May 2008 Archives

May 24th, Open House at the Sailing Center. We had volunteered to take folk out for a harbor ride in Averisera. We headed to Charlestown bright and early, to get the boat ready, and then motored over to the Sailing Center.
Folk were lining up in the parking lot on Lewis Wharf very early in the day. The Open House didn't start until 1pm, but people came several hours early, so they would be sure to get a ride.
Once the gates opened, we had a constant flood of guests on our boat. I don't know how many trips we made, somewhere around a dozen I guess. Families, young people, old people, all sorts of people. It was fun to be busy and on the water, introducing land lubbers to a view from the sea.
Back in Boston and looking forward to some fine New England sailing with Elizabeth. Of course, we have the sail-the-Caribbean on our own boat fantasy. Who would not. It is a beautiful place and the sailing is superb.

Some of the sights one sees follow.

Anegada Island in the BVI is a low island north of Virgin Gorda. It is usually a pleasant three hour reach from North Sound in Virgin Gorda. The harbor holds about 50 yachts at anchor or on moorings. Ashore, the harbor is ringed with outdoor dining restaurants featuring the famous Anegada Lobster and fresh, fresh fish.

One cannot see Anegada from any of the other Virgin Islands. On a clear day, one can see all the VI from Anegada. Upon arrival in the harbor, Ruddy Turnstones visit and demand attention in the form of cracker crumbs. They don't seem to go for the chilled white wine or a runny brie, however.

Back in Virgin Gorda's North Sound, the fleet of super yachts, charter boats, and a few cruisers are busy doing the Caribbean cruising thing: party, party a bit more and then finish up with a party. One night a large group from a fleet of eight super yachts had a party with live band, cookout, etc. That night, Vixen point rocked until the wee hours. We liked the music. A couple on my boat tried to get into the party. They got a few twirls around the dance floor before being politely turned out by a super yacht officer. Next morning as we had coffee on deck, we watched the super yachties as one boat discovered a sign in blue masking tape advertising a Mirabella as "4 Sale." Laughter and taunts from the others as a scowling skipper supervised removal of the offending ornimentation.

Sometimes we see some small yachts. A few are noteworthy, Whisper, an Albin 27 from the Maryland was seen in the BVI and Antigua. I tiny little Swedish 20 footer showed up in a few harbors in the VI. It had the look of having been out a long time. My favorite is a Pogo 30 footer from France with mom, dad, and three young children aboard. Ty-Rando sailed from Brest, France to the Antilles (another term for the Caribbean). They are now in Bermuda making their way home. I saw them in Dominica's Prince Rupert Bay just before they departed for St Martin and on to Bermuda and home. The family looked excited to get under way.

Thinking of Dominica. Elizabeth and I had a few happy days there exploring. It was a few years ago as I skippered the race boat, Three Harkoms. During my most recent sail to Dominica during a training cruise we experienced a real cruising event. We fouled a piece of floating fishing net. Of course it was at night. Of course there was not a lick of wind. We stopped the engine a drifted in fickle winds until morning. Just after sunrise, one of our crew made the dive and freed the yacht from the net. Ashore, we passed off the trash to a fisherman who said he'd put it to use. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Back in the USVI for my final cruise of the season, we spent time at all three major USVI islands. A remarkable feature of the US waters is how clean they are. Pollution regulations work.

Great St James Island has a nice anchorage called Christmas Cove. In the early morning, I got a picture of two interpretations of "cruising yacht." The large vessel is the old IOR maxi, Kialoa 5. The other an old classic ketch.

St Thomas is the loading port for many of the yachts transported overseas. Here is an image of an old Waterman Lines LASH (Lighter Aboard Ship) now converted to yacht transport. Will Averisera fit aboard? Inexpensively?

St Croix's Buck Island National Park is stunning. Walking trails on Buck Island are beautiful. Swimming around the island is no less stimulating.

More to follow.

Boat Chores 5/17

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Wil joined me at Averisera after the weekend release. I had been up for 30 hours, so not as lucid as I would like to be. The day had started out with heavy rain, that petered out, so by the late afternoon, after I was freed up from work, the sun was out and the day looked lovely.

