Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Durban: decked; THE BOYS IN THE BOAT

        This morning I walked the short distance along the harbor front to the Maritime Museum to view the boat in which a South African claims to have made an open boat circumnavigation.  I had seen it when I was here in THE HAWKE OF TUONELA in 2008 and wanted to verify my memory.
        As the photos clearly show this boat is decked.  Decked from the bow to aft of the mast.  Decked from the bow along both sides to the stern.  Decked essentially as much as is GANNET or J-24s or every other small flush decked boat.  There are Moore 24s with cut out sterns that look very much like this boat.
        If I were to seal off GANNET's companionway and live and sail her from the cockpit, she would still not be an open boat.  She has a deck.  CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE did not.  Neither does Steve Earley's SPARTINA, a Welsford Pathfinder.  They are open boats.  Not having a deck is what makes a boat open.
        The South African sailor did complete an interesting small boat circumnavigation.  He did not do it in an open boat.
       When I wrote this I was not aware of the remarkable circumnavigation made in 2013-2015 by Evan Bourgnon in an open catamaran, of which I have written more here.


        I just finished reading an entertaining, compelling, inspiring book, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT by Daniel James Brown.
        To say that it is about the University of Washington  8 man rowing crew who won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics and were considered then the best crew of all time is true, but a gross over-simplification.  The book is about the technique, the sacrifice and the spirituality of rowing.  It is about the art and craft of building boats of wood.  It is about the pursuit of perfection.  It is about overcoming hardship and poverty, the West Coast against the Eastern Establishment, the Great Depression, Nazi propaganda, which eighty years ago offered ‘alternative facts’.
        Joe Rantz, the crew member followed most closely in the book, had a childhood from Hell with a truly evil stepmother and a father too weak to prevent her from doing what would have seemed to be irreparable harm.  Overcoming adversity can make you strong, but Joe had to overcome more than any child should and he seems to have risen above it.
        Although the outcome is known, Daniel James Brown manages to convey the tension and uncertainty the crew and coach felt through the years leading up to the Olympics and even through the final race itself
        I cannot recommend THE BOYS IN THE BOAT too highly and thank Jay for bringing it to my attention.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Durban: the floating grocery store and an open ended plan

        ‘The floating grocery store’ is how Carol accurately characterizes GANNET these days.
        On Saturday, I carried six sacks to the little sloop in two stages—they were too heavy to carry all at once—representing breakfasts for more than seventy days.
        Yesterday morning was calm as predicted and I was on deck at 5:30 a.m.  I raised and lowered the mainsail several times and got the reefing lines, both leach and tack, sorted out.  I also unfurled and furled the jib whose furling gear now seems to be functioning normally with no halyard wraps.
        That accomplished, I had breakfast and then powered through the items of my GANNET to-do list.  There are only two remaining:  seek leaks I don’t expect to find and glue two small carbon fiber right angle pieces to the cockpit edge to prevent the jib sheet from wearing a groove while using sheet to tiller steering.  I started to do this, but am concerned that they may create more problems than they solve.  I’ll position and consider them again.
        I even wired the new LED bow running lights and was pleasantly surprised last night when I flipped the switch and they came on.  They are merely a legal formality, necessary only when under power after dark, which GANNET never is.  Under sail the masthead tricolor is lit.
        This morning was lovely, sunny with a slight cooling breeze.  I breakfasted listening to Alan Hovhaness’s  AND GOD CREATED GREAT WHALES, then went shopping three times.
        That list, too, is essentially depleted, with the only remaining items being open ended optionals:  bottles of water, cans of tonic, soda water, juice, beer, ice tea, and snacks and cookies. some of which I already have on board.
        This afternoon I organized all this, though not completely.  I will still be sleeping in the v-berth tonight and probably for a few more nights to come.
        My goal was to be ready to sail by February 1 and I could be, but the weather forecast does not offer even three successive days favorable for sailing west this week, and I would like four, so I don’t expect to depart before a week from today at the earliest.
        In 2014 I left San Diego intending to reach New Zealand, which I did.
        A torn left shoulder rotator cuff kept me in New Zealand in 2015.  Hardly a hardship for I am happy there.
        Last year I did exactly what I planned to do and sailed from Opua to Durban, via Australia.
        However, in 2017 my intentions are definite, time and chance permitting, only as far as the Caribbean.
        Once there, presumably at St. Lucia, I will decide whether to sail west for Panama or north to Florida and the southeastern United States for the summer.  At this moment I have no idea which I will do.
        Some approximate distances in nautical miles:

Durban to Port Elizabeth   400
Port Elizabeth to St. Helena   2100
St. Helena to St. Lucia    3800

St. Lucia to Panama    1100
Panama to San Diego   3100

St. Lucia to Key West   1400

Durban to St. Lucia    6300
Durban to Key West   7700
Durban to San Diego    10500

Friday, January 27, 2017

Durban: lunched; untreacherous

        I was up at 5:30 this morning, wanting to work on the sails:  lower the jib and retie the halyard, raise the main and run a leech line to the new fourth reef and attach a reef tack line to the new mast cleats.  However, the wind was already  blowing twelve knots from the stern, not the strength or direction I wanted.  If the forecast is right Sunday morning will be calm.
        Instead I made two shopping forays, and GANNET, already dinnered with months of mostly New Zealand freeze dry meals, now has 84 lunches on board:  12 cans Mackerel; 19 cans chicken; 18 cans tuna; 8 cans salmon; 12 packages of Laughing Cow cheese, each of which makes two lunches; 3 mystery cans bought last June in Australia from which the labels have fallen off; and 14 packages of crackers.
        Tomorrow breakfast, which entails carrying 60+ small boxes of juice to the boat, as well as oatmeal, powdered milk, instant coffee, and dried nuts and fruit.
        That will still leave paper:  toilet, towels, tissues.  Snacks.  Chocolate.  Toothpaste.  Boxed wine.  Cans of beer.  Spirits.  And probably some other things I am forgetting at the moment.
        GANNET’s interior is getting crowded.
        Even if you keep it simple, provisioning for two months is a hassle.
        I’m still sleeping in the bow,  but I don’t know for how much longer.


        I started running Craig’s LuckGrib app today.  I enjoy watching the coming week’s forecast play out repeatedly.
        This is a serious coast, with strong currents and few harbors.  However, it is not ‘treacherous’ as today’s NASA Earth Observatory page claims.  How many times do I have to tell people?  And these are allegedly scientists.  Seas can’t be treacherous.  They have made no agreement with us that they can betray.  They also can’t be cruel.  Or merciless.  They don't even exist.  There is just a lot of water out there that we have divided up and given names.  Water is insentient, as is the universe, and therefore not just indifferent but totally oblivious to us.
        Beyond that, the case is overstated.  The Agulhas Current weakens and dissipates as it flows west.  
        On my three previous roundings of Capes Agulhas and Good Hope, I have not experienced a great collision of the seas.
        A serious coast, meaning the sailor has to be serious, not the coast, yes, but not treacherous.
        There is also no Mother Nature, but that’s enough for today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Durban: the past; Bach and the universe; whisky and chocolate

        Evening of a cloudy and windy day.  Night has fallen, and from Central I look out at a black sky and the lights of high rise buildings ashore.  
        I Ubered to a shopping center today to buy a sleeping bag.  I also found a liquor store there that stocks Laphroaig and bought three bottles.  The essential stores are now on board.  
        Provisioning for a long passage is among my two least favorite aspects of sailing oceans.  The other is dealing with officials upon arrival.  I have seldom had problems—being imprisoned in Saudi Arabia a noteworthy exception— but when you arrive you are tired and you are dealing with bureaucracy that you know is meaningless.
        Provisioning for me is as probably as simple as is humanly possible.  I already have on board evening meals for five or six months.  My breakfast is uncooked oatmeal with trail mix and powered milk and water.  So that only leaves lunch, though trail mix is not easy to find in Durban and I will have to  concoct my own. 
        Tonight I dined on canned mackerel with crackers, testing it as a possible lunch.  It passed.  I’ll buy more.
        I’m at the end of a long dock.  A quarter mile from shore.  The marina offered me a place closer, but I like it out here.   Still it is a long way to carry stuff and I can only provision in stages.


