Friday, March 31, 2017

To Cuba Day 4

Just woke from a 4 hour sleep! Unheard of back in my solo sailing days. Having crew 
makes a huge difference. Plus the condition are perfect.

Still doing 6 knots on a broad reach in 12 knots. Seas are calm with no clouds and a 
beautiful star studded night. Couldn't ask for more!

Still romping along doing 6 knots in clocking wind. We are on a deep reach with 
increasing winds and building seas. Another beautiful day with just a few clouds

Kurt has been an awesome chef so far cooking twice a day. He outdid himself this 
morning with real strawberry pancakes, maple and bacon.

Land ho! We can just see the Dominican republic coast 30 miles to the south. There has 
been no shipping for the past 12 hours.

The wind died down around lunch time so we raised the spinnaker and since then we 
have been going about 5 knots. We had to steer off course a little to run.

Back motor sailing. We were goose winging it but our batteries were struggling a bit with 
the refrigerator so we decided to charge them with the engine.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

To Cuba Day 3

Dawn on our third day. We both had a loose sleep schedule last night because we are 44 
miles off shore. At 3pm we did sight 3 ships but they were 10 miles away

Winds clocked around to the north west and diminished so we are Motoring in smooth 
seas against a slight breeze. Two days down 7 to go

Rainy and with wind on the nose but it is warm and spirits are high onboard. We expect 
to be sailing again this afternoon. Kurt made cheese bagels for brekky

Well we're back sailing and doing 4.5 knots. The wind picked up and we dropped 10 
degrees and are pointing at the DR. The wind is supposed to clock to the E.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

To Cuba Day 2

Had just a couple of hours sleep last night so just had a power nap. Kurt made an awesome 
lunch using 12 ingredients. Motor sailing in light winds.

Motoring into headwinds but am hoping they will clock around soon so we can sail again. 
Gorgeous day and Kurt is making pork chops for dinner.

We stopped the boat for about 30 minutes to do the dishes and watch the sun go down. 
Out of sight of land and the view was priceless.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

To Cuba Day 1

We are having a wonderful sail. Smooth seas, steady breeze, warm and no rain or squalls. We are doing 3 hours on and 3 hours off.

Sailing solo is very different from sailing with crew. When you are by yourself, there is no time that you can relax.

This afternoon we loaded provisions onto the boat mainly from Kurt's boat. My refrigerator is not as big as his so we have a lot to eat before it goes off.

Normally when I do a blog posting, I focus on one topic. But when I am using my Inreach, each of the messages are just 160 characters so I can't say much.

There's no moon tonight so it is pitch black outside. I do see a light on my Port side on the horizon that is probably Puerto Rico.

Sailing on board a boat is so mesmerizing. It's somewhat similar to watching a fire or waves crashing on a beach. It is so beautiful tonight with all the stars.

We just passed within half a mile of a huge cruise ship called Disney Fantasy. I could have read a book from all the lights on the boat.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Taking on crew and leaving today

Meet Kurt, my crew for the sail to Cuba. Owner of a gorgeous Passport, is an avid sailor, photographer, diver and has sailed the Caribbean 1500, and previous Salty Dawg Rallies. I'm so used to sailing alone, that it will be a huge learning experience for me. I feel honored to have such an experienced sailor aboard, and am really looking forward to the experience.

The other big news is that we finally got the green light to leave so I am headed to Soper's Hole where I will overnight and continue the following morning.

Remember to follow me at

And then enter sdrcuba in the group.

I will continue to update my blog for the next month but it will probably be just text.

The Baths, Virgin Gourda, BVI

Without any other pressing engagements, my neighbor, Peter on a beautiful Catamaran named Bob and I headed over to the other end of the island today, to take a look at Baths National Park.
The area is full of these neat rocks and caves.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Early tropical storm?

This is from weather underground.

