Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Evanston: weight loss; Mr. Magoolash; nightmare

        I have lost six pounds.  Three from my body, which didn’t need it.  Three from my devices, which did.
        The three from my body were an unintentional but now accepted consequence of my spending time on GANNET, where, although I workout less, I lead a naturally more active life than in Evanston, particularly in the winter, which hasn’t even started, despite the view from our windows of a thin layer of snow beneath a thick layer of low gray cloud.
        I expect to gain some of the lost pounds back over the holidays.
        I recently took a survey in order to obtain a slight reduction in our health insurance premiums.  At the conclusion it advised me that for my age and height, my waist could be up to 40” and still be considered normal.
        Even if I weren’t moving in the other direction, I’d have a long way to go.

        The three pounds from devices is more useful and comes from my MacBook Air weighing 2 1/2 pounds less than my MacBook Pro, and a new iPad mini weighing almost 3/4 pound less than my third generation full size iPad.  While the amounts are not great, the change in handling and feel is revelatory and dramatic.  
        The weight savings is in fact even greater for, although I can’t fit all my music on a 64 GB mini, and regret that I didn’t spend the extra hundred dollars for 128 GB, the mini instantly became my preferred device, replacing the full size iPad, a Kindle Paperwhite, and an iTouch.  I will keep all those as backup; but I am basically down to two:  the mini and the Air.

        Oddly, or perhaps not, considering, I, who have made a career of sorts talking about myself, come from a close-mouthed family who did not.
        I don’t know how any of my relatives met  and very little else about them, including why my father and mother separated before I was born or why he seven years later committed suicide.  
        As a matter of survival, young animals are sensitive to their surroundings, particularly to the adult members of their species present; and as a young child I knew something was wrong.  Only earlier this year, while having dinner with friends, did Carol hear me state what seems to me obvious:  my mother disliked me for the same reason my grandmother liked me:  I reminded both of my father.  I saw him for a few minutes twice and cannot judge.  
        So I was not close to my family, except that one grandmother, and tend to think of myself as springing full blown, if not like Athena from the head of Zeus, then from my own mind.
        However, a reader, Dave, who is interested in genealogy, has done some research into mine and revealed things about myself that I did not know, for which I thank him.
        I had thought that both sides of my family came from England, on one side before the Revolutionary War.  With one exception, particularly significant because it gave me my first name, that is true.  Dave has provided a family tree on my mother’s side that shows one great-grandfather, Sigmund C. Weber, was born in 1869 in Budapest, Hungary.  I had no idea there was a Sigmund in my family, nor a Hungarian.
        My vision has been impaired all my life, obviously worse in the past two years.  However, I usually read without my eyeglasses and sometimes get up without remembering to put them back on, which can result in my peering about nearsightedly in a fashion reminiscent of Mr. Magoo.  Now I discover that I’m really Mr. Magoolash.

        I continue to read IMMORTAL POETS a few poems at a time.
        Most of the poems are not new to me, but many I have not read for years.
        So far the most compelling have been by William Blake.  After reading his, I immediately bought the Kindle edition of WILLIAM BLAKE:  The Complete Illuminated Books.
        I was also surprised, even amazed by Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.
        The first part includes lines and images that have entered the tribal consciousness:  water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.  A painted ship on a painted sea.  An albatross around the neck.
        But it is the last part of the long poem that I had forgotten and which particularly impresses me.  Passages are nightmarish enough to have been written by Edger Allen Poe; though perhaps the nightmare is of the opium to which Coleridge was addicted.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Evanston: nuts; (almost) everything

        In my new role as a gourmet chef, I have more food advice.  I know that’s why you come here.
        I eat a lot of nuts.  A handful of trail mix on my uncooked oatmeal for breakfast.  Another handful in yoghurt, which is my preferred lunch when I can get it.  I often snack on trail mix or nuts in late afternoon.  They last almost indefinitely and fit in well with my non-refrigerated boat life.  It turns out that you should eat nuts, too.
        A study recently reported in THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE concludes that eating a handful of nuts a day cuts mortality rates from heart disease by an astounding 29% and cancer by 11%.
        It doesn’t matter what kind of nuts you eat, including peanuts, which are actually legumes.
        An ounce to an ounce and a half/28 to 43 grams every day is most effective, but smaller amounts help, too.
        How many nuts are in an ounce varies by nut, from a low of 14 for walnut halves to 40 to 45 for pistachios.  Peanuts 28.  Almonds 20-24.  
        Calories also vary from 160 to 190 an ounce.
        Protein from 4 to 7 grams.
        That you read this journal proves your superior intelligence and discerning taste.  I want you to live a long, healthy life.  


