Monday, August 31, 2020

San Diego: last night


Junior, the travel lift operator, came to GANNET this afternoon and shifted the supports, following which I painted the five small areas I couldn’t reach and checked ‘anti-foul’ off my to do list.

Knowing the world is breathlessly awaiting an updated medical bulletin, my ankle is improved today.  Less swollen and less hot to the touch.  I would have tried to hobble to the Royal Rooster for a last world’s greatest taco, but wisely googled and found it is closed on Mondays.

I have turned the Yellowbrick on and it is sending up positions every six hours.  The tracking page is:

You need to go to the menu at the top and click on ‘last 30 days’.

I am about to hobble to the shower and will sit on deck when I return, listen to music, sip something, probably watch an osprey who has a favorite masthead perch not far away, and consider my last night in San Diego.  

As many of you know, I go back here all the way to the 1950s when my grandparents bought their beach house in North Mission Beach.  I have lived here intermittently.  Started three of my circumnavigations here and had many of the more significant experiences of my life here.  I will consider all that, but I do not live in the past.  Perhaps when you do, you are truly old.  I live in the present and plan a future that time and chance may put beyond my reach, but I do go the distance.

To Life.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

San Diego: the new view


The above was taken last evening while I was on deck sipping a medicinal libation.  Quite pleasant then.  I will take my medicine there again in a few hours.

I got a second coat of antifouling on GANNET this morning.  No problem standing.  GANNET looks just the way she did yesterday, but has another half gallon of Petit Vivid White on her.  I kept just enough to paint the areas now covered by the stands, which the yard is supposed to relocate tomorrow at an expense of $96.

This is a clean boat yard, as boat yards go, and very quiet today.  Yesterday a few other owners were working on their boats, but I was the only one today.

I got an email from Chris, the trucker, affirming that the truck will be onsite late tomorrow and load as early Tuesday morning as the yard can.  I leave for the airport at 9:30, so may or not see the little boat loaded.  If not, Chris will send photos.

I am pleased to report that no kayaks have run into GANNET today.  So far.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

San Diego: antifouled; medical bulletin

 The first coat of Pettit Vivid White is on.  Howard kindly came over this morning to help.  This is an act of kindness for which I can not sufficiently thank him.  Actually I helped him.  He offered to do it all, but I sat on the ground and painted the keel and what I could reach from there and he stood and started at the waterline and worked down until we met.  Among the many virtues of small boats is that it doesn’t take long to antifoul them.  We were finished in less than an hour.

I had also planned to repaint the rub rail.  The white paint has flaked off the underlying red plastic.  However I don’t think that is going to get done now.  It is easy to do while GANNET is in a slip, one side at a time.

The old blind fool is doing better than expected.  Even old people heal.  Sometimes.

My right foot and ankle are still grotesquely swollen, but I have no pain at rest and can stand and hobble fairly well.  Ibuprofen and my usual evening libations, which are now medicinal, have helped.  I thought I might even hobble down to the deli for a sandwich for lunch today, but half way across the boat yard I changed my mind.  I had planned to walk around Monday to the Royal Rooster for my last of the world’s best tacos, but that is a half mile and probably beyond my present range.

Friday, August 28, 2020

San Diego: lowered and hobbled

 As you can see Kasey and I lowered the mast yesterday with almost complete success.  There was minor collateral damage in that the Windex was damaged and one area of Raptor non-skid was gouged.  

Of odd interest is that the OpenWind transducer is now connecting with the iPhone, but then it is only a dozen feet away.  

The top photo is of an elderly sailor and his elderly boat.

Susan and Howard came by last evening and we had a very civilized picnic overlooking the Mission Bay Channel.  Susan took both the photos with her camera..  I thank her for permission to share them and for the picnic where the food was up to her usual suburb standard and there was even ice for the drinks.

They dropped me off at the marina after dark.  My vision, never good, is worse in the dark.  On the way to the boat yard gate, I stumbled on a curb and fell, apparently spraining my right ankle which is now quite large and quite painfull.  This is a nuisance because I actually have work to do.  I am not sure if I can stand long enough to get a coat of antifouling on tomorrow.  I may wait until Sunday.

