Friday, June 23, 2017

Leaving Carrabelle

Well our last day was spent doing last minute boat chores.
Weather looks good for our push off later this morning. There is a slight chance of rain but nothing to get excited about. I am not sure about cellphone coverage between here and the Bahamas but you can keep tabs on our whereabouts at

I will post if we do get an internet connection.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Last Day before we shove off

We are counting down the hours before David and I leave for the Bahamas. The initial southerly winds will be on the nose so the plan is to motor sail east and slowly go south along the coast as the winds clock. At any point we can seek an anchorage if we have mechanical issues and I am almost expecting something to crop up because the mainsail hasn't been raised in a decade. In the meantime we are putzing around getting Dreamboat Annie shipshape. I did a video of our escapades.
Normally I use a GoPro app to create my videos, but I am trying out the stock Android video editor on my Google Nexus and I am quite pleased with the results.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dreamboat Annie in Carrabbele

Here is my stead for our voyage across to the Bahamas.
My drive down yesterday was very wet and it is raining here too with tropical storm Cindy to the west of us. Plan is to leave here Friday morning.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Travel day

I'm leaving my boat today in care of Walt and Mary and traveling to the Pan Handle to start my next adventure. It is quite windy down there at the moment but I am hoping that the weather will settle down later in the week.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Teak and stainless cleaning

I'm always learning lessons from other more experienced sailors and yesterday my neighbor told me about passivating paste for stainless steel.
Ever since I have had the boat, the rust stains on my boomkin have had the best of me. Now thanks to Neal, they are history and when I get a chance to buy some of this passivating stuff I will do the same thing on the rest of the boat.

For my teak, i now just use oil.
When I started out I tried to use varnish but in the school of hard knocks I soon learnt that it was a lot of work to keep it up.
So now I am getting rid of any places that still has varnish on them.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tropical storms

Right now I am in Virginia waiting for not one but two storms to clear out of the gulf of Mexico. My plan was to sail up here from Florida, then go down to the Pan Handle in the gulf and help sail a friend's boat over to the Bahamas and then come back here to continue on the Great Loop. Well, June IS the start of hurricane season and right on cue, a couple of ugly storms popped up.  Take a look at the passage weather forecast for this Tuesday.
That orange blob is 35-40 knot wind and I'm not too keen on sailing in those conditions so I  will sit here watching the exciting America's Cup racing in Bermuda waiting for this soup to clear.

Friday, June 16, 2017

It's all about the journey.....

So you have this plan of escaping that mindless commute, that dead end job, the rat race and getting away from it all. Head off to a remote island in the sun and along the way, what happens? You end up having lots of fun with other cruisers.
And being my birthday today we had to celebrate so we all went out to a Mexican restaurant.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Relaxing day in Chesapeake

So nice to have a great night's sleep.
Sitting here at Reedville on my friend's dock sipping coffee and talking politics. Thanks Walt and Mary.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sunrise on the Chesapeake

Had a great sail yesterday up the outer Banks and was feasted to a glorious sunrise just before 6am.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cape Hatteras

Brrrrrr! It's cold! Just got cell coverage and thought I would post a couple of photos from my trip up from Florida.
The first is a nice sunset my first night out.
This one was of a hitchhiker that I nearly trampled on in the middle of the night.
This last one was where I had to attach my autopilot to a piece of 2X4 while I used epoxy to repair the attachment to the bulkhead.

It's been a great easy trip except for a couple of short rain showers that first night.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Escorted out of town


Leaving Fort Pierce for the Chesapeake

Going under the Fort Pierce bridge and heading out to the gulf stream in Light northerlies.
These are the way points I will be aiming for and sticking to the west wall so I can get out of it quickly if things get bad.

west wall near 28n/80.2w
and 29n/80.4w then to 31n/80w to 32n/77.5t to 35n/75.1w

Stuart to Fort Pierce

You can see my yellow track on the Navionic chart in 20 knot westerlies, managing to dodge thunderstorms except just as I was about to enter the anchorage the heavens opened up.
There was just one boat with it's hook down inside the rainbow. I don't ever remember seeing a full rainbow before and it was interesting to see the left end going below the horizon.

