Sunday, April 25, 2010

packing chart and a couple of other things

I put together the packing chart for my weekend trip. It will be easy to pack Spartina for just one person. We've found that there is plenty of storage space on the Pathfinder for two people, I doubt that I'll use 25% of the possible storage just for myself. You can see what Spartina looks like packed for a solo sail here.
This isn't a detailed list of everything I'll have on board, a better list for that is the old Watertribe Required Equipment list. I have a hard copy of that but can no longer find the online pdf for it. But here is a detailed article about the gear for the Watertribe (and, from my point of view, almost any adventure on the water). The night before the trip I'll have both the chart below and my printout of the old Watertribe list in my hand as I sort through the gear.

I think the chart, while pretty rough, is easy enough to understand. Lots of room under the foredeck, both on the cockpit sole and in bungees under the deck, for the head, anchor, gas, boom tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag and bivy. When both Bruce and I are cruising I'll put my clothes and hypothermia kit in one big 35 liter watertight duffel bag. By myself I'll split up the clothes and the hypo kit, using a 20 liter bag for each. (And my thanks to the Watertribe folks, again, for their hypothermia kit list).
You'll see I've got eight gallons of water on board, way to much for one person for three or four days. But then again I almost always have eight gallons on board. It is part of the ballast. During my first cruise I noticed I liked how the extra weight down low under the bunk flat helped stiffen up the boat. I've kept water there ever since.

I did receive a note from Steve H. up in Pa. reminding me to "remember the ancients" as I sail down on the Pamlico. I had mentioned that I often wonder about the history and traditions of the area as fishermen worked the Sound for decades. Steve suggested I think back to the days before the sailors came across the Atlantic and wonder what it was like for the Natives that made their living on the Sound. Good thought, Steve. Thanks.
Steve will be doing some sailing down there soon in his 19' Mariner. He'll put in at Engelhard - Big Trout Marina I assume - and sail to Roanoke Island and back. That should be fun, I've had that same trip on my list for a while.

And while I was looking over my bills from BoatUS I decided to check on my SPOT membership. My annual fee, about $150 with the tracking feature, is not due until mid-summer. But while looking at their website I noticed the option listed above for third-party assistance. I need to call them to get a better explanation. It appears that if I put out a "need assistance" signal it will got directly to BoatUS. Right now if I use that button a message goes to my brother and he'll contact BoatUS with my location and membership number. I'm not sure which is the best way to go. I'll give SPOT a call and check on the details.

I got my two books to read during the trip, Vicksburg 1863 by Winston Groom (most famous for his novel Forrest Gump) and Under Cover of Daylight by James W. Hall (that was a penny book from Amazon's used book store, plus $3.99 shipping). I, of course, am able to resist anything but temptation so the books sat on the side table for just two days before I was reading both of them. That's ok, there will be plenty left to read during the short trip. From the opening chapters I can tell you both are excellent books.
I had read Under Cover of Daylight when it was published in 1987, but it was so long ago I can barely remember the story. It deals with some locals trying to fight development on Key Largo, the fight being financed with some smuggling. I remember liking the book because it was very well written (Hall is a poet, so you know his words are chosen carefully), it captured the feelings of the keys and it was an area that will always have a special place in my heart.
In the first few pages of the book Hall mentions Caryfort Reef Lighthouse as a landmark. Just the name of the lighthouse brought memories of August 1978 flooding back to me (wow, was it really 32 years ago???). I spent that month working with scientists studying the coral reefs off of Key Largo. We lived on an old converted fishing trawler called The Sea Angel, using smaller boats to run out to particular reefs each day. A lot of the work was right in the vicinity of Carysfort Reef Lighthouse and in fact I got to spend a night or two sleeping in the old cedar (or was it lignum vitae) lined living quarters of the beacon. Long days on (really in) the water, sun burn and salt spray. Hard work, barracudas hovering in the shade beneath the workboat, lightning storms in the middle of the night. Working with some good people who gave me a chance. And trying to remember the location of a coral head in the days way before GPS. It was difficult enough to find the same reef, let along the same piece of coral.
I've had the good fortune to do some interesting things in my life but that month of working in the Keys will always stand out in my mind. This will be a great book for the trip -- I'll be remembering my time in the Keys while sailing on Pamlico Sound. Can't beat that.

And lastly I read this morning that Chuck from Duckworks (that's his Caprice above sailing on Texas waters) will be coming to North Carolina to take part in the OBX130. Chuck is a busy man. He runs an online marine supply store, an online sailing magazine, he has competed in the Everglades Challenge AND he is the founder of the Texas 200 sailing even (So Chuck, what do you do in your spare time?). I bought my Pathfinder plans from him (he represents designer John Welsford in the states) and then bought all kinds of stuff - from hardware to leather - from his shop as I was building Spartina. I've corresponded with him, but never met him. And I'm sorry to say I won't be able to see him at this year's OBX130 as I've got a scheduling conflict. But someday I do hope to meet and hopefully sail with him. Have a great sail Chuck.



Bruce said...

Steve, the Vicksburg book sounds really interesting. Most people only think about the battles that took place in the east. But Lincoln knew almost from the beginning of the war that Vicksburg was one of the most strategic cities in the south. Not many of his generals agreed with him. He was a pretty good strategist and believed Vicksburg to be critical to the Union's success in the civil war. I will look forward to talking to you about it on our cruise.

Steve said...

Yes, Bruce. This is an excellent book. I'll look forward to discussing and the book is yours after I am done.