        I’ve spent part of the past two days trying to compile a comprehensive list for Vince, and anyone else who might be interested, of what I’ve done to and bought for GANNET in my now almost two and a half years of ownership.
        My approach was three pronged.
        I checked my Amazon order history.
        I went over my accounts in Quicken in which I usually make a note of what each expenditure is for.  
        And I then checked photographs in the Aperture library to see if anything appeared that I hadn’t discovered at Amazon or in Quicken.  Still, undoubtedly, there are things I've missed.
        In summary, I painted every inch of the boat inside and out, deck to keel.  Two coats. 
        I fully renovated the interior.  New cushions and pipe berth covers, stowage bags. 
        I replaced the rig, from the Windex at the masthead to the chainplates, including all standing rigging, mast and boom, and all running rigging except the spinnaker halyard.
        I installed an electrical system from solar panels to batteries that makes GANNET power independent.
        I added jib furling gear, gennaker furling gear, a carbon fiber bow sprit, an electric outboard, an inflatable dinghy, three more tiller pilots, and 10’ oars.
        Following is a list of what happened by year, and then a list of items bought and done in the order in which I came across them.  To organize them logically would take more time than I want to spend.
        The list does not include most standard supplies, such as sealant, WD40, McLube, bolts, tape, etc.
        I made some mistakes and false starts, among them the tea kettle, too many Bluetooth speakers, Hydro Flask, the Sportaseat lumbar cushion, oars and shockingly expensive custom fabricated oarlock sockets, and the Weems and Plath barometer.
        Several of these were problems of sequence.  The JetBoil stove renders the tea kettle unnecessary.  The Bluetooth speakers came on the market at different times and have different qualities—superior sound; small size; waterproof.  I found the lumbar cushion uncomfortable.   The Hydro Flask awkward to use. The Air Sight Reduction Tables replaced by the iMariner app.  I bought the Weems and Plath when the Ambient Weather station broke, but temperature on the W&P is difficult to read and I now have barometers in two watches.
        The greatest false start was the self-steering vane.  Once I decided not to fit it and to continue using the Torqeedo, rowing GANNET became unnecessary.  It wasn’t very effective anyway.
        By far the worst job was removing the fresh water only VC17 antifouling paint.
        It should be remembered that when I bought GANNET she was not a project boat, but was in very good shape, except for her interior, and fully equipped for day racing.
        Some of what I have done to her is just personal preference.  Most was to transform her into an ocean voyager.
        The total expense would be a significant multiple of what I paid for the little sloop.  I don’t want to know.  It was money well spent without regret.

interior:  paint, cushions, covers, oil wood, stowage bags
batteries, electrical panel, wiring
Furlex jib furling gear
Facnor gennaker furling gear

remove VC17 antifouling
antifoul with Petit Vivid
Tides Marine mainsail track
new sails:  fully battened main, 110% furling jib; asymmetrical     
install four Aurinco solar panels, Solar Boost 2000e regulator
install Harken 20.2 winches
replace main sheet and all halyards except spinnaker
under deck reinforcement of aft lower shrouds
bow sprit
paint topsides
move GANNET west

paint deck with non-skid
Treadmaster in cockpit
Raymarine depthfinder
oars; oar lock sockets
new forward hatch
new mast, boom, standing rigging, chain plates
rearrange deck layout around mast
new tiller
install two more solar panels
by item

