Showing posts from December, 2014

Back in the USA

I finally turned the corner at Grand Bahama Island yesterday and the winds picked up. Before you knew it I was in the Gulf Stream doing 9 knots on my way back to the United States. Unfortunately the weather forecast was for the wind to turn to the North. This meant that I had to get across the Stream. I decided to head for Ft. Pierce as it was the only Class "A" inlet that had a place to dock after dark. (Port Canaveral is a Class A inlet - in fact a big cruise ship port - but there are no places to stop at night - the lock is closed until 6AM.

When I got about 10 miles from Ft. Pierce I realized it was going to be a major battle to get in the inlet. Winds were about 15 knots, seas about 3 feet, and a big current coming out of the inlet to sea. I still don't trust my fuel. I discussed options with Towboat US and they suggested they come out and tow me in rather than have to come and pick me off the break wall. (In fact, this inlet gets so bad that a SeaTow tow boat and t…

Off Freeport - sort of

December 28, 2014 08:09 UTC
Atlantic Ocean, approximately 26 NM Southeast of Freeport, Bahamas
(I am finally close enough to Freeport that I can see the light pollution on the horizon)
N 26 14.379 W 078 21.271 Course 315 Speed 2.2 knots

Yes, we really do stay up all night every night with 30 minute cat naps all day and night. Its 3:15 AM EST and I am quite awake. Yes, it is quite boring. One can only read so much and sleep so much. I think one of the big attractions of trawlers (large powerboats with small engines and big fuel tanks. They usually have a top speed of 8 or 9 knots but the amenities’ of a “gin palace”) is the size of their fuel tanks. Since the engine is expected to run 100% of the time underway there is always ample power for computers, DVD players, etc. Lots of other reasons too, they are quite nice. A lot of sailboat cruisers “retire” to a trawler when handling the sails gets to be a bit much.

I have mentioned that I am on a route with a lot of ship traffic but that u…

December 27th, 2014 Off Freeport, Bahamas

December 27, 2014 22:04 UTC
Bahamas, about 34 miles south of the Grand Bahama Island airport
N 26 03981 W 078 04.088 Course 297 Speed 0.0 (naught, nil, none, zilch, zero, etc.)

Since I wrote this morning it has been a long and frustrating day. For me (not for XO who continues his sleep, eat, demand attention, get petted, eliminate routine unchanged.) The synoptic forecast for today is winds from the East at 10 to 15 knots. Perfect for a fast trip to the United States. The actual local weather has been winds from the East at 1 to 3 knots. The boat speed peaked at 2.9 knots for one brief shining moment (that was known as Camelot.) Most of the day it has been between 0.5 and 1.0 knots. I am reminded of two movies: Master and Commander (the scene where they are totally becalmed on a glass ocean) and Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Why, you ask? Because of the scene with the quote “I will taunt you unmercifully.” I can occasionally see wind on the water around Reboot  but by the time it reaches…


December 27, 2014 10:39 UTC
Bahamas - about 75 NM north of Nassau
N 25 55.073 W 077 42.645 Course 292T Speed 2.5 knots

On Christmas Day in Nassau, Bahamas I had a long conversation with Bill (KI4MMZ) about the upcoming weather patterns. I had considered going to the Junkanoo festival and staying over until the 27th. The festival starts at 1 AM and runs all night. That suggests a departure in the morning is not wise.

December 26th is Boxer Day in the Bahamas. I got everything ready for a high tide departure. There is a bar that runs across the center of Nassau Harbor. When one leaves the marina and wants to exit through the west channel one has to cross the bar. I can do that very comfortably at high tide, not so much at low tide. I set off for the fuel dock only to discover it was closed for the holiday. In fact both fuel docks near the marina were closed. I decided that rather than turn around I would go with the fuel on board. (I had a difficult time getting out of the…

My Christmas Present To You

I have always enjoyed flash mobs. Here is my Christmas flash mob for you:

Merry Christmas!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Christmas Eve in Nassau

December 25, 2014 Christmas Day
Nassau Harbor Club Marina and Hotel, Nassau, Bahamas

I made it safely into Nassau, Bahamas on December 23rd and tied up at the Nassau Harbor Club. I have been in this marina before and was surprised to be remembered by the staff. After many days of being offshore it was nice to be on land for a rest,

