Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Later that evening I had dinner on board Zipporah with Doug and Mary from Minnesota .
Bill has one at
and Mary has one at
Monday, November 28, 2016
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Saturday, November 26, 2016
I have reached 2000 hours on my engine and that triggered a reminder in my mind to change out my raw water impeller. You are supposed to swap it out every 1000 hours.
Friday, November 25, 2016
Today the Maltese Falcon left the harbor and a Star Clipper took it's place.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Here is a video of our trip down here.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Sunday, November 20, 2016
The Maltese Falcon came into Harbor yesterday morning and anchored not far from me. I understand that the masts can be rotated.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Friday, November 11, 2016
This last 100 miles has really knocked the gloss off this voyage. Motoring into headwinds is like riding a bucking bronco and I just had a squall to deal with.
I have bruises all over my body from banging into things on this trip. My chin hurts, my left shoulder and in particular my hands from holding on so tightly.
I have heard some very good things about the Caribbean and in particular the Virgin Islands but I can't see myself doing this every year as many cruisers do.
I just raised my yellow flag on my starboard stay to signal that when anchored tonight, my boat is in quarantine until I can visit the customs, health & Immigration dept.
Land Ahoy! Even though I am 20 miles away, I can see a big hill peeking through the haze. Anagada is closer to me than Virgin Gourda, but all I can see is rocks.
Like this place already. Water has changed color from a deep blue to a green. Islands are all around, temperature is perfect & there is a nice breeze blowing.
I just had my first hot fresh water shower in 11 days and boy oh boy, did it ever feel good!!!!
Well I was met here in Virgin Gourda by a couple of dinghies, taken to a mooring and then to dinner and a pain killer. All the ground under me moves!
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Woke up after a short while to find it raining with the wind clocking and lightening so I did what any modern sailor does these days...raise the iron Genny.
One of the first things I want to do when I get to the BVI's is to go for a run. The problem with being on a sailboat, is that you never get any exercise.
Nothing is certain yet but when I get to the BVI tomorrow, 25 rally boats will be there with 50 yet to arrive. Except for start & finish, I will not have seen 1 other boat.
Like me, I suspect that a lot of crew in the SDR are in it for the challenge. For me it was to show that you could take a small, old boat and cross an ocean.
List of things to do when I get to the BVIS. Give thanks. Call kids. Shower. Have a cold beer & celebrate. Shop 4 salads, yogurt, bananas. Get on the internet. SLEEP!
Easterlies, 12 knots, clear blue sky, doing 5.8 knots SOG (speed over ground) at 160 degrees true. Full suite of sails with autopilot & batteries fully charged.
This one bird that I don't recognize, has been flying off the stern of my boat all morning. It almost looks like a penguin and every now and then it rests.
Not catching fish continues. I'm justifying it by saying that I am here to fish, not to catch fish. Friends on another boat are hauling them in every day.
Beans, spinach and mashed potatoes with an apple for dinner.
I think I have finally found a solution to my Inreach satellite device crashing. Now I shut my smartphone app down after sending messages.
Now motoring directly into a 10 knot SE wind. Exactly the direction I want to go. Big squall to windward of me. I'm hoping that it will miss me.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Well I still have good winds for sailing despite the fact that they were supposed to clock and moderate. I have averaged 5.5 knots for the last 70 miles.
I have several different places I can sleep on Onapua but the best one by far for motion is the quarter berth in the main cabin deep in the center of the boat.
I am always looking forward instead of enjoying the moment. Rather than thinking about the BVI I should be enjoying the sunshine, the wind and waves, nature.
Well another 130 mile day averaging 5.5 knots. All of my days have been 100+ days except for the one day motoring and the other day when I heaved to overnight.
One of the noises when I am sailing is the prop shaft spinning. As I approach hull speed at about 7.5 knots the vibrations tell me that I am going fast as possible.
I have been going full on with my fishing this morning. Different lures, all 3 lines out, baying to the moon…oh wait it's daylight…ok never mind....no luck.
Looking back over the voyage so far, it has been so steady and relaxing. The motion of the boat slicing through even rough water is so smooth it means that I have been able to get great night's sleep. The only time I felt a little queasy was when I was heaving to and that was because I was reading below.