An early appearance for the Atlantic’s first named storm of 2017?
The models are predicting the formation of a large area of low pressure a few hundred miles east of the Bahamas on Sunday and Monday, and this low has the potential to acquire characteristics of a subtropical storm as it heads north and then northeast, passing a few hundred miles southeast of Bermuda on Tuesday. Water temperatures in the region are near 24°C (75°F), which is near average, and these waters may be barely warm enough to support formation of a subtropical depression or subtropical storm. According to phase space diagrams from Florida State University, the low will initially have a warm core that will gradually weaken as the storm encounters cooler waters near 21°C (70°F) by Tuesday. We give 5-day odds of 10% of this low becoming a subtropical depression or subtropical storm. According to NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Tracks, the only March tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic was a Category 2 hurricane that passed through the Lesser Antilles on March 8, 1908.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters

There is no way that I would want to go out there and sail in the deep blue when you have a potential named storm floating around. I'll happily wait in harbor for another day or two.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

On the horns of a dilemma

Well I am sitting here in the BVI, frustrated and pondering what to do. Normally the trade winds blow from east to west and then Havana is a 9 day 1000 mile voyage from here all downwind. Right now, there is a low pressure system, NW of here that is blowing headwinds against us all the way west to the Dominican republic. According to Chris Parker, our weather guru, there is a 50% chance that this will develop into a tropical storm. In other words, we are all stuck here in Virgin Gourda. Next Thursday is the first day that I could start sailing. That means that I will not get to Havana until the weekend after next instead of the scheduled Wednesday April 5. Now there is one option I do have and that is to go south of Cuba. Trouble with that, is 1500 miles instead of 1000 and 14 days instead of 9. It is downwind and waters are calm but the one risk I would take is if there is a north east wind blowing, when I enter the gulf stream, west of Havana, that would create steep standing waves and be impossible to sail against.

One other option that we have yet to explore, is the possibility of changing our permission from the USA government to accommodate our new dates.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Delayed start

Well the weather has put off my departure to Cuba. This is what Chris Parker, the weather guru said yesterday.

I do not think I would initiate new travel in the region N of the Greater Antilles (PR/DR/Haiti/Cuba), and if I were underway in this area, I'd try to be in Port before Sunset Fri24, when large N swell establishes.

I have 4 spare days built in so all is well. If I leave later than Monday, there's a chance that I will be getting to Cuba after April 5, but I would rather do that than risk having a rough trip

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Preparing for Cuba

Friday, March 24, I will be sailing 1000 miles to Cuba as part of the Salty Dawg Rally comprised of 24 boats, many of whom are here with me staging at Leverick Bay. I will be updating my blog every day on my voyage and you can follow my whereabouts real-time at
Or to see all the boats in the rally, go to the following website and enter SDR in the group
The US government has strict rules about going to Cuba so I can only be there April 5 to 18. Because it will be a bit of a challenge to sail so far and be there on an exact date, I have decided to leave a little early and stop off in Racoon Cay for a couple of days, which is in the Ragged Islands in the Bahamas.
One plan is to go north of the Turk's and Caicos and then south of Aklins Island before stopping off in Racoon Cay. I'm not all that comfortable with going this way because then I will be on a Lee shore but in the end, the winds will dictate which way I will go. From Racoon Cay it is 350 miles to the Hemingway Marina just west of Havana. I've heard that unlighted Cuban fishermen cross this Bahama channel at night to fish on the banks like the "old man and the sea" so I will need to stay vigilant.
Because I will have very limited access to the Internet over the next few weeks, especially in Cuba, I will be relying on my Inreach satellite device to stay in touch. Send me a message if you can spare a moment. You may not see any more photos on this blog for a while but I will save them up and post them once I get back to the USA.
I have set myself a task of doing a write-up on all 500 restaurants or "caladares" in Havana while I am there so I will be busy.

