Showing posts from 2013

Shore Power Breakers

After the problems with my shore power I replaced the entry breaker (on the right) for the original 30 Amp circuit. I also added a second 30 Amp circuit (for heat/air conditioning someday) (Left) at the same time.

Merry Christmas.

Fair winds and following seas.

Life Raft Maintenance

Life Rafts are required to have maintenance every five years. Since I want to stay alive and expect to do some more ocean crossing I decided to have my raft checked. I took it to Vane Brothers in Norfolk, VA. Tim and I took the raft up to Norfolk. When we dropped it off they asked if we would like to see it inflated. Of course we said yes. I got to pull the lanyard and off we went. You can see from the picture that the raft itself was in very good shape.

I turns out that opening and repacking a life raft is inexpensive, about $200. What it expensive is replacing all of the gear inside the raft - emergency food, first aid kit, flares (a big expense) and so forth. Total bill - $1700. Wow. At least I can feel that the thing will work if I need it.

Fair winds and following seas.

New Power Plugs

A frequent form of failure of shore power cables is that the female plug melts when there is a short. I have three cables that have had this failure. I decided to replace the ends and went to Defender to purchase replacements. I found Marinco Replacement Plug for $50.99. I then discovered that Furrion sels the same package for much less Furrion Replacement Plug for $43.99. It works just fine.

Fair winds and following seas.

XO is Home

After yet another few days and another operation XO is finally home on Reboot. I spent a long night with him waking me up every few minutes to make sure I was still there and to get rubs and hugs. I hope that he will recover quickly and get back in the black.

Fair winds and following seas.

XO's Sympathy Sickness

As those who follow this blog know I have been suffering with a kidney stone for several weeks. Over the past few days XO has been acting more and more strangely. Finally yesterday I took him to the local animal hospital. The diagnosis: he had a blockage in his urinary track. They gave me a choice: an expensive (for me) surgery or put him down as the blockage would result in his death within a couple of days. I have now joined the ranks of those who have spent a large quantity of money on a animal. I elected the surgery. They put in a catheter. The also gave him antibiotics and pain medications. After the surgery his urine was draining and although uncomfortable he is recovering. (It will take a while for my bank account to recover!) He will spend another day in the hospital and should come home tomorrow.

Fair winds and following seas.

Shore Power Again

The shore power inlet to the boat burned (literally) out a couple of weeks ago. Apparently this failure mode is commonplace. It destroys both the inlet socket and the end of the shore power cable. After getting the parts together for both the shore power and the primary circuit breaker Maury and I replaced the shore power inlet. It is nice to be able to have hot water and use the microwave again.

Fair winds and following seas

Why people hate cell phone companies

Today Maury (Gypsysails) took me to Radio Shack to replace my lost cell
phone. I was able to get a new phone for $19.95 with a $10 time credit. I
also paid $6 for an extended coverage plan. Normally I would not bother but
cell phones on boats don't do too well. Radio Shack also provides a
military discount (thank you Radio Shack) so my actual out of pocket cost
with the tax was under $20. Maury also needed a new cell phone. His phone
is on a family sharing plan so Radio Shack could not help him. On we went
to the Verizon store. The Verizon store is not run by Verizon, rather it is
run under contract to Verizon. Skipping to the chase as they said that
Maury could purchase a refurbished phone* exactly like my new one* from
Radio Shack for the low low price of $100. But wait, there is more. He
qualified for a $50 discount. Such a deal! But there is more - you get the
knives, the vegetable steamer, the cutting boards - all for the low low
price of ....

Yes, it really seems like a scam…

Oh Well

I think I have done something to really annoy the higher power. Now I have managed to lose my cell phone. They say that bad things come in threes - I hope this is number three.

Fair winds and following seas.

Continue to struggle

Yesterday I decided that even though I felt terrible I needed to get some work done on Reboot. I did get a small project completed. Then the kidney stone pain hit again. A long night with pain meds every 4 hours. I did not think that I could still be in pain (much less awake) after a dose of Oxycodone. Last night I proved that I was wrong.

Fair winds and following  seas.

When it hits home.

Yesterday I made another trip to the doctors. I guess I am making some progress about getting well. But what really sunk in was the fact that I do not have to worry about payment - my military service retirement covers the costs. I think I was aware, for the first time, of the magnitude of the mess that the millions of people who have lost their insurance policies under Obamacare are in. I have been in pretty severe pain. I can not comprehend what it must be like to wonder if I could afford going to the ER for relief.

Fair winds and following seas.