The good news is that I was carrying a bottle of wine.  Unopened perhaps I need add.  And when I fell it didn’t break. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

San Diego: cluttered and uncluttered


I have a signed contract with Chris, who runs US Haulers to carry GANNET from San Diego to Hilton Head.  Pickup is “90% likely” next Tuesday.  The slight uncertainty has to do with other boats they are currently moving around California.  I have an airline reservation for Tuesday.  I would like to see GANNET placed on the truck, but my presence is not necessary.  I will fly to Evanston for a few days and then on to Hilton Head for the drop off after Labor Day.

Yesterday I lowered the boom, boom vang and mainsail, all of which are stowed on top of the Avon inflatable on the starboard pipe berth.

This morning I got up at 6 AM and lowered the jib before any wind came up.  Removing the jib from the furling gear is slightly different on this unit than others I have had, but I figured it out.  I even again got the sail folded and in a sail bag, though I noticed that it is the mainsail bag.

I then fit the Torqeedo.  Placed tape markers on the shrouds to aid in tuning the mast when it is re-stepped and removed the split pins from the turnbuckles.  I also moved the bow sprit below deck.

And finally I emptied the dock box.  This was the most onerous.  I threw away two bags of stuff, moved two duffle bags of maintenance supplies and work clothes, the Jordan Drogue, my plastic sextant which upon inspection is still in excellent condition, and some other gear onto GANNET.

Her interior is cluttered, but there is still enough room for me.  Barely.

While GANNET is becoming cluttered, my bank account is becoming dramatically uncluttered.  Money flew out yesterday like gannets diving on fish.  Rigger, trucker, boat yard.  It is a good thing I pay cash and don’t keep track except of the dwindling balance.

We are scheduled to come out of the water at 8 AM tomorrow. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

San Diego: it’s happening (I think)

Yesterday morning I woke a little after 6 AM, raised the anchor quietly, and Torqeedoed back to the marina just as the sun was rising over the inland mountains.  Lovely.  Until as I neared GANNET’s side tie, I found a large sea lion sleeping, one fin in the air, right off the end of the dock and directly in my way.  I was powering slowly and the Torqeedo is quiet.  Perhaps too quiet.  I shouted at him.  Nothing.  I put the Torqeedo in neutral and as we glided slowly forward shouted again.  Nothing.  Just as GANNET’s bow was going to play bumper seal and give him a slight nudge, his alarm bells sounded and he went into a great splashing crash dive.  I know sea lions are a protected species.  GANNET was barely making headway and would not have hurt him. I put the Torqeedo back in gear and docked.  As I was securing the dock lines, he surfaced a short distance away and glared at me.  

I made a  video at anchor in Mariner’s Cove but will have to wait until I have a better Internet connection to upload it.

Having been denied the pleasure of running into GANNET on Saturday, the kayakers made up for it yesterday.  I lost count, but I am reasonably certain a record was set.   In mid-afternoon while I was at Central reading, one scraped alongside so persistently that I stood up.  I found myself looking down at two frightened children, a boy and a girl, both around 10 in a two person kayak.  Although it was so long ago it is difficult to believe, but I was young once.  I could do nothing but smile at them and say, “It is a good idea not to run into boats.”  The girl said in a small voice, “I know.”


I had a good experience with uShip for the move from Illinois to San Diego eight years ago, but GANNET had a trailer then.  This time I have had only two bids, both higher than a quote I got from a boat moving firm several months ago to gauge prices.  So this morning I did an online search and began to make phone calls.  One company here in California does not truck farther east than Texas, but a helpful man there gave me other leads, one of which I believe is going to work.  For those interested, quotes ranged from $5,000 to $8,000.  

I have arranged to have GANNET hauled from the water this Thursday and Kasey is going to send a rigger over to help me—or the other way around—lower the mast.  I will antifoul GANNET over the weekend.  The tentative pick-up date is next Tuesday or Wednesday.  Hauling out on Friday would have been my preference, but the travel lift is fully booked that day.

