Anthem Adrift

19 February 2019 | Approaching Cape Agulhas
17 February 2019 | Departing Port Elizabeth
14 February 2019 | 58 NM ENE of Port Elizabeth
13 February 2019 | East London
09 February 2019 | Richard's Bay
28 January 2019 | Richard's Bay
22 January 2019 | Kruger Game Park
11 January 2019 | San Pablo, California
09 January 2019 | South Lake Tahoe, California
03 January 2019 | San Pablo, California
31 December 2018 | Toronto, Canada
26 December 2018 | Guelph, Ontario
25 December 2018 | Guelph, Ontario
25 December 2018 | Guelph, Ontario
24 December 2018 | Guelph, Ontario
23 December 2018 | Guelph, Ontario
21 December 2018 | Guelph, Ontario
20 December 2018 | Guelph, Ontario
17 December 2018 | Pijnacker, Netherlands
14 December 2018 | Pijnacker, Netherlands

The Only Good Indian...

19 February 2019 | Approaching Cape Agulhas
Monday 18 February 2019

Making excellent time with 20+ knot wind and knot and a half current from behind. If weather holds, creek don't rise and Easter Bunny comes early could be into Cape Town Wednesday afternoon.

Tuesday

Oddly enough the possibility remains that a daytime arrival can be realized. Marina and Yanmar people have been advised. Expect to say hello to Cape Agulhas and goodbye to Indian Ocean early this evening. It's been an adventure and an experience not to be repeated. If we return to the Pacific, say to New Zealand, and want back into Western Hemisphere it will be via Japan, Alaska and the West Coast of North America or if only to French Polynesia, then via Hawaii. One Indian is a sufficiency of Indians. Two Indians would be one Indian too many.

In fairness, except for the genoa clew ripping out and the rudder breaking off and vibration threatening to rip the motor off its mounts.. work with me for a moment, OK?.. the passage from Baly Bay, Madagascar to Cape Town has been (projecting ahead about 25 hours) a pretty decent run with some surprisingly good sailing. If we ever try to do it again, slap us.

Jack & Jan

Shake, Rattle and Roll

17 February 2019 | Departing Port Elizabeth
Friday 15 February 2019

After literally moments of superficial contemplation, reference last entry, have determined that an understanding of the universe, like of women (or of men to women even as simple as men tend to be), is preposterous, nonsensical and unknowable so will ignore many of the finer points and just enjoy the adventure.

Vibration continued to worsen so, although continuation to Cape Town would have been reasonable under other circumstance, pulled into Port Elizabeth. John, representative for the Algoa Bay Sailing Marina (the associated yacht club has been shut down) had someone meet us for parking and contacted a diesel mechanic.

Saturday

Had a lovely fellow, Guy Fabre (he's French so pronounced with a hard G and long E), with us from the time we arrived until tonight analyzing vibration. Very knowledgeable and meticulous eliminating various causes, he did a remarkable job with limited resources. We almost had to force the money on him for the time he spent.

Appears that culprit is likely the gear box, a Hurth. Has almost 12,000 hours so probably needed rebuilding anyway. Minimum possibility also that shaft is slightly bent, but prop, alignment, cutlass bearing and uncoupled engine seem fine. With a weather window that may get us all the way to Cape Town and certainly to Mossel Bay we will continue tomorrow afternoon when the wind turns from SW to S and SE, light (he said with soaring confidence). Engine runs smoothly at lower RPM, so may just take awhile for arrival.

Sunday

Fourteen thirty and still awaiting wind change with above alluded to aplomb.

Nineteen fifteen, underway and wind still from WSW, toward whence we proceed. Into the gale (about eleven knots) at current RPMs we should still make the Cape before food and water run out and cannibalism becomes a concern. Anyway who's in a hurry?

Jack

Epic Blunders

14 February 2019 | 58 NM ENE of Port Elizabeth
Thursday 14 February 2019

OK guys, for Valentine's Day get your wife or GF (or both) that ironing board, jumper cable or wrench set that you know she secretly lusts after. Then, after regrouping and a bit of soul searching, write to tell me your best gift idea that says "I'm an insensitive bastard", something even better than wrinkle cream, plastic dog poop or a plushie testicle (you can get them in blue). I was thinking of giving Jan a white-knuckle, bronco ride down the Agulhas Current to Port Elizabeth.

