We’re Off, Powered by Friendship

The Double X sails under the Golden Gate Bridge on departure day with winds blowing at 20-25 knots, making for an exciting beginning to our journey to the South Seas. San Francisco, Calif., July 16, 2016. Photo: C. Woods
The Double X sails under the Golden Gate Bridge on departure day with winds blowing at 20-25 knots, making for an exciting beginning to our journey to the South Seas. San Francisco, Calif., July 16, 2016. Photo: C. Woods

Winds at 20-25 knots added to the excitement of the first day of our South Sea adventure. Cutting through the waves as we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge into the howling wind made for some really wild sailing.

Els said it best: “Sam, you finally get a chance to see some real sailing by the Double X.”

Our best sailing so far

Els was right. This was the best sailing that we’ve done so far on the Double X, and a great first test for the boat. I’m happy to report that her performance was fabulous as was that of the crew. Captain Bob was on his toes, and Els, Zach and Paul, all accomplished sailors, make a terrific team. We’re extremely fortunate to have such an awesome group.

A change of plans

Right out of the gate, we had to make some adjustments to our schedule. Our goal was to turn off the engine when we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and sail to the South Seas without the need for power. But within 12 hours, the wind died down, and we were slogging down the coast, forced to abandon our goal.

To make matters worse, a high overcast fog had been looming since our departure, apparently due to the tremendously warm weather conditions up and down the coast. In fact, we haven’t seen sunlight since our departure from San Francisco.

Storms brewing to the west

Storms further out to sea prevented us from going west, then south, so we powered for almost a full day to get us down the California coast and, on July 19th, we crossed into Mexican waters. The low winds have put us about a day behind schedule, but things are beginning to pick up with some light winds, and we are hoping to be in the South Pacific by the first week of August.

Soaking it all in

Everybody is getting along extraordinarily well. Els is doing the cooking, and the food is great. There is much to learn about sailing the Double X, but this will be a great way to do it as everyone has been so helpful teaching Rod and me the finer points of sailing this amazing vessel. For now, we’re soaking it all in and learning as much as we can.

Reporting for duty, twice a day

We all have watch duty, twice a day (see our schedule below). I find these 4-hour shifts a time of intense focus. It’s critical to stay alert and keep a watchful eye on wind direction, speed, water temperature and other parameters that require constant tracking while under sail. There is no watching movies while on watch!

24-Hour Watch Schedule for Pacific Crossing
Time Watch Crew
2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Captain Bob and Dr. Sam
6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Els and Zach
10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Rod and Paul
2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Captain Bob and Dr. Sam
6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Els and Zach
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rod and Paul

With all the action, time seems to fly quickly. Even going to bed is a bit of an adventure. We’re bouncing around, but we’re sleeping. In all, our health is good, our attitude is positive and, best of all, no injuries.

The power of friends

I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by our Double X crew. They are a perfect reminder of the importance of friends. In fact, the International Day of Friendship is just a few days away on July 30th. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating dear friends that not only enrich our lives beyond measure, but also help us stay healthy.

College buddies here and gone

Just two weeks ago, before our official departure, I was able to catch up with some of my college friends from the Bay area (see Double X Album 3 for photo highlights).

It was fun reminiscing about some of our pranks and activities during those fraternity days, but there was a void as one of our dear friends had recently passed. Tom was a good man, a terrific athlete, and he had a great sense of humor. He was always ready to share a chuckle and warmth. I didn’t see him a lot on a yearly basis, but when I did, it seemed like it was yesterday since we last shared a laugh. It is sad to see him go.

The right time is now

It’s true that time passes whether we want it to or not, so I firmly believe that cherishing good friends, making new ones and enjoying every day needs to be a top priority. I am glad I’m doing this trip now.

Be a good friend

I hope you’ll let the International Day of Friendship inspire you to be a good friend. Call, or better yet, meet up with a friend, even if it’s just for coffee. Drop a handwritten letter or card in the mail to a special friend that lives far away. Remember special milestones – birthdays, anniversaries, or graduations – with a card, a call or a text. Plan some regular getaways.

Dad was right all along

My dad recognized the importance of friendship and social networks long ago with his one-to-one approach of developing friendships and sharing Nutrilite food supplements that continues today. After over 80 years, it’s probably one of the oldest social networks around. Today, Amway Business Owners enjoy the same benefits of friendship as they meet new people and reconnect with old friends. It’s not only a big part of what makes the business successful, but more importantly, friendship keeps us healthy … at every age. And, when you have your health, you have everything.

It’s time for me to get ready for my watch, so until next time, keep us in your thoughts.


Dr. Sam Signature



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Make time to be a good friend. Friends not only enrich our lives, but have a profound impact on our health and well-being. Need inspiration? Check out these five health benefits of good friends:
⇒  Friends encourage you to make healthier lifestyle choices.
⇒  Friends boost your immune defense.
⇒  Friends reduce your stress.
⇒  Friends help you cope during rough times.
⇒  Friends enhance your feeling of well-being and happiness.

Source: Yang C., et al. PNAS. 2016;113:578-583.
Learn more at our Healthy Living Resources page.

What better time for change than now?

3 thoughts on “We’re Off, Powered by Friendship”

  1. Sam and Francesca, safe journey and discoveries! i will be reading your feed eagerly anticipating photos, updates and life changing moments. you’re the best of the best – wish i could see you in action!! ahoy! xoxoxo

  2. Sam: Thanks for sharing your journey with me. Lying in bed recovering from foot surgery you’ve added excitement to otherwise boring days. Your friend always, Tom

  3. Thank you, Sam for sharing your insights as your journey continues! You began with an over arching wish to observe and learn. Now as you and the crew progress the Double X south and west across the Pacific you are clearly in the rich matrix of camaraderie, which is much more than friendship. There is a common goal and a trust that binds you together in the tasks of sailing, resting and watching. This is how I think it means to live fully. Full sails, smooth waters, and generous skies to you and the Double X crew.

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