Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A barely meets the required inspiration to post sort of post

I found these four boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese when doing a very thorough search of one of the storage areas in the boat. They were hidden well away out of normal reach and had evidently been there quite a while because I did not recognize them as provisions I had ever brought on board. For a moment I was actually thrilled at the prospect of indulging in some crap processed American food. It was a pretty short lived thrill....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The hardest part...

Now that I am close to my home port, people I meet that see "Seattle" on the transom or hear that I sailed from California assume that I sailed down the west coast and have just come through the canal. To correct them, I usually answer by saying "I have been traveling west." This same reply was once directed at me by Serge Testa when I shared an anchorage with him (then on his 40 footer) along the Baja coast when doing the bash on my first boat back in 97. We were having a conversation over VHF and after learning that he was returning to California, I had asked how far south he had been... It takes a second to process the reply but once the realization is made, the conversation usually shifts to topics like what route you took or if a non sailor, did you run into any storms, etc.. Sometimes non sailors ask what is the hardest part about circumnavigating. The hardest part is casting off the lines. I have always enjoyed giving this answer because it has nothing to do with sailing. It reminds me of the famous quote by Sterling Hayden which I have shared below;

"I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?"

Clip is from Richards Bay, South Africa. Watch an awful looking catamaran trying to dock in the harbor with a 30 knot crosswind missing my monitor windvane by inches and hitting SV Brillig's instead...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gulf Cruisers...

I think that the average person who knows next to nothing about cruising believes that the entry cost to this lifestyle must be exorbitant. One look around any marina or anchorage seems to confirm this. There are exceptions however. What about SY Bob pictured below? Bob is an old Pearson hull with a custom wood deck and cabin house. The owner, "Mister Dan", purchased the boat in Louisiana for $4800 U.S.. Mister Dan and his wife whom he met on his first sail to Cartagena 32 years ago are sailing to Providencia to build a house. "I've got over 3000 pounds of ceramic tiles on the boat already and figure I can just start throwing some of it overboard if I get into trouble." For $4800 you don't get a lot of cruising gear. Bob lacks gear that others would consider essential like a depth sounder and VHF radio. Mister Dan considers the lack of an autopilot to be a challenge. "I can't see very well now that I am old and with just a little light for the compass, I've often discovered in the morning that I've spent hours at night sailing in the totally wrong direction!" Bob's sail inventory consists of one hank on head sail, about 90 percent, and a main that Mister Dan figures came off of a 27 or 28 foot boat. "It only reaches about two thirds of the way up." Despite the lack of a complete sail inventory and the challenges in holding course, Mister Dan figures he averages about 50 miles a day in Bob. When I asked how his Colombian wife likes sailing, he explained that most in Colombia are looking for an easier life, not a harder one!