Vessel Name: Inspired Insanity
Vessel Make/Model: Southern Cross 28
Hailing Port: Virgin Islands
Extra: First American Woman to Solo Sail Nonstop Around the World
Home Page:
10 July 2016 | Bristol RI
15 June 2016 | 35 00'N:75 05'W, Another wild few days ahead... deja vu.
13 June 2016 | 30 00'N:79 35'W, in the Gulf Stream off Jacksonville Fl
01 June 2016 | 41 24'N:71 25'W, Just arriving in Lake Worth... leaving again tomorrow in my car back to RI
29 May 2016 | 41 24'N:71 25'W, Bristol RI: Herreshoff Museum Dock
26 May 2016 | 41 24'N:71 25'W, a day to tidy up...
25 May 2016 | 40 54'N:71 52'W, starry night sky, farewell dance for now...
25 May 2016 | 40 28'N:72 30'W, ?? Arrival to bay tomorrow afternoon: 2 days to events
25 May 2016 | 40 28'N:72 30'W, ?? Arrival to bay tomorrow afternoon: 2 days to events
24 May 2016 | 39 47'N:73 16'W, 4 days to arrival..incredible to imagine...
23 May 2016 | 39 11'N:74 00'W, 4 days to arrival..incredible to imagine...
22 May 2016 | 38 10'N:73 30-'W, 4 days to arrival..incredible to imagine...
21 May 2016 | 36 37'N:74 03'W, 5 days to arrive... made 157nm yesterday..only 300nm to go
21 May 2016 | 36 37'N:74 03'W, 5 days to arrive... made 157nm yesterday..only 300nm to go
20 May 2016 | 35 15'N:74 45'W, 6 days to arriving!!!
20 May 2016 | 34 27'N:75 19'W, 7 days to arriving!!!
18 May 2016 | 32 12'N:77 32'W, 8 days to my arrival... keep an eye on the tracker!!
17 May 2016 | 30 26'N:79 01'W, 9 days to my arrival... keep an eye on the tracker!!
16 May 2016 | 27 45'N:79 48'W, 11 days to my arrival... keep an eye on the tracker!!
16 May 2016 | 26 'N:79 48'W, 11 days to my arrival... keep an eye on the tracker!!
Recent Blog Posts
10 July 2016 | Bristol RI

Journeying On

The summer has barely begun in Rhode Island and the mornings already seem to be cool, almost a scent of autumn air… How is that possible? There is so much to do. Each day seems to begin and end with a sense of having been floating on air, my feet barely touching the ground. “What is it like now, [...]

15 June 2016 | 35 00'N:75 05'W, Another wild few days ahead... deja vu.

Passing Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras!!!

There was no warning¬... the day touting varying winds from the SE to SW, the sails trimmed in and let back out over and over to keep us moving as fast as we could, the engine called upon when we weren¬'t moving fast enough. I was making breakfast when Bob went up on deck responding to a sound¬... next [...]

13 June 2016 | 30 00'N:79 35'W, in the Gulf Stream off Jacksonville Fl

Offshore once more: SV Calyspo is heading north!

It seems endless, the need to keep pressing, keep moving, from one point to another, the whole world of details needing to be dealt with upon returning after so long offshore, after having completely detached from the world system. Yet, there is a dream state that wants to believe I would not reattach¬... [...]

01 June 2016 | 41 24'N:71 25'W, Just arriving in Lake Worth... leaving again tomorrow in my car back to RI

the MISSING BLOGS: are coming

Hang in there... I am enroute to Florida to get my car... a busy week. I am getting the 'missing blogs' going. I just realized that I didn't write any blog the days I was knocked down...though Bob did an incredible job of keeping you updated and with the details...He was totally accurate and you all [...]

29 May 2016 | 41 24'N:71 25'W, Bristol RI: Herreshoff Museum Dock

Magnificent Welcome Home


moderating conditons ... west is good.

22 May 2016 | 38 10'N:73 30-'W, 4 days to arrival..incredible to imagine...
Friday evening proved a bit of a reprieve as the winds did back to the ESE, just enough to open up the angle off the wind and allow the heeling to level off a bit¬... in between alarms, I found myself dreaming of being home, enjoying Bob and family¬... But the winds were building from 20 to 25kts gusting 30-35, only a small jib flying by the end of the night, while I let the mainsail out far enough that the sail would flog when we were on course, spilling the winds as they pass on both sides of the sail in arms, yet when the boat falls off the wind, the wind catches in the main, and it helps to bring the boat back on course until once again the jib is sailing alone.

