Kaimusailing

s/v Kaimu Wharram Catamaran

Vessel Name: Kaimu
Vessel Make/Model: Wharram Custom
Hailing Port: Norwalk, CT
Crew: Andy and the Kaimu Crew
About: Sailors in the Baltimore, Annapolis, DC area.
14 November 2017 | Key West, FL
10 November 2017 | st marys, ga
07 November 2017 | Lighthouse Point,
07 November 2017 | Great Bahama Bank
07 November 2017 | Old Bahama Channel, Caribbean Sea
07 November 2017 | Old Bahama Channel, Caribbean Sea
07 November 2017 | Cap Cana Marina, DR
07 November 2017 | Cap Cana Marina, DR
28 October 2017 | Punta Cana, DR
28 October 2017 | Punta Cana, DR
28 October 2017 | Punta Cana, DR
24 October 2017 | Antigua
24 October 2017 | Antigua
20 October 2017 | St Lucia
20 October 2017 | St Lucia
18 October 2017 | St Marys, GA
16 October 2017 | St Marys, GA
12 October 2017 | st marys, ga
12 October 2017 | Ft. Lauderdale, FL
12 October 2017 | St. Augustine, FL
Recent Blog Posts
14 November 2017 | Key West, FL

St Marys Ft Lauderdale Key West

The hot weather of the summer is definitely over. While we were gone on the delivery it got

10 November 2017 | st marys, ga

Bahama Track

So we are back in St Marys, back in the boatyard, the gulag. Nothing has changed, still the same boat and no rush to launch. Kaptain Ken has got his boat off the marsh, but now he doesn't have the time to talk. I do the laundry and get a shower. Shave the handsome beard off my face.

07 November 2017 | Lighthouse Point,

Arrival and Departure

I made a concoction out of the last remains of mahi mahi. The mahi was trimmed of any bones and cut into large cubes. It was then browned on all sides in a pan of olive oil and black pepper. Then diced onions, red sweet peppers, and mushrooms were wilted in the pan. The whole mess was added to a [...]

07 November 2017 | Great Bahama Bank

Bahama Bank

When I got up for my morning 8 AM to 11 AM watch, I got up almost an hour early. The boat was shaking us around again. Ron was on watch and had let out a bit of the jib. He said maybe we should roll it back up to where it was, I said no, we’d be OK. We got a huge roll on an unusual wave and I heard [...]

07 November 2017 | Old Bahama Channel, Caribbean Sea

Stowaway On Board

I awoke after 1 1/2 hours of sleep. This is not unusual. I came on deck and then went down in the galley to make a couple of sandwiches. I experimented. I liked ham and tomato sandwiches with mayo, so I made ham salad out of diced ham, diced tomatoes, and mayo.

07 November 2017 | Old Bahama Channel, Caribbean Sea

To the Old Bahama Channel

Although we want to sail, there is no wind, the sea is glass, the sunset is brilliant, we follow the waypoints around the east end of Republica Dominica, following our long route to Miami. We are using a 2 hour watch schedule which turns out to be a little too busy, each watchstander has to get up twice [...]

