Sunday, January 1, 2017

Evanston: 2017

        During the past few weeks I have encountered many articles online and comments on television proclaiming that 2016 was a terrible year.  One, I think in the NY TIMES, was headed:  Worst. Year. Ever.
        All of which merely prove astonishing ignorance of history.
        These opinion pieces are, of course, a consequence of the liberal bias of the media—just because conservatives make that claim, doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t true—and 2016 was indeed a bad year for liberals.  It was a good year for many others, including Donald Trump and his supporters, and a great one for Chicago Cubs fans.  
        2016 was a good, though in some ways difficult year for me.  I became 75 years old, which I find oddly pleasing.  And I sailed GANNET exactly as I planned 9,000 miles from New Zealand to South Africa without as far as I know any significant damage.  That was hard.  My recollection of those four months is of too little wind or too much, with little  good sailing.  I find myself wondering if I found the sailing hard because of my age.  Certainly I am not at 75 what I was at 35 or even 65, but I believe it can be quantified that I am still a strong and tough old man, and I like to believe that anyone of any age would have found last year’s sailing on GANNET difficult.  There is no way to know.  No one else has ever sailed a Moore 24 that far or made a single passage in one of anywhere near 6,000 miles.
        This year’s plan is more flexible.
        If all goes well, I may complete the voyage and be back in San Diego by June or July.  That would require sailing 11,000 miles in four or five months, which might be too much, and I will not be disappointed if I am delayed and don't make it through Panama before the hurricane season off the west coast of Mexico and have to lay GANNET up somewhere, or spend part of the summer sailing her on the east coast of the United States.


        I am back on GANNET in twelve days.
        In my absence, I am told that the spray hood has been fitted, the replacement masthead wind unit has been installed, along with brackets to prevent the Tides Marine mainsail luff track from pulling away from the mast, and cleats fitted to the mast for reef tack lines.
        In addition to provisioning, here is my to-do list before I can sail:

              haul and antifoul
              replace bow nav lights
              replace forward hatch hinge
              cockpit leaks
              replace jib furling line
              re-coat foul weather gear seams
              touch up rub rail, cockpit paint
              paint deck
              install cleats for spray hood
              sheet to tiller cockpit wear

        A last item on the list won’t be done:  new Torqeedo battery.  They don’t sell them in South Africa and cannot be carried on airlines, even in checked baggage.
         I am looking forward to 2017, to being on GANNET and sailing up the South Atlantic.
        I hope it will be a year of beauty and joy for us all.