Anthem Adrift

30 May 2020 | St. Augustine
27 May 2020 | Day Eight to St. Augustine
26 May 2020 | Day Seven to St. Augustine
25 May 2020 | Day Sixto St. Augustine
24 May 2020 | Day Five to St. Augustine
22 May 2020 | Day Three to St. Augustine
20 May 2020 | Day One to St. Augustine
18 May 2020 | Elephant Bay, St. Thomas
13 May 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
10 May 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
08 May 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
03 May 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
01 May 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
27 April 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
26 April 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
11 April 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
06 April 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
05 April 2020 | En Route Water Island
03 April 2020 | Lovango Cay
01 April 2020 | St. John

Home Of The Brave

30 May 2020 | St. Augustine
Thursday 28 May 2020

Early evening passing West End, Grand Bahama, experienced first rain in awhile and boat is a sieve. Bimini let water through to soak cockpit helm area and seat on both sides - no place to lie down for a nice nap while on watch. Damn, guess we'll have to stay awake and, you know, keep watch. Fixed light above sea berth also leaks. Water drips on shoulders while trying to sleep off-watch. That one had been rebed a few years ago... apparently not well. Cleaned and taped outside frame for temporary help.

Nice ride up Stream in mild conditions. Big boost of two to over three knots should last until early evening when we cut toward landfall and flow begins to slow. Throttle pulled back to avoid arrival before sunrise tomorrow. Thunderstorms were behind over Little Bahama Bank and ahead off mainland overnight, but we split the seam, had stars, a sliver of waxing moon and stayed dry. Rain dissipated during morning, but probably returns tonight.

While waiting over weekend at anchor near marina will attack leaks and windlass down switch. Due worn gypsy, anchor chain periodically jams during retrieval requiring short reversal to free. Jan works down switch in cockpit, sometimes for every meter of uptake. PIA.

Except for French Polynesia all South Pacific nations are closed to entry including Australia and New Zealand. Estimated three hundred up to possible five hundred cruising yachts are currently stuck in Sopac cyclone belt. No fun, but they have a few months before season starts. Also seems restrictions many places around the world are just a wee bit too strict. Given politicians limited focus surprised breathing is still allowed. Brit mates in Cayman can't even swim, snorkel or dive from their boat. They cheat.

Friday

Arrived early through St. Augustine Inlet and anchored north of marina. Attempted to inform CBP of arrival on their required app, ROAM. It had been update two days ago and wouldn't accept entry without reinstallation. Then, after filling out online form it was refused because their server is down. Called phone number, but they don't open until 1130. Got it all sorted, but US remains in first place as most frustrating country to enter.

Saturday

Having heard about draconian measures instituted in many areas of US was surprised to see a very relaxed response in St. Augustine. Some people wear masks. Most don't. There were no capacity limits or mask requirements in retail stores that we observed. Kingfisher Restaurant, which was excellent, possibly had more widely spaced tables than usual, but otherwise no restrictions or masks. Few places are shut down. Gives one hope that measured response and critical thinking will sometimes prevail.

*** Seriousness Alert ***

A few tidbits of information: A fair body of evidence indicates that masks are of little help. Except for a few very high density areas where preventing facilities from being overwhelmed is prudent lockdowns to "flatten the curve" are apparently not helpful and won't reduce the total number of infections. Closing schools likely creates more problems than it solves for many reasons. Suicides and overdoses have spiked and in some places exceed deaths from virus. Destroying people's livelihoods may have long term consequences that outweigh any benefits from crippling the economy.

Politicians have elevated one criteria of risk to the exclusion of nearly everything else at least until people get fed up, as recently, and tell authorities to go pound sand. Since widespread immunity is the only way to end the health emergency, various forms of quarantine only extend that time period, a vaccine is well into the future, lockdowns will not and cannot continue and government authorities (particularly federals) have much less information about your situation than you do, they should gather and publish the best scientific information/recommendations and allow people and businesses to make decisions in their own and their communities best interests. Hope we've learned something from this experience and that citizens will get most freedoms back that have been "temporarily" suspended.

*** End of Alert ***

Well, that was an awfully grim entry for a blog that is intended to be ironic, sardonic, a wee bit mocking, but mostly fun. Sorry about that.