Wil and I checked out the forward running light, which we had trouble with on Wednesday evening. It has always been intermittent, somehow shutting off only when we are under way, and Norm has just gone below for a nap. Frustrating.

We took the light unit apart, and it just seems like the contacts are not flexible enough to keep touching the light bulb. When you insert the light bulb, it pushes the contacts up a bit, and then the bulb settles down into its slot, and the contacts at that position are barely touching. Any stress on the bulb, or maybe just gravity, causes the contacts to lose touch. We inserted 2 plastic ends from a wire wrap, into the space where the contacts are attached, which puts some pressure on them a bit more. This seemed to help. I'm not sure that they won't wiggle out, but at least I know exactly what the issue is now. We will probably replace this unit with an LED model at some point.

You can see the Ockham displays in the cockpit starboard side, and on the mast

Next we worked on the Ockham instrument mast display. We had not been able to get any output to this unit, after the mast had been stepped and we reconnected all the wiring at the base. I had noticed that the BNC connectors all seemed pretty corroded, so I had purchased an additional 100ft of RG58 in anticipation of having to rewire the 10base2 network. We had replacement BNC connectors already in the spares kit. Wil and I took the mast display off, and moved it to a working connection, closer to the Ockham CPU. It worked. Next we tracked the network to the next connector and tested with the multimeter. This was at the boat heel input device. Disconnected the network there, and tried the unit. Again it worked. So we now knew where the failure was, in the section beyond that connection which went through the deck to the base of the mast. We separated the connectors there, and with the mulit-meter tested the continuity for that section, which failed. Instead of immediately replacing the section, we decided to just replace the BNC connector. Success! The unit now worked. One of the two displays on this unit was not showing all the digit positions, so we took that off the unit, and I will be sending it to Ockham for repair.
Ron, Gladie, Wil and I got a chance to get out on the harbor. We saw Agora, Dei Gratia, and Superstition out practicing their moves, so it felt good to be out. We also saw Cone of Silence being towed from the top of the harbor by the BSC whaler;, looked like they were heading to BSC. Wonder what is going on there?

We put up the number 4 jib, since I am still not sure why we have a kink in the new forestay, so played it safe with the smaller sail. Have a call into Kevin the rigger to ask about it. The wind was about 10 from the south, no gusts to speak of, temps in the low 50s.

We had a nice relaxing sail, tacked down the harbor, and jibed back up, made some circles, looked at the view. It was somewhat overcast, the clouds were blocking the sun as it sunk lower in the sky. All in all, a very pleasant evening on the water.

Mother's Day

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Norm has been home and then boomeranged right back to Tortola. Sigh. He had a day or two to work on the boat, which involved some new running rigging, particularly the pole downhaul line (salsa) and blocks, as well as the running backstay tails (purple). On Saturday, May 10, we put the Tuff-Luff back on the forestay, which was a little tricky to get on. Then we took Averisera out in 15-20kts with big gusts and put some pressure on the main to tune the new rig. Lots of tacking and sighting up the mast, a turn on the turnbuckles, a tack, another turn. Until it felt balanced and straight. We noticed that the forestay has a kink or a bend in it, all the way at the top, where the swage ends. A call is in to Northeast Rigging to see what we can do about that.

On Sunday, we were down at the Marina fussing again. I got a call from Gabe, my youngest, asking if he and sister Alicia could take me out for lunch, it being Mother's Day. I suggested a picnic at the Marina, since it was a beautiful day, and I still had to drive down to the Cape to be with my Mom later in the day. They arrived with sandwiches, salads, olives and drinks, and we had a lovely lunch sitting by the pool. Then they came down to take a look at Averisera, and the view from the cockpit. Maybe one day I will get them to come out for a sail! Who knows?
Son Gabe
Daughter Alicia with her husband Stos
My mom has been saving corks from wine bottles for years. Every time we go to visit her, we have a good giggle over her apparent out-of-control habit of consuming large quantities of wine. At least it appears that way from the evidence. Her explanation is that you can make a corkboard out of the corks. Uh huh. Sure. Right, mom.

So Norm and I were very surprised to find that mom is right. We took this picture outside the Ironside Grill in Charlestown. Who knew?

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