elago USB chargers
Sanyo eneloop rechargeable batteries
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speaker
Stearns Solar Shower 
2 Tripp Lite PV 150w DC to AC Inverters
DeWalt DCD710S2 12-Volt Electric Drill
SeaTeak Wall Mount Paper Towel Holder
Marinco 12V Receptacles
Blue Sea 8373 Water Resistant 6 Position electrical panel
WMF Waiters knife and corkscrew
2 dishes, 2 plastic measuring cups to eat from, cutlery
2 Dartington Exmoor crystal glasses
Revere Whistling tea kettle
Sony ICF-SW7600GR AM/FM Shortwave radio
Soundmatters foxLv2 Bluetooth speaker
Phenolic G-10 Glass Grade Sheet, several small
    pieces of varying thickness for backing plates
Uniden QT-206W Digital Depth Finder
Mighty Bright Clip-On lights (Kindle version)
Icom IC-M88 Handheld VHF radio
Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater
Jetboil stove
Jetboil 1.5 Liter cooking pot
Maglite 2-D Cell LED flashlight and bracket
2 small flashlights
2 headlamps
Ecoxgear Ecoxbt waterproof bluetooth speaker
3M 4910 VHB mounting tape
Ambient Weather WS-1171 weather station
Pelican HardBack waterproof iPad case
Irwin 8-inch Multi electrical wire stripper, crimper
Dremel Tool
life jackets, fog horn, flares
aLoksak Dry Bags
The Sextant Handbook
2012 Nautical Almanac
Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen
Dual Electronics XGPS150 Bluetooth GPS receiver
Scosche Low-Profile USB car charger
Adidas Men’s CC Lace Watershoes
Panasonic ES8243! Men’s electric shaver
Camelbak Eddy Bottle
Hydro Flask 64 ounce stainless steel bottle
Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard
DC charging cord for Torqeedo
hand tools and tool bag
electric sander
electric jig saw
2 Sportaseats
Sportaseat lumbar cushion
battery charger
interior cushions and pipe berth
rigging knife
three sleeping bags:  two light weight, one heavier
tiller extension
sheet bags for cockpit and interior stowage
Furlex jib furling gear
sail repair needles, twine, waxed whipping twine
Facnor gennaker furling gear
3 tiller pilots
tiller pilot remote
paint:  interior, exterior hull, antifouling, deck non-skid
new main, jib, asymmetrical spinnaker
Blue Sky Solar Boost 2000e solar regulator 
6 Aurinco solar panels
2 bow cleats
2 Harken 20.2 sheet winches
Harken winch handle
pad eyes, line for aft lower  shrouds below deck
Lewmar rope clutches:  2 doubles; 1 single
Tides Marine Strong System mainsail track
4 five gallon jerry cans for water
Gannet name decals
several duffle bags, 2 waterproof
iNavX chartplotting app, charts
iMariner app
1 sheet of Treadmaster
Lewmar mid profile hatch
10’ oars and locks
custom oar lock socket
dock lines
splash covers for main hatch
Navisafe 360° light
masthead Windex
Shaka iPad wind instrument
waterproof cases iTouch, iPad
Garmin Quatix watch
Avon RedStart inflatable dinghy
Velocitek ProStart
Deks Olje
2 Group 24 Lifeline AGM batteries
Silva compass
teak mirror
MSR Pocket Rocket stove
old jib recut to be furling
15 pound Delta anchor and rode
Air Sight Reduction tables
iMariner app
Forte carbon fiber bow sprit
Trailer repair and tires
tow GANNET west
Ballenger mast and boom
riggers install mast and boom
Weems and Plath barometer
standing rigging
main sail, furling jib, asymmetrical  spinnaker
carbon fiber bow sprit
Furlex jib furling gear
running rigging except for spinnaker halyard
mainsail cover
Velocitek ProStart and mast mount
small bow roller
bow cleats to replace u-bolts
Lewmar mid-profile hatch
Lewmar rope clutches
six 25 watt Aurinco solar panels
Raymarine depthsounder
main traveler cleats
tiller and cover
two additional cockpit sheet bags
oar sockets
Torqeedo outboard
two coats deck non-skid paint
hull repainted
removed VC17 antifouling
antifouled with Petit Vivid
new name decals each side hull

Jordan drogue

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Evanston: critics of The Gettysburg Address

        The Gettysburg Address was given 150 years ago yesterday.  
        In President Lincoln’s home state, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s editorial response:  The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as The President of the United States.
        Immediately after concluding his short address, Lincoln said to a U.S. Marshal who often accompanied him, “Lamon, that speech won’t scour.  It is a flat failure and the people are disappointed.”
        So much for the judgement of critics, even self.