Assuming this comes to pass, I will fly to Chicago for a few days and then on to Hilton Head.  The trucker asked if it would be acceptable if he stops in Texas to spend the Labor Day Weekend with his family.  More than acceptable, it is perfect, permitting me not to have to rush to Hilton Head and making it easier to coordinate the arrival at the small boat yard there after Labor Day.

I am excited.  It seems to be happening.      

Saturday, August 22, 2020

San Diego: last sail


I am at anchor in Mariner’s Cove off South Mission Beach about a half mile west of GANNET’s usual dock.  I do enjoy being on a mooring or at anchor, swinging bow into the breeze.  Also in not being in the shadow of the behemoth.

We had a pleasant sail this morning in light wind.  Never more than 5 knots and usually 4 with GANNET making about .5 less than wind speed.  In the above photo, which I present as proof that I actually did sail, we are heading back toward the Mission Bay channel entrance.

Not my last sail ever, but probably my last sail in the North Pacific Ocean and I go back here a long time.

A rare sail when everything was working.  The first time I used the Torqeedo remote helm.  An excellent accessory, both in controlling the outboard while sitting normally at the tiller and not having to reach aft, and in reading the battery level without having to lean out over the stern.

However, a cautionary note.  The OpenWind unit and app work well most of the time, but at irregular intervals do not connect.  Or rather they do connect, but within a second disconnect, then connect again, disconnect, etc.  I have not been able to discern any pattern to this.  At dock I wondered if there was some kind of interference from another boat.  The unit connected flawlessly while I was sailing, but now again is disconnecting.  There are other boats on moorings and at anchor nearby.  

Sounds of people on the beach and power boats.  GANNET and I are laudably quiet.

We will stay the night and Torqeedo back to the dock tomorrow morning.

Friday, August 21, 2020

San Diego: ready


I fit the Torqeedo and a tiller pilot today and then went up and did a load of laundry.  The photo was taken as I was sitting on deck sipping Plymouth gin and listening to Bach at 5:30 PM, but the water shows today’s negligible wind on an unusually oppressive day in San Diego.  Sweat poured off me at the least activity, from walking back and forth to the laundry room and later  to get a sandwich for lunch and dinner, to fitting the Torqeedo.  I wonder if this is because of the hurricane several hundred miles south of us off Baja California.

I got my sandwich, called an Outrigger, consisting of turkey, avocado, onion, and bacon, at the sandwich shop at the next marina.  They make good sandwiches.  I ate half of this one for lunch and the other half for dinner.  Each half was almost too much for me for one meal.  

I feel sorry for the people who own and work there.  Rent is still due.  I was there at 1 PM and saw only one other customer.  When I left a dollar in the tip jar I got more gratitude than deserved.  The greatest disaster of this pandemic is to the living, not the dead.

Tomorrow I will leave the dock.  I hope to sail.  I will try.  At the very least I will Torqeedo a quarter mile and anchor off South Mission Beach for the night.  An epic life indeed.

This photo comes from Steve and Wendy who own a house boat in the next finger.  I thank them for it.  That is Simon aloft.

I have written that one of the advantages of being an old man is that you can pay young men to do things you don’t want to.  If I remember correctly Simon told me he is 40, which isn’t exactly young, but I am almost twice his age.  When 40 seems young, you are old.  I embrace it.  I revel in it.  It is so unexpected.  So, as a magazine headed one of my articles decades ago, using the title of a song, ‘Against All Odds.’