I did the checking in formalities and then headed down to Captain Andy’s, formerly Crazy Johnnies. No longer Captain Andy’s it is now Volume - a music club. It was closed but I did speak to one of the staff - Tom - who send me down to The Poop Deck restaurant. It is only another 200 meters or so down the road. Not realizing how dehydrated I was I quickly drank four beers and then said to the bartender - I had better switch to water! He said OK and watched as I quickly drank four glasses of water. I explained that I had just come in on a boat. I had a nice dinner although like all things in the Bahamas expensive and headed back to Volume. The club was actual…

December 22, 2014 Hitting the Wall

The last time this happened to me was when I arrived in Portugal after soloing across the Atlantic Ocean. I had left the Azores on my way to Ireland. The entire trip the winds had been adverse so eventually I abandoned trying to get to Ireland and headed for Portugal. When I was a few miles offshore the engine quit. I entered Cascasi harbor in 35 knot winds and dropped anchor. After things calmed down I changed the fuel filters and made it into the marina. It had been 44 days since I had left the United States. I was ready to sell the boat and fly home. After a couple of days ashore I calmed down and went back to cruising. That was two years ago.

After several days of bobbing around trying to get south of Rum Cay I finally decided to turn on the engine. Within seconds after engine start the exhaust filled with heavy white smoke and there was no power. I spent the next couple of hours changing the fuel filters, always a joy at sea. Not being sure that the engine was OK I altered course…

Sunday. December 21, 2014 1028 UTC

Sunday. December 21, 2014  1028 UTC
Atlantic Ocean about 38 NM North of Rum Cay (Bahamas)
N 24 24.947 W 074 54.253  Course 200 Speed 1.1 knots

Welcome to Winter. Today is the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year. This is a day beloved by solar panel users everywhere as for the next 6 months the days get longer and the solar panels generate more power. As I have traveled South the days have become a few minutes longer but not really enough to disturb the routine. A standing joke is “cruisers midnight.” The classic definition is 8 PM. What it really speaks to is the fact that cruisers live by the sun. Once it gets dark its time to go to bed, once the sun comes up its time to get up. It also speaks to the fact that most cruisers are in the 50’s through 70’s and don’t go out clubbing a lot at night.

When I left Cape Fear I left behind the cold weather. The water is in the mid 70’s. The boat is warm, yesterday it was 80 inside the cabin.  Quite a change from last year when I was …

Sail Choices Friday, December 19, 2014 1335 UTC

Friday, December 19, 2014 1335 UTC
About 120 NM East of the Bahamas Bank, 280 NM North of Long Island, Bahamas
N 26 47.725 W 07455.014 Course 180 Speed 0.9

Bobbing around again in very light air. I am in a convergence zone and until it shifts or I drift out of it winds are going to be very light. I could not hold course last night so I motored for about 8 hours. This has taken the fuel gauge off the “full” peg. I still have quite a bit of fuel in the main tank and 15 gallons on deck but prudence in the use of fuel is always wise. At least this time I am bobbing in the right direction (South.)

I was reminded this morning of the problem of choosing the right sail configuration. When the sun came up I stopped motoring and put up the jib. With the wind this light I should have also put up the main or even better dropped the jib and put up the asymmetric. The problem was that the sky was overcast and black. It takes about 15 minutes to put up the main, maybe 25 minutes to put up the asymme…

December 17, 2014 2200 UTC

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 2200 UTC
Atlantic Ocean - 336 NM East of Flagler Beach, FL (Hi  Bill) 535 NM North of the Windward Gap.
N 29 28.689 W 074 59.136 Course 180 Speed 4.8

Happy Birthday to Andrea. Wish I was on Tenerife with you to celebrate!