There is no wind this morning and I have to wait until noon to ride the current out of the inlet. The middle of the gulf stream is 25 miles out which is where I would like to sail and with light easterlies and thunderstorms predicted, it's anyone's guess where I will end up.

Track me this coming week at

On the internet

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Should I stay or should I go now?

The problem is, if I go now I will be running into headwinds so having just got off the phone with my weather router to discuss timing of my departure, I am going to leave from Fort Pierce tomorrow at 1pm. The Swift incoming tide there will prevent me from leaving in the morning anyway. I'll have light SW winds until the Carolinas so motor sailing will unfortunately be the order for the first few days. I've camped out on the fuel dock here at sunset Bay marina in Stuart for way too long so it's time to be moving on. Fort Pierce is just a couple of hours north of here so I will anchor overnight.

In the meantime I want to look into using a splicing fid.
I've had this strange looking Gizmo on my boat ever since I bought it with a label that says splicing fid on it and I recently got given a soft shackle by a friend that used a fid to create it.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hutchinson island

While waiting here in Stuart for my weather window I grabbed an invitation to see one of the outer islands nearby from my neighbor, John. Now I have sailed up this coast many times and from afar and being Florida, I had assumed white sandy beaches right? Well take a look at the beach front.
It turns out that the beach is very rocky and as a result there is great snorkeling, turtles and more importantly, numerous wrecks just offshore and that is why they call it the treasure coast. So because a lot of the shipwreck victims ended up making it to shore but then would starve or get dehydrated, they built 9 refuge houses.
All but one was destroyed by hurricanes like Wilma and it has been turned into a museum.
Now a lot of these rocks formed an outer reef nearby which created a bathtub effect.
And hence the name. The water can be very rough outside but inside the reef, it is normally calm and warm so lots of people like to swim there.
The unusual wind today was offshore so the bathtub effect was not evident.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Nasty weather

The weather here this morning is truly nasty with thunderstorms and lightning and the forecast is not much better for the next few days. You can see my boat in the center of the photo, sitting on the fuel dock waiting for this soup to clear up. This area is under a severe drought at the moment so all the locals are overjoyed.


Well I filled up my fuel tanks.
And my water tanks.
But my weather router, Commanders Weather told me that it was not a good decision. Not only is it going to be rough out there, but I will run into those head winds Thursday. So I will motor up to Fort Pierce and anchor there overnight and try again tomorrow morning.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Getting ready to leave

Today I dropped my car off in the storage unit up in Fort Pierce and with a combination of a bike from the marina and a bus, I managed to get back to Stuart.
I stopped by my favorite huge second hand boat yard up here called marine Liquidators but they were closed.
I hope to top up my diesel and water tanks and spend overnight on the fuel dock so I can be away at first Light to take advantage of the early high tide. The Port St Lucie Inlet can be a bit tricky and the weather is going to be quite windy and rainy for the next few days. I might run into some head winds Thursday and Friday off the Carolinas but otherwise the weather seems okay with following winds.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Virginia to Florida

It took me less than 6 hours yesterday to fly from Hampton back to my boat in Stuart. Compare that to more than a 6 day journey, sailing back up there starting probably tomorrow.
I said goodbye to Bill on his beautiful boat Sapphire and was greeted by a virtual ghost town when I arrived back to my mooring.
The internet here at the boat is wonderful because there is no one else on wi-fi. Two weeks ago, these moorings would have been gone in an hour. It is all to do with the June first date for the insurance company's start to the hurricane season. So let's talk about insurance. The fact is that most cruisers have a significant percentage of their overall wealth tied up in their boat. Plus many of them get a loan on it to pay it off like a mortgage so they are required by the bank to purchase insurance. So they have to have FULL insurance coverage on their boat to protect their investment. Now most insurance companies require boats to be north of Florida during the hurricane season from June to November. Also to escape the heat of summer, you get a huge exodus every year of boats going north up the ICW (intercoastal waterway) and the same boats going south at Christmas time.

