Rebuilding the Solar System

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to destroy a system that no longer works, not just efficiently but at all, the only obvious progression is an absolute and total rebuild, from the waterline up. Any system, whether it be political, jurisprudential, technological, educational, transportation, sociological, microbiological or whatever…when it’s broke, you gut that sucker and start anew. When we first moved aboard S/V S.N. Cetacea we knew we would need to rebuild some of the systems in our little world. We just weren’t sure what was going to reveal itself as an ‘absolute necessity’ first or in what order fails would ultimately occur. So we made our systems-priority-replacement-lists according to our immediate needs as cruising sailors. For example: ground tackle. The boat must stop when you want it to stop! The boat had a decent anchoring system aboard when we got her but it wasn’t what we considered an adequate system for the kinds of anchoring we do, therefore, gut that fucker and make it right! And that is exactly what we did! We kept the totally awesome CQR. We ditched the 50 ft of shitty old chain and replaced it with 200 feet of BBB 5/16. We also ditched the stiff old three-strand for some fancy brait that takes up less room. Yes, we sleep very well at 10:1 with a 15 foot snubber, thank you! When the time came to implement the cascade of changes necessary in order to start using the Monitor windvane (the best helmsman we have in our crew), we would accept nothing less than perfect access to the tried and true system that has never failed us. Flipper, Cetacea’s Monitor, has never had the opportunity to fail us, buried as it’s been below the combination of dinghy davits and solar[…]

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Sailing the Seas of Eastport

For the past few months (since before we got back in February) we’ve been piling projects up on our “when we get to Eastport and haul the boat” list. We had put together everything we’d need, but ended up storing it all for later…bottom paint, rollers…all of it! You see, it was too cold in Warwick, Rhode Island, at the beginning of April to apply the chemistry we need on the bottom of the boat. It has to be at the very least 50 degrees F and it never got above 40 the entire time we were there. As a matter of fact, it didn’t get consistently above 50 for us until we got to the Chesapeake Bay! It was a long cold spring for us. That was after spending the winter in Kerala’s steaming jungle so we weren’t quite up for the work of a haulout until it got warmer…much warmer. We even took a side trip to one of our vacation homes…the bight past the shoal in Mill Creek. It was our favorite easy destination when we both worked full time in Annapolis. Close by boat, far by land, and we never, ever saw any of the slipholders while we were dockmasters. So by the time we sailed into Back Creek in Eastport (of Annapolis, Maryland), S/V S.N Cetacea was showing the signs of a well used traveling vessel. That brown beard around the waterline of the boat is caused by tannic acid in the brackish waters of the eastern seaboard of North America. If you travel by boat within the protected waters of the US East Coast and you have a vessel made of gel-coated fiberglass, your vessel will get stained brown as shown in the photo above. Because the acid doesn’t cause any long term damage[…]

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Charm City Lament

Baltimore, you smell funny. That lightly diluted chemical that fills your Inner Harbor is not water and it hasn’t been for a very long time. It sinks my floating dinghy line and smells of… I (James) just sighed as if I was trying to pay attention to another non-fight scene in West World. Oh Baltimore I love you but you smell funny goddamnit and I can’t define it! Oh, there’s some sulfur in there, sure, and maybe a little condensed anger mixed with urea and gasoline…but, there’s also a hint of brilliance augmented by a powerfully large dose of the oxide twins, Carbon-Di and brother Mon. I believe there’s a smidgen of plastacine interwoven with a seemingly non-stop supply of the worlds largest floating condom species. But that still doesn’t quite define that smell. Baltimore, I know you, I lived with you for a hell of a long time, for me, and I think you’re pretty awesome most of the time. I made some money, some friends, some knowledge and some skills in your urban-sprawl but that funk, that smell, that putrid waft of concoctions-unknown, is what I ran away from, and that shit, emanates from your Inner-Harbor… maybe ‘funny’ isn’t the word I’m looking for here. That poor sad sickly soup that is so not funny somehow remains your life’s blood all the while showing us the unimaginable tenacity of life with the simple act of a tiny leaping fish. Every time we weigh anchor your harbor blows forth gifts, or hints rather of your unique odoriferous contributions to our environment and never fails to inspire us to run, once again. …Poor dear Baltimore There’s always the plastic bread-bags and the wad of hook-riddled fishing line dripping from the oily bottom muck but every once in a while a[…]

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