Saturday, February 28, 2015

Evanston: precipitation; companion; nag

        NASA has just released a very interesting—at least to me—short video of global precipitation during 2014 as observed from a twelve satellite system.  I’ve watched it several times seeing something different each time.
        On viewing it Carol said, “Are you sure you want to sail GANNET in the Southern Ocean?”
        In fact I don’t.  That is one of the advantages of attempting Cape Horn from the east.  
        I have had some of my most severe storms not off the Horn, but in the stretch of Southern Ocean between South Africa and Australia.  EGREGIOUS was capsized twice there.  And on a six week passage between Cape Town and Fremantle in THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, we had eight storms of gale strength, four of which reached Force 10, more than 48 knots, and two of which reached Force 12, hurricane force of more than 64 knots.
        So I can summon little enthusiasm for spending months of repeated storms on an eastward circumnavigation in the Southern Ocean.
        Attempting to round Cape Horn from the east the exposure is much less, even though sailing against the prevailing winds.  
        The distance from the Falklands to Cape Horn is about five hundred miles.  Leave with a favorable forecast and GANNET could be past the Horn in four days.  However she would still have a thousand miles with Chile a dangerous lee shore before reaching Puerto Montt.  Keeping a hundred miles offshore would make the entire passage at least sixteen hundred miles.
        In good conditions GANNET could do that in eleven or twelve days.  A Cape Horn passage does not generally provide good conditions.  It would be expected that she would face at least one or two gales and I’d have to heave to or stream the Jordan drogue not to lose hard gained miles.  I’d be happy to make the passage in three weeks or even four.  Still far better than three or four months going the other way.
        Assuming I can get first GANNET past Horn Island.


        Many of you have emailed of your admiration for Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels. 
        I just came across and downloaded what appears to be a useful companion volume for the series, HARBORS AND HIGH SEAS by John B. Hattendorf.
        Although I’ve sailed most of the waters described in the novels and know something about sailing the world, I’ve found much information in the book I did not know, including details of passage times in Aubrey/Maturin’s times:  in a word, ‘slow’, with average daily runs of far less than one hundred miles.
        In a section on navigation, I found this from a Captain Lecky who believed that celestial navigation is not difficult:  “There are, however, men afloat who won’t try, and who for downright, double-barreled,  cooper-bottomed, bevel-edged bigotry are matchless in all other professions.”


        My health app awarded me The Marathon Badge, for walking 26.2 total miles; then at 60 miles the Lock Ness Badge which apparently is the distance around that lake.
        However, now that my physical therapy sessions have been reduced, Tuesday morning my app was disappointed and emailed: 
        “You’ve never done so few steps on a Monday.  I’m sure you can do more tomorrow :)”
        Fortunately I had physical therapy on Wednesday and did.