For my part, I have chosen to only get liability insurance, partly because as a solo sailor, no insurance company will touch me with a barge pole. Now I do watch the weather like a hawk especially at this time of year. And even though the insurance companies have their line in the sand at the Florida Georgia border, I like to be north of cape Hatteras especially during the peak months of August and September. The other thing is, I like to sail offshore rather than go up the ICW because it is a lot faster and to my mind a lot safer. I know that it sounds counter intuitive, but in actual fact, there are a lot more ways to get into trouble on a boat when you are near rocks and jetties compared to when there is nothing else around you to hit.

The first thing I do whenever I get back to a shut up boat after a long absence is just to sit in the companionway for a minute or so, and sniff. Yes sniff! I have a very sensitive nose and I can't stand the smell of an old boat, the head or diesel. Well I can say for the first time I can ever remember, that the boat had virtually no odor. Just a faint hint of the "damp rid" bags and the blue head tank solution. As well there was less than a cup full of water in the bilge despite it having rained here considerably while I was gone. I can put it all down to the work I did clearing up leaks on the boat and especially raising the Bob stay attachment, out of the water. I did this mainly by transferring my spare anchor and chain from midships to the stern locker.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Video of my sail from Bermuda to Virginia

Here is a short video of my sail from Bermuda to Virginia on Bill and Linda's Jeanneau 54 called Sapphire.
It was a great sail with just one morning of squalls. We had fuel issues at the start but they cleared up at the end.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Back in the USA

We are currently sailing up the Chesapeake now and have got cell phone service. After being at sea for 6 days it is nice to get back to civilization. Here is a photo of our most amiable crew member, Zoe a Jack Russell terrier.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Underway finally

Meet Zoe who is in the lap of luxury sitting at the helm. The customs office opened at 8 am but there had to have been 50 people waiting to leave so we didn't get out of there until around 9.30am.  We left and immediately had engine issues so we anchored. I checked the secondary fuel filter and there was a wire on the end of it that was disconnected. I also changed out both racor filters because they were dirty. We pulled up the hook and the engine was a lot better but still not quite right. So we had to anchor again and I then changed out the secondary fuel filter and this time after pulling up the anchor, the engine ran perfectly. We finally left out of Town Cut at 11am. Now we are off! Wahooooooooo!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

America's Cup Racing

I had an absolute blast watching the first day of racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup. Even though the defender does not normally race, Oracle was allowed to compete in the first rotation. There were 6 exciting races each taking about 10 minutes each with each syndicate racing twice. In one race, SoftBank sailed by Dean Barker from Japan put a big hole in the English boat, Landover sailed by Sir Ben Ainsley.

I am off in the morning to sail on S/v Sapphire to the Chesapeake. I will run my Inreach satellite device tracking and post comments. You can see it at

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tall ships

In combination with the America's Cup here in Bermuda, there is a tall ship regatta.
The rest of fleet are coming in over the next few days. There is no racing in the America's Cup today because it is too windy and we are still planning on leaving here on Sunday.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In Bermuda

Well I am in Bermuda at the moment, and planning to sail back to the Chesapeake on my friend's Jeanneau 54. So much for doing the Great Loop. I met Bill and Lynda Knowles while on the Salty Dawg Rally and their sailing vessel Sapphire is gorgeous. They ran into a bit of bother and asked me to crew for them.
I was all set to start sailing up to New York from where my boat is in Florida, but this came along and I couldn't pass it up. I hope to see the start of the America's Cup here tomorrow with a departure to the USA of Sunday. After I get back to the USA I am planning to sail to Marsh harbour on David's Westsail 32, Annie.

My plans are written in sand at low tide.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Being landlubbers

My boat ​is in Stuart Florida and I am traveling to visit family and friends in Florida and Georgia for a couple of weeks. Last night I slept in a bed on land for the first time in five months and it felt so strange. The ground I walk on seems to move because I have sea legs. Anyway I will continue the blog in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Having a pet onboard

A lot of cruisers have dogs and cats with them to keep them company while living aboard a boat. To me it limits your travels and is unfair to the animal and that is why I have chosen not to get a pet. With dogs, you see them every day on other boats, getting agitated especially first thing in the morning, wanting to go ashore and find the nearest bush to pee under. With cats, there is the danger of them falling overboard. I have seen some situations, where the owner has been able to make it work and overcome these problems. Putting a mat on the transom helps or if you can find that rare cat that is not too curious and will happily stay aboard then ok. Where there is a will, there's a way. A neighbor boat has asked me to look after their herbs while they are away.
It is actually fun! I have to keep it out of the wind, water it with a quart every morning and give it lots of sun. I think I have already messed up though because some of the leaves on the basil are turning brown. Who knows, this may be the start of something.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Chasing leaks

