Saturday, May 30, 2020

Evanston: Pytheas; green flash; the first three parts

Pytheas.  Now there is a name you shouldn’t say in public these days without a face mask.

I knew of the circumnavigation of Africa around 600 BC reported by Herodotus and have mentioned it somewhere in my writings.  Although that voyage may not have happened, I hope it did.  I have touched on Africa several times, north and south, east and west, and to have circumnavigated the continent 2600 years ago fires my imagination.  It would have been wonderful.  I would have loved to have done it.  I like to believe I could have.

However, I did not know of Pytheas’s equally wonderful voyage until I recently began reading Farley Mowat’s THE FARFARERS.

Around 330 BC, Pytheas, a Greek merchant in Massalia, present day Marseilles, France, set off west through the Gibraltar Straits, then the Pillars of Hercules, and headed north.  He may have touched Brittany.  He did continue to the modern United Kingdom, probably making landfall in Cornwall.  He is the first Mediterranean sailor known to have reached the British Isles.  He continued up the west coast to Scotland and beyond to Thule, which may have been Iceland.  He reached the frozen Arctic Ocean, before turning back south, sailing down the east coast of modern Scotland and England, then east into the Baltic and possibly continuing as far as the Vistula River in modern Poland, before retuning to Massalia.  What a world to have sailed.  What a voyage to have made.

If you want to read more:

I have sailed into or looked back at thousands of sunsets and I have never seen the green flash.  The image above from The Astronomy Picture of the Day shows green flashes not just from the sun, but from the moon, Venus and Mercury.  I really must be blind.

I have written that I have formulated a plan for the next several years.  In the unlikely event I complete it, I will have the tedious task of making another, but that is years away and the problem may have solved itself.

Here are the first three parts.

1.  2020  move GANNET from San Diego to Hilton Head

2. 2020-2022?  explore Hilton Head waters and anchor with alligators, possibly sail to Bermuda and the Bahamas

3.  2023?  cross the North Atlantic to the UK and Ireland, specifically Islay, the home of my favorite liquid, possibly with stops in Canada and Iceland

The question marks because the timing is uncertain.

The fourth part is more audacious and I will keep it to myself for some years to come, assuming some years do come.

I have looked at the chart catalogues of both iNavX and iSailor.  Both have had significant price changes in the past year or so.  For GANNET’s circumnavigation, charts from iNavX were considerably less expensive than those from iSailor.  For a prospective voyage to Iceland and the UK, they are now less expensive from iSailor.

May seems to have been a long month and for me I don’t think the now forgotten pandemic has been the reason.  Maybe because it has rained so much in Chicago.  Today is a lovely day and the forecast is for fine weather for the coming week.  I suppose it has to happen sometime.

I did my standard workout the maximum thirteen times this month and went to 100 push-ups and crunches in the first set, and 50 each in the second and third, seven of those workouts.  Carol has suggested that in view of my torn shoulder and considerable age I am pushing myself too hard.  I appreciate that she cares about me, but I am going to use my body as hard as I can as long as I can.

If you were to venture to the Lines page of the main site, you would find that no matter what additions I make, the last line is:  go out, going forward.

‘Forward’ is subjectively defined and there are no guarantees, but I hope I do.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Evanston: hibernation; shorter; Bundesliga

I thank Lee for the photos of GANNET in hibernation taken yesterday or the day before.  Above the waterline she looks as I left her.  The birds seems not to have found her.  They prefer higher perches.  Below the waterline she must be foul.  She was last anti-fouled in January of last year.

I have said that I expected it to cost less to have GANNET towed across this big country than it did to have her towed 50 miles across Panama.  I now know that as a fact.  I checked some websites and made a phone call and have a quote of $5600 San Diego to Hilton Head.  I am reasonably certain I can improve on that.  

I have never known the full cost of GANNET’s Panama transit because I paid the various boat yards, marinas, cradle makers, materials suppliers, and the trucking company at different times and with different pieces of plastic; and because I don’t want to know.  However, I have bills totalling more than $7,000.  The real total probably approaches the $9,000 I paid to buy GANNET.