Snorkeling Cow Mouth, BVI

My neighbors, Baxter and Molly from s/v Terrapin, went snorkeling with me just around the corner from where we are anchored and here is the video.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Drone footage of Onapua

My neighbors from s/v Terrapin kindly took a video of my Westsail 32 siting here at anchor in the BVI.
Baxter, you are great! Thanks so much.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Caribbean land crab

I'd always associated crabs with the sea but here in BVI you find them everywhere. I was high up on a hill, a mile away from any beach when I came across this guy.
I looked up Wikipedia and this is what they had to say.

As the hermit crab grows in size, it must find a larger shell and abandon the previous one. This habit of living in a second hand shell gives rise to the popular name "hermit crab", by analogy to a hermit who lives alone. Several hermit crab species, both terrestrial and marine, have been observed forming a vacancy chain to exchange shells. When an individual crab finds a new empty shell it will leave its own shell and inspect the vacant shell for size. If the shell is found to be too large, the crab goes back to its own shell and then waits by the vacant shell for anything up to 8 hours. As new crabs arrive they also inspect the shell and, if it is too big, wait with the others, forming a group of up to 20 individuals, holding onto each other in a line from the largest to the smallest crab. As soon as a crab arrives that is the right size for the vacant shell and claims it, leaving its old shell vacant, then all the crabs in the queue swiftly exchange shells in sequence, each one moving up to the next size. Hermit crabs often "gang up" on one of their species with what they perceive to be a better shell, and pry its shell away from it before competing for it until one takes it over.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

White albino turtle

Well yesterday a white adult sea turtle surfaced behind the boat. I did not get a photo unfortunately and he took one good look at us and dived back down again. I looked up the internet and not only did I not find any photos, but the only comment was on Wikipedia that said this.....

Albino tortoises and turtles are uncommon; The shells have an almost yellow colouration and they have pink eyes. For turtles, a pure white colour is nearly impossible, even with albinism. Albino turtles can have a longer lifespan than many other albino animals; their hard shells help to prevent predation and other environmental challenges. Vision and sensory organs are slightly affected.

PS. Ok so I have a couple of photos of him but they are not the greatest and if I get better ones I will upload them.
Notice that he doesn't have a pink eye which indicates that he is not an albino.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Oil Nut Bay

Unlike a lot of the failed building projects that litter the hillsides of the Caribbean, including one a mere mile away, there is one gigantic resort here in Virgin Gourda that is nearing completion. I went for a long walk to check it out.
Now this place is lavish, let me tell you. There are 200 full time employees who are taken there by boat every day because there is no road access. It is intended for the wealthy with 88 multi-million dollar villas, and led by American developer David Johnson and his company, Victor International. Only time will tell if they manage to sell these and I would be curious to hear the justification behind it all. I just can't see that there would be that many people who would want to spend a million dollars for a vacation home to spend a few weeks at every year. Even as a retirement community, it sounds a bit of a stretch. Its probably more likely that someone has an awful lot of cash that they need to dispose of. One way or another, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that it will be a ghost town for any future residents.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beach Cleanup Day

There are a couple of pretty little beaches just behind my boat that looked like they needed a little TLC.
As well as all the beer cans and plastic water bottles, there were 3 mooring balls with their pennants, one navigation marker and 3 noodles.
Believe it or not but I am still not finished and have to go back. I'm not taking the trash anywhere and I am just stacking it up in a discrete corner of the beach.
I also spent some time preparing Ziploc candy bags as gifts for when I go to Cuba.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Should we prepare for Doomsday scenarios?

Why are a lot of people leaving the USA and headed to places like New Zealand? Is the world coming to an end? Is there anything I have missed lately? I guess if you were to stand back and look at the world as a whole in 2017, life is a whole lot more complicated and perhaps people have reached their limit. I must admit that compared to life 20 years ago, I feel a little out of control and a lot less safe.  OK there are some very compelling reasons why at more than any other time in the history of our planet, we could be heading down the road to oblivion. There is a sudden exodus from the USA because people either are fed up with politics, or they believe that the situation is dire. Of course there are many different scenarios that could cause our demise, but it is possible that some major problem will soon take place that will send us back to the dark ages. What can we do about it if anything?

