Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Noon Position: 28 34' N, 122 43' W, SOG 4.5, COG 090, Day's Run 84nm,
Week's Run 587nm. As I sailed south in November, each day I listened to
the radio, as first the FM college radio stations dropped out, then the
stronger FM broadcasts, then last of all the AM news and talk shows and
I was surrounded by the silence of the sea. Now, sailing back towards
shore, the reverse is happening - for a few days now I've been able to
receive AM stations on the SSB's big antenna, and last night for a few
hours I picked up my first FM station on the stereo - Santa Barbara's
KTYD. It was an exciting moment, far more so than just hearing
different music for the first time since January could account for, and
I capered around the boat, sang along, and tried to come up with good
slogans for KTYD ("Easy listening for easy living"). Just as the
euphoria of this tangible proof that I was once again approaching land
was wearing off, and, incidentally, the signal was starting to fade out,
I heard one of those noises that sailors dread to hear - A
SPROING-DOINK-Doink-doink.. kind of sound. Hopeful, I pretended that it
was just a fork or a knife leaping from the galley counter in a
spectacular fashion, despite the fact that I had carefully put
everything away as the wind picked up yesterday afternoon, but my hopes
were quickly dashed as the boat lurched, luffed up, and tacked, then lay
quietly hove to. The clutch pin for the windvane's wheel adapter had
finally broken, doinking it's way across the cockpit, and in the process
disconnecting the self steering from the wheel. I guess I should be
grateful that it waited until this late in the trip, particularly as
Odyssey pretty much sails herself close hauled, making the windvane a
mostly superfluous luxury so I can adjust course without leaving the
cabin. Still, I continue to be not particularly impressed with the
rugged construction (or lack thereof) of the Monitor. It certainly has
taken a lot of abuse, and I don't know that any other commercial vane
would be in as good of shape, but the welds that broke last night looked
like they were initially only made about 1/2-way around the pin, not
taking full advantage of the available surface area. After gybing back
on course and getting the boat close hauled again I broke out the stumpy
emergency tiller and rigged the windvane up to it with a gorgeous
kludge-y spiderweb of rigging across the cockpit, so I've got full
steering capabilities again, although I suspect that because of the
shortness of the tiller the windvane isn't going to be able to steer at
low speed as well anymore. I continue to regret not just ripping the
wheel off before I left and installing a proper tiller, but there was
only so much time and far more work to do than time to do it in.


  1. "Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
    To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak..."

    Here's to local radio stations!

  2. Eric, Your experience reminds me of the scene in the movie "Contact" - except of course as the capsule sped away from Earth, the broadcasts heard progressively went back in time...
    Welcome back Eric (soon!) - Randy (Chicago)