A week to forgot - continued

For the second time in four days I visited the emergency room. This time I did not have a "minor" emergency, I upgraded to the full experience: ambulance ride, etc. I was riding back from working on a friend's computer when I once again started to get sweats and a massive pain in my side. I got back to the boat and took the meds from my "minor" emergency - an hour and one half later I was still in intense pain. I have heard that one can be having a heart attack without chest pain so I decided that I better call for help.

I called Maury and we agreed that we would call an ambulance instead of him driving me the 20 to 30 minute ride to the hospital. First to arrive was the Fairfield Harbour security department - EMT trained all. They took my blood pressure and heart rate. For me they were very high. The EMT's told me that they were "high normal." The ambulance arrived and they hooked me up to the EKG. The trace was normal. They explained that this m…

It never rains but it pours

I got back to Reboot after my visit to the "minor emergency" room. Muscle relaxing drugs and sleep were the plan. That worked really well until the shore power connector shorted out and all heat on the boat stopped. Its a balmy 26 F this morning so not having heat is no big deal.

Fair winds and following seas.

A week to forget

This has been, by all measures, a week to forget. I am feeling increasing pressure to get Reboot finished so that I can head south to warmer weather. I woke up Monday morning with congestion and a hacking cough. I would have preferred to just die. Fortunately Maury (Gypsysails) comes by every morning to pick me up for coffee. He and Ginger took me under their wing and made sure I had food and medicine. That took out most of the week. Then today, (Saturday) I was a Maury and Ginger's helping them set up their accounting software when I got a huge spike of pain in my back. I expected that it would go away after a while. I took a hot shower, put some cream on my back, and tried to find a comfortable position. After several hours of sweats, thinking I was going to vomit, and in general feeling miserable Maury drove me to the local hospital "minor emergency" facility. Three or four hours and a shot of morphine in my butt and I was at least able to sit or lay down with only mi…


Perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of living on a boat in salt water is the constant and continual corrosion. I am working on new lights for the aft head. I sat on the 6 month old toilet seat (the head for the salty) and it went flying off (as did I.) Further investigation showed that the bolts that hold the toilet seat to the; bowl have rusted thru. Then I went out to hook up the propane heater. All went well until I tried to open the secondary valve. It was frozen shut. UggggghhhhhhhhhFair winds and following seas.

Kitty Proofing

XO the Wonder Cat, like many of his species, goes into high speed overdrive every once in a while. He runs from stem to stern, bounces off the walls, jumps on me, and in general acts like he is going crazy. When in port he is on a leash so that he does not wander. In both cases he has a tendency to trip or turn on the emergency bilge switch circuit breaker and selection switch. My project today was to put covers over the two switches so that I could still operate them but they would be less vulnerable to "kitty frenzy." The result is in the picture at the left.

Fair winds and following seas.

Negative Feedback

I have started my research about the San Blas Islands and transiting the Panama Canal. It has been quite an eye opener.First, the fee for transit is now $1,000 US. The days when “little boats” could transit for a couple of hundred dollars are long gone. But what is more troubling is the web feedback. It can be summarized as follows:Crime is rampant both on land and on the waterYou don’t want to cruise without the company of other boatsThe marinas are very expensiveThe marinas are dirty, unfriendly, and in general undesirable.The weather is terribleReading the web feedback one wonders why anyone would choose to go to the San Blas or Panama. Obviously lots of people do this trip. This brings to mind one of the major problems of the Internet – negative experiences are highlighted while positive experiences are overlooked. One remembers the posts of the two or three boats that had problems rather than the hundreds for whom a transit was uneventful.More research…

Internet Void

For some reason none of the restaurants in New Bern have WiFi. The Hilton (now Doubletree) does have WiFi but now they charge for its use. On the other hand Wendys, Hardies, Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Burger King all have free WiFi. Go figure.I had a number of errands to run so I rented a car from Enterprise on the weekend special. With the military discount it is only costing me $19 per day plus gas. As I was filling out the rental agreement I all of a sudden realized that I no longer have automobile insurance since I gave my car to Spencer. I called USAA. They told me that if I used my American Express or World MasterCard that I would be covered. Of course I had used neither card. So back to Enterprise to change the contract.It has started to cool off in the evenings. When I go to sleep it is still warm but the last two nights I have woken up cold in the early morning. XO has taken to being a big warm fur ball under my chin. It is very nice. For some reason he has also be…