At present the gulf between the haves and the have-nots has widened considerably and more affluent societies are wasting resources instead of promoting initiatives that are more considerate of mankind and our planet. Their answer is more armed security, guns and meeting violence with violence instead of changing policies that are unjust that are the reason for unrest. The current situation is just not sustainable. Something is going to have to give.

So why now? After all, haven't doomsday naysayers been at this for centuries? For my whole life, I can remember people saying that the world was coming to an end. I must admit that I have regarded these people as crackpots in the past but now I am starting to think that with the current situation, that there may be some truth to their claims. Even if you don't agree, there must be some reason that so many people are actually doing something about it. Is this a case of rats leaving a sinking ship? I would say that the polorization of attitudes and the recent rise of nationalism and the right wing is serious cause for concern. Does it remind you of 1940 Germany? Combine this with the rise of the internet and it's vulnerability, and I think there is the distinct possibility of things going seriously wrong.

Its one thing to talk about leaving a country because of political ideology, but it's another thing to actually do it.  But a lot of people are doing just that and it's not for the faint of heart. It takes a huge commitment to move to places like New Zealand. So there must be some very real reasons behind this. I would say that it is mainly because NZ is a very livable place and people there are a lot more community minded.

Specific threats. I'm sure that there are numerous ways that the world as we know it, could cease to exist. It may even be a natural disaster like a meteorite or volcano. One thing for sure is that few will see it coming and even if you know about it ahead of time, human nature being what it is will probably downplay it.

What to do? All this talk is no good if there is nothing you can do about it. At the very least i would say to have thought about it and talked it over with your nearest and dearest. A backup plan just in case everything goes south. An escape plan. Perhaps building a bombproof shelter with water and food supplies for six months is a little over the top. My plan involves building a house in a remote place and living the simple life. The cruising lifestyle teaches you to be self sufficient and modest in your needs. One day we all might need these skills for our survival.

In conclusion and in my opinion, the world is not coming to an end. Hopefully sounder minds will prevail in any conflicts and in the meantime just turn off the news.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Monohull versus Catamaran

There is an age old debate about which is better, a traditional monohull or a Catamaran. Unfortunately it is like comparing apples and oranges. They are two completely different boats and one situation that cats are very good at is in a social atmosphere because of their huge space. A generation ago, monohulls were the only game in town and of course there were some cats around, but it was so unusual to see one that they were quickly the focus of attention. Sailors liked to talk about the risk of them turning upside down. What they didn't like to talk about, was the fact that they were a lot more comfortable and didn't heel.  Today, I walked up to Hog Heaven, a restaurant that overlooks Leverick Bay in the BVI and took this photo of our Anchorage. My boat is to the far left.
Half of the boats are cats and I would say that this is typical of all the boats I see here in the Caribbean. It surprises me, that the world of boating has changed so much in such a short time. Look at the America's Cup, racing in cats. There are lots of pros but the main advantage of a Catamaran is it's stability. You can safely put your cup of coffee down while sailing and know that it will still be there 5 minutes later. The main advantage of a monohull is it's cost. A well built monohull that you can sail around the world in, is one quarter the cost of a cat that is as well built. To each his own.