Jack & Jan

Credulity

27 May 2020 | Day Eight to St. Augustine
Wednesday 27 May 2020

Obliging TROF moved off rapidly after it turned into a surface low and began taking moisture and squalls with it. Acceptable light existed from noon to 1415 during transit of bank's coral mine field. No delay. However (have you noticed there's usually a "however"?) wind fell and kept falling to near zero so irksome iron propulsion is again being employed. Wind forecasts have been particularly inaccurate entire trip, but at least earlier error was for the better. Oddly that happens occasionally too. If one were to believe latest GRIB (Gleefully Rambunctious Instance of Bungling), a curiously bizarre mindset, diesel auxiliary will be operating continuously for next forty eight hours until arrival. However (again), as this will reduce air flow over deck to near zero and otherwise make for a balmy, but tedious trip, likelihood is enhanced.

Began receiving Google Fi mobile data while passing Great Harbour in the Berry Islands this morning. First news of the world since departing Virgins six days ago. Eh.

Expect to have internet again passing Freeport starting around 1330. This time expect to download more intelligent and enlightening items like new books for Kindle, USA Today crossword and stupid cat tricks.

Snack for today's morning watch was English breakfast tea with fig bar - good and usually good for you, but both are gluten free. For someone suffering from sillyacts a gluten deficiency might arguably be life threatening as far as you know, not to mention making your bread crumbly. This is unacceptable. Congress should immediately pass a law that any retail establishment that sells gluten free products must also provide gluten enhanced snacks for afflicted customers. Every American has two senators and a congressman who, since they have dispensed with actual legislating, should get off their arrogant, self-indulgent butts and do something for this mistreated minority.

Jack & Jan

Tenterhooks

26 May 2020 | Day Seven to St. Augustine
Tuesday 26 May 2020

While charging batteries Fischer (Fixme) Panda generator has been intermittently
flashing its little red "temp engine" light and consequently trying,
occasionally successfully, to shut down. Cause could be restricted water flow,
pump cavitation from air in system or bad sensor input. Spent a hot, sweaty
afternoon bleeding water lines and cleaning sensor contacts after which it ran
perfectly for an hour. Although it performed as well on one previous occasion,
a slight chance exists that this latest cycle was associated with preceding
procedures. Awaiting future developments for confirmation.

Meantime having theoretical capability to charge new lithium battery with new
Victron charger/inverter at up to a hundred twenty amps DC, actual maximum had
been closer to thirty. Long generator runs were thus necessary (refer previous
paragraph). Charger confirmed set to proper output, but meticulous
investigation revealed that AC input could also be adjusted and further that
default is fifty amps, but actual setting was ten. So, who's the imbecile who
changed that? Adjustment back to correct setting worked wonderfully during
flawless Panda run. Awaiting future developments for confirmation.

As we proceed northwest up Exuma Sound and approach that part of Grand Bahama
Bank between New Providence and Eleuthera, TROF ahead is causing squalls to
forty knots. It may lift north this afternoon but we must transit Bank in good
daylight or delay nearly a day. Hope it gets butt in gear and moves off to
begin mistreating Georgia and Carolinas. If able to keep moving can potentially
make mainland landfall Friday afternoon. As shoaling causes constant movement
of entry channel, day visibility also necessary for St. Augustine Inlet.
Awaiting future developments for confirmation.

Jack & Jan

Pass

25 May 2020 | Day Sixto St. Augustine
Monday 25 May 2020

Last night passed Samana, Bahamas (yes, there's one in DR too). Now approaching Rum Cay. After that, Long Island (no, not that one), Cat Island, Eleuthera, New Providence (Nassau), Great Stirrup (Berrys) and Freeport, Grand Bahama, then across Gulf Stream and into Florida. Seven years since we sailed off.

After four days of pretty decent, better than forecast wind, it died early afternoon. Although it veered dead on the stern last night, proceeded wing and wing with enough pressure to keep moving, but then not enough to hold sails out. Probably pick up again this evening. Meantime Yanmar keeps us moving to make Ship Channel midday tomorrow. From there across Yellow Bank is about twelve nautical miles and must be done with good light to see and avoid numerous coral heads. It's bad to go bump in the night.

Official residence is Green Cove Springs, thirty north of St. Augustine near Jacksonville. We've never seen the place. As this is a mail forwarding address Clay County won't let me vote, but Pinellas County, previous home, will. Whatever. With the one interesting individual out of running for president, enthusiasm wanes. Too bad "None of the above" didn't run. In lieu will vote for feckless Libertarians. Even Democrats aren't terribly excited about Uncle Joe, but he may win because, although a legion of voters are fervid apologists and convinced the president is a gift from the Almighty, a possible plurality think he's the spawn of Satan and would chew off an arm to escape another four years. Either way, manifestly to his delight, it's all about Trump. Narcissism triumphs.