I have been complaining so much lately about how much my boat leaks, I decided to do something about it. The main culprit is the Genoa track. First off though were the stanchions. Just a matter of taking the carriage bolts off and on with lots of sealant. Then lifting the teak toerails and sealing holes.
 I have done this before using 5200 but this time I used a loctite product that I am a fan of.
It poured with rain last night and I am happy to report that there are no more leaks on my starboard side.
Now I have to work on my Port side.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Car Ownership Liveaboard Economics

I have a Chevy Malibu that I keep stored here in Florida while I am out cruising. When I pass through here a couple of times a year, it is nice to have wheels to buy parts for the boat, visit family and the extra mobility is convenient. Seeing I hadn't used the car in 12 months I decided that it was overdue for an oil change. Well the good folks at the oil lube place wouldn't change it. They noticed foam on the oil cap and said that I needed a new head gasket. Anyway the long and the short of it is today the car is being worked on. $1200. It seems like every time I turn around, there is something. Storage fees, taxes, insurance, new tires and brakes. As expensive as renting a car is, I have decided, it is cheaper than owning your own vehicle and Uber has pushed me over the edge. I did need it initially to establish residency here in Florida so that I no longer needed to pay state taxes but it is coming up to my third year here, and I probably need to sell it.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Replacing the raw water strainer.

My filter basket was well over due to be replaced so that was my boat chore de jour. I have to ask though. Why are there so many different sizes and types of these things?
Surely they could follow the KISS principle and bring the price of nearly $50 down.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

History of my Boat

When I first bought my Westsail 32, I was interested in her history and as she was documented with the USCG I went to their website to find out more. Well it turns out that for $15, you can get all the information that they have about your boat sent to you.
They sent me 6 pages, mostly from State registration in Florida, Mississippi and Maryland. It lists the prior owner, address, and whether or not there is a loan on the boat, amount of loan, and which mortgage company has the loan along with dates. All public information. In fact, if a boat is documented, you can search online for it and get the current information. The website is at

If you try it using my boat name Onapua, this is what you will get.
The USCG only started the system back in 1980, so because my Boat was built in 1974 in Costa Mesa, California, all they have for my boat is the first owner, Lewis A. Gerrard and it's name Aotea and the fact that it was registered in Maryland. In 1979, it was sold to Robert and Patricia Packer in Mississippi and renamed Gimli. In 1994 it was sold to Michael and Ann Feely in Florida and renamed Munchkin.  In 2000 to Jonathan and Carol Pearce somewhere up north and renamed Endurance. In 2009 to Craig Hopkins in Florida and finally me in 2013 when I renamed her Onapua. Anyway, what I am getting around to is the fact that one of the Gimli previous owners, contacted me and came and visited the boat yesterday.
It was great to hear all about the boat in it's early years.

There are also other sources, for  instance the Westsail website says that my boat circumnavigated. I still don't know much about this and Bud Taplin who knows most things about Westsail doesn't know.  I would also like to know how the boat got from California to Maryland.

If your boat is not documented with the USCG, it may be possible to look up other registration databases. Different jurisdictions operate differently and it is just a matter of searching and hopefully finding what you you are looking for. In these days with privacy issues, it is almost scary about how much information is available online about you.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Replacing the counter top

Since arriving back in Florida from Cuba, I have not been idle. You have probably had enough of my Havana photos anyway, at least to get an  idea of the place. One thing I have been doing is replacing the counter top.  I put contact paper over the Formica 3 years ago, and lately it has been showing it's age. I looked at Corian but because I only had a small area to cover, it was out of the question. So I ended up getting a 4x8 sheet of laminate in exactly the same pattern as my contact paper.
Cutting out the pattern to fit was a bit of a challenge.
I was quite satisfied with the look in the end and it should be a lot more serviceable compared to the contact paper.