I have no salads, plenty of fruit but am running low on vegetables. A cabbage keeps looking at me and a whole big pineapple that I don't know what to do with.
You wouldn't think that there would be one right out here, but I am fighting a 1 knot current. I have a log that measures the water speed & I can compare it to my GPS.
There has been no blue sky today so my solar panels have not replenished the batteries from overnight & right now it is raining. Sailing weather is not all good.
You fight for every half a knot when sailing so I don't like the idea of dragging fishing lures behind the boat slowing it down, especially diving lures.
I have asked my friend who's an official for the Salty Dawg rally to please arrange a parade for me when I arrive at the Bitter End town.
Some scary looking squalls downwind of me. Too boisterous to do any cooking tonight so it will be a cold can of soup and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.
Had a full suite of sails up today & with 20 knots it made things interesting. I reefed at sunset & pulled my genoa down which was exciting to say the least.
I noticed 2 casualties of today's very fast ride. A snap shackle had parted ways on my leeward running backstay. Secondly, the turnbuckle on the bow whisker had disappeared. I will fix both of them in the light of dawn. Until then I will stay cosy and warm down below in my cabin while the tempest rages outside.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
It's 3am and pitch black outside except for the twinkling stars. I feel the warm wind on my face and listen to the rushing water and thank God I am alive.
I shook a reef out of the main because the wind had moderated somewhat. I'm still doing 6 knots and aiming north of the BVI knowing that the wind will clock.
Broaching in a sailboat is an experience that is hard to forget. Careening down the face of a wave at full tilt with confidence is the reason I have a full keel.
After being a week at sea, everything has salt on it. The dodger sparkles with the crystallized NaCl and your hands constantly feel like they need washing.
Just 400 miles to go & with this wind moderating it probably means a Friday landfall. That will mean just an 11 day trip which in theory should have taken 14.
I'm mindful of the fact that today is election day in the USA and I pray that whoever wins, they make peace their top priority.
The wind is slowly moderating and I need to swap out my genoa for a larger one but every time I decide I will go get it, the wind pipes up.
I decided to get serious about fishing and put three lures out. A cedar plug & 2 squids but came up empty. I've always had good luck before sunset but no time for that.
Listening to Louis Armstrong sing 'You are so beautiful' while cooking courgettes, Lima beans, and quinoa with the last of my mangoes for dessert.
Monday, November 7, 2016
I just spent the last 2 hours slowing the boat down by pulling most of the sails down and heaving to. Chris Parker, the renowned weather guru sent me an email. He explained that by slowing right down, I should be able to sail to the BVI but if I kept going I will get stuck in Puerto Rico because of the direction of the wind.
Up at midnight to check on everything and all seems to be well. I am slowly drifting south at 2 knots which should keep me between 25N and 26N Monday.
The idea of staying between these latitudes is that the wind there on Tuesday will allow me to sail to BVI. Will take another look tomorrow.
Many people like to describe "heaving to" as an oasis. A picnic on a white sandy beach. It is not. You are in the soup. Ok it is a lot better but it is noisy.
Winds have reduced considerably down to 20 knots but waves are confused albeit lower. Today I am going to relax, do some cleaning & wait until the winds change.
Decisions, decisions. What to do. The problem is that the wind is going to clock and I don't want to go to Puerto Rico. So now I'm aiming as east as possible.
I am still glad I took the more westerly course compared to all the others. And that is because they got hammered pretty hard compared to my one day yesterday.
The first clue that something was amiss was that my reef points were squeaky. The 2nd was my reefing line was on my foredeck. You guessed it....it chafed thru.
Winds out of the north at 20 knots, sailing due east at 6 knots with a reef in the main, my staysail and my smaller genoa. I've been on port tack all this trip.
I went out on my foredeck to take some GoPro shots because it is a gorgeous day & the boat is smoking, and had a wave drench me. I won't be needing a shower today.
So tired of reading and feeling like a bit of activity, I stuck my fishing line out for hour. I'm glad I didn't catch anything because it would be too much.
