Dear Local Contacts
Current location is Marseille. I arrived yesterday in a moderate Mistral wind. Today it is blowing too strong to sail, allowing time to write this overdue letter:
Dear Local Contacts and those who have offered spontaneous support,
You are more a part of this adventure than you realise. The tracker shows artificially* reliable straight-line progress. Daily 20, 30 and occasionally 40 or more nautical mile runs. I even post a few pictures that show nice conditions for sailing. But it's not always like that! A majority of days include generous chunks of difficulty, discomfort and effort too, when the sailing takes all my resources and the camera stays stowed. By the end of the day I'm spent - too tired to contemplate going again next morning.
Without your help: nourishment, a place to rest, relax and sleep; kindness, comfort, calm, shelter; upon departure often a sandwich that - incidentally - makes me feel like a kid being sent off for a day at school - maintaining these daily distances would not be possible. With your help I start each day with morale high, ready for the challenge, and with extra motivation to keep going: fortified by the thought that I owe it to you all to reach journey's end.
Many of you I sail straight past without saying a word. Sorry! Keeping track of your messages and where you are - and I am! - is difficult, and when I hit land time to catch up is limited, and sleep often gets there first. Please know that your support is important too - just knowing that safe ports are available makes the days easier.
I don't manage to tell you this individually, but better to say it this way than not at all.
Pictures are of contacts from recent days, plus a reminder of journey's start. So many of you go unmentioned. From Norway to France and doubtless beyond - thank you all for your part in a beautiful joint endeavour.
* The straight line track is a result of the 30 minute update interval that smooths out the upwind and downwind zigzags. For upwind sailing the distance sailed can be double the 'crow flies' distance. Downwind zigzags will usually add at least another 25% to the true distance sailed.