Jib up

This morning I took advantage of the relatively cool weather to put the jib back on the furler. It gives you real respect for the round the world alone crowd who do jib changes rather than furling a jib. Putting up a jib by oneself is quite a project. Flake out the jib, walk to the winch, crank till tight, rinse, repeat. Eventually it gets up all of the way. Of course I did not mark the furler sheet so I spent a good half hour getting the correct number of turns on the drum. In accordance with the “50 - 50 - 90 rule” the first time I spun the jib up on the furler I spun it the wrong way.I also spent some time making sure that my re-bedding of the water fill was working. The compartment that was flooding is filled with electrical tools, not a good thing to get wet. I also laid down a good layer of bug kill. Until I went to the Caribbean I have never had any problem with bugs. Ever since I have been fighting to get rid of all the little things that have taken up residence. W…

Gift to the sea gods

It is a sad fact of life that every once in a while one makes a donation to the sea gods. Today I was trying to put the jib back on the furler when I dropped a shackle in the water. I did not have the necessary rum to properly bless the donation. It remains to be seen if the gods will grant me good sailing as a result. To add to my frustration I asked a friend to drive me to West Marine so I could pick up a replacement. This is a 45 minute round trip as FairfieldHarbor is on the other side of the Neuse and Trent rivers from the New Bern shopping area. We arrived to discover that the staff at West Marine could not find the one shackle the computer said was in stock. They ordered me a shackle and it will be in on Friday. At least it is only a $14.part.It continues to be very hot here – by 90 degrees at 11 AM in the morning. I have been trying to dry out several of the sheets. The ends have worn from use and I want to cut them back a foot or two. Since we keep getting after…

CRT Burn

Back in the days of Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT’s) a major concern was CRT burn. When a static or near static image was displayed on a CRT for a long time the phosphors would burn off leaving a ghost of the image imprinted on the display. The only way to repair the damage was to replace the cathode ray tube itself. That was a very expensive proposition. I leave my chart plotter (actually multifunction display) on almost all of the time. It serves as my alarm clock, severe weather alert, and channel selector for the XM radio on board. In proof of the truth that old ideas die hard one morning I woke up and said to myself: “OMG I am burning a hole in the multifunction display as the chart of FairfieldHarbor never moves!” It took a couple of minutes to remember that LCD displays can’t burn. Lots of laughs.Fair winds and following seas.

Sopping Wet

Yesterday I finished re-bedding the windows on the starboard side just before the rains came. I then unloaded the storage spaces under the main cabin settee. I found water under one seat but was not concerned. I presumed that it had drained down from the leaking windows. I left it open to dry out. Imagine my surprise when this morning it had water again. Investigation revealed that the water was coming from around the deck fill for the port side water tank. In normal boat fashion I had to disassemble part of the kitchen cabinets to get to the hose clamp for the deck fill. The fitting was mounted on the nonskid so cleaning up the old caulk took extra time. But what the heck, it is only 94 degrees outside. It must be 100 in the boat.Thanks to Tim I have a borrowed “carry on” 5000 BTU air conditioner. This keeps the forward stateroom cool. It has made a big difference in sleeping. During the day there is a real temptation to stop working and go “chill” in the cabin. By noon e…

An easy fix?

Today I got motivated to get some repairs done. It has been pretty hot in the afternoons and I have been lazy in the mornings. This morning I was also pretty lazy. Around noon, after it got to 88 degrees, I said this is ridiculous, I need to start working.After fixing the leaking windows my second highest priority was to get the hot water heater working. Trying to bathe, clean dishes, and so forth with no hot water is a pain in the neck. Of course one can boil water on the stove. That is no where near convenient. After crawling into the engine compartment and over the water heater I removed the cover for the heater element. Much to my surprise I found a circuit breaker that was tripped. I reset it and so far it appears that I once again have hot water. To celebrate I have been washing all the dishes, pots and pans in hot soapy water. Yes, we cruisers are a little crazy.I emptied out the stern locker so it could dry and air. Other than the hard working of dragging everythin…

I break 100,000 views

I guess this means something

Butytl Tape Update

In the last couple of months my windows have started to leak badly. Yesterday I took three of the six windows apart to find that the butyl tape had completely deteriorated. I have been a big fan of butyl tape, even to the point of recommending it to others. I do not know if it was the salt or the heat in the Caribbean but the butyl had become almost liquid and had bled out of the bond. I re-bedded the windows 3M 4000UV .It was a real mess as the tube cracked open so I had to apply it with a putty knife. Then it rained about three hours later but the windows seemed to be sealed. We will see how it goes.

Fair winds and following seas.

Back in Birdland

I brought the boat back up to Birdland in Fairfield Harbor yesterday. No wind - not a problem since I left the sails behind when I went to Sailcraft. We left at 6 AM and did well until about 10 AM when the sun came out with a vengeance. We sweat our way into Fairfield by noon..