        From the Civil War Today app, I also learned that the President had small pox when he was at Gettysburg, which may have been true.


        I am in the process of ordering a Jordan drogue from Oceanbreak in England.
        Because the smallest size they show on their website is for vessels of 10,000 pound displacement, I emailed asking if they would make something GANNET size.  They replied offering a 75 cone drogue suitable for vessels up to 6,000 pounds, which is what I am ordering.
        Of all the various types of sea anchors and drogues, I find the science behind the Jordan to be most convincing.  I also find the car salesman-like claims of some alternatives objectionable, as well as one site trying to sell for almost $50 a book about how to use their gear that they should be giving away free.
        Based on my experience, I am not among those who think that any type of drogue is essential for a trade wind circumnavigation.  Nor, obviously because I’ve done it twice around Cape Horn without one, essential even for the Southern Ocean.  But I believe it possible that I might have fared better in Force 12 storms down there had I deployed one.  Jordan had not done his research until well after my EGREGIOUS voyage.  
        I expect that some of the storms I encountered in the Southern Ocean, which capsized EGREGIOUS and rolled THE HAWKE OF TUONELA’s masthead into the water, would skip GANNET across the waves like a smooth stone across a pond.  Thus, a Jordan drogue.  A piece of gear I hope never to use.


        An article in THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN states that the Forties are going to roar louder, with winds increasing by 15% over the next seventy years.  Not my problem.
        I also read that researchers have obtained a grant to track the PIG iceberg with GPS and that, as Larry predicted, the berg is expected still to be in existence in two years.
        The claim that the tip of South America is “one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes” is absurd.  Perhaps the researchers needed to say so to get the grant.


        Last Sunday’s storm stripped most of the remaining leaves from the trees.  Spring and autumn do not last long.  In much of North America and Europe, winter is by far the longest season.  One day last week, a hedge beside our building was flaming red.  Two days later it was bare.
        The sun is low and the slanting light of November afternoons elegiac, as though reaching back across the ages, we know cold and dark hunger will follow.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Evanston: storm front; charging; reflecting; bivy; everything; George Carlin

        Carol and I were at a shopping mall a few miles west of our condo when the storm front struck at noon yesterday.  It was predicted and we could see it coming, but it was alarmingly strong, with torrential rain pouring down so fast it could not run off and caused almost immediate street flooding, and winds of around 50 miles per hour.   
        The first wave lasted an hour, following which the sky cleared and bright sun came out for another hour, before dark clouds ushered in a second, but less strong period of wind and rain.
        The tornados stayed well south of Evanston.
        While tornados are not unknown in November, spring is the usual tornado season.
        As I’ve pointed out before, the United States is a tough country in which to live.  Those few areas that don’t have tornados and severe winters are subject to hurricanes or earthquakes.


        Michael, a sharp eyed reader, observed in the photos of the cardinal points of The Great Cabin, that I was charging my iPad via an inverter.  He wrote that he uses a Belkin cord that plugs into a DC cigarette lighter socket avoiding the conversion of DC into AC and back to DC.  This is what I do when changing the Torqeedo battery, using a DC cord instead of the standard AC charger.
        His suggestion caused me to reconsider iPad charging.  I once tried charging by plugging into the Elago USB adapter, but it’s output is only 1 amp and it didn’t work.
        Since then I read somewhere of adapters made by Scosche that output 2.1 amps and charge devices faster.  I bought one and had been using it, but hadn’t thought to try the iPad.  I did and the iPad charged.  A simplification.  Excellent.
        Thank you, Michael.

        Another sailor, Jeannette, told me about Columbia Omni-Heat Reflective clothing, which due to their lining which reflects back the body’s own heat are said to be extremely warm.
        At my request, Carol gave me Omni-Heat fleece and pants for my birthday.  They fit well, over normal clothes and under foul weather gear, seem to do what they claim to, and look better than I expected.  
        I wore the fleece top for a walk today when it was windy and 40°F/4.5°C and was comfortable.
        I noticed in a WEST Marine Christmas catalog a pair of gloves made with the same type of reflective lining and may get them for Christmas.
        Thank you, Jeannette, though I don’t think you are reading this any longer.

