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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Golf

One of the advantages of being retired U.S. military is that you have access to the bases. Most of the larger bases have golf courses, available at a reasonable cost. So while in Jacksonville I took advantage of the Naval Air Station Jacksonville to play a couple of rounds. This for many people would not be remarkable. Since I had not played in 7 years and have been carrying my clubs on Reboot for the last 5 1/2 years it was a bit of a departure.

You can guess that my score was not good! The alligators in the water hazards were a treat too!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Visiting St. Augustine, Florida

Castillo de San Marcos
I have been docked, moored, and anchored in St. Augustine a number of times. This past few days I did something else, actually spend a lot of time walking around and visiting various historical sites in the town.

St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish and is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States. Extensively developed by Henry Flagler (and others) it is now reminiscent of the various "cruise ship" ports in the Caribbean. There are lots of little shops and bars etc.

There are also a lot of fun historical sites to visit. Some that we have sampled include:

Castillo de San Marcos (above)
Lightner Museum
Flagler College
Villa Zoroyda

St. Augustine Tourism site has the details. Anyway, quite a break from the normal visit.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sweet tooth

OK. I am evil. I have a real sweet tooth. It is hard to keep ice cream on the boat - the refrigeration system is not that good. So the other day when I was shopping I decided to give in. Bought vanilla icing. Eat it with a spoon. Why bother with cake!

Yum.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fear, Anxiety and Epiphany

FEAR

noun

1. an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

We all experience fear. Motor quits in high winds on a lee shore (Long Island), winds whip up to 50 knots with a water temperature of 34 degrees Fahrenheit, we all have these moments sailing. Well, perhaps we don't all have these moments. In the world of offshore sailing they happen. The nice thing about fear is when its over, its over. One gets the sails and heading under control and rides it out.

ANXIETY

noun

a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. The problem with anxiety is that it is, at least for me, cumulative. I have been sailing in the Great Lakes and offshore for about 10 years, my sailing career spans over 50 years. I have done about 20,000 NM offshore in the last 5 years. And for me the memory of each event that caused me fear is still burned into my brain.



Today's post is about anxiety. I thought it was about procrastination and apathy (procrastination is my greatest strength and apathy my strongest emotion) but it isn't. Its about anxiety.

I have been having a lot of trouble getting up and working on Reboot. Each night I look back at another day where I have gotten very little done. I chide myself and promise to do better the next day.The next day is the same. And the next day. I thought that I was just being lazy. I started questioning my lifestyle. I took some time to chat with my older son about my lifestyle and came to a couple of interesting conclusions. Of course I already knew the answers but had to find them again. Perhaps I will share that conversation in a later post. The summary: the only thing that changes in your life when you take up full time sailing is the scenery.

But back to anxiety. One of the very small projects I need to do is to turn Reboot around in the slip. When I left Nassau, Bahamas I had a lot of trouble getting away from the dock. I ended up springing off a dock post to get the bow around through the wind and current. As a result the entire rub rail ended up hanging off Reboot. Fortunately it is pinned at both ends so I didn't lose the rubber insert. I was able to tie it up to the stanchions. The rub rail is on the port side and the boat is in the dock starboard side to. It should be a simple thing to turn the boat around and back it into the slip - I get to choose the wind and tide and I have friends that will grab lines and drag me into the dock. It has been several days since I fixed the bow light so it is time. There have been several opportune times. Why haven't I done it?

My epiphany moment came when I realized I wan't lazy, I was scared. In my subconscious I have a catalog of every time backing into a slip turned bad. Too much speed. Not enough speed. Not judging the cross wind correctly. Not judging the current correctly. Dropping out of the channel and almost running aground. Almost hitting another boat. And that litany of experience was driving my emotions. Of course I have docked hundreds of times without incident. But I was only remembering the scary times. That led me to the realization that I was anxious about everything that had ever happened. Engine failure. Not getting the sails down before a big blow. Running aground. And the list goes on and on.

From Passage Weather
There is reasonable fear, unreasonable fear, and stupidity. Sailing the Bounty into Hurricane Sandy is stupidity. Leaving Newport with this weather forecast as a couple did a couple of days ago is stupidity. (They got the free vertical elevator ride courtesy of the US Coast Guard.) But then again there is unreasonable fear. I have equipped Reboot pretty much as best one can from a safety standpoint. My safety gear is up to date, e.g. I just dropped $1,700 to get my life raft serviced. I will not leave for the ocean unless it is all in good working order. And yes, it is possible to get hurt or even killed doing what I do. But I choose this lifestyle because it brings me unique opportunities to both travel and meet other people. I like the way I live. I think its time to "man up" and realize that I am actually pretty well equipped and pretty good at this sailing gig. We will see if tomorrow that means I turn around the boat!

Fair winds and following seas :)



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Running Lights and Water Infusion

Aqua Signal Series 41 Navigation Light
One of the advantages of being in a slip is that you can pull the bow forward over the dock and work on those items at the stem easily. This morning with a clear sky I got off my apathetic butt and addressed the running lights.