The last 36 hours have been long and tiring. Mother Nature (or Neptune) decided to show me what she had. Yesterday morning the wind finally started to pick up. Unfortunately it was blowing from the Southwest. Since I am trying to go due South this meant that I had to go close hauled (up wind) all day. In order to get Reboot to point high enough I put in a double reefed main in addition to the jib. Going upwind usually means you are also going into the waves and yesterday was no exception. It also means that the wind speed over the boat is the boat speed plus the true wind speed. As time wore on the wind continued to pick up. I continued to furl more and more of the jib. The waves also continued to build. In the early evening the true wind…
Monday,  December 15, 2014
Atlantic Ocean - about 250 miles east of the Florida - Georgia Border
N31 06.3  W 077 03.1 Course 165 Speed 0.5

I spent Saturday morning in Masonboro replacing the bow light. At some level it was a victory as I did not drop any tools or pasts into the water. It was a total fail as when I switched on the power no bow light. There is a broken wire buried somewhere. Replacing the light was necessary, the previous light was completely corroded. I had repaired it a number of times but this time the light bulb was completely corroded into the socket. Rather than fooling with it further I decided to get underway. When I sail I use the tricolor on the mast so the only limitation of the non-functional bow light is that I can’t motor at night.

Left Masonboro Yacht Club midday on Saturday 13 December. Headed down the ICW to Carolina Beach for fuel. Filled tanks, was $75. I can remember when this was a $25 evolution. Went through the Carolina Cut in adverse current and …

Masonboro Yacht Club

In Masonboro Yacht Club just south of Wrightsville Beach. This is the kind of place that always gives me pause. As one travels down the ICW there are channels leading off to the left and right to various marina facilities. Never, and I mean never, do the signs say anything about depth. So one looks at the chart and sees 2 feet, or 3 feet, with this channel. Is it deep enough? The only way to tell seems to be to go in. The channels are always too narrow to turn around. Have you ever tried to back a sailboat? The result is that I avoid them. That is a shame because some, like Masonboro, have really nice people and decent facilities. Note to marina owners. Want to increase business with a cheap fix? Put up a depth sign.

Spent Wednesday night in Mile Hammock Bay with 7 other boats. Seemed like a lot of boats for this late in the season. The manager at Masonboro told us that there are a lot of late transits. The weather (as I well know) in November was terrible. Apparently lots of other pe…

Another Marine Story

Today I left Sanitary on my way south. At the last moment Ed (Hooligan) yells "I am not going." I yell "OK." I continue down to my planned night's anchorage at Mile Hammock Bay (inside of the Marine base at Camp Lejeune.) I am listening to the marine (as in boat) VHF radio. Everyone is talking about a shoal in front of me. At the same time I am very aware that there is a brige in front of me on bridge hours (that is, they only open at a certain time.) I am gunning it to make the bridge. Wham, I hit the shoal that everyone is talking about. I bounce up, spin around, throw it in reverse, and find myself on the other side (the destination side) of the shoal. Now at some point Ed changed his mind because he has caught up to me and has been following me for several miles. He has jerked his boat around, somehow missed the shoal completely, missed Reboot, and is now alongside me. He yells "if you don't hurry up we are going to miss the bridge."

My fantas…

Bogue Sound

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways...
1. You run Northwest to Southeast. Backwards! So when I travel South you make me go Northeast and vice versa.
2, Your winds are adverse. If I wanr to cross the Gulf Stream your winds will be wrong. If the winds are from the South I can avoid you and cross the stream. But if the winds are from the North and I want to continue south to wait for a better day your winds will be in my face.
3. You are wide open so I feel the full brunt of the weather and wind.
4. You are very shallow so the smallest breeze kicks up nasty waves,
5. Your channel is 100 feet wide so I am constantly on alert that you don't blow me onto the shallows.
6. You are full of nasty eddies and currents so I can't use the autopilot unless I want to run aground.
7. You are long and boring and a miserable excuse for a passage route.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Feeling Guilty

Of course during all those warm days in port when I was supposed to be working on the boat I was not. I was eating too much, drinking lots of coffee (for some reason I just am not really into alcohol these days) and chasing women (unsuccessfully of course!) Now it is cold and I am underway so I end each day tired. All of those little projects are still in front of me. There is nothing to do when I set anchor. It is December so the nights are very long and electricity is at a premium. Still, I am so bored that each day I do one of the little make life better projects I should have been doing when it was warm. Such is life.
Fair winds and following seas :)

