Rookies of the Sea

For long our plan of sailing exotic destinations has been put under salt for many reasons. Little by little we removed our impediments and finally set our course South.

We departed Brunswick on Monday 24th and made it only as far as New Smyrna Beach, FL, a mere 120 miles away. We transited the Ponce de Leon Inlet right at sunset and dropped anchor in a random shoal just off the ICW.

The reason for such a short hop was health. Both of us felt pretty sick, not only for the crazy motion of our small craft but also for something that we ingested pre departure. I spare you the recounts of symptoms and experiences of this illness, nothing pretty. Without some disappointment we had to make the call to pull over and anchor, to heal and re-gather strength.

We sail a primitive boat, with limited auxiliary power so everything we do has to be timed with favorable weather conditions. Weather is a Master we have to obey.

We had such favorable conditions at the beginning of this week in the form of 15-20 knots blowing from the West allowing us to move South along the Florida coast and reach a favorable hop spot to Bahamas. We could have made it not stop in three days, but we decided nothing good could come from keeping at sea in our sick condition.

Now that we blew this weather window we may have to wait quite a bit. We felt pretty bad about it, as rookies who can barely handle discomfort. It was a tough call, especially knowing what the weather had prepared for us and what is showing for the next days.

Even if our current status is not what our imagination envisioned we are indeed “on the road” in a place we have never intended to visit as often happened before. Our Master will decide how long we will have to stick around and what will be next for us.

Obey your Master.

Simple anti-intrusion bars for our companionway

 

Among the many projects we are hurrying to complete there is one that concerns our security while at anchor or when we leave the boat to go ashore.

In our world without air-conditioning, the possibility to lock ourselves in when we go to sleep and still be able to have some airflow from what is the biggest opening we have is a big advantage.

Beta likes to roam on deck when possible and we want him to be able to go in and out of the boat even when we are not onboard. On the other hand, in warm climates it’s good to be able to leave the boat locked while letting air in and out. It makes a more comfortable boat at our return and also it avoids that Beta gets baked in the process.

I followed the concept that James Baldwin’s developed for his boat Atom to design our anti-intrusion bars. Here is a picture of the bars he built from his website.

We made some changes to the design to make it more simple to build and less expensive overall. The bars go in place of two of the three drop boards that locks the companionway. The top drop board sit atop and locks the companionway, and they all slide into solid stainless steel tracks that I installed back when I rebuilt the companionway.

Design of the security bars

The bars are made of 1/2 inch 316 stainless solid rod bought on Buymetal.com and sent from Pennsylvania, which makes Kate even prouder as she is originally from Steel Country.

James Baldwin at the welding station

The construction took 3 hours and James helped with the welding and the use of his equipment and power tools. I have to say that metal construction is fun, exciting and very useful. I look forward to polish my skills in this subject.

Polishing metals is always satisfying

 

 

 

 

 

Escape velocity

We are back from where we started.

Well, to be precise we are back to one of the places from where we started. Our sailing trajectories often look like orbits and a big point of attraction is Brunswick Georgia.

Brunswick is where we stopped longer than anywhere else so far on our Tranquility tour. Incidentally,  Brunswick is also where I lived the longer since I left Italy.

The perfect excuse to come back was the participation to the 1 Day Play, a theatrical event in which we took part two years ago when we were regular residents. We had such fun and gathered so much positive energy in that event that when we heard the call for writers, directors and actors we could not resist.

In the last edition Kate acted and I wrote one of the plays. The leopard does not change his spots, and so we did the same again.

As the name implies the 1 Day Play happens during a 24 hours span: producers, writers, directors and actors all meet Friday evening, bringing random props and costumes with them. The producers Evy and Emmi shared a schedule that would guide the efforts of everybody to be ready on stage at 7 pm on the very next day, having written, directed, rehearsed and produced the six short plays, just 22hours after the first meeting.

At 10pm I joined the group of six writers in the Old City Hall to write a 10 minutes play with three female characters (we had a shortage of male actors).  The result was a sci-fi thriller set in a distant solar system where the three characters need to find a way to repair their ship and leave a hostile planet.

I am once again impressed with the magic that I witness in the 1 Day Play. The limited time works like a catalyst in the artistic chain reaction, forcing the writers to a simple and raw script that then get refined by the intervention of directors and actors, who have to do their best with limited time and technical resources. This teaches us an important lesson on how limits become opportunities.

I am thankful to director and actor Betsy who curbed the roughest areas of my dialogues, and Fredi and Jessica for their acting, and to Peggy for coming up with an incredible Jello-Brain!

So as often happen one thing leads to another and after our successful artistic endeavor we found ourself sleeping on our old couches in Susan’s place and varnishing and painting the interior of Tranquility with some nasty paint. We also indulged in eating our favorite food all over town, visiting friends, building safety bars for our boat, and other million entertain

As soon as we got back, we are stuck in a whirpool of maintenance and upgrades, and social life.

 

This final preparation is important though. We decided we will sail soon away from shore, probably for a long time, and in order to do so we have to build escape velocity to win the pull that this place is exerting on us.

The idea of snorkeling, eating tropical fruit and discovering new places and cultures are equivalent to strong propulsion jets that are helping us knocking out the departure list.

We will reach the point where careful and thorough preparation will become just an exercise of obsessive behavior and resistance to change. That will be the very moment when we will have to push harder and defeat the gravitational pull of comforts, friends and family, and what is known to us and head into something a little different, that we have longed for.

You are going to hear about our trip soon.