September 2009: Fear and Loathing in Santa Barbara

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Santa Barbara.

Sailing and working out final details before leaving the U.S. Actually, I started to lose focus, but more on that later.

Here in southern California, the breezes are different than up north. So far, they're much easier.

My big question about whether to get a larger furled headsail is still up in the air. To the left, Mark, who's planning to crew on the Baja Haha, is looking at the asymmetrical sail.
It's new, in a sock, and is slightly undersized for the boat.
Perfect. I don't need to overpower to make this boat move.

I'm probably going to live with my 90 up front and use the asym when breezes are too light for the working jib. It's not a world class sail inventory, and I wouldn't cross an ocean this way. But I believe it'll get the job done for the next couple of years.


Here's JR, who's been a good friend for decades.
I'm trying to get him to do the Baja Haha too, although he's not a sailor. Hey, I'll cover a watch if I'm worried about the boat.

Anyway, we'll see. I'm rather afraid of what might happen if Mark, JR and myself are set loose on the Haha group. I'd hate to be the first boat in history to be kicked out for having too much fun. >G> The three of us go back over 25 years and can potentially create a thermonuclear chain reaction of fun that feeds on itself and could spiral out of control. Individually, we're manageable. <VBG>



On a completely different topic, I had an epiphany on September 8.

For the past week or two, I've been feeling weird and, frankly, strangely out of character. I mean, like, it's been weird.
Drinking too much, can't sleep, and having inappropriate
emotional reactions to ordinary events, people and things.
It's been enough to make me sit back and think
"What is your f_ing problem, dude..."

It's fear.

The reality of what I'm doing has finally hit,
and a subtle undercurrent of terror and blind panic has been creeping up and coloring my world.
I'm no longer a successful professional. I no longer own a home. I've abandoned the things which, for years, helped define my self.
I can't get them back. The future is undefined.
This isn't a game anymore. I'm scared to death.

I love it.

Well, now that the problem is understood, I can face it,
deal with it, control it, and find a way to turn fear into something positive. The commitment is made and there's no turning back,
so the only option is to deal with it and keep moving forward.

It's actually one of my reasons for this extra time in Santa Barbara. I have some good friends here.


Back to the boat.

I cleaned it up and washed all the blankets, sleeping bags and pillows. But two weeks after sailing down from San Francisco, it started to smell like dead sea water. Sea water is filled with microscopic living things. When all those living things die, they make one of the most horrible smells imaginable.

It was the cushions, of course. Some of them, especially in the main cabin, were saturated on the bottom. It was a really wet ride down, and my hatches leaked. That was annoying, since I'd had them rebuilt with new gaskets for the sole purpose of avoiding that problem. I also should have dogged down my side ports tighter. Finally, a lot of soaking wet people pulled off foul weather gear and just fell into bed.

Anyway, I pulled the covers off, washed them, and drenched the foam rubber thoroughly with fresh water. It was labor day weekend, and the marina gave me an end tie right next to the breakwater. It was interesting to listen to passersby discuss my boat. I prefer to think they stopped to admire her beautiful lines, and not the foam rubber draped over her decks or the cushion covers flying in the breeze.

I don't know how long it will take the foam rubber to dry. After two days in the sun, with a 5 to 7 knot breeze flowing past, they're still pretty damp.

Next time I get her that wet, I'll pull the cushion covers off in advance and surround the foam with plastic trash compactor bags. It's just an idea, and I'll continue to think about it.

Keep your jokes to yourself.

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