Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Baking bread on the boat

I try to keep things as simple as i can and this time of the year is perfect for baking bread. Because I follow the sun, it is usually too hot to use the stove, let alone the oven, but the outside temperature is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit so the dough will rise okay before you cook it, and the inside of the boat doesn't become so uncomfortable that you have to leave.
I first mix the yeast with 2 cups of warm water and let it stand for a few minutes.  The water should be warm and not hot. Then add this to 3 cups of flour and mix. Leave this to rise for an hour or so and then nead and transfer to your loaf pan to rise again. You can either buy a non stick Teflon coated pan or smear butter on the bottom and edges of your container. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then cook for 30 minutes.
The 3 cups of flour and 2 cups of water along with the yeast is all you really need to make bread, but if you want to add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar along with herbs and spices, you can. Above is an Italian herbal loaf that i had for breakfast along with my coffee this morning. Yummmm!  Also when cooking with gas, I find you have to insulate the pan somewhat in the oven, so that it doesn't burn on the bottom.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sunset Bay, Stuart, Florida

Well after calling all the mooring fields on the gulf coast and finding that they all had waiting lists I settled on Sunset Bay again for my winter base here in Florida.  I could have gone to Dinner Key in Miami, but it is very exposed to the east and Boot Key Harbor in Marathon was my preference but they do not let you leave the boat and I wanted to travel for the upcoming holiday season.
I really like the marina here. It has excellent facilities, the staff are friendly, there are lots of exercise options, the wind and current are benign and there is a grocery store nearby.

Fort Pierce

Yesterday, the wind died around lunchtime so I pulled out the "iron genny" but then around nightfall they started coming from all directions instead of from behind like they were supposed to. Anyway,  I decided to put into Fort Pierce and anchor for the night.
I am the only one here and the boat is a mess because I was too tired last night to put the sails away. There were 5 black birds sitting around my boat that I had to growl at when I got up.
I am considering going across Lake Okeechobee over to the gulf Coast so I will ponder that over my morning cup of joe.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Running Backstays

One of the good things about getting together with fellow sailors, this past weekend was that I was reminded of lots of nautical details. One of these details included the importance of using running backstays. Running back stays connect to the mast at the same height as your stay sail so it supports the mast at that point. It can also help support the mast if the back stay were to fail.
I hadn't used them in several months so I dusted them off this morning and you can see it attached in the center of the photo. Recently a westsail was rescued by the Peruvian Coast Guard after one of the boomkin stays parted. The boomkin jammed up against the rudder so that it was impossible to steer the boat. Anyway the only reason why the mast didn't fall down was that he had his running backstays up.

Underway off the Space coast

A superb day for sailing as you can see from the photo.
The breeze is out of the west at about 8 knots and so I am reaching along at about 4 gentle knots. I was up at 4am this morning to catch the wind shift and tide out of Port Canaveral. I had a bit of a dilemma earlier when my Genoa halyard got caught in the mast steps and I had to climb the mast while underway. I have climbed up the mast plenty of times at a marina but only a few times while underway and it is not something that I like to do, especially when there is no one around. I did take my VHF radio up with me in a backpack just in case I got stuck. Anyway it all turned out ok.
The wind is supposed to die down this afternoon and then pick up again later on this afternoon to carry me southward all the way to the keys. Unlike my trip down from North Carolina,  this trip will be close to shore so that I stay out of the north flowing gulf stream.  As a result, I should have Internet coverage all the way and be not only able to check the weather closely but also be able to post to my blog.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Leaving Cape Canaveral for the Florida Keys

The wind has clocked around here at the Cape and so I will be heading south in the morning.  I hope to sail straight through to Marathon but there is some nasty weather forcast for Saturday,  so if I don't make it there by then, I will hunker down south of Miami.
Here is a photo of Onapua,  racing last Saturday at the westsail rendezvous here at the cape.
The other westsail 32 behind her is Froya belonging to James Mccomas who lives here at the cape. All boats are beautiful,  but Onapua is particularly so, don't you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Video of my sail from North Carolina to Florida

I took some video clips of my sailing trip from Wrightsville Beach, through Southport, and then onto Cape Canaveral, stopping off on the way to refuel in Savannah. Enjoy

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bud Taplin and Dick Mills at the Westsail Rendezvous

I can't believe that I have a photo of both these icons together.
Bud Taplin is 83 and still going strong. He was the manager of the boatyard that built my 40 year old boat out in Casa Mesa in California. He can still supply any westsail part, brand new.
Dick Mills is also a westsail owner and he has probably the best sailing blog in existence  at


I am honored to have known these fine 2 gentlemen.

