China Rose

20 July 2016 | Riverside Marina, 2350 Old Dixie Highway Ft. Pierce Florida 34946
08 January 2016
06 January 2016 | Gilligans Island, PR
25 July 2015 | Luperon
25 July 2015 | Cacios to Luperon sail
25 July 2015 | Luperon
24 July 2015
20 May 2015 | Georgetown, Exuma Bahamas
03 May 2015 | Staniel Cay
15 April 2015
05 April 2015 | Spanish Wells
04 April 2015 | GiGi and Rods wedding
03 April 2015
02 April 2015
31 March 2015 | 25 25'N:76 35'W
20 November 2014
15 November 2014 | Annapolis, MD to Charleston, SC
07 November 2014 | Departure 7 AM ETA 11/8 6PM

China Rose for Sale

20 July 2016 | Riverside Marina, 2350 Old Dixie Highway Ft. Pierce Florida 34946
It is with heavy heart that Terry and I have decided to sell China Rose after nearly 10 years of adventures. She has taken us to New York, all around the Chesapeake Bay, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands. I have been sailing her through the islands for the past year and half. We have priced her to see - $24,500.

SEE THE PHOTO GALLARY IN THE RIGHT COLUMN - SELECT THE ALBUM DETAILS CHINA ROSE Location: Riverside Marina, 2350 Old Dixie Highway Ft. Pierce Florida 34946

Sails are in good condition. The Genoa was just re-stitched by Quantum Sails
Storm sail
Asymmetrical spinnaker
Standing rigging was done in 2014.
Running rigging is in good shape.
300 Ah AGM house battery and 100 Ah AGM starting battery.
2 85W solar panels
LED anchor light
LED tricolor running lights
alternate LED running deck lights
raw water wash down pump
Engle refrigerator / freezer
Large original ice box

William Crealock Designer

Sail number 326
Hull Number 373
Columbia 36 1969-1973
PHRF 156
Sail Area 557 sf
Vertical clearance 45.8
LOA 35' 9"
LOW 28' 3"
Beam 10' 6"
Draft 5' 5"
Displacement 12,000
Balast 5,000

Edson pedestal wheel steering
Garmin 546 chart plotter (2016)
Compass - 6 inch
Wind speed and direction indicator
Knot meter
ICOM VHF M402 radio with remote mike
AM/FM/USB radio and cd player
Wireless router with Bullet booster

Yanmar YM30 29 hp 1000 hours (2010)
Racor 500 fuel filter
Yanmar secondary 100um fuel filter
1 - 29 gallon fuel tanks
1 - SS deck fill plates

#15 Rocna anchor
130 feet 3/8 G4 anchor chain
25 lb Holdfast Plow anchor
25 feet 5/8 3 strand nylon anchor rode
#22 Super Hooker anchor
Anchor roller on custom bow plate

Complete cockpit enclosure with screens
Main sail with cover
Lazy jacks
14 ft spinnaker pole
150% roller furling Genoa with Sunbrella
Cursing asymmetrical spinnaker
Storm head sail
Cover - pedestal, winches, stove pile and hand rails

New aluminum spreaders (2010)
New quarter stays (2010)
New side stays (2014)
2 - mast set winches
2 - cockpit winches

Automatic bulge pump
30 gallon water tank
Water filter
Hand shower
On demand water pump with equalization tank
High pressure raw water wash-down pump
Composting Airhead

Garhauer heavy duty hoist
Black IMRON paint on hull
White Awlgrip paint on deck
Beige Awlgrip non-skid
Double vinul-covered life lines
2 - Dorado boxes with SS cowl vents
1 Nicro SS day/night solar vents
Custom fiberglass propane locker cover
Lewmar opening ports
Emergency tiller
Edson entertainment table
SS swim ladder
BBQ grill
10' Kayak
5 - five gallon diesel tanks
1 - 5 gallon gas tank
2 - 5 gallon water jugs