        From Bob comes this photo of CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE  as she and I left San Diego at the beginning of our voyage. 
        Perhaps you can forgive me for stating that when I look at the photo I am decades later impressed by my audacity.  That little boat against the oceans--and I knew them--the truest leap into the unknown. 
        Within walking distance of where I am sitting is the boat that has been claimed to have made an open boat circumnavigation.  I have seen her before.  She is decked as far aft as GANNET.  I may walk down and take a photo.
        I thank Bob for permission to post his photo.


        From Chris comes this quote from Douglas Adams:  Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it's like to be human. Bach tells you what it's like to be the universe.
        Douglas Adams wrote, among other things, THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, and if you google his quotes, you will find many that rival Mark Twain.


        Last week I found Laphroaig in a gift set with two small tasting glasses inscribed:  “A Storm In A Teacup?  A Volcano In A Bottle.”  Purists don’t need merchandising. 
        Prior to that, unable to obtain Laphroaig, I  bought a bottle of Glenfiddich.  I would not desecrate Laphroaig by doing this, but take a bite of dark chocolate and then a sip of Glenfiddich or perhaps any other whisky.
        You can thank me later.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Durban: the 2017 model GANNET

        The 2017 model GANNET sports new mainsail and tiller covers and a hoodie.
        She also has replacement Windex and Raymarine masthead units.  Two cleats on the mast unseen beneath the mainsail cover for a reef tack line, brackets to secure the Tides Marine luff track, a fourth reef in the mainsail, and a clearer foredeck following the demise of two more Aurinco solar panels.
        Joost from the Netherlands was the inspiration for the simple hood.  I thank him.
        Unintentionally she has the latest in two-tone decks.  The paint is International’s InterDeck white.  Yesterday I used the end of an old can bought in New Zealand and a new can bought here.  Not until today when I went to touch-up near the bow where I started with the old can did I realize that all whites are not created equal, or perhaps it is a matter of age.
        I bent the sails on this morning, which turned out to be more of an ordeal than expected.

        In no wind, I got the jib up, but then couldn’t furl it.  The head swivel turned with the foil causing the halyard to wrap.  I felt and then saw what was happening in time, reversed the foil by hand, lowered the sail, changed to the other jib halyard, raised it again, more difficult now with wind from astern.  Tried to furl.  Halyard wrapped.  Down again.  I had already applied the approved grease to the swivel.  I added copious WD40.  Up again in more wind and the jib reluctantly furled.
        Clothes as wet with sweat as if I just swum across the harbor, I retired to the Great Cabin and consumed a liter/quart of water.
        Recovered, but still perplexed, I got the main on without difficulty.
        Walking back from my shower this afternoon I noticed that the end of the halyard I tied to the head swivel with a bowline is pointing toward the foil and might have caught against it preventing the swivel from turning independently.  The next calm morning, I’ll lower the sail and retie the knot and see what happens.
        Most of the boat work is done.
        With the sails and sprit above deck, the cabin is delightfully uncluttered, if only briefly.
        On to provisioning.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Durban: transformed

        A sunny, hot day.
        I made an early start, drank only one cup of coffee and finished painting GANNET’s deck by 9:30.  I did not take before and after photos, but the little boat is transformed since my arrival.  
        I am moving through another transition:  from boat work, though some is still to be done, to provisioning. 
        Today, after painting, I Ubered to the chandlery and then a shopping center.   When I leave there I take a taxi because they are right outside.  
        I asked my driver how long he had been waiting for a fare.  He said since 7:00 a.m.  He picked me up at 1:45 p.m.   The fare from the shopping center to the marina is about $5.00 US and I don’t know that he received it all.  He might not have owned the taxi, and if he did he had to pay for fuel and maintenance.  
         Sitting for half a day to make maybe five dollars.
         He praised me to his God when I gave him a dollar tip.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Durban: dead things

