Wednesday, the 14th.
Oh frabjous day, calloo, callay - maybe life is worth living!
Winds 12 - 13, waves 2-4 feet - what we call a brochure day. Tried to calibrate the autopilot flux gate compass without success. However we did find out while idling along that we can make water, at least at idle speed. It appears that the watermaker will not suck in saltwater underway, due to a boundary layer effect. This is a phenomenon that occurs when water flows over the hull; there is a layer of trapped air that prevents water from going in the intake. Capt. Mike, who is a boat designer by trade, understood and explained it. Says all we need is a scoop which we will install in Trinidad on the hard. That is good news. There is palpable although unspoken relief among the crew. Laughter is heard in the cockpit for the first time in several days. (It should be noted here that the boat at anchor makes 16 gallons of fresh sweet water an hour. )
After dark it was clear and quiet and we motor sailed, steering by Orion's belt. People caught up on their sleep. As I was preparing to relieve Keith for my 10 Pm watch, I heard what Bill called " The Bill and Keith Show" - if they weren't too busy these guys would while away the time by singing an eclectic mix of old rock 'n roll songs, pop tunes, sea chanties, folk songs - virtually anything that came to mind. I myself was privileged to add a certain level of discord to their rendition of " The Weight " by The Band.
Thursday was much the same conditions. Sea water baths, and laundry was done. The swells built; some four feet, some six feet. Bill played his guitar on the early watch - very enjoyable. Some photography. We have decided to bring out a tee shirt. On the front it says "Eat when you may, sleep when you can, duck when they call " Jibe" and the back says " The New Normal!."
Bill and Keith bore the brunt of the cooking; I didn't even bother to try and I frankly don't quite understand how they did it - when the sea is up, it's like trying to cook on the back of a bucking bronco, except that it's tilted 30 plus degrees. Nonetheless, most days we would have at least one hot meal, made from freeze-dried prepackaged meals augmented with tinned or frozen meats and vegetables. Bill made some very tasty stews (what he called firehouse cooking), and at one meal Keith made some chicken quesadillas that were The Bomb.
Time for my daily sat phone call to Mitch. She is on the road to Denver and expects a call everyday on my second watch. It was the both the best and the most difficult part of the day. The calls have to be matter of fact - no privacy with the crew sitting next to me. I would have to continue to tamp down my emotions, it was just plain hard to be away from her. The call was odd due to the satellite delay and the seeming need to cover items quickly before the signal got lost. Still, it was wonderful just to hear her voice.
|cimaise and crew||
12/07/2012, photos next week
Monday for computer repair!!!
meanwhile I am stealing the blog back for just a moment and then the Capt will continue his saga..
Well, we are here! I have waited these weeks to see if I would wake up from my dream, but I have not. So I can report with some perceptiveness that the water is turquoise, the wind is blowing ENE 20 knots, the sun is out except for spot showers that cool the temps. Daytime is 80 degrees and nighttime is 72 - needing a sheet to cover ya when the wind blows through the boat. Niceeeeeeee!!!!!!
It has been rather lumpy out in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. We are experiencing northers...that is swells sent down from the US east coast. You all can keep them up there please! The north side of the islands are all under cautions for the beaches and anchorages. The swells wrap around the islands and cruise southwest through the Channel helped by the constant 20 knot wind. Waves - 2- 4 feet but choppy and short - kind of like the Chesapeake Bay (but blue). Lines of wind capped waves for miles and miles. We were out in it yesterday coming back to Sopers Hole from Peter and Norman Islands. Beam seas, not too bad but would make it hard to turn north to go to Marina Cay. So we headed back to Pussers for WiFi . Checking in with the computer guy today to see if the new keypad has arrived. Will need to go to Roadtown again. If the rollers die off we could anchor in the Harbor and save Taxi fees. Maybe Monday.
