Monday, October 31, 2016

Salty Dawg Rally Day 1

11am departed under sail. Blowing 25 knots under staysail and main phew!

Stuff is flying everywhere inside the cabin great ride though.

Coast guard came out to within 50 feet of my boat but at the last moment decided to pull away thank goodness.

I am buddy boating with another boat, Mystic, an Amber 35, and after 2 hours we are within 200 meters of each other.

Wind has tapered off slightly so I am getting a much smoother ride now.

It is so nice having Mystic so close and we are chatting on the VHF regularly.

Wind at about 10 knots but still quite rough.

I am very hungry…all the fresh air. But I am afraid of eating just in case I get seasick. Have just changed the sail configuration to wing on wing.

Okay time to start thinking about the highlight of my day...what to eat for dinner. I have a hankering for a salad. Have to eat before it gets dark.

I still have cell coverage believe it or not. I passed Virginia Beach an hour or so ago and couldn't believe how built-up it is now.

A small yellow bird just flew in and sat down right next to me.

A couple of hundred Canadian geese just flew overhead in v formation also going south for the winter.

So far today I have covered 31 nautical miles at an average of 5.7 knots and I have been going for 6 hours. Just 300 hours to go!

I just treated myself to a delicious mango for dessert. I'm saving the chocolate for later when it gets dark. I have also been trying to drink lots of water.

I spent the last half hour searching for my muesli bars but I can't find them. Now my boat is not very big, so you would think losing them would be impossible.

I found some fig bars that I have been making some big inroads into.

Still making really good progress despite the lessening winds. I hope I can at least sail down to the Gulf Stream before the winds die, and then motor across.

Had to go forward to take the spinnaker pole down because the wind has started to clock around and I came back shivering because it was so cold. Brrrrrr!

It's getting dark so I am layering up and taking flashlights up into the cockpit. Still making a good 6 knots.

Boat is slicing through the water smoothly and without much noise now, unlike earlier. It should make for a very restful night.

I have this balaclava type thing made of fleece, called a head sokz, that is perfect for cold nights like this and warms me up no end.

There is no moon tonight and with considerable cloud cover it is pitch black outside so all I can see is a couple of sailing boats and the shore lights.

I didn't take any sea sickness medication this time and so far it has paid off. I haven't had caffeine or alcohol in the Last couple of days which has helped.

I didn't get much sleep last night because of the anticipation and I am hoping to catch up tonight even though it will be in smaller chunks.

I am going to try and catch 40 winks. I am not all that tired but I need to get some good rest so that I can make good decisions on the boat.

Today is the big day

This morning, I am planning to raise the anchor and say goodbye to Hampton VA. For the next 2 weeks, on this blog will be my daily updates without any photos or videos. You will be able to see my real time location at on the web. This will be the longest blue water voyage I have attempted so far and one might consider it to be foolhardy considering the fact that it is still hurricane season.

I do have 2 more videos for you to see, that I took here in Hampton, over the last couple of days. The first one is of a life raft being deployed.
This next one is just a people one who were attending the chicken BBQ we had last night.
I will post photos of my voyage once I get to the British Virgin islands.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

More provisioning

I took stock of the ships stores and decided that they were still not enough for 6 months in the Caribbean so i made yet another run to the grocery store to stock up.
The Rally had organised more activities for us and again I put some pictures into a video for you to see what we have been doing here in Hampton at at a glance.
The weather forecast still looks good for departure tomorrow. The tides are actually quite strong here in the Chesapeake bay, so I have to time my departure after high tide at 10am. The plan is to sail down to Cape Hatteras, motor across the gulf stream and catch some light winds sending me south east to a point 200 miles south of Bermuda where in theory i should pick up the trade winds to take me south to the BVI. Even though it is still hurricane season, there are no tropical storms in the Atlantic at present, however, the meteorologists have given a 40% chance of storm development which is quite scary. At this time of year, the storms don't come from Africa, but develop in the Caribbean and there is a disturbance near the Turk's and Caicos at the moment that we are watching closely.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Weather looks good for Monday

On Monday I am setting sail for the British Virgin islands with 80 other boats in the Salty Dawg Rally from here in Hampton, Virginia. I expect it to take around 14 days and you can follow my daily blog here and track me at on the web. Which ever way you look at it, being alone on a boat in the middle of the ocean is a challenge that includes seasickness, sleep deprivation and storm tactics, and keeping my spirits up is important so if you can spare a moment to send me a message, it would be most appreciated. I have been spending the last few days attending seminars and meeting others in the rally and I shot some more video clips which you can see below.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Steam in my exhaust