The Three Day Mast Project

Tomorrow will be two weeks and two days since I arrived at Sailcraft Service Boat Yard for my three day mast project. Like most yard periods it took a lot longer than expected and the bill (that was fair) a lot more than I wanted to spend.

An aside: I travel a lot and have been in and around a number of different boat yards. Sailcraft was the best yard experience in my four years of cruising and my 6 years of owning Reboot prior to moving aboard. They are knowledgeable, they take care of your boat, and they bill for what they do. Now, billing for what they do may sound normal. At Sailcraft they work hard. A job that might get billed in another yard at one hour gets billed at 15 minutes. Believe me, that makes quite a difference. They are also a combination of a full service yard and a Do It Yourself yard. Several times it was suggested to me that I prep or finish up a project to keep the cost down. This is possible because there is more than enough skilled work waiting for the staff.

I can drive again!

My drivers license finally got renewed today! So for the first time since November 2012 I can rent cars and drive legally. I haven't been this happy since I was 16 and got my first license. LOL

Fair winds and following seas

Sunday Workday

I got up early this morning and decided it was time to get some work done before it got hot. By noon every day it is approaching 100 degrees inside Reboot. Today was sail day. I got the jib down on the deck, and removed the easy furl from the boom. Maury came over and helped me load the sails into the dinghy and run them over to his house. I also put the asymmetric sail in the dinghy. It took two trips. The first was easy as the sails were in bags. The second a bit harder as we just stuffed the jib into the dinghy. It wasn't until I was part way to Maury's that I realized that I could not see very well. So of course I met a sailboat coming down the channel. Not a big deal, I could see well enough by holding the jib into the dinghy.

I tied up the dinghy behind Gypsysails and we unloaded everything. Taking the jib out onto the lawn we were able to pack it up quite compactly as it is being shipped back to Neal Pryde Sails tomorrow for repairs. This is the first time I have been a…

Hot Hot Hot!

It is definitely July/August in North Carolina. Yesterday we didn't get afternoon thunderstorms, we got sun. It was 101 degrees inside Reboot in the afternoon. It did not cool down inside until about 4 AM.

Fair winds and following seas.

Fairfield Harbor

XO and I are now at a dock in Fairfield Harbor, NC (near New Bern) where we will work on the boat for the rest of the month. Then to Oriental for haul out.

Fair winds and following seas.


Leaving Morehead City for New Bern NC at 12:15pm

The jib after the storm

Hopefully the damage is to stitching and the sacrificial.

Fair winds and following seas.

A morning of sunshine!

For the first time in several days there was actually sun this morning! I was sorely tempted to cast off and head for FairfieldHarbor but I checked the weather forecast first – 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms. So I checked tomorrow and the forecast is only 20%. Since I have no pressing need to move I decided to give it another day.Fair winds and following seas

Waiting for a weather window

This is the view of my chart plotter weather screen this morning. This is what it has looked like since I was 200 NM offshore on my way to Morehead City. They say we have at least two more days of this.

CBP came by this morning and checked me in. They were nice and it was painless.

Fair winds and following seas.

Waiting for CBP

When I arrived I called Customs and Border Protection to check in. They told me that they would contact me on Monday to arrange for my arrival clearance. I am waiting for their call.I am docked at the Sanitary Fish Market (restaurant and market) dock. The upside is it is very inexpensive. The down side is that there is not electric, no water, no showers, no laundry and no Internet. The closest Internet is in the waiting lobby of the restaurant or outside the front door. Unfortunately the coverage is so limited that I can not sit at a table or the bar and use the computer. It makes using the Internet quite a pain.I am feeling the effects of not having a driver’s license. Mine expired when I was out of the country and I need a vision test to renew it. The major shopping area is 5 miles from the dock.  That includes the Laundromat.  I will try and find a convenience store closer to Reboot where I can get some Gatorade and soft drinks for the trip up Adam’s Creek.The weather he…

We don't work weekends!

After a trying passage that ended at the Sanitary Fish Market in Morehead City, NC I called CBP to check in. They asked me if I was an American and if it was an American boat. I said yes. They asked me my prior port of call. I said Nassau, Bahamas. They said, “we don’t work weekends, someone will call you on Monday to clear you in.” The Government works in strange ways its services to perform.Fair winds and following seas

Back in the USA

In Beaufort NC after a terrible trip. More to follow tomorrow.

Fair winds and following seas

Too much wind!

