Thursday, October 24, 2013

I have to go retro again to the start of the trip. I am trying to get more systematic about posting chronologically but this early in the game. It will smooth out. I didn’t want you to miss this. Earlier I said the beginning of the trip was uneventful. That actually isn’t true. I didn’t die but it was not uneventful. At this stage, if I do not die, it is a non-event.

The plan was for Lindsey to take the rent-a-car we had to Jacksonville airport for drop off. I would sail the boat alone some fifty miles to Fernandina Beach. It was a plan that suited me. It would be the first time I had the boat underway and I had just as soon not have her aboard if something went wrong. She is not an experienced sailor. In fact, she is not an ocean person at all. She is as comfortable on the back of a horse as I am at sea. We are also equally uncomfortable in reverse roles. I would rather handle any problems alone without having to explain what was going on and disguising the severity of a problem. It would be better for both of us.

Therefore, off I go. Know that it had been six years since I had handled a boat. Then it was brand new boats with warranties. The Relianto (we modified the name from Reliant. There is more about that later). It had been thirty years since I had nurtured an old boat into service like I did when I got out of college. Old boats are a different type unit. They have aches, pains, and health problems just like us seniors. They are not out of service; they just cannot be abused and over-rode.

Knowing this and the fact that I, like many other people in this economy, have taken a beating financially. I don’t need to cause an expensive problem on this boat because of carelessness. My goal was to nurse her along and let her work with ease. As I eased into my new reality, I endeavored to be calm. However, the fact that any moment there could be a possible surprise that the act of sailing could serve to me, made me "jumpy". Actually, I was "poppy" like a sleeping cat that gets startled by a big dog. I could eject very easily. I am not by nature a nervous person but this was total and instant immersion into an old new world. I would need to re-adapt to offshore sailing.

Any change of sound to the engine would jack my heart rate up twenty beats per minute. The sound of my coffee cup sliding off the cockpit seat and hitting the cockpit floor, add another twenty beats per minute. I was jumpy.

Once I got confused at an intersection in the waterway. I went below to get a more detailed chart. As I searched for the needed chart, it happened like this, the cell phone in a rack went off right behind my ear. All at once, the chart plotter started alarming and the autopilot started beeping in coincidence with the cell phone. I figure each of those was worth twenty beats per minute. Since they all happened simultaneously, I estimate it was worth about a multiplier of a hundred so that put my heart rate at about a thousand beats per minute. Who needs jogging and cardio workouts to elevate your heart rate? Just get an old boat.

It is better now. All the alarms had a simple and non-lethal reasons for going off. I have settled down now. I know the boat better and I think she knows me better. We will get along.

I am looking at shoving off for Costa Rica in about three weeks. The Relianto is a US documented vessel. With the government shutdown, they are behind processing changes of documentation. I cannot go through customs anywhere without the boat in my name.

Caption: I am going to leave this Wildman as soon as I get to shore!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting Ready for the Big Trip

Captain's Log, October 19th:

"It has been challenging radically morphing from land life to sea life. Like we made the decision to get a boat and some deity of the seas snapped it’s fingers and we owned a Pearson 35.

Anyway, I retro to the day we left New Symrna. Now realize I haven’t owned an old cruising boat in 35 years. The difference between an old boat and a new boat is anything that makes new or extraneous noises is a cause for alarm. This boat cost $10,000. If the engine goes out, that is a $10,000 refit. The scale of calamity is magnified. I hate to put 10K in a 10K boat.

(PHOTO LEFT: Capt. Glenn playing his Taylor Acoustic while sailing)

Until now, the trip had been uneventful except for the imagined problems I fabricated the first day out. It has been a while. By the time we got to New Symrna, I was getting too know the boat better, her noises, her personal quirks. Every older boat has them and some new boats. The engine had been performing flawlessly. I was beginning to trust her. Like a new girlfriend that you have been going out with for a while. You believe she is the one and she pours out devotion to you. The next thing you know, you shockingly find out she slept with your friends. This engine cheated on me. I scan the engine gauges as you prudently do on an old boat and I discover the oil pressure gauge over 120 PSI. The engine would explode if
 the pressure actually got that high. Up goes the heart rate again.

As this happens, thick electrical wire smoke pours out of the cabin. Lindsey is below and seems unconcerned. Like Superman flying around the world in reverse to change the planets rotation, I zip down, dismantle the electric panel, anchor the boat, prepare fire extinguishers. All prudent actions but stressful.

The problem resulted from the age of the boat. I had tried to remove a fuse to check from the fuse panel. The holder rotated instead of the cap coming off. The wires in the back wound together, contacted and shorted out. It was the system that included the engine gauges."

(PHOTO RIGHT: 1st Mate Lindsey preparing a meal at sea)