I'd like to finish up with one more photo of the anchorage, this time at sea level from my boat.
This photo would have been impossible to take 20 years ago before digital cameras​ because I had to take more than 50 shots before the picture showed both the BVI courtesy flag and my Salty Dawg burgee fully extended.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Salt, salt and more salt

It is quite a dry climate here in the BVIs compared with Guadeloupe and now, after my two day sail, the decks are all coated with a salt film as you can see from all the flecks of salt on my solar shower that sits on my forward deck.
BTW I have an extra long hose attached to my solar shower so my afternoon routine is to feed the hose through my forward hatch, down below to my head, where the floor lifts up over my shower pan. Then after my shower I refill the solar shower from a water jug. That way I never have to move the solar shower and I refill my water jug every couple of days at the dinghy dock. Easy peasy way to have a daily hot shower.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Montserrat to the BVI'S

Well I made it! Phew! I was going to stop off at one of the many islands that I passed on the way but in the end I decided to push through and overnight it here. GORGEOUS weather and perfect for sailing with a full moon to guide me. I would have liked it if I could have stopped at Saba on my way through, but the anchorage was an open roadstead and I figured, if I was going to be tossed and turned all night long, I might just as well be sailing.
There are no sandy beaches here and all the houses are way up high on the few plateaus. It is a Dutch protectorate and has the smallest airport in the world at only 400 meters long.
This guy joined me there and kept me company through the wee hours all the way to Virgin Gourda. I took a photo at first with my flash, but that scared him off but he returned to my gallows and this time I took the photo with the full moon giving him a silhouette.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Guadeloupe to Montserrat

i made it to Old Road Town Bay here in Montserrat just as the sun was setting last night. Just around the corner, on the way here was a stark reminder of the huge eruption in 1995 of the Soufriere Hills volcano, which destroyed two thirds of the island including the capital, Plymouth.
Two thirds or 7000 residents were evacuated and resettled with 4000 going to the UK and others to neighboring Islands. There were 19 fatalities and the volcano is still active with a strong smell of sulphur in the air.

I am heading north again today. Not sure where to. I like the looks of Statia but the wind will dictate my choice.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Is the green flash real?

Well now I can say that I have seen it. At least I think I did. The green flash at sunset that is. Except it was not what I had expected. I thought that it was an urban myth to be honest and a by-product of too many sundowners. The place where I am at, off Pigeon Island, is reputably the best place to catch a green flash. I have watched many sunsets and tonight I made out a definite green color, just as the sun was setting. I thought, that can't be it. When I think of a flash, I think of the whole sky lighting up. So I went to Wikipedia and looked it up and it says......

Green flashes and green rays are optical phenomena that sometimes occur right before sunset or right after sunrise. When the conditions are right, a green spot is visible above the upper rim of the disk of the sun. The green appearance usually lasts for no more than a second or two.

The photo is not mine, so I got one from the web that resembles what I saw. I actually did take a photo of the sunset with my camera, and if you zoom in really closely, you can see a little bit of green. Nothing to be get excited about. No big deal right? Except it makes for a great yarn.

Right now I am pulling up my hook and headed for the BVI'S. Rough plan is to overnight at Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Saba rather than doing it all in a straight two day sail. As always you can track me at


Or in preparation for my Cuba trip at ocens snap track at and then enter Onapua in the name or SDR in the group.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Bouillante, Guadeloupe

Today I visited this charming seaside village a little south of where I am anchored on the west coast of this small Caribbean island. If there was one place that could capture the pure essence of the country, then I would pick Bouillante for its many fruit trees, fishermen and lovely, laid back nature of the friendly locals. It is not all that suited to tourists with only one sit-down restaurant and no wifi anywhere in town. It has a small Carrefour supermarket, a petrol station and no traffic lights. It's one claim to fame is a geothermal power plant at the southern end of the beach where locals like to swim in it's warm water. Take a look at the video I put together from the place.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Stain LESS steel

Today was a maintenance day for me because it was windy and rainy for most of the day so I did some sewing of my bimini and cleaning of my stainless steel.
Living near a saltwater environment guarantees you having to do a twice yearly chore of cleaning all the surface rust off your stainless steel.
When you spend a small fortune replacing all your rigging and all of a sudden, your shiney new turnbuckles aren't gleaming any more, it comes as a bit of a shock.