A few of you have asked why I had the rigging work done here just before the mast will be lowered for the transit to Hilton Head.  The answer is trust.  I believe I am not just world class, but all time history class good at sailing boats alone across oceans—of small boats it might be beyond doubt—but I know what I do not know.  I am not a rigger or a sailmaker or for that matter a boat builder, so I evaluate those who are.  I have come across and in absence of alternatives had to use riggers in whom I did not have confidence.  Kasey and Pacific Offshore Rigging rigged GANNET’s new mast before the circumnavigation.  That they did so well is proven by the mast still standing after 30,000 sometimes difficult miles during which the masthead went in the water at least three times.  Maybe four.  So I have confidence in Kasey and the men he hires.  And there is a to me huge advantage in that Kasey and Simon and Gabe know who I am.  That they are working on a boat that may be seriously sailed and not just another marina sitter.  I sometimes get tired of bridging the gap between me and others, and with these men I didn’t have to. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

San Diego: rigged


Simon and Gabe appeared this morning with the new furling gear and the replacement aft lower shroud tie downs.  Assembled, installed, tuned, and GANNET is now rigged for another circumnavigation.  I am not saying she will make one, but she’s ready.  Or will be after painting, antifouling, and replacement interior cushions and pipe berths.  Most of which is cosmetic, but aesthetics count.

The furling gear a a ProFurl NC32i.  It is decidedly more substantial than the Furlex and maintenance free.  I had a ProFurl unit on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA and like them.

The old aft lower shroud tie downs were Dyneema which does not stretch much, but did some, so I have had them replaced with wire.  Also the old turnbuckles were at the bottom instead of the top and difficult to reach for adjustment.

So I have been able to check several things off my ‘to do’ list without doing anything much except watch others work.  New masthead tricolor/anchor light.  Wind transducer installed.  New furling gear.  All new standing rigging.  

Oh, there is something more I have to do.  Write a check.  Gladly.  

Thank you Pacific Offshore Rigging.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

San Diego: Marvin Creamer, ancient mariner; unbox; stuffed; alternatives

 I thank Mark for a link to the obituary of Marvin Creamer, who recently died at age 104.  A professor of geography, he is known for having circumnavigated using no instruments, not even a compass.  He viewed the sky and the sea and birds and insects and even deduced direction from a squeak.  I remember reading about his remarkable voyage, but did not remember his name.  I agree with him that there were mariners of old who were unafraid of the sea and who navigated as he did.

Early Tuesday afternoon.  I heard from Kasey, the rigger, a little while ago.  The new furling gear was shipped in two boxes.  One has arrived.  One has not.  Maybe tomorrow afternoon.  Sigh.

I am stuffed.  About 11:30, wanting to avoid noon, I walked around to the Royal Rooster and got a carne asada taco and a barbarcoa (not sure about the spelling) barbecued pork.  I brought them back to GANNET to eat.  Both very good, but one would have been enough.

Royal Rooster seemed to be doing about as much business as pre-pandemic.  They have moved the cash register to what was the front door.  You place your order there and it is brought out a side door to a pick-up table.  People were eating at three or four of the outdoor tables, but while I was there most orders were taken away.

No dinner tonight.

Also no new bids at uShip.   I rejected the only one offered so far as being too high.  Why they want almost as much to truck GANNET 2400 miles across this country as I paid to have her trucked 50 miles across Panama.  Outrageous.

It is possible that bidders will wait until near the end of the listing period which still has six days to run.  If no acceptable bids come, I will search further online and/or accept a quote from a boat transport company I already have.

However last night I found myself checking the distance San Diego to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and Port Stanley to Hilton Head.  Both are about 6300 miles.  I could do that.  I’m not going to.  But I did check.

Monday, August 17, 2020

San Diego: listed; insults; lessons


This morning I activated the listing at uShip for GANNET to be trucked to Hilton Head.

I also called Kasey, the rigger.  The new furling gear has not yet arrived.  Hopefully today.  If so it will be installed tomorrow.

A quiet morning.  The kayak rental is closed on Mondays.  

From Larry comes an amusing list of ‘when insults had class’.  I thank him.  Here are a few:

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.

"That depends, Sir,"  said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."

      - Mark Twain

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."

      - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But I'm afraid this wasn't it."

      - Groucho Marx

Rik experienced a capsize in his Welsford Pathfinder, VANESSA, and has written of the lessons he learned.  I thank him for the link and am glad it turned out no worse.

I walked to the supermarket yesterday and as usual Ubered back to the marina.  Uber and Lyft may suspend operations in California starting this week because of a law requiring them to treat drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.  I found myself wondering what I am going to do and then I remembered taxis.  How last century and how quickly we forget.

