My nuclear days, and my hope for single handing glory

More and more I’m starting to harden my conviction to leave on a sailboat. The maximum amount of cash in hand that I will be able to accumulate by my departure date comes to the sum of eight thousand dollars. Most of the boats that I have seen that would be “comfortable” to travel in for five months are selling for between five and ten thousand dollars. Something with a tiller, and preferably a gimbled stove would be nice, but at this point I’ll leave on the least of the seaworthy boats available. When I was in the navy I raced laser’s and 420’s on the Chesapeake bay. My hope is that I have enough experience to ride on when a storm picks up and I have to head up into the wind during gusts, or reef the mainsail when I see ominous clouds on the horizon. My single-handing experience leaves a lot to be desired. It has always been with a crew that I’ve sailed, with exception to racing the lasers. Just thinking of all the fun I had crashing through chop and small waves makes me soooo excited to depart on my own larger boat. I’ve been reading through Andrew Evans “Thoughts, Tips, Techniques & Tactics for Singlehanded Sailing” and broaden my perspective and knowledge on the subject daily. Still my gravest concern is financial. Not being able to pay for repair of a ripped sail (going to buy an awl), or some piece of failing standing rigging, or poor running rigging. I only plan to spend five months out there, but I don’t have any basis for expenditure aside from reading a blog or travel writeup on the internet. Most of those sailors appear to be affluent, and spend lots on docking fees and booze at foreign ports. All of them have it in common with me that they want to run away from real life to a sailboat. I don’t consider myself to be “well off” but certainly I carry many of those traits. My parents have always provided a roof over my head, until my embarkment upon my navy adventure. Their cushion allowed me during my high school days to put all of my saving into games. I would play paintball, golf, hockey, ski, and do all sorts of other fun recreational activities. When I was six months short of sixteen I got a workers permit to work on the food prep line at Taco Bell; some summer days even riding my BMX bike 5 miles to get to work. That only lasted one summer. The next year I worked at the local city golf course, driving the tractor to pick up range balls and washing golf carts. This was during my obsession with golf, and I could not have chosen any better way to spend my time. At the end of high school I worked bagging groceries and mopping the isles occasionally at City Market, until they had lay offs due to other grocers opening up downtown. I even got a job cutting diodes, led’s, installing bracket mounts, and other miscellaneous tasks at a factory which built the circuit boards which are installed in the Diesel tractor trailers that are currently taking our food and other goods from point A to point B all across the country. This was perhaps the most boring and therefore hardest jobs I have ever had. The monotony was incredible. Of course I fell into the pitfall of wanting to make more money and looking for more of a career, so I didn’t return to the golf course and went off to join the navy. There I learned the trade’s which are associated with nuclear reactors, mainly chemistry and contamination mitigation. I also got the benefit of two years of a sort of crash course in physics, electrical theory, mechanical theory, steam turbines, piping systems, fluid dynamics, and of course fission and decay reactions. I consider myself a sort of honorary engineer. I never got a degree (and don’t believe that such pieces of paper entitle you to anything aside from being pompous) though I could have taken a few credits with an online university, Thomas Edison University, which readily provides degrees for the “nukes” as we called ourselves. Not a glamorous position, in the belly of the ship making steam for hot water, electricity, catapults, and propulsion. During some point on my time on board National Geographic was doing a documentary of sorts on the carrier, which of course focused mainly on the airplanes and pilots and flight deck “skittles” and the control tower, etc, etc. They only saw half of the ship!

I don’t want a career. I don’t want a job (though I like to work). I want to see the planet taken care of by the stewards which are here currently, you and I. My uncle, from SLC, asked me “what are you contributing to society?” to which I replied in somewhat of a rant that by not making a bunch of money I was not using resources and therefore having less of an impact on the planet by not purchasing a bunch of junk I don’t need. My own sister and her husband have decided to have seven children, in accordance with the scripture “be fruitful and populate the earth”. It is my job to at least counteract her fertility somewhat by not spreading my own seed, then the average will come out as 3.5 kids for the two of us. All of her kids have the same mitochondria that I have anyhow (maternal lineage), and I am going to enjoy helping mould them into wonderful critical thinking human beings. I’m not sure if we as a race can remain “fruitful”, or if our constant attack on the environment with estrogen mimics and other hormone disrupters will render the population sterile. I hope for the latter. I do also hope that my writing will be some kind of contribution to society as a whole, hopefully as a mirror in everybody’s face showing where our major societal faults lie. I do think there is a chance for a healthy thriving planet, but that It involves local agriculture and close knit communities. Sustainability starts at the local level.

I can honestly say that I didn’t even like the ocean until I found a girl in Charleston, SC who was a beach bum in all regards. We spent many days on the beach, some of my most memorable. I remember distinctly reading all day long while watching the tides go in and out; we moved our chairs along with it so that our feet were always being touched by the cool waves. We watched baby turtles in their escape toward the white curling waves. I didn’t learn to surf until I moved to connecticut, where my buddy jeff gave me a really old fish board to get me started. I also broke the skeg off of his long board when learning because I didn’t realize that the tide was going out with all the fun I was having and clipped a rock pretty good. Sorry Jeff! Love you buddy! We would surf just over the Rhode Island border in Westerly. I can’t say that I was any good, but I got a few short rides before getting crumpled up by the huge sets. There was a beach bar in New Haven that I would frequent for two-man volleyball, and just plain good beach vibes and entertainment. I had a Suzuki GSXR 600 at the time, and it was also a great excuse to go for a ride. My last three years of duty in the navy was spent in San Diego, where I continued to surf, in lieu of concurrent advancement examinations, and took on the nickname Ronjohn. Well, thats about enough about myself, but I did want to give some background so that It was less of a mystery how I came to have the demeanor that I do. Love YOU. I hope that we can change all this together so I don’t have to isolate myself on the open ocean indefinitely.

Author: Ronjohn

When I take a deep look at my ego, I see that it defines itself as a recreation bum. I ski, hike, rock climb, kayak, raft, sail, stand up paddle, mountain bike, rock climb again. I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. I am a vagabond extraordinaire.

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