Sunday, November 29, 2015

//WL2K Gorda Sound, BVI, 29 November

We have been experiencing a number of line squalls all day. We decided to stay here as the weather forecast suggested rain and strong gusts and nature delivered. Forrest has started to review his material for his 6 pack marine license and I have been reading from my Kindle library. After almost getting the batteries down to 25% due to bilge pump action in the Gulf Stream we are back up to where we can use our electronics pretty much at will. The batteries are recharged by about 10 AM even with the computers running.

I have noted the lack of decent WiFi. On the one hand makes one feel a little cut off. On the other hand we do spend more time watching the RC44 races and paying attention to the goings on in the mooring field. One nice thing about Paradise, when we get hot we just jump off the stern nd wash and cool off.

We changed the propane line over from the cabin heater to the grill at lunch and celebrated by cooking up some hot dogs. Now that we know it is working we will get some wings and steaks and improve our menu.

We will see how the weather is tomorrow. We might stay here another day or head down the islands to visit the Willy T.

Fair winds and following seas :)

//WL2K Reboot Float Plan

Planning to stay in Gorda Sound today

Saturday, November 28, 2015

//WL2K Another Day in Paradise

We are still sitting on mooring ball 44 at the Bitter End Yacht Club, Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda, BYI. Today it has been raining and squally so we have stayed on Reboot and vegetated. Tomorrow the forecast is more of the same but we should get some boat cleaning and minor projects done. Forrest has just made black bean and rice burritos so life is good.

We are taking advantage of the good propagation to update the blog. Two big events today. A seaplane landed, taxied over to within 100 feet of us (to the seaplane dock,) discharged its passengers and took off again. And the biggest mega yacht so far has come into the sound and anchored out about 500 yards from us. It is very sleek with a very pronouned sharp bow. It looks like a designers rendering rather than something in real life.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is more of the same. On Monday we intend to head down to the Willy-T for the night, then back to Nanny Cay to visit a machine shop, check out, and head for Sint Maarten.

Fair winds and following seas :)

//WL2K Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI

"Listen to the sound of the rain falling on my window." It is about 4 AM Atlantic time as I write this. We were awakened by the sound of rainfall. We are sitting on a mooring ball about 300 yards from the resort and about 100 feet from the seaplane dock. I am so used to standing watch that I am wide awake. After a couple of attempts I decided to write this blog entry.

The Bitter End Yacht Club is a complete resort. That means they want to completely empty your wallet before you leave. Mooring? You pay. Showers? You pay. Exchange oxygen for carbon monoxide? You pay. The store has the smallest possible sizes of products at the highest possible cost. Beer is $7. Since Forrest races Lasers we thought it would be fun to rent a couple and have an impromptu race (I expected to lose!) At $60 per hour per boat its not going to happen.

The last time I was here was in the 2002 - 2003 year range. I came with a wife and had a job. It was a bit different. Forrest has been running "Tinder." on his phone. Not a single match. The crowd here is families and older couples. Talk about a target poor environment for Forrest. We have seen two girls that would get him sent to jail. That is it. So much for "party in paradise.".

There are only two WiFi hot spots in the entire resort. They are both slow - think 1 or 2 minutes to load a web page.

As we cam in today we were watching the RC44 class sailboats race. They are doing fleet racing so they are all out together (9 boats.) Much more interesting than the America's Cup match race.They will be doing 3 or 4 races each day for the next couple of days. We might watch them a bit before we leave.

We have started to run into other members of the Salty Dawg rally. We have also met some Caribbean ARC folks. The cruising community is small and some of the Dawg boats know some of the ARC boats and it goes from there. In fact I spent about two hours this morning trying to sort out a radio problem on one of the ARC boats.

Radio propagation has been poor. We have missed a lot of our normal check in times as we can not be heard. This also makes sending blog entires a bit iffy. The sun needs to get its act together so we have good radio communications again!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Friday, November 27, 2015

BVI Bitter End Yacht Club - Gorda Sound

We left Jost van Dyme for Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola. We had a peasant motor sail Forrest drove Reboot into the slip for the first time. He did a very good job.
We had thanksgiving dinner at the Marina. This morning we departed for Virgin Gorda. We arrived midday in time to watch the RC44 match race. Big fast sailboats! We headed in to the Bitter End Yacht Club home of $8 boxes of 10 garbage bags and $7 beer. We were not impressed.
Fair winds and following seas :)


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

//WL2K Jost Van Dyke (BVI) N 18 26.5 W 064 45.1

Yesterday we had a very pleasant motor (upwind) sail (reach and downwind) from Charlotte Amile (USVI) to Jost Van Dyke (BVI.) So we made it to the BVI. We got the dinghy in the water and headed into Customs and Immigration to check in. As usual the process required a lot of forms to be filled out. The people were nice (they usually are) and we got through it all in about 1/2 hour.

