Then I broke our cardinal rule. Instead of keeping our plans to myself, I asked Monica Collins (née McCants) if she might consider crewing with Larry if he really wanted to go ahead with his Cape Horn caper. A sail designer and racing skipper, Monica had been captain of the first all-women team to do a major ocean race, the Transpac, and the only woman on the 80-foot Challenger in the Whitbread Round the World Race. "Cut the crap," Monica said. "Great boat. You've got lots of experience. You can do it." Listening to this woman, who was almost young enough to be my daughter, I knew I had to give it a try.
"Larry, I'll back you up on three conditions," I said. "First, we take it on as a serious expedition. We go over every single inch of this boat and upgrade everything we can think of. Second, we don't tell anyone we're trying to do it. That way, if we change our minds, no one will say we failed. Finally, if it is just too hard, if I begin to feel we're risking the boat, we turn and run for the Falklands and on to Africa." His warm hug and firm assurances didn't overcome my inner knowledge that I, with my overactive imagination (read "fear") and lack of real physical strength, was the weak link in his plan, and that if I asked him to turn and run, I'd always feel, as Monica would have put it, that I'd wimped out.