        I may also get for Christmas a bivy.
        Steve of SPARTINA fame brought bivies to my attention.  He often sleeps in one at anchor aboard his 17’ open boat.
        Some of you may recall that I rigged a piece of plastic over my settee berth on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA to prevent drips from the companionway falling on me, (see above) and HAWKE had a dodger.
        I hope my Velcroed covers will reduce water leaking through GANNET’s hatch, but I don’t expect perfection.
        It is not certain that a bivy will work on an inclined pipe berth, but if it does, I will in severe weather be sleeping in one inside GANNET.  
        In any event, it will be better than wrapping myself in a tarp on CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE’s floorboards.


        A small boat sailor from Australia wrote asking if I have a list of all the things I’ve bought and done to prepare GANNET.  I don’t; but I’ve just finished writing my last magazine article for this year and don’t have much else to do after my daily housekeeping chores, so I’ll try to compile one, though this might be better done when I’m on GANNET.
        Some of you may recall that fairly early in my ownership of the little sloop, I roughly added up what I had already spent and was so shocked that I stopped doing that.  Because I pay cash, as I have for almost forty years, if I have the money, I buy things I want; if I don’t, I don’t.  So I don’t need to keep track.
        I’m not going to try to total costs now—if it was shocking a year ago, it would be traumatically more so now—but a list of what has been done and bought might be of interest.  To me, if no one else.
        Thank you, Vince.


        If you have ten minutes, you might enjoy George Carlin’s insight into euphemisms.  
        I thank Fred for the link.
        The softening process, of both language and brains, of course continues.

        I have recently been wondering when did Gypsies become ‘Roma’?.  And why?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Evanston: worms; pig at sea; diminished list

        I spent most of yesterday sorting out a new MacBook Air.
        There were worms in my Apples, and the transfer of data from my 2010 15” MacBook Pro did not go smoothly for reasons that will never be known. 
        I spent more than an hour on the telephone in the morning with two men at Apple support.  
        I’ve owned Apple laptops since an early PowerBook bought in 1992 that had 4 megabytes of RAM and a 40 megabyte hard drive.  I italicize the ‘mega’ because that hardly seems believable.  It was the second most expensive computer I’ve ever owned, after the MacBook Pro which I maxed out, including installing an SSD myself, and the longest lived.  I used it for five years and wrote two books on it.
        While Apple hardware is excellent, support is even better.  With AppleCare, I don’t know of any other product that is supported as well.
        The conclusion reached after my time with Apple support was that the problem was in my data rather than the hardware, so I transferred manually from one computer to another, with the probable culprit being a third party plugin to iTunes; and by 5 p.m. all was well.
        I had waited until last month’s refresh of MacBook Pros before deciding whether to buy a 13” Pro or Air.  My 15” Pro was too big, too heavy, and most of all too power hungry for GANNET.  One of the primary virtues of the current generation of Intel’s Haswell chips is power savings.
        I have read reviews that say the Pro, costing little more than the Air, with a Retina display, and only 1/2 pound heavier, is the better value.  I agree, but ultimately ordered an Air because it’s battery life is longer than the Pros while using a smaller battery, 54 watt hours compared to the 13” Pro’s 71.8.  For those charging from the grid, this is insignificant.  Following a succession of cloudy days on GANNET, it may not be.

        Yesterday Larry sent me a link to a news item about a giant ice berg, 21 by 12 miles/35 by 20 kilometers, breaking off Antarctica’s  Pine Island Glacier, naturally abbreviated as PIG.  
        I wrote back thanking him for the link and noting that it might be fortunate that GANNET will not be in the Southern Ocean until two years from now, if then.
        Larry replied that the ice berg will undoubtedly still be in those waters in two years.
        It would be an ironic way to die:  running into something that fell off a PIG.


