March 8, 2020
Things feel like they may be slowing down. I am now tied up in Fort Pierce, Florida for a month, and the boat is looking very pretty. With all of the planned work done on the boat, there are just a few ‘unplanned’ items to be dealt with over the next few weeks, but I am happy to just slow down and ride the bike, and wait for the world to calm down.
During my stop in Palm Beach Gardens, I was able to get some fixes done including:
- Stabilizers (some routing of hydraulic lines to reduce stress, some new seals to correct for the prior, stressed routing and adjustments to the hydraulic pump to hopefully eliminate overheating). The stabilizers worked flawlessly on my trip from Palm Beach to Fort Pierce, but it was a short run with good weather, so problems may not show up until things get really hot on a longer run.
- My fuel line fitting was re-machined by Tony (the Stabilizer guy) and it works flawlessly as well.
- We had the passerelle removed. It isn’t much needed in North America, at least not on a tiny yacht like ours, so we simply removed it, covered the ‘holes’ and now have a far more useful swim platform. As you can see, we will use it a LOT here in Ft. Pierce. If the passerelle was attached, getting on at the port corner would be a lot harder.
- It’s not noticeable, but the dinghy was lifted by six inches as well. With blocks to lift it up off the deck, it is much easier to load, particularly when I am alone. The space underneath makes room for cleaning and storage of bits like the flopper-stopper which I keep on the boat deck.
- Finally we had the boat waxed and it is much shinier now and much easier to clean. I wasn’t so happy with that service, as I paid to have all the rust spots removed and all the rust spots were not removed (not even close). I will choose my supplier and/or the contract more carefully next time.
Not really in the work category, but still awesome, is the new Ultra Anchor. I mentioned it previously. I certainly hope it holds as well as advertised. I won’t be testing it for a while now that I am tied to the dock for a month. It is very pretty though; here is a photo. It’s the best I can do while tied beside a boat that’s bigger than mine!
When we bought Home Free, we were gifted with many amazing ‘bits’ that come with a boat, and some of those are fenders. Now you might think fenders are no big deal, but the fenders cost about $150-200 a pop. The ones that came with the boat are starting to die. I have lost one off the boat (advice: tie stuff down on a boat, then check it’s tied down), and a couple have lost their ability to hold air. In the process we have found that fenders are available that can be easily inflated and deflated for easier storage (very nice if you are at anchor, or on a long passage) and they are a LOT lighter, perhaps half the weight. I picked up four new fenders for sitting at the dock and a looong fender if we are ever on a wall again (not as common in North America). They are light, look quite good and hopefully stand up to use. Another feature is they have tying eyes on both ends so we can mount them horizontally near poles and against walls. We will evaluate them for the next few months, and If we like them, we will outfit the rest of the boat with more of the same.
Interestingly, I am being hammered at the dock with wind right now, and these fenders lift in the wind, so I will have to contemplate that when leaving the boat for a long time. Perhaps longer fenders where the boat curves away from the dock and the wind could lift the fenders, or covers (which we will get soon) will provide additional downward force to overcome most wind energy.
As always, I am excited by the creatures I am experiencing. I haven’t been able to get good photos and videos of most things yet, but I will. The best photo I have is of this little Iguana (I think).
While moving the boat, I was joined by five dolphins for about five minutes and thought I was taking a great video, to be, once again disappointed by my iPhone skills. (I got nothin’).
Then yesterday while washing down the boat I watched the most interesting display as a Pelican was fishing from the dock. So very cool. I will leave that story until later, because I know the Pelican will be back and I will get photos/video to tell that story. Depending on your perspective, it is either super lazy or super smart . . .
Now, onto my market commentary because I got started. I have urged you to rethink your portfolios as this virus thing may get much worse. I spend my days and nights predicting markets, and I can tell you that I am not quite sure which way things are going to go. But I also spend a lot of time analyzing economics, and I am pretty confident things are about to get a lot worse on that front.
The Coronovirus is still difficult to predict, but the economic effects are becoming clearer and clearer. That economy that was ‘doing great’ is now starting to decelerate and it may do so rapidly if people stop moving around. To quote Warren Buffet, “when the tide runs out, you find out who is swimming naked”.
I won’t produce a chart of all the debts circling the world, but suffice it to say, there is a lot of cash flow required to sustain the current economy, and if it dries up, then many companies will be hurt and possibly for a long time. In China, the central government is taking over companies, supporting many others and we are seeing the same occurrences start in Europe as well (Flybe, an airline), and at current oil prices, you should expect oil companies, retailers and much more to simply give up on their businesses if this drags out over the next few weeks.
The world won’t end. Things will likely get back on track, if not normal, within a few months (the Spanish Flu, 1918-1919 lasted about 24 months) , but between here and there the economic pain could be significant.
Please think long term and protect your portfolios as much as you would protect your family. Chances are you have spent a LONG time saving and taking some money off the table now is not a bad idea.
By the way, if you pay any attention to investing, you will note that the bond market is reaching historic lows. That happens when really, really rich people take their money out of stocks and put it into bonds, to protect against a perceived downward move in markets. There is another concept in investing called ‘distribution’, in which the people who have made lots of money when things went up, sell to the dreamers during the first leg down. They distribute their holdings to others. I believe that is what is happening now, although we won’t know for many, many months.
I offer this well researched chart of investor emotions. We are currently in the Anxiety phase. You want to invest during the despondency or depression phase.