St Marys Ft Lauderdale Key West

14 November 2017 | Key West, FL
Capn Andy/Sunny Day
The hot weather of the summer is definitely over. While we were gone on the delivery it got
down to 47 degrees one night in the boatyard. Now it is hovering in the 60‘s, excellent working weather, but we are preparing to leave again for another delivery.
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I had bought an Irwin aluminum toe rail from the guy who cuts up abandoned boats. I needed 16 feet of it to make two 8 foot perforated rails on the inboard edge of each bow deck. These will serve as trampoline attachments. I cut the toe rail to length, returned the excess as agreed, then cut two pieces of the old roller furler foil 1 foot 7 inches in length. These I will use as extensions for my cheap Harbor Freight socket wrench ratchet. They fit the handle perfectly and 1 foot 7 inches is the inside length of the toolbox.
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I wanted to get some work done and continued on grinding the bottom paint on the port bow, inboard side. I had stopped on a hot day quite a while ago and now it was cool so I completed that job.
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I spent the evening with warmed up leftover pasta with meat sauce. It was cool and I slept well. I was awakened by the skipper on the phone saying we have to leave in a couple of hours, he was moving the delivery up. I was totally unprepared for this change, I had a million things to do before I could leave.
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I had groceries to give away for others to use before they spoil, I was set up for more grinding on the hull bottom, those tools had to be put away and rain was forecast, so tarpaulins had to be spread out and clamped down. I needed to shower and pick up a prescription at the local pharmacy. I had to get my nautical equipment sorted out, new batteries, find my inflatable harness, repack the computer soft case that held the GPS, SPOT, camera, batteries, and all the cables for connecting and charging them.
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I got to work and had everything sorted out except picking up my prescription, which would run out while we were at sea. Skipper said yes we could stop and pick it up, why don’t I call it in beforehand. I hadn’t thought of that, called and ordered, ready by 1:15, but they close between 1:30 and 2 for lunch.
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I was ready, now waiting for the skipper. Our ride was ready pacing about. Then finally skipper appears, let’s go. First we have to go to the post office to mail something, OK, then to the pharmacy. We get there at 1:37 and have to wait till 2. Not on me. We grabbed lunch.
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We went to the Jacksonville airport and picked up a Chevy and headed down I-95 to Ft. Lauderdale with only a few delays on the way. We arrive late and get to work the next day.
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The owner of the Lagoon 410 catamaran spends the day replacing his impeller in the port engine. This is a terrible job requiring a lot of disassembly, but he goes at it and at the end of the day we are testing the engine, good to go. We installed a second chart plotter that will also display AIS, ship identification, while the original chart plotter will display radar. The two brands, Garmin and Raymarine, are competitors and apparently don’t speak the same language. We actually have more electronics than we really need.
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The forecast is for 15-20 and later 15-25, so we will have plenty of wind. We go ashore and have the customary pizza the night before departure. Our discussion turns to what a day it has been with a lot of snags and are we unlucky? Sailor’s superstition, the boat has been renamed without the ceremonies that must be performed to rename a boat and not incur bad luck. You need a big Kahuna from Hawaii and seven virgins, plus chants of ancient rites. We have done none of that.
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We get underway after the owner gets rid of his rental car and we top up the fuel tanks before going North up the ICW channel to the Port Everglades inlet. Out to the sea buoy and go South to follow our route, but it is rough and we cheat, heading South about a quarter mile past the first green channel buoy. We set a course for the next waypoint down the coast, but it is too rough. The seas are confused. We conclude the Gulf Stream is abnormally close to shore, we hug the coast at about the 100 foot depth contour, then come even closer.
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We don’t have far to go, the entrance to the channel inside the Florida Keys reef is just past Miami. We find calmer water closer to shore and decide to shake out the reefs we had put into the mainsail. The forecast was for 15 - 20 - 25 getting stronger later in the day and further South, so as we went down our route we could expect stronger winds.
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The main sail was incredibly hard to hoist. Perhaps the reefing lines were holding it back. I gave up near the end and let skipper put his back to it. I pointed out to the owner that his round battens would be prone to chaffing of the batten pockets, as Kaimu’s had been and showed him where the pockets were starting to tear already.
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The boat sailed way better with full sail up, the jib had been rolled fully out. We were making 7 and 8 knots on a beam reach and could have gone faster if we had more sail. We sailed this way to the beginning of the buoys that mark the channel inside the reef. We tested the radar to see if it would pick up buoys, helpful after dark with unlit buoys.
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I made some food, something different, diced seeded tomatoes and onion, with a can of salmon added and a big dollop of balsam vinaigrette, that was mixed up, breaking up the onion and salmon pieces, a little hot salsa was then added, and then spooned onto a bed of spring salad greens. They ate it.
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We follow our charts and chartplotters into a shallow region, just a short distance to the East it plunges into depths and there is the Gulf Stream and rough water. On the back waters of the reef it is rough but smaller rough and we are sailing along perfectly.
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We decide to use the 3 man 3 hour watch routine starting at 5 PM. The owner will start off with mostly daylight and I will be able to assist him pick the way through the back waters of the reef. Then I will come on watch at 8 to 11 and skipper will relieve me until 2 AM, then we start our rotation all over again.
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We had hoped to be in this area of unlit daymarkers during daylight, but we are just a little late. It grows dark and there is an opportunity to get sunset pictures. We have radar, but it turns out to be useless. The overlay with the chartplotter won’t work and stand alone radar display doesn’t give us confidence in what it is showing.
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The other chartplotter will show AIS contacts. This is very useful except that this boat has an old AIS transmitter somewhere that is being picked up by the new unit, who thinks it is an emergency, thus alarms. There are alarms going off all the time from both chart plotters. Meanwhile this computer, the Getac, finally gets to do its thing. We are using it to plan and follow a route through the back waters.
