Two Good Sailors

22 November 2016 | Virgin Gorda
14 September 2016 | Mount Desert Island
18 August 2016 | Shelburne YC Nova Scotia
11 October 2015 | Annapolis
05 September 2015
04 September 2015 | CApe May
30 August 2015 | New York New York
17 August 2015
07 August 2015
26 July 2015 | Chesapeake Bay
26 June 2015 | Nassau
23 June 2015 | Nassau
22 June 2015 | Nassau
02 October 2014 | Curacao
09 August 2014 | Curacao
27 June 2014 | Curacao
05 June 2014
26 March 2014 | Bonaire

Looking up at the waves.

22 November 2016 | Virgin Gorda
Looking up at the waves
This has been the roughest trip we've had. We left Hampton Virginia 3.00am heading for Virgin Gorda. All weather checked, boat checked and provisions stowed.
Crossing the Gulf Stream was the first challenge. What a sailor never wants is wind against tide. Wind against tide throws up high short waves. This means at least an uncomfortable ride with the bow ploughing into the waves every few seconds, it's slow going as every wave stops the boat and shakes everything up. Have too much of this and something will break, either the boat or me.

The Gulf Stream turned out to be simple. We chose the narrowest crossing off Cape Hatteras (where we'd had a previous adventure adrift with no steering for 6 hours in the dark) and made it across with only one mishap. Our car for the genoa sheet on the port side sprang off its track. Tony came up with a solution of a soft shackle fixed to the cleat amidships. It wouldn't win us any races but it would get us there. We were making about 150nm a day and the going was good.

We had fast downwind sailing and were rolling from side to side . If everything isn't stowed properly, loose objects turn into missiles, launching themselves across the boat. Tony was the first missile. Sitting on the bed getting his shorts on turned him into a human tortilla. The boat lurched, he fell on his back on the bed, rolled over and wrapped himself in the sheet ending up on the floor and banging his head on my locker. Then the weather changed.

We had weather reports every day which help but you have to take what's coming. There had been a storm off the East coast of the USA and the effects were reaching us. The seas became huge and the wind got up. The wind was still behind us and we were really well reefed in but the waves were a big challenge. I do not like sitting in my cockpit looking up at the waves bearing down on us from behind. I do not like it. Large waves build up and every so often they can double in size. These were truly terrifying. The waves became huge saucers and we were surfing down them in a curve. I was on watch and it was dark. It always is. The autohelm was overwhelmed and I was clipped on and helming the best I could. We had about 36 hours of this, two of us, either on watch, sleeping or trying to get something to eat. Some friends on another boat had a couple of waves come into the cockpit, washing everything except the helmsman overboard. He was clipped on. The sea made its way into the cabin and destroyed some electronics. Phones can be replaced, clip on everyone, clip on.

All things pass and eventually the weather and the sea calmed down, it really calmed down and we had no wind at all. This was a 1400nm passage and we had enough fuel for about 700 miles. Sounds a lot but you never know what's ahead so don't want to use it all up. We took the advice of our weather man and drifted for a couple of hours. It was horrible. The boat was wallowing and rolling so we put the engine on and got out of there.

We then had some cracking sailing before the starboard side car sprang off its rails too. Tony again rigged up a soft shackle and we were under way once more.

We also caught a Mahi Mahi and at last had fresh fish for our supper. We'd been trying every day when it was calm enough. Perseverance pays off.

The last 24 hours saw us reefing in to slow ourselves down. We didn't want to arrive at Virgin Gorda in the dark. There's a reef to negotiate and then a mooring ball to pick up. We timed it well and at last as the sun came up we saw the islands. After 11 days at sea it was just wonderful to see green again.

This journey was difficult and easy, terrifying and boring, frustrating and fulfilling. Life's challenges compressed into 11 days, very intense. And no, I don't feel a stronger person because of this but I do know that we have a good strong boat and we can overcome very challenging conditions together. Tony was a rock, he always comes through and gets us there, safe and sound, and just a few things to fix. This is sailing.

Up the Mast without a Paddle

14 September 2016 | Mount Desert Island
Up the mast without a paddle.

At my age you really need a younger man from time to time and that time had come. Tony's too big and I'm too scared to go up the mast and we had things that needed doing, then we found Paul in Shelburne Yacht Club. He'd never been up a mast before but he was young, fit and willing. We hoisted him aloft and he was loving it.

First stop was the radar dome. It had lost a bolt and the rolling seas across to Nova Scotia had moved the dome and we no longer had working radar. It's essential here as moving around in the fog is nerve racking enough without the radar packing in as well. We asked Paul to put it in position and bandage it up with Duck Tape. It doesn't look too pretty but it works a treat.

Next task was at the top of the mast to free a halyard. He managed this too although the boson's chair was getting a little uncomfortable for him. The men will know what I mean. Problem sorted, Paul became a folk hero with the kids in the dinghy club and we were very pleased.

