GANNET only sailed 1700 miles this year.
I checked back to see what I wrote to you a year ago and I did what I said I might do then.
In January we sailed from Marathon, Florida, to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, covering 500 miles in three days, including GANNET’s best noon to noon run of 185 miles.
I know that many of you have done better, but I was not pushing hard. There was a reef in the mainsail and the jib was partially furled so that the tiller pilot would not have to work too hard. As you know our boats don’t need much sail area to move and it was for me a day of wonderful easy fast sailing.
In September and October we sailed between hurricanes the 600 miles up to Saint Michaels, Maryland, where I gave my talks at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and back.
This is the height of the hurricane season on the east coast and I had to wait for a week for Florence to pass before I left.
She made landfall Thursday night/Friday morning more than a hundred miles north of Hilton Head, and I left on the following Monday.
You may have seen the video of the American flag being shredded by Florence on the platform at the outer edge of Frying Pan Shoals off North Carolina’s aptly named Cape Fear.
Four days later I sailed just inside that platform on a pleasant, light wind day with two foot waves.
Thirty miles offshore you are in 50’ of water.
I have been in hurricane force winds at least eight times, but always hundreds or thousands of miles from land and in deep water. What such winds create on such a shoal I cannot imagine and would certainly not want to experience.
On my way back south after my talks, I had to anchor in the Chesapeake Bay to wait out the remnants of Hurricane Michael which passed seventy miles south of us.
I may end up living on the East Coast, but my heart and head on in the West. And, for that matter, even more New Zealand.
I am presently in Evanston, Illinois, but on December 31 I fly back to Hilton Head Island and GANNET.
Weather permitting she is due to be hauled from the water for anti-fouling on January 2.
I will then provision her and sail for Panama and, if I can get her across the isthmus, complete her circumnavigation.
I have gone through the Panama Canal three times, but Moore 24s present special problems. No enclosed head. Too small cleats. Not able to power fast enough. Feeding and sleeping four line handlers.
There are few problems that can’t be solved with enough time and money. I have time until I don’t have time, and, while not wealthy, I think I have enough money for this.
Beyond Panama my route is not certain.
I may sail directly for San Diego where we started this voyage.
I may sail for Hawaii, where I would complete the circumnavigation at Hilo. and then go north to Cape Flattery and work my way down to San Diego.
I may go southwest to the Marquesas and the South Pacific, in which case the circle would be closed at Neiafu, Tonga.
While I love New Zealand and there is no place I would rather live than the Bay of Islands, that is the least likely possibility.
I will probably not make the decision between San Diego and Hawaii until I am at sea.
If you are interested in where we go, the tracking page is: https://my.yb.tl/gannet.
In any event, 2019 will be a significant year for GANNET. Hopefully she will complete her first circumnavigation and my sixth, and hull number 40 will be celebrating her 40th birthday.
The images show GANNET under sail, in her slip at Skull Creek Marina, Hilton Head Island, and her Yellowbrick track for 2018.
I don’t use my boat as you use yours, but we share admiration for what I consider to be masterpieces.
I hope your Moore 24 brings you the joy that GANNET does me.