Engle refrigeration
Large ice box
Force 10 marine propane range and oven
10 pound propane tank
Newport diesel heater by Dickerson
On demand heater pump
Brass clock
Brass barometer
Brass ships bell
Brass weater glass
Teak key box
Custom book shelf
Wine glass rack
5 fire extinguishers
Smoke detector
Custom bed sheets

40 amp alternator Yanmar
2000 / 4000 watt surge power inverter
Xantera True charge 20+/40+ Battery Charger
300 Ah AGM house battery bank (2015)
100 Ah AGM starting battery
2 bank smart battery charger
2 Kaysera 87 watts solar panels
LED Tricolor running light
LED deck running lights
Steaming light
30 amp shore power cord
2 GFI protected AC circuits
2 cabin fans
LED cabin lights

Water Toys

Cajo de Muertos

08 January 2016
Calm Weather
1.8.2015 25 KM from Gilligan’s Island to Isla Cajo de Muertos (Coffin Island). I decided to skip Ponce. The harbor is deep - 30 feet and it’s full of mooring balls which forces me to go to the Ponce Yacht Club to take a slip and probably $45 a night. Tulum III and China Rose sailed out of Gilligan’s at 1AM. The crews - Ever After, Silent Dream, both already in Ponce, PR and Tulum III are all headed for Salinas for various reasons. The reef exit from Gilligan’s was a little touchy. It was just not clear that the water was deep and hard to tell where the reef started and ended at night. All we can do is trust the Garmin chart and GPS coordinates. We exited without issues. Tulum III went first and quickly got ahead doing about 5.5 knots I was moving slower at about 4.8K on average. We kept radio contact on the hour through the night. For hours off in the distance I saw a field of blinking red lights. It was strange because it was more like a runway than a sea way. For hours I wondered, “What is that?” Was it a new kind of warning beacon or a new navigation aid or a really large port. Only in the daylight did I realize it was field of wind generator towers. About 5 AM I pulled off to Coffin Island. With no moon I could see the outlined of the island but no detail and certainly I could not tell where the safe water was. Not wanting to enter the anchorage in the dark I shut down the motor and hove to until daylight. I quickly moved toward the beach and set the anchor in about 15 feet of water. I took a 2 hour nap, had some lunch and dropped the kayak in the water and paddled about to get some depth readings and get out of the swell. DNR had a few day moorings here but nothing for overnight. They’re too close the iron-shore for my comfort. Later porpoise came by the boat to blowing their signature exhale and spray next to the boat. After lunch I took the Nikon camera and hiked up to the lighthouse, toured the museum and generally walked around the developed beach area. It obvious there’s lots more activity on the weekends. I was the only boater. A couple of power boats stop briefly but didn’t spend any time all.

Gilligans Island

06 January 2016 | Gilligans Island, PR
1.6.2016 Ever After and Silent Dream sailed out at 5AM for Ponce. The east entrance around the reef looked good from the charts - we entered the day before from the west - and I heard them on channel 69 clearing the reef shortly after pulling anchor. Tuolumne III and China Rose stayed to explore the island. After tidying up a little, listening to Chris Parker on Caribbean Weather Center, Elisa, Rudolph and Bob explored Gilligan's Island underwater. We swam the mangrove channels which were full of tiny fish. Mangroves are after all the nursery of the water. I didn't realize how undercut the mangrove roots are. They jut out for the sea bed sometimes cut back in 3 or 4 feet at the bottom and provide shelter for the little fish to hide in. Then we swam around the entire island. Not much reef but lots of sea grass and mangrove on the ocean side also.

Gringo Baseball

25 July 2015 | Luperon
Today was good. Started out watching a game of Dominican baseball, then played a game with a whole gang of Dominicans, had a beer and a long chat with sailor Hank, and then made a lovely dinner.

I see on Facebook that my friends on Blue Moon and Shenanigans have made it all the way to Samana. It looks like they had a wonderful trip there and the seas were mellow. That's good news for all of us.

The ball game was fun but it's a good thing I once played baseball because I had no idea what was happening from the conversation. But a really fun morning with the players and all the kids running around. Clearly the players make due with whatever they have. No uniforms although many have major league shirts, caps and even pants. Just nothing that matches. All the gloves and even balls are well worn to the point of falling apart.

