10/5/06 Before heading out this season we decided to give Dream Chaser a fresh, new look with a new paint job. We were hauled out at the Aqua Vi Marina in Puerto La Cruz, Venezeula on October 1, 2006. This is just a dinghy ride away down the canal from Bahia Redonda Marina where we are renting an apartment while the boat is in the yard.
After just one week, she was ready to get her first coat of primer on the deck. The paper you see everywhere is covering any teak, stainless or other parts that do not get painted. The early 1980's "baby blue" non-skid on the deck will soon be redone in light grey. The rest of the boat will remain the same color.
All the work here is all by hand. They do not use any sanding machines or other equipment and the entire project is done right in the boat yard rather than inside somewhere. Granted, there is a bit of dust that flies and it sometimes tends to rain in the afternoon, but so far so good on the conditions.
10/8/2006 This morning at 8:30 all the workers had a beer before starting work in the shade of the boat. That's a common practice around here! They worked very fast today and got the blue waterline stripe, red stripe and gold cove stripe sanded off before 3:00. The sides were primed later in the afternoon. The work is going much faster than we predicted.
The deck now has 2 coats of bright white primer on the smooth surfaces. This allows them to be able to see any imperfections such as cracks and nicks in the fiberglass. The imperfections will be filled then sanded and then the entire surface will be sanded smooth before the paint is sprayed on. The non-skid will be worked on later.
10/17/06 Check out that shine! The first 2 coats of paint have been applied to the hull. Next they will lightly sand the entire hull to remove any imperfections out of the paint and fill anymore nicks that they missed after priming. We are really pleased with the way it looks and Jacko, the paint manager, told us today it will be done in 2 weeks!
10/25/2007 This picture was taken late yesterday afternoon when we had a big storm with a torrential downpour that lasted into the evening. The good thing about it was that it has settled the dust and dirt in the yard so when they go to paint tomorrow, there hopefully won't be so much dust flying around.
10/26/2007 This morning we arrived at the boat at 8:30 and they were already preparing the hull for the final two coats of paint. They filled and sanded a few more nicks that were missed, washed and dried the entire hull, and tore off and replaced some of the old paper that was retaining water. The entire deck was taped and papered for over spray. Next, while they wiped the sides of the hull with a tack cloth, they also used the air sprayer from the paint gun to blow off any particles of dust. Then came "Papa." His real name is Ellio and he is the master painter who sprays on the final coats. The second to last coat is all white, but the very last coat is a splash of white mixed with mostly transparent paint for the ultimate shine and to give it depth.
Ellio checks out the consistancy of the paint that Carlo mixed before adding more to the sprayer.
10/31/2007 On the 30th the topsides were lightly sanded and painted with light grey textured paint. The Awlgrip texture is like very fine sand that is added to the paint so the deck surface won't be slippery. On the hull, we asked Ellio to raise the waterline. This means raising the stipes from where they were before on the bow about 4 inches and then gradually taper the stripes to the back of the boat where they were before. Ellio used masking tape to mark the areas for painting the stripes. He did this over and over and over again across all 45 feet of boat (on both sides) to be sure his lines were straight. It was nerve racking watching him. Then the entire boat was re-papered again. Today the upper gold cove stripe, the small red stripe and the large blue water line strip were painted. Ellio custom mixed the blue for us since it was not on the color chart. We also picked out the colors for the name which will be put on tomorrow.
11/11/2007 After a few touch ups, 3 coats of fresh antifouling bottom paint to keep the barnicals from attaching themselves, and the name put on, Dream Chaser is ready to be "splashed". We still have a bit of work to do such as varnishing the teak on the deck, re-bedding the stantions and a few other fittings on the deck that we haven't gotten to, cleaning the interior of all the sanding dust and putting the sails back on etc... All of those projects will be done when we are back at Bahia Redonda Marina.
We hope to set sail soon after Thanksgiving or when our projects are completed. Early Thanksgiving wishes to all of you back home.
|Year Four September 2007 - June 2008||
04/23/2007, Cruising the Leeward Islands March 15-April 23rd:
We caught this beautiful Mahi-Mahi while sailing on our passage from Nevis to Antigua.
Greetings friends and family from Antigua in the Leeward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean. We are safe, well and having a wonderful time. Our goal since we made the trip from Venezuela has been to spend more time in the islands that we didn't spend time in last season.
