Going Home

Vessel Name: 38 South
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 380
Hailing Port: Melbourne, Australia
Crew: Meryn & Rick Cooper
About:
Both Mezz and I are cruising our way home to Australia and started in 2015. we have been exploring the Eastern Caribbean on the way north through to Jacksonville Fl. [...]
Extra: The final destination is Melbourne Australia, via TBA.......
06 February 2024 | West End, Bahamas
29 March 2023 | Saint Augustine Marine Center
22 July 2019 | Melbourne Australia/St Augustine Florida
13 October 2017
10 April 2017 | Green Cove Springs
08 April 2017 | Reynolds Park Yacht Center - Green Cove Springs
06 April 2017 | Reynolds Park Yacht Center - Green Cove Springs
31 March 2017 | Port St Lucie via West Palm Beach
27 March 2017 | Alice Town, Bimini
21 March 2017 | Allens Cay to Nassau across the Bahama Bank
20 March 2017 | Shroud Cay to Allens Cay via Highbourne Cay
19 March 2017 | Warderick Wells Cay – Boo Boo Hill walking tour and then to Shroud Cay
18 March 2017 | Thunderball Grotto, Pig Beach then to Warderick Wells Cay
17 March 2017 | Staniel Cay via Bitter Guana Cay
16 March 2017 | Lee Stocking Island to Little Bay, Great Guana Cay
15 March 2017 | Georgetown to The Caribbean Marine Research Centre, Lee Stocking Island.
13 March 2017 | South Point Long Island to Georgetown, Exuma via Nuevitas Rocks
09 March 2017 | Aklin Island to Gordons Beach, Long Island
08 March 2017 | Mayaguana to Attwood Harbour, Aklins Island
Recent Blog Posts
06 February 2024 | West End, Bahamas

Its not all Palm trees and Margueritas

we are anchored in a small abandoned canal development near West End, Bahamas. The weather is not conducive to crossing the gulf stream to West Palm Beach, winds are expected to top 40 knots from the north today and not settle until later in the week. we chose to seek shelter in this anchorage which [...]

29 March 2023 | Saint Augustine Marine Center

Two weeks back on the boat

Well we arrived back to 38 South exactly 2 weeks ago and have been fully engrossed in cleaning and upgrades since then. It took at least 2 days to have the boat clean and aired out enough to live comfortably and from that point on it has been a matter of listing jobs in order of priority. There has [...]

22 July 2019 | Melbourne Australia/St Augustine Florida

It can't be that long between posts

I cannot believe it has been so long since the last post. We have had some highs and lows since we parked at Green Cove Springs in 2017.

13 October 2017

Maintenance Time

Just an update on the status of 38 South. September was an interesting month with Hurricane Irma's path to be right across the top of the boat. It meant a quickly assembled trip across to further strip and secure her for the pending bad weather. As it turned out it was a glancing blow and we received [...]

10 April 2017 | Green Cove Springs

Out of the Water

Well we are now on dry land. This morning the mast was removed and the boat lifted from the water. we have now been placed in our "spot" until we return. we have been continuing the preparations to leave. The motors have been run on fresh water to flush the salt water from the heat exchangers and [...]

08 April 2017 | Reynolds Park Yacht Center - Green Cove Springs

Packing up takes time

Well the packing up seems so huge. there is so much to do. we have been getting organised with bags and such and will probably leave most of our stuff on the boat, clothes and the like. there only seems to be the souvenirs and my dive gear that has to come home. Our suitcases are like the russian [...]

Its not all Palm trees and Margueritas

06 February 2024 | West End, Bahamas
Rick Cooper | Crap
we are anchored in a small abandoned canal development near West End, Bahamas. The weather is not conducive to crossing the gulf stream to West Palm Beach, winds are expected to top 40 knots from the north today and not settle until later in the week. we chose to seek shelter in this anchorage which offers all round protection. the Florida straights are forecast 18' waves so we intend waiting.
Just to backtrack a little to our last post. we were heading south from the Bahamas to Jamaica and lost our rig mid last year. quite traumatic at the time but we were able to cut if free and motor back nearly 800nm to Miami to organise repairs and replacement. after sorting the details, we motored to Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco and stored the boat in September and came home. The new rig is ready in West Palm Beach and we are booked on the 12th February to crane it on. the weather is preventing us crossing for now but we are confident to have a weather window prior to next Monday. Friday is looking good.
once the rig is on and we are confident all is ok we will head south again with Panama again being the destination but for now we will continue with the boat jobs and relax.