Then it was our turn. Gringos against the Dominicans. Well the big players disappeared and now at noon in the heat of the day. This is a pickup game so anyone most any age can play. Since some of us are pretty bad at this slow pitch baseball the rule is no strike outs. In other words bat until you hit the thing and you get on base or get tagged out.

So the kids under 5 or 6 get to run for the gringos. We bat and they run. Thereby saving gringos from heat stroke and earning a soda at the end of the game. They run with all their might.

I have to report my batting was miserable. I lost count of how many swing I took and at one point I offered to let the 5 year old bat for me but there was no relief. I keep on embarrassing myself. I did run myself on my first hit and brought in one of the winning runs.

When we took the field I found an old ratty left-hand glove. For some reason the third finger pocket was stuffed up so i curled that finger up. It was a good thing no hitter ever sent a ball to me in left field. Not to mention my throwing arm is about 25 years old. I'm not sure I could send a ball back to the infield. I hope I will improve for next week's game. Everyone was quite gracious.

Gringos and Dominicans sat down for a beer after the game which was great fun. I had a long conversation with Hank who doesn't really look like a sailor and he keeps to himself a lot. Turned out he's 63 I think, recently retired physician, internal medicine. So we talked a long time about the different phases of life and career. He basically supported what I feel. He wants to sail while he can for the next decade and see the Caribbean and perhaps sail across the Atlantic. He bought ans refitted 46' Amel so he has the boat to do it in. For the immediate future he's heading south in the fall.

On the colorful side this town appears to be full of guys - that's probably less than 10 but I seem to keep meeting them - who came here on a boat 6, 8 or more years ago in search of a girl and sold the boat and moved on to shore. I can't say for the most part they're the most likeable people but there some of Luperon's artifacts.

Then I walked up to the vegi stand and bought eggplant. I wipped up some onion, egg plant in hot spicy Thai sauce. Very tasty and quick. Sunday is the boaters swap meet at 8:30. A little early for me but I'll get there and check it out.

Luperon Baseball

Sailing Cacios to Luperon

25 July 2015 | Cacios to Luperon sail
OK. I just realized due to exhaustion I failed to describe our crossing from Turks and Cacios to the Dominican Republic.

Few things challenge my confidence like sailing solo on the open ocean, alone with the wind blowing and the waves crashing against the boat. In the dark of night it is so easy to get turned around and the only way you can feel where you are is when you're into the wind. It tests my confidence and the boat as I click on the auto pilot and step from the seeming safety of the cockpit onto the foredeck to clear lines, reef the main, or clean up crashing fuel cans, all the while holding on with a finger or two as the boat pitches at a 30 degree angle cutting through the waves and knowing there is no backup. No one who will call for help if I go over. Actually not a person for 50 miles around. 

I left Back Creek in Eastport last October, setting sail for the Caribbean via the Intracoastal Waterway and then through the Bahamas, finally reaching the Turks and Caicos in June. The weather blew hard for three weeks while I hunkered down in Providenciales, but now I was ready to get off the dock. So when the wind calmed from the mid-20s and was forecast to be about 16-18 knots for at least three days, we grabbed the weather window and set sail, five boats in all. Three of us left together - my buddy boat Wayne on Emma A, a 1990-ish 30' custom-built steel monohull,  Mitch and Ruth on Brezeen, a newish Catalina 42, and me on China Rose, my 1970s vintage Columbia 36.  Two others would leave later. Wayne and I set sail at 6 am for the 40 or so miles to Six Hill Cay for wind protection and a good night's sleep. Brezeen, with her powerful motor, left three hours later and took a different route. We did not see Brezeen until the following afternoon.   The wind appeared to come right from our layline so I tacked out and over all day, resisting the temptation to turn on the motor and bang into a two to three foot chop.  

What strikes me about the Caicos banks is how shallow they are.  Of course, I have charts and I was warned: "Don't sail at night! These waters require visual navigating." Specifically, travel in calm water and look for coral while standing on the bow and avoid any dark patches that may be a rock or a reef, they said.  Looking around, there was a good two foot chop so I could forget the clear water idea.  And standing on the bow looking for coral is a difficult task with only one person on the boat. We were many miles from any island and in some cases in less than seven feet of water.  Considering I draw 5' 6", it was a little unsettling. 

