Anthem Adrift

05 July 2022 | Day 12 to Sitka
04 July 2022 | Day 11 to Sitka
03 July 2022 | Day 10 to Sitka
02 July 2022 | Day 9 to Sitka
01 July 2022 | Day 8 to Sitka
30 June 2022 | Day 7 to Sitka
29 June 2022 | Day 6 to Sitka
28 June 2022 | Day 5 to Sitka
26 June 2022 | Day 4 to Sitka
26 June 2022 | Day 3 to Sitka
25 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
24 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
23 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
22 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
21 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
20 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
19 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
14 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
04 June 2022 | Ko'Olina, Oahu
24 May 2022 | Tierra Verde, FL

Go Fourth, Go Fleetly

05 July 2022 | Day 12 to Sitka
Monday 4 July 2022

Happy Birthday America. Eat hotdogs, drink beer and blow up stuff to show your patriotism. Then hop out of your sclerotic assumptions bubbles for a sec and give real objective thought to why we became such a successful country. Try some enlightenment. You could be surprised.

So how are we spending Independence Day, three Yanks and two Canuks (only four crew, Marie counts as both)? Autonomously dodging Japanese freighters in the middle of the North Pacific chilling our chalupas. Altered course for avoidance last night and this morning as there seems to be quite a bit of traffic between N. America and Asia. As our latitude climbs, temperature inexorably descends and daylight lengthens... huh? Fun fact: Although summer solstice was almost two weeks ago after which days in the northern hemisphere at stationary locations get shorter, we're moving north faster than the sun moves south.

Despite explicit instructions that this was to be a tranquil saunter from tropical to arctical (not a real word), a front has formed, risking entire crew's severe opprobrium (yes, it's true - obloquy and opprobrium), that may bring near gale force winds Thursday night and again early morning before landfall. At least wind and sea will be off our quarter rather than on the bow - a frisky downhill sleigh-ride, not an uphill bash. If able to maintain speed could make Sitka Sunday in daylight. Helps that nights are only six hours with sunset around 2200.

Jack & Jan

Cold Comfort

04 July 2022 | Day 11 to Sitka
Sunday 3 July 2022

Oddly, GRIB (Giddy Redundancy Insures Bodaciousness) is matching up with weatherman pronouncements (FRs pay a fellow for reports) and actual conditions. In current case ride is lumpy and erratic, but we're making good speed. Weather should confidently remain similar for another twenty four hours, get easier for a day then become, for several hours, frisky again. After that is a WAG (Wild Ass Guess), but perhaps calmer until closing the coast. Still a week from landfall as air and water temperatures are now, in July, 14C. In case any of us needs a reminder... Alaska. The warm southeast part, but still, you know... Alaska. Anoraks and mukluks?

As a boat gets tossed about in a seaway it tends to flex a bit and produce creaks, groans and other annoying racket not even counting wind whispering & wailing and water rushing, gurgling & slapping. Don sleeps on saloon settee sea berth to remain closest to cockpit where cabinet just above his head constantly makes an especially irritating popping sound. Fix, which appears possible, must await accessing tools in Sitka after which it will be somewhat superfluous as nearly all further travel will be day sails in calmer water.

Calculations suggest that raising each child averages above a quarter million dollars. One reason the four of us could retire with sufficient assets to luxuriate in this matchless ambiance of blue water cruising is that we avoided producing any. Even at best when one only has to sustain the noisy little parasites for ten years or so before putting them to work in a factory to earn their keep, the fiscal and emotional drain is enervating. If you find yourself in this situation (a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling), however, there is a silver lining. Since most people are blind to above realities, after the tykes get past the screaming twos and threes and are allegedly cute and in high demand, you can sell them for enough money to buy that great passage making yacht you secretly crave. If you delay peddling them until puberty strikes, the sullen teenager can't be given away and will engender extended prison time if found strangled. Don't say you weren't warned.

Jack & Jan

Awkward Circumstances

03 July 2022 | Day 10 to Sitka
Saturday 2 July 2022

As wind and sea build, ride is becoming a shade more boisterous, but still generally comfortable. Conditions should continue to pick up somewhat through Sunday, then possibly another little jump on Tuesday, but afterward perhaps for duration, very Pacific (a little adolescent nautical humor - chuckle, snort). This, of course, assumes GRIB (Guilty Responsibility of Indeterminate Boobs) is somewhere in the neighborhood of correct.