        Here is GANNET’s diminished to do/buy list.

            forward hatch emergency cover
            Jordan drogue and bridle
            reef point lines
            haul out:  inspect rudder and bearings; antifoul
            lines v-berth
            Spade anchor
            snorkel, fins, mask, wet suit
            waterproof bags and boxes
            electronic charts
            chaffing gear for anchor rode and drogue

            install bilge pump?

        Many of these are obvious.
        The forward hatch cover will be a piece of plywood that can be bolted over the opening in the unlikely event the hatch fails.
        The lines in the v-berth are to run through the eye-bolts I installed in an effort to keep things stowed there from all sliding to the lee side while underway.
        While I don’t want to overload GANNET, I think two anchors are a minimum for voyaging, and so will spend the small fortune and buy a 10 pound Spade.
        I have not yet decided about those with question marks.
        I think it unlikely I will spend $2000 on a hand power desalinator.
        GANNET came with a hand bilge pump that has never been installed.  I haven’t been able either to find a place where it can be operated and still not be in the way when it’s not needed.  
        I do have a second small pump similar to the one I used to get the water out of THE HAWKE OF TUONELA’s shallow bilge.
        The Yellowbrick is the tracking device I will buy, if I buy one.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Evanston: a change of shoes; gannet cam; one more push up; correction

        Chance became certainty, and I spent Monday afternoon in front of the fireplace listening to music and watching snow blow horizontally past the windows.
        I had planned to listen to my requiem playlist, seemingly apposite for a birthday, but listened instead to another man’s idea of what music he would want to hear at the end, a link for which I thank Bobby.  
        Mr. Innaurato’s choices are, if not spiritual, at least celestial.  I was familiar with the composers, but not the individual pieces.  I am going to have to buy more Bartok, though as you know, I consider being ‘saved from Bach’ a tragedy rather than a grace.

        Although the snow had mostly melted, when I walked to the lake yesterday, I changed my boat shoes for snow boots.


        Gannets are the largest sea bird in the British Isles, and some one there put a camera on one of them.  You can find less than a minute of a gannet’s point of view here.
        I thank Martin for the link.


        Strange and wondrous are the ways of merchandizing.
        I lived more than seven decades before discovering that being born on 11-11, my becoming a solo sailor was inevitable.  The repeated ‘1s’ cause the Chinese to designate it Singles Day, formerly an occasion when unmarried men mourned with a drink their lack of a mate.  That I am much married and that few others born on 11-11 seem to have voyaged oceans alone is beside the point.
        Five years ago China’s largest online shopping service decided the unmarried, and everyone else, could more effectively mourn by buying online than imbibing and began promoting a day of shopping frenzy.  Last Monday they processed orders for more than $5.75 billion, a single day record, and by comparison two and a half times the amount spent on Cyber Monday last year.
        If you want more interesting details, such as that the purchases included 1.2 million bras, which if folded and stacked would be three times taller than Mount Everest—but more fun to climb—the full NY TIMES article is here.
        Clearly, the ideogram is on the wall.


        Having turned 72--these numbers are becoming astounding--I now have to do one more push-up and crunch when I workout.
        I in fact jumped the gun and started doing 72 the last two times I worked out on GANNET’s foredeck.
        However, I don’t know how much longer this can go on.  I’m not sure I can do 80 push-ups, though this may be a self-solving problem.


        My writing about season’s end sailing was inaccurate.  Steve, courteously but firmly, advises me that SPARTINA is not stored for the winter and that he expects to sail at least twice more, with a usual last sail in early December.  That speaks very well for Norfolk, Virginia.
        In Oregon, Kim will be sailing his 18’ Oughtred Arctic Tern year round.
        In England, Tom and his crew were not the only hearty sailors out last weekend, Adrian had the same rainy Saturday and sunny, but cool Sunday, sailing to Cowes on the South Coast.
        And Mark in Bateman’s Bay, Australia, knows why they call it the “Lucky Country.”

        It is, Mark.  It is.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Evanston: a chance of snow; season's end; two months

        I traded sunshine and 70º+F/21º+C, for a low gray sky, 39ºF/4ºC and falling, and a chance of snow.  Hmm.
        I have seen it snow in San Diego.  Driving to work in November or December of it must have been 1969, ten to twenty flakes fell while I was sitting at the stoplight at the corner of Midway and Rosecrans.  So remarkable that I remember it still.
        Snow in Evanston in November will not be memorable, unless it accumulates to a depth measured in feet not inches.