Friday, August 14, 2020

San Diego: what?

I looked down a few minutes ago and thought:  What the hell is that?  An elephants’s trunk came to mind.  It is, alas, my left leg.  

It is difficult to believe that beautiful women once told me I was beautiful.  That they were was beyond dispute.  Three literally stopped traffic.  Lights changed and no cars moved, until finally someone honked.  That I was is far less certain.  I like to believe that however misguided they meant it.

Note the Band-Aids.  I worked today and working on GANNET means scrapes.  There are also two open gouges on my right arm.  All in a good cause.

After a mid-morning row around the bait barge, I slithered aft on the starboard pipe berth and sprayed and wiped and removed mold that I can seldom reach, all in contortions unseemly for an old man.  Later I moved most of the stuff from the port side of the stern and did the same there.  GANNET is probably as mold free as she has  been since before the circumnavigation.  I only hope I killed more mold than inhaling the spray will kill me.

While emptying the stern, I took the Torqeedo on deck and fitted it.  It started as a good electric outboard should.  I then returned it below deck.

I also tested two of the tiller pilots.  They too worked.

And I sorted out various lines above deck.  Moved the running  backstays and the main halyard to their normal in port positions.  Removed other lines used to hold boom and mast in place while the standing rigging was being replaced.

Tomorrow I will scrub the dinghy and the deck and remove the Dyneema lines that backup the aft lower shrouds in preparation for them to the replaced by wire when Simon returns I hope on Monday.  As I have observed Dyneema doesn’t stretch much, but it does some.  Simon agreeds.

Clarity on the way forward is emerging.

I went to the uShip site and put in tentative details of trucking GANNET east.  I want to do this now.  Otherwise it will mean flying across this country three times rather than once.

If the price of admission is in the millions I am usually not interested, but Pat sent me a link to a video of COMANCHE’s record breaking Atlantic crossing that I enjoyed, despite the hyperbole. Perhaps you will too.  I thank him.

Just after 8 PM and sunset.  I sit at Central watching the last light fade from the sky beyond the companionway hatch, feeling a slight cool breeze, listening to a scrambled non classical playlist—at the moment ‘Oh, Maria’ by Chico and the Gypsies; and sipping Laphroaig.

Only a few more days in Quivira Basin where important parts of my life have taken place for more than fifty years.

I look back, but I am moving forward.  


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

San Diego: winded


Kasey telephoned yesterday afternoon and asked if they could start work on GANNET today rather than tomorrow.  

Simon, who works for Kasey, appeared at 9:30 this morning.  After making certain that it was connecting with my phone via Bluetooth, he installed the OpenWind transducer at the masthead.

The black object is it with its supplied base.  The photo is looking aft from the bow.

The other images are screen shots of two pages from the OpenWind iPhone app.  As you can see the app can show pitch and roll as well as wind speed and direction and by using the iPhone’s GPS, SOG and COG.  

With everything moved from the starboard side of the interior so I could slither aft to retrieve part of the running back stay adjuster GANNET is heeled to port.  About pitch I am not certain why she is down by the stern.  Perhaps she isn’t.  There is a way to calibrate that.  I’ll see when her interior is again stowed normally.

He then removed the masthead tricolor/anchor light.  The anchor light has not been working.  In tests back at the shop they determined that both anchor light and tricolor come on no matter how wired.  As many of you know, GANNET’s masthead has been in the water three or four times.  Masthead lights are not meant to have that experience.  It will be replaced.

About half of the standing rigging has been removed and taken to the shop where replacements will be swaged.  The mast is held in place by the running backstays, the forestay, opposite lower shrouds, and a halyard as an upper shroud.  

Simon looked at GANNET’s hinged mast step and realized how easily her mast can be lowered and asked why the rigging wasn’t replaced with the mast down.  I told him to ask Kasey.

All this took only three or four hours.  I am told the new furling gear will not arrive until Monday, but progress has been made. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

San Diego: quiet


A quiet day reading a good book, THE BYZANTINE WORLD WAR by Nick Holmes, about the end of the Byzantine Empire and the First Crusade.  I only went ashore in late afternoon to shower.

