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Foggy Mountain
Preparation For Departure
05/07/2012, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

If all goes well, we plan to leave Antigus tomorrow morning. The TROF is still sitting right over us so the weather has been very unsettled with 100% overcast skies and periods of rain. As I write this it is raining heavily and has been doing that for at least 20 minutes. These rains in TROF conditions can be torrential at times, and ther goes some thunder for good measure. A few days ago we decided that before getting underway we would first move to a mooring. What this allows us to do is pull the anchor up, while scrubbing marine growth off the chain, and secure it for the passage. That way when it comes time to get underway we just have to slip the mooring, just makes it easier. This morning when we got a break in the rain, the sun actually shined for about 45 minutes, we weighed anchor and moved to one of Sea Pony's mooring for $20 per night. After that we complted most of the rest of our topside preparation before going ashore to clear Customs. After clear out we met friends Tom and Abby for lunch at Hot, Hot, Spot over in the Dock Yard. Upon saying our farewells a few tears were close to being shed and we proclaimed our wanting to stay in touch, at which time we were off towards Foggy for final preparations. This means getting the dinghy motor secured inside the dinghy, get the dinghy on deck, secured and covered. All of which we mangaged to do just before this torrential downpour started. It is our sincerest hope that we can get underway tomorrow morning without a rain like this. The weather forecasts indicate that we need to get about 100 miles north of here to start to get out from under the TROF's influence. However, we may not be able to sail that first hundred miles due to light winds being forecasted. So we shall see. If our next blog update is underway you will know that we left Antigua and are on our way to North Palm Beach, please wish us a swift and safe passage.

05/08/2012 | Gloria Kops
You kow how excited I am to have you back. Our short one day meeting in St. Lucia was enough to convince me I wished you were here. Be safe, see you soon!
It's All About The Sailing For Us
05/05/2012, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

The other day Pam and I were discussing what was the most fun for us in this cruising lifestyle. Unlike other cruisers we don't fish, heck Pam doesn't even like seafood that much. Also, unlike other cruisers, we don't scuba dive we only snorkle. And quite frankly for us one reef has started to look like another so even the snorkling doesn't give us the charge that it did eleven years ago. Seeing the beauty of the islands again was interesting last year but now the islands are looking a lot a like. So what is it that we enjoy, you say? Well for us it has always been about the sailing I guess. The Caribbean is one of the best places to sail in the Atlantic and it was because of that we came here. So how much have we sailed in the fifteen months since we started this cruise? Well today I sat down with our logbook to answer that question for myself. In the last fifteen months including our thirteen day passage from North Palm Beach to Antigua we have sailed eight per cent of the time. That's an average of about 2.5 days per month. If you remove the thirteen day passage from the calculation which means you only look at the time that we sailed while here in the Caribbean we have only sailed five per cent of the time. So basically Pam and I tend to stay in a place where we are comfortable. We don't tend to pull the anchor up once it appears to be set. Given our tendency to do this we have decided "we don't sail enough to be cruisers". That is the reason that we are heading back to the marina life where we, given our tendencies, will be free to cast off the lines with ease to go out for a sail. Not having to worry when we come back if we're going to find a place to anchor or if the anchor is set well enough for the next squall. It is our hope that, this time round, North Palm Beach will afford us the opportunity to sail more than eight per cent of the time. Its just fun for us to go sailing for a day with no strings attached and that is what we hope we will have in North Palm. If we're wrong at least we'll have cable TV, movie theaters and friends to enjoy.

05/07/2012 | RICHARD
The Regattas
05/05/2012, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

Antigua Sailing Week, also known as Antigua Race Week, racing ended yesterday and the 25th Classic Regatta ended a little over a week ago. This year Pam and I served as volunteers at both events, Pam more than I during the Classic. Pam worked in registration at the Classic for a couple of days and we both worked handing out skipper's gift bags just prior to the skipper's meeting for the racing. Compared to last year, from this spectator's stand point, the Classic Regatta was lack luster due to the J Class yachts being absent. I was so elated when we first got here to see that four J Class yachts were here. These elegant monsters of a bygone era of America's Cup racing are truely a treat to see sailing. But alas my elation disappeared completely as one by one they left Falmouth Harbour, presumably for a J Class regatta in England. With the J Class yachts gone that meant the stars of this year's regatta fell to the ample number of schooners that remained. The racing, as it was last year, took place in relatively light winds of 10-15 knots. We watched the starts on a couple of the four days of racing. Due to the lack luster racing during the Classic Pam and I turned our attention to our volunteer work for Sailing Week.