On the weekend, I plan on sailing the 200 miles NW of here to the BVI'S to stage for the 1000 mile trip to Cuba.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Basse Terre, Guadeloupe

Today I took the bus south to the other end of the island to take a look at a large city called Basse Terre.
It is a busy city like the only one bigger, Pointe-a-Pitre with highway interchanges, but it is the capital so it has a lot of nice government buildings.
On just about every available space, there is a memorial like this one dedicated to a former statesman Erik Rotin.
They have no cable here so each habitat is adorned with a satellite dish.
The best part about this place though is unlike Pointe-a-Pitre, it has a HUGE grocery store where I actually found running shoes.
Am I the only one to see the parody in it's name?  It still didn't carry real coffee creamer so I have to become creative like every other Island in the Caribbean. In fact, the only store I have ever found to carry it was one on Dominica. Oh and another great thing was that my tasty $20 lunch also came with decent Wi-Fi.
I used to think that Martinique was my favorite island of the Caribbean, but Guadeloupe is growing on me in leaps and bounds.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Deshaies, Guadeloupe

I decided to venture about 8 miles up the coast to a town called Deshaies that is popular with sailors because of it's natural harbor. Even though it wasn't far, it took 2 bus rides with one hitchhike and the way back wasn't much easier either. Cute main Street with its obligatory Boulangerie.
These little towns invariably have a cemetery overlooking the water as in the first photo with a  very civilized automatic toilet that costs 30 cents.
But the best part of the journey was that I finally found a place that had decent wi-fi.
Food was pretty good too but the rum and meat got lost in translation.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Just Another beautiful day

It has been quite windy lately so I am holed up in a protected bay opposite Pigeon Island here in Guadeloupe for longer than I usually stay in a place. I went on one of the many hikes around the bay and took this photo of the boat where you can just see Pigeon Island in the background.
The restaurants here are top notch and I found one with WiFi that I could download a Blacklist episode from Netflix to watch later. Food was delicious.
When I got back to the boat, there were hundreds of Damsel fish around the stern.

Where I am anchored is a veritable aquarium with lots of turtles munching the grass growing on the sea floor.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Exercise on a boat?

Most of the time when cruising, you generally get a chance to get off the boat every day to do some cardio exercises like walking, biking or swimming. Occasionally though, you are on passage or the weather does not cooperate, and you have to stay onboard just in case someone drags their anchor or it is too rough to get in your dinghy safely. In that case I like to at least do something for half an hour a couple of times a day to keep in shape. This is the routine it is possible to follow, even on a rocking boat, a couple of times with a dozen or so repetitions of each.

Toe touches
Heel to tush
Head to knee
Spine twisting
Down dog
Tree pose
Triangle pose
Lotus pose

The latter I do with meditation for about 10 minutes all accompanied to music from Enya on Google Play.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Simplifying your life

With tax day (Grrrrr!) just around the corner, I was reminded about stepping back from the minutiae of daily living to take a look at the big picture. Is this cruising gig really what I want to be doing? Is living in a tropical paradise the goal I have been aiming at? Have I simplified my life and gotten back to basics? Is there a better way? If you were to look at the KISS principle to extreme, you would have a simple farmer and his family growing food to eat with adequate shelter and no taxes. What is that you say? No taxes? Ha! There are only 2 certain things in life and one of them is to pay taxes. That is where we start down this road of complicating our lives.