After several days of bobbing around with no wind i was treated to an nighttime thunder shower. I had already taken down the main and had reefed the jib to 50% when it became clear from the weather radar that I was going to be bit. What I was not expecting were 45 knot winds - sustained for about 15 minutes. I attempted to furl the fib futher but only succeeded in turning the jib sheets into a Gordian knot. This is only the second time in my four years of cruising offshore that I have been faced with winds and waves of such violence. Now that I think of it, maybe the third time. In any event it scares me s*(&(less. I remember the last time a halyard was loose and I spent the time listening to bang bang bang like Chinese water torture. The end rresult - the jib needs to be restitched and the sacrificial cover (which sacrificed) replaced. One more expense for the overhaul. At some point one of my Tacktick remotes was swept overboard. Another $600 gone. The joys of cruising.

I ended …

Another frustrating day

I feel like I will be over 200 NM from Morehead City forever. Yesterday was another frustrating day. Very light winds. Rain in the afternoon. When the winds get very light the wind vane steering can not hold a course so I was doing a lot of sail trimming and hand steering. (The electric autopilot is broken, just one more expense when I get into port.) I must have been in a eddy of the Gulf Stream as there were times I was drifting south. What frustration. I only made about 40 NM towards Morehead City over the past 24 hours.

At the moment I have decent wind and Reboot is making progress north. I have favored going toward the west as the Gulf Stream nominal centerline is only about 35 NM to my west. I am hoping to pick up some current that will at least drift me in the right direction when I lose the wind. The trade off is that the warm water in the Gulf Stream spans afternoon showers. Hopefully it will not spawn thunderstorms.

Fair winds and following seas.


Frustrating Light Winds

The last 24 hours have been most frustrating. Winds have been very light and I am sure I am east of the Gulf Stream as I am getting no current kick. Becalmed for 6 hours I have only made 60 NM in the last 24 hours. Not quite a record for going nowhere - that belongs to Andy and my time in Exuma Sound where we drifted at 1.1 knots for three days. At least I had Andy as excellent company!

The Gulf Stream swings east as it moves further north so I am hoping to get into the edge of it in the next day. I have decided that trying to sail over to it would not enhance my arrival, by the time I get there I will have added to many miles.

At the moment I am east of Flagler Beach FL and about 140 NM to the East. Most of the rain storms are about half way between Flagler Beach and Reboot. Flagler is the home of Bill (KI4MMZ.) He has been supporting me at sea for years. At the moment we are too close to communicate by radio.

Fair winds and following seas.


Bobbing Along

I am underway from Nassau, Bahamas to Morehead City, NC, USA. The winds have been light so my progress has been slow. The consequence of light winds is relatively low waves. Given that they are on the beam this has made for a more comfortable ride. So the trede off is: slow and comfortable or faster and more uncomfortable. I like the slow and comfortable. This is the first time in 8 months that I have been sailing solo. It is reassuring that the sailing is easy so far.

I have noticed (I reinstated my XM weather service) that there are lots of storms and rain on the coast. I am about 150 NM offshore so they do not reach me. But i will have to deal with them when I get close to Morehead City. At the moment the center line of the Gulf Stream is about 50 NM to my west. I do not think that taking the time to sail to it will result in a faster passage. It is shifting East so I expect that in the next day or so I will start to feel its impact.

Fair winds and following seas

The $4,500 Visa Saga (Not the Credit Card, the United States B-2 visitors visa)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Apparently not if you are from Slovakia and want to arrive in the United States by private sailboat.

It seemed so simple. I wanted help bringing Reboot back to the United States for a yard period. I needed to visit my doctors and wanted to share my family and beautiful country. Andrea (a citizen of Slovakia and the European Union) had been sailing with me f…

Still in Nassau

Andrea goes to Slovakia tomorrow and I leave for the US on Thursday. Back to solo sailing for a while.

Fair winds and following seas

XM Weather Service

Now that we are back near the United States I have reactivated the XM Weather Service for my chart plotter. I don't know if I want to be happy or sad. Most of the time when making long transits you just deal the the weather as it is. Now I can worry about the bad weather I see on the chart plotter.

Lots of laughs

Fair winds and following seas.

Nassau, Bahamas

We are in Nassau, Bahamas after a terrible trip. In my last post I explained that we were going to sail on the wind vane - we did. The trip to the Bahamas was uneventful with the exception of 10 foot seas that rocked Reboot. We decided to go into Eleuthera Sound to get away from the high seas. One never knows what would have happened if we had stayed in the Atlantic. Once in the Sound we experienced four days of heavy rain and then were becalmed for three days. Everything in Reboot was wet. Then we drifted around for a while as the vane could not steer without wind and I did not want to motor for a couple of days and end up with low fuel.

