again, this time for the 1998-1999 race. The race would depart from Charleston, South Carolina, and continue to Cape Town, South Africa; then from Cape Town to Auckland, New Zealand; from Auckland to Punta del Este, Uruguay; and from Punta del Este back to Charleston—a total distance of 25,400 nautical miles. Meaghan was an invaluable ally, helping raise the money needed for the race and also managing his support team. This time, with support from friends, borrowed money, and several corporate sponsors, he was successful.
You sail alone in this race. There is no one to stand watch at night so you can sleep. If something breaks, you are the one to fix it. Not only do you not have a crew, but since most of the race takes place in some of the world’s most distant and inhospitable waters, you are unlikely to even see another vessel. Brad’s boat, named for his principal sponsor, was Balance Bar, an open 50 class sailboat, 50 feet long on the deck, beam of 14.5 feet. This was his home at sea for nearly five months through some of the roughest oceans known to man. It is best to let him tell the story in his own words.
“I was approaching Cape Horn and was around 700 nautical miles west of the Cape, when I got word that a major depression was forming. I knew about a week beforehand that it was coming. There was a free fall of the barometer as the storm approached from the west—it dropped to around 920 millibars, as I recall. As the storm approached, winds were at 70 knots, and swells heaped up from the northwest with 20-foot-high waves. [Note: when speaking of wave height, Brad is using wave amplitude, not crest-to-trough. Crest-to-trough for a 20-foot-high wave would be 40 feet.] As the storm passed the boat, the wind became southwesterly, gusting to 100 knots, and the swell direction changed, with the swells now 30 feet and sometimes running into the swells coming from the northwest. The problem with multiple swells is that they can start colliding and at some point if you’re in the wrong place, they’ll grab you and spit you out the top.”
At this point in our interview, in a courtyard near the swimming pool outside the hotel where I was staying in Charleston, South Carolina, Brad looked around and directed my attention to the hotel building behind us.
“When I was in a trough, the oncoming waves were as high as