Dinner of freeze dry Chicken Fried Rice which does not at all taste like fried rice, but is good enough, accompanied by Plymouth gin and Pablo Casals playing Bach Cello Suites.  Also arkking sea lions which I doubt Bach wrote into the score.

I listen to other music, but I do follow my own advice and listen to some Bach and read some poetry every day.

The iPhone panorama above was taken a few minutes ago.  The basin doesn’t really bulge like that, but you understand.

I am nearing the end of some provisions.

A few days ago I inventoried my freeze dry meals and found 34, two of which date from New Zealand more than four years ago.  I ate and enjoyed the fish pie, which does not taste like fish pie, but discarded the tandoori chicken, which does not taste like tandoori chicken. Although the packet seemed intact the contents were an unsightly grey.  Nothing, including freeze dry food is forever. 


I will have been back on GANNET two weeks tomorrow.  It does not seem that long.  I have not settled into a routine.  I have not done my workout once since my return, although I can on the foredeck.  I don’t have an explaination.

My life here is constrained by the pandemic.  I am careful when I leave GANNET.  I wear a face mask and have contempt for those in this marina and elsewhere who don’t when in public.  I consider them stupid or selfish or both.  I would like to walk over to Mission Beach but I expect it would be intolerable.  Presciently, though I can’t really claim I saw this coming, I made a video saying good-bye to the location of my grandparent’s home and Mission Beach earlier this year.  I doubt I will ever go back.

 I do things sequentially.  I am waiting for Kasey, the rigger, to come and do his work on GANNET, which he tells me he will start on Thursday.  Then I will decide what to do next.  I would like to go sailing.

Google Alerts has sent me several notices lately about people on forums trying to find a link to download my books for free.  One of them is odd in that it seems that somewhere in the world STORM PASSAGE is assigned reading to students who are required to answer questions about it.  Oh, my.  If I understand correctly what is happening this is in a country where English is a second language, in which case it is understandable that a good teacher would want to expose his or her students to a master of the language.  Or it might be because the download is free.

They did have the grace and good sense to refer to me as ‘legendary’.  I want you to know that when we meet in person you do not have to call me ‘Your Legendaryness’, except of course on formal occasions.

Of free, I rewatched the film THERE WILL BE BLOOD last evening.  I had downloaded it from Netflix to my iPad before I left Evanston.  It is a very good film about a very dislikable man.  After watching I googled and learned that Daniel Day Lewis has won the Best Actor Oscar three times, once for BLOOD.  

I did know that the film is loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s novel, OIL, and thought I might read it.  I expected that a novel published before I was born would be in the Public Domain.  Somehow it is not, and before the film came out Penguin Books bought the rights and I paid $9.99 for the Kindle Edition.  Some are too greedy.  Write what you are going to write.  Do what you are going to do.  Get enough to live a decent life if you can.  And then give it away.

I find myself considering again words from Jim that I have published here before:

Another way to view this is, at our age, the addition of Covid may not change the overall calculation very much.  Other things may be creeping up on us.  As someone said, “Something is going to kill you.”  Just not today…

I walked three miles yesterday to BevMor to obtain Laphroaig and Plymouth Gin and a bottle of Coppola Claret.  I also went to a near by supermarket and obtained berries, juice, and trail mix.  All the necessities of life.  Well, perhaps not quite all.

Bill, a racer of dinghies and a cruiser with his father, Roger, in their Westerly, CALSTAR, keeps that boat in Plymouth, England, near the Black Friar’s Distillery, the source of Plymouth gin since1763.

I happened to look at the bottle carefully today.  

On the front label is a drawing of the MAYFLOWER and the words, In 1620 the MAYFLOWER set sail from Plymouth on a journey of hope and discovery.  And:  Batch distilled in the original Victorian copper still.



Sunday, August 9, 2020

San Diego: furious; noisy; oblivious; clean


I finished A FURIOUS SKY.  Above is one of the illustrations in the book, THE GREAT GALE OF 1815 by John Russell Bartlett.  That storm hit New England,  I believe the scene is Providence, Rhode Island.