You may remember that I changed out the bow light just before I left Masonboro Yacht Club Marina on my way to Jamaica. You may also remember that the new light did not work. This morning I went out with a voltmeter and tested the power to the light. Wow - there was lots of power. Greatly relieved that I did not have to spend hours crawling through the boat to find the broken wire I then tested the bulb. Fine. The problem, it turns out, is that the two spring tabs that power the light bulb were not bent enough to make contact. But, what the heck, I spent 60 for a cheap piece of plastic. Why should it work? I also noticed that there was a little bit of water infusion - it has been raining on and off the past couple of days. Why would they make it waterproof? It is only a part for a boat. Of course the reason I had to replace the unit in the first place was water infusion.

At this point I shifted my attention to the stern light. It was also not working. After hanging out (literally) over the stern I was able to determine that the light was not on. More than that, the light would not come out of the socket. It seems that water infusion had rusted the bulb. The only way to remove it was to destroy the bulb. So I did.

I now have running lights again. Great!

Fair winds and following seas :)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Robert Crandall and American Airlines

The title of this post was going to be "Rot in Hell, Robert Crandall" but since Mr. Crandall is still alive that seems to be severe. Who is Robert Crandall? The retired CEO of American Airlines. Mr. Crandall had an illustrious career and won several awards from business groups.

What is my problem with Mr. Crandall? He was the "industry leader" who decided that comfort on airplanes was overrated. Pack them in like POWs in tiger cages. Reduce the pitch. Take the padding out of the seats. Reduce the amount of recline. Pack more seats in each plane. (Charge extra for everything came later by people who wanted to be seen as innovative as Mr. Crandall.)

Yesterday I returned from Chicago and a visit to my sons. After a hour delay (caused by the Boston snowstorm, as was my two hour delay when departing Jacksonville) I got on the plane. Now I could have spent $90 for a first class seat. Or $35 for a "better" seat." Or $15 for priority boarding. Or $9 for food. But I passed on all of that.

When I sat down I could not move. My knees touched the seat in front. The width of the seat (never really a concern for me) was so narrow I could not shift sideways. The "head rest" - designed for people 9 inches shorter than me - jabbed into my shoulder blades. And that is how I spent the next 2 1/2 hours - unable to move. At least I didn't have a fat person next to me. Small blessings.

American/US Airways was pleased to announce (on my drink napkin) that they were adding a new plane every day. I am assured that the in flight experience will get worse. Joy of joys.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fluid Dynamics

Whenever I go to a fast food outlet and order coffee I am astonished that no one in these multibillion dollar companies has ever studied fluid dynamics. Do they really think that skinny little plastic stick is going to effectively stir my coffee?

Fair winds and following seas :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Closet Cleaning

When I visited my sons for their birthdays in October I just stuffed some shirts into my bag. When I arrived they noticed that one shirt in particular was very stained. I had not been paying attention and was unaware.

I got my laundry back from the laundromat the other day. In the course of putting away my clean laundry I noticed that the laundromat had destroyed two shirts with bleach stains. Since these are custom shirts with the Reboot logo I was quite upset. (I still am, I have not made it back to the laundromat to talk to them.) Since this reminded me of the incident with my sons I decided to empty the closets.

I have always had two piles of shirts: nice, for adventures with friends, and crummy, for every day wear working on the boat. The every day shirts take quite a beating, not only from boat projects but from XO. He has a habit of jumping up on me and purring when he wants attention. Of course this requires that he hold on until I grab him - my everyday shirts are covered with kitty claw marks.

I thought that my "nice" shirts were immune. But it turns out that at least half of them are stained. It is very difficult to keep the inside of a boat dry. Apparently the humidity and/or ingress of water while underway has resulted in quite a few stains that will not come out. In addition to tossing half my "nice" wardrobe I now will go back to wrapping everything in plastic to protect it from the water.

Live and learn.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Our Enemy, the State

An early look at a future post. This is the opening of Our Enemy, the State by Albert Jay Nock. What is interesting is that it was published in 1935 as FDR rose to power. (My emphasis added below.)

" If we look beneath the surface of our public affairs, we can discern one fundamental fact, namely: a great redistribution of power between society and the State. This is the fact that interests the student of civilization. He has only a secondary or derived interest in matters like price-fixing, wage-fixing, inflation, political banking, “agricultural adjustment,” and similar items of State policy that fill the pages of newspapers and the mouths of publicists and politicians. All these can be run up under one head. They have an immediate and temporary importance, and for this reason they monopolize public attention, but they all come to the same thing; which is, an increase of State power and a corresponding decrease of social power. It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power; there is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power."

Nock, Albert Jay (2010-12-23). Our Enemy, the State (LvMI) (Kindle Locations 120-129). Ludwig von Mises Institute. Kindle Edition.

 Fair winds and following seas :)