        Friday’s sail on GANNET was my last this year.
        For many others the season has already ended or is ending.  All the marinas around Chicago closed October 31.  In the Pacific Northwest Doryman has hauled BELLE STARR, his 23’ Stone Horse for the winter; and on the other coast in Norfolk, Va, I think Steve has moved SPARTINA, his 17’ Pathfinder, onto her trailer and probably into his garage until next spring.
        Up in Saskatchewan, Glen thought about going sailing this weekend, but with temperature of 7ºF/-14ºC, decided to go for a walk instead.
        Of course, those who have the good sense to live in Southern California and Florida sail year round.  During the years I lived in San Diego, there was never a month that I did not go sailing at least one day in shorts and t-shirt.  You can be sure that GANNET’s neighbor, Kevin, will be out three or four times a week.  And In Florida, Kent and Audrey went for a sail two days ago on ZIP, a restored 1953 Sailfish.
        Those of you in New Zealand and Australia and South Africa and Brazil sail year round, too.
        However, in less salubrious climes, there are still some hearty souls toughing it out.
        Tom and friends sailed Saturday in the east of England in rain and 41ºF/ 5ºC but little wind, and yesterday in chilly sunshine and 20 knots.
        Well done.  To everyone.  And may 2014 again bring the joy of wind and water to all.


        On Saturday, I took my last bike ride in San Diego and, therefore probably for the year.  I went inland a few miles beside the San Diego river channel.
        My bicycle has started making grinding noises.  I turned it upside down one day last week and lubricated everything I could see to lubricate.  It only has to last two more months--February and May.  I hope it does.
        I will return in February to haul out, lower the rudder and inspect the shaft and bearings, and anti-foul; and again in May with a planned departure about June 1.
        The to-do/buy list is very diminished, with items left that are mostly optional.
         GANNET’s true shakedown will be the passage to Hawaii.  What for others has been an end, will for GANNET be a beginning.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

San Diego: strike the set

        I have accomplished all I planned to on GANNET, and no sea lion has dared touch a flipper to this dock for weeks.  My work here is done.  So I am flying back tomorrow to spend some extra days with Carol.
        It is possible that the person you know who has been most alone, is also the person you know who has been most married.  I don’t know if that indicates complexity or inconsistency.

        I went sailing yesterday.
        A lovely day, particularly for November in most places, but merely normal here.  Sunny, temperature in the low 70sF/22C, and, of course, light wind.  GANNET topped out at 5.7 on a close reach in what was at most 7 knots of wind; but mostly sailed around 5 in 5 or 6 knots of wind.
        This was my first sail with the new tiller on which I’ve made a different tiller pilot attachment point than on the old one.  This worked  as expected.
        It was also my first sail with the two new solar panels in place.  I made the right choice.  It was easy to step over or around them.  I observed that the windward jib sheet naturally lies on them and will have to remember to move it away.
        Last sail I noted the difference in COG between the Velocitek and the Garmin Quatix watch.  I said incorrectly that the Garmin was set to true, so the Velocitek was reading magnetic.  When I later checked I found the Quatix was magnetic and so changed the setting to true.  With both reading true, they mostly showed exactly the same COG.  I expect the small differences of a degree or two were due to different refresh rates.
        I used the Quatix to guide me back to the waypoint at the mouth of the Mission Bay entrance channel.  It did so perfectly, showing distance, bearing, and estimated  remaining time to arrival.  The distance was in nautical miles to the hundredth, until the last one thousand yards were shown in feet.  It was right on.  I could have entered the channel in zero visibility.  But I wouldn’t have.
        Last evening I was standing in the companionway watching the last light fade from the western sky, when I heard a sound behind me and turned to find a great blue heron on the next dock doing the shimmy, shaking his whole body side to side.  I assume he had just gotten wet.  I laughed aloud, and he stopped and looked embarrassed.