I was under the impression that the US is 3,000 miles across.  From New York to San Francisco or Seattle it is.  But the country curves inward toward the south on both coasts and the distance San Diego to Hilton Head of 2,418 miles is not much more than the distance from San Diego to Chicago 2,077 miles.

I don’t see this happening before September at the earliest.

The German Bundesliga is the first top flight soccer league in Europe to resume play.  Some minor leagues never stopped.  The matches are televised and I record and watch them.  The only real sport going.

Being played in empty stadiums with 80,000 empty seats, voices echo.  One team places pictures of fans on several hundred seats on one side of its stadium, and I sometimes hear what sounds like crowd noise, but do not know if it is being broadcast in the stadium or just on television.  The play is good.  

The matches unquestionably lack something in the absence of live fans.  But is it better than nothing?  I think it is.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Evanston: it’s over; poor Bill

Obviously as proven by the crowd photos in what poses as the news, the pandemic is over, which is a shame just when people were becoming more like me.  But ‘Hooray’ anyway.

Yesterday Carol and I celebrated the end of the virus by going to a tennis court.  A few days ago Evanston put up the nets on some of the public tennis courts.  Usually every other one in the interest of now antiquated social distancing.  Carol knows of two rarely used courts and we found them empty with a net on one.  With my cyclopean vision I cannot return balls except by pure chance, something like batters facing Pedro Martinez in his prime when their only hope was to stick out the bat and hope he hit it with the ball.  However I can hit balls to her and then retrieve her returns.

In the afternoon Carol repaid my services by cutting my hair.  This was not pandemic induced.  When I had hair I cut it myself.  I did so once last year at sea after not getting to a barber shop in Panama.  But for some years Carol has cut my hair.  She always takes too much off the top, but for what I pay her I don’t complain.

I saw the heading of an article several days ago about a young man who allegedly drove 500 miles to get a haircut.  This raises several questions about the young man’s vanity and sanity, but I did not read the article and have no answers.

Yesterday as the number of deaths in the United States from the former pandemic approached 100,000, the NY TIMES ran a rolling list of the names and ages of 1000 of the dead.  I watched it for a while and was struck by how very few were under age 60.  We have been told that the virus is killing mostly old people, but perhaps in an attempt to make us all feel that we are in this together, the few young who have died get disproportionate coverage.  

You may recall my writing that we are not all in this together.  Once again the world is catching up.  A recent magazine cover reads:  One Nation Divided.  Certainly there is a virus age divide and the young have every right to feel put upon by having their partying disrupted by something that will be a mild case of flu to them.  If they pass it on to some old geezers whom it kills, well there is a geezer surplus and more are entering the supply chain every day.  Kill off enough and it may even save Social Security.

For myself I am giving serious thought of attending the next orgy.

Poor Bill Gates.  Not often one says that of the world’s second richest man.  As if being demoted to second isn’t bad enough, according to a recent survey half of Fox News viewers believe that he “is planning to use a future COVID-19 vaccine to implant microchips in billions of people in order to monitor their movements.”   44% of self-described Republicans share belief in this lunacy, as do 44% of those who voted for Donald Trump.

Long ago I wrote that democracy doesn’t work and never has except possibly on the village level.   At the time I labeled that an hypothesis.  Sufficient evidence is now in to state it as a proven fact.

I have continued to listen to one or two of Alastair Cooke’s Letters From America every day.  In addition to Harry Truman’s election and the atom bomb warning, I have now heard about Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby, Rudolph Valentino, the Augusta National Golf Course, and how ice cream changed America.  All a delight and in delightful contrast to the talking heads on television today.  I wonder what Alastair Cooke would have said about recent events.  It really is our loss.