"A decline in trust and confidence in political and social institutions historically breeds demand for more control and regulation by the very government we respect less and less."
- Nick Gillespie

Jack & Jan

No Know

24 May 2020 | Day Five to St. Augustine
Sunday 24 May 2020

Confidence in perversity of inanimate objects and nature in general restored.
Line that extends whisker pole (device rebuilt in Grenada) pulled loose and pole
collapsed during first watch - in the dark. Nothing better than tramping around
middle of night on foredeck in rolly sea. Now only able to fly much smaller
genoa. At least swell has eased so full main again usable without flogging, but
speed has slowed even more.

Still hope to arrive St. Augustine Friday and have passed the point of fuel
available to motor remaining distance if necessary. Haul out scheduled for
Monday so have a couple of days to play with. Should be on the hard four or
five days for bottom anti-fouling, replacement of cutlass bearing and subsequent
adjustment of misaligned prop shaft, which is proximate reason for bearing
replacement. Will also look into replacing spinnaker and fixing pole, which was
already somewhat short due unavailability of longer inner extension tube.

Looks like rice and fish heads for awhile until that imminent super-mega-lotto
win comes through. Fran Lebowitz: "I've done the calculation and your chances
of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not." That's crazy.
What does reality have to do with certain knowledge?

Jack & Jan

More Blow, Less Out

22 May 2020 | Day Three to St. Augustine
Thursday 21 May 2020

Motorsailed much of yesterday in very light apparent with poled out genoa and reefed main, often wing and wing, but shut down the hot, noisy, aggravation overnight. Despite forecast improvement there was little change in wind speed or angle so progress slow. Noon to noon distance 111 nm. Finally decided to try the spinnaker this morning and it only took the better part of two hours to get it out of sock. Appeared to be twisted inside when pulled quarter way up, but after repacking on deck and since it had been getting harder over time finally decided that basic design and increasing friction between rough control line and old webbing loops is culprit. Have sock from previous boat with better control system and slick ATN collar that worked well, but too short. May inveigle Jan to drag out her Barracuda sewing machine to add some length and give that a whirl.

For non-sailors, previous paragraph was probably a bit arcane. Bottom line here is big light air sail is giving us much better speed so don't want to take it down because it might not go back up. Wind forecast to increase around Monday so thinking to fly it through a few nights and risk a squall sneaking up on us in the dark to do nasty things.

Anyway, we're smokin' now. If we average a knot less than current speed could make St. Augustine easily by 28th, next Thursday. Of course if we had foils and a jet engine we could get there tomorrow.

Friday

That foiling jet thing didn't work out and neither did the spinnaker so we're only abeam Samana, Dominican Republic, northeast of Navidad Bank. Around 1800 yesterday the chute blew out. Unaccountably happened in daylight. Normally excrement hits fan between 0200 and 0300, middle of Jan's watch. A fun time was had by all. Sail purchased secondhand six years ago and enjoyed some fair use, so not completely surprised. Second one we've exploded, ergo spare sock. Perhaps next will operate easier. One more cost coming up to squander the kid's inheritance.

Wind eased right off and went aft this morning. Due more swell, which required off course heading to prevent full sail from flogging, and battery depletion reduced sail and cranked rackety propulsion and charging appliance until better. Forecast indicates greater velocity and backing in afternoon. Confidence in predicted conditions remains muted.

Jack & Jan

Above And Beyond

20 May 2020 | Day One to St. Augustine
Tuesday 19 May 2020

Last of the trips to Bad Ass Coffee. Last of the visits with Judy & Tim to return car. Last of the diesel purchases to top up tank. Only one Mohican left: removal of outboard before securing dinghy for passage. Expect departure late tomorrow morning after leisurely breakfast and last minute checks. As usual hate to say goodbye to friends and acquaintances and leave a place we've come to love, but itchy feet and a fancy to see what happens next draws us on. Approach of hurricane season might add a wee incentive as well.

Destination, St. Augustine, is self-proclaimed oldest city in US. Neither of us there since childhood and yes, it was already a city at that time. Arrival on 28th or 29th with haul-out for anti-fouling and shaft alignment scheduled for June 1 through 4 if disease police don't prevent. First time for boat in mainland US since early 2013. After avoiding sales tax attendant to purchase by leaving within ninety days hope state hasn't figured out how to extract it after seven years. Not worried - politicians and bureaucrats always keep their promises.