Anyway the die is cast as we're underway, regrettably in very light conditions to start. Hardly enough to truly show the love - perhaps later out on the 200 meter line in a couple of hours when the wind picks up into the 20s? That should do the trick.

- Later

Oddly enough the weather prediction was wrong and we had a beautiful day of sailing. This was a baffling reversal of standard expectation as all such miscalculations are invariably in the opposite direction. World view has been dealt a serious blow. Reassessment of the universe and all existence will now necessarily be undertaken. Stay tuned for the certain to be epiphanic conclusions with no doubt harrowing consequences.

Jack

Shafted

13 February 2019 | East London
Sunday 10 February 2019

During sea trial yesterday with diesel mechanic aboard, experienced similar vibration as prior to replacing engine mounts, adjusting valves, aligning shaft, checking cutlass bearing and servicing prop. Since nothing can be causing it, it's obviously not happening. !@#$%^&*()_+ or stronger words to that effect. Mechanic blames cutlass, but yard man says it was OK.

Just north of Durban as sun peeps over horizon. Looks like we're good to at least East London, tomorrow evening. Easy sea and little wind until tomorrow morning so we get to listen to prop shaft shake worse than before for another twenty four hours. Notwithstanding professional opinion, figure it's either shaft alignment (current favorite) or cutlass bearing (a misnomer as it's a bushing that looks nothing like a short, curved sword - nautical lingo)

Monday

Finally picked up Agulhas Current awhile before wind backed from SW to SE. Interim was a tad frisky with 16 knot wind against 4.5 knot stream. Now averaging better than ten over ground with sails and should make East London before dark for a couple day rest.

- Later

As usual the best laid plans.. wind and current fell off so arrived in the dark after a last hour of thirty knot squall with commensurate sea. Just happy to be here.

Tuesday

Never looked at transmission/shaft coupling as diesel mechanic swore it was perfectly aligned. My bad. It was never checked. Bolts and nuts holding it together are frozen solid. Wire brushed and sprayed with some magic (he said, he said) de-freezer obtained in Darwin and now awaiting the magic to happen. Check later. Since vibration is worse and only major change was engine mounts...

Wednesday

No magic. Meantime Buffalo River YC is having a braai tonight and we're invited. Probably leave in the morning for Port Elizabeth. Latest GRIB (Godawful Retribution for Inattentive Boaters) shows a wee low might stop us there for a couple of days as boat speed absent sailing wind will be slow. All to be revealed in the fullness of time.

Jack

Undergoing

09 February 2019 | Richard's Bay
37 58.80'N : 122 15.23'W
Monday 4 February 2019

Rudder still not done. Reason this time was awaiting delivery of graphite packing that keeps water outside. Let's recap: hoped to be in Cape Town for Christmas, now may arrive before end of February. This did give excuse for visiting friends and family in far off places, but rather have waited until Caribbean.

Tuesday

In other good news, insurance agent informed us recently that a new insurer would be necessary because, "Due to the changing marine insurance industry will are having to submit to a new insurer due to the fact you are US flagged" [sic]. OK, submitted a new application and asked if new survey would be required as we would be on the hard until today (surveys usually require boat out of the water). No answer after over two weeks so looks like we will be saving four to five grand on insurance this year.

Friday

Going naked. Not only was insurance well over five boat units, but underwriter wouldn't cover us for the US or anything above middle Grenada before December, named storm or not. No survey was required, but crikey, they weren't really insuring us either. We'll just have to be vewy, vewy caweful. May need to get third party coverage at some point to go into marinas. Wasn't going to, but since it won't effect premiums have decided to make a claim for the rudder. Since we didn't get permission before having work done may get blown off, pissed off and pissed on, but just might make a few bucks on this turn of events. Except of course we've already paid a diaper load of premiums over the last twenty four years, enough if put into a broad market index fund to buy another boat.

