Monday, March 13, 2017

St. Helena: leaving

St. Helena:  leaving

March 11, Saturday

Misty rain this evening keeping me in the Great Cabin.  Not hard rain, but enough to make me wetter than I want to be.

This will be the last journal entry from St. Helena.  I’m starting it Saturday evening, but won’t post it until Monday.

There is no order to these thoughts other than that in which they come to me.

Other than topping off the water jerry can I am presently using, GANNET is ready to go.  I’ve cleaned, restowed, topped up provisions—mostly sprits, wine, snacks—rewatered, put two coats of oil on the interior wood, applied more sealant to the port chainplate.  I’m still not sure what has gone wrong there.  I think I applied butyl tape in Durban, but it seems to have disappeared.  

I used Dr. Sails epoxy on the tiller pin.  Easy to apply, though wasteful with a lot left in the long one-use nozzle.  We’ll see if it succeeds where all else has failed.  This is not a major concern as I usually tie the tiller arm down so the pin can't lift,  I hope.

I untangled the lines I have tied to the mooring.  I tied on with two, knowing that they would get tangled as we swung around and they did.  

Someday the Jordan Drogue may save my life, but in the meantime it and the Avon Redstart are the bulkiest and heaviest things I have to find room for in GANNET.  The drogue dominates the space between the pipe berths.  Odd to buy and wrestle with something you hope never to use.

I’ve caught up with all received email.  A few of you sent links to YouTube videos.  With the slow Internet here I could not open them, so I didn’t even try to upload any videos of my own.  

I used LuckGrib to download a GRIB.  This is not South Africa or New Zealand.  It showed exactly what one would expect:  trade winds forever.  Or at least until the doldrums, which may be avoided near the South American coast north of the bulge of Brazil.  I remember fast sailing there with an aiding current on a passage from Rio de Janeiro to the Caribbean in RESURGAM.

I expect to enter St. Lucia at Rodney Bay.  There is a marina there.  Carol is going to fly out and spend some time with me, so being in the marina, if there is space, will be convenient.

Unless something unexpected changes my mind, from St. Lucia I will work my way north through the Caribbean to Florida for the northern summer and not sail to Panama until late this year or more likely early next.  I need some equipment, such as a new Torqeedo battery, that cannot be carried on airlines, and Sportaseats that are too big to carry, and I’d like to spend more time in places with warm water and where Carol and I were first in love.  Also, like Cher, I am in no rush to end what is probably my final world tour.  Given time, I can foresee other voyages, but I doubt very much I will circumnavigate again.  There are parts of the world I just have no interest in seeing again, and to circumnavigate just to add another number is not my way.


A misty Sunday morning.

The supply ship arrived a few hours ago.  It is a modest size cargo vessel that was supposed to be retired last year after the opening of the airport.  With the airport unusable, it remains the only way anything gets here.  I think it comes from Cape Town once a month. I am told it is the last active mail ship in the world,

Some have asked what is in all the bags stowed on the v-berth.

Here’s the photo again.

The black bag in the foreground holds freeze dry food, protein bars, a couple of jars of instant coffee, a bag of peanuts, zip lock bags, trash bags.  As needed I move a thirty day supply of freeze dry food from the stern to that bag where it is more easily accessible.

The red bag to the right has packages of oatmeal and powered milk.

The red bag to the left has electronics.  An iPad.  Torqeedo charger.  Back-up hard drive.  Garmin eTrex GPS.  Various cables.  Etc.  And my electric drill.  All in watertight boxes.

Not visible behind the left side of the bulkhead is the 5 gallon jerry can I use to fill my daily water bottles. 

The blue bag in the center is the G2.

The blue bag above it and to the left holds the four Raymarine tiller pilots, two Pelagic tiller arms, and the tiller arm of the Torqeedo outboard.

It rests on top of a duffle bag of harbor clothes.  Forward of which but not visible is a five-gallon jerry can of water.

On the starboard side, also not visible, is a duffle bag of passage clothes and foul weather gear, forward of which is a water jerry can.  