Wednesday

Boats heading to Bermuda and NE US coast will likely have to motor for eight hundred miles before getting wind to sail. Likely no better for a week or two, then troughs and tropical lows with unfortunate potential are likely. We may need to burn the odd dead dinosaur heading toward Bahamas, but there is slightly more wind. Should be able to sail enough. That's the theory anyway.

Departed around 1030. Not bad breeze if it weren't dead behind. Probably pole out some genoa once clear of the island and wind steadies southeast. This looks to be a very boring passage unless we clip a bommie in the Great Bahama Bank running between Nassau and Eleuthera from Ship Channel to Porpoise Rock. We'll do that skinny bit in good daylight.

So, how's the lockdown working out for you? Is this like when you're fourteen and get to stay home from school because you convince helicopter mom that your tum tum aches? Sure you get to play video games and watch TV all day, but then fail that big math test, get held back a grade, lose interest, don't graduate from high school and turn to crime because you have no other way to earn a living. Returning to the current situation, wasn't the curve flattened about a month ago even in the few places where overburdened care facilities were the primary fear? No rush to exit the induced recession though. Individuals shouldn't be allowed to determine what level of risk they're willing to take because everyone, like that fourteen year old, is stupid and irresponsible except the ruling classes. Those paragons of intellectual and moral superiority know what's best for each person, each place, each situation and understand all the innumerable consequences of their blunt instrument edicts. We're all happy they and the media from which we get all our news care about us, have our best interests in their hearts and continue to get paid.

Jack & Jan

Squared Away

18 May 2020 | Elephant Bay, St. Thomas
Bocce Court

Sunday 17 May 2020

Escape during last few days from marina life and commensurate daily costs has been good. Credit card took a hit with settlement, but since no money changed hands we're good to go. Of course when bill arrives in June (we pay off each and every month as should everyone) adjustments may be necessary.

Since TS Arthur is moving north no tropical disturbance is in immediate forecast, but he took normal breeze with him. It's too light along much of route if we depart Monday, so delay until perhaps Wednesday is under advisement. Had thought to run through Bahamas, but now may go directly St. Augustine from here. Close enough to Turks & Caicos and Abacos to duck in if something blows up. Not a hardship staying in VI a couple more days, but warm water suggests early and possibly more active hurricane season. Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances.

Good crowd last night at Tim & Judy's for ribs and bocce, first use of court with new surface - photos to follow.. maybe. Food and drink, excellent as usual. Our team, which included Tim and Judy's son, John, got pulverized, 12 to 6. Home court advantage apparently overrated.

Monday

Awaiting weather whether we like it or not. Still appears that tomorrow or Wednesday may see improvement with sail through Bahamas rather than direct currently showing better. Government approval received with proviso that we don't touch land. Stop-over anchoring is allowed and three hundred dollar cruising fee waived so they're being atypically reasonable. Besides GRIBs (Generally Ridiculous Information Blunder) we have Chris Parker's Marine Weather Center email and SSB broadcasts. This is way more information than normal for us so we'll probably get in trouble.

While waiting could continue replacing hatch seals, but that would involve four letter words in addition to "work". Prefer five letter words such as sloth, relax, defer, slack and nappy (which can also reflect incontinence, but only applies if really young or really old). Still have Tim's CRV so expect to tour a bit later. Typically this involves driving to a coffee shop to play with computers and driving back - we love our joe. Since Jan is already smokin' hot she drinks iced while rest of crew go the other way.

Despite limitations imposed by this annoying virus thingy we've truly enjoyed the American version of the Virgins. It has much that's best of Caribbean islands and mainland US. British side unfortunately is now overrun with rectangular floating condos carrying superfluous sails driven by minimally competent charterers who motor from one bay to the next and take all the ubiquitous moorings early each day where there is little room to anchor. BVI was a favorite in the 80s with reliable wind, protected water, line of sight navigation and dozens of great anchorages. Nearly all vessels had one hull with a single pointy front end instead of two or three partial boats cobbled together in a four cornered barge that barely sails upwind. Nearly everyone knew how to use the white flappy things and how to set an anchor. Although getting out on the water is a wonderful experience to be encouraged no matter circumstance, the aesthete in me prefers the elegance and grace of a sleek sailing yacht to the lubberliness of a floating cinder block.