As the sun set, I broke down and turned on the motor so I could make better time toward the anchorage.  After a short while I checked the bilge and realized I had developed a fuel leak and had a half a gallon of diesel floating in the bilge.  I needed the motor but didn't want to waste the fuel so I throttled back. 

Finally, after sailing all day we arrived at what we had been told was the protection of Six Hills Cay only to find there was no protection from the wind at all and while the site was beautiful it looked a lot more like Tierra del Fuego than a protected tropical island. But we stayed. The next protected anchorage was more than an hour away so we anchored in this desolate, unprotected marine park for the night with the wind gusting into the 20s.  I turned on Drag Queen, my trusty anchor alarm.

Once settled, I tore open the motor, dug into the quarter berth and under the fuel tank to see where the fuel was coming from. No luck. I saw nothing that looked like a leak. The motor was dry. Was the tank ruptured where I could not see it? Did that rat I saw last week eat through a hidden hose? Nothing made sense. So I went to sleep wondering what surprises might await me in the morning and how would I motor if needed. 

Wayne on Emma A called on the radio just before dawn and we hoisted sail for Big Sand Cay, 20 miles to the east across the Caicos Passage (and a great whale watching area in the winter).  The wind angle was good.  I sailed and did not tack too much and approached Big Sand a little after noon. Mitch was already anchored and Wayne was about 3 miles to my port, heading into the little harbor.

"China Rose, this is Emma A. I have big problems! I'M SINKING," yelled Wayne into his VHF.

I was too far away to help but Mitch popped on the radio . I heard Wayne say "I'm taking the boat up on the beach."   In a last ditch effort to keep his boat from totally sinking underwater Wayne had motored the boat right up on the beach to prevent his boat from filling up further. 

By the time I arrived, Mitch and Wayne, with the help of Lost Marbles and Seldom Sene, had Emma A pumped out and the water had stopped coming into the boat.  But now Emma was beached, though fortunately on a rising tide.  

I dropped my anchor near the beach in 12 feet of water and hopped in the dink with Mitch, took Emma A's anchor out from shore and Wayne started manually winching the boat off the beach, four agonizing inches at a time. The waves were pushing him back as much each time he pulled on the stretchy nylon anchor line.  

How was this going to work?  A six ton boat being pushed by the waves and one guy tugging inches at a time on a stretchy nylon anchor line.  We tried pulling her off with the dink which almost sank us as Emma A snapped back on the dinghy transom. It was like trying to move a boulder uphill.  

Then unexpectedly, with the grace of a wave, Emma A floated right off the beach. Good thing she's a steel boat. But what do they say? Problems come in three's? Now we were 60 miles from Caicos and 80 miles from the Dominican Republic -- and we still didn't know why Emma A was sinking. 

Though he could not see well, Wayne had surmised that the rubber coupling on his PSS dripless fitting had torn. After running some tests, which basically consisted of turning the motor on and off and trying to detect when water came gushing out and when it didn't, Wayne concluded that the coupling didn't leak as long as the motor was off.  

Good news, kind of. But there were no resources anywhere to make more permanent repairs.  We'd have to sail somewhere. 

The 60 miles back to Caicos was downwind and the 80 miles to the Dominican Republic was off the wind. Wayne considered the options and the risks. Then he said, "Let's go on to the DR." So we nervously tinkered around for about 30 minutes then at 4pm set out for Luperon. We had to travel at night for the 15 or so hour sail to be sure we arrived in the morning. An early arrival was required because the winds pick up in the afternoon, making it nearly impossible to enter Luperon, and especially treacherous without a motor to fall back on.

I trimmed the sail for Luperon swinging wide around the reef surrounding the west side of Big Sand Cay.  The sun slowly set as Emma A drifted further to the west.  With no moon, the sky was pitch black and Emma A was nothing more than a speck of light on the horizon three or perhaps five miles away.   I wondered, what if something happens?  How long would it take for me to get to him if he started to go down?  Probably too long, I thought.  

