Monday, January 30, 2017

Durban: the floating grocery store and an open ended plan

        ‘The floating grocery store’ is how Carol accurately characterizes GANNET these days.
        On Saturday, I carried six sacks to the little sloop in two stages—they were too heavy to carry all at once—representing breakfasts for more than seventy days.
        Yesterday morning was calm as predicted and I was on deck at 5:30 a.m.  I raised and lowered the mainsail several times and got the reefing lines, both leach and tack, sorted out.  I also unfurled and furled the jib whose furling gear now seems to be functioning normally with no halyard wraps.
        That accomplished, I had breakfast and then powered through the items of my GANNET to-do list.  There are only two remaining:  seek leaks I don’t expect to find and glue two small carbon fiber right angle pieces to the cockpit edge to prevent the jib sheet from wearing a groove while using sheet to tiller steering.  I started to do this, but am concerned that they may create more problems than they solve.  I’ll position and consider them again.
        I even wired the new LED bow running lights and was pleasantly surprised last night when I flipped the switch and they came on.  They are merely a legal formality, necessary only when under power after dark, which GANNET never is.  Under sail the masthead tricolor is lit.
        This morning was lovely, sunny with a slight cooling breeze.  I breakfasted listening to Alan Hovhaness’s  AND GOD CREATED GREAT WHALES, then went shopping three times.
        That list, too, is essentially depleted, with the only remaining items being open ended optionals:  bottles of water, cans of tonic, soda water, juice, beer, ice tea, and snacks and cookies. some of which I already have on board.
        This afternoon I organized all this, though not completely.  I will still be sleeping in the v-berth tonight and probably for a few more nights to come.
        My goal was to be ready to sail by February 1 and I could be, but the weather forecast does not offer even three successive days favorable for sailing west this week, and I would like four, so I don’t expect to depart before a week from today at the earliest.
        In 2014 I left San Diego intending to reach New Zealand, which I did.
        A torn left shoulder rotator cuff kept me in New Zealand in 2015.  Hardly a hardship for I am happy there.
        Last year I did exactly what I planned to do and sailed from Opua to Durban, via Australia.
        However, in 2017 my intentions are definite, time and chance permitting, only as far as the Caribbean.
        Once there, presumably at St. Lucia, I will decide whether to sail west for Panama or north to Florida and the southeastern United States for the summer.  At this moment I have no idea which I will do.
        Some approximate distances in nautical miles:

Durban to Port Elizabeth   400
Port Elizabeth to St. Helena   2100
St. Helena to St. Lucia    3800

St. Lucia to Panama    1100
Panama to San Diego   3100

St. Lucia to Key West   1400

Durban to St. Lucia    6300
Durban to Key West   7700
Durban to San Diego    10500