We adjourned next door to Ala Babbas for a cheeseburger and beer. Yes, Jimmy Buffet was right - a Cheeseburger in Paradise does hit the spot. Since the dinghy engine was giving me fits we took a cab over the hill to the Soggy Dollar Bar - a "must do" spot on Jost. When we arrived in White Bay we agreed that we had made the prudent choice of anchorages. There were no mooring balls and all of the boats were shallow draft - runabouts or catamarans. There was a decent sized crowd drinking and swimming in the 82 degree water. We settled in, made some new friends, and had a nice time. Cam purchased some memorabilia including a Soggy Dollar ball cap for the Captain (me.) We ended the evening talking to a couple from Milwaukee, WI and their friend. (I left on August 1, 2009 from Milwaukee to start my world cruising career.) Obviously what happens in the BVI doesn't stay in the BVI!

The sunset was beautiful. Pink sky at night, sailors delight! Then it was "cruiser's midnight " Yes, at 6 PM everyone went home leaving us to close the bar at 6:30. Not quite the wild party place of its reputation.. We took a cab back to Great Harbor. I was pretty wiped out and concerned that the boat had no lights so Forrest and I took the dinghy back to Reboot leaving Cam talking to our new friends at the local bar.

The outboard finally cleaned up its act and the trip back to Reboot was quick and easy - except for trying to find her in the mooring field. Forrest and I chatted until about 10 PM when Forrest headed back to shore with the dinghy to pick up Cam. I decided to go to bed as I had told Forrest they needed to be back before sunrise. They did get back as when I checked the lines in the middle of the night they were both asleep on Reboot. I will hear their story today.

One unfortunate thing. When I was a boy my family used to go camping. The campsites were being "invaded" by these new things called RVs'. We would not have cared except that they ran their gen sets all night so they could sleep in air conditioning. You guessed it. The idyllic sounds of a moorng field at night are now the sounds of the gen sets on the boats around us. Quite the disappointment.

XO is so delighted to not be on a leash and able to have the run of Reboot. He has been walking (slinking?) post all night prepared to repel boarders (unless they pet him.)

We will head in this morning to purchase some minor supplies. Depending upon the outcome of last night's expedition we will either stay another day or head up to the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda.

Fair Winds and Following Seas :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

//WL2K Norfolk to BVI

At anchor, Charlotte Amile, USVI. We missed the BVI by a bit.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

//WL2K Norfolk to BYI 11/22 Boat Dreams

Most adults have experienced getting caught up in their bedding. This frequently results in strange dreams. The same is true when voyaging on a sailboat. We (Cam, Forrest and I) have been laughing about the weird dreams we have all been having. The fact that Reboot is always moving plus the realizty that our sleep wake cycle is very disrupted by the need to stand watch seems to make sleeping more interesting.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

//WL2K Norfolk to BVI 11/21

We are due North of Virgin Gorda and running South for the next 220 NM. This will take us about 2 more days. The excitement for today was the discovery of chafe on the vane steering control lines. We switched over to the electric autopilot and replaced the lines. Cam got the entire process on his HERO 4 and will post it when we get it.

It was actually fun to sit on the stern swim platform and do reparis. Its warm, the sea is blue, the boat motion was kindly, and we had a good time. Thank goodness it didin't let go at night!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Friday, November 20, 2015

//WL2K Norfolk to BVI Nov 21 (UTC)

We have made almost as much Easting as necessary and have turned our attention to heading South. This has shifted the winds and the waves from the bow (close reach) more to the stern. Although we are now going faster than before the ride is much more pleasant.

It is a slightly overcast night. The moon is out so the stars are obscured. The water has turned to that beautiful blue color for which the Caribbean is known. The air temperture is about 80 F.

We have been making about 95 miles per day toward our destination (we have been running at an angle to get East) and are now making good almost every mile directly to Virgin Gorda. We are 300 nm from the entrance to Virgin Gorda. We expect to get there in about 3 days.

Fair winds and following seas :)

N 23 33 W 065 02
Virgin Gorda is at N 18 31 W 064 22

//WL2K Norfolk to BVI Nov 20

When we last reported in we had just completed a miserable passage of the Gulf Stream. As we gathered ourselves together we found that the bilge pump had cycled 103 times getting rid of all of the boarding waves. As a consequnce our battery power was at a minimum. Shutting down everything eletrical on Reboot we waited for the batteries to recharge from the solar panels. With several consective days over overcast this was a long slow process.

Finally we got a couple of days of sunshine and were able to start to use some of the equipment (for example this computer and the radio.)

