Thursday, September 22, 2016

Durban: courge and honor; Seattle sailors; lounging

        I oiled GANNET’s interior wood today, and cut off a foot of the jib halyard I used this year whose cover had become frayed, and read more of Volume 2 of Shelby Foote’s:  THE CIVIL WAR.  
        Shelby Foote was perhaps the star of Ken Burns’s PBS series about the Civil War and later told Ken that he had made him, Shelby, a millionaire from renewed sales of books written decades earlier.
        I just read about Pickett’s charge on the third day of Gettysburg.  One Mississippi regiment achieved the unenviable perfection of 100% casualties.  A North Carolina regiment came close, with only two non-casualties, a flag bearer and the man beside him, who survived only because the Union soldiers impressed by their courage did not shoot them, but let them to continue on and become prisoners.
        One Tennessee soldier when forced to retreat did so walking backwards because he did not want to be shot in the back.


        Three sailors from the Seattle area have made remarkable solo voyages returning from New Zealand to their home waters in the past year, all in boats between 30’ and 40’ long, small by current cruising boat standards.
        Craig, of LuckGrib fame, did it with one stop.  Opua to Hawaii to Washington state.
        Dennis did it in two.
        And Steve in ROVER OF TACOMA sailed 22,000 miles in ten months, going from Whangarei around Cape Horn to St. Lucia in the Caribbean, to Panama, Hawaii, and then to the mainland.
        With the exception that you can pick your weather when leaving New Zealand as you cannot when approaching, it is much more difficult to sail from NZ to the US than vice versa.
        All admirable voyages in which Craig, Dennis and Steve should take justifiable pride.


        Jay sent me a quote from from Robert Scott who died on his return from the South Pole, having been beaten by five weeks to that goal by Roald Amundsen.  Among Scott’s final written words were:  How much better it has been than lounging in comfort at  home.
        I like to believe that I understand, but I must confess that sailing GANNET across oceans is hard and I am very much looking forward to lounging in comfort at home for three months.