CAPT Roger J. Jones USN (ret.)Sailboat Reboot411 Walnut Street, #9700, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043-3443Reboot's Agent's Email: and phone (201) 925-2581Reboot Email (in port only) rogerjohnjones@gmail.comReboot Phone: (414) 248-0345Satellite Phone  (870) 776-4111-46 Web Site: www.sailboatreb…

Sanitary and South

Came down Adams Creek yesterday morning to Morehead City. Left Oriental in fog. Discovered that the radar has decided not to work. Fortunately the visibility was still about 1 mile so I was able to see the two boats that were coming the other way. After about two hours - an hour into Adams Creek the visibility improved and the fog burned off. Reached the Core Creek Bridge at exactly high tide. Expected no current, was fighting an almost 2 knot current (adverse of course) under the bridge. This was when the only two power boats heading in my direction wanted to pass. They were very polite but the current required them to really power up (off plane) to move so the wakes were ugly.

Was planning on heading down the ditch but by the time I got to Morehead I was frozen again. I realized that my gloves were not waterproof. I had worn them handling lines in the morning and they got wet. The result was that even though the rest of my body was warm, my hands were freezing. Lesson learned. I dec…

Leaving Oriental and Sailcraft

The yard period at Sailcraft didn't work out. It turned out that the new wind generator was a 24 Volt unit that could not be retrofitted to a 12 Volt unit at a reasonable cost. So all of the purchases to support the generator: pipe, wire, circuit breaker, switch, etc. Fortunatley a bunch of the stuff was from the local West Marine and I was able to return it. Still, a hit on my finances for the things that I could not return.

The offshore forecast is still not very nice so I am leaving Oriental and starting to head down the ICW. It will take about three days to get south of Cape Fear and Frying Pan Shoals. At that point I will look at going outside again.

Fair winds and following seas :)


It looks like the wind generator project will get finished today. That means that if I pick up my new bow light this afternoon I am ready to go. That would be nice. But...

It would be nice if the weather would cooperate. In order to get out of here I have to cross the Gulf Stream. That means, no wind with the letter "N" in the description. Or at the very least a very low wind speed - say 10 knots or less.

This is what I get:


 TODAY (as in Friday)



(If one doesn't mind the Thunderstorms not a bad time to try and cross over. Waves a little high but very doable. Unfortunately 12 hours doesn't get me across the Stream and out of the …

Sleeping in a bed

Yesterday I went over to the hardware store to fill the propane tank that powers my propane heater. This morning I woke up stiff and went to make a cup of coffee. I discovered that the second propane tank, the one that feeds the stove, was also empty. I knew it was low and planned on filling it before I left. Unfortunately it came up empty a couple of days early. Rather than changing tanks I headed over to the Bean for coffee and warmth. "the Bean" is a well know coffee and conversation emporium just off the Oriental public dock. You can see the harbor on the Oriental Town Dock Web Cam. As I walked I realized how once again my back was stiff and sore. I have concluded that sleeping on a cold surface (the bunk on Reboot) results in early morning back pain. I have several layers of blanket under me at night but it still doesn't keep me from early morning pain.

This led me to reflect on the last time I slept in a bed. The truth is I can't remember. Yes, I sleep in a bu…

Position Reports Problem

I have been posting (or my great shore staff has been posting) my position on Winlink. However in checking my website I notice that the map is not being updated. I presume this is a problem with their web site and that it will be rectified soon. In the meantime I will continue to post my lat/long here.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Oriental, NC

Currently in Oriental, NC 35.0311° N, 76.6878° W at about noon. Re-acquainted myself with Tom and the Oriental Inn and Marina. Sitting at the town dock, with plans to go over to Sailcraft Yard on Thursday to get a bit of work done. Left Elizabeth City on a beautiful warm day. Made it as far as Hobucken and R.E. Mayo. This morning I left with Willaim Reed to Oriental. On the way out of the canal we were hit by beam seas and wind. It wan't all that bad but with the air temperature at 50 degrees it was far from pleasant. Made it around the corner and headed up the Neuse River with a following sea..It was still unpleasant but more comfortable. Tomorrow XO gets his rabies shot and checkup before we leave the US. Plan is also to drive down to Morehead City to check Reboot out of the United States. Thursday into Sailcraft to get the wind generator pole welded and then I should be good to go.

Fair winds and following seas :)