Anchoring over in Little Harbor at Peter Island was fun. When we arrived there was a mini cruise ship ( 100 feet - 4 decks) occupying a lot of the area. They had everything, Kayaks, waterslide, golf ball wacking into the cliff, ski-doos on board (not allowed in BVI -thank the gods) and a dozen customers whooping it up drinking and jumping off the highest deck much to the crews discomfort. We dropped our bruce anchor and 100 feet of chain and set up our riding sail. Several chartered catamarans (2 hulled big sailing machines)and anchored and then tied up to rocks ashore from their sterns. I think the next time we go there we will try the same technique, it will stop us from swing around in the fluky winds and hogging a large part of the harbor. Went swimming in clear water. Saw a turtle and many fish. Spent 2 nights and thought we would head north east to Marina Cay, but as we went around the corner out into the channel we were making 1.2 knots over ground plowing into the wind and seas. So we turned and ran down to Norman and picked up a mooring at the Bight.
We have a strange fondest for the Bight. It has totally changed over the 24 years we have been visiting it. For the worse. It is one of the national park islands and originally was inhabited by wild goats and a few cows. There was a old schooner moored there that had been converted to a bar- the William T. Thornton. Great snorkeling, NO MOORINGS, the caves (think Treasure Island) just around the corner. We would sail over and ANCHOR in an almost EMPTY harbor and snorkel off the boat. There were large sea turtles and millions of colorful fish. There was no lights at night except for a few on the Willy and a few anchors lights so the stars were close enough to touch. I remember falling asleep in the cockpit just watching the stars circle overhead and the boat rocked. Also remember waking to a shower in the night and running for my bunk. Steve and I would watch the boats come and go. There were more cruising boats then and less charterers. We would watch a cruiser come in and that would start the conversation of how and when we were going to able to afford to buy our boat. We would talk about what it would feel like to be aboard our own boat in the Bight someday in the future..... Well- I can tell you..WONDERFUL!! even with the dozens of moorings filled with charter boats crowding the place, even with the beach bar restaurant and its constant traffic to and from the mainland, even though the Willy T sank years ago and has been replaced by a not so attractive work boat with fake masts, even though you cannot anchor because there is no room among the moorings, even though the water is not as clean,( all those boats toilets dump at ever flush), although there are no turtles and fewer reef fish, even though the night sky is too lit with land lights and too many boat lights ( charterers all have generators and A/C and run all their lights all the time), even though the stars are dimmers and fewer, being there in OUR BOAT with my sweetie was too cool to explain !!
Ah the capt calls, time to swap the decks...more later M
|cimaise and crew||
12/06/2012, onboard cimaise Peter Island
Over the next 3 days, Sunday, Monday - Tuesday the winds built and the seas got bigger. I relieved Keith for the morning watch. Sunday was a blue sky sunny day, winds in the mid teens- waves 4 to 6 feet. We were pass the Gulf Stream . Keith is a remarkable person. He is a well spoken guy who has spent years as a drummer on the fringes of greatness. Lots of stories of knowing people in the music biz, his bands opened for big acts in stadium size shows, had a hit record. Keith is an excellent sailor- has been everywhere from Tahiti to Panama to Lake Michigan.
As the day wore on the seas got rougher. Everyone thinks this is wonderful conditions, I could use a few less lumps. Fell twice, got to be more careful. Have to learn to anticipate the motion better. Monday - the 12th -Welcome to the new normal!!! winds 20-25 knots ( a knot is 1.15 mph) on the beam -( The beam is the side of the boat), waves 6 to 8 feet. Another blue sky sunny day, although we are in full foul weather gear because we are getting waves across the deck. The failure of the water maker casts a pall over the company, we will have to ration water. Still we are not turning back. And there is a fresh water leak into the bilge; we are losing the tank water into the bilge. Things seem a little grim.