Two weeks back on the boat

29 March 2023 | Saint Augustine Marine Center
Rick Cooper
Well we arrived back to 38 South exactly 2 weeks ago and have been fully engrossed in cleaning and upgrades since then. It took at least 2 days to have the boat clean and aired out enough to live comfortably and from that point on it has been a matter of listing jobs in order of priority. There has been a lot of measuring and liaising with BetaMarine in North Carolina who are setting up the engine mounts to suit our engine beds. We have balanced the jobs with some sightseeing and outings so that it is not all work and no play. There is plenty to do and for once we are not on a timeline to get in the water and go. This may not seem a big deal but in terms of pressure there seems to be little of that and the freedom to do things that may have a longer run time.
So far we have picked up the new oven and installed it along with replacing all the gas lines. We replaced the lines in Grenada in 2015 so they were due for replacement anyway. I think the next survey would have picked them up as from memory they have a 5 year lifespan. As usual the saloon table is split in 2, my end is piled with tools and bits and pieces and Mezz has hers clean and ship shape. its a good thing as we have to eat somewhere :-)
We have rented a truck for the month as it turned out to be less than a third of the price to rent for a month instead of by the day. This will allow a side trip up to Savannah in Georgia to pick up the new motors and saildrives once they arrive. we are expecting them in the next 2 weeks.
I have taken the opportunity to pick up some ply to make a mid height shelf in the fwd compartments. we use these for toys, fenders and swim gear as well as additional Fuel storage and rubbish when we are cruising offshore. It is easier to reach down a metre from the hatch than climb down 2M to the bottom. It was interesting making the shelving as we had a maximum of 22 inches in a diagonal measurement as a limitation on the size of the flooring and managed to get the shelving in in 3 sections. this will also allow us to lift one section for longer items or use dual layers. Anyway once cut and sanded we "potted" them in Polyester Resin for a longer lasting coating.
Work continues and we hope to be on our way late April working our way South to arrive in Bocas Del Toro around mid June. some photos of the work so far

It can't be that long between posts

22 July 2019 | Melbourne Australia/St Augustine Florida
Rick Cooper
I cannot believe it has been so long since the last post. We have had some highs and lows since we parked at Green Cove Springs in 2017.
Firstly, Reynolds Park Yacht Center was fabulous to deal with and we could not have wished for a more helpful and friendly place. Unfortunately, we had to deal with a different party to haul and launch the boat and that has been one of the worst experiences since purchasing our beloved 38 South.

As i had said in an earlier post I came back with my good friend JD and between us we managed to knock off a huge amount of work. Not only did we replace the rear cabin top hatches, we did the front cabin ones as well. we fitted new sumps with auto bilge pumps to the showers, cabled a new LED Tri-Color and Masthead light to the mast and we fitted folding mast steps tight to the top of the mast.
we arranged to have new Stainless-steel bracing fitted to the Bimini and Solar Panels and these were installed by a mobile Stainless craftsman named Thomas who managed to get rear steps up to the boom fitted as well. He fabricated a new anchor fair-lead to replace the old worn one and added one for a second anchor on the opposite side of the forestay on the front beam.
Even with the huge list of jobs we still managed a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center for JD, my second trip there and I still have more to see. I think we both went home exhausted but had achieved a great deal. certainly, I would not have achieved anywhere near the amount on my own and owe John a more relaxing trip next time.
The yard that hauled us had a mechanic if i can use the term so loosely onsite and we made the mistake of having him fix some oil leaks. The estimate was accepted and we left the boat in their hands. suffice to say the quoted amount came and went and we were left with a bill of twice what was quoted. Hard to believe it costs $2700 in labor to fix a stripped mounting bolt in an engine bed and that is only part of the saga. "read your contract" was the reply. The boat was there for more than 9 months and they chose a wet day to try and put the engines back in and bogged the forklift. they then charged me $300 to move the boat to a concrete pad so they could use the forklift in the wet and another $300 to move it back afterward. with any other of the 270 odd days to choose from they chose a wet day to do this work. seems we authorized them to charge whatever they wanted however I did have them refund those charges. I simply said that I had to pay for my mistake which was getting them to do the work on the motors in the first place but I was not responsible for paying for their mistakes. we were then treated like we were trying to rip him off. We were kicking ourselves for being so naive but put it down to a lesson learned.