On passages Freezing Rains don't use gimbaling stove for cooking and to keep open containers stable in a seaway. Instead, suspended above it is a free swinging, single burner jobbie using a camping bottle for ballast and to heat a single pot or tea kettle. Works OK when using your extra hands and prehensile tail to hold plates, bowls and cups level, but lower orders of humanity with only two grasping appendages find it difficult to, for example, make two cups of tea without creating a mess on the countertop. And don't even think about that five course meal you read about in your cruising cookbook. One learns quickly that virtually everything on a boat is some kind of compromise. Galley area here is small and bottom of oven on starboard tack swings into leg room, so Marie likes this better, but it is inconvenient. Seems an unfortunate design decision for such a fine boat.

Cargo ships and tankers. They're everywhere. Earlier contacts may have been going to Singapore, latest possibly China or Japan. It's a big ocean and none have been closer than fifteen nm, but Freezing Rain's AIS antenna is atop the mast and somehow reaches out fifty or more. Antenna on Anthem is at deck level so we're lucky to detect a target before its crew can wave a hanky at us. Alarm tone sounds with other vessel at around two nm and approaching. In worst possible scenario when intersecting at a closing speed of twenty five knots, that gives us a smidge under five minutes to contemplate, rewrite and launch in a bottle any last minute codicils to our wills before getting smashed like a snail under a steam roller. Usually, however, we just turn out of the way. Did anyone mention that before adding blue tooth speaker to system in Anthem, the old guy who hung around jet engines all his life couldn't hear high pitched warnings from plotter?

"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad." ~~~ Dave Barry

Jack & Jan

Tack That

02 July 2022 | Day 9 to Sitka
Friday 1 July 2022

Happy birthday Canada.

Wind returned as we left convergence zone, but from west requiring change to port tack in easy conditions. New air mass is noticeably cooler. Wind expected to gradually increase and be tolerably sporty with two plus meter sea by tomorrow evening and Sunday. Possible motoring a few days later. Otherwise a milk run with consistent, mild wind. Gardner McKay in his leaky Tiki never had it so good.

Different tacks are surprisingly dissimilar and have different ambiance. Some boats are more congenial on one than the other. Lying down is more comfortable back to leeward, so sleeping is on opposite side against different surface, often either sidewall (10cm wide beam against lower back in my bunk) or leecloth (much better). Bracing is necessary to dress or do anything, so different solid surfaces must be found to lean against. Drinks are put down to stay in place on different surfaces and slop over into crevices where you'd rather not have to clean. Hand holds are never in the right spot so different techniques for moving about are learned. Shower may drain one way, but not the other. Reaching to bottom of fridge may be harder facing uphill and more precarious facing down. Items that are secure on one tack go walkabout on the other. Eating is a stunt requiring one hand to keep plate from sliding and level, two hands to eat and another to hold a drink. And toilets.. don't even go there (in a manner of speaking).

Passages get into a rhythm after a few days when everyone finds his niche. After a week or so you think you've been doing the same thing forever. That ignores, of course, the occasional mechanical or meteorological contretemps, but those are mere distractions from your arbitrary routines (again with the oxymoron).

Jack & Jan

Lunacy

01 July 2022 | Day 8 to Sitka
Thursday 30 June 2022

New moon, end of June. Second this month. By sunset Friday should see sliver of new crescent chasing Sol to the western horizon, then over the following fourteen nights losing the race as it slowly grows larger and works its way across the night sky to finally rise full in the east just as the sun disappears.

Wind and sea calm. Motoring north to position for catching future northwest wind into Sitka. Becoming noticeably cooler. Sea temp 21C and falling along with water in tank and heater. One of us showered last night - cool, not cold. Jan waited for engine heated warmth to shower tonight. Without new energy water heater holds a few kelvins for a couple of days, but eventually water for slooshing greasy and stinky bits will nearly match air temperature. One of us will probably brave the chill and assert he is (with Russian accent), "strong as bull". Another, demurring from freezing her tahtahs, will reply, "and half as smart".

Damaged genoa has been living, rolled up, on upper, port lifeline since Friday. No worries as weather has been lenient and from starboard. Since it's calm, but expect sporty conditions from port side in a day or so decided to flake sail and store in a bag. This exercise with Marie at helm and other three on deck folding sail, fraught with mishap, unaccountably went off without a hitch. Sail bag now lashed to upper deck and secure. We're ready for the tempest so probably won't get one.

Radar shut itself down and hid. Didn't actually hide as we almost immediately located the thing at its accustomed location atop pole mount, but couldn't find a signal. After massaging control heads for awhile to no effect finally dug behind electrical panel and futzed with fuses and connections and such and voila! radar. No idea what we did, but, well... radar. Of course now there are no showers around to watch for.