        A warm, sunny day, but with a cooling breeze, occasionally touching twenty knots.
        I painted the cockpit this morning before the wind came up and made preparations to paint the deck tomorrow.
        I also chased gremlins in the solar charging system.  Yesterday I discovered that another Aurinco panel has failed.  Today I discovered that yet still another Aurinco panel has failed.  These were the long narrow ones on the foredeck.  Perfection is difficult to achieve, but Aurinco has done it.  Of the six Aurinco panels on GANNET’s deck when I left San Diego three years ago, all six have failed.  
        This is no longer a problem.  Two 25 watt replacement Aurinco panels are working and with the two 50 watt Solbian panels, GANNET still has 150 watts of solar charging.  I even have a third Aurinco as a spare stowed below.  I checked and it is still functioning.
        The timing is actually good.  I removed the offending panels prior to painting the deck tomorrow.
        My iPhone 6 arrived in Durban DOA.  I had it in my carry-on messenger bag and it was working when I left Evanston.  It is still under AppleCare, but you don’t just schedule an appointment at the Genius Bar in South Africa.  I still have my iPhone 7 plus and three other chartplotting devices on board.
        Last evening I attempted to turn on the two Megabooms speakers to listen to music and found one of them to be dead.  No response.  No charging.  Odd because it worked the night before and was just sitting in its usual place in the Great Cabin in between.
        I may be able to buy a replacement online here.  I’ll know tomorrow.  One Megaboom or Boom 2 is fine, but two in stereo are excellent.
        I’m about to settle for music on one.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Durban: I love

I love:


Entering the monastery of the sea

A boat in the groove


Words, when they come together gracefully

Being as far from any other of our species 

Refections on water

Laphroaig 10 year

Making voyages no one else ever has or has even imagined

Having gone the distance

First light during a storm at sea

Owing no one anything except the truth

Standing in the companionway of GANNET listening to music, sipping a drink at sunset



The athletic grace of the young

That some of you understand

Durban: glad

        We slid back into GANNET’s natural element at 7:45 this morning and were in our slip a few minutes later.
        First I stowed everything, even tools I knew I would soon be using.  I wanted—no, I needed—to clear up the clutter, and I did.
        Then I removed one of the two floorboards so I could clean up the debris that had fallen into the bilge.  I can reach down there between the floorboards, but for a major cleaning need to remove a board.
       While I was wiping with a paper towel a crew member made the mistake of venturing aft into the bilge from a space below the v-berth.  He quickly realized his mistake, but not before I got him with kill on contact spray, which worked as advertised.
        Bilge acceptably, though not perfectly, clean, I went on deck and chipped loose paint from the deck and cockpit.  Borrowing a neighbor’s hose, I washed and scrubbed the deck of dirt and debris accumulated in my three month absence.
        When I stopped for lunch, for the first time since my return a week ago yesterday, GANNET was in order.
         There is more to do, but I just wanted to enjoy having the little boat being right for a while, and then light rain came.
        Now at 5:15 I’m sitting at Central, a plastic of tequila and tonic at hand, Leonard Cohen singing “Suzanne” on the Megabooms—a name that has some resonance for me, rain falling, the companionway open, the spray hood up.  I have still to connect two lines from grommets to eye pads to straighten out the trailing edges, but the broken toggles have been replaced and the installation is essentially complete.  We’ll see if it works at sea.  I live in hope.
        As I began to provision for the more than 6,000 miles from Durban to St. Lucia, GANNET will again become cluttered.  For tonight she isn’t.  I’m glad.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Durban: even cheaper

        Almost 6 p.m. and GANNET’s Great Cabin is cooling slightly.  The temperature is down to 86F/30C, from a high two hours ago of 96F/35.5C.  The highest outside temperature today was only in the mid-80s, but little breeze found its way to the below deck oven.  I have a battery operated fan pointed at me.
        The little boat is ready to go back into the water tomorrow.  I hope early.  A second coat of antifouling, the topsides touched up, the rub rail painted, stains waxed and polished out.  Her hull will pass the view-at-a-boat-length-test.  Her deck will not, but I can take care of that in the water.
        I also have a third bump on my head.  Another reason to want to be in the water.  Though I bump my head there, too, usually not so hard.
        The total cost of this haul-out comes to $305 US.  $130 for anti-fouling paint, rollers, brushes, etc.  $15 for the pressure wash.  $160 for hauling out and being in the yard two days.
        I remember thinking that my haul-out last year in Opua was inexpensive and checked the journal entry.  The cost then was $400.
        While I did not wax and polish her entire hull, GANNET has again been restored to the respectable beauty she deserves.  Aesthetics count.
        I am drinking an air temperature gin and tonic. 
        Earlier at the adjacent Point Yacht Club I had an ice tea and, at different times, two half liter glasses of beer.  That is a little more than a quart.  
        It was a thirsty day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Durban: hauled