Kathy Lammers Chairman of the regatta's organizing committee asked us if we would help stuff skipper's bags for Sailing Week. Kathy picked us up at the Antigua Yacht Club and took us to her home where we were presented with all the materials. There were 120 bags in which we had to put various items that ranged from regatta information to sponser's promotional information. After organizing all the items in assembly line fashion Pam, Sandy (another volunteer) and I stuffed the 120 bags in under two hours. After we ate the provided lunch Sandy drove us to the Gig Racing event that is part of the Classic Regatta. The Gig Racing takes place behind the Admiral's Inn in English Habour. During the event there is racing in various small boats. They row, skull and sail their way around a small course in English Harbour. It has been a great time the two times that we have seen it the last two years. This year was a little more special since our friends Kate and Allen off of Mendocino Queen were participating. A great time was had by all and the English Tea refreshments were great. Now we waited for the start of Sailing Week.

In the run up to Sailing Week we got another call from Kathy to stuff additional items into those pesky skipper's bags. So we called some other volunteer friends and went to the Antigua Yacht Club where we set up another assembly line to accomplish the task. We also utilized our time at the Antigua Yacht Club to bring both of our PCs up to date using the yacht club's wifi. The day before the racing head race official Alfred held a meeting with all Committee Boat A volunteers to go over our duties. First Alfred asked the group about their previous committee boat experience. There was very little, many had raced but other than Pam and I there weren't many more. Pam and I revealed what our rolls were on the committee boat in last year's Sailing Week. Then Alfred said, " the most important person on the committee boat is the timer, the timer is more important than me because everything has to happen precisely on time". "Who has a precise digital watch and would like to volunteer to be the timer"? Silence! Prior to this meeting Pam and I had talked about backing out of committee boat duties to get going on our passage back to FL. We discussed backing out if Alfred was looking for volunteers not to be on the committee boat due the boat being a small catamaran. During the silence I looked at Pam and kind of shrugged my shoulders when I volunteered for the timer duty. As oh my God what have you done, went thru my mind. The Alfred needed someone to work me to make announcements on the radio and to hold the microphone up for me while I was calling out countdowns. Explaining he has found couples that work well together are the best choices for this duty, he turned to Pam and asked her if she would volunteer to work with me. Which she did. So now we were locked in to our duties with the first race less than 24 hours away. After the meeting we all went down to the docks to see our committee boats which were 38 foot Sunsail sailing catamarans. On which we were to put a crew of 14. The reason for the large number was that we wanted to have enough people to run starts and finishes at the same time. Even on a 38 foot catamaran this numner proved to be a bit crowded. Once we had seen the boat, Alfred went over the script that Pam and I would be following during the countdown sequences. That night back aboard Foggy, Pam and I went thru a few dry runs just to sure we were ready.

The day was anything but by the script. We got the first class off just fine, but the remaining three classes had to be postponed as the mark at the other end of the starting line from the committee boat was dragging its anchor. Thereby producing a moving starting line, not a good thing for all competitors. So while the pin boat reset the anchor Pam and I quickly adjusted the times on our script after Alfred established the new starting time. With our redone script we started running thru the sequence for the second class of boats only to be foiled bynthe mark dragging again - damn! So the postponement flag was put up again causing Pam and I to once again adjust our script. What a mess the script was by now, I'm amazed we were able to follow it as well as we did. Finally, we were able to get the remaining three classes off. The winds that day and the next were 15-20 knots so the racing was quite exciting. Day three's racing was held in almost perfect conditions of 10-15 knots with day four being a light wind affair in 9-13 knots with a dying breeze as the day progressed. Almost like the wind was being supplied by a fan that was only wound up enough for four days of racing. In any case during those four days of racing Pam and I had more script adjustments to make. No, there were no more dragging marks butmtheremwere several general recalls for boats being over the start line early. Our duties weren't over after the starts however, for the finishes Pam went to recording finishers on a sheet of paper and I announced the time that the boats crossed the finish line. By the last day we had things down pretty well, we were in a rhythm, as was the rest of the crew. We were all asked if we were going to be back next year. Some said yes, some said maybe and of course Pam and I said we didn't think so (with a bit if sadness). Now that it was over we could get ready for the prize giving party. As committe boat personnel we were invited to the VIP area next to the stage where the prizes would be handed out. After,our complimentary drink we watched a very interesting event. Interesting because we knew we were an integral part of this world renowned annual sailing event. It was great to see the fruits of our labors unfold before us as each prize was awarded - very cool! Also cool was the fact that the top three yachts with the best overall scores were all from the good old USA! As for the future of our committee boat team of volunteers we are all preparing to go our separate ways. Such is the mantra of the cruising lifestyle. Some are going, as we had originally planned, south for hurrincane season. Some are going north to as far as Maine. And then you have Pam and I who are headed to FL, where we hope to start a new lifestyle for ourselves. But first we have to get the requisite wind. As I write this we are mired under a trough with no wind and lots of rain. And so we will wait.