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After negotiating some unlit daymarks in the dark, the jib finally is blanketed by the main and starts flogging. We decide to roll it up. I had put a barberhauler on it to keep it full of air and had to remove it, then started to wind up the roller furler. Something was wrong, the furler line was tight and the sail wasn’t furling. We let it out, tried again, no use. Skipper came on deck with his harness and head light and went forward to the furling drum and began to sort out the snag there. He was able to get it un-snagged and we rolled up the jib. On our last boat we had a similar problem when one of the fairleads broke and got rolled up with the furling line into the drum. This time it was just too much line that fouled itself.
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The amount of line on the furler drum has to be enough to roll the entire sail up as you pull the line out of the drum. Because the jib on this boat is smaller than normal, it is a tradewind sized jib, it doesn’t need as much line on the furling drum, but has plenty, enough to furl a full sized jib or genoa jib. It jammed the same way fishing line can jam on a reel.
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The excitement was over, skipper went below to rest up for his watch, I remained with the owner for his last hour of watch. I commented, baptism of fire, he had had an exciting watch with a big problem and a solution by teamwork in the dark. That was enough for one watch. Now it was my turn.
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There was no excitement on my watch, sailing was serene with just the main, 6 knots of boat speed, flat water, but depths were concerning. It looked like we were sailing in 8-9 feet of water. There was a rock and buoy ahead, so I went around them. Later I concluded the depth sounder was showing water under the keel, not depth from the waterline.
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When my watch was over and skipper came up to take over, a rain squall hit and boat speed went up into the 9‘s. We both got wet in the rain. I went below and slept while he coped with the rain squalls that came one after the other. Apparently later the inverter quit when battery voltage dropped below 11.8. Then a sailing catamaran showed up on a collision course. He hailed them on the VHF radio with no response. He had to change course and hope they didn’t change theirs.
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The owner came on duty with a lot of noise. One engine was started to recharge the batteries, the radio traffic, all contributed the shattering of my peaceful sleep down below. I came up and made a pot of coffee in the ship’s stainless French press. I had never used one before. It made a good cup of coffee.
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Someone had picked up three cheese Danish pastries, so I had mine with the coffee. It was 2:30 AM. Our ETA at Key West was daybreak. I wasn’t sure what the plan was, would we stop there, would we continue straight for Gulfport, or would we head North up the west coast of Florida.
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The owner was glad to get off watch and get some sleep. We had worked together on his watch to manage our route on the computer. He was familiar with the software now and we fine tuned our course to stay in the channel, miss unlit buoys, and cut corners here and there.
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Finally he was off watch and I was on. Skipper had said I could get off watch at 6:30, presumably to make breakfast. I worked some more on our course and got us into 35 feet of water and a surprising 8 knots over the ground, must be some sort of Gulf Stream counter current.
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The technique for fine tuning our course was to use the measure function in OpenCPN. Right click on the chart, select measure from the list, the cursor becomes a pencil shape, left click the pencil anywhere, then click again somewhere else on the chart and it will display the distance and bearing between the two marks. We do this for a new course and note the bearing, then use the same function to measure the true course of our ship’s track which is displayed on the chart in real time. Make the arithmetic calculation of the degrees of course change, then enter that amount into the autopilot, which allows plus and minus tens of degrees as well as plus and minus one degree, so if we wanted to come left 23 degrees we would hit the minus ten twice and the minus one button three times. These course changes do not usually produce the desired effect because external forces like wind in the sails and currents against the hull have a big effect on what course the boat will follow, no matter what the heading is. The result is a constant reentering of course changes to make the course made good follow where we want. Things are simpler in the open sea.
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I was now off watch and down below and asleep in a short time. I had promised to make breakfast and did so after about 3 hours of sleep. I made pancakes from scratch and added sliced bananas and blueberries to the batter. We had some great maple syrup from Canada on board and the pancakes and bacon were a hit. All that carbohydrate had the result of sending us back to bed, but only the skipper was allowed to take a nap after he reserved a slip in Key West for us. We were going to spend the overnight there. We all pretended to be macho and gung ho to keep sailing and it would have been a logical decision to use the beneficial wind that we had while we had it, but we all wanted sleep and knew another night at sea would strain us, we needed all the crew to be alert at night, no dozing, no bad decisions.
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The Lagoon 410 we were sailing was an ex-charter boat, but had an owner after its charter service and he made some modifications to make it more like an owner’s version. The big difference is in the starboard hull where the charter version has two staterooms each with its own head, and the owner’s version has one stateroom with a much larger head and additional storage.
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I seems these charter boats all have similar drawbacks, electronics in the cockpit are sun damaged and not working, or are new replacements that are only hooked up for their basic functions. For instance an autopilot will function as an autopilot but won’t be able to use the chartplotter’s interface to follow a route. Chartplotter electronic charts are a package that includes the Caribbean and that’s all. Radios are set up for international frequencies. Radios do not have a remote handset in the cockpit. Sail rigs are smaller than mainland sail rigs and sails often have sun damage. Charter boats also often have hidden damage, they were severely damaged and repaired to be put back in service. When they finally sell a boat, usually after about a decade of service, it is worn out, it is set up for charter people not an owner and family.
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I like this boat very much, it sailed well, lots of creaks and groans though. The cabin is well laid out with plenty of room for the cook and room for dinner guests. The nav station was a little bit awkward, but that was due to the way the instruments were laid out.
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The main sail was unbelievably difficult to raise and is something we will try to fix on this trip. We are stopping in Key West unexpectedly, probably for just one day, and then heading out again.
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The image is from this computer and is our berth in Key West.