Tuesday, more of the same except bigger seas, 20-25 knots wind on the beam, 8- 10 steep seas with occasional 12 footers with breaking crests. This was not forecast in our Commanders weather download. This is the third day of up and down and rolling and pitching and not much sleep and you get up and get slammed around and then you go below and get slammed around. The crew in total have had enough. These seas are unusual, these are the seas that should have 35- 40 knot wind, we do not have the wind. These waves are from the third storm to hit the Jersey coast. I so want this to be done.
|cimaise and crew||
12/02/2012, Beaufort to BVI
Steve's Offshore Story
Day One Friday November 19, 2012
Leave Town Creek Marina through Gallant Channel Bridge for 9AM opening, heading to sea. Mitch is at the tip of Beaufort, NC waving goodbye as we motor east from the bridge.
Everyone is in the cockpit, motoring out towards Cape Lookout, sunny and chilly. Winds are light and variable seas are confused. I am mostly trying to hold it together emotionally, and get into the moment. The separation from Mitch was heart wrenching, made even more so by the fact that I have to maintain a stiff upper lip. Was this a big mistake ? You got to take control and stop worrying, you got to get in the moment.
The rest of the day was a little sailing, a little motoring, I did not eat, could not sleep, by the time I got to sleep it was my watch at 10PM to 2AM. The flux gate compass was not working at this time so we had to hand steer. The decision to turn back for repairs or hand steer all the way to BVI was easy, just steer the boat. Then when you get into BVI you can say you hand steered the boat all the way and maybe could get a drink at the bar!! The crew was having fun sailing the boat, enjoying hand steering through the moderate seas and 15 knots of wind. "This is the life! Doesn't get any better than this!! Steering a responsive boat out in the briny deep" was heard on deck.
Came up on my first watch with Bill, the ex-firefighter, who was great at conversation and stories of his life as a musician, firefighter and topless DJ ( not him just the dancers). It was a starry night as I took the helm, I spent my time trying to keep the boat on the heading. I was queasy , fatigued, the beginnings of seasickness. Tried all the non drug remedies on board, ginger beer, ginger candy but ended taking Sturgeron, a European OTC drug that works!.. Can not get it in US but can get it in Canada! Took a pill and felt better in 3 hours, keep up the dosage for my next watches for 3 days and then stopped- no further problem.
The ocean from a sailboat is different than any place else. It is constantly in motion. Big rollers are coming through, other waves from other directions hit the boat. The boat is heeled ( tilted) 25-30 degrees, like walking on a steep hill sideways, one foot higher than the other. A hillside that bucks, rolls, plunges and corkscrews constantly- never stops. Sailing on the ocean simplifies your life incredibly. When you are down below your primary goal is not to get injured. So you move around the boat very carefully, from handhold to handhold. One hand for the ship, one hand for yourself - always. Sometimes 2 hands for yourself and a corner to wedge into. In our case it was the starboard bench where you could put on your gear.
Once you are awaken by your mate for your watch you have to head to the head. Then put on your gear. Gear in the case of offshore sailing is waterproof clothing over long-johns consisting of bib overalls, sea boots and a jacket with hood. Then the PFD ( life jacket) and harness to hook onto the boat. This took about 45 minutes in the beginning but got it down to 15 at the end of the passage. I would be late for my watch, that's ok because I am the owner, and I would make it up by steering a lot.
Once you are up on deck it is easier. You are clipped onto the boat. You are wedged into your seat or are at the helm with the steering wheel to hand onto. You can see what is coming and can adjust accordingly.
