Avocet Sails the Caribbean

Sue and Bryan island-hop through the Windwards and Leewards.

23 February 2009 | Oak Beach, NY
04 June 2008 | Bermuda - docked at Peter Outerbridge's house
24 May 2008 | Red Hook
21 May 2008 | Virgin Gorda
21 May 2008 | Virgin Gorda
21 May 2008 | Little Bay
21 May 2008 | Philipsburg
20 May 2008 | Codrington
20 May 2008 | Guadeloupe
17 May 2008 | Portsmouth
17 May 2008 | Portsmouth
17 May 2008 | Roseau
16 May 2008 | St. Pierre
02 May 2008
02 May 2008
01 May 2008
08 April 2008 | Tobago Cays
08 April 2008 | Tobago Cays
06 April 2008 | Carriacou
06 April 2008 | Grenada

Homeward Bound

23 February 2009 | Oak Beach, NY
Bryan
Welcome to our blog. It was created primarily for family and friends but feel free to poke around. As this is the end of the blog, click the word 'Older' at the bottom left of each page to navigate back through the posts. If you would rather start at the beginning and go forward, use the table of contents, or copy and paste this link into your address bar - http://sailblogs.com/member/avocet/?xjMsgID=44415

Our good friend Andy arrived in Bermuda and we all had a reunion of sorts with Peter Outerbridge and his son John. Sadly, Peter's lovely wife Jean had passed away since our last trip there.

Peter is the originator of the famous 'Outerbridge's Sherry Rum Pepper Sauce. Another bit of trivia is that the Outerbridge Crossing in NY is not named for its location but for a relative of Peter's who was the first commissioner of the Port Authority of NY and NJ.

We spent a lovely couple of days anchored in Castle harbor (2nd picture). One anchors between Charles Island and Castle Island in about 8 feet of water and you can nearly walk to a perfect little beach not visible in the picture.

After waiting several days for a weather window, we sailed out of St. Georges on a cloudy afternoon. Winds were pleasant though persistently out of the NW, our course home. Conditions got a bit more boisterous and sloppy in the Gulf Stream. Between the wind, waves and NE setting current, we found ourselves ever more east of the rhumb line. After breaking free of the stream, a story in itself, we found some very nice weather and pleasant seas. We caught a magnificent Mahi Mahi and had a lovely sunset dinner in the cockpit. The winds however, remained on their NW obsession. At one point we spotted another sailboat and eventually got within about 100 feet of each other and chatted a bit before drifting apart.
Our best day sailing turned out to be our last. We actually made our best speeds and right at target. We also caught our fill of bluefish on the way in. As we rounded the final buoy and entered Fire Island Inlet, we watched as an ugly purple storm cloud raced up from the west. It was a footrace but the thunderhead won. We got utterly drenched and all our friends and neighbors who were watching the dramatic evening storm also got to see us blasting up the channel with sails full and straining.

It was very bittersweet to complete our circle of the Atlantic. We had begun the trip in 2002 with a sail to Nova Scotia and no no plans to do anything other than sail home when done. Then we extended the magic by continuing on the Newfoundland the following year. We could sail home from there too right? Well then I saw that not only were we north but quite a bit east as well. The distance from Newfoundland to the Azores is half of what it is from NY. That sealed it. A circle of the Atlantic ensued and we moved the boat along for a few months each year for seven years.

We managed to sail home just weeks before the economy suffered its first heart attack in August of '08. Being self employed shoestring sailors, we can scarcely imagine starting another big trip like the last one until things improve and that may be a long time. Fortunately, just being onboard is reward enough and the northeast is chock full of interesting places to go.

Avocet, our Grampian 30 has been a great boat for us. No one would mistake her for one of the truly husky and heavy blue water boats we all see in ports all over the world but she has taken us many sea miles none the less.

The Crew

04 June 2008 | Bermuda - docked at Peter Outerbridge's house
Bryan
A few words of praise for the fearless crew who made her first ocean crossing. She did really well and said of the sailing that it was the best of the whole trip. And it was. We sailed on relatively smooth seas with winds often behind the beam. Many nights we were able to cozy up in the lee side of the cockpit and watch the sunsets, shooting stars, and phosphorescence in the water together. When at other times it was less comfortable or she was on watch in the wee hours, she complained not at all. Hopefully, the next leg to NY won't be too unkind.

St. Thomas

24 May 2008 | Red Hook
Bryan
We are in a marina in Red Hook on the east end of St. Thomas. In a few hours, we will jump off for Bermuda, 830 nautical miles or about 900 'regular' miles away. A nautical mile is one minute of one degree of latitude or 6000 feet. A statute mile is 5280.

The biggest concern will be not enough wind as opposed to too much. We have enough fuel to about 150 hours and at 5 knots per, that is much more than half way there. But motoring is noisy and a real chore because I have to hand steer the entire time. When sailing, I us the wind vane self steering and don't have to. Besides, at $5.19 a gallon (at the dock here) why burn through it. (PS the price of oil isn't going up, the dollar is going down) So we will make the most of what wind we get, motor if necessary when in the transition zone between the easterly trades here and the south westerlies further north. In other areas, we may just drop the sails and have a swim while waiting for a breeze. Andy arrives on the 4th or 5th of June so we have 11 or 12 days to go the 800 nm.

We have spent several days waiting for the weather in a cove called Christmas Cove. It's on the western side of Great St. James Island which is just off the east end of St. Thomas. It is a very pleasant place and in fact, several people live there on their boats and commute by dinghy to St. Thomas. A guy named Gil came over to us and shared that he was looking into the islands to the south and ended up on this blog. When he figured out that the boat in the blog was the boat anchored near him, he dinghied over to say hey.

We also had a great night out with people we first met in Grenada. Margot and her husband Davis have shown us every kindness and Davis has a band we saw at Latitude 18. The band was a blast and loaded with very talented people. The next day, Margot took us to a store in the interior to provision. Thanks Margot!

Will post again in Bermuda. Try to get the weather a bit warmer for us up there in the north east would you. We're going to freeze otherwise.
Vessel Name: AVOCET
Vessel Make/Model: 1974 Grampian 30 sloop
Hailing Port: Oak Beach, NY which is just inside Fire Island Inlet on the south coast of Long Island.
Crew: Bryan Allen and Susan Degginger. For the last leg home from Bermuda, Andy Arnold will also join us.
About:
Sue has done a few overnights out of sight of land but will make her first real blue water passages in 2008. St. Thomas to Bermuda is 850 nautical miles and Bermuda to Long Island, NY is 650 nm for a grand total of 1500 nm or 1725 statute miles. [...]
Extra: here is my photography site: http://www.bryan-allen.com/ Here is Sue's photography site: http://www.illumeimage.com/
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AVOCET's Photos -

The Crew

Who: Bryan Allen and Susan Degginger. For the last leg home from Bermuda, Andy Arnold will also join us.
Port: Oak Beach, NY which is just inside Fire Island Inlet on the south coast of Long Island.