Tuesday, May 3, 2016

light and contrary

Surprised to look at the calendar and see it is about three weeks until the spring sail.  Departure date a little uncertain as I'm still negotiating at the office, but the trip is approaching quickly.  Boom tent could use one last adjustment and I'm trying to decide if I should bother the canvas ladies now or wait until after the trip.

After what appeared to be great winds for the first several days of the sail to Australia, Webb seems to be getting light wind on the bow.

Gannett's track started to show tacking yesterday, which continues today.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

halfway, gear check

Webb appears to be about halfway to Bundaberg with wind on the beam or slightly aft of beam.  If wind holds he might get to Australia a day or so before he expected.

Cloudy and cool here, with some mist.  I'm spending part of the day checking gear.  Doing a SPOT test I found that some of my AA lithium batteries, right out of the box, are bad.  Maybe too long on the shelf.  And I also found that I need to order new rite in the rain notebooks, I had used up my stash.  One anchor light, a $10 camp light form WalMart, has died.  I'll pick up a new one when I go to get a new set of flares, my current set expiring in a few weeks.   The cook kit is in good shape, sleeping gear - bivy, sleeping bag, pad and inflatable pillow - are ready to go.

Monday, April 25, 2016

a guest, a departure like a shot from a cannon

I should not call her a guest, she is, along with her sister, a co-builder and part of the original crew of Spartina.  We sailed together through the high school years and then on visits home from college.  For her to be on board does not happen as often as it once did, but it is always a treat.  Out on the river we found a cool gusty breeze, double reefed and then reefed, with plenty of sunshine.  And we found a lot of memories too.

Webb cast off on schedule today, Monday here, Tuesday in New Zealand.  The weather seems to be cooperating for his sail to Australia.  Should you want to follow along his yellow brick tack can be found here.

From an email.....

"While I don't have confidence in weather forecasts more than 48 hours out, I hope they have it right this time.  Tuesday should have 15 to 20 knots from the south.  I'm going north for 70 or 80 miles to clear North Cape and then northwest.  With that wind GANNET will leave New Zealand as though she were shot from a cannon.  The next four days look good, too.  But, of course, all that can change."

Fair winds, Webb.

from a friend

A cell phone photo from a friend yesterday, he and his wife
biking at Town Point Park while I sailed near Hospital Point.

How nice.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

less than a month, and counting (literally)

Less than a month away from the spring sail and I'm sorting through gear.  A survey of batteries, mainly AA lithiums, showed I had almost 30 which is enough for the gps (which seems to eat batteries for breakfast).

As for the gps itself, a Garmin GPSmap 62s, I went into the main menu track manager and deleted all the stored and archived tracks, some dating back a few years.  No need to take up all that storage.  Plus I went through all the pages to make sure all the data boxes had the correct settings (on the start of my last sail I found the speed in knots and distances in nautical miles, I prefer miles and mph).

And a survey of the food shows I've got plenty on hand.  I picked up the nuts - peanuts, cashews and almonds - yesterday.  In the next week or two I'll get the dried fruit.

Webb Chiles, artist, sailor, author and connoisseur of freeze dried meals, recently had a journal entry with his suggestions for slight adjustments to cooking instructions to get the best results.  His ideas are copied below.  I will follow the first, third and fourth instructions, but not third as I do not cook while sailing and an anchored Spartina is steady enough to pour boiling water, nor the fifth because I do not carry wine on board.

        Five cooking tips from the JetBoil of Chef Webb.
        Add a little more water than called for.  With freeze dry food, too much is far better than too little.
        Do not try to pour boiling water into the pouch at sea.  The mouth is too narrow.  You will pour boiling water on yourself and the cabin sole.  Put the contents of the pouch into something like the big plastic measuring cup I eat from and pour the water into it and then cover with something, even a paper towel will do.
        After you add the water, stir the ingredients well and be sure all are wet.
        Let the meals steep a couple of minutes longer than the stated time.
        If appropriate, and it almost always is, add a little wine to the dry ingredients before boiling the water.

Friday, April 22, 2016


On the morning walk I stopped on the the upper deck of the cruise terminal to look out over the river. Few snowbirds in sight, probably because of the rainy March and wind, cold April.  They should be coming soon up the southern branch.

The patio at the cruise terminal, when a ship is not in, is public space.  Very few people seem to know this, or at least very few people use this place with a pleasant view.  I may go have lunch there today.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I'll take that burger medium-rare and, uh, compromised

It was a breezy, chilly double-reefed kind of morning on the river.  I took my time before casting off, looking at the boom tent and imagining minor changes I might make.  It would work fine as is, but I think there is a little room for improvement.

I've enjoyed sailing with the small fabric tell-tales I've put on the shrouds, finding the they help me "see" the wind a little bit better.  The wind was gusting into the 20's where we made 6.2 mph, Spartina moving at 5.2 in the lulls and over 4 in the wind shadow of the downtown buildings.

For lunch I decided to try a new burger and beer joint a block off the waterfront.  Nice interior of heavy dark wooden beams, a huge selection of beers (I ordered iced-tea, which they had only "sweetened" as is the southern tradition), and a list of burgers heavily seasoned with hot peppers.  I told the waitress that though it might sound boring, I would settle for a plain burger with mayo, lettuce and tomato.  She responded that "not only do we not serve burgers with tomato, there are no tomatoes on the premises.  The acid in tomatoes compromises the burgers."  I responded the only way I could:  "Seriously?"  Yes, she was serious.  I glanced down at the menu to see the "special" burger for the day was being served with two glazed doughnuts as a bun, available with a side of fried oreos instead of french fries.  Yes, very glad to see they are not compromising anything.  I asked that my sweetened iced tea put in a "go" cup and walked to the sub shop.  

Snowbirds haven been late to arrive this spring, probably because of the rainy March and cold, windy April.  The Pride of Baltimore II was at Ocean Marine, a visit they make every year or two, routine hull maintenance before heading to Baltimore for the summer season.  Spring sail is about six weeks away, time to start counting batteries, notebooks, etc.

Two great days on the water.  A nice little break.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I've never really done this kind of thing before

It was awkward, the first meeting.  Furtive glances that avoided direct eye contact.  I wasn't sure it was her.  She didn't look very much like her online photograph, which was made in shadowy, vague lighting.  Older than I had expected, but a nice smile.  I told her I had never done this sort of thing before.  She said don't worry.  We talked about tips, I wasn't sure how much.  I gave her a number.  She smiled and said "I love you."  

Yes, my first ride with Uber.

With two days of fine weather I left Spartina down at the dock in the basin, catching the Uber ride back to my jeep and trailer at the ramp.  I'll drive back there tomorrow morning, take another Uber back to the boat.  Clear skies, about 60 and wind in the teens maybe gust to 20 out of the NE.  Reefed for a while, then full main.  Then anchored for a pleasant nap.  Then more sailing before tying up.  

For the first time I put the new boom tent on from within the boat, just as I would do when cruising.  It was easy.  Less than 10 minutes to do it, maybe closer to five.  Still adjusting lines and purchase points, might have the canvas ladies add another grommet or two on the fly.  But very happy overall.  Back at the dock tomorrow I'll bring down the tent and fold it up from inside the boat.  Should work fine.  

nap time