We eventually passed through the "Ship Channel" only to have the Garmin chart plotter freak out as we were in the tightest part of the passage. The last time it did this was as we were entering English Harbor. Not very reassuring.

As we headed up toward the next passage I noticed a sailboat in front of us on the AIS. It was another Catalina…

S*((& Storm 2

The saga of the toilets continues. Andy heard the sound of gas escaping from the vent from the back toilet tank. We also discovered that it was hard to pump the toilet into the tank. I ran the macerator pump but nothing much seemed to happen. I took a sharp object and jabbed at the wire screen covering the vent line. Boom! S&*((& Sto4m 2! Fortunately the vent is outside of the boat. The resulting spray was quite a sight. It did take quite a few buckets of sea water to clean up the mess. But nothing like the first time. The macerator pump has been working but of course at the moment it does not want to pump. This is the old pump. My guess is that it is clogged with feminine product like the front pump. Since the pump is inside the boat I will leave it alone until we reach the US and I can have the tank externally pumped and flushed. In the meantime I will toy with it endlessly in hopes it will start to pump again.As is true of many of these kinds of discoveries I …

Autopilot Fairlure

We departed Nanny Cay marina after an extended stay, We found the local cuisine to give us stomach problems. Then the weather window closed. What had been intended as a four day stay expended to eight days. We worked our way out of the British Virgin Islands. It was fun for me to pass Soper’s Hole – the west end of TortolaIsland. We then proceeded in 5 to 7 foot beam seas to work our way around Jost Van Dyke. Although the rolling was uncomfortable we had good wind and set course for Grand TurkIsland. I figured that once we got closer (its 400 NM) we could work out a strategy for either going up inside the Turks and Bahamas or staying out in the Atlantic. We had not gone more than ½ hour when we heard a loud groaning noise. I went to the cockpit and determined that it was coming from the autopilot. Shifting a bunch of gear I was able to get into the stern locker. I found that nothing was blocking the autopilot ram but that when I turned off the autopilot the noise went aw…

Silent Sailing

Many people believe that sailing if quiet. It is anything but.Last night we were about 100 NM north of the Dominican Republic on our way from the British Virgin Islands. Most of the time we have been sailing at night the moon has been out. In fact when we departed the BVI not only was the moon rising before sunset but it was full. Last night (26 May) I was sitting in the cockpit at sunset. The moon had not risen and all of a sudden it was pitch dark. as only the middle of the ocean can be. Andy came up and commented that she could not see a thing.For some reason I was reminded of the first time I sailed Reboot at night. My ex-wife, my ex-stepdaughter, and her friend accompanied me from Milwaukee across Lake Michigan. We departed in the late evening so that we would arrive on the Michigan shore after sunrise.  After a few hours the women all went to bed leaving me alone in the cockpit. I soon became aware of all the sounds: the wind in the rigging, the waves slapping agains…


Andy got to see her first at sea dolphins today. They came up and played with the bow wave for about 3 minutes. We didn’t get the camera out in time.Fair winds and following seas.

Two lessons (33452Z May 31, 2913)

Lesson 1When I was a young man I remember reading the phrase “amputation with a dull spoon is possible, it is just very slow and very messy.”  Wind steering with an improperly adjusted Monitor vane is possible, it just doesn’t hold  a course very well. We have had almost continuous rain for the past 35 hours wth gusty and changing winds. Since the Monitor keeps Reboot at a constant wind angle I was under the impression that we kept heading up because the wind shifted. Tonight I realized thet the direction was not changing, just the intensity. This led to the conclusion that there was a problem with the adjustment of the vane. Now I hate to do anything at night – I prefer the light of morning\.  We were sailing so poorly that I decided to give it a shot, After several attempts I finally dit on the correct combination – all of a sudden we were heading on the desired course independent of the wind speed. Since we were trying to head almost directly down wind the (*heat went …

Too safe a narbor?

We are in Nanny Cay marina. It is so sheltered that when the sun hits we are slowly roasting! The configuration is such that there is next to no wind in the marina. I discovered this when I took a cab to Customs to check out and found quite a breeze blowing across the water.

Fair winds and following seas.

