Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Evanston: phoned; Cape Horn; privateering

        You have many things I do not, including a credit rating and until a few days ago a smartphone.
        Not borrowing money for forty years is not good for your credit.
        I know that I don’t have a credit rating because United Airlines deluges me with invitations to obtain one of their credit cards.  I finally succumbed and returned the application, not because I suddenly wanted to buy things on credit, but for the priority boarding that comes with the card.  They turned me down because the credit agencies say I don’t exist.  I can live with that.
        Not having a credit rating was also one of the reasons I didn’t have a smartphone.  Another is that I don’t use phones much.  And a third that, being out of the country about half the time, I didn’t want a contract.
        In the past year these reasons have disappeared, so I bought a 128 GB unlocked iPhone 6 from Apple and obtained prepaid service through T-Mobile that I can suspend whenever I leave the U.S.
        The iPhone holds all my music, which a 64 GB device cannot; is the camera that is always with me; has a screen big enough to be my e-reader; serves as a clock I can easily see when I wake up at night; and in replacing both the iTouch and Kindle, has reduced the number of screens I have to take back and forth from GANNET by one.
        I sometimes even use it to make a phone call.


        On Windfinder Pro, my wind app of choice, I keep track of the wind and weather here in Evanston; Mission Beach, California; Opua; Cape Brett—the headland at the south entrance to the Bay of Islands; Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea to which I might sail next year; Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu to which i did sail this year and haven’t deleted from the ‘favorites’ list; Mt. Pleasant Airport/Falklands to which I might sail one of these years; Cape Town to which I expect to sail one of these years; Tarifa, Spain, the southernmost point of Europe, which happened to be on the list when the app was downloaded and which I’ve kept for sentimental reasons, having almost crashed CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE there when a fifty knot wind known as a Levanter caught us in the Straits of Gibraltar; and Cape Horn toward which I am always sailing.
        Cape Horn is full on this week.  
        The highest winds were over 50 knots two days ago with 20’ to 25’/6 to 7.5 meter waves.  Presently the wind is 31 knots and the air temperature 40°F/4.4°C with wind chill obviously below freezing.  For about six hours tomorrow morning the wind should drop slightly below 20 knots for the only time in the coming week.  Mostly it will be above 30 knots and blowing from the west.
        This is not a week to be trying to round Cape Horn from the east.


        Somehow I missed Mark Knopfler’s most recent album, PRIVATEERING, when it was released in 2012, but upon my return to a fast Internet connection iTunes suggested the album to me, for which I thank it.
        The version I bought contains 25 tracks, about half of which are too rock and roll for me, and the other half are wonderful, chief among these are three songs of the sea:  ‘Haul Away’, ‘Privateering’, and ‘Dream of the Drowned Submariner.’  All three have already made it onto my favorites playlist that numbers only 188 songs out of over 4,000.
       ‘Haul Away’ and ‘Dream of the Drowned Submariner’ are evocative and moving and should resonate with every sailor, perhaps with everyone, and are among the best things Mark Knopfler, who is one of my favorite singers, has ever recorded.