We have had a mixed bag of weather. Winds up to 30 knots gusting 35, waves up to 15 feet. Then we get a couple of days of nice sailing weather. We are now about 350 miles from Virgin Gorda BVI. We have traded off maximum speed for comfort. As a result all three of use have had a couple of sessions of deep REM sleep. Good news for the crew. We are making about 100 NM per day, so we still have a bit to go.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

//WL2K Norfolk to BVI 11/14 N 33 29 W071 53. 00

Reboot has had a far too eventful trip so far. Leaving Cove Marina early in the morning watching the Shore Patrol dealing with the people who wanted "one more day" we proceeded to Baypoint Marina. As soon as we throttled up Reboot began to shake. Knowing that Little Creek is well known for a very active biological environment we summoned Dockside Divers (who came to our aid by altering their schedule) to clean the bottom before departure. They took off a lot of stuff and changed the zincs. Good to go! No, when we departed the next morning the vibration was still there. We limped down to Cobbs and diagnosed that we only had one very loose bolt in the transmission - tailshaft coupling. It fell out durning investigation. With four (count them 4) bolts in the coupling and the packing gland reset we were on our way. Nice wind, played with a few ships getting through the bridge tunnel. Then out to sea! Well, sort of. The wind died for about 6 hours and we floated around. Not to worry, it picked up and off we were down the coast.

Into the Gulf Stream we go. The wind increases to gale force. Our main, with one reef, needs to come down. Does it. Of course not. It jams.So we float head to wind as our leeway drives us across the Gulf Stream pounding, rolling, and cursing all the way. Of course ti got better as the upper third of the main self destructed in the wind.

Morning dawns, Forest climbs the mast (in 30 knot winds and 15 foot seas) and cuts the main free. All of the pieces drop like a stone to the mast. We lash it all up and are on our way (picking up everything that has landed on the floor during the previous night.

The winds went down, the waves went down, and that's when we heard that sailing sound!

A beautiful downwind run on our course line. Until 4AM this morning when the Monitor vane connection to the wheel decided it was tired and didn't want to steer anymore. So bang, zoom, off it spins. We have all the pieces - this morning's project. Fortunately we have two autopilots. The electric took over. No hnad steering. Yea!

Are we upset. Heck no. (OK, the cost of repairing the main will make a significant dent in my budget for several months.) But this is how it goes if you cruise all the time. Stuff breaks, you make a fix, sometimes you upgrade the fittings so it doesn't break again. These boats are remarkable. We were pounded for hours in 15 foot seas an 40 knot winds gusting 45. Reboot never gave any indication she was unhappy. Amazing.

And now you know why I sign off with:

Fair winds and following seas :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

With a Bow to Fozzie Bear

From a recent email exchange:


"It looks like there is a window at 0000 UTC Sunday (midnight Sat night.) Our plan is to go due East about two to three days, as the wind clocks establish a vector direct BVI. The wind is predicted to shift to the N so it will be a downwind sleigh ride.

Slightly more detail. Be ready to leave around 6 PM Saturday. Wait for the wind to clock to the South. Leave on a broad reach. Might have winds to 25 knots for a day or two - looks like there will be a calm to the immediate South. Clearpoint Weather suggests that there will be strong winds (25 to 30) but as the front passes they will moderate quickly (at the moment Sun 8 1900 UTC. So watch and wait but be ready to go. Plan is to blast due East on West winds, start working SE as the wind clocks. Cross Gulf Stream between 74 - 72 (where the stream seems to be heading East) on a West wind.

Would love to know what the remainder of the fleet is thinking. Also if this seems like a plan would be nice to know if other boats are going to make the same attempt. Also what the Caribbean ARC boats are being told.

Chris wants to route down the coast - good idea for shortest distance but I would rather take an extra day or two - get well East, and then work my way down then fight adverse wind and/or current off Cape Hatteras.

I have copied Mr. Parker on this so if I get a "hell no, don't go!!!" from him (he is, after all, a recognized expert) we will have a change of plan.

Fair winds and following seas :)"


After the rest of the fleet pointed out that they were waiting....


"Thank you, thank you. Now that we have all refreshed our knowledge about which way wind arrows point with respect to the wind it looks like we will be waiting like you for early next week."


Fair winds and following seas :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

US to BVI 11/4

Here we sit in Virginia Beach while the rest of the fleet is on the way to the BVI. We (at least I, the Captain) feel very foolish as I watch the tracking web site (click here) of the rest of the boats. But when I look at Passage Weather (click here) and Clearpoint (click here) I really don't like what I see. I am also not overjoyed with the morning radio net reporting by the boats already out there. Some of them are not happy campers.

It is possible to sail in 10 foot waves and to tack one's way directly into the wind. It is not particularly pleasant. So here we sit looking at the next week of crummy forecast chomping at the bit to get underway. Fortunately I have the positive reinforcement of my crew who agree that we have the time (and the beer) so why not just wait it out.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Captain works on Mast

Captain Roger
Someone has to be the safety guy!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mast Climbing

Every new crew member is required to work on the mast. Cameron and Forrest were no exceptions. We had a small mast project with fairleads and they both got a chance.




Fair winds and following seas :)

//WL2K US to BVI 11/3

Still in Virginia Beach waiting for weather.