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!