By the way, finally got splashed (haul out/in is a very traumatic experience under the best of circumstances, but quite primitive here (they do fine, but it looks excessively scary)) on Tuesday afternoon. Took two full days and then some to get more or less re-rigged and cleaned (yards are habitually filthy and for a special experience here, besides monkey poo, the boys were grinding gelcoat on boat next door).

Today was checkout day and it took nearly the whole thing to jump all hoops, getting proper stamps (6) in specified order. Paperwork at marina took forty minutes just to get the ball rolling. Remember, this is for remaining in country. Can hardly wait to clear for Namibia. No worries, everyone but marine police were friendly and, except for running out of petrol (the perp will be unnamed), process went OK and there were no charges (except for taxi to fill empty tank - guilty party remains anonymous).

Tonight is braai night at the ZYC so as members of PETA, people who eat tasty animals, we indulge our inner carnivore for a pittance. Eating cows, chickens and sheep is easy as they're as dumb as a box of rocks, but pigs are a bit different. They're more intelligent than horses, which we have an aversion to eating, but gosh if really that smart they should figure a way to stop being so yummy.

Iridium Go, satellite comms, is set and working so those of you who have no better sense will be exposed to this drivel as the spirit moves me. Motivation and inspiration have been lacking since return to SA, so perhaps a renewed vigor will infest entries from this point.

Jack

Floating And Not

28 January 2019 | Richard's Bay
Wednesday 23 January 2019

Here's the good news... right, so now for the bad: although boat might have been done by Friday, tides are too low for launch until 5 February, almost two weeks off. Two months on the hard while listening to piggy bank squeal from ongoing dollar-ectomy. Expect rain through Monday so 'might have' becomes 'will not'. Original NLT was 20 January when launchable high tides were available.

Thursday

Although half of crew avoids social media like the plague that it is and is too lazy to include pictures on this blog, other half add photos to her Facebook page. Those interested may search for Janice Holmes and choose the one with Jan leaning against a rail, trying not to fall into the water. Have no idea if friending is required to view, but if interested give it a peep.

Friday

Tonight is braai night at the ZYC. They feature a T-bone steak that's as big as Rhode Island and more tender than the Patriarca crime family. As knee is slightly better, may go over early to do a bit of work on the now pitiful looking boat. Replacing zinc anodes and servicing MaxProp are a couple of easy tasks. Little point in cleaning up pine straw, tracked dirt, grease on cushions and monkey poop until back in the water.

Saturday

Speed humps, as they're called here, are evil. KwaZulu-Natal has latched onto this concept with a staggering proliferation along open highways. Whoever designed them should be forced to drive a little crap-box Datsun, such as we've rented until Friday the 8th (admittedly at a scandalously low price), over the things in hell for eternity. Approaching one too slowly makes climbing up the near side with a hamster powered engine difficult and doubles transit times, but hitting one too quickly will launch shocks up through fenders and displace a kidney. We need some sort of peacetime Geneve Convention that prohibits this sort of cruel and unconscionable punishment. Alternatively, to similar ends, modern technology might allow the guardians of public probity to emplace laser cannon at critical locations to immediately vaporize speeders 15 kph over the limit - no suffering and it would eliminate high velocity crashes and most drivers under 25. How bad could that be? Ban the bumps!

Sunday

Have you ever noticed that it's easier to take things apart than reassemble them? All hoses, wires and mounts are arranged and waiting, but things apparently never go back the same. Or perhaps it's just that someone with the memory of a three-year-old who shall remain unnamed has forgotten how it was originally installed during which a contrivance was involved to fit whatever it is into a space that is always too small and cramped. Towing a barge with plenty of room for easy installations seems the perfect solution, but since no one does it there are probably unforeseen issues that would make it untenable.