For the past few weeks I have noticed steam in my exhaust so I pulled the raw water strainer apart and this is what I found.
Lots of weed and mud! Well I cleared it all up but I still have steam coming out of my exhaust. I looked up my "Complete Sailboat Maintenance Manual" by Don Casey and it says steam can be caused by insufficient raw water flow or "Water vapor from condensing exhaust gases is normal in colder climates." I am not so sure about whether or not 60 degree autumn weather is considered a colder climate or not but for now I am hoping for the best.
I did another video of many of the other boats doing the Salty Dawg Rally with me.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Video of the Salty Dawg Rally here in Hampton

I pieced together some video clips of the rally going on in Virginia for the start of the Salty Dawg Rally to the British Virgin islands

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Dawg house

I'm here at the Salty Dawg Rally headquarters in Hampton, Virginia where they have a week of activities prior to the voyage of 82 sailing boats down to the British Virgin islands. I anchored last night about 9pm and gosh was I beat!
On my way down the Chesapeake yesterday I passed the Wolf Trap Lighthouse and couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a video.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Video of my sail to Norfolk

I pieced together some clips of my sail from Reedville on my way south in the Chesapeake on a beautiful day in October

Leaving Reedville for Norfolk

I'm leaving today with fond memories of Reedville especially for my friends, Mary and Walt. My sails are set and the winds are favourable for the 50 miles I need to cover.
There are activities scheduled in Hampton roads for the next week prior to the Salty Dawg Rally departure.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Where to store your favorite beverage?

I didn't have much luck with plastic containers last winter so I decided this time around to try my luck with glass. Now things get to rocking and rolling considerably as you can quite well imagine so besides wrapping the bottles in socks I bought a shoe holder and sandwiched it between sails just behind my chain locker.
I'll let you know how I get on.
Provisioning at Walmart yesterday.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Preparing the boat to leave

I have been working on getting the boat ready for my departure by filling my water and diesel tanks. I didn't want to compete with the other 76 boats in the Salty Dawg Rally all trying to fill up their tanks at the same time so I made 2 trips to the local gas station and got 80 gallons at $2 a gallon.
Usually I pour the diesel into a Baja filter sitting on the top of my fuel tanks but today I tried my new syphon hose shown above. All you do is stick the copper end in the yellow jug and after shaking the hose, the fuel stats to flow. Lots less mess!
I checked my 4 bilge pumps and they all worked except the small manual one had split where it was bent so I had to run out and get a new one.
Ok I am about to use some very annoying nautical jargon here to describe what you are looking at. In the middle of the photo is a wire that helps hold the bowsprit in place. The left side has a flat bar that is called a tang and a turnbuckle connects to a wire stay. All stainless steel of course and the 306 kind that is supposed to last longer. Anyway for the longest time, this "whisker" stay has been loose and I finally got around to finding a shorter turnbuckle so that I could tension it.

I hope to run out to the store today and buy supplies that will last me 6 months in the Caribbean.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Splash Day

After a last minute paint of where the boat was sitting on the blocks it was off to splash the boat.
I had changed the flax in my stuffing box so I was expecting a leak around the prop shaft but there no sign of water. Even after several attempts to loosen it, no drips had appeared so I gave up. What did appear strangely enough were drips from the seacock under the sink. Both the hose clamps had broken.
George kindly took time off fixing his Westsail 32 to come down from Maryland to help me.
Onapua is "Safe at anchor" at Walt and Mary's place.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Day 2 in the yard

I installed a new VHF antenna and GPS on the stern to go along with my new AIS transponder which you can see here.
It is the blue device sitting in between my VHF and my radio to the right. Notice that I put Ziploc bags over all my electronics to protect them from the possibility of a stray wave coming through the companionway.
I installed a new starboard navigation light on the bow.
I replaced the monitor windvane control lines because I noticed chafe on the old ones.
I added lines to my companionway washboards to keep them in place and so I don't lose them.
And finally I brought out my trysail and placed it on the spare track in a red bag at the bottom of the mast.
Now you are probably wondering why I did this because the trysail is only used in bad weather and the reason is because I intend to sail down to the British Virgin islands in the beginning of November. There are 77 other boats leaving in the Salty Dawg Rally that I hope to join. It is a 14 day voyage and with the help of my Delorme satellite Inreach, I hope to do daily updates on this website so that you can follow my progress. I will also provide a link to a map that shows my position along with all the other participants.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Back on the boat

I am back in Reedville doing boat chores in delightful Virginia weather. While I was gone, Jennings Boat yard did a bang up job doing a bottom job and fixing my rudder.
I am installing an AIS transponder from Vesper Marine which includes a VHF antenna and a GPS puck.
Also a bow starboard navigation light and I am spraying NeverWet on my prop to keep down the barnacle growth.
Notice that the prop was painted with a zinc coating that is also supposed to keep down the growth.