I’m repeating the link in case you missed it.  You can thank me later.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Evanston: Mother, let go; egotist; Alister Cooke; Helen Humphreys

From Kent, who maintains Audrey’s Armada and sometimes acts as moveable ballast, comes the story of their oldest son’s first time on the helm of their Drascombe Lugger, ONKAHYE, which means ‘dancing feather’ in Seminole.  On the little boat sailing out of Corpus Christi were Kent, Audrey, their son, and Audrey’s father, Jack, who then owned the boat.

I quote Kent:

Many days were spent tacking out through the breakwater, picking a long beam reach across the bay, singing a song or two and then heading back in before the Corpus winds started blowing over 20. Our oldest son took the tiller at age 5, spoke the words “Mother, let go,” then expertly sailed ONKAHYE across the bay and back.

Kent later added:

Audrey looked up at her Dad and Jack repeated the command, "Mother, let go."  Being a pirate, of course she didn't want to...but being a good Mom she did.

Perfect.  Mother, son, grandfather.  I expect that Kent behaved well too.

I note that at age five the biggest body of water I had seen was a bathtub.

I thank Kent and Audrey for permission to share the story with you.

In the last post I referred to Victor Vescovo as an egotist.  This is not an insult.  We all are.  We are all the centers of our own universes, despite Copernicus.  And I expect we would all like immortality of a kind.  I, who have always sought to quantify what I could, as a solitary boy in a landlocked suburban house formed an ambition to be loved by one woman and to write something that would be read for a thousand years, having concluded that words that lasted a thousand years would last forever.

I like to believe that I have been loved by more than one woman, but I don’t expect any of my words will last through the third millennium.

In the long NEW YORKER article is a good quote from Victor Vescovo:

“Control what you can; be aware of what you cannot. Death, at some point, is a given—“You have to accept it,” he said—and he reasoned that the gravest risk a person could take was to waste time on earth, to reach the end without having maximally lived. “This is the only way to fight against mortality.”

And later in the article I was intrigued by what was observed in the Java Trench:

These were bacterial mats, deriving their energy from chemicals emanating from the planet’s crust instead of from sunlight. It was through this process of chemosynthesis that, billions of years ago, when the earth was “one giant, steaming geological mass, being bombarded with meteorites,” as Jamieson put it, the first complex cell crossed some intangible line that separates the non-living from the living.

I thank Paul for reminding me of Alistair Cooke.  

I doubt that the young have heard of him.  Their loss.  I expect that most of you have.  He was born in England and became an American citizen, best known for his ‘Letters From America’ for the BBC and as long time host of PBS’s Masterpiece Theater.  He was an intelligent, charming, clever, eminently reasonable man who gave journalism a rare good name.

Paul sent me a link that leads to more than a thousand of his Letters from America.

I have listened with great pleasure to a few, including the one on Harry Truman’s unexpected election victory in 1948 and, after clicking on ‘more episodes’, the ‘Atom Bomb Warning of 1939’.  I will certainly listen to more.  Perhaps a new habit:  A Letter From America a day.

Many of the books I read come from BookBud—love the service; hate the name.  An email arrives every morning with four or five choices.  With none costing more than $2.99 I can be a big spender and take chances.  I probably buy books faster than I read them.  I share my Kindle library with Carol and her mother and will leave a legacy.

I had never heard of Helen Humphreys before I bought her novel, COVENTRY, from BookBud.  I finally read it after the bombing of that city was discussed in THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE and found it to be exceptionally good.

Two young women meet by chance on a double-decker bus in Coventry at the start of the First World War and then again on November 14, 1940, the night the city was all but destroyed by German bombers.  Much of the novel takes place that night, but there is more to it than that.  

I so enjoyed the writing that I sought another of Helen Humphrey’s books and bought THE FROZEN THAMES, which I just finished.  Part fiction, part non-fiction, it begins:

In its long history, the River Thames
has frozen solid forty times.
      These are the stories of that frozen river.

A clever idea.

The dates range from 1142 to 1895 with a postscript of 1927.  