I have had hallucinations in the past from sleep deprivation which can be so unsettling so on this trip I have been getting lots of rest.
I am trying to figure out what to eat tonight. I have a yearning for pumpkin and I have a zucchini that I need to eat. Where is the internet when I need it?
"Are we there yet?" Ok I am so ready to get to where I am going, lowering my sails and sleeping for a week in a boat that doesn't feel like a washing machine.
Cooking on a lurching boat can be a little challenging. I just cut up an onion and garlic and it all turned into a projectile landing on the galley sole.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
If it was daylight, I would be adding canvas, but I am in no hurry and this way, the ride is smooth and the crew gets plenty of sleep. Will reconsider at dawn.
Slept for 2 hours and woke up just in time for a squall. Lots of rain and wind and the windvane handled it with ease. Now the boat is back on track doing 5Kn.
I was dozing when my AIS alarm went off & outside was a huge ship 0.5Nm off my stern. My AIS should have warned me sooner & he said he saw no AIS from me. Weird!
Even though it is windy and nasty outside, it is cosy & warm inside the cabin of my boat and the boat has a very gentle motion as it slices through the water.
I was told that I could trade with some of the residents of the Caribbean islands so I did bring some items including eyeglasses, DVDs, and kids' books.
I changed the AIS alarm setup to warn me of any ships coming within a 10 mile radius. Usually I have it setup for 1 mile. Still not sure if that was the problem.
I still haven't seen any gale force winds and right now they are about 15 knots. All the boats 40 Nm to the east of me have been getting 20 knots all night.
My experience so far with satellite communications is not good. I tried calling on my spot global phone without luck because of spotty service and my Delorme Inreach keeps needing to be restarted to connect to the satellite. Grrr!
Ok. Winds have finally picked up. It is definitely blowing gale force winds now. All I can do at this stage is hope that all my preparations are enough.
Finally! I finally got some wind! At long last. Doing 6 knots under staysail and reefed main. No rain. Boat in its prime. This is what it was built for.
I worked out why my satellite phone wasn't working. You need to put a 011 before the 1 (USA) and the area code and then the number. Whew! Technology!
My 6th day was just another mediocre 100 mile day with 600 miles to go and 700 down. I have only just got gale force winds and the boat is in its element.
I'm still trying to figure out what the problem is with my Inreach. At first I thought it was the refrigerator, then the fact it was inside the cabin and now I think it is just trying to do too much. So now before I send any messages I will try turning my tracking off to see if that fixes the problem.
Ok another big ship just appeared off my stern 5 miles away and she (yes it was a "she" with an American accent, which is double unusual) told me that her AIS had picked me up 12 miles away.
I have never seen a rogue wave and I hope I never do. Today there are some 15 footers but they are not breaking, their period is 8 secs and they are harmless.
I do not like having green water down inside my cabin so I have a rule to put one of the washboards in the companionway when a reef goes in the main sail.
Been blowing 30 for most of the day & had 4 squalls coming from the north so I have been on a broad reach and sometimes running.
Above all else, it is the noise that is the scariest part of a storm at sea. You get used to the large waves but the howling winds are frightening.
It was a tough day today and it looks like it will continue through the night and into tomorrow. Boat is definitely being pushed hard and so far all is well.
I have steered the boat off the rhumb line in more of a broad reach and southerly direction to ease the pressure on the rig and to have the most gentle ride.
As bad as the weather is outside, I never at any time feel unsafe on board. The boat heels easily, but once there it is rock solid and always stays upright.
Dinner tonight was a can of potato soup, some crackers and an apple for dessert. It's going to be a long night.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
The wind clocked around overnight and now it is blowing from the north at about 10 knots. The glassy seas that we had yesterday are now starting to chop up.
I got lots of sleep last night from about 9pm until 5 pm in half a dozen one to two hour intervals. I figured I will not be getting any sleep tonight.
I started reading a "Michael Palmer" thriller last night and immediately got hooked. There are some writers who can make mundane stuff so interesting.
This morning I have decided to have a cooked breakfast. Porridge & an egg with my coffee outside in the cockpit watching the sunrise. It doesn't get any better.
