Showing posts from June, 2013

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 …