        GANNET came out of the water at 7:30 this morning.  
        I dragged the Torqeedo aft of starboard pipe berth yesterday.  It started after I carefully scraped some green from a contact point and applied WD40.  The battery, last charged more than four months ago, was still at 99%.
        After a pressure wash removed slime, I chipped off a few hard tiny volcanos, taped the waterline, and had the first coat of anti-fouling on before lunch.  A round of applause for small boats.  I also had two lumps on the blind side of my head caused by straightening up while painting and smashing into the cradle.  Not serious enough to be an excuse for aberrant behavior, but sensitive to the touch.
        After lunch I touched up the topsides for the last time with this can of Pettit Easypoxy platinum.  The can was so rusty that handling it caused the bottom to break.  I put it in a plastic bag to finish the job.  I’m glad it didn’t happen at sea.
        Today is lovely, sunny, with a moderate breeze that would be blowing through GANNET in her slip,  but is beam on here on the hard and it is hot down below.
        Tomorrow a second coat of anti-fouling and painting the rub rail whose original red is showing through.  I’ll also hopefully polish some stains from the hull.
        Then back in the water on Friday.
        The deck still needs to be painted, but that is more easily done afloat.
        Not a great photo, but the best I could do in close quarters and sun angle.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Durban: fifty years a sailor

        A windy and rainy day.  I enjoyed having the masthead wind unit again and being able to see that the wind was blowing 20-25 and gusting 30.  This is as I thought, but it is nice to have your estimates confirmed.
        I managed to get ashore and arrange for GANNET to be hauled out early Wednesday morning.  Assuming I find nothing unexpected when she comes up, and the weather cooperates, we should be back in the water Friday.  Among the many virtues of small boats is that it does not take much time or paint to anti-foul their bottoms.
        Other than Ubering over to the chandlery to get anti-fouling paint and other supplies, I didn’t accomplish much today.
        The rain and wind were coming from the bow, so I was able to raise GANNET’s new spray hood and leave the companionway open.  The installation is not yet complete.  When it is I’ll post a photo.  I do not expect the hood to eliminate all water from coming below.  Water reduction will be enough.  I hope and even sort of think this hood might work.
        Of waterproof, as I have observed before GANNET-proof is a much higher standard that even exceptionally well-built devices such as Yellowbrick trackers sometimes fail.  
        Charging stuff is one of my first activities upon returning to GANNET, and this time for a while I thought we had come to the end of the Yellowbrick road.  
        Some of you may recall that water got into the Yellowbrick’s USB charging port while crossing the Pacific Ocean when it was mounted on the stern rail.
        The Yellowbrick people provide exceptional support and they repaired it even out of warranty.
        Last year I mounted the unit inside the cabin to one side of the companionway where it had a clear view of the sky.  When water poured over it there, I relocated it to a drier centered position.  
        When I went to charge the unit last week, it wouldn’t.  I tried different USB cables and plugs.  Finally the third cable worked.
        I know that many of you like to follow GANNET’s track.  Carol, for whom it was originally intended, does.  And I like to review the track when I reach port.  So I was prepared to order a new one and have it shipped to me here.  I’m glad I didn’t have to.  But I repeat my caution:  If the Yellowbrick stops sending positions during a passage, keep calm.  The most likely reason is that the battery has run down and I can’t recharge it.
        When the men and few women who sail the hyped round the world races get in trouble they get on the radio and a helicopter or ship comes out to save them.  Unless what happened to my right eye, happens to my left, I don’t expect anyone to come save me.  I will live or die on my own as I always have.  
        Of other equipment, I brought four new LuminAid lights with me.  The new models have a five way switch:  high, medium, low, flashing, off.  Two battery operated cabin lights were dead upon my return.  The LuminAids are now my only cabin lights other than flashlights and headlamps.  They are perfect for GANNET.  
        With one old LuminAid I have five on board.  I also have five tiller pilots.  
        GANNET left San Diego with four tiller pilots on board:  three new Raymarines and one old Autohelm that came with her.  She reached New Zealand with none working.
        Last year GANNET left New Zealand again with four tiller pilots:  three Raymarines and one Pelagic.  She arrived in Durban with one Raymarine working, but only because I sailed about 7,000 of the 9,000 miles using sheet to tiller self-steering.
        After reaching Durban I contacted the local Raymarine representative who repaired the two failed units under warranty.  
        I took the Pelagic back to the U.S. with me and sent it to Bryan, who is Pelagic.  He checked it out, said the problem was the gain setting and a software update, tested it on his own boat.  I brought it back with me, but have not yet completed the reinstallation because my wire crimping tool rusted to destruction and I haven’t yet been able to buy a replacement.
       That’s four.
        So what did I ask for for Christmas?  Of course, a tiller pilot.  Carol gave me another Raymarine which I also brought back with me.  
       Raymarine ST 1000+ only cost $360 from Hodges Marine online in the U.S.  By registering them I increase the warranty from two years to three.  My five tiller pilots cost less than one autopilot on larger boats.
        GANNET may be the most tiller piloted boat on the ocean.  I hope I can keep some of them working.

