On a Boat During a Pandemic

Well it’s been another slow week here. My sprained toe continues to heal but walking or standing is painful so I cannot go out sailing. But I have been doing a lot of research and getting some projects done. Like everyone, I have avoided going out in public, only to buy groceries. Even then I wear a bandana (can’t get a mask). But I look like a gangster in a western:

I am excited about the projects I have coming up though. I ordered a compost toilet, which will free me of the nasty holding tank and all that. It is much better for the environment also. But tearing out the old stuff will be a big job. I also ordered a solar panel which will help recharge my batteries when I am on the ocean. That will help reduce the time i need to run the engine or generator to charge the batteries.

Due to the coronavirus I also have permission to stay beyond the 90 day limit imposed by Florida to avoid sales tax. They didn’t say how long but I will stay at this marina until the end of May now. This will give me time to complete the toilet and solar panel installations.

As I mentioned previously, I am working on a rain catching mechanism. I tried out one simple idea the other day and it seems to work. I tested it with a water hose but next time it rains I will see how it works. It’s basically just a tarp positioned so water flows into the filling cap of my water tank:


I have not been fishing lately because I was convinced that catfish are disgusting, even though the couple I ate were not bad at all. But finally I got bored with nothing else to do and it seems catfish are popular eating around the country so I tried again. After a few hours I had a fish, but it was not a catfish, to my surprise. It was a nice looking red fish, one of the tastiest fish in the area.

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I filleted that guy and pan fried it that very day. Delicious. It fed me for a day and a half.

War Movies, what else?

Like for most people who are self isolating, it’s been a boring time. Especially so since I can’t go sailing until my toe heals up. To pass the time I have been watching a number of new WWII films that I haven’t seen. One was call Anthropoid, a 2016 film about two Czech resistance fighters who assassinate Nazi leader and architect of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich. This is based on a true story and it’s a pretty good film. Somehow I feel it should have been better, though, given the true events. It does star Cillian Murphy, though, one of my favorite actors. Here’s the trailer.

At the time of his death, Heydrich was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany. He was not a nice guy. Even Hitler called him “the man with the iron heart.”

Speaking of Heydrich, there is another, older film from 2001 which I never tire of watching called Conspiracy, or The Wannsee Conference. This is also a true story of a meeting held outside of Berlin in 1942 where senior bureaucrats are strong-armed into supporting the beginning of what became the Holocaust. The movie portrays Heydrich as a master manipulator who uses threats and persuasion to get his way. He was helped by his right hand man Adolf Eichmann. We know about this meeting because a copy of the meeting minutes was found after the war. It’s a chilling inside look at the Nazi’s methodical approach to exterminating the jews. The film stars Kenneth Branaugh as Heydrich and Stanley Tucci as Eichmann. Here is the trailer.

The last film I saw is a 2017 film called The 12th Man. Also based on a true story, it’s about a lone survivor of a 1943 Norwegian sabotage operation that goes wrong. The survivor is hunted down by the Nazis and endures unbelievable hardships. Again, it’s not a great film–seems a bit over top at times (would the Germans really expend so many resources just to find one guy?) but it’s worth watching if you’re into war movies. The trailer.

Among the dozens of other projects I have been working on is the installation of “jacklines”, which are straps of fabric that run the length of the boat. In heavy seas I will clip my harness onto these so that if I get swept overboard I will still be attached to the boat. As a solo sailor, or singlehanded as we are called, one of my great fears is to fall overboard. The boat, of course, will continue sailing while I splash around. I would not be able to swim after it, so it is a death sentence for sure. So to avoid this I must be clipped onto something at all times. Here I am with my inflatable life jacket and tethered to my jackline.

I use an inflatable life jacket because a conventional one would be too bulky when working on deck. The device has a CO2 cartridge that will release the gas when I pull that yellow handle that you see. This life jacket also has a harness built in, to which I attach my tether (the red strap). The other end gets attached to the jackline (the white strap) that runs along the deck. The only problem that I have to figure out now is how in the world do I climb back into the boat when I am being dragged behind it at 5 knots?

I am considering buying a device called an EPIRB —Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. When activated it sends an emergency SOS signal with my GPS location to orbiting satellites, which then transmit the information to a ground control center, and then to the nearest coast guard or rescue service. So worst case, I may have to spend several hours or a day in the water. Sounds like a good investment considering the alternative is drowning.

That’s it for now. Stay safe everyone.