Bahama Track

10 November 2017 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/85 degrees
So we are back in St Marys, back in the boatyard, the gulag. Nothing has changed, still the same boat and no rush to launch. Kaptain Ken has got his boat off the marsh, but now he doesn't have the time to talk. I do the laundry and get a shower. Shave the handsome beard off my face.
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The woodshop has some spring mix lettuce on hand, so we join forces to make a salad. Rotisserie chicken is deboned and I bring tomatoes and an avacado, very ripe, perfect for a salad. We prepare the foods. Capn Jock joins us, welcome with his wine, and we end up in a discussion about residency.
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It seems as if boat people have a problem with the authorities. We do not have a permanent address. Before 9/11 it was possible to use almost any mailing address on your driver's license, after 9/11 and the Patriot Act it became necessary to use a residential address. This meant that liveaboard boaters and others who live a mobile lifestyle had to break the law to have credentials. We used addresses of relatives or friends and had to put them through the trouble of collecting our motor vehicle department mail and other mail they received due to our use of their address to get a license or passport. We can use a mail forwarding service to send our mail to whatever port we are in, but our important mail concerning our credentials is usually not forwardable. Some cruisers maintain a cheap room or apartment solely for use as a brick and mortar address. I think there is a constituency of people who do not own or rent a residence who should be able to possess legal credentials, a driver's license, a passport, without having to look for a loophole around the law. Usually when I get an idea there are many others that beat me to the punch, so I hope some activists are working on this problem.
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Capn Ford sends me a text that he is reserving a car for Sunday. That means we will be driving back down to Ft Lauderdale to help an owner deliver a Lagoon 410 catamaran to somewhere in Mississippi. My progress on Kaimu's bottom obviously will suffer, so I ask Ron the carpenter if he would like to do some of the work. It feels sinful to me to get paid to go sailing while I pay someone else to do the dirty work of grinding paint off my boat. It's the way the world works, I guess, you will find employment doing what others can't or don't want to do. I am helping someone sail their boat who couldn't otherwise handle it alone, and Ron will be grinding my paint, something I'd rather not be doing. If I didn't have any sort of deadline I wouldn't hire someone else to do what I would be doing otherwise. But the year is growing to a close. I have to recalibrate when I hear of people talking about snow and winter. It will grow cold here in a month or a month and a half. I want to launch my boat and not be stuck in the boatyard another winter.
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So, what am I doing, what did I do today, how am I making progress on the boat project. I looked unsuccessfully for my tape measure after successfully finding my notes made long ago about where the waterlines are located on this boat. The hull area above the waterlines has been painted and now the area below the waterlines has to have the old paint removed, any questionable surfaces ground down to good substrate, new glass and fairing to build up the lower parts of the hulls preparatory to painting, then painting on 4 coats of antifouling paint. Then the boat can be launched.
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I used my now old rigger's tape measure, a 100' tape with faded numbers, to mark the bows at their waterline. That's the extent of what I accomplished today. It took a long time to find the notes about the waterlines, and a long time to find a tape measure. The actual measurement and marking took less than 15 minutes.
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The local A to Zincs boys, that's their business name, were working on a powerboat right off my port bow here in the yard. Also, a couple with a beautiful Pearson 38 or 39 were working on their boat off my port bow. It seems I am now an old project, laid down in a north south direction, and these other projects are laid down in a 45 degree angle, like herringbone, to fit more boats into the yard and still be able to get them out when necessary. So I have a couple of boats herringboned on my port bow and they are grinding away on their projects.
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The A to Zincs interrupt an important phone call with a noisy forklift that they run across my bows, then they haul an old generator up out of the boat. They lower it to the ground and begin tinkering with it. Someone says the boat had been sunk by the hurricanes and from the looks of it, it hadn't been seaworthy before the hurricanes came through. The propellers have been eroded by galvanic action so that there is almost nothing left of the blades. The young kid employee who is helping says he could not turn one of the shafts and had to cut it out of the boat. Also he said the water in the bilge of the boat was very bad.
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It was too noisy, another fork lift came by gathering up wood blocks, I wandered over to where a boat was being cut up. The fellow who was cutting up the boat said, are you Andy. Then he said he had some perforated toe rails for me. What? It was others in the boatyard deciding that I needed some perforated toe rail stock, so now what was I to do. I gave him 30 bucks for 16 feet of perforated toe rail. A bargain.
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I had taken pictures of two boats in St. Croix, one a Wharram with rails to attach the forward trampolines, and the other an outrigger canoe named LAZARUS. Someone decided I didn't have to make my own rails to attach my trampolines, I could use salvage material from a cut up boat.
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I did some research on Lazarus, it is a rehab of Russell Brown's first proa, Jzero, built when he was just a teenager. When it comes to proas, Russell Brown is the guru, but he never designed for others, just make boat after boat. His videos on YouTube are very interesting. In one he is broad reaching at 17 knots in a 10 knot breeze. The Chesapeake Light Craft proa called Madness was designed with his input as a consultant. Madness and Lazarus are very similar.
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I also talked to the boat cutter up guy about fuel tanks and binnacles. He has other boats to cut up so when I go away on a delivery he will still be here cutting and accumulating boat parts.
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I have to add trampolines at the bow because headsail work will require going forward up the bow ramp to the bow crosstube. It is possible the sailor will fall from there and if there are no tramps to fill in the gaps, he will fall into the water and watch the boat sail away. Also I am told the tramps are where the bikini clad women sunbathe.
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The miata had its flat tire as expected and I used a can of fix a flat to pump it up, partially, then used the machine shop's compressor to finish the job. I then went for a ride, the long way, to Walmart to buy groceries. I don't need much as we are going away in a couple of days to do another delivery. I need bread to make super egg toasties for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. The ride is more of a tire conditioning trip, the fix a flat has to be spread out within the tire and that takes a bit of driving.
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The photos taken during the run up from Cap Cana Marina to Fort Lauderdale were uploaded to a flickr album at:
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/8728395@N03/albums
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I was experimenting with program mode on the camera and lots of photos didn't come out, so they were excluded. Some of the iffy ones were uploaded anyway. There is a photo of Capn Ford and one of Capn Ron, the other crew.
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The image is of the route we planned on the way through the Old Bahama Channel. It was planned on this computer using OpenCPN.