        I have written before of NO PROMISES, the charming album on which Carla Bruni sings poems set to music.  I like it very much and listen to it often, but sometimes I hear something familiar as if for the first time, as I did last evening when she sang from W.H. Auden’s, “Lady Weeping at the Crossroads,”

        Wear out patience in the lowest
        Dungeons of the sea
        Searching through the stranded shipwrecks
        For the golden key

        The entire poem can be found here, along with a video, which because of my limited data plan I have not watched.  She is a distractingly beautiful woman, so I recommend reading the words first.
        Scrolling down to the second poem on the page by Keats is worth your time as well.


        The NY TIMES ran an article the other day with a heading stating that people are deciding not to be artists because of the high cost of housing and health care.  
        Any tepid soul who thinks he or she is deciding whether to be an artist on the basis of housing and health care is deceiving him or herself.  They aren’t.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

San Diego: losing a bed partner

        Don’t worry.  Carol seldom reads this.  Besides I am only trying to prove that had I wanted to I could have become rich in several ways, among them writing for the National Enquirer, which I deliberately don’t capitalize, or several British tabloids, though the latter probably would have led to prison.
        Having caught your attention with the teaser, I will, as is customary, proceed first to other things.


a case of mistaken identity

        I am a subscriber to the digital edition of the NY TIMES.  This morning I received an email from them that began:  

        As an influential business leader, you              


tragic flaw and conundrum

        My understanding of the ancient Greek concept of the tragic flaw is that an individual’s strength becomes the instrument of his destruction.
        I thought of this a half an hour ago when I was sitting on GANNET’s deck on a perfect evening.
        San Diego’s wonderfully pleasant climate is in part the reason San Diego is not a great place to sail:  light wind.  I am more aware of this now than when I lived here forty years ago; but then it is not unreasonable that after five circumnavigations my standards have changed.  Less than ten knots of wind is the norm in San Diego.  Less than ten knots of wind makes sitting on deck at sunset delightful.  Less than ten knots of wind does not make for great sailing.

        For the past few nights, I have been faced with a conundrum:  I like to have a drink on deck at sunset.  I have a general rule not to drink before 5:00 p.m.  Since the end of daylight savings time, sunset here is before 5:00 p.m.
        Somehow I suspect that there are others on this planet with greater problems.
        I solved mine by starting drinking early.



        Saildrone has landed.
        I’m not sure of the details, but its (I keep typing ‘her’ first, but refuse to use the female pronoun for a drone, however clever) tracking page shows miles to go ‘0’.   This is a remarkable accomplishment and I congratulate all those who made it happen.


        Earlier I mentioned being rich.
        Steve sent me a quote from an article in the NY TIMES from a father about his musician son:   “He doesn’t want for much, largely because he’s smart enough to know that the only way to be rich is to want for little.”
        Thanks, Steve.

        Now, at last, for the good part.
        In refining GANNET’s stowage, during my previous time on the little boat, I moved some of the contents of the galley bag, which has resided on the V berth, into a day bag that I stowed on the port quarter berth.  Not everything in the day bag is used daily, but they are items I want to reach more easily.  
Sitting at my customary position facing aft in The Great Cabin, I can reach the day bag by leaning forward, while to reach the galley bag I have to twist and reach behind me.
        The division works, but the bag I was using was too small, so I ordered two waterproof duffle bags, recommended to me, I think, by Steve, for which I thank him.
        The bags are waterproof only to the zipper, but it is covered by a very heavy duty velcroed flap.  I am confident the bags are splash proof, and suspect that they may be waterproof fully immersed for a while.  
        If they are fully immersed inside GANNET’s cabin, I will have greater worries than the loss of their contents.
        I am using one to stow the four tiller pilots and the Torqeedo tiller arm, even though these are themselves more or less waterproof.
        I am using the other as my day galley bag, and because it is larger than the old one, have moved the case with the Dartington crystal glasses and a week’s supply of freeze dry meals into it.
        This means that I no longer need daily access to the galley bag, which I have moved from the v-berth, where we have been sleeping together, onto the starboard pipe berth beneath my clothes bag.
        This dramatically opens up the v-berth.
        I will sleep tonight without bumping into freeze dried meals.
        Surely you didn’t expect anything more salacious.