SATURDAY, JULY 9, 2330. Gipsy Moth is fairly scuttling along. The gear at the end of the main boom makes a snaffly, clinky sound, like the bridle and bit of a horse. Standing in the stern is like standing at the end of a train, the glacier-blue flood seems to be swirling past so fast. We have done 24� miles in the past 3� hours. It is lovely sailing. As I ate my four kippers and four potatoes with four glasses of whisky, I thought how lucky I was and wished 4,000 people would be enjoying supper as much.
TUESDAY, JULY 12, 0845. Do you suffer from a lack of adventure? Then try closing the Nova Scotia coast after dark, not certain of where you are, in dense fog laced with rain and plenty of wind. During the night I went over my navigation again and made out that I was 20 miles clear of land. I lay down for a much-needed two-hour sleep. Gipsy Moth did one of her bronco bucks. She jumped a bottle of whisky into the air, where it somersaulted and fell neck downward. I caught it on the way down before it hit. That's why I thought my luck was in, and dropped off to sleep.
Do you know, the ship began behaving like a thwarted, spoilt boy. The jib produced a thunderous drumming. The mainsail flapped. Gipsy Moth jumped and bucked, pitched and rolled. The wind sent up a ghastly whine in the rigging. Every time I dozed off a big sea crashed on the foredeck and woke me.
At half past midnight I could not stand the bedlam any longer, gave up trying to sleep, dressed and tacked the ship away from the land. On this other tack everything seemed to quieten down. I went below and slept hard till 6 o'clock.
When I came to plot the night's doings on the charts, the results rattled me to the bone. I found there were two charts on the chart table, the one on top in a scale less than half that of the one below. The top one had its margin turned down to make it fit the chart table. The edge of the chart below was showing, and when I had made my previous plotting—the one that showed me 20 miles clear of land—by candlelight, I measured my distance off the coast on the lower chart thinking it belonged to the one above. Instead of being 20 miles off the coast, I must have been about eight and, when I tacked, about three. Had I gone to sleep for two hours I might have had a rude awakening. It seems to me the ship was determined that I should not go to sleep until I had tacked, and kicked up hell's delight until I had done so. It does seem amazing to me that the ship became quiet as soon as I tacked away from the coast. I am recording plain, unmistakable facts. I do not try to explain them.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 1915. I sighted my first land today. It was Block Island, at the entrance of Long Island Sound. I worked like a beaver, cleaning the cabin, stove, everything—and shaving, haircutting, washing shirts. With one of our rare favorable winds, we bowled along at 7� knots. Then the wind backed to the northwest, and we were hard on the wind again. I set Miranda and clamped her to the tiller lines, then started hoisting the mainsail. I had the main half hoisted when I noticed that Miranda was not acting right. I dropped the main and bustled aft, where I found Miranda's clamp was not working, I dismantled the clamp and found that a spindle had rusted in. This was soon put to rights. What a relief! Up went the sail, and we were off. A wonderful thing, going fast at night. But I can't keep awake. Good night. Good night....
THURSDAY, JULY 21, 0400. A beautiful, starlit night. We have averaged 7.1 knots since 11 o'clock. There are lights (marine and air) along Long Island. I am eight miles offshore, close to the shipping lanes. I saw quite a number of steamers. At 0330, just 63 miles to go. 1330. A faint breeze livened up, and I decided it was worthwhile setting the main. As soon as we began to move, I tried to call the Coast Guard. A clear voice broke in: "This is the Edith G. at the Ambrose Light. Your wife wants to speak to you."
I was surprised at the voice. I knew it, but I could not place it. Then I remembered it as the voice of Captain Percy, senior captain of the BOAC, a fellow court member of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. He had been sent by Prince Philip, the Grand Master of the Guild, to welcome me.
I could hear a word or two from Sheila, but she was pressing the wrong button.