December 2017 Archives

Our House

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As I drove up to the house recently, at the end of December, I couldn't help but think about just how cozy it is.


St Thomas Sailing Center at STYC, USVI

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The St Thomas Yacht Club has a sailing center that manages some of the fleet for residents and visitors who want to sail, learn to sail, race, and take cruising courses. Norm is working for the Center. The delivery down was part of the plan to have a cruising sailboat on site that can be used for courses. 

Shortly before we delivered the Hanse 400, Valanta, to STYC/STSC a couple of category five hurricanes made a "mash up" of the islands. (Mash up is a Caribbean expression) There was a lot of damage. During the two weeks that followed Valanta's arrival, Norm worked on boats helping to put things right.

The people have strong wills to make the island a vacation destination. Their spirit is strong. STYC after the hurricanes of 2017

Some words and pictures from the area of St Thomas Yacht Club and Sailing Center

Patio looking towards Great St James Island. The flagpole blew down and is, as yet, not renewed or replaced. One evening, we wondered how many of us are needed to pick up the mast and walk it to the dump? Keg placement was a consideration.

View from condos, STYC on left, kids sailing Opti Prams off the beach.

A lot of beach was washed away. Mangroves to the right, not visible, help hold things together. This bird fished successfully.

The nearby town of Red Hook has everything we need, restaurants, food stores, and a waterfront bar.

Three Harkoms from Norm's past. In 2005 and 2006 he helped rebuild her from slow charter boat to wicked fast trophy collector. During the hurricanse the 200 mph winds whipped her around enough to break up her interior furniture. Some say she is a total loss now. Very sad.

IC24 getting a new coat of deck paint. And that's just the half of it. Make them pretty above and below. The IC24 is a J24 hull with a new deck from the head/galley bulkhead aft. 

One evening we went over to a nearby resort, Secret Harbor, and had a delightful meal. I believe Averisera would look beautiful anchored off this place.

Empty container and build storage shelving. 

Some of what was inside.

Making progress.

These kids are the most enthusiastic sailors and are in boats five days a week.

More kids sailing.

tag: STYC after the hurricanes of 2017

Ocean Delivery: Hanse 400 Bermuda to St Thomas

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Valanta, leg two, from St Georges, Bermuda to Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI. The leg is about 900 nautical miles due South from St Georges, BDA. We departed on the 2nd of December and arrived in STT on the 8th. The average speed was about 130 nm a day largely because there was not a lot of wind. We burned through about 50 gallons of diesel fuel with a burn rate of about half to three quarters a gallon per hour.

So many times, sailors are asked about storms at sea. there certainly are storms but most cruisers sail in areas and times of calms. The risk in calms is "slatting" where there is insufficient pressure on the sails to prevent their banging around. That's when stuff breaks. We didn't have much breakage. A few yachts we met in Bermuda had suffered damage. One yacht departed during a stormy cycle and blew apart its laminated headsails. Poor equipment choice writes this sailor. Another had trouble with the engine due to fuel contamination. 

Valanta is a privately owned Hanse 400 managed by Martin van Breems of Sound Sailing Center of Norwalk, CT. Is will be used for club member charters and sailing/cruising instruction this winter from a base at the St Thomas Yacht Club and St Thomas Sailing Center

Some words and pictures from the ocean delivery.

The skipper and his wife after the first leg. Martin van Breems owns the Sound Sailing Center. This was also the occasion of an anniversary for the couple. Aren't they cute? Norm took over as skipper for the final leg of the delivery.

The new skipper, not cute at all. St Georges Harbor near the Customs Dock.

The small ketch cleared into Bermuda just before we did on the early morning of the 1st. Norm wanted to talk with the solo sailor but was chased away by the customs officer. A tidy little steel vessel from England.

We had to take Valanta over to the duty free fuel dock at the old naval dockyard. Oracle's AC cat was nearby and we all went in for a look. 

Sort of Christmasy. The bird atop the marker makes the image all the more whimsical.

A view of the Customs Dock from the harbor. Pretty place, some small ocean going yachts anchored out nearby. The big schooner is getting a new coat of varnish before heading to Antigua. In 1971, Norm was crew on the 80 foot motor sailer, Sorrento, when she was refitted at the nearby shipyard. That was six weeks of hard work in a very nice place. Maybe we should do a refit of Averisera there some year?

On the first weekend of December, the town's historic homes and buildings are open for inspection. Some sort of pre-Christmas town stroll. Rum punch may have been served everywhere! I like the decorations of this bicycle.

Did I mention the trip was mostly sailed in benighn conditions? Well, it was.

Captain Norm at rest in the restaurant above the customs office in Charlotte Amalie. Clearing into the island was simple. The complication was that the printed instructions were wrong. Oh well...  Here is what the Customs Guy said to me: "dock your boat at a marina and take a cab or walk over to clear in here." Pretty simple. The printed rules suggest anchoring in the no-anchoring zone and dinghying to the no-dinghies-allowed wharf. you get the idea. Next time, I will know.

Crowne Bay Marina, STT. We tied up overnight to wash the boat and crew. Dinner ashore at the Tickles Bar was good mostly because we didn't cook it or do the dishes.

A kid being coached from a RIB with the coach sitting under the shade umbrella. STYC in the background.

More of the St Thomas Yacht Club and the far beach with condos, etc. The area survived the two hurricanes better than other areas. It will take years for the islands to get back to normal. The folks are pretty hard working and seem to be rebuilding with vigor.

Ocean Delivery-- Hanse 400: Norwalk to Bermuda

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Norm did an ocean delivery of a Hanse 400 that is managed by the Sound Sailing Center of Norwalk CT. Departure was 24 November from Norwalk. We arrived in Bermuda on 1 December and sailed for St Thomas on the 2nd arriving 8 December. A few words and pictures follow.

Montauk to Bermuda is about 650 NM. Bermuda to STT is about 900 NM. We averaged about 130 NM a day. The boat is fast if the wind is strong and the wind was not strong. We motor sailed at a modest pace much of the time.

In summary, the trip was a piece of cake. The temperatures were above freezing and the seas short and rough. Nantucket Sound in the summer has about the same sea conditions on a windy day. The wind was from the quarter for the entire trip from the departure off Long Island's Montauk Point to Charlotte Amalie Harbour in St Thomas.


Hanse 400, Valanta, at her berth in Norwalk shortly before departure. The coldest part of the trip was going from Norwalk to the end of Long Island Sound. It was in the 40 degree Fahrenheit ranges. Once offshore, the temps climbed into the 50s and didn't drop again.

The quarter berths got divided into two sleeping pods. Norm's is on the right. Cozy...!

A rough sea. Note white caps in distance. I doubt we ever had a boarding sea. What was rough about the wave patterns is that they are coming at us from two or three directions. Steering was complicated by that.

Motoring in a calm. We used most of our 40 gallons of diesel on the Bermuda leg. The leg to STT used about 50 gallons.  

More calm. Norm at liesure on deck. Eventually, we got too much rest with a 2 hr on watch and 6 hr off watch rotation. Note how placid the sea is. 

More placid seas. Sorry folks... no violent storms to report. The Gulf Stream was benign. Norm has crossed the Stream many times and finds that late fall is usually quite pleasant for ccrossing. Time to try a true winter crossing?

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