I have the boat all buttoned up with a very conservative sail plan. I could be going a lot faster but with squalls about I'd rather take it safely.
Sometime today I will pass our halfway mark with 700Nm to go and 600 down. We had a 100 mile day yesterday motoring, but today it will be pure sailing.
The SSB net this morning was a bit of a mess with multiple people all talking over the top of others. It sounds like quite a few rally boats have dropped out.
Just transferred one of my 5 gallon jugs of diesel into my fuel tank to get the weight down lower. I have 2 left now which means so far I have used 20 gallons.
Going into my 6th day, my ship's stores are in good shape. I had to throw out half a bag of lemons but all the other fruits and vegetables are in good condition.
I just realized I had not mounted my running backstays. I even put the leeward one up. The rigging will need all the help it can get for tonight's blow.
I'm going all out for lunch because it might be the last decent meal I get for a while. Herring fillets in curry pineapple sauce, couscous, roasted garlic & brussel sprouts.
I just saw a flying fish. Often times they will fly onto the deck at night and in the morning you use them for bait. It's the same as birds flying into glass. Sad.
It is a beautiful day with puffy white clouds skipping across the sky, but there is a big black bad looking squall that is behind me that I hope will go away.
Well you never know how these things are going to go and it looked like it would pass me by so I grabbed my jacket. Well big mistake! That squall hit me hard.
Wind starting to build. Grabbed a can of cold tomato soup for dinner. All hands on deck!
Well I am still waiting for some serious wind. Friends on a boat just north of me have 25 knots so it is on its way shortly.
Slept for an hour or so and weather still not bad. Getting along at 5 knots in 15 knots of wind. Very nice ride and warm out. No rain or squalls.
Friday, November 4, 2016
I have Lee cloths for constraining me while sleeping but I never use them. I like to get up & look around the boat & get back to sleep with minimal interruption.
A nice little breeze has sprung up. Is it the real deal or is it just a passing phase? Do I raise my sails and head off in a new direction or do I wait and see what comes of it? I waited and half an hour later it died.
Clear starry sky tonight from horizon to horizon. There is no moon so it is pitch black but you can see a slight mist all the way around the boat. Quite magical.
There is a counter current of about half a knot that I have been fighting for a few hours now. I have a speed log on the hull that measures my speed through the water and I can compare it to the GPS SOG (speed over ground).
Even though it is not cold, I like to use a heavy wool blanket to sleep under because it is comfortable and cosy. Sleeping on a boat is difficult anyway so you need as much help as you can get.
I have 100 gallons of diesel on board which can get me 600 miles or about 5 days of motoring. I have probably used about 15 gallons so far and have come a third of the way so I am in good shape.
I slept well last night in preparation for the forecast bad weather. I got up a half dozen times & each time slept for about an hour or two. I don't set an alarm.
Even though there is no wind I have reefed the main in preparation for bad weather. I also swapped out the genoa with the tear in it for one a little bit smaller.
The ocean is huge. You would think that with 83 other boats out here that I would see at least one! But no. And don't get me started on all those stars up there.
I am about to go up on deck and video record the sunrise. I plan on putting all the sunrises and sunsets for this voyage into a video to show how calm it is.
I broke down this morning and made myself a cup of coffee. Now I am sitting in the cockpit, watching a glorious start to the day and sipping my cup of joe.
Let's just debunk this nonsense about the Westsail being as slow as a wet snail. It just ain't so. Period. Full stop. The 5th day out in the Rally and I am second in the pack of 83 boats. Ok so I did leave a little early, but so did half of the pack. Anyway time will tell. Let's see when we get to the BVI.
My 4th day was not a good day distance wise. Just 90 miles with most motoring against a one knot current and light breezes. 500Nm down and 800Nm to go.
Yet another one of those small birds has come to keep me company. And I mean really close. Like inches away from me. The thing is, I am 500 miles from land.
I'm having to sail at 170 degrees to overcome this current to get me on the rhumb line at 150 degrees. Plus it is a one knot drag. Frustrating!
I think I have solved my problem with the refrigerator causing interference with my satellite device. I relocated it outside in a Ziploc bag. Here's hoping.