We were going to have them sand and paint the hulls prior to splashing but after the experience with the motors decided that they could not be trusted with an estimate so i slapped a coat on in the interim. I could have ended up in a position of having to pay whatever they wanted as his word and estimates are worthless given the wording of the work contract.
The saga with the engines would not have been so bad but after we splashed the boat in March last year and left Green Cove Springs, we found that both engines were leaking oil still and i had both engine rooms full of oil after only a couple of hours. we were headed to Miami to pick up friends and and cross to the Bahamas for a couple of weeks which we did. every day I would lay out paper towels and clean up the oil once we were out of the Intracoastal Waterway and could sail, we had some reprieve from the mess. we had decided to return to the yard and challenge them on not doing the work that was (Over)charged for. essentially, they had removed both engines and stripped and replaced the seals and oil lines. funny that the one thing he didn't change was the rear main seal on both engines. That would be the ones he was told were leaking and needed to be replaced.
A year or more later and I still cannot reconcile the statement that "those oil leaks are not covered under any warranty as we did not replace the seals". How do you argue with that kind of logic. that's what they were paid to do
They offered, of course to haul the engines out and replace the seals. at around 2k extra. so the original $5,400 plus parts quote (estimated at $400) blew out to around $13,600, Parts were 2,500 of which more than $500 of that were new Racors that I had them add at the end. I also didn't include in that total the extra $500 I paid him to fix an oil leak at the injector pump also not covered by any warranty but I needed it done as it was a bad one. again, lesson learned.

As we were back up north again, we chose to move to St Augustine and hauled the boat at St Augustine Marine Center on the San Sebastian River. I must say it was a pleasant change to deal with some friendly and professional people again.
So there we are, we spent 3 months between March and May 2018 cruising and enjoying the sights of the near Bahamas specifically Bimini to Gun Cay and a leisurely trip back up north.
Our Cafe has interrupted the cruising for this year and we will be back to the boat hopefully in early 2020 to continue the journey. For now, we plan for our return and have a list of things to work on prior to leaving St Augustine. we suspect our next trip may be just around the Northern Bahamas and Berry Islands and back to St Augustine to store the boat again. We will head south to Panama the following year.
It feels good to have finally put pen to paper on this so to speak and laid out the trials with the so-called Mechanic and his boatyard masters.

On a lighter side, one job we did do was to install a new helm seat on the trip down to Miami. now we can both sit and relax at the helm and it is great to spread out on during a watch.
Once the list of jobs is settled and a date of return set, I will add some photo's to the album of our modifications and updates
Fair Winds
Rick

Maintenance Time

13 October 2017
Just an update on the status of 38 South. September was an interesting month with Hurricane Irma's path to be right across the top of the boat. It meant a quickly assembled trip across to further strip and secure her for the pending bad weather. As it turned out it was a glancing blow and we received winds of less than 100mph. Damage was minimal in the area with only a couple of boats going over in the surrounding yards and some damage to unattended boats alongside the pier.
There was considerable water coming in through the gaps in the sliding door and window but the boat was dried out and secured again after it was all over.

There is a planned trip for some maintenance at the end of November, we are replacing both rear deck hatches over the top of the cabins, adding some additional stainless steel to the Bimini in the way of bracing and there are some items on the mast that require attention.

The ordering of parts has just begun to ensure they are sitting at Reynolds Park Yacht Center awaiting our arrival.