Arrival and Departure

07 November 2017 | Lighthouse Point,
I made a concoction out of the last remains of mahi mahi. The mahi was trimmed of any bones and cut into large cubes. It was then browned on all sides in a pan of olive oil and black pepper. Then diced onions, red sweet peppers, and mushrooms were wilted in the pan. The whole mess was added to a pot of garden rotini, just a handfull of pasta. Yumm. The photo is of the mahi pieces in the pan.
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As we crossed the bank we approached a wreck, not visible but clearly marked on the chart, so we were paying close attention to our course. Skipper was on the sat phone again with the owner asking for a new arrival location. The latest was accessed by an inlet impassable to a large sailboat with 7 feet of draft.
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Just then the autopilot gave an alarm and the boat swung way off course. Ron and I were jumping around trying to get the boat back on course. At times our chartplotter display showed us heading right for the wreck. We had to work as a team and get the boat settled down. We could not lay our intended course, that’s what triggered the autopilot alarm. We were heading a bit closer to the wreck but should clear it if the wind didn’t shift further.
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Our chart display of the Bahama Bank was coming to an end, the chartplotter’s charts are kept on a memory chip and our group of charts only included the Caribbean, not all of the Bahamas and nothing of Florida. We needed to change memory chips, the one for Florida had been purchased by Ron and we needed to install it. It turned out to be a CF memory chip, the specific chip type used by the W90 chartplotter, which was what we thought we were using, as there was only a pair of W90 manuals on board, one manual for operation and the other for installation. There was no model number anywhere on the chartplotter itself. It turns out that it is a different model using a different type of memory chip.
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We had this computer, however, plus two smart phones with stand alone navigation programs and Florida/Bahamas charts on them, plus paper charts, so we were well covered for navigation on this final approach to Florida.
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I ran our new course ahead on the computer and saw there was nothing in our way. We would run right off the bank and head across the Gulf Stream to Key Largo if we stayed on this course. Our new destination was far to the north at Port Everglades. We could try to sail upwind in the Gulf Stream into a North wind, but that is a no-no, the Gulf Stream is to be avoided if there is wind from the North. Other options included motoring upwind but staying on the Bahama Bank, then crossing the Gulf Stream at right angles, making the crossing as short as possible. Also we could continue to Key Largo and get more fuel and motor North into the Stream all the way to Port Everglades. It turned out we would keep on going on our course as close to the wind as we could go and if it got to rough in the Gulf Stream head straight across, then up to Port Everglades by motor.
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It was a beautiful day with a lot of shipping we were skirting the Bahamas Bank. I had taken pictures of the sunrise and moonset, both happening at the same time. We let out the reefs in the main and rolled out the jib completely. The wind was going further East and going light, perfect for a Gulf Stream crossing.
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I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. We had brought the jerry cans of diesel back to the cockpit and added them to the port fuel tank. 26 gallons of diesel didn’t fill the tank. We would keep sailing as long as we could, then motor if we had to.
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I put a waypoint on the chartplotter at Port Everglades sea buoy and was surprised that we were almost on a direct line for it on our present course. We were a little below it, but the Gulf Stream should lift us up to it and then some. I made some meat sauce with an onion, a few mushrooms, two 1/2 lb hamburgers, 1/2 small jar of mild salsa, and a jar of Prego Mushroom spaghetti sauce. If it got rough in the Stream later I would have the sauce all ready to go, no scalding in the galley for the cook.
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For lunch I had leftover mahi pasta, pasta a bit soggy the second day but very tasty.
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We were now 110 miles to go to Port Everglades and the wind wasn’t cooperating, dropping below 10 knots. With all the great sailing we have had, we can’t complain now in the final stretch. I keep adjusting sails, trying to get something out of nothing. This isn’t a light air boat, it needs a good amount of wind to get going. I bear off to the West, just about 10 degrees left, OK, I pushed the -10 button on the autopilot, the boat bears off a bit and picks up some speed. The wind sends along a gust on top of our increase and now we are moving faster. My guess is that the Gulf Stream will carry us North and no matter how far West I take the boat, the increase in the North direction will bring us to Port Everglades that much sooner.
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The water is cobalt blue here with lots of gold colored sargasso weed. A large tree trunk goes by. We have discussions about what we have to do when we get in. Clear customs, get a rental car, secure the boat, pack up our things, and it what order to do them.
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The wind drops to 8 knots and boat speed to less than 4. Skipper comes up on deck and we discuss running the engine. He says we need to be within 100 miles of the sea buoy before he feels confident enough to run the engine. We are dawdling along. Skipper goes down to nap, he relieves me in just over an hour. We are watching a dark cloudy patch forward on the horizon to starboard. It looks like rain.
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As the rain gets closer Ron says my two pair of shorts hanging in the cockpit to dry will be wet, again, as they had been rained on just a day ago. I say at least I have some warning this time. I can see white caps in the sea in front of the rain patch. The wind increases. This is what we wanted, isn’t it? We flatten the jib and release the mainsheet. The wind increases to 25 knots, then hits 30. I use the helm to bring the jib up to the point where it is just pulling the boat along. If I let the boat bear off the jib will grab the wind, if I head up the jib will lose the wind and the boat will lose way, lose steering. Skipper comes back on deck and says to go head to wind, go directly into the wind. When I do so, the jib backs, overpowers the boat, and we bear off to starboard with the jib aback. I announce we are going to gybe and swing the boat around back to its original heading.
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Now skipper decides to drop the main, we start the engine, roll up the jib, head directly upwind, and let loose the main halyard. The main comes down partly and skipper goes forward in a harness, clipped into the jack lines that are tied off at the cockpit and go all the way forward. If he loses his footing and falls overboard the harness will keep him attached to the boat and we can pull him back aboard. Just a precaution.
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Skipper pulls down the main. Ron says the reefing lines will pull the main down and can be hauled in in the cockpit. We discuss the order on deck during such operations when you have to reef quickly or act quickly when a situation develops suddenly. We eventually raise the main with one reef in it and roll out the jib. I put the boat on autopilot when it is pointed in the right direction, but it bears off to starboard. It does this several times and I say there is something wrong with the autopilot. Skipper says he will go below and turn off all the navigation instruments and then turn them back on. I hand steer for a while while the instruments reboot and come to life. The autopilot now works properly.
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I start the chartplotter and find my waypoint for Port Everglades from a list of waypoints, select it, and click on NAVIGATE TO. Now we have a vector from out boat to the waypoint and we adjust our steering to match the vector, we are underway again for our destination.
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The wind dies. We motor. Sail when you can, motor when you must. Skipper says the rain squall must be blocking the wind. I say it’s 99.5 miles to port and skipper had said he wouldn’t motor until we were less than 100 miles to port.
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My watch is over, skipper relieves me, and I go below. Eventually the wind comes back again and we shut the engine and continue sailing toward the port.
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We go through the Chinese Fire Drill once again, after the wind come back to about 14 and the rain squall hit again. I can’t remember now if I was still on deck or down below cooking or in my bunk. I am in St. Marys now writing this, just about 24 hours later. So much happens when you come into port.
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We ended up sailing along with a reef in the main and the jib rolled almost all the way up. I had slept until I was getting tossed around in the bunk. The miles were counting down to Port Everglades. We are now all up on deck again. The sails get furled and we motor amongst large vessels. The approach to the port parallels the coast north from Miami. The row of high rise buildings on the beach are lit by the rising sun from the east and stand out against the dark clouds behind them, the horizon of the old night. The moon once again is setting into that darkness as the sun rises.
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We have a couple of hand held radios, my free radio whose batteries are depleted by someone leaving it powered on overnight, and Ron’s old handheld which we verify works by keying it and hearing it on the ship’s radio. There is no remote mic for the ship’s radio in the cockpit, so we need the hand helds.
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There is an announcement on the VHF by the Navy that they are conducting training exercises in the area just south of Port Everglades, just like last time we came in here, and other vessels have to stay out. We head in.
