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Anthem Adrift
The Big, Bad Wolf
01/31/2009, Georgetown

January 31

Hammer fell around 0530 with gradient wind at 25, gusting 30 in squalls. Protection OK. Enjoyed Chinese fire drills as two closest neighbors dragged, then re-anchored elsewhere, leaving extra room. Clouds also left by mid-morning Wind didn't get the memo. Front Monday night with strong wind boxing the compass may chase me, like the craven dog that I am, into Red Shanks. Currently displaying minimum enthusiasm for one mile dinghy smash into town for diesel, gas, produce, etc. Perhaps tomorrow.

Started Rosetta Stone for Spanish. Can now identify un nino, una avioneta y una muchacha. Prefer reverse order. Worked on egregious buzzing sound produced as wind generator approaches warp 6 in a fresh breeze. Eventually located and exorcised worst demons with hose clamps, inner tube rubber and special four-letter incantations. Still need to re-balance blades.

Anticipating Super Bowl commercials Sunday evening at St. Francis. Hear there is also a football game. Also anticipate consumption of adult beverages to ease agony in sympathy with soon to be devastated Arizona fans.


Prudent Cruising
01/30/2009, Georgetown

January 30

Left Little Farmer's Cay at 0900 in SSE wind for SE passage. Close starboard reach out into Exuma Sound was initially off rhumb line by 45 degrees. Sailed wind angle until veering breeze pulled course back to Conch Cay Cut, the entrance to Elizabeth Harbour, then eased sheets to maintain. Ghosted down toward G-town in dying breeze for arrival on anchor at 1700. Foresight called for puttering in to St. Francis YC for Goombay Smash. The prudent mariner always gets a head start on drowning his
sorrows for all potential catastrophes. Sufficient consumption of alcohol can reduce error potential, as well (see previous explanation).

Wind eases before passage of a weather system as if to gather itself to wreck havoc on unwary sailors. Should hide like a whipped puppy in Red Shanks anchorage for protection from 25 knot forecast overnight, but rolled dice that worst won't fill in until veering past long fetch. Hook is well set in anchorage chock-a-block with boats.

Familiar cruising ground so far has encouraged natural tendency to sloth in reference to planning route, henceforth. Likely to be: Rum Cay, Long Island (no, not that one), Crooked Island (no, not particularly), Aklin's, Plana Cays, Mayaguana, then on to Provo (Providenciales) in the Turks and Caicos. Began to study charts and "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South". Heck, I'm almost there. What could possibly go wrong?


Gypsies,Tramps and Thieves
01/29/2009, Little Farmer's Cay

January 29

Heard that Rod Blogojevich told the Illinois House that they are reasonable, honest, fair and if they listen to their lying ears they are Anti-American scalawags. I love the guy. He is an archetype of the political class: shameless, narcissistic, power-hungry, usually spineless weasels. Except for your guy, of course. At least Blogo is entertaining.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
- Aesop

Good fun last night talking to a number of cruisers. Among them, at Club Thunderball, Welsh, now Canadian, folks and two couples traveling together in, respectively, a 50' steel schooner and a reconfigured Navy trawler. Husband/wife team, John & Marty Ace, on a Tiburon 36 ketch, predecessor to the CR38 (same hull), welcomed me aboard for a tour and a beer. I liked them best.

Sailed off anchor at noon for 5.5 knot glide in lee of Harvey Cay prior to windward turn toward day's destination. Surprised by smooth motoring dead into a rapidly dying wind for 3 hour hop to Little Farmer's Cay. Hoping, tomorrow, for an easy South, veering Southwest, breeze for at least some pure sailing into Elizabeth Harbour and Georgetown, cruising hub of the lower Bahamas.


Another Tough Day
01/28/2009, Staniel Cay

January 28

Slept in, breakfasted at Staniel Cay Yacht Club (favorite meal, see previous reference to 'cheap'), then returned to stately, floating home for well-deserved rest after grueling morning. Not only was SCYC wifi down yesterday, but, though operative today, has been converted from free to $10 since last Spring. Like governments, I suppose, when the available population of supporters decreases, either by circumstance or deliberate action, one inevitably soaks the remaining, hapless few.

Warmest day of trip, so far. Finally changed from original, now scrofulous, jeans to clean pair just in time to need shorts. May rouse torpid corpus (say three times, fast) to perform minor repairs as alluded to in previous communication: 1) find and fix leak in shower, 2)... nahhh, one should be enough to imbue life with sufficient meaning prior to celebratory soda pop, later. In the immortal words of Gov. LePetomain it's just "work, work, work, work".


Discovered valve O-rings failing after a mere 23 years. The nerve of those sniveling Scandvik poltroons, shirking responsibility for defective parts! Successfully disassembled, cleaned and greased offending seals - no drips. May find replacements in Georgetown; may find solution for World peace... may not.


01/27/2009, Staniel Cay

January 27Barely able to keep ahead of veering wind last two days. As course has shifted right, wind has shifted faster. Race lost tomorrow as breeze goes strongly Southeast. Good excuse to stay here at Staniel Cay (Bond, James Bond) and possibly abuse an adult beverage or two (shaken, stirred, brewed, whatever). Lighter conditions Thursday for short sail to Little Farmer's Cay, then OK to make Georgetown before hammer falls Friday night after frontal passage. (Currently in lee of Exumas, but Little Farmer's
to Elizabeth Harbour and G'Town requires Exuma Sound) This, relying on weather weasels. Confidence minimal. Today probably last good sail for a few - walked away from a yawl, motor-sailing with main only and pounding like a major hangover.

Was struck, in Marathon, by location of town's largest liquor store beside a health club. Incongruous or complimentary? How about a dermatology clinic/tanning spa? And that reminds me, someone called today for Eczema Park... made me itch. Eggzooma.

Heard about continuing frigid weather in the US. Someone is obviously not doing his part to increase greenhouse gases. Hey!, breed cows, eat beans, breathe faster, kill a tree!!! Come on people, where's your compassion?


PS Rain! Hoping for enough to banish crust of salt.

Nautical. Related to Naughty?
01/26/2009, Norman's Cay

January 26

46 NM sail to Norman's Cay was hard on the wind building from 10 to 25 knots. Latest forecast indicates conditions worsening, both angle and velocity. Glad to be here today with more protection and better angle for run to Staniel Cay.

Warning! Potentially boring paragraph, sailors may skip. A more accurate description of yesterday's relative wind direction would have been 'two points abaft the port beam'. This means that the wind was coming from the left, 22 1/2 degrees behind, or toward the back of the boat, from a line perpendicular to its fore and aft axis. A point is 1/32 of a full circle, that is to say 360 degrees divided by two, five times. In absolute directions, two divisions create North and West (90 degrees).
Then there are, for example, Northwest, then North Northwest, then between those directions Northwest by North. North by Northwest only describes how Cary Grant got to Rapid City. This explains two additional things as well. Nautical phrases sometimes serve an actual purpose, but mostly, they sound really cool. I particularly like 'splice the main brace', an old English Navy term that has nothing to do with actual sailing.

Sitting at anchor with the wind blowing up over 20 knots. Wind generator is pumping its little heart out. Listening to Beethoven's 6th, roughing it with 10 year old Talisker (18 was sold out - bugger).


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