Altering Our Course
04/11/2012, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

Pam and I have decided to change the lifestyle course that we have been traveling for the last fourteen plus months. We have been discussing our Caribbean cruising lifestyle on and off throughout those fourteen months. Initially, we were exploring new territory by visiting Antigua last year for the first time. Then things were interesting moving down the island chain to Grenada because we were noting the changes that had taken place in our ten year absence. Now with the prospect of returning south again for hurricane season in Grenada we have developed a real been there done that feeling. So why not go somewhere else you say? Grenada's not the only place to go for hurricane season. That is quite true, which brings me to the other part of our feeling. We just aren't enjoying this lifestyle as much as we thought we would. The difficulties of accomplishing the simplist tasks out her are overwhelming the fun factor for us. The balance between fun and the challenges of keeping the boat running is just not there. Back in Florida, before we left to do this, friends would ask us how long were we going to be gone. To which we answered, "we don't know, as long as the money holds out and we are having fun we'll keep doing it". Well the money is doing ok, but the fun factor is way down. Additionally, we have found that we miss a lot of things from back home and there is a lot of our own country that we haven't seen. So, our plan right now is to return to Florida and continue to liveaboard the boat because we own the boat, love the boat and like marina life enough to try it out for a while longer. We have also never cruised the Bahamas, the Florida Keys or Florida's west coast so we may do some of that too. We are now looking forward to this next chapter in our lives.

04/27/2012 | Sue & Andy
Finally !!! You have decided to checkout our little corner of the state...our world ! YIPPEE!!
Our Dunedin boat club and marina is cooler than cool !!
05/02/2012 | Lynn
Good for you to make the change! We have the discussion fairly frequently about fun vs. working our butts off on the boat just to do the basics. So far we still like it, but there may be a marina in Florida in our future, too.
Adventure In Moving
04/09/2012, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

As you might have observed by the header of this post, we have not moved to a different harbor. We have merely changed our location to another part of Falmouth Harbour. This seed for moving was planted in my brain yesterday while we were pulling up some of the chain to clean the marine growth off of it. As I cleaned the chain I noticed what appeared to be abrason on the galvanized coating of the chain. As this part of the chain was likely in contact with the bottom I was concerned that something on the bottom of the harbor was damaging the chain's coating. Also, in recent days I thought that I had been hearing the chain dragging over something. The only answer was to try anchoring in a different location. As we pulled up the chain using our electric windlass it's circuit breaker repeatedly tripped requiring Pam to reset it each time. We did this until the anchor was almost all the way up at which time the breaker tripped without immediately after upon my depression of the windlass activation switch. Not a good sign. The last time that this happened was back in the early 1990's, not long after our purchase of Foggy, and then it turned out to be a bad windlass motor. At this point our re-anchoring process was interrupted by one of my venting by throwing one of my now patented "I can't deal with another broken piece of equipment temper tantrums". After the smoke cleared I hauled the rest of the chain and the anchor up by hand and we got the anchor back down and set in the new location. After troubleshooting the windlass I determined that the windlass motor is bad. When we replaced the motor back in the early 90s it cost arounf $500 just for the motor so we weren't feeling too good about the prospect of having one shipped into Antigua especially with our unresolved IRS issues. The windlass motor is not an off the shelf deal but it might be able to be repaired locally by a motor repair technician. However, after a closer inspection of the motor's condition I believe that that rust has severly compromised the case of the motor. So, it looks like a replacement of the motor will be necessary. Until then it looks like I my back and arm muscles will be getting a workout.

Good Friday Ride With Friends
04/08/2012, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

We had a bit of good news on Good Friday. Friends of ours that now live on Antigua in the winter called us on the phone asking us out to lunch and a movie. This was a welcome break from all the bad things that we had had happening to us of late. They picked us up at the dinghy dock and we were off to the other side of the island where the cineplex is. Once in Antigua's capital city of St. Johns they started looking for a place to eat. We drove all over the St. Johns area checking on all their favorite restaurants only to find them closed. Well after all it was Good Friday. As the frustration built they joked that we might end up having to settle for popcorn at the movie theater. Which would have been fine with Pam and I. As we were driving from one closed restaurant to another Pam noticed that we had passed a Subway that she said looked like it was open. Ignoring that our friends felt we could do better than that by continuing on a quest to find one of their favorite restaurants open. This went on for all tolled about forty five minutes when finally our friends asked Pam where that Subway was. To which Pam replied, "I don't know, I don't know where I am now let alone how we get back to the Subway". After thinking about it some more we figured it was near the second Chinese restaurant that we had checked which got us close. Then were able to find it by driving from one Chinese restaurant to the other as we had before and there it was Subway! Thank goodness for those capitalists at Subway, otherwise we would have just had popcorn and a movie. After our taste of the good old USA, for Pam and I at least, we were off to the movie theater. And of course I had popcorn, can't go to the movies without popcorn.

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