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We come right in the channel and make the right turn toward the big drawbridge and find out they will not open for a while, so we dawdle around doing circles and figure eights. Skipper says his famous Sherlock Holmes style sailing hat has vanished over the side, gone forever. When I look aft to see it I realize he means he lost it a while ago, when I was asleep. I do see something in the water and point to it. It is a black line, thinner than our black dock lines, but it is being dragged along. I think of what might happen in port here if that line wraps around the prop. There is a police boat just upwind of us and another coming down from the big drawbridge. We better get this right. Assistance can be costly.
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Skipper climbs down the sugar scoop with the boat hook and pulls the line up. I expect it all to come up, but it is snagged down below somewhere, on the rudder? on the saildrive? we secure it loosely, skipper says if it does get snagged it may rip off a fitting if it is tied permanently. We resume dawdling.
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The bridge announces it will be opening, and it slowly opens. We slowly approach and then rev up the engine to get through in a timely manner. There is more boat traffic now than when we were here last month. There are many large motor yachts stuck everywhere in every available canal and dock. It is the Ft. Lauderdale boat show, the biggest motor yacht boat show. Look at that one, how could they choose that dark brown color, not very nautical. Look at that one, kind of gaudy, don’t you think. Many many many very expensive yachts here and there and everywhere.
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We have this laptop as our chartplotter now, the ship’s chartplotter does not have as good detail or choice of maps. We all have cellphones running now with our favorite nav apps and we compare names of bridges, distances to them, and all are reluctant to be the one to call on the VHF for a bridge opening. I can never remember the boat’s name for some reason, but I do not get the chance to call anyone on the radio.
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I don’t know how many bridges we had to call or how many times we had to sit there and hold our position in the channel along with all the other boats going up or down the ICW. Maybe 7 bridges. No way the owner is going to come down and do this. He might get a captain to bring him down or maybe he will have the boat upgraded a bit before he uses it. It is fresh out of charter service and needs some attention.
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When we finish mocking the large power yachts and homes, yes we do not discriminate, if you have a home in Ft. Lauderdale along the shipping channel, we have dissected your property, much the same as our sick humor heaped on the motor yachts, even if you are not yet aboard your property, because we also disparaged the newly built but not yet finished developments, and then we had to get to work and drive the boat into a canal, then a canal off the canal, and find the dock to tie up at.
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We make our entrance into the canal. We can google the private residence that owns the dock and from the google map figure out which canal on our marine charts to turn into. It is narrow. We are going in and can’t turn around to get out. Skipper can do it, I have faith in him. Where the heck is this dock. “It has a single palm tree” is our description of it, but there are many docks, many palm trees and other trees, and which dock with a single palm tree is it. Now we can use cell phones, which is a lot easier than the satellite phone and its time delay every time you talk. The owner of the dock is put on conference call by the owner of the boat and we get the boat to the dock, tie up, and now have the unwelcome task of securing the boat, packing our things, jettisoning the garbage, and getting cleared into customs, getting transportation where we gotta go.
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It is strange on a boat. You can be totally exhausted, and then the alarm rings and you go out like a fighter when the bell goes off and do what you have to do. We can’t always sleep due to the motion or the noise and we get tired, running on energy that is hidden except from troops on a battlefield. We three on the boat are experienced and know what to do, hope someone else does this or that, and find tasks that suit us, then have to take on the other tasks that collectively we have left for last. Garbage, cleaning the heads, counters clean?, what about perishables, how does it look, can we leave now?
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We put the garbage on the dock. We have to go to the executive airport to clear customs now or within 24 hours. Ron says he has to go quickly because his wife is very sick. We have our passports, wallets, but leave everything else locked up on the boat, go around the residence looking for a garbage pail or dumpster, we find the garage open and the owner there happy, it seems, to see us, and skipper is calling an uber cab, and he and Ron wait at the side of the street for the cab, and I go with the owner into the unfinished house while he proudly describes what he is doing there. It reminds me of my younger brother in Hawaii showing me one of the constructions he is working at. I realize this guy is doing the same kind of thing my brother is doing and I feel a connection between Hawaii and Florida that maybe some other people might not catch. There are other cues, visual, the humidity and heat, palm trees, an energy, yet I realize that Hawaii won’t be flooded over like this place will.
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I have to hurry through the house tour, but I get it all in. The kitchen with it’s restaurant style cooktop, the young daughter’s purple and pink color scheme in her room, the barbecue outdoors that is massive with some kind of marble countertops, the unfinished pool, probably infinity toward the canal, the pallets of pavers to cover all of the torn up construction. It will be nice. I hurry over to rejoin my comrades who have been waiting at the side of the road for the uber driver.
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I have been trying to be polite while the owner proudly shows off his masterpiece house, what were my comrades doing at the side of the road? Well, they are both retirees and both have been racing drivers with lots of stories to tell. Mostly about who got killed and where and when. The uber driver is not going to get killed, by driving, but he is late, and these racing gentlemen are watching on their phones the driver’s progress, commenting on where he missed a turn. They call him and direct him how to get where we are.
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He arrives and we load up Ron’s duffel bag and we head for the “Executive Airport”. Apparently there is some discrepancy between the address given us by the customs officials who we contacted by phone and what the driver thinks is the executive airport. The conversation is hard to describe since it is in English and Spanish and two of us speak Spanish and three of us speak English. We could not agree on where to go. We call the customs people again and they say they have their own building at the executive airport. We fly off toward them and as we drive in, on a Sunday, we see many things closed up, the road ends at a building that says , Customs and Immigration, but it is closed and the gate that blocks the road to go further is also gated closed. A man comes out, a customs agent, and motions toward us, we go to him and follow him in. Wait here, Ron and the skipper sit on a short sofa-like seat while I stand or walk around while the wheels turn.
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I begin to get nervous. We are hired hands to bring a moderately big sailing yacht into Florida from the Caribbean and what about that yacht, what about what might have been put there before we got on board. I can see the experienced hands that refused this delivery say to themselves, that is a smuggle run, don’t get involved with it. Here we are, Skipper, no way, not a drug runner, Ron the crewman, who reminds me of Rodney Dangerfield in a strange way, no way, me, hey, I may have taken my love of sailing too far. We finally get taken in and passports stamped. Good to go.
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Now I wonder, what if this yacht had 1 1/2 tons of smack on board. No inspection. Cursory passing of the captain and crew into the USA. What about Trump’s wall at Mexico. So dumb.
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We let Ron take his stuff along with the uber driver to Coconut Grove while we are dropped into a Dunkin Donuts. Coffee. Chocolate Donuts. Call another uber. Back to the boat.
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I’m beginning to feel tired. Skipper is sitting at the nav station working on his invoice from the trip. I got to close my eyes I say to him and I fall back on the cushion and don’t wake until almost 1 AM.
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I awake hearing something running on deck, I call out, “Ford,” he replies it must be an animal or something. I go to the companionway and open the hatch and stick my head up. There is nothing.
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I go back to the bunk and try to sleep. Younger sailors may have more leeway in getting to sleep and waking up, but I can report that older sailors have a lot of trouble sleeping and once awake, well, they are awake.
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The end result is me making blueberry pancakes as the sun rises. The coffee has already been on and is ready. We are both rested and eating pancakes and coffee and now we will finish up the boat.
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The flat jackstays that are the lines we clip onto are still on the bow and back to the cockpit. Skipper retrieves them and coils them up. We climb and stow the main, zip up the sail cover zipper.
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Our gear gets stowed in the boot of the rental car. Bags and bags of trash go into the home owner’s garbage can, filling it to overflowing. Off we go to I-95 North to St. Marys.