A FURIOUS SKY is a mostly interesting book.  As the NY TIMES said, the author, Eric Jay Dolan, is best when he is describing the storms themselves.  There are many almost incredible stories of survival and many of tragic death.  Of the illustrations, the most dramatic are before and after shots of various locations after storm surges obliterated everything as effectively as an atomic bomb.

An inescapable conclusion is that hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more severe with global warming.

Only five hurricanes have made landfall in the United States as Category 5 storms.

1928  San Filipe II Hurricane  Puerto Rico

1935  Labor Day Hurricane  Florida Keys

1969  Camille  Louisiana and Mississippi

1992  Andrew  South Florida

2018  Michael  Florida Panhandle

Others, such as Katrina, were Category 5 storms briefly but not at landfall.

As a property owner in hurricane country, this gives me pause.  We are on the inland side of Hilton Head Island five miles from the ocean, but only two miles from Port Royal Sound where a storm surge could be driven.  At least we are on the third floor.

Also to give pause is a recent forecast that a period of unusual storm activity is expected to began in a couple of weeks.  I thank Steve Earley for the link.

The past few days have been noisy.  Sea lions who were quiet when I first returned to GANNET are now in full voice.  Day and night.  I don’t know what is going on out there.

I do know what is going on here at the dock where GANNET was run into five times yesterday.  I didn’t even go on deck, though I did shout at the last woman, “Try not to run into my boat.”  She said, “Sorry.”

Today GANNET has only been run into three times, but kayakers and stand up boarders will be returning for another hour or two so they may be able to improve their score.  

A few minutes ago a blow against the hull beside me was hard enough for me to stand up.  I found myself looking down on a middle aged man in a kayak staring at his phone.  I could have reached out and rapped  him on the head and probably should have.  I stood for several seconds.  He had no idea I was there.  Finally, in disgust, I said, “Man, you are oblivious.”  And sat down.

I am considering buying a water cannon.

Yesterday a pleasant young man, Javier, came and cleaned GANNET’s bottom.  Now if I can only get Kasey, the rigger, to do his work, I might go for a sail.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

San Diego: two good books; a row; a diver; a lightning strike

I am currently reading two excellent books, alternating chapters.

One is A FURIOUS SKY brought to my attention by Steve Earley for which I thank him.  Steve saw a review in the NY TIMES.

I read the review and having a personal interest in hurricanes immediately bought the Kindle edition of the book, although I know the sky cannot be furious.  I suppose the title will sell copies  to those who do not understand the pathetic fallacy.

So far I have learned that South Carolina is the fifth most hurricane hit state, after Florida, a clear number one with landfall made there by 40% of all hurricanes that strike the US, Texas, North Carolina, and Louisiana.

I have also learned that a very rare hurricane hit San Diego back in 1858.  California is protected by prevailing northwest winds and cool ocean temperatures.

From the book the above image shows the tracks of all Atlantic hurricanes from 1851 to 2012.  Our condo is under there somewhere.  Maybe we should have bought in Portugal.

The other is a novel, GRENDEL, by John Gardner, a variation on the Beowulf epic.  The writing and imagination are extraordinary.

The wood prototype Moore 24 is named Grendel.  An interesting choice and a beautifully restored boat.

I considered yesterday deflating the Avon and restowing it on the starboard berth, but I didn’t and had a lovely row around the bait barge this morning.  Sleeping sea lions, pelicans, cormorants and sea gull.  No egrets.  I do enjoy rowing.  I may go again later this afternoon.

Also yesterday on my way up to shower I passed Javier, a diver just coming from the water after cleaning a boat bottom.  He is coming on Saturday to clean that of GANNET’s bottom I could not reach.  

Kasey, the rigger, said that the new furling gear would take five days to arrive.  Five working days have passed.  I hope to hear from him soon.  With a clean bottom and new rigging and wind instrument, I might even take GANNET sailing.