Monday

We've now been living as dirtlings for almost eight weeks with over a week to go. Although we've traveled extensively to prevent the worst entropic effects of stasis, buzzards and other carrion eaters are beginning to get a fix so it's imperative we get moving ASAP. Assuming splash on 5 February current forecast indicates no reasonable movement toward Cape Town until 9th. This would give us three days to sort rigging and all displaced, misplaced and defaced emplacements. For obscure reasons we continually plan ahead, even in this case knowing wind prognostication likelihood is near zero. The trick is to stay loose and alert, to bob and weave. It's the cruising equivalent of Ali's "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee". We're floating.

Jack

Travels Through Life

22 January 2019 | Kruger Game Park
Tuesday 15 January 2019

A surprisingly quick seeming flight to Atlanta and then on to Johannesburg, a fair bit of it asleep. Met Ocean Cruising Club couple for dinner at hotel upon arrival and didn't feel like total dog squeeze. That night not bad sleep on back of clock (10 hour difference) until taking taxi to bus station downtown Johannesburg yesterday morning. No reasonable way to get half ton of accumulated purchases (slight hyperbole) on South African Airways, so arranged to take the dog, first time on a Greyhound in about 50 years. Ten hours, not awful. However, nobody should sit down this much - about thirty six hours last two days.

Airbnb is providing us a reasonably priced room beside Tuzi Gazi Marina and across canal from the yard, walking distance from good restaurants and the boat. Good to be back near home, lame though she may be, and it's warm. Speaking of lame and walking, left knee began hurting and continued to get worse. Going to orthopod in the morning for a look.

Wednesday

Particularly enraptured to report that at some time in the future Anthem may be equipped with all cyborg crew. Glancing at X-rays, doctor said left knee was beyond help and should be whacked off and replaced. Any hope he's just trying to drum up business is probably faint. Distance into future of such whacking to be determined by second opinion and how good are the anti-inflammatory drugs. As walking is often beneficial for several reasons, almost necessary at times and can even be enjoyable wouldn't be surprised to sport new hardware before end of year.

Tuesday

Going stir crazy in the apartment, unable to do any work on boat, decided to drive up to Kruger Game Park. Two nights with a day in the park. Although on drive through we saw scores of hundreds of impala and other cat food including zebra, wildebeest and warthogs, dozens of elephants, giraffe and hippos, several types of monkeys and baboons and multitudinous birds of all types, didn't see any cats or rhinos. Mild disappointment was assuaged, however, after returning to the lodge while waiting on braai coals to burn down, a pride of 17 lions trooped past to lay down for the evening across the river, a parade of elephants came up just below our fence and a couple of rhinos walked down the far hill to the water. This morning a bull elephant strolled past and a herd of more than a hundred impala spread out across the adjacent hillside to a get drink along with an apparently bewildered wildebeest who couldn't seem to figure out where to go or why he was there. Perhaps he just wanted to mingle with pretty animals and pretend he's not butt ugly. A bit surprised they walked right across where the lions had camped out until about 0500. This trip was well worth the seven and a half hour drive up from Richard's Bay, but hey, he kvetched, what about cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs? If we ever experienced it all there wouldn't be any need to keep searching now would there?

Jack

Denouement

11 January 2019 | San Pablo, California
Wednesday 9 January 2019

Currently driving back to SF Bay in fog. Girls hit the sweet spot in ski weather Monday and Tuesday as Sunday had strong, gusty wind and today is rainy. Next year we'll have easier flights from Caribbean to give currently lame crew a day or three on the mountain. Left paw somewhat better too late this time. Heat and rest helped, who knew?

Thursday

Our host, a nurse, left early this morning to go to a hospital for twelve hours of something called 'work'. This is toil with which we are not currently familiar except for boat projects, which are rationalized as something else. 'Work' is where individuals perform some task and performee, who for various reasons thinks this endeavor is a good idea, gives them money. Money can subsequently be used to buy toys or do things that are not work. 'Not work' is generally placed in the 'enjoyment' category and may include buying a boat and sailing around the world. This particular use of money is quite uncommon and only mentioned because 1) we have become somewhat acquainted with the concept and 2) to illustrate the fact that people are willing to endure all manner of travail in order to do something they consider 'fun' no matter how eccentric or preposterous.