Bahama Bank

07 November 2017 | Great Bahama Bank
Capn Andy/85 degree Tradewinds
When I got up for my morning 8 AM to 11 AM watch, I got up almost an hour early. The boat was shaking us around again. Ron was on watch and had let out a bit of the jib. He said maybe we should roll it back up to where it was, I said no, we’d be OK. We got a huge roll on an unusual wave and I heard things clank down below. One of the barf buckets slid across the cockpit, an ominous sign.
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Down below, my precious pot of coffee was nowhere to be seen. Coffee grounds and coffee were splattered all around the stove, all over the clean dishes in the dish drain. The coffee pot had vanished behind the stove, leaving a debris trail down there. Fortunately I knew how to disassemble the stove top to simplify the cleaning process. Unfortunately in the middle of the cleaning, the boat rolled again and the stove top, which is on a hinge, swung back down on the back of my hand, also smearing a coffee grounds stain onto my otherwise clean tee-shirt. Nautical language followed. I cleaned things up and started another pot of coffee, rinsed the shirt with cold water and repeatedly squeezed out the stain, but it will still be there, although faint, I will always see it and grumble.
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The wind was up and down, from low teens to 20 knots, and the seas likewise would go from benign to large rollers. It would be like this till we got to the Old Bahama Channel which blocks any seas from the East with its shoals.
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We will arrive there sometime in the middle of the night, then begin a gradual arc to the northeast and meet up with the Gulf Stream on our approach to Miami. The owner had found a slip on the Miami River and we should be able to pass our mast under the 3 75 foot clearance bridges along the way. We think our air draft is about 73 1/2 feet.
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The forecast is for the North wind to slowly clock around to the ENE and drop to about 10 knots. If we arrive at the Gulf Stream with an East wind, that is good, if we still have a North wind, not so good. It would be nice to ride the Gulf Stream for a bit and pick up that strong current on our last leg.
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All three of us were on deck somehow, so I said I would make an early lunch out of the mahi filets and sauteed them. I made sandwiches with big thick mahi pieces and a sauce made of mayo and catsup. There are still 2 1/2 filets in the fridge but time is running out to use them. Still good right now. The boxes of muffins are down to just 3 muffins, but they are now moldy. No more muffins. The bags of bread, hoagie rolls, have been in use for the mahi, for peanut butter sandwiches, and maybe we’ll have burgers later today and use of more of them. They were originally two dozen rolls and now we’ve started into the second dozen and I hope they don’t turn out like the muffins. Otherwise we have tons of food, yogurt, eggs, small ham, hot dogs, salad greens and sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms, plus we have dry goods, pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, and a couple of chocolate bars. There are two ripening avocados, pico de galo, and with one of the onions we can make guacamole.
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After eating the messy mahi sandwiches we talked about the new destination on the Miami River, a slip at a private residence. The owner has made arrangements but he has again made a
questionable choice. We are sure the mast is at least 73 feet off the water, maybe 74 1/2 feet, and on the Miami River are at least two fixed bridges listed as having 75 feet of clearance.
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The wind is veering, or clocking, going aft on our starboard reach now becoming a broad reach. Apparent wind has dropped and our speed is hovering around 6 1/2. Acceptable but not cheering us as the 7‘s and 8‘s had. The owner had wondered why we felt like we were flying at 8 knots but feel like we are standing still at 6. The boat seems to come alive at the higher speeds.
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A new satellite phone call to the owner has us going to Palm Beach to finish the delivery instead of Miami. I was now going off watch and made egg drop soup by dropping beaten eggs into a quart of Knorr chicken noodle soup made from a dry mix.
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I couldn’t sleep and once again it was the chinese firedrill on deck in a rain squall. We were becoming well trained in reducing sail, getting wet in the rain, and getting the boat settle down in high winds. This time the wind also abated and we were poking along at 6 1/2 knots. I made popcorn down below and reviewed the detailed chart of the entrance at Old Bahama Channel. The channel shoals from over 1000 meters to 2 at the edge of the channel. The distance from our waypoint to the shoal is only about 2 1/2 miles.
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The rain squall was one of a bunch that blocked our view of other shipping, and they sent wet rain onto the cockpit bimini making the only relatively dry spot the lee cockpit seat up forward under the dodger. A ship astern disappeared in the rain and didn’t reappear after the squall passed. I heard intermittent chatter on the VHF and saw two lights to the North. It was in the vicinity of the shoals that lie along the right side of the Old Bahama Channel. Perhaps they were Cuban fishermen talking to each other on the radios and fishing on the bank.
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After going off watch and getting some sleep I was on duty again and relieved Ron. I made a couple of super egg toasties for us for breakfast. We were sailing up the Old Bahama Channel and a lot of shipping was coming in the opposite direction but well spaced away from us to the southwest. We were to the northeast of the westbound lane, kind of like being on the shoulder of a super highway. I kept moving waypoints so that our track ran closer to the shoal and allowed plenty of room for ship traffic.
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Skipper came on to relieve me and spent considerable time studying the chart of the Bahama bank. We altered course to cross the bank, avoiding an 11 foot depth near the edge. We had about 25 feet average depth along our new route.

Stowaway On Board

07 November 2017 | Old Bahama Channel, Caribbean Sea
Capn Andy/85 degree Tradewinds
I awoke after 1 1/2 hours of sleep. This is not unusual. I came on deck and then went down in the galley to make a couple of sandwiches. I experimented. I liked ham and tomato sandwiches with mayo, so I made ham salad out of diced ham, diced tomatoes, and mayo.
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Instead of getting more sleep I remained on deck and we experienced some more glorious sailing with 15-20 on the beam and a steady boat speed of 8 1/2 knots. I tried some fine tuning of our sails and autopilot, as we were 1.7 miles to the right of our intended track. Great Inagua Island was coming up on our starboard, so it would be better to keep to our track than stray from it. In the planning stage the route is examined at highest detail to make sure there are no rocks, shoals, or other nasties along the way. On some vector charts objects that are visible at extreme zoom in are not visible when you zoom out. So, a route planned on a chart with less detail might have a buoy or a rock waiting, only to be found by hitting it or by taking the time to zoom in.
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By coming left 5 degrees, our cross track error was eliminated quickly, our speed improved, and we were going in the direction of our next waypoint, not off on an angle. The distance to the waypoint was now about 160 miles, less than a day at these speeds.
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Dinner was leftover pasta with meat sauce plus a new salad with cheddar and orange sweet peppers. Because we were sleeping in the daytime in shifts, almost like nighttime watch standing, dinner was dished out individually and Ron got his while I was asleep.
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A sail that appeared on the horizon far behind us to the East gradually grew larger and passed us to starboard and too far off to make out much more than it was a sailing vessel. Because it was passing us and we were doing over 8 knots, it must be either a very large sailboat or a catamaran.
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All three of us ended up on deck when Ron was coming on watch to relieve the skipper and I was up there unable to sleep. Skipper reported we have completed 1/3 of the route and are ahead of schedule. We are also saving diesel and making good time under sail. We pass just south of Great Inagua Island. A ship passes us starboard to starboard when we notice our starboard running light is out. Uh oh. It comes back on.
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I took a look on this computer at our route using OpenCPN and I couldn’t find my GPS puck. I had another, but it hadn’t worked on this computer. Fortunately I had taken notes when I got it to work on the Getac computer and saved the notes on this one. This has been written up on the blog in the past and it involves reconfiguring GPSD to recognize an ACM device. When I made the change the puck worked and of course I found the missing Microsoft Pharos puck.
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Once again I looked ahead on the route and it became apparent that we needn’t bother with the Cape Lucrecia separation zone, once we were clear of Great Iguana we could head straight for the entrance of Old Bahama Channel, so I changed our next waypoint to Old Baha Cha E, which was how it was entered in the chartplotter. The chartplotter is limited in length of names. This could create confusion such as P Cana (Punta Cana) being mistaken for Panama Canal. The waypoints can be sorted out so that they can be in groups which enables waypoints of same name to be put into different groups. P Cana would be in the Greater Antilles group, for instance, and Panama Canal would be in Western Caribbean, or in its own group of approaches to the canal.
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Skipper wanted to put 2 reefs in the main before nightfall and I thought that might be excessively cautious. We already had one reef in it and a forecast of 20, we could just roll up more of the jib. The previous night we had been battling with a rain squall and wished we had a second reef in the main, so maybe that influenced his decision. As it turned out we lost no speed because as he said, the boat stands up more and projects more sail area. The motion of the boat was better and if a rain squall happened we would be well prepared.
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The 3 man 3 hour watch scheme was working very well. It automatically rotates the watches so no one gets the same watch each day, over and over. There is a 6 hour gap between watches so the watchstander can get sleep if needed. We were exhausted after the rain squall chinese firedrill in the middle of the night and we kept to our schedule during the day and caught up on sleep.
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I was able to get off watch at 5 PM and have 6 hours till I was on at 11 PM, then off at 2 AM until 8 AM, plenty of time for sleep. The previous night I stood 8 PM to 11PM, then off till 5 AM, probably the worst of the rotating schedule, but still enough to get almost 6 hours of sleep.