These bags and the jerry cans are tied in place.

Slightly visible beneath the G2 is a blue bag that mostly has things that would be in a bathroom.  Toilet paper, hand soap, toothbrushes, a few towels.  Currently it also doubles as a liquor locker, with reserve bottles of gin, tequila and Laphroaig.  Other bottles are kept near my right hand at Central.

The bag which appears white but is actually clear is empty but will hold my knapsack and shore boat shores when we return to sea.

All the trash bags are doubled or tripled.  One holds crackers.  One dried fruit and nuts.  One snacks, cookies and chocolate.  One paper towels and Kleenex.  One my heavy weight sleeping bag.  One a lightweight sleeping bag and a pillow.  Not all of these are visible.  I can tell them apart by feel and by ties I have put around them.

In the space between the black food bag in the foreground and the bathroom bag/G2 are cartons of juice, cans of beer and boxed wine.  I usually remove the cartons from the wine and just stow the plastic bladders.

A fourth 5 gallon jerry can of water is stowed aft between the pipe berths.  Also tied in place.


A misty Sunday evening, although much of the day was sunny.  Segovia playing Boccherini.   Tequila at hand.  I was standing in the companionway watching the infinitely changing facets of the sea’s surface until rained below.  While up there I idly spun the Harken two-speed winches and discovered that the port one is one speed.  I removed the case and see that a gear at the base is not meshing with another.  I don’t know that I want to fullytdisassemble it tomorrow, particularly if that means removing it from the deck and possibly causing leaks.   I don’t often even need the winches.  One speed may have to be enough.

I went ashore this morning.  Bought more Kleenex, tonic water and club soda.  Filled the last jerry can with water.  I am now in water passage mode, though I will buy a few bottles of water when I’m ashore tomorrow.

I had an excellent cheese burger at Anne’s Place while Internetting.  So far there I’ve had a BBQ lamb chop, grilled wahoo, a t-bone steak, as well as the cheese burger.  All good.  I don’t know which I’ll have for my last land meal tomorrow.

This is the ferry boat landing. There is often a 3’/1 meter surge.  As the boat comes along side, you grab one of the ropes and on the upsurge pull yourself onto the concrete.  The blue jerry can is mine, waiting for the ride back out.  The ferry runs every hour on the hour.  On the moorings I call on the handheld VHF.

Being in passage water mode I had my last fresh water solar shower this afternoon.  There is only enough left for a quick soapless rinse tomorrow.

I tested the tiller pilots.  Two Raymarine and two Pelagic tiller arms are working. 

I did a Time Machine back up of my MacBook, not one of the time honored pre-voyage routines.

Time to pick tonight’s freeze dry.  And the winner is Back Country Cuisine Chicken Tikki Masala.


I lovely cool and dry Monday morning.  My second cup of coffee at 7:30.  Through the companionway I see terns flying along the sheer cliff.

I’ll go ashore at 10.  I have to go to three offices to clear out:  Port Control, Customs, Immigration.  The first two are in the same building.  Immigration a five minute walk away.  Then I’ll buy some bottled water and go to Anne’s Place to Internet and have a final shore meal.  I’ll probably be on the 1:00 p.m. ferry back to GANNET. 

Regular readers will know that I like being ready far in advance and then leisurely look around to be sure everything is right.

I’ll try to remember to activate the Yellowbrick tonight.  The tracking page is:  A link is also at the top of this journal page and the journal page on the main site.

I will sail tomorrow with the wind, hopefully off the mooring by 0800 or 0900.  You should see movement on the Yellowbrick by 1200 GMT.

I thank Christopher for an excellent quote:  

In a 1608 letter to Galileo Galilei, Kepler wrote that the humans might one day use the technology to set a course for the stars:
“Provide ships or sails adapted to the heavenly breezes, and there will be some who will brave even that void.” 
— Johannes Kepler

Hopefully the next post will be from St. Lucia in about a month.

I wish you joy.