At 2AM I was relieved of duty after spending the last 2 hours with Capt Mike. Headed to my bunk in the aft cabin. Get off the gear, crawl in the bunk. I was able to sleep but being under the cockpit the noise would wake me, so I reverted to earplugs which helped. I slept off and on, I found it hard to relax hearing the crew working and feeling the boat heel more. Then things would quiet down and Cimaise would sail on her lines - then I could fall asleep.
|cimaise and crew||
11/29/2012, Sopers Hole West End Torola BVI
Still at Sopers Hole turquoise water. Figuring another 3-4 days before we complete the varied tasks. We lost the "r" on the ship's computer, well, not exactly lost it. It does not work when pressed and then runs amok at all inappropriate times. Tried the spray air, popped the key cover off, no sign of dirt etc. Makes it nearly impossible to use, you go on line and type grrrrrrrrrrrrrmail. Or cimrrrrrrrrrrrairrrrrrrserrrrrrrrtheeeeeeblrrrrrrrrrog. Does not help at all. So taking the netbook ashore, our wifi antenna is being blocked by a 100 foot ugly mega yack....we surf and discover FRESH MANGO - not an eatery, not a mango grove but an IT shop where they do web pages and fix computers. So another chore for the trip the Roadtown. So off we go in the taxi, no buses in sight - besides we do not know where to go - no one uses addresses here...just Roadtown, or Sopers Hole. Roadtown is large and crowded. So our taximan knows the Mango spot and then the "good" chandlery clear across the harbor. We talk to Mango Man and after playing with the computer says the easiest thing and cheapest is to just order a new keypad - which he does - will be in - in a week or so from Texas. Then we head to boat store to buy a replacement foot pump. AHHHHH, they have just sold the last one..but they can also order it...be there tomorrow..for about $30 more than in states. So we tell them ok - but to hold it for our next rip to R-Town in a week or so...no problem man.. R-Town is about 20 miles on the winding roads from Sopers and renting the cab for the 5 hours round trip(including waiting on us at each stop) ran $75. So we need to move the boat closer for the next trip for sure, now that we know where to go. So 2 problems nearly solved. I am thinking about a Panasonic Toughbook for the next laptop. Cpt. Mike has one and it took saltwater to the keys and did not blink. Have to do some research. May have one of our visitors hand deliver it. Hmmmmm....
Speaking of addresses and such, we are standing in the marina office yesterday waiting to talk to the nice lady> She was busy being very polite to someone on the phone, "What do you need hon?? GPS directions to Sopers Hole? Yes, Sopers...you spell dat s o p e r s....what??? You go west to Thatch Island and there are markers for the ferry...oh you are drivin???? it sez turn right at the big tree???well there is a tree...no not soapers....s o p e r s....no....we are the ONLY marina here...by Pussers...I do not know what tree........the coast road just goes along the coast, we are on the west coast.." she is making faces at us and I am cracking up!!! Ah island life!
Got to drive the dink yesterday with the bigger motor, only crashed into the mother ship twice before I got the throttle figured out. Steve is down below hammering and wood-working to install a gutter system for the leaking windlass. I am going to wash the boat today and polish up the stainless.
We are looking over the charts to see which harbor is next. Norman, Peter or Ginger Island?? The weather is back to purrrfect. 80 degrees, no humidity, constant 10-15 wind on the nose blowing down the hatches. The German Regatta boats left yesterday ( 15 of them) so it is now quiet here except for the antique wood motor yacht near us running her generator nonstop for 4 days/nights. Must have a hose running from the boat to the gas dock!!! Will do photos later. The net book does not do them, will have to set up the backup computer for that.
|cimaise and crew||
11/26/2012, Sopers Hole BVI
First week in BVI
I meant to post sooner, but arrival night we were exhausted, Steve and I abandoned ship leaving her mighty crew and head to Sebastian's on the Beach in Little Apple Bay, a very nice hotel/restaurant. They are ON the beach. The beach front rooms are a little costly - less than lost places here in high season, but the garden view rooms are great. $100 a night for a large room, comfortable king bed, a/c, private bath (no TV) and a great breakfast with homemade pastries, unending coffee and a large omelet for $10. I used American Express Travel to book and there was no pain at all!
Tuesday, Bill and Keith jumped ship to begin their island adventure - (both are musicians and found gigs for themselves at Cane Garden Bay). We will catch up with them before they leave in December. The good captain Mike headed to the ferry to St. Thomas Wednesday morning, trying to be home for turkey day. More about the Capt and crew as Steve works on his posts. He plans to do a series about the trip, he kept a journal as soon as we relax a little.