Mezz will be staying at home this time but it looks like I will have some company for the trip with our good friend John coming along as well to have a look and assist with some of the work. I suspect we will include some extra activities while we are there

Out of the Water

10 April 2017 | Green Cove Springs
Well we are now on dry land. This morning the mast was removed and the boat lifted from the water. we have now been placed in our "spot" until we return. we have been continuing the preparations to leave. The motors have been run on fresh water to flush the salt water from the heat exchangers and cooling system. The Saildrives have had the oil drained and refilled. One had water in the oil and will need some work on the shaft to fix it but we have 9 months to have that done. I will be speaking to the mechanic here at Holland Marine about some jobs while we are away, both motors have minor oil leaks that require new gaskets and seals. one can be done in the boat but the other one may need to be lifted out and worked on in the workshop.
The history of Green Cove Springs is quite interesting and I have posted some photo's in the gallery. With the adjoining airfield in its day was one of the biggest Naval Aircraft training establishments around. At the end of WWII it was used to mothball 600 surplus Navy ships of varying sizes, Apparently with the change of presidents the ships were moved to Texas by executive order of the president to his home town. there are 10 docks here and all are owned by Clay County. they lease out piers to different businesses but the infrastructure remains the property of the county.
Normally we are searching for a facility that can haul out our wide 21 foot beam and have difficulty finding them. not this place. the travel lift infrastructure we were hauled out with was built years ago to carry concrete beams onto barges, they were manufactured here and then delivered down river for new bridge works. I added a photo of the lift placing us next to another catamaran. he was straddling BOTH boats with me over one side. I must say that did impress me.

Packing up takes time

08 April 2017 | Reynolds Park Yacht Center - Green Cove Springs
Rick
Well the packing up seems so huge. there is so much to do. we have been getting organised with bags and such and will probably leave most of our stuff on the boat, clothes and the like. there only seems to be the souvenirs and my dive gear that has to come home. Our suitcases are like the russian dolls. all the stuff is in a small suitcase that is inside another suitcase to cut down on our bags. we have hired a car which is making it easy to get around and pick up things, like a trip into St Augustine to West Marine for a new nav light bulb and some fogging oil for the outboard motor. The sails came down and the boom off the day before we got here and they are packed away. Todays task was to prep the outboard motor for storage. we did not have a bin big enough to put the motor in to run some fresh water through it so we used the next best thing. that was the laundry hamper. problem was it had holes all the around it. a couple of large garbage bags later and it was now waterproof if not a little "bulging" places. the motor was washed down and fogging oil sprayed into the carby at mid revs which will coat the internals for storage. that only left the spark plugs to come out and a liberal amount sprayed directly into the bore. replace the plugs and a light spray over everthing under the lid and all was done. the motor is now stored in the front cabin. that left the dinghy to deal with. this was hoisted on a halyard onto the foredeck and given a little TLC with a some suds and a brush. with it sparkling we deflated it and lashed it onto the front beam updside down and secured. we will move over to the travel lift tomorrow (Sunday) and finish the cleaning and packing there. On Monday the mast will be lifted off and eventually stored under the boat for the time we are here. that will be convenient as I need to replace the deck light about half way up and also a sheave at the top, there is something loose in there and slaps the inside of the mast when it is windy so we need to investigate that as well.. Much easier working at waist height that swinging from the top of the mast. Once the boat is on dry land I can remove the props and store them in the boat as they are quite valuable and prone to theft. We have water in the oil in both Saildrives, when the oil seals were changed at St Kitts there were problems with the surfaces the seals ran on and we expected that they would leak. the surfaces have wear marks in them so they will come with me back to Oz to be rebuilt and will be refitted on our return. Both motors will be having some work done or may even be replaced if I win lotto..... lol
we have 3 more days then a road trip to Miami to catch up with some people before flying back to Oz to start planning the next trip.
38 South's Photos - Tobago Cays
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Overnight Anchorage: Behind Petit Tabac
Overnight Anchorage: Behind Petit Tabac
Added 30 November 2015

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