All of the entries are brief, only a page or two.  They include a man who finds a field of frozen birds who are yet alive and warms them with his hands until they take flight.  A boy who follows his mother across the river while the ice barely supports them and refuses ever to cross it again, not even on London Bridge.  The beheading of Charles I.  

Several times the river froze so solid that Frozen Fairs took place on it, with tents and booths and entertainments.  In the entry for 1716, in one of those booths a woman, Bess, with a talent for words completes poems for customers who suggest the first lines.  Finally it is too much.

Bess is tired of being an oddity. Her gift has made her little better than a performing dog. It has not done her any good at all. The money they earn, Will spends at the ale tent. She is freezing cold from being all day out on the river. This is not how she wants to live. 

The only way out of somewhere is by the door you came in. 

“This day I trod upon the ice,” she says. 
“I paid and paid a dreadful price. 
  I will not pretend that this is nice. 
 A poet as whore will not suffice.”

Friday, May 22, 2020

Evanston: clever; absurd; $46,000,000; making it so

I thank Steve Earley for two links about a beautiful weather visualization app created by a New Zealander.  The images above are from the app.  The top one wind; the lower swell.

Here is a link to the app:

And here a link to an article about it.

A heading of an article in the NY TIMES:  Now is no time to read alone.

First I’m not supposed to drink alone and now I am not supposed to read alone.  This is absurd.  Everything has to be done in a group?  I don’t think so.  Being alone at the time, I didn’t read the article.

Of group activities I stand with Ogden Nash:

Home is heaven and orgies are vile,
But you need an orgy, once in a while.

I thank Dan for the link to a long article about a very wealthy man who has become the first to go to the deepest points in five oceans.

Normally if the price of admission is in the millions I am not interested and while I agree that many so-called records are absurd, I do not agree that this is one of the last meaningful records that can be set.  I am also skeptical about reports of 90’ waves.  However, I found the article of interest in the process and the findings and the people.  We have a submersible designer who never read a book on submarines because he does not want his thinking tainted.  A businessman who takes on a project for non-business passion.  A very competent ship’s captain.  And a wealthy egotist who accepts tripling his original budget and spends $46,000,000 of his own money seeking immortality.

I finished reading the excellent SPAIN IN THEIR HEARTS about the Americans and British who fought in the Spanish Civil War, among them Bob Merriman who commanded the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the International Brigades.  Six months before he was killed in 1938 at age 29 he wrote, “Life has been full because I made it so.”

I am a creature of words immorally written and read alone.  But sometimes words fail.  Music fails.  They did last night. 

Increasingly I long for the open ocean, to dwell again in the monastery of the sea.  And there is no prospect of that happening.  I am likely to be away from GANNET for at least five months.  A few weeks in Hilton Head will be a welcomed change. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Evanston: now comes good sailing

James sent me a link to a short video about the Chinese building the world’s highest 5G base station on Mount Everest.
While this is an impressive technical feat, I wondered, briefly, why 5G is needed near the top of Everest.  I soon realized that of course it is necessary so all those who have paid $80,000 or so to be conducted up the mountain can tweet and Instagram while standing in the boring line waiting their turn to reach the summit.  Personally I think there are times and places, Cape Horn and Mt. Everest among them, where one should be disconnected and totally in the moment, but then I have always lived outside the herd and not been defined by it.

I half remembered a quote “But what if Maine and Texas have nothing to say to one another.”. I thought it was said by Mark Twain about the telephone.  It was not.  It comes from Henry David Thoreau, another who lived outside the herd, and was about the telegraph.  The complete quote is even better than I remembered.

“We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate... We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the old world some weeks nearer to the new; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.”

While searching for that, I came across Thoreau’s splendid last words which I did not know.

Just before he died of tuberculosis on May 6, 1862 at age 44 he said “Now comes good sailing”, followed by two lone words, ‘moose’ and ‘Indian.’

Of good sailing, I am missing it.