Wednesday night the sky lights up with a bang and voila' no electricity. A pole has fallen down down due the the tons of rain we have been having. Did I mention the rain, almost non stop for 5 days, no wind hot and humid like being in Virginia. Sun is back now, along with lovely constant wind!!!
Wednesday afternoon we started to inventory the problems suffered during the scenic cruise and set a plan of action. The first was the report that the wind generator may not be charging - but alas it is and was the reading of a poorly printed page of directions that confused the crew. Next was that the bilge pump was not working. Also - not true.
For you non boaters, the bilge pump is the o my god we is sinking pump. The one we have installed pumps 3500 gallons an hour. The bilge - the lowest part of the boat - is very shallow on cimaise, only a foot deep at its deepest. Some boats have very deep bilges. This large pump is automatic and will turn on when the switch is under water. This is about 8 inches when the boat is standing up. HOWEVER, when the boat is heeled, all the water in the bilge ( WHICH BY THE WAY SHOULD BE ZERO) rolls over to the side of the boat keeping the level below the switch and self priming pump requirements. This pump will run, but only when the floors get wet. This is the EMERGENCY pump and if it turns on it will be an emergency. She has already saved cimaise once when the refrigerator failed at Solomon's MD and was pumping sea water into the boat while we went shopping. It maintained the water at floor board level for quite a while until we got back and shut down the refrig.
Any less water you hand pump, we have 4 ready to go. Only takes a minute, plus this is a DRY BOAT!!!%^@&*$*@&*&@*%&*
Dry boat dry boat dry boat HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...
Problem 3 - water in the bilge forward of engine compartment - turns out was FRESH water - from starboard tank cleanout leaving on port tack and a cracked foot pump at the galley sink, a half cup per push into the bilge. Tank now fixed - hatch rebidded - will need port tack to test later. Foot pump - not so much, turns out the spare pump (old) also is cracked. We will be heading to Roadtown to seek new pump later this week. Until then we are ron pressurized water.
Problem 4 Start to clean out v- berth and discover many gallon of sea water have managed to splash to starboard soaking all my clothes, all the linens and my mattress. Dripping wet. The lower lockers ( starboard only) have 4 inches of water in them and have coated everything in them with saltwater. Mostly all vacuum bagged, but have to be all washed off. We knew the windlass ( the machine that pulls up the 300 ft of chain and 80 lb anchor) leaked a little in Take One - when a wave would hit it. So we place a bucket under it and assumed we would dump it as we went along. WRONG. Also there was the assumption of relatively decent weather at sea. WRONG. So after much wave action ( which Steve will write about) there was nearly 5 gallons of water flying around the cabin - only on Mitch's side..Steve's side - DRY ! It was too rough to empty anything forward of the mast. So 2 days of emptying, cleaning with fresh water ( thank god we have a water maker) and then sending out 50 pounds of dripping laundry to be done ashore and returned. We regained the v Berth for sleeping, but it took another 4 days of blowing air on the wetness to dry everything out. ( We did have rum and coke every night before collapsing into sleep!)
Problem 5 - The mid ship bilge ( the fresh water leak - 20 + gallons) was pumped out at ship, but everything was filthy, the water having washed under the cabinets which has not seen daylight for 30 years, and now is clean because everything ended up in the bilge covering all the bagged items stored them. Lots of washing and repacking.
Now we are down to repairing the odds and ends. We still need to work on the fluxgate compass, wash the boat to remove salt, polish up the rusting stainless. But now we have slowed down to an island pace.
The wifi got fixed today ( Thanksgiving is not a British holiday but no one works so no repair to wifi till now. Power went back on Saturday. Everyone have generators down here.)
Mike sent a link for photos and trip info - http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1894107
Back to the deck, I think I hear my rum calling!! Mitch
|cimaise and crew||