My morning, we had tacked efficiently and I did luck out..the winds came around just enough to allow us a rumline course for RI, clear of the inner point of Hatteras, but what I thought would be just west of the Gulf Stream once we got farther north; As the GS curved to head to Ireland, we would stay on that course to RI, getting farther and farther west of the Stream edge¬...just like a river¬'s edge¬...midst the sea. By late afternoon, the winds settled down a bit but we were making 7-8.5kts even more at times in the stream¬...crazy.

And as the day progressed, the winds did not do as they were forecasted anywhere in the forecasts, but I was way farther north than I had planned, doing great daily miles onward¬...I still had the same ESE winds, but by late afternoon, the winds began building to gale force, the seas now become 15¬' seas, confused, huge waves colliding with each other. It poured rain and then a lighter rain continued¬... with each set of gusts the winds escalating¬... this was a bonafide gale like we had done in the South Ocean, 35kt winds gusting into the 40s, more water in the air than the sea, blowing huge tufts into the air with each crashing of IS¬'s hull through the water. Once the winds began to really gale, I stayed on deck. I had no choice but to skud before the storm, steering off the wind so the winds were off our starboard stern, easing the heeling¬... there was no way we could keep a forward beam course at this point. And as my eyes strained to see an end to the gale, I saw a lightness and slight breaking in the clouds to the west. I could see that the front was passing, but we still had the worst to come, licks of clouds descending to the sea. And then, I heard a roaring from behind, far away moving closer¬...I could see a huge cresting wave over the top of several waves¬... then it was as if the whole ocean floor dropped away, a huge crater behind me and a 15 -20 foot wall of swell breaking steep, just before it hit the stern of IS¬... the canoe stern allowing the seas to part around us, the surge was tremendous as the wave shoved us forward¬... I was shaking. I had just seen the exact type of Rogue wave that knocked us down in the South Ocean over and over, the one that took the mast near to a 180* beneath me¬... and it was here. The reality that I was facing that level of conditions hit me with a fear¬... a trembling. And I still have one more gale to get through.

As is so often true, that gusts that followed escalated just a few more times as I was watching a clear blue skyline come nearer, the frontal boundary passing¬... It was an incredible sight, so glistening the unfiltered sunshine, the waves still blowing with huge crests, the sound of the winds howling in the rig, just howling across the water¬... As realized the sun would break through the clouds, I looked behind me, the wall of water, the rain that just went over me¬... I would have an incredible rainbow¬... and surely as the front moved on and the sun was able to break through the clouds, it became a beam that broke into the spectrum, a full double rainbow, so illuminated as to stand off the water.

There was a single Petrel that flew in close over and over as the winds gave up their last gale force winds, the seas huge and churning from all directions. It was something I could never ask for¬... huge gales such as these, yet the exhileration and beauty that is revealed midst them¬...the most dynamic and explosive display of energy on the earth¬... it is a gold leaf lining that I am a witness to such an event as this, such a beauty, such a revelation of the power of life energy. It is moving¬... it is life changing. It is the reason I came to sea¬... I knew that that I would witness the energy that would change my life here. It is so compelling¬... yet so terrifyingly powerful¬... and here Inspired Sanity and I have found our way to being one of the few in life to experience such greatness¬... It is calling¬...

My dear friend Dottie¬... sends this message to me¬... a meditation: ¬"Please be loving to yourself and recognize all that is amazing about yourself and `+celebrate it with presence and immense gratitude!¬". In this moment, I understand what an incredible blessing it is to be me¬... whatever quality it is, whatever the challenges of life that have brought me to dig so deep into wanting to know that it would allow me face these powerful forces; to be changed by them; find the love of life¬'s creative energy midst them¬... this is such a gift and above all things I should lay as the most grateful human to ever be born¬... to be able to be in this moment¬...safely midst it all¬... yet never to take it for granted.