Roger, who lives in Bluffton, not far from Hilton Head is one of several of you who have great building skills.  He built his 40’ catamaran, TRAVELER, including the carbon fiber mast.  He and his wife, Laurie, were cruising in the Bahamas when the pandemic began.  They have since sailed home, where TRAVELER is kept on a private dock.

A few days ago Roger wrote me:

A big violent lightning strike hit us at our dock on the May River a few weeks ago. It hit the mast and blew wounds in the head and the foot. Fried our electronics, pumps, lights and both engines. It blew a hole the size of a tennis ball, one in each hull, just above the waterline. I patched them with plywood screws and silicone so we could be towed to Savannah and hauled out at Thunderbolt Marine. 

Here are some photos.

Roger and Laurie were in their home ashore at the time.  I have known of other boats to be hit by lightning, but none that sustained so much damage.  

Lightning at sea frightens me because I know there is nothing I can do about it and that my mast, even one as short as GANNET’s, is the highest thing for miles.

When I bought the Ericson 37, EGREGIOUS, one of the options was for lightning protection.  It cost only $100 so I ordered it.  I drove up to the Ericson plant in Orange Country to see the boat under construction and asked about the lightning protection.  A thick copper wire connected at one end to the port upper shroud chain plate and at the other to a 1” diameter copper bolt through the hull was pointed out to me.  I asked, “Will that work?”   “We won’t know until a boat is hit by lightning.”  Fortunately EGREGIOUS wasn’t.

I wish Roger and Laurie a swift and complete repair of TRAVELER and thank them for permission to share the photos.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

San Diego: lovely photo; lovely story; standed; watchless; a dubious walk; fortunately closed

Kent and Audrey of Small Boat Restoration and Armada fame posted a lovely photo recently.

Here is the link. 

The photo is best enlarged.  Probably all photos are.  And includes my favorite attack canoe.

Steve Earley recently posted a lovely story proving that boats bring joy even to those who do not sail them.  We all probably already knew that, but it is good to be reminded.

From Dieter comes an article about cruising boats stranded in the South Pacific hoping New Zealand will let them in before the cyclone season.  I thank him.  While I take exception to one statement in the article, I hope New Zealand does.  It would be humane and it would be easy to isolate the crews at anchor or on moorings off Opua for testing and whatever remained of a quarantine period.  All crews would have been at sea for at least a week before reaching New Zealand.

The sentence to which I take exception:

He says their members don't own rich superyachts - the vessels range from 7 to 20 metres long, and aren't capable of riding out a cyclone at sea.

If their boats aren’t capable of riding out a cyclone, they have the wrong boats.  Or the wrong sailors.  Mine could and did eight times, and even 18’ open CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE and 24’ ultralight GANNET survived 55 knot storms.  Not quite hurricane strength, but close.

Some will say, “Well we can’t all be Webb Chiles.”  True and a pity.

From Ron comes an article about the future of shipping which gives me pause.  I thank him.  Autonomous ships will not have humans standing watch, which means that once again the future is catching up with me who as a single handler never has kept constant watch.  I wonder if the artificial intelligence controlling the ships will be able to detect GANNET or any moderate size sailboat under sail,  No engine sound.  No heat signature.  

I walked to the Ralph’s supermarket across from the Sports Arena today and Ubered back.  I was out of juice and berries and ended up spending $200, which did include a bottle of gin and another of an unknown to me single malt scotch named Glenbar.  Ralph’s does not stock the nectar of the gods, so this will have to do.

I enjoyed the walk except when I had to pass at the greatest distance possible several unmasked homeless people.  They have my distant sympathy, but I may Uber both ways next time.

I have been sleeping in the heaviest of my sleeping bags and with the hatches closed which reduces the noise of the occasional power boat and sea lion.  Last night I decided to switch to a lighter bag and almost decided to leave the forward hatch open.  Sometime in the middle of the night I was cooler than I wanted to be and switched back to the heavier bag.  This morning when I woke I looked up and found the hatch directly above me sprayed with a massive hit from a passing sea gull.  Had the hatch been open I would have had a very rude awakening.