There were, however, two crossing ships that appeared to be on a lane between LA and Singapore Strait. Initial contacts were via AIS which stands for Avoidance Instrument System. In fact, have forgotten what the acronym means, but all commercial ships and most blue water yachts now transmit a VHF signal to electronic charts that shows among other things where the target is, it's course, how close it will get and when. Cool technology that probably makes busting around in the dark somewhat safer. Besides radar and AIS, actually cast eyes on one ship at eleven nm, first siting since leaving Oahu. To be seen at that range she must have been big, but not as huge as one further away we didn't see with length shown as .2 nautical miles. Wouldn't want that rascal sneaking up on us in the dark.

Jack & Jan

Cookies and Custard

30 June 2022 | Day 7 to Sitka
Wednesday 29 July 2022

After seven days we've settled into a disorganized routine (oxymoron?). Dinner and watches are set, but everything else, outside of impromptu head, sail, toilet or leak kerfuffles and sail trimming, is a leisurely amble through the day. Plenty of time to read, talk, nap, poke at various places on new, poorly organized, hybrid/touchscreen chart plotter to see what happens and write meandering twaddle for one's own aberrant amusement.

Marie baked about a hundred of her famous passage cookies. Not sure how notorious they actually are, but we like them. Ten centimeters (four inches) in diameter and made with nutmeg and apricot preserves, they're Jan's and my nibble with morning tea. Sometimes we have another for evening dessert, but feel guilty eating more. Although none of us suffers mal de mer, nutmeg, at least in quantity, is suppose to help. Of course eating enough cookies for a persuasive dose of palliative requires keeping them down, which is decidedly challenging while hurling over the rail. Serious suffers say at first they're afraid they'll die, then in due course fear they won't. We have friends who've circumnavigated the globe and get sick virtually every time out. Perseverance, stubbornness or lunacy?

Approaching area of enervated air requiring engine run to maintain momentum. Without generator, Yanmar is sole method of heating water for showers. Not so bad at 28C, but 11 is a titch nippy for us little wood ducks. No worries, a military shower (heavy application of deodorant) will keep us tolerable until such time as.

Sitka is twenty four hundred nm north northeast of Oahu. We've been sailing as high as possible to prevent drifting too far west. Now with wind veering southeast we're almost three points free and have gained a suspicion of speed. Plan north course while motoring, then mostly direct as wind comes around to northwest. May have north or even northeast for short period, but can either use westing acquired and sail southeast, tack over and back or motor into it and stay direct. Or, as these things often go, GRIB (Ghastly Representation of Inexcusable Blarney) is a steaming pile of caca and we whip out plan B or whichever letter we're down to as strategies turn sequentially to custard.

Jack & Jan

Slow Motion Ocean

29 June 2022 | Day 6 to Sitka
Tuesday 28 June 2022

Pleasant night. First without the odd shower. Fast and easy nearly all day. However, early morning wind and sea began bringing water over deck toward Jan's dorade vent so Don & Marie shortened sail to prevent recurrence of soppy pillow. Unaccountably, Jan, when awakened by a cold shower in the face, gets a trifle grumpy.

Temperatures slowly falling. Expect drop of a degree Celsius a day to eleven or twelve before landfall. Sitka, located above fifty seven degrees latitude, is further north than Glasgow, Moscow and all of Ireland. Temps will warm somewhat as we move south toward Seattle, but West Coast tends to be cool in summer. As far south as San Francisco jackets are often necessary on August and September afternoons.

As map shows, still not fetching Sitka, but slowly arcing more eastward skirting Northeast Pacific high. Expect motoring through convergence dead zone in a couple days then northwest wind should allow more direct course (he opined hopefully). Although slightly more sportiness may be encountered for short periods, generally moderate conditions will prevail all the way to landfall. For those who've watched gale force winds, mountainous seas and ice on the Most Dangerous Catch on telly, that's winter. This is summer. We don't do winter. Slower than expected first several days may make nine July ETA a bit optimistic. Maybe tenth. Once in Alaska, few if any overnights.

No maintenance capers for once. Having a mellow day somebody didn't rouse himself to search for aft head rebuild items. Habitually lazy crew, who has volunteered to do battle with the thing, got a reprieve. Perhaps tomorrow we'll be back to two-holing.

Jack & Jan

Fun With Boats

28 June 2022 | Day 5 to Sitka
Monday 27 June 2022

Forward head pump located. Dead one originally installed upside down and
backward to accommodate hose locations, so installation was more interesting
than should have been. Normal flushing reestablished. Good thing as aft head
is off to the coast for summer vacation. When Don finds saved parts from
previous rebuild one of us will take it apart to find defective seal or valve.
Once thought two heads was one too many. Having a rethink.

Dorade box vent spewed water on Jan's head last night when boat began taking
water over the bow. Dripped down to mine. Turning cowl vent backward and
stuffing plastic wrapped rags in hole only slowed flow as seal at base of
standpipe apparently broken. Temp fix from on deck when sea eases until
properly done after landfall.