Nanny Cay Marina, British Virgin Islands

We are in Nanny Cay Marina in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. We experienced slow trips from Guadeloupe to English Harbor Antigua and from English Harbor to Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten due to wind and wave conditions. We decided to leave early in the morning so that we had plenty of time to reach the BVI in daylight. We left the Simpson Bay Lagoon on the 9 o'clock bridge. We got very favorable winds so we arrived in the BVI at 3 AM. Actually, we were about 10 NM from the BVI at 3 AM. So we furled the jib to a handkerchief and bobbed along until sunrise. Of course when we sail at 1 1/2 to 2 knots in 5 foot following seas Reboot rolls like a drunk. The trip that was delightful at the beginning turned out to be quite uncomfortable in the end.

We checked in at Customs and Immigration in Road Town. It has been a decade since I was in the BVI. My memory of Road Town was a dirt street village with a few structures. I could not understand why cruise ships would come to Tortola. Road Town n…

Satellite Weather at Sea

Satellite Weather at Sea
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Back in St. Maarten

After four months we are back in St. Maarten. At the moment we are on the Dutch side as the new bridge construction is making it difficult to cross over to the French side. The weather has not been good, after a miserable trip up from Antigua with light winds and the sails banging we arrived in Simpson Bay only to be hit by heavy rain and gusty winds. So we spend a useless day waiting out the weather and finally made it into the lagoon only to discover we could not get to the mooring.

Yesterday we ran into a few of our friends then went to Budget Marine for parts to fix the toilets. After a s&*( job on the front head it is now working properly again. I will replace the leaking gasket on the aft head this afternoon. We were also able to purchase the proper dip stick for the transmission.

Last night we had dinner at Barnacles Greek Bar and then headed back to Reboot in light rain. This morning over to the yacht club for breakfast. Shopping, etc. We expect to head out on Monday.


It is their culture

A couple of quick observations about the Caribbean:

1) Public urination in marinas is accepted. The first time I saw a man relieving himself from a boat in full view of Customs and security personnel I was shocked. Then I discovered it was a common practice. I have not decided to join in.
2) At least at Carrefour (the French grocery chain) the carts have four swivel castors. This makes it impossible to push them in a straight line on anything but a smooth surface. The alternative is a big bucket - you just drop everything in. When you check out you have to bend over and drag everything back out again.
3)  Most restaurants observe lunch and dinner hours. For example, you can't get dinner before 7 PM at most places. Of course most everything is closed on Sundays.

Fair winds and following seas.

English Harbor - Antigua: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The forecast was for 5 to 10 from the South. We got 0 to 3 from the Northeast. Most of what we saw was because we had to motor the entire distance from Guadeloupe to Antigua. One of the annoying things about Bas du Fort marina in Guadeloupe is that it is 20 nm around the bottom of the island and up into the center of the butterfly. The canal that takes you north has been closed for a year, so you just have to suck up the extra time and distance.
We arrived at English Harbor in the early afternoon. We selected Nelson's Dockyard from the marina listings in our (free) Superyacht Services Guide. On the way in the cockpit chart plotter decided it did not want to display the detailed map of the harbor so there was a bit of up and down. Once in we did find channel buoys. My little hand held radio has also decided to give up the ghost so it was up and down from the radio to the helm.
The Good: Nelson's Dockyard is a historical park. It is where 1st Viscount Admiral Lord Nelson commande…

The Empty Caribbean

I have been in the Caribbean since before Christmas. We have visited over 10 islands. I am struck by how empty the Caribbean has been. Every marina has many empty slips. Every restaurant has many empty tables. Tour guides and marine repair people are desperate for work. It is clear that the glory days before the financial crash are long gone. In a way it is sad. Most people I talk to have no expectation things will get any better without major changes in Washington.

Fair winds and following seas.

And the rains came

The transition to rainy season has been abrupt. We left St. Lucia in a light drizzle and saw no more precipitation all the way to Dominica. The first day here it was sunny. Ever since it has rained. And I mean rain. 12" in a 24 hour period seems to be normal. Everything that can leak is leaking. At least the deck of the boat is clean.

Fair winds and following seas

The end of spider hunt 2013

We made the transit from St. Lucia to Dominica in a little over 15 hours. We left Rodney Bay in light rain and made very good time until we were off the coast of Martinique. Then the winds died and we were bobbing along at 1 knot for several hours. The wind finally returned and we made it to Roseau in the early morning. We have taken a mooring ball off the Anchor Hotel. Ian, Trevor, and Jenn have made contact with the local spider hunters and moved off the boat. They will head back south to St. Vincent and the Grenadines while Andy and I continue our trip north eventually to the US.

Fair winds and following seas

The S^&( Storm!