I spent the last few hours getting ready for the rain and gales that are supposed to hit early tomorrow morning. I stored everything loose from the cockpit down in the cabin, got my foul weather gear ready and washed out all the salt from my face mask to wear when it rains. My best sail plan guess for a day of 25 knots from behind is a reefed main and staysail. Now if it all goes south, then I will dump the main and run with just the staysail. If it is lighter than that, then I will raise my smaller genoa and after that, shake out the reef.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
I have been sleeping in the quarter berth so far on this trip. Normally if the boat is rocking a lot, I will put a cushion on the sole and sleep there.
The wind lightened up considerably and started coming from my port stern quarter so I turned the engine on. I want to be as far SE away from tomorrow's storm.
I woke after an hour sleep and the wind had got back up so I switched the motor off and now I am making a healthy 5.5 knots. It is cold away from the GS.
Boat is making a steady 5 knots and when the boat is happy, I am happy. It is amazing how noisy the water is in the dark especially sitting in the cockpit.
I saw another ship, just the 2nd one on this voyage. I haven't read any books yet because I have been focusing on getting the boat working well but I will today.
So far today I have averaged 5.2 knots so I should have a healthy 130 mile day which will bring me up to near 400 miles for the first 3 days of the voyage.
Even though I have not felt seasick, I have not felt like eating after dark & I have to make an extra effort. You do seem to need very strong sea legs for this trip.
When I left VA I didn't change my clocks for daylight saving so now I am automatically on AST. It's not like I have to be anywhere at a certain time.
Just had a small squall come over the boat with wind on the nose and rain. Thank goodness I was awake.
Feeling nauseous so I ate yogurt and muesli. It could be to do with my sleep routine being out of whack.
Am motoring into a light ESE breeze. Have pulled the genoa off completely to sew it even though the guerilla tape held it just fine.
Am trying to prepare myself mentally for what is going to be coming tomorrow night and Saturday. The most important thing is safety. Making headway comes second.
Another small sparrow hitched a ride and tried to eat my mainsheet. I missed the cruiser's SSB net this morning because I fell asleep in the cockpit.
Been motoring all day into slight headwinds. Blue sky and hot. Definitely t-shirt and shorts weather. Been sleeping off and on most of the day to catch up.
I very rarely throw a lure overboard because it is too much to manage the boat and fish at the same time. Plus a fish is usually too much to eat.
I have a problem with my refrigerator stopping my Inreach satellite device from working. Not sure how to solve the problem.
I had my daily statutory ration of salad for lunch today and I am about to make zucchini, onion and mac and cheese for dinner.
A ship! A ship! I see another boat. Just the 3rd boat I have seen in 3 days. Hoist the Jolly Roger and prepare a boarding party! Wait, not in the Caribbean yet. Put the eye patch and stuffed parrot back in the cabin.
Just had a long chat with the ship nav officer and he said that he picked up my AIS signal from 10 miles away. He also said to expect 25 knot westerlies tomorrow.
I heard that the boats that left yesterday are having bad weather and 2 had to divert. I am counting my lucky stars with fabulous sailing conditions.
The chocolate rations are going well. One piece a day, sort of like the rum rations in the navy for morale. However, the odd piece may disappear like things do.
I actually ate dinner tonight in the formal dining room which meant I had to put on a new t-shirt & change out of the one that I have been wearing since Hampton.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Having good sleep tonight unlike last night. I think that I am over the jittery nerves I had to begin with and now I am used to all the different noises.
Easterlies around 10 knots. Am motor sailing and making 5.5 knots. Am officially clear of the Gulf Stream.
Lots of shooting stars tonight. Beautiful starry night. Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered? It is so totally an exercise in imagination.
You would think that with all the boats in the ocean, that I would see at least some but for the last 24 hours, I haven't seen any.
A 6 inch vertical tear started to develop along a seam at the bottom of my genoa so had to drop it and repair it with some sail tape. Only time will tell if ok.
Banana, orange and yogurt with muesli for breakfast. I don't know why I am so hungry. Must be all the fresh air.
Well it turns out that my second day wasn't so bad after all with 110 miles. I thought that the Gulf Stream would slow me down a lot more.
