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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Catch up 8 - National Hotel of Cuba

Ok so the place is over run with tourists, but it is beautiful and quite historical. The site on the Malecon dates back to 1797 and the gun you see was used to fire on the USS Montgomery in 1898 during the blockade of the Spanish American war. The hotel was built in 1930 featuring a lavish casino and it was a favorite meeting place for all the rich and famous during Cuba's hey days.
Castro closed it down and it was only reopened after the Soviet Union collapsed and stopped supporting Cuba.
It is full of photos and memorabilia of presidential visits from around the world.
It is the nicest hotel in Cuba and interesting to see how the well to do lived 80 years ago.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Catch up 7

I'm still blown away with the photos I took in old Havana. I went through them again this morning and discovered hidden gems that I was able to crop out of the originals. They are worth posting.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Catch up 6

I'm continuing my efforts to post media from the last 3 weeks when I was out of internet access. Actually I did have the possibility of access while I was in Cuba, but they make it so difficult that I decided to focus on being there with the intention of posting photos later on. Anyway, today I have a video for a change. This one is of shots I took with my Canon sx40 in old Havana on Sunday morning. Enjoy.

I'm continuing my boat chores here in Stuart. Yesterday I fixed my mainsail batten, added latches to my lockers and had my Honda generator repaired.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Catch up 5

I have a lot of little bits and pieces from the last few weeks that I want to report on. The first is some sewing that Joan on Sunday s/v Growl Tiger did on the foot of my genoa sail in Havana.
It started unraveling several months ago and I used guerrilla tape and hand sewing to keep it together but it develop a bubble so it really didn't help my sailing. I still haven't tried it out yet because it was too windy crossing over to Florida but I am sure it is better than new.

Friday before last I was privileged to have dinner around at my friend Andres home.
It was nice to see how an average Cuban lived at home and what they ate.

I did some shopping at the local fruit and vegetable stand and this is what you get for $4.
The plastic bag has ingredients for a stew and is quite popular with locals.

These signs are everywhere and this one is for a "casa particular" where private individuals can rent a room for the night, sort of like a bed and breakfast for around $30 a night.

Cuban cigars are on sale everywhere and you can buy unlabeled ones for less than a dollar or find a local in a back room who can sell you the very best for an unbelievable price like we did here.

Finally I want to finish off with photos of some of the excellent meals that my crew Kurt cooked while on passage from the British Virgin islands to Cuba.