Arrived in Cape Canaveral for the westsail rendezvous

Some lessons learned on my week long sail from North Carolina. 
1. Always clip on when going on the bowsprit.
2. Always sit down when eating on a boat.
3. The gulf stream is closer than you think and getting caught in it can slow you down a lot.
4. When cruising,  count on motoring a lot more than you anticipate. 
5. If you haven't been on your boat for a while and you go sailing in rough weather, you will get seasick.
6. Lip balm, sunglasses and sun tan lotion is a must.
7. Always use the head on a boat, don't try the over the side thing.
8. When the boat is moving so much, it is very hard to do anything except sit and be amazed by mother nature. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Brief stop in Savanah to refuel

Stopped off at the Landings in Georgia and was greeted by a hot lunch, a pleasant staff and a shower! BRian was so nice and helpful.
Am facing some light winds but hopefully I will make it to Cape Canaveral in time for the Westsail Rendezvous this weekend.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Leaving Wrightsville Beach

I am joining the exodus south out of the oncoming cold.
I plan on heading offshore out of Southport tonight and making a beeline for Cape Canaveral where there is a Westsail Rendezvous next weekend. In the meantime,  happy Halloween!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Getting rid of boat smells with a solar fan

I had diesel leak a few months back and even though I had it fixed, the boat smelt like diesel. West marine were having a sale on their nicro vents, down $85 from $185 so I bought a couple of them to replace the ones I bought through amazon and which lasted only a couple of months.
I installed the new ones and the smell dissapeared overnight. Here is a new one installed.
I am hoping that these new ones are a bit more robust than the last ones I bought and they ae supposed to have a 2 year warranty.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Replacing an old mainsail

On my way up north to New England back in July, I tore my mainsail. Now I had ripped it last year at this time in the Chesapeake and the loft told me then that I needed a new one. When I took my newly torn mainsail to a loft in Newport, RI, they told me it was not worth repairing. So I did a a search for a used one and found a pretty good match at Bacons Sails in Annapolis for $800. The trouble was, it was a light air one with just a 5 oz Dacron with no reef points. It did well on my sail down from up north but now it is being relegated to the "spare" category. I went ahead and ordered a new mainsail from Kerns in California for $2,700 and yesterday, I hoisted it for the first time.
It is a really good one but being new and stiff, my sail cover no longer covers it. I still have to organize some reefing lines for it and select some battens but other than that it is ready to go.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New York City to North Carolina

Before I set sail, I produced a float plan from Predict Wind and it ended up being a quite good description of my journey.
I more or less stuck as close to the coast as I could because I wanted to stay out of the gulf stream but also I wanted access to the internet to download the latest forcast to keep up with progress of tropical storm Erica. Here as an example is my first day run down the New Jersey coast in yellow.
I clocked roughly 110 miles each of the 4 days on my trip and you can see a short video of my journey here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Manhasset Bay to the Statue of Liberty

I motored through NYC on the East River with the current, reaching 9 knots at times. Here is my track with the green line.
It was exciting being so close to downtown Manhattan. 
Right now I am anchored behind the Statue of Liberty and am looking forward to seeing the nighttime view of Manhattan especially the new Freedom Tower. Tomorrow I am headed down to North Carolina, and depending on the track of the storm Erika, will either go around Cape Hatteras or into the Chesapeake and down the ditch. I am hoping that this storm will dissappear over the next few days.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

East Hampton to New York

I did another 24 hour sail this time to Port Washington in Manhasset Bay on the outskirts of NYC. My track is the yellow line.
I wanted a place to provision and stage my next hop to the Statue of Liberty through Hell's Gate on the East River where the tidal current is very strong.
I had a wonderful sail down Long Island Sound where I was able to goose wing the sails for quite some time.
Sunrise on the sound was surreal knowing that a huge city lay just around the corner.
And finally Execution Rock Lighthouse was the scene of many tragedies before it was built in 1850.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Nantucket to The Hamptons

Yesterday I set off at 3pm for Three Mile Harbor in New York and arrived today about the same time. The yellow line shows my path.
Hurricane Danny has developed in the Azores and as yet it's path cannot be predicted so I took advantage of a weather window to get me into Long Island Sound. I had a near perfect sail here with winds out of the SE of 5 to 15 knots.
Here was Nantucket as I was leaving.
This was sundown off of Matha's Vineyard.
Here is one of many houses that grace the foreshore of where I am anchored in East Hampton.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket

Had a beautiful 25 mile sail over here today. My track is the yellow line.
Winds were out of the SW and started at 9am around 5 knots increasing to 12 knots when I put the hook down at 3pm. Beautiful sunset here.
Here is a short video of my trip.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sailing from Newport, Rhode island to Martha's Vineyard

Yesterday I sailed the 32 miles from Newport to Vineyard Haven. The USCGC Eagle was an impressive sight as I left.
There was another tall ship sailing in the vineyard as I arrived.
I want to go ashore because the town looks beautiful but because of bad weather I will stay on the boat today.
I put together some video clips of my journey here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fog, New England style

I've always wanted to experience the "pea soup" type fog that cape cod is famous for and now I have. I awoke to this sight this morning.
There is a fog horn going off every few seconds here and it is surprisingly directional in nature.
I am not sure that I would be comfortable sailing under these conditions.  If I had a choice I think I would sit it out.

