June 2008 Archives

Caribbean Review

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June 2008
While AVERISERA struggled through the winter in New England one of her keepers (Norm) worked in the Caribbean. It was an adventure unlike the ones we have aboard our perfect little boat. Pictures help tell the story.

Anegada is a small low island surrounded by shoals and coral reefs that is part of the British Virgin Islands. It lies about 15 miles from North Sound, Virgin Gorda. A few years ago, before GPS was ubiquitous, special permission was required of charterers to visit the island. Now, the charter companies have a breakfast briefing for the crew planning a trip out for the first time.

These charterers found Anegada. Then, notice the mooring pennant off the port bow, fouled the mooring line in the keel and lay sideways to the wind. No problem! Let's have a rum drink and bath naked off the transom. Aboard my boat we did not enjoy the view. The next morning, the boat was gone and the mooring pennant chafed through. We checked.

A number of these little birds come aboard each visiting yacht and beg scraps. I understand they are Ruddy Turstones, a shore bird we also see in New England.

Fouling stuff isn't all that uncommon. On a trip from Antigua to Dominica we found a bit of fish net one evening. We were motoring at the time across a flat calm sea. The engine shut down suddenly. We determined the problem but would do nothing about it at night. Slowly we drifted towards Dominica. I have a prohibition against drinking under way but the guys broke into the rum locker and had a few after I turned in. Now we couldn't maneuver and the crew was drunk. Great life being a yacht skipper! At dawn one of the fellows cut the net and unfouled the propellor. We made it to our anchorage without further incident.

Dominica is an interesting place. It is very poor in cash but rich in natural resources. Also, being a wet island, fresh water and fresh foods are readily available. The water supply for yachts is managed by Jan at Big Pappa's Restaurant. One goes ashore, finds Jan (never a simple task) and contracts for water. We motored over to a tiny buoy that had a faucet at the top. Jan came along with the hose shortly. Begging us not to kink the hose or turn off the faucet, left us to fill tanks, wash the deck, and do some laundry. His big concern, "Hoses are harder to get on Dominica than fresh water." Memo: bring Jan a hose next time.

A common question is, "How big a boat should one have for cruising?" The common answer is, "I don't know." I saw some very small cruisers.

Little boats almost always make the trip to the Caribbean on their own.

Some folks take a different view of cruising. Big boats come in all styles from classic ketches to modern racing boats converted for voyaging.

Many now travel the world in ships specially designed to carry yachts.

One of my best memories is of a french family, mom, dad, and the three little kids all on a 30 foot converted ocean racer. They sailed over from France and cruised the Caribbean. I met them as they were preparing to head home.

The Haulout

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Yesterday, we made arrangements to have Averisera hauled for a bottom wash, and a couple of days on the hard, for a bottom paint job. I motored her over to Admiral's Hill Marina early in the morning. Unfortunately, I took the car keys with me, so Norm had to borrow Constitution's work boat to motor halfway to get the keys. Doh! Is this what getting old is about?

Look how dirty her topsides are! All stained and icky...
You can see how we couldn't reach the bottom portion of the keel with our brush. There was even encrustation on the front and bottom edge.
Look at the crud that stuck to the spot where the poppet was supporting the hull during the last paint job.
And on the bottom of the keel, we had salad makings.
Don't we all feel better after a good bath?
Averisera goes for a ride to her spot in the yard
After a couple of days of cleaning, sanding and painting, Norman had her bottom in great shape. We ran home to get the camera to take some pics before she was launched, but got back to the yard only to find they had put her in a half-hour early. We did get this picture of her shiny new topsides sparkling in the water just after launch.
We couldn't get enough racing on Saturday, so Sunday we were back at it. We joined the Island Race at the Sailing Center, which was scheduled to start at noon. The morning broke gloomy, and then devolved into downpours. A little rain never really dampens my enthusiasm, so we packed our boots and bibs, and off we went. We motored over to the Sailing Center, tied up, and headed up to the riverboat. We had offered to take on any crew that didn't have an assigned boat. I think the rain though, reduced the number of sailors who showed up for the race. The race was delayed to about a 12:15pm start, which allowed most of the heavy weather to pass through. We were left with overcast skies and light intermittent drizzle.
The start under heavy skies
This group wasn't smiling for the camera

We sailed into a South wind, out of the inner harbor toward Spectacle Island. Our course was clockwise around the island, and back to the barn. We had the lead for most of the first half or more, well past the rounding of Spectacle.
Looking back on the fleet as we round the south side of Spectacle Island
Keeping the foredeck under control
Jon Powers, coming up on us from astern!
Jon Powers and crew, on Kai, came up behind us in the last leg back up the inner harbor. They eventually passed us and we spent the last 15 minutes of the race, playing combat with Kai. We both raised our spinnakers again, but Averisera couldn't gain on Kai, which came in first.
Spaghetti in the cockpit, after the race

BSC hosted a post-race party on the top level of the riverboat afterwards. We had a great time swapping lies with our sailing friends.

CYC Spring Regatta

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We woke up June 14th, with bright sun and a light breeze promising a lovely day on the water. The Constitution Yacht Club Spring Regatta was to take place, in Boston Harbor. We waited for friend Tom to arrive from Portsmouth, and then headed down to the marina to ready the boat. Our other crew, Tara, would meet us at the Sailing Center, which we would pass on the way out of the harbor.
How long have these two been friends? Many many years!
ElizabethCrew, Tara, Tom and Norman
Tom had helped me with the spring preparations on Averisera, but he had not yet sailed her. Norm and Tom got all the rigging run and we were ready to depart. We tootled over to BSC and got Tara, and then we headed out to President's Roads, in Boston Harbor. A breeze of about 5-8kts with puffs came from the South-SouthEast. As we motored along, more and more boats joined the fleet heading toward the regatta area.

17 boats registered for the regatta, a very nice turnout. Seven in Class A, and 10 in Class B. Greg Graham did a great job of running the fleet, with Courageous doing the race committee duties. We had two races, from the start near yellow N "E" to the green off Nixes Mate, twice around.
Tom and Tara working out their communication

We asked Tom to drive, Norm did pit, Tara sheets, and I did bow. I haven't done bow on Averisera since last May. Somehow, my crew is always clamoring to do bow, and when Norm and I double-hand, he is more apt to be bopping about the boat with me driving than the reverse. So I asked if I could try it out this time. I had a ball, getting my domain under control. We did a couple of jibe-sets, and a bear-away set, a few jibes on on the downwind leg, etc. It all kept me pretty busy, and learning. Plus I got to sit on the pulpit and watch the starts. That was pretty exciting.

We didn't do well overall. Our bottom is dirty, we know that. And with me on bow, we were much slower in the sets and takedowns. We were also light. But it was an absolutely gorgeous day to be out racing. Just before the second race, the wind picked up, to about 10-15, so the second race was much faster than the first.

Here are the results at the CYC website. CYC 2008 Spring Regatta

After the race, there was a wonderful post-regatta party at Constitution Marina. Maura and Julie put out a great spread.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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