In my post frustration I mentioned that both maceration pumps had jammed. I managed to free up the back pump without difficulty. The forward pump was another story. I disassembled the pump only to find it jammed with a large quantity of female hygiene product. I do not understand why women can not take simple direction and not flush their product down the toilet. After cleaning the pump it was still not pumping so I assumed that the pump was shot. In fact a couple of the bolts had sheared and could not be replaced. Off to Island Waterworld to spend $250 on a new pump. Installed it, still a problem. I concluded that the hose from the tank to the pump might be clogged. As I loosened the hose clamps to check the line - you guessed it - the hose popped off, the clog cleared itself and the contents of the tank, accelerated by the large quantity of gas in the tank sprayed over everything. The next four hours were spent cleaning the boat. (The vent line had become clogged when the tank fille…


In the past two days the refrigerator has failed, both of the macerator pumps have jammed, and the forward toilet has stopped working. Great!

Fair winds and following seass

St. Lucia, Rodney Bay

We departed from Grenada and headed for St. Vincent to pick up Trevor Bloom, our new spider hunter. The passage was pretty bumpy but we eventually arrived. However, trying to get around the south side of the island into Blue Lagoon turned into a real problem. The wind tends to wrap around the islands and with the normal trades we keep experiencing 25 to 30 knot winds and 4 to 6 foot seas. Reboot has an oil leak in the transmission so I am unwilling to crank the engine up to full power to combat the adverse conditions nor am I willing to motor at 1 knot for eight or ten hours to make port. As a consequence we abandoned our attempt and looked for an alternate site.

As we were motoring along the island we spotted a St. Vincent Coast Guard boat. We gave them a hail and they motored over (at high speed - I think they were happy to play!) We explained that we were trying to check in and pick up a new crew member. They told us we could go into the next bay and check in at the police station.…

Some Days things don't work out

We planned to leave Grenada today and head for St. Vincent overnight. We took some naps, prepared the boat, checked out and were ready to leave. Then Andy said "Did you pick up the laundry?" Of course we had not. And the laundry was closed. So here we are for another day.

A spider hunt and a cold swim

Yesterday Andy, Lori, Ian (our new spider hunter) and I went to the Concord Waterfalls in Grenada. There are three falls, the first reached by highway, the second a third a hike up the side of the watershed.

We arrived at the site of the first waterfall and began the hike up to the second waterfall. This took us about an hour, most of it easy trail but the last bit required climbing over a bunch of big rocks. There were several places were we needed to cross the stream, at some point in the past there had been quite a flow of water and all of the bridges were destroyed. We used the stepping stones to get across. It was not hard but some of the stones were covered with moss so they were quite slippery.

We arrived at the second waterfall and I was the only one to take a swim. We decided not to continue to hike to the third waterfall but to work our way back while Lori and Ian did their spider collection.

We gathered back at the car for a quick lunch and then headed down the stairs to t…

Sonic - Marina Bas du Fort

We are here in the Marina Bas du Fort and they have a firewall that blocks certain kinds of web queries. Most of the time this is not a problem but I was surprised to see that Victoria's Secret is blocked. I guess the women can't buy sexy American clothing in France.

Fair winds and following seas.

Med Mooring - Marina Bas du Fort

The Bas du Fort marina here in Guadeloupe uses the "Med Mooring" scheme. This means that there are no finger piers. Everyone goes bow or stern into a dock. The other end of the boat is held by a mooring buoy. Since Reboot's stern has a wind vane steering device we elected to go bow in. Fortunately there was not much wind so sliding in between two other boats with nothing but fenders on either side was less of a problem than I anticipated. The Port Captain also takes care of tying a line to the mooring buoy and passing it to someone on the boat. But all in all it is not a very favorable setup. We have to climb over the bow pulpit every time we want to get on or off. Getting groceries, laundry, and so forth on and off is a two person job. The advantage for the marina is that they can get more boats in the same space. To the extent that this is reflected in lower prices I guess it is a good thing.

I continue to be amazed at the high prices for everything but wine in Guadelo…

Quicken 2013 - I love stupidity!

Today I downloaded Quicken 2013. Of course I did not want to pay for it and download it. Quicken is disabling many of the features of the previous versions of Quicken to force you to purchase the upgrade. Now for a simple user like me each new version is slower and less user friendly than the previous version. So  to pay to upgrade from a piece of crap to a bigger piece of crap just puts me in a great mood.
I upgraded. My password would not work. It turns out that some genius at Quicken has shortened the password field. My old password was too long. So I had to uninstall the upgrade, restore the old version, change my password, re-install the new version. Such customer service. Wow - you can depend on Quicken.
Fair winds and following seas