Generator not reliable with batteries and water low. Not a huge problem as
alternator can allow top up, although engine may not be needed for propulsion
until Friday. Also, as long as wind blows and sun shines windgen and panels
help. Batteries are new so no amount of abuse is likely to kill them in just
four months.

Satellite's unmannerly behavior has improved. Don's old sat phone, which may be
a bit senile, still not cooperating, but Iridium Go has been mostly reliable.
You go to sea to escape civilization, then panic when unable to maintain
contact.

Fortunately Marie had cleaned out Bed Bath and Beyond of huge, thick, white and
yellow striped bath towels which are used for mopping water, padding, adding a
pleasing splash of color and covering litter which is everywhere.

We have three rubbish bags: trash (e.g. plastics), biodegradables (e.g. paper)
and stinky biodegradables (rotting food). Mental gymnastics to figure out what
you're throwing away and which bag is the right one is a challenge after a five
days at sea while standing night watch. If it's Monday we must be in.. oh
right, the North Pacific.

Jack & Jan

Wee Wee Hours

26 June 2022 | Day 4 to Sitka
Sunday 26 June 2022

Just realized that location first two days was still shown as Ko Olina. My bad. Will fix in Sitka with internet if a memory cell or two retains information that long. Meantime either ignore or assume we made astonishingly good progress yesterday.

Moon is a waning crescent so doesn't break the eastern horizon until wee hours during Jan's watch. Meantime after twilight has faded to black, sky is glittering with thousands of visible stars and a luminous Milky Way. No wonder without electric lights assaulting their eyes the ancients connected dots to create forms for constellations and surmise spiritual enlightenment in the night sky. Even more phenomenal is knowing that all of the billions of stars in our galaxy, just one of billions of galaxies, are incomprehensibly distant from us, most with planets and many perhaps with life that we will never see.

Speaking of Jan's favorite midnight to 0400 watch (everyone got his preference), that's when squalls form. A train of three kept her from getting bored last night while her partner (that would be me) although momentarily roused by winch and sail noises slept through the episodes in supreme confidence and laziness. Don doesn't have a night watch, but has to get up for these little tussles. Jan may be rethinking her schedule. Too bad, Pfthththt!

Still haven't exhumed head pump (LOB - lost on board) so we continue with bucket. Less fresh water can be used because it doesn't react with uric acid as calcium and other elements in sea water do to form scale. As hoses accumulate calculus they are eventually unable to pass bigger chunks or wads of paper and become clogged. Clearing this blockage requires removing hoses, taking out clot then beating hose on a hard surface to break up sclerosis. It is not the most sought after job on a boat. Some people pour vinegar into heads every week to prevent this sh... nasty business, but seriously doubt mild acid helps much. Muriatic acid (hydrochloric) works better, but might do mischief to some seals and most metals. Potable water can be plumbed in, but uses up precious drinking water. Ya makes yer choice and ya takes yer chances.

Jack & Jan

Gentle And Mental

26 June 2022 | Day 3 to Sitka
Saturday 25 June 2022

Not that it matters, being several days away, but GRIB (Gastric Response of Indigestion from Baklava) forecasts entering the convergence zone (location where contrary airflows meet) on thirty June at around thirty eight degrees north where we'll probably motor for a couple of days before picking up westerly wind equivalent to the southern hemisphere's "roaring forties". Only mouse roaring is anticipated so could have mostly good wind thereafter to Sitka.

This next experience presented in order to help dampen enthusiasm engendered by last entry. Don't want formerly trepidatious readers getting too exuberant about buying a boat, selling the house, renting out the kids and immediately heading off across an ocean. Forward head intake pump died this morning so using fresh water from bucket to flush. At least it purges. Rebuilt motor will be installed for possible fix if it can be found and works. Rebuild done by me, so... For enlightenment and edification of those who really don't care to know, but will read about anyway, the word 'head' comes from netting strung over water at bow (head) of sailing ships where old salts went to do poo. Sluicing soiled area also accomplished with higher seas. Captain in aft cabin had his own privy hanging over the water below (yes, that's right) the poop deck. As that head had no auto cleaning function and toilet paper was not yet developed, one might understandably be somewhat circumspect about shaking his hand.

Conditions, after a few shower skirmishes last night, are very benign. We lumber along at four to five knots in light wind with gentle, long period swell. This will likely continue with possibility of an occasional modest squall overnight for next few days with probable motoring when and as wind eases. This is the ambiance, previously alluded to, that encourages contemplating the meaning of life as if there were one and, regrettably for anyone who often reads it, where aberrant ideas germinate to put into this sailing blog.

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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