        A few days ago I realized that I bought my first boat fifty years ago this month.  Now many of you did this much better than I and were born into families that sailed.  I did not.  I can’t remember a specific epiphany, a moment when I knew I wanted to sail oceans, but I have since I was about eleven or twelve years old.  Buying that first boat, an Excalibur 26, and sailing her alone, my first time sailing alone and only my third time sailing at all, from Oakland’s Jack London Square to the Berkley Marina, was one of the greatest days of my life.
        I don’t remember the exact date, but it was about now.  That calls for a switch from boxed red wine to Laphroaig.  
        (Hell, you are thinking, he’s always looking for an excuse.  But you are wrong.  I don’t need one.)
        I was going to say “Cheers” but decided to google ‘drinking toasts’ and found this.  Most are ‘to health’ or ‘may it be good for you’.  I like the Turkish ‘to honor’.  But the Filipino, Mubuhay, and the Hebrew, L'Chayyim, are my favorites. 
        So, to fifty years a sailor and to life. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Durban: a naked Mexican

        Now 4 p.m. and about time to walk up to shower. 
        I started writing this entry this morning, stopped to do boat work, then Ubered to the Musgrave Shopping Centre for lunch and supplies.
        The original heading was a dull ‘complete’, as in my transition back to GANNET is now complete, or almost.
        The new heading wrote itself when I had a Naked Mexican for lunch.  This is not as lascivious as it seems.  A Naked Mexican is a beer, local I presume.  I don’t usually drink until 5 P.M. or an hour before sunset, whichever comes earlier, but wanted something more interesting with grilled kingsklip, a fish.  Both good.
        I am no longer out of paper towels, gin, Laphroaig, various other essentials; and four roach baits now adorn GANNET’s cabin awaiting visitors.