After about two and a half days of excruciating pain even tying shoe laces, left wrist is nearly normal. What up? Drugs and heat finally taking effect? Positive attitude? Incredible healing powers of magnificent physique? Karma? Anyway, life has taken on its customary glow and is again worth abusing with additional drugs and alcohol. **Warning** For those inspired to now rush out and snort frog secretions, our hard drug of preference, besides gin, is naproxen sodium or, when visiting Crazy Cat Lady, the occasional whiff of catnip. This last is particularly dangerous while driving as it engenders an uncontrollable desire to roll onto one's back to have his tummy rubbed.

Friday

We depart tomorrow morning for Johannesburg, ten hours later at UTC +2, after 22:24 of flying and 2:47 in Atlanta. As nothing connects to Richard's Bay until following day we get back home to thaw out from a month of freezing our keisters off just before noon Monday.

Pleased to report that progress on boat is advancing apace and most work will be completed, he avers confidently, by end of next week. Photo of indestructible rudder construction comforts us with assurance that next time we plow into a whale, aft end of boat will sheer off instead. Only potential downside is that's where life raft is stored. No worries, we'll still retain the EPIRB to mark a location for our loved ones to toss the wreath.

Jack

Going Downhill

09 January 2019 | South Lake Tahoe, California
Tuesday 8 January 2019

Despite our late arrival Wednesday Lesley drove down from San Pablo to retrieve us at the SFO airport. Probably just wanted to show off her brand new Tesla 3. It's fast. This has something to do with the electric motor that Elon and the gang put in it of course, but primarily because it's red - they're always faster. Empirical data suggests that white tends to be slowest.

Obligatory visits to Costco and West Marine plus playing with new toys shipped to Lesley were partially successful in keeping us out of trouble. Finally got hands on Iridium Go, satellite data receiver, purchased for more consistent contact with the greater world and to allow, if in the mood and feeling particularly mischievous, daily blog posts. All functions work well except interface with Airmail app for blog. Overt cheering at this point would be both unseemly and premature.

Drove up to South Lake Tahoe for skiing at Heavenly Valley on Sunday opposite a near parking lot of cars heading back to the Bay. Blowing snow, icy road, four wheel drive or chains required. The girls skied Monday while male contingent spent day at Starbucks with a crippled paw over-dosing on ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Toxic amounts for twenty four hours didn't make a dent, so got dropped at urgent care clinic this morning, missing second day on slopes. X-ray showed no unexpected permanent damage. Prescription: heat and rest. It's called conservative treatment because that sounds better than "no orthos can see you until February".

Jack & Jan

Taking a Flyer

03 January 2019 | San Pablo, California
Wednesday 2 January 2019

Great visit with the folks and yes, even the carpet commandos. Never had the urge to kill even one of them.. at least that's what the parents were told. Leaving just in time as temps drop to -10. Missed standby flight to Minnesota at 1330, so now on 1536 to Atlanta through to San Francisco with ETA delayed four hours. Buddy Lesley was coming to airport to pick us up and treat to dinner, but now hoping airline feeds us then taking BART and Uber in the wee hours Toronto time to destination - the joys of staff travel. No complaints as happy to get on and enjoy the magnificent service of our airline of preference, Delta. As the best airline in existence it should be yours too. Previous comment has nothing to do with their maintaining my pension.

Finally heard from yard guy, ergo have decided to trust that boat will not be destroyed without my personal supervision until our return 14 January, a week before projected splash upon maintenance completion. This will continue an eight year run of Jan seeing me every day. For recondite reasons she has yet to murdered me in my sleep. (by referring to violence or using the word 'violence' four times in a row, expect to now be on the NSA watch list (hi, love ya... seriously guys, think rambunctious puppy that pees on the carpet - annoying, but adorable and harmless).

Just as we escape to relatively warmish temperatures (highs in the teens C) may drive up to Lake Tahoe for skiing. At least this is a semi-tenable reason for freezing one's keister off. Getting through a few days of the highly suspect activity of sliding down a mountain on two boards at high speed over and over again will require prodigious quantities of ibuprofen for knees and equally stupendous amounts of alcohol for that and other excellent reasons. There goes the resolution.

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
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