To the Old Bahama Channel

07 November 2017 | Old Bahama Channel, Caribbean Sea
Capn Andy/85 degree Tradewinds
Although we want to sail, there is no wind, the sea is glass, the sunset is brilliant, we follow the waypoints around the east end of Republica Dominica, following our long route to Miami. We are using a 2 hour watch schedule which turns out to be a little too busy, each watchstander has to get up twice in the night and try to get to sleep twice. 2 on and 4 off, not enough time to get sleep. We talk about changing to 3 or 4 hour watches.
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In the morning I make a small pot of coffee and have a muffin and a bagel. Ron, going off watch, has a yogurt and I try one also. The two hours is over so quickly, I head back down to sleep. During the night I mistakenly got up when the genoa backwinded and began banging lead blocks on deck. I thought it was someone knocking on the stateroom door to wake me.
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We had a show and tell session about the chartplotter and I learned a trick from the skipper. The data display can be changed with the chartplotter’s rotary knob. The data is in 5 pages, each page dedicated to one theme, like engine, environment (mostly wind on this boat), navigation, sailing, and a page called rolling road (which is a steering aid). We have weather routing information that calls for changes to our preplanned route. One change is to pass Cabo Frances Viejo (Cape Old Frank according to Webb Chiles) at about 15 miles off, then pass Luperon at about 30 miles. Our arrival at these places will enhance our chance to pick up some wind. We can’t motor the whole way. We need wind to complete the greater portion of this trip.
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At lunch time I made a concoction with the mahi mahi. I sautéed onions and a piece of the fish in olive oil, then added them to a bowl of 2 beaten eggs, broke up the fish and onions, and poured the whole mess back into the pan, folded it over like an omelet, cut it into 3 pieces when it was done and laid them onto sandwich rolls.
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On our way to Old Man Frank the wind began to fill in. We raised the main and rolled out the genoa and soon we were able to kill the engine. We would have to run it or the generator from time to time to keep the batteries charged up. We thought the house bank of batteries were bad or had a bad battery or a bad cell. They seemed to never charge above 12.8 volts and when the charger was shut off they dropped to 12.4 or 12.3.
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I decided to make meat sauce with pasta for dinner and include julienne vegetables in the sauce. It turned out to be a disaster, not because the meal didn’t come out edible, but because the galley was lethal in a rough sea. Additionally it was hot below because skipper didn’t want to let any salt spray into the cabin. I flew into a tantrum when skipper said why don’t we reduce this motion in the boat so we can eat, so we can eat?, how about the guy down below in the heat who is getting thrown at the hot stove repeatedly?
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We were doing 3 hour watches so the watch stander would have 6 hours between watches to get some sleep. My first watch was the 8 to 11 PM. I would have to stand the 5 to 8 AM watch the next morning. It started out just fine with the boat making 7 and 8 knots with full working sail. We were on a long starboard reach of about 280 miles from Cape Old Frank to the separation zones off the Cuban coast at Cape Lucrecia. Our weather router suggestion to go 30 miles off the coast of DR at Luperon was abandoned. We had good wind and as long as it held out we could reel off the miles to the West.
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Skipper came on to relieve me of my watch. I went below and had a very difficult time in the starboard forward stateroom. The motion of the boat was extreme and it was like trying to go to sleep with someone tossing you back and forth to wake you up. Then I was actually dozing after about 2 hours but there were a series of staccato noises from up on deck. It took a couple of moments for me to realize that something was wrong up there. The noises were not the usual noises of sail adjustment or the mechanical noises of the engine, generator, or free wheeling sail drive, all of which add to the cacophony down below. It sounded like we were getting hit with a blast of wind and the sails and sheets were going wild.
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I came up the companionway and Ron was there and skipper was frozen at the wheel, wrestling with the helm while the boat laid over in a gust from a rain squall. I only had my cut-off shorts on, so the cold rain shocked me awake as I ran over to the port jib winch. This is not a disaster tale or one of great seamanship. The winch is electric. The lazy genoa sheet was on the other winch on the starboard side and skipper took up the slack to try to reduce the flapping of the sail. I cast off my sheet and wrapped the roller furling line around the winch and pushed a button. A couple of moments later the genoa was neatly rolled up on the roller furler.
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Next we attacked the main. It was too large for this wind so we dropped it a bit and took up on the 1st reefing line, then pulled it up tight again with the halyard. Ron got to grind the one winch in the cockpit that wasn’t electric, a tough job but somebody had to do it. Done, sail reduced, boat still on course, plus I had taken my shower without depleting the boat’s water supply.
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Ron was due to take over the watch and I was left to go back down to my bunk and try to get sleep. I ended up coming back on deck after a couple hours and relieved Ron early.
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The rain squalls were over and I began tweaking the sails. The battery bank was down to 11.8, so I ran the engine at 1500 turns and had the boat motor sailing in the 8 knot range. Our float plan called for an average of 6 knots.
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I began to feel very tired, made a pot of coffee and ate a bagel with peanut butter. The watch was only 3 hours long and skipper came up on deck at 8 AM. He had discovered diesel leaking from the starboard fuel tank, so he cleaned some of that up. It smelled of diesel down below. We talked about the rain squalls and how we were all tired and having trouble sleeping. I went below to try to sleep. I had 6 hours before I had to stand watch again.
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