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S/V Journey
We have our new boat Check us out at our new blog: http://sv-journey.blogspot.com/p/home.html
Dolphin House
waiting for weather...
01/15/2010, Bimini

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bahamas Cruise 09/10
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Thanks Al
waiting....
01/15/2010, Bimini

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bahamas Cruise 09/10
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December 31st race day
Sunny, wet!
01/12/2010, Staniel Cay

On December 31st, an event that changed my life almost didn't occur. I was one of the few chosen to race in the Island Family Regatta's class C Mixed Doubles races. Each year, visiting yachtsmen can place their name in a bowl to be picked to participate by crewing on one of four boats in one of three races for the championship Class C Mixed Doubles event. When the names were called out for the participants, mine was not called. I never the less was early on shore the morning of the race in hopes of a chance falling out of the sky, and my getting to race after all. These boats are built by the islanders, and sailing them is like nothing else on water. The sails are HUGE, way too big for the boat to balance. So balance is achieved through two means, ballast lead that is added under the floor and taken out as crew weight goes up, and the crew themselves. There are long captive boards called pries (prys) which slide sideways along the beam. The board goes all the way out on the "high" side, the crew goes out on the boards, and balance keeps the boat from capsizing. In theory, this is elementary. In practice, it is an art, and with amateur crew, mostly chaos in the making. The saving grace is the patience of the Captain, who orchestrates each crewmember by name, telling them calmly exactly where he wants them. Then it's up to the winds and luck and skill of the captain. On the morning of the race, I got my chance. It didn't fall out of the sky, but happened because a pet in Canada got run down by a vehicle. Chance is bittersweet sometimes, but I was in the first race. My sloop was BYE GULLY, owned and captained by Steven Smith. Steven and his son are the men who rebuilt the Lady Muriel, a famous and historic class A sloop who has celebrated 50 years of championship racing. I was to race under his guidance, and I did so with Distinction. It happened as we came around the second mark, in the first lap. We had to change tacks, and we were low in the boat, slamming the pries across, as the sail winged across inches overhead. The wind was up a bit and we scrambled to our places out on the board. Then I slipped, butt first all the way to the water, and was suddenly watching the boat (MY BOAT) scream away without me. Yes, my distinction was being the only person who managed to fall off their race boat that day. Each boat has a "chase" boat, a small speed boat with a crew of two. They load and offload bars of lead weight, and hold and place the anchor before the start of each race. Apparently, they also fish crew out the water like navy seals "lift one arm and one leg!" and toss same back onto the race boat in less than a minute or so. These boats really need the crew as prie-meat. We still managed to come in second for the first race, and captured second overall in the championships. Wow, if I hadn't fell overboard? Then it wouldn't have been as memorable for sure! How many people do you know who have slid of their race boat?

bahamas Cruise 09/10
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reflections
waiting on a weather window
01/11/2010, Bimini


bahamas Cruise 09/10
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things that go bump in the night
we know we're not in Kansas, but still.. we saw this in the channel this AM
01/11/2010, Bimini

One thing about weird happenings: they always come in threes. So, I had already almost taken out the rear of a catamaran. (Not to mention the entire port side of Journey)
I should explain my loss of control for our non-sailing friends. If the current is going the same direction as the boat, but at a faster speed than the boat, there is no control at the rudder. I got the same feeling you would skidding the car on an ice patch; you turn but nothing happens other than to continue in the original direction of travel.
So, that being said, let's see what fun was yet in store for us. We pulled around to the slip that we'd been assigned. The dock master was there to grab our lines and pull us back against the current so we would be facing into the wind for the coming blow. ( it's uncomfortable to have a 25-35 knot wind howling right into the cabin.)
Al needed to get to starboard to attach a bow line to a piling, so the dock master gave the boat a healthy shove off the dock. He slipped, kicked against the port upper lifeline AND IT PARTED. You need to know that we count on those lines to keep us onboard if we fall or loose balance as we go forward. We had just replaced them for this trip. We had done the crimping at West Marine with their BIG DOG crimper, so we could feel secure that they were done right. THIS ISN"T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! Can you tell I was upset about this? Al spent the last two days re-doing them all with the small hand crimper we bought "just in case". Now I feel better, since a comparison of the old crimps and the new, show a definite improvement.
We hunkered down for bed on Saturday night. The wind was howling, we were rocking even in the slip, and it was cold. We ran the propane heater for the first time on the trip. I felt I had just dropped off when Al hit my feet and said "UP! Now! We've lost a line!"
I leapt up and out of the cabin, saw Al was going forward. Journey was skewered to the right. The change in the boat's motion had woken him. The left line was on the boat, but trailing in the water instead of keeping us in place. I pulled us over to the pier with the spring line (thank goodness for those!) and leapt up onto the dock and forward to catch the line from Al. I secured it and went around the dock, checking ALL the lines, as Al was doing the same on the boat.
I came back onboard and we went below. My feet were frozen. I had been barefoot in a cold rain, and I was grateful for the heaters warmth. We slept well for the remainder of the night. Our third weird thing was a thing of the past.

bahamas Cruise 09/10
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waiting on the wind
cold rainy and WINDY as all getout!
01/11/2010, Rose Island and Bimini




bahamas Cruise 09/10
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