I have now been back in Evanston for two months and normally would have my flight booked to return to San Diego and GANNET.  Carol and I do have tickets to fly to Hilton Head this weekend.  They are not going to be used.  We also have tickets to fly there around July 4.  They may be used, assuming that the endless renovation is finally complete, or almost.  South Carolina never fully closed and work has continued during the pandemic. 

It now appears that I will not get back to GANNET until August at the earliest.  Fiberglass has no soul, but many virtues, among them that when left unattended it does not rust or rot.

I have noted that the pandemic has caused people to become more like me.  About time.  Social distancing, eating or at least hoarding oatmeal and freeze dry food, realizing that security is an illusion and having to live with uncertainty, which most do badly.  A few days ago one more.  The NY TIMES ran an article headed, “If you can boil water, you can cook.” I knew that.

Freeze dry food, by the way, has come back into stock at Mountain House and partially at Amazon.  I expect that a lot that was bought in panic has not been and never will be eaten.

My Kindle died last week.  I don’t think I will buy another.  I am now using my iPad Pro as my reader.  It quite satisfactory.  

I bought one of the new iPad Magic Keyboards, which despite the Disneyesque name is excellent and adds the use of a trackpad.

Rare sunshine today.  This has become the rainiest May on record in Chicago.  The two previous rainiest Mays were last year and the year before.  More than 8” of rain have fallen in each, and we have a good chance of exceeding 9” before  the 31st.

Today is a standard workout day.  I have gone to 100 push-ups and crunches in the first set, and 50 of each in both the second and third sets, for four of my last seven workouts.  I need a new challenge.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Evanston: small world 2; dunes; spout; 100,000; hurricane season

I was pleased last week when two readers of this journal, Jeff and Steve, unknown then to one another happened to share an anchorage near Oriental, North Carolina.  I am amazed that it has happened again, this time on the other side of the world.

The boat in the center of the above photo is ARION, Graham’s previous boat, the Graham who wrote the informative piece about junk rigs I posted last Thursday.  The photo was taken by Pat from his junk rigged PELICAN near Gladstone, Queensland.  Pat read the journal piece and sent the photo.  I thank him.

I don’t often check to see how many read this journal and when I do, depending on the source, I find a wide range.  I don’t believe the numbers are large, but it is beginning to appear that I am ubiquitous and that I am watching you, or my people are.  Thanks Graham and Pat.

Awards will not be given out for identifying the above.  I’ll give you a moment to look at it before telling you that it is

The Great Bahama Bank photographed from space.  The wave like shapes are underwater sand dunes.  I am running it just because it is beautiful.  You can read more here.

I am running this just because it is spectacular.  It appeared on the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day.

I received an email from Torqeedo that they have just shipped their 100,000th motor.  I’m impressed and pleased they are a success.

You probably have heard that Arthur, the first named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season, has formed off the east coast.  It is only a tropical storm, but this is the sixth year in a row that a named storm has formed in the Atlantic before June 1, the date the hurricane season has traditionally been said to begin.

Combined with the pandemic, the hurricane season has complicated some sailor’s lives.  

Jeff, who photographed Steve and Curt, has decided to leave SERENA, his Vagabond 42, in Oriental, NC, for the season.  David is trapped in Beirut, where the airport is closed until June 8, while ANTARES, his Bristol 40, is in St. Martin.  He had intended to have her on the hard in Grenada before July 1.  

I hear of others, some of whom I have sympathy with; some who subscribe to the too prevalent ‘Oh, poor me’ syndrome, I do not.  I read complaints that they are actually going to have to sail their boats somewhere.  I saw one who complained that he could not get spare parts for ‘essential equipment’ including his diesel engine and water maker and might have to make a ‘dangerous’ 4,000 passage back to Australia.  There is nothing immoral about diesel engines and water makers, but they are not essential.  I know that for a fact.  I also know that the ‘dangerous’ 4,000 passage could be made in GANNET.