Jack & Jan

Over the Top

13 May 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
Monday 11 May 2020

Changing RO element and pre-filters in watermaker is very easy. That's why it
only took five hours. As with any boat project when once involved (usually too
far in to close up and ignore) one finds that other areas require mending or a
part is broken in process. In this case it was the full gamut. Hoses were
brittle or leaking with clamps rusty and ready to break. As one may assume
these were in the most inaccessible spots. Spare hose was available, but having
been used to flush gunk from AC cooling system was filthy requiring thorough
reaming. After replacement and reassembly bottom of membrane housing was
leaking where a plastic plug had cracked (I did not do this, honest... you
believe me don't you?). Jury rig (after de-mounting for access) was to drill
and tap a quarter inch screw to plug the plug. Oddly enough this worked.
Unable to unscrew pre-filter housing in awkward location, had to remove entire
assembly which required removing hoses from barbs with heat gun without melting
nearby plastic. All back together just in time for happy hour.

That was pretty boring and uninteresting, but took up a large portion of
yesterday so wanted to spread the suffering around. Jack's the name;
schadenfreude's the game. Anyway it's working at present and no one is going to
peek at the thing again for a long time. No sense asking for trouble.

After spending a week at USPS transfer facility in Jacksonville last package has
yet to arrive at marina. Amazon is sorry it's late, very sorry, but promises
product will be replaced or cost refunded after 27th if not delivered by then,
two and a half weeks late. We'll undoubtedly be gone. May it arrive soon or
not at all.

Wednesday

Weather not looking especially peachy for heading out end of week. Nevertheless
we go for final provisioning today with good mate Dustin, also leaving soon.
Anyway Tim's bocce court is virtually done with a tournament set for Saturday
and it would be rude to leave before that. Then, of course, Sunday will require
recovery. Maybe depart Monday if weather looks OK.

Planning to evacuate marina tomorrow if card has sufficient credit left to pay
for the dubious honor of staying here. Awning is down, nearly everything on
deck is prepared and cabin is tidy (more or less). Hiccup of Victron that had
us without charging for a day has been remedied and everything of importance is
working - he said as usual with unequivocal certitude. This is either
occasionally true, a self fulfilling prophesy, a re-definition of "importance"
or an inducement to ignore anything that doesn't work.

Tentative plan is to sail from here across north side of Turks & Caicos and
Aklins/Crooked Islands, through Exuma Sound and Northeast Providence Channel
then across Gulf Stream to St. Augustine. This is about twelve hundred NM so
should take about nine days if weather doesn't induce us to surreptitiously pull
into someplace for a wee rest. If psychological tranquility depends upon this
actually happening as proposed, one has only oneself to blame.

Jack & Jan

Vices

10 May 2020 | Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas
Saturday 9 May 2020

Although not quite FUBAR, doctor's office and pharmacy were not optimum so we got home late and only had time for masthead lighting. Set climbing rig, went up and... both lights were working? Righty-oh! Expect that underway gremlins will have again done their nefarious magic with one or both.

Much of catastrophe from rail work has been remediated and cabin looks like a liveaboard sailing yacht again rather than the aftermath of a tornado... until next project.

Sunday

Due regrettable aftermath of expected celebratory excess Friday night, yesterday was a wasteland of bad sci-fi movies, Youtube and latest in the occasional reminder to never do it again. Expect to let it count as this week's day of rest and hit projects hard today following return from Bad Ass Coffee.

Bike ride turns around on west side of town at cruise ship tourist trap market just before road begins a steep climb, which we studiously avoid. We break for a shaded sit-down to rehydrate before returning to coffee shop. Sign on building indicates it is prohibited to smoke within twenty feet. Continuing verbiage is suggested that one must be fifty feet away if catching fire and that it would be advisable to maintain this distance even if only smoking to avoid possible stiff fine in case one unexpectedly bursts into flame. Prudence is a virtue.

"The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues."
- Elizabeth Taylor

Jack & Jan
Vessel Name: Anthem
Vessel Make/Model: 1997 Hylas 46
Hailing Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
Crew: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes disgraceful.twaddle@gmail.com
About:
Jack: Formerly productive member of the community as a Northwest Airlines Captain who retired to become a drain on, and embarrassment to, polite society. [...]
Extra:
While I will be delighted if anyone else enjoys these excursions into semi-intelligible foolishness, the primary purpose is personal amusement. This is not travelogue, cruising guide or philosophical exploration of anything in particular, merely random musing of a slightly twisted mind. Despite [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/anthem
Anthem's Photos - Main
5 Photos
Created 2 January 2017
Waterfall, etc.
5 Photos
Created 19 May 2009

S/V Anthem

Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes disgraceful.twaddle@gmail.com
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
For a better map select "View Tracking" and click "+" below "Google" left lower of Sailblogs map. Download .kml file and open with Google Earth. See full profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and for information on contact. Don't be a stranger.
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