Friday, July 24, 2015

North Carolina to Rhode Island

Its been a while since i last blogged, but on July 16, I sailed from Wrightsville Beach to Newport. It was the longest trip I had attempted offshore and ended up taking me a week. I had expected to ride a northbound wind initially, but because I was a little late in leaving, I ended up with head winds for the first couple of days.
Just before I reached my destination,  I had a great experience of a pod of finback whales surfacing all around my boat. As well, both America's cup boats US22 and US23 escorted me into port.
I had a diesel leak in my boat before I left, but I had it fixed by my favorite mechanics, specialized mechanical in Wrightsville Beach.  I also have to replace my mainsail here in Newport. I ordered a used one from a used sails supplier, Bacons in Annapolis,  and I will have a local loft add sliding lugs and battons.
I posted a youtube video of my trip which you can see below, and Newport is a beautiful city with a big sailing community. It was home to the America's cup for many years before it was taken down under,  a fact that locals like to remind me of.

Friday, June 5, 2015

North Carolina

Well after 4 days at sea, I arrived in Wrightsville Beach and you can see my track here.
I motored for about 20 hours, when the wind died but often times, the light wind was at night, when I got to sleep. I did 350 nautical miles and averaged 4 knots. Most of the time I was beating into the wind with around 10 knots of breeze so I used my Raymarine autopilot a fair bit.
There are few better experiences than being out of sight of land and watching the sun go down. I am in beautiful Harbour Village Marina just north of Wilmington hopefully for a month or 2 before heading to New England.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Time to join the annual migration northwards

Every year at this time, thousands of cruisers head north out of Florida to the northeast to not only escape the heat but to get out of the hurricane belt. I will be leaving St Augustine tomorrow morning after a very nice stay here which included a trip down under to my sister's wedding in Sydney.
I wish that I could say that this photo shows a crowd seeing me off from Castillo de San Marcos but they are there to witness the daily firing of the cannons over the Matanzas River here in St Augustine.
I always get butterflies in my stomach, the day before I leave on a 4 day sail, but the boat is as ship shape as can be with my Epirb, VHS with DSC and a good forecast.
Fair winds and following seas.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dick and Libby Mills - Blogger extrodinaire

Had the pleasure of meeting fellow Westsail 32 owners, Dick and Libby along with a tour of their boat. Dick has a blog for his boat Tarwathie at on the Internet that has to be one of the best around.
They were passing through St Augustine on their way to Green Cove Springs,  where they will buy a car and become land lubbers for the summer.

Monday, April 20, 2015

St Augustine, Florida

Here am I moored at the St Augustine Municipal mooring field.
This is the nations's oldest city and has a real picturesque downtown tourist area opposite the Bridge of Lions.
The marina has a shuttle service so I don't have to row my dinghy against the fierce current here in the river.
And the best part of being back in the USA is the great selection of fruits and vegetables for dinner.

Fox Town, Bahamas to St Augustine, USA

Took me three days to get here with an overnight stop at Daytona  Beach.
I started out heading to Stuart in Florida but the winds were too far south, and with the gulf  stream pushing me north, I would never make the Lake Worth entrance so I headed towards Jacksonville. I started out on a beautiful downhill run and used my nylon honeybee option in a wing on wing configuration.
As I left the Bahamas I stuck my fishing line overboard and was rewarded by a nice sized skipjack tuna for dinner.
My luck ran out with the wind turning northerly opposite Cape Canaveral so I had to turn the motor on and duck into the Ponce de Leon inlet to get out of the swell. I immediately got stuck on a sand bar and had to wait for the tide to turn.
Here is a photo of my solar shower at the end of the day that I use nightly to bathe when not at a marina.
As you can see, it is plenty warm enough.

Here is a video of my trip.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Green Turtle Cay to Fox Town

Had a nice sail yesterday up from Green Turtle Cay with a 15 knot south westerly breeze pushing my Westsail with just the Genoa.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Marsh Harbor to Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos, Bahamas

I continue having a great time here in the Bahamas. Here am I on the hook in White Sound in Green Turtle Cay.
Here are some video clips of my journey

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Marsh Harbor

This is provisioning central for the Abacos, here in the Bahamas.  It has a supermarket that would rival any Walmart and a gigantic hardware store along with lots of marine services for quite reasonable prices.
Onapua is in the center of the photo.