My life now is certainly a lot simpler than it used to be. I don't pay any state tax and I don't have a daily commute. I don't have a basement full of stuff, I get no more than one piece of mail every week and don't get phone calls from telemarketers at dinner time. Despite this, it pays to be introspective to look for improvements and one of the most insidious complications in my life comes from the wonderful internet. I have unlimited text and data so I am always connected to the web and as a result I am constantly checking it. But I don't like what I have turned myself into. Rather than being connected all the time, I think in a perfect world, I would like to have a really fast connection just once a day. I don't like the way that technology has barged in on our everyday lives. I don't agree with a lot of the decisions that software programmers have made to interrupt our days by having our phones beep and chirp incessantly by default. We have become slaves to these electronic devices and most of us are addicted. Is this what I want with my life? For me the answer is no, so i could put my phone away every day and only use it a couple of times a week. The problem with that is what happens if I get lost and need Google maps? Or need to make a phone call, take a photo, etc? Instead, I have made a conscious decision to turn off all those notifications. I no longer get notified every time I purchase groceries. I no longer get interrupted when my cousin, twice removed has updated her profile on Facebook. Just small steps I know but I am not going to throw away my phone because it has so many good things that come with it but I do think that there are steps that everyone should take to mitigate the intrusion that these devices have caused. I wish IT professionals would make it easier to opt out of these constant updates because I think the vast majority of people do not want these reminders. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Reunion with ex Westsailers

Back in August, 2014, I met up with Brian and Stephanie on s/v Rode Trip, a Westsail 32 like Onapua. They had some great adventures to share and it was inspiring to listen to their future plans. They enjoyed Cruising so much, they decided to invest in a newer boat, a beautiful Alliage 41 called Detour.
It is significantly different to the Westsail, in that it is aluminum and not fibreglass, it has a bow thruster and a centerboard. Well after Cruising the canals in Europe, they decided to cross the ditch and I met up with them today in Pointe-a-Pitre, the largest city here in Guadeloupe.
Brian told me the biggest change that he noticed with his new boat was the fact that it was dry. No leaks. Hard to imagine and I can tell you first hand that their boat was stunning.
It has a teak like surface that is synthetic, not too hot and gives a very good grip. Below decks was nothing short of incredible.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lift it and lock it or lose it.....The 3 L's

The cruisers down here in the islands have a saying in regards to their dinghy called the three L's. If you do not raise your dinghy out of the water, then you may have it stolen. Theft of outboard motors is a serious problem here in the Caribbean and in particular St Martin and St Lucia.  Up to now, I have been locking my dinghy to a stanchion and leaving it in the water but it was always my intention to figure out some way of lifting it up. Well today was the day.
Even though my dinghy with the motor only weighs 113lbs, I didn't want to put too much stress on my crucial halyards so I decided to use my running backstay to do the heavy lifting from the solid dinghy transom. The rubber rubrail of the boat lines up with the dinghy rubrail, the mainsail halyard is supporting the light weight of the dinghy front and I have 3 padlocks. This may be a work in progress situation but I am happy with the outcome. Of course it is not fullproof but it is like outrunning a bear. I just have to make my dinghy more secure than those around me.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Putting out a stern anchor

For 3 years now I have had a 10 lb fortress anchor taking up valuable real estate on my stern without being used.
Two days ago the wind blew at right angles to the swell which resulted in a very uncomfortable motion on the boat. So the basic idea to improve the motion is that you put a stern anchor out and turn the boat to face the swell which results in it being a lot smoother. All well and good and as in most situations, the theory and reality are totally different. First of all when I did manage to get the boat facing in the right direction, it was a total success and for most of the day it was very comfortable while all the other boats here in the anchorage were doing figure eights. Now for the downside. First off it was more difficult to place the stern anchor than I had thought. I rowed it out and dropped it a bit further thinking that between pulling the boat around and the anchor sliding I could get it tied down. However it was not to be and at one stage I even lost hold of the rode and had to dive the 20 feet down to retrieve it. The next problem was other boats coming in to anchor and twice, boats came to anchor over the top of my anchors, not realizing where I had them. Once that happened, I couldn't move and trying to talk to non English speaking charter boat captains who could care less about their boats was very frustrating. A large Catamaran dragged down on me twice yesterday, so I didn't get much sleep last night. Anyway bottom line is that from now on, I will think twice about using a stern anchor.

Here is a picture of my boat in the bay here taken by my fellow Kiwi, Max on s/v Drakkar. How do you like my new Kiwi flag he gave me?
Max is Cruising with his young family and has a very good blog is at on the web.