The wind was blowing 18-21 knots and I was sailing 40 degrees off the wind. With a double reefed mainsail and a full headsail, making 5.5 to 6 knots, conditions could not have been better. Apart from the fact that my buddy boat had a bad coupling and might start sinking at any minute.

Every three hours we checked in via VHF radio. Around 3 am I radioed out -- "Emma A this is China Rose." No reply.  I tried again. "Emma A, this is China Rose. Wayne, do you read me?" Silence. What was going on? Did Wayne sink and I missed it?  Was he sitting in his dinghy 40 miles from nowhere, hoping for me to come rescue him?  I couldn't see any lights. For that matter, I couldn't see anything, anywhere, at all.  I changed to Channel 14 which we had been using several weeks before. "Emma A, this is China Rose - do you hear me?" I was practically yelling now.

"China Rose, this is Emma A. I'm OK and sailing 6 knots." What a relief! He was out of sight about five miles behind me, but moving - and still floating. 

The last challenge was getting into Luperon, Dominican Republic which is known for a reef on the port and the starboard sides and then a shallow muddy entrance which is not well marked. I lined up on the waypoint recorded by Bruce Van Sant in his classic A Gentleman's Guide to Passages South, held my breath, dropped the sails and motored forward right up to where the water makes a hard right. There I was met by local guide and all round fixer Pabo who guided me to a great anchoring spot.

Wayne, on the other hand, sailed in and was towed by Pabo to a safe mooring.  Brezeen sailed on to Ocean World Marina and Blue Moon and Shenanigans would follow the next day.  I dropped into bed about 7 pm with no worries, leaving the fuel leak problem for another day. Before we started our for Luperon this is our gang at Southside Marina in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

The photo shows left to right Kurt and Kim on Shenanigans, Wayne on Emma A, Cheryl and Pete in the back on Blue Moon, Ruth and Mitch on Brezeen, obscured in the background are Ginger and Lanny (renegades who sailed on to Jamaica) on Swiftsure, and Bob Pratt owner of Southside Marina and all round bocce ball officanado.

Touring Porto Plata

25 July 2015 | Luperon
Today I went on a long motor cycle drive into Porto Plata. About 60 kilometers. I have to say it was interesting and terrifying. The country side is wonderful rural and bueatiful. It looks a lot like Haiti but a little more organized with small towns along the way. Town and the main road are congested and no rules apply other than get ahead of the next guy. Lots of chicken, cows, horses, donkeys, ostrich's along with heavy traffic, all manner of trucks, potholes, missing man hole covers, dirt patches and hundreds of Chinese motor bikes. Three of us rode to town, had a nice lunch by the sea then did a little shopping in the wallmart style grocery and what not store. Tonight I came back to the boat fixed a chick pea buroto and went back to Wendy's bar for the movie. A fictional account of the Americas Cup Race which was very fitting for a room full of sailors. I'm not convinced that the motor cycle is the way to get around this country but it was a different way to kick start the tour.

I had a small motor cycle scooter back in the early 1970s. It was fun but not as much fun as a sports car which while dangerous was still a lot safer.

So at the risk of being hypocritical please don't mention my failing to Grace. After many years of preaching - successfully I think - ABSOLUTELY NO MOTOR CYCLES I don't want to open that door. I would rather be a hypocrit. I can live with that.

Vessel Name: China Rose
Vessel Make/Model: Columbia 36 (1970)
Hailing Port: Annapolis, MD
Crew: Capt. Bob Starbird & Terry Thielen
China Rose Float Plan - QUAFIX 406 PLB ID 2DCE57721AFFBFF, MMSI #: 338170399 Columbia 36, slope rig, black hull #327, built 1970, MD 5202 N, 29hp Yanmar, VHF Avon 10, hard bottom raft, gray hull, built 1992, MD 3961 H, 15hp Honda Capt. Robert Starbird, 202.288.3490, rstarbird at yahoo. [...]
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