I just transferred one of my 6 five gallon diesel jugs into the fuel tank using my new syphon hose. Much easier than using my Baja filter.
I have 1000 miles to go and I have already sailed 260 miles. if I get good winds like I have had it would be feasible to assume I could make it in 8 days.
My sail repair tape didn't hold the tear so I have resorted to using guerilla tape. Lots of it. I have another genoa if this one gives out.
Both my solar panels were caked in salt so I gave them a good clean. Because I do not have the motor running, I rely on them for my radio, autopilot and fridge.
Often safety on a boat is a matter of keeping your eyes open. The end of my autopilot was sticking out a little and when I looked closely it was about to fall off.
I think I was a bit overzealous in the fruits and vegetables provisioning department and so to help I had tomatoes, celery, carrots and an apple for lunch.
Except when I am down below in the cabin, I always wear my life jacket. If I go forward I also clip on to my jacklines.
Just had a very refreshing nap but got woken up by my AIS alarm from a ship 8 miles south of me.
I am trying to decide what to eat tonight. I've had enough of salads & have a hankering for some beans & rice and some brussel sprouts that I could roast. Mmmm!
I do not have any sailing qualifications and I admire those who do but it seems to me that studying for a sailing exam would take all the fun out of it.
One neat thing about this trip is that I have sailed all the way with a little motor sailing across the Gulf Stream. What cruisers never let on is how much they motor.
I have been having problems with Bluetooth connectivity between my satellite device and my smartphone and I think I have narrowed it down to the refrigerator.
I decided to trim my beard while I was cooking the brussel sprouts and nearly burnt them. You'd think I'd learn. Never ever leave a propane stove cooking. Grrr!
Just listened to the SDR SSB net on 8107 and heard a couple of boat reports from just north of me where they report little wind. I am getting NE at 10 knot.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
At night I keep my power usage to a minimum. All lights are LED, I use a low wattage tablet that I turn on and off and instead of using my electronic autopilot. I use my monitor wind vane to steer the boat. The only other thing that uses power is my VHF radio and AIS and I set those to low power.
I have been trying to sleep but so far no luck. I know that at some point I will be so tired that I'll be able to sleep no matter what but I am not there yet.
Just had my 2nd sleep of the night and now feel much better. The boat continues to perform very well. We are still averaging 6 knots.
Because of great progress so far I am just about to arrive at the Gulf Stream 12 hours ahead of schedule and I am greatly concerned that we will encounter rough seas from a northerly wind against the Gulf Stream flow. The wind is blowing 1o knots and seas moderate so it may be okay.
The temperature has warmed up considerably. Last night it was a freezing 45 degrees and now it is 65 because I have come up to the Gulf Stream.
2 miles to go to the Gulf Stream. Wind on the nose. SOG down to 4 knots.
Just about ready to enter the Gulf Stream. Will try to nap during the day. No caffeine to help me.
Speed down to 2 knots. Starting the engine.
Gulf Stream slowing me down 2 knots and sending me 30 degrees off course. Sea state good.
For my first 24 hours at sea I have completed 145 nautical miles and averaged 6 knots which is a PR (Personal Record.) I would have done better except for the GS.
Just got a message that the weather is going to be very bad Friday night and Saturday so I have to start thinking about how to deal with it.
My refrigerator has stopped working so now I have to do some serious eating. Also my gearbox temperature was a little high so I have backed off on my speed.
BTW the reason I am only going half the speed of yesterday's trip is because I'm pushing against the Gulf Stream. I'm actually heading S but end up going SE.
Out of the main part of the Gulf Stream and can now get along at 5 knots again. It will be the wee hours of the morning before I clear it completely.
BTW if you want to see how all the boats in the Salty Dawg rally are doing you can open their website and go to a real time map.
The Rally is not a race and most of the boats left early like us to try and get ahead of this coming bad weather on Friday.
My refrigerator is ok after all. Whew! I had put some frozen things near the thermostat so that caused it to not come on.
Even though it is pitch black outside, all the waves on either side of the boat sparkle with beautiful diamond like bioluminescence. At least I think it is.