Thursday, January 1, 2015

Rope Yarn

Down Days at Anchor

After reviewing the weather forecast for the next few days I decided to take the day off. The forecast for today was winds in my face at 20 knots with intermittent rain. Not the kind of trip I want to take as I am not in a hurry. After not getting the forecast weather all those days in the Bahamas you might think that I would not trust the forecast. But with rain pattering on the deck and the wind gauge showing 20 with gusts to 25 knots I am a believer again.

Days off at anchor are different because there is no shore power. In addition, on a rainy day like today the solar panels are not generating much electricity. The options are: do things that don’t require power (to save the batteries for the anchor light tonight) or run the engine (which is noisy and uses fuel..) Computer games, running the stereo, even running the vacuum cleaner are pretty much out of the question. There is a minimum of necessary power consumption: the anchor drag alarm and the chart plotter. I run the VHF radio in case someone needs to talk to me, but leave the AIS off as I am well out of the channel.

It is unnaturally quiet. Under sail sailboats made a lot of noise: the water rushing past, the waves hitting the hull, the sails stretching and relaxing the sheets and halyards. But with the exception of the occasional shower or the ground tackle (anchor) making noise it is dead quiet. I can hear the airplanes flying over and the sounds of the passing boats long before I see them. An unusual and interesting time. XO senses it too, twice today he has just climbed up on my and curled up in my lap.

In the days of sail time like today was called  “rope yarn.” It was personal time for the crew to make or mend their clothing, sit around and chat, and have down time to themselves. I am taking advantage of the time to do some rearranging of the cabinets and some spray cleaner and paper towel cleanup.

Being alone of course is different. When I was traveling the ICW yesterday I noticed two kinds of boaters. Those that had crew on board were pretty much what I expected. But those that were alone, sail boaters and power boaters alike, were all on their cell phones. So much for quiet introspection and personal growth!

Tomorrow the weather is to improve and I will be off heading North once again.

Fair winds and following seas J

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