As quickly as the energy shifted to bring on the gale, it relinquished the air, the wind hushing¬... the sound of the water itself taking the place of the howling of the gusts¬... but now the huge seas toss us mercilessly from side to side, hobby horsing forward to back¬... I can barely hold on as I try to get sail up to try to capture any wind that would help to stabilize us midst the seastate. But it was not working¬...the winds just were gone. And the temperature had dropped 20 degrees from the balming temps I had felt in the hot GS waters¬...the waters now would be in the 50s degrees F¬... I was shaking as I took photos, and video as much as I could. As the winds left, I finally climbed below and got out of my wet clothes. Luckily, I had gone through all the clean clothes on board, some packages of winter clothing I had set aside while in the South Ocean, just for this time¬...knowing that the temps here could be much colder than Cape Horn in the summer. I cuddled into more and more layers of polar fleece and wool, the stove warming my hands, now aching with the cold.

It would be, what seemed like hours, before the winds began to fill in¬... and they came once more from the ESE, putting us back on a fairly good rumline course toward RI¬... yet the wind¬'s trend to fill in was short lived, and the wind finally gave up all together, the surface of the huge seas taking on a glassy appearance¬... it would be hours before the seas themselves began to soften, the periods of the waves lengthening, the tumult below easing. I had no choice but to just get in my bunk where, with the lee board, I had some way to contain my body. I had eaten dinner earlier, before the galing winds began¬... I spilled as much tea as drank ¬... and when I had warmed up a bit, and resigned myself to the flogging conditions below, I tucked into my bed. I had to rest. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Having seen that Rogue wave brought a whole new level of anticipation as I thought about the second gale¬...tomorrow night into Tuesday.

I managed to get on the radio with Chris Parker¬... As he was able to look at the present weather information on the internet¬... he was able to tell me that there had been a micro secondary storm center that came off the Delmarva Peninsula right over me, explaining the gale force front line and somewhat the fact that the winds never did clock at all to the west for me; not all day. Yet they had south and west of me¬...

There was also the unusual course of the Gulf Stream¬... I didn¬'t exit the Stream until 37*N and 74*30¬'W¬... that is unprecedented¬... the stream should have gone off at a 40 degree true course to the west early in my day, yet instead it followed me on a rumline to RI¬... 22 degrees true. I am sure that the nearness to the stream added to the confused intensity of the seastate in the gale¬...

The seas did settle down as the wind went to glass¬... and I had no intention nor did I think that I would be able to sleep, but I was so exhausted that as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was asleep¬... I woke with the first alarm but was so groggy¬... I simply looked to see if we were on a course. I never heard the subsequent alarms, waking 4 hours later¬... the wind has surely come up, backed the jib and we had crawled 7nm ¬... the only way we could, SW¬...the opposite way of where I am going. Insane¬... but I had to admit that I felt so much better having had the sleep. It had been weeks since I had slept for any length of time. Between the intensity of the exertion and dynamics of the day¬...the continual winching, reefing, and trying to move around on a boat that was being catapulted in every direction¬... I was genuinely thrashed.

I was up with the sun though, and got us on course. The first thing I needed to do was add another layer of clothing¬... It certainly isn¬'t bitter cold, but way too cold for my tropical climate thin blood¬... I am back to wearing 6 layers of tops, 2 of bottoms, socks and wool socks¬... My feet always cold¬... and tomorrow, with galing NE winds, the temp is going to drop considerably¬... so it will be bitter cold rain falling.

My plan was to stay west along the coast and so I began with a WNW tack¬... but soon realized that the winds were favorable for an east tack, and I was going to run out of searoom with the upcoming entire day of strong NE winds coming tomorrow. So I tacked again, the course an encouraging 50-60degrees¬... I would sail this tack until my course shifted past 90*¬... then I would have a good NW tack angle which would improve as the gale force NE winds backed throughout the day tomorrow into the 24th¬... finally bringing the west winds that would bring me home.

I won¬'t have to worry about adjusting for course today¬... we are tacking, so my course is going to be whatever it will be as close to the wind as I can be. IS and I settled into a closehauled point of sail¬... Once the winds filled in to the point where I got the reefs in that we would need, we settled into a time of rest below¬...we are heeling but not abusively. There is no sense in pushing it today. We are not going to make any significant headway with our course to home¬... and we are going to tack back to the west when the next storm starts to approach and the winds go to the NE¬... we need searoom¬... and want to be closer to the coast as the winds and seas will be less there¬... but I can¬'t run into the land and we will be on that tack for a full day.. potentially¬... so I need nearly 100nm¬... I have 75nm stashed away at this point¬... 1800 hours. The forecast suggested that the natural shift should be a good tacking timeframe¬... otherwise if I tack to the west on NNW winds, we will have a SW tack course¬... I ¬'d rather not be going that far backwards¬... so¬...hopefully, the winds will shift timely.