In contrast I have heard of one Australian sailor who with his wife in on the Caribbean side of Panama.  I am not going to use his name because I do not know this as fact.  What I have been told is that some yachts are again being allowed through Panama and this sailor is deciding either to sail non-stop across the Pacific to Australia if he can transit the Canal or to turn around and sail for Australia east, presumably with a stop in Cape Town, assuming that is permitted.  Just owning a boat with a mast does not make you a sailor.  This man is.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Evanston: this morning; flies; cheap booze;

Steve Earley sent the above simply labeled ‘This morning.’   A pleasant enough spring day here in the upper flatlands, but not as beautiful as his.

I thank Michael, one of the myriad Michaels who read this journal, for a link to a story headed, ‘The Real Lord of the Flies’. 

I expect that many of you have read William Golding’s novel or have seen the movie.  I never liked either.  They were too grim and too brutal, though the first half of last century from which the novel sprang  was even worse.

The novel was published in 1951.  Twenty-six years later six boys lived the experience when they were marooned on a tiny island off Tonga for more than a year, but the result was very different from that of William Golding’s imagination.  I hope it is true.

The above comes from Ron for which I think I thank him.  The apocalypse is upon us.  Buy a case.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Evanston: pleasing; junk; clarification; Helen of Troy

The above is a pleasing companion to the photo I posted yesterday.

This morning I received an email from Jeff on SERENA, his Vagabond 42, which included:

Last night, I logged on to your site to catch up on the blog, and to my surprise found a picture of the two boats that arrived around sunset and anchored up directly behind my boat.  My girlfriend, Allie, snapped the two pics I have attached.  They departed at first light and I never had the opportunity to meet them.

In the foreground you have Curt’s Drascombe, in the distance, Steve Earley’s Welsford Pathfinder, SPARTINA.

Three boats anchor in a quiet cove near Oriental, North Carolina, and two of them make a connection the next day through this journal.  A smile on an old sailor’s face.

Joy to all.

I have never sailed on a boat with a junk rig.  I know sailors who have them and I am willing to learn.  One is Graham, who has a junk rigged Top Hat 25 in Australia.  I asked him about the rig and he sent me an informative reply that I believe will be interesting to others.  I thank him for permission to share it.

My decision to fit junk rig to Arion in 2011 stemmed from two motives.  One, I fell for Blondie Hasler's Jester way back in the late 60s, being attracted, in a typical adolescent way, to its unconventional wisdom, the whole low tech, low stress, build it from sticks and string philosophy.  By the time I came to do it, I was beginning to find working on the foredeck difficult.  My brain tumour affects my balance and stamina, and the idea of staying in the cockpit and reefing the sail just by easing the halyard and tightening up the sheet, plus running downwind just by easing the sheet and not needing to pole out headsails or fly a gennaker or Code Zero, held a lot of appeal.  Blondie Hasler did not even go into the cockpit most of the time, but handled the sail from what he called a 'central control station', with just the upper torso out of the hatch, with the running rigging, plus windvane controls, coming to the hatch.  Everybody has to go on deck occasionally to tend to gar but it is infrequent with a well-set up junk rig.  Here is Blondie in Jester's central hatch:

Despite the myriad of lines evident, most are fixed, and there are only four per sail that are adjustable, the halyard, sheet, yard hauling parrel (snotter) and a luff hauling parrel that stops the luff from going forward when there is pressure on the sheet.  Here is a basic drawing of it  The yard hauling parrel, which holds the yard against the mast,  is not shown.

All you do when you reef, is ease the halyard until the next batten up is just hanging free of the boom or any other battens already reefed.  The sheet, yard hauling parrel and luff hauling parrel go slack when you do this, so you need to adjust them, then resume sailing.  You do not have to tie the reefs in.

Performance is the question.  There have been some major advances since Jester sailed in the 1960 OSTAR.  The rig has always been brilliant downwind, it is like sailing under a squaresail, or a flat-cut spinnaker.  You have all the power you need, except perhaps in light winds with a sloppy swell, when a large, feather-light  spinnaker-type sail will be impossible to beat.  It has to be said, even the most advanced junk rig will not have the light-weather performance of a bermudian rig with drifter or gennaker.

