Time started to run very fast since the last passage in Antares. I was looking forward, then, to the holidays season and my daughters’ visit. It’s all over now. They are back to DC with their mother and I am here, in a city dispirited by winter, trying to get some work done. And for the record, it seems that this is not year 2019. I just read in National Geographic that the birth of Jesus Christ, which marks year zero of the Gregorian calendar, actually took place some 100-200 years before. Meaning, this could be year 2119 or even 2219. We will probably never know. The same article makes it clear that both the old and New Testament are based on a set of questionable manuscripts. We don’t have any of the originals.
We have adapted with relative ease to life in Beirut and that includes driving in traffic. My skills as a rider, in particular, have improved considerably. I’ve come to believe that contrary to consensus gentium, the way people drive or ride here is quite efficient. Certain, informal, norms/behaviors have evolved to minimize the collective time we spend on the road (and probably the number of accidents). Bikes, for instance, are expected to move across and between cars. I now master the technique or, I should say, the moves, which ought to have names. These are a few: 1) passing to the right, between the cars and the side-walk; 2) riding between two lanes of cars moving in the same direction; 3) riding between two lanes of cars moving in opposite directions; or 4) switching from 1 to 2 by taking a sharp left through the narrow space between the front and the back of two cars. I have also improved dramatically my turns when riding on the freeway or the mountain roads. Alas, it is the rainy season and the opportunities for road trips over the weekend are few.
The next sailing passage is to Grenada, more or less direct. I only have a couple of weeks between now and the hurricane season. There are a few, minor, jobs that need to be done in Antares before continuing the trip. Some varnish, fixing a couple of stantions, polishing the hull, cleaning the bilge and replacing the bilge pump. The one thing that is critical is replacing the wheel autopilot. Constancia, the windvane, steers most of the time but I need a pilot to motor in calms and to hoist/douse sails. The one Antares has now gave up during the last passage. It also had little power and could’n handdle even minor disturbances in sea state. I found this wonderful CPT Autopilot. Everying but the power cable is in the cockpit and this makes the installation quite simple. I’ll do it myself.
all the best in the new year