The winds have held a steady NNW course, our progress actually staying near 60*¬... I took a long resting nap late morning and have been making phone calls working with Team Sail Twice Around¬... to get the details for the arrival and welcome event ironed out¬... and it is coming amazingly. Halsey Herreshoff is personally hosting my family and now also will provide much of the refreshments. Amazing sponsor, Bristol Bagel Works, Herb, Rob and Kristin Browne. Will provide bagels and hot coffee and accoutrements for the arrival and event. He is also hosting my family for a BBQ¬... how amazing¬... my family is as excited about spending time at the Herreshoff docks as they are about my returning¬...!!! That is so so very special to me.

My children were raised with a full wood shop in the cellar, their father an incredible craftsmen and small boat builder and designer¬... they appreciate the art and skill that is represented in the Hall of Boats, the world wide acclaim of the Herreshoff yacht building company. It will be exciting days¬...

My youngest son, Keel, is a professional photographer in the northwest states of Washington and Oregon¬... and he is excited as well. We have plans for an amazing printed photo journal of my journey, the photos of my arrival and family key to the book¬... It is wonderful to have my children draw near for this arrival¬ is the first time that they will be here¬... having the satellite phone on board so available for me to use has allowed me to keep in close contact with the kids along the way this time¬...somehow drawing us all together unlike in my past offshore sails. It is wonderful to experience ¬...

Keel is staging to be available and arrange a boat so that he can meet me offshore¬...just outside Castle Hill, when I am actually coming in from my journey¬... Of course, the timing will be as it is when it happens. I can¬'t predict it enough to make it Friday¬... and the sea conditions are such that I need to get off the sea as soon as I can¬... but I am hoping that Keel can intercept me ¬.... Billy Black would love to have been able to be there but has a previously scheduled commitment¬... Yet¬... it will be an added special opportunity to have Keel on the other side of the camera this time.

So¬... pray for us as we work to make that happen. Anyone who is flexible enough, has a boat, sailboat, and would like be there are certainly welcome ... and please let us know... in fact... it may turn out that you could provide a lift to Keel for the photo shoot if the timing is too early for Halsey to be available... Just keep an eye on the tracker! You can contact any one of the team if you are going to be on the water when I get in....

Once I am safely tucked into the bay¬... which you will all be able to see on the tracker¬... I will hang out until the appointed time to join the flotilla into Bristol on Friday. For all I know, I may be arriving then¬...but by all points of reason, I should arrive earlier, but how early is hard to say. I am actually still going farther away from RI as I tack to get in position for this next gale¬... but once it goes by, I should have about 200nm to home¬... I should arrive early on the 26th...

It is amazing how quickly my world has become consumed with staying warm and managing exhaustion from the physical demands of sailing such rough conditions and waters. In the days after the gale, I should have conditions that moderate nicely, the temps increasing¬...and hopefully a bit of sunshine. The forecast for the arrival date is looking fine.

As I type, the winds are starting clock¬... I just ran up and tacked over¬... and it looks like it is going to be a slow moving night. Joan Conover sent me a current chart of the area¬... and the current is moving toward the east. So it is not in my favor¬... so that is all ok¬...I am basically in a holding pattern. I was also able to get on the radio with Chris Parker Caribbean Weather and he updated the forecast for me¬... I am far enough west that I should see the moderate conditions I hoped¬... 15 maxing at 20kts and he suggested it would not be particularly squally and gusting¬... with the winds coming off the shore the seas are choppy and confused but should not increase in height dramatically.

Keep me in prayer tonight and tomorrow!!! No Rogue waves for this girl tomorrow. Keepin On Sailin On Caring¬... the imminence of returning is elating. Two more days of challenges and then I am on my way¬... and the days will disappear, hour by hour. I am filled with Gratitude¬...

Fairest of winds and the love of the oceans Only Gratitude, Donna
Inspired Insanity's Photos - Main
It was an incredible adventure crossing the canal, and having read David McCullough's book, the Pathway Between the Seas, I took as many photos as I could of this amazing feat of engineering and charismatic vision.
65 Photos
Created 18 April 2016

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