The areas of improvement have been to significantly increase sail area (makes sense since the rig is so easy to reef), and also the development of cambered junk sails.  Some people have used hinged battens to get camber, but the most robust system is straight battens with each panel cut with its own camber, a bit like a bumblebee wing.  Compare this photo of Jester and her modest, flat-cut junk sail at the start of the 1960 OSTAR (David Lewis andCardinal Vertue astern) with those of a Norwegian Folkboat, Ingeborg,  that has a huge, cambered sail area.

And here is a photo of Mingming 11, the 24ft boat that Roger Taylor has been sailing in Arctic waters.  His firstMingming had a standard-sized flat-cut sail, and he wanted better performance for the predominantly light Arctic summer winds, yet still be capable in a blow.  He said Mingming 11 would sail in the lightest breaths, while the earlier boat would have been becalmed.  His sail is a bit unusual in that the lower panels are separate and can be individually replaced.  About 110% of the maximum fore and aft bermudian sail area is common, but up to 135% is possible if you are a competent sailor (I think you qualify).

Here's a picture of Arion going to windward, showing the straight battens and individually-cambered panels between them.

So it works, especially with plenty of sail area and some camber, but I suspect it might not satisfy your love of performance sailing.  I am a slow coach.  As long as I can keep off a lee shore and beat into and out of anchorages, I don't care if it takes a bit longer.  The ease of handing the rig is the most important criterion for me.

And here is a link to Zane’s junk rigged Contessa 26, PANGO, with a cambered sail underway in New Zealand.

I heard from several of you about the numbers I provided yesterday about the pandemic. After reading ‘Pale Horse, Pale Rider’ I became interested in comparing the rates of death and infection of the two pandemics.  I offered and draw no conclusion from the numbers.  I agree entirely with the comments made by a sailor/physician in the state of Washington.

I felt compelled to share some thoughts about COVID after reading your posts. I know you are not trying to minimize what is happening. I also believe that popular culture is being a bit sensational about what's going on.

Yes, by the time it is said and done COVID may not have killed the same percentage of the world's population as previous pandemics. And yes, most people that are infected will have a mild illness if they have any symptoms at all.

However I am troubled by the armed anti-lockdown protesters, by the incompetent presidential leadership, the "anti-maskers", and the politicization of the epidemic. These things I believe will ultimately cost more lives AND more economic suffering than we could have had if we had approached this problem in a coordinated, grown-up fashion. It is a false choice to think we must either save lives or save the economy. The economy will never recover until we have COVID under control and our healthcare system (for everyone, not just COVID patients) requires a functioning economy and some sort of GDP. In short, I don't think the lockdown orders were an over-reaction. We'll never be able to tell what would have happened if we had done nothing, but I'm glad we didn't risk it. Even if you assume that the true case fatality rate is "just" that of influenza (0.1%) you must then consider that this virus spreads more easily (due to asympotomatic spread and no vaccine yet), we could easily see millions of severe cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths in this country in pretty short order. The related concern is the real possibility of absolutely overwhelming our hospitals.

I'm a physician and I have cared for COVID and suspected COVID patients. My colleagues and I have not had adequate PPE and I am still re-using N95 masks (which was never intended by the manufacturer). We still have inadequate testing and contact tracing. Other hospitals in my region have drug shortages and not every patient can get Remdesivir. My hospital's beds and supply of ventilators were not exhausted, but during our peak we had two entire ICU floors full of COVID patients. If our state had not enacted stay at home guidelines I believe we would have exhausted our resources. If that had occurred then anyone that had any serious illness or terrible car accident may not have been able to have adequate care - so its not just about COVID patients.

Last evening I read an excellent and previously unknown to me poem, ‘Helen of Troy’, by Sara Teasdale, who was born in that city of three great poets, Saint Louis, Missouri.  T.S. Eliot was also born there.  Modesty forbids my naming the third.

Here is a link to ‘Helen of Troy’.