        A sunny morning with a slight cooling breeze coming through the companionway.  Last evening I ate my first freeze dry meal—wild mushrooms with lamb risotto.  The transition back to GANNET is complete.
        Emirates Air delivered my errant duffle bag at 9 a.m. on Friday just as they said they would.  They are a good airline, if such is possible, and treat economy passengers better than any other on which I have flown, but I hope never to see Dubai again.
        Dubai is both admirable and deplorable.  Admirable in that what has happened there has not happened by chance, but by human intention.   Dubai, in the middle of no where and with few natural resources—it is not oil rich—is now the fifth most visited destination in the world.  Chicago is an architect’s city.  The first sky scraper was built there.  It has a great skyline.  That skyline has taken a hundred years to develop.  Dubai has a greater skyline built in the last ten years.
        What is deplorable is that it is all about consumerism.  There is a Las Vegas kind of superficiality and unreality about Dubai.  The city is one giant mall.  Buy.  Buy.  Spend.  Spend.  More.  More. You trudge a long way to your gate in the airport past shop after shop after shop.  Far more than I have seen at any other airport.  Not one or two, but dozens of duty frees.
        Dubai is a great success by all measures of profit and greed.   And a wretched excess.
        I have stowed the contents of my two duffle bags and installed some of the replacements, including the Solar Boost 3000i regulator and the Lewmar hatch hinge.
        The 3000i is the new version of the 2000i.  The back is now partially enclosed and on the front is a button that cycles the display through several modes,  my favorite being the one that flips back and forth between battery voltage and amps being sent to the batteries.  The simple solid state regulator I had been using after the 2000i died performed properly and is still in place as back-up, but has no display, only a couple of lights that change color to show condition.
        I only needed three small plastic parts, probably costing less than a dollar to manufacturer, to repair the Lewmar hatch hinge, but had to buy an entire hinge at a cost of $60.  The repair was not possible without an extra pair of hands.  Chris, a local friend whose boat is just down the dock from GANNET, offered them yesterday.  I told him it would take less than five minutes or it would become curse-worthy.  Sometimes things go right and it took less than five minutes.   I can now open the forward hatch without having to prop it up with a box of wine.
        A Blue Performance sheet bag is to a minor extent curse-worthy.  The Chinese got the dimensions just a little wrong on the small side.  It was impossible to fit onto the hooks that held the same size bag that was washed overboard last year and one of the loops on the back pulled out.  A sailmaker could fix that, but I’ll screw it in place.
        I returned to find that Gavin the rigger had placed reef tack line cleats on the mast and a custom made bracket to prevent the Tides Marine luff track from pulling away, a new Windex and a new Raymarine wind transducer on the masthead.  I am pleased to again have wind information.
        Before I left Chicago Chris had sent me a photo captioned, GANNET has a hoodie.  She does.  The spray hood was in place when I stepped on board and I promptly broke it.
        The hood has to be folded forward for me to get in and out of the companionway.  As I pushed it forward I felt some resistance that soon gave way.  Later I saw that the resistance had come from the aft most toggles securing the sides to the deck.  I didn’t realize that they will have to be loosened before pushing the hood forward.  Now I do.
        The hood is made exactly as I specified.  It is a compromise.  I still have to install cleats or eyebolts for lines to keep the hood in place.  They, too, will have to be released each time I go in and out.  I’ll have to see if the benefits of reduced water coming below, assuming it is reduced, outweigh the inconvenience. 
        My body has adjusted to moving eight time zones forward—one does this at a more acceptable pace under sail—and I’ve slept well the last two nights.  
        I’ll do some boat work for a few hours, then go to a shopping center for lunch and to buy food and supplies.  I’m out of paper towels and gin.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Durban: a difficult transition

       I am surrounded by chaos and cockroaches.  The chaos is all too visible.  The cockroaches not.  I have seen three since I came aboard yesterday noon and one may have run across my hand last night.  I killed one and sent bug spray in the direction of the fleeing others.
        It is now 6 a.m. Friday morning.  My second cup of not bad instant coffee is at hand.  Bach’s ‘Well tempered Clavier’ is playing on the Megabooms.  So the world is not a total loss, though one of my duffle bags may be.
       The flights back were worse even than usual, due to a fidgeting child beside me, a medical emergency necessitating a landing at Ankara, Turkey to offload a middle-aged man who apparently had a heart attack, unnecessarily complicated procedures at Dubai, pure duration, and that Emirates Air, which generously allows two free checked bags, ungenerously put one of mine on the wrong airplane.  I am told it will show up today.  I hope so for it contains boat supplies that I cannot replace easily, or at all, in South Africa.  It also contains my razor and I haven’t shaved for three days and my face itches.
       GANNET is in reasonable condition for having been neglected for three months.  Insignificant mold.  Only a few drops of water in the bilge.  Batteries charged.  But she looks forlorn, dirty, and needs cleaning and painting and organizing.
        Almost all zippers on storage bags are frozen.  So far with the aid of WD40 I’ve freed them. 
        After dark last night I found that two battery operated cabin lights have died and I had not thought to put the one remaining LuminAid out to charge, so I was reduced to a head lamp and a solar flashlight that can also be charged with a hand crank.  Three or four new LuminAids are also in the lost bag.
       Light rain forced hatches to be closed last night, but after a hot afternoon, the night was not uncomfortable.  I slept from about 6 p.m. to midnight, then intermittently until 3 a.m. when I read and waited for dawn.
        My immediate goal is to impose order on the cabin chaos and hope my lost bag arrives.