But first of all, we wanted to mention that we had our first guests onboard for a whirlwind week of cruising some of the islands. They are good friends Brad and Marilyn who have a sailboat on Lake Pepin, our old stomping grounds in Lake City, MN. They joined us in St. Martin and we covered a lot of water in a weeks time and packed in many, many activities. We sailed to Statia and dove with a dive company there. We also hiked up to the rim of the dormant Quill Volcano on Statia, then sailed to St. Barts for scuba diving and watching the mega yacht "Bucket Race". We caught a fish while underway, sailed into squalls, and made a dive at Isle Fourche to name just a few of our activities. They got a taste of the true cruising life, like meeting some of our cruising friends at the St. Martin Yacht club, hoisting the dinghy every night to prevent it from being stolen, dining '"street side" in Grand Case, having several "rolly" uncomfortable nights sleep, and last but not least not having much time to sleep, as a cruisers life begins bright and early with coffee at 7am!
Since then we have made stops in St. Kitts and Nevis to do a little island touring and biking. We have mainly been traveling by ourselves but we arrived in Antigua over a week ago to catch up with sailing friends and to watch the Annual Classic Sailboat Regatta. It is a spectacular sight to see the gaffed rigged, wooden masted, (some all-wooden) classic sailing yachts of all sizes up to 100 feet, and they are all in perfect mint condition.
Yesterday, we spotted what we believe to be humpback whales. We were sailing from Green Island off of Antigua back to Falmouth Harbor when we saw a huge splash about a 1/2 mile off our port bow. They were huge, black, with white undersides and probably 30-40 feet. They were breaching, spouting and splashing their tales. One actually surfaced directly in front of us as were sailing along and came up behind the boat and breached only about 4 boat lengths behind us. Unfortunetly we didn't have the camera out becuase it was a little rough!
We don't have much else to report, but here are just a few pictures we thought you might enjoy.
Cheeseburgers in Paradise! Jimmy Buffett was live in concert on the island of Anquilla March 24th. The venue was small, just a couple thousand crazy parrotheads, plus Jimmy was making a music video.
Lake City sailing friends Brad & Marilyn of Minnepaolis flew to St. Martin for a whirlwind-week long sailing adventure onboard Dream Chaser.
Lucia "hanging out" on top of our dive gear.
Looking out over Anse Columbier anchorage at St. Barts
|Year Three October 2006 - June 2007||
Our passage on February 8th from Isla Margarita in Venezuela to St. Thomas in the US Virgins took a total of 74 hours and 475 miles across the Caribbean Sea. The first day and a half at sea was not what we had expected nor was the weather predicted to be bad. It started off ok, with 5 foot seas and the wind about 90 degrees off. It was a nice beam reach and we were cruising along at 7 knots. But as we sailed further north, we headed into a dense cloud bank that had no hope of blue sky anywhere. The cloud bank did not contain any rain or squalls but it did contain a whole lot of wind. For about 9 hours we had winds 18 to 23 knots. That doesn't seem like much but the wind whipped up the seas to a good 8 feet and some were probably closer to 10. The waves were also very close together making for a very uncomfortable ride. The boat handled the conditions well, but we could not use the autopilot due to the steep waves and the stress it was putting on the motor. Shane manually steered the boat for the majority of the time riding the waves as best he could to make the ride less lumpy. By late in the day things were beginning to settle down. We could see some breaks in the clouds and we were crossing our fingers that when nightfall came it would stay quiet and no more wind or squalls would pop up. Well, we got lucky and the remainder of the trip was unbelievably calm! We lost most of the wind and the seas died down to a nice little 4-foot swell. The stars came out and most of the clouds moved off to the west. It is amazing how much a little extra wind can make a passage miserable. Anyway, now it was so calm we had to turn the motor on to make some tracks. It was such a good passage the remainder of the way, we did boat projects underway! We pulled into Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas 3 days later around noon.
Family Onboard In The British Virgin Islands
For the next 3 weeks we played in the US and British Virgin Islands. The scuba diving was excellent and we dove the Wreck of the Rhone and the Invisibles among other locations. We spent 3 days with sailing friends Larry and Diane from Connecticut who were taking a land vacation on Jost Van Dyke. We took them out for a day sail and spent a lot of time catching up. We also had a blast with Sara's sister Susie and husband Brian who came on a two week charter vacation in the BVI. We met up with them several different times in different anchorages, sailed out to Anegada together and snorkeled off Cow Wreck Beach and also dined out in Cane Garden Bay, Saba Rock and had lobster at the Anegada Reef Hotel.
Sailing In The BVI
Now, we are happy to report that we are in St. Martin in the Leeward Islands. We made the 80 mile overnight passage from Virgin Gorda in the BVI this past Monday evening with about 9 other boats. The passage was a smooth one with a nice, easy long 5 foot swell and 13 knots of wind. It was an absolute perfect passage! But the weather since we arrived has turned for the worse and it has been very rainy, windy and cold (73 degrees) for the past 3 days. We will be here in St. Martin for about a week and then head to the island of Anquilla where we have tickets to see Jimmy Buffet in concert out on the dunes.
Cold & Rainy In St. Maarten
|Year Three October 2006 - June 2007||