Let me tell you about a very brave woman named Suzi Roberts. She took a leave of absence from her career, rented her flat in Brighton England, said good bye to all her friends and family and flew to Panama for a completely different life. And she did all this in spite of the fact that her sister, just a year younger than her, was killed only 6 months ago in a horrible accident in Africa.
She worked long hard hours, full of frustration, without speaking a drop of Spanish, just to get Barraveigh ready to cross an ocean. And she did it all on someone else’s boat with a stubborn captain who likes to make rules. Up until departing Panama she had never done an overnight passage, let alone a 1000 mile journey that would have her all alone, at night, in the cockpit, with total responsibility for this 12 ton beast, as she raced full nose ahead heeled over making 8 knots. She was then allowed only 2 hours of sleep before having to do it all over again and again. She was scared, and she was alone, and she cried, but she never quit, and she never so much as missed a watch, and if she had to wake me to help with reefing the sails when the wind went over 20 knots she would let me sleep an extra 20 minutes to make up for it. On top of it all she cooked and cleaned and wore that bulky harness/PFD, with clacking carabiners without complaining every night.
She is now about to cross the equator. In sailor jargon, that means she is about to graduate from “Pollywog” to “Shellback”. It’s a big deal for any sailor and Suzi Roberts takes the titled on her first over night passage. You want to talk about courage, about tenacity of spirit, and having a never quit attitude – That’s my Suzi! None of it has been easy. She’s exhausted and in need of a real shower, but she dug deep and she overcame. Victory to you Suzi Roberts! You are only a day away from anchoring in the Galapagos.