So I set up the compass on Insomnia today, the brand new Laser from Shoreline Sailboats that I hope will carry me from Beaufort N.C. to Annapolis Md. I carry a GPS unit from Magellan, an Xplorist 510 that helped me set the world record last year, but I still rely on the deck mounted compass to steer by for long stretches and to save battery power.
As I was setting marks for the Velcro strips, I was reminded of a compass I bought years ago for Afrita, the 38 foot Columbia yawl that Lisa and I bought soon after we moved to Long Beach Island and which we called home for about three years. (Not counting the three we spent rebuilding it from the insides out.) I have always sailed on a shoestring and my projects have been woefully underfunded and a bit rube. And I have always been prone to a bit of homespun ingenuity that often goes awry for lack of proper knowledge. That always seems to come later with hard knocks.
So we got this hefty Constellation off some dusty shelf in a nautical exchange for what must have seemed a bargain at the time, but most of the oil had leaked out over the years or something. So I wound up filling the card chamber with baby oil, which I think I read about in some old ship chandlers catalog. It was an awful repair, and the oil was way too thick to do a proper job. The compass always took a great deal of time to spin around and even when it did, it was sluggish and a bit off.
Oh well, live and learn. I wish I could say I learned to always do things the right way, but I think I am still prone to some homespun inventions. (Just take a look at the Laser II spinnaker pole I made out of an old windsurfing boom and some high density plastic and springs I had lying around in my spare parts box. Works, though, just sayin’)
So this is a good time to say thanks to the people who have made this latest quest to sail from Beaufort N.C. to Annapolis nonstop in my Laser a whole lot more professional: Shoreline Sailboats of Avon, N.Y. who are providing the boat. McMurdo who are providing the safety and emergency alert gear. Gill, who are providing all of the clothing that will keep me safe during the journey. And Magellan, which provided the GPS navigation system.