat falling apart 1000+ miles from land was concerning AF.

  5. Auntir says:

    Congratulations!!!! I’m so happy you made it. Worried Auntie here. You two are amazingly brave. Don’t recognize Kerri. She had a tan😲Tim is mostly hair lol. Proud of the two of you. Love Auntie Claudia ❤️🥰

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