First I want to thank those of you who have responded to the question posed in last Friday’s journal entry. In addition to the posted comments, I received several—I might even say many—thoughtful and generous emails.
As I said, this was not a referendum, this was not a vote, this was not asking you what I ought to do. That is not how I function. Never has been. Never will be. My question was: if you want me to circumnavigate again, what is in it for you?
I have been somewhat surprised that nothing is in it for the majority of those who have made their opinions known because the majority don’t care whether I sail around the world again or not. A good many have said I have done enough. Some have said that they enjoy my writing whatever I write about. This is pleasing. If compelled to define myself in one word, it would be ‘writer’, not ‘sailor’, even though that is how most think of me. I recently told a friend that I sometimes feel like Marilyn Monroe wanting to perform Shakespeare. Me as Marilyn Monroe is an image to conjure with.
I recently saw an article about the value of five year plans. Stalin and I already knew that. The difference is that mine worked and his didn’t, incidentally killing millions of people while failing.
I have twice successfully made and stuck to five year plans to free myself from the land. The first led to my first attempt at Cape Horn and the beginning of the ‘being’ part of my life. The second to our sailing from Boston for the Azores in 2001 on what was intended as an endless voyage, but turned out not to be, though I have never since lived full time on land for long.
At 79 I find five year plans too ambitious. So I have instead two or three year inclinations, to none of which am I as totally committed as I have been to goals in the past and that may not be enough. I like absolute commitment.
I want to explore what are now GANNET’s local waters. A boat like CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE or a Welsford Pathfinder would be better for that than GANNET, but I like GANNET and am sticking with her.
I would like one summer to sail to Bermuda, which I have never visited, and one winter to the Bahamas, which I have also never visited.
And one summer I would like to sail to Scotland, hopefully via Iceland, which is not too cold in July and August. If you have been here long you know why Scotland: to make a pilgrimage to Islay, the home of Laphroaig. As good a reason as any.
I will admit that sailing from New Zealand back to Hilton Head via Cape Horn has appeal. New Zealand to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands; Port Stanley to somewhere in the Caribbean; the Caribbean to Hilton Head. To see whether I could do it in my 80s. To see if GANNET could. To experience the Southern Ocean again and admire Wandering Albatross first hand.
However I can muster no enthusiasm for getting to the New Zealand starting line which is 15,000 nautical miles from Hilton Head via the Cape of Good Hope and I am certainly not going to ship the little boat there. From now on she only moves on her own bottom.
And, of course, all of this is dependent on being able to sail anywhere again in a post-COVID world.
Oddly in my old age I have unexpected comfort and security. I am significantly blind and partially deaf, but desire, feeling and will are not paralyzed, and I do not know what I am still becoming
Cool and sunny here this morning. Only 48F/9C when I got up. Back to Levis and a fleece when I walked down to GANNET. A few days ago I removed the Sportaseat covers and brought them to the condo to wash. I was taking them for the dreaded ordeal of getting them back on. Sportaseat offers a technique for doing this which I have not found useful. It comes down to pulling and wiggling inch by awkward inch. And so it was for the first cover this morning. I seriously thought that it would be better and certainly easier just to buy a new Sportaseat with cover already in place. Gratefully the second went on easily. Perhaps it had shrunk less.
I then became ambitious enough to remove the lee cloths to be washed. I was successful in doing this. Then sat down on the port pipe berth and had the pipe break under my enormous weight of 153 pounds. I think the pipe is aluminum. Replacing it is simple if I can find a piece the correct diameter.
Daily I see snowbirds heading south on the Intracoastal. Often one or more anchors near the marina for a night or two. There was one at anchor this morning. While some are powerboats, of those with masts almost all are catamarans around 40’-45’. These would be good boats to power up and down the Intracoastal. I have never seen one with a sail up.