Shelburne is my favourite place in Nova Scotia but it was time to move on to Lunenburg.

Lunenburg is a world heritage town and extremely photogenic. They also serve the best fish and chips we've had since the chippy in Bray on Alderney. The farmers' market there is one of the wonders of the world. A real farmer's market with real food and real people. We bought unfiltered local honey and had a freshly made veggie bhaji from the real Indian lady. Delicious.

I'm conscious my blog does seem to focus on things breaking and food.

We then made our way over to the USA in thick fog again, but with radar. Everything gets damp and it's pretty horrible. We arrived in Eastport on a holiday weekend as it's a port of entry and we could clear customs here. Or so we thought. We pulled up alongside as instructed and waited for the customs official. It was 4.00pm, it was Saturday, it was a holiday. He'd gone home. Now we were literally stuck as we couldn't go ashore until the paperwork had been done. A few frustrating and expensive phone calls later we established we could clear in three miles away in Lubeck.

Lubeck USA is on one side of a river and Canada is on the other, connected by a small bridge. We found our way there, had a lift in a police car and did the paperwork. We were now legal and celebrated with a hand crafted beer.

We are now on Mount Desert Island, Western Harbour at Hinckley's getting our engine fixed. This will hurt the credit card but I should be able to helm again without getting palpitations.

We bought four lobster here for $30.00 and had a treat. Two may have been enough but we felt we'd earned it.

photo of me up the mast on our boat.

Sailing? I wish.

18 August 2016 | Shelburne YC Nova Scotia
After six months of being landlubbers we are finally moving on water again. Can’t say much of it has been sailing though.

Flying back laden with bags full of repaired electronics and other essential boat stuff, ie. Teabags, we took the Amtrak to Richmond VA. Well, I took the train, Tony was left stranded on the platform with the heavy bags. I knew nothing about this until a guard sheepishly asked me if the well built gentleman was with me. He lied through his teeth and told me Tony had banged on the door as it was closed and the train left the station. The truth was he shut the door in his face and left him stranded. It was all a bit traumatic especially as Tony had the dilemma of how to find help in an empty station and not leave the bags alone to be blown up. The only other persons around were Homeland security. They came to Tony’s rescue and a very kind guard, Melody, came to mine. We only had one phone as we’d just arrived and hadn’t had time to get our US phone. We were reunited in Washington station and made the next train to Richmond where our organised taxi wasn’t waiting to meet us. No problem, we took another and finally arrived at Capisce, on the hard in Deltaville boatyard. Needless to say a bad day was about to get worse before it got better.
Up the ladder and onto the boat we saw the cockpit had six inches of water in it due to tree seeds blocking the drains. Yeuch. I put my arm in and pulled them out. Five minutes later we were in the saloon to find the bilges also full of water. We’d had a power failure and the pump hadn’t been working. The batteries were flat too. I burst into tears and was comforted by Tony asking what was the matter and why was I so stressed. Hmm. We tried to start our normally trusty generator but he wouldn’t work either. Finally the boatyard charged our batteries and moved us onto a spot where they could connect us up the the right sort of power outlet that hadn’t been available when we left the boat.

It took us ten weeks to get everything up to standard before we could get Capisce back in the water. We now have huge list of repairs done, from new batteries to new zips. Tony worked relentlessly and the bottom was cleaned up and antifouled, hull polished and shining and everything overhauled. Too long a list to bore you with but if you have a boat you’ll know. She’s lookin’ good.

First call was to see our friends round the corner, Bill Chris and Flaco. What stars they are. We were invited to use their guest suite, had air-conditioning and showers when we wanted them and swims in their beautiful pool. It was around 100 degrees centigrade and we were hot. Blissful. Thanks you three.
Big leap here but we’re now in Nova Scotia, having sailed for maybe 30 hours and motored the rest.

We’re now on a mooring at Shelburne YC Nova Scotia and couldn’t be in a better place. I’ll fill in some gaps in the next blog ad it’s brilliant here. We’re about to walk to the supermarket to get a couple of lobster for our supper and off in the morning towards Carters beach near Mouton island for some well deserved R&R.

Above and Beyond

11 October 2015 | Annapolis
Hospitality Central

Travelling the way we do, at the speed we go, gives us the time to really begin to understand the culture of the places we visit. Everywhere we have landed we have been met with a generous hospitable welcome but in the USA they go above and beyond. It’s true; everything really is bigger in America.

Have you ever just been handed the keys to a car, a pretty swish car? I have.

Have you ever been given a free slip from a complete stranger? I have.

Have you had someone share their favourite anchorages with you? I have.

Have you been taken back to your boat by a complete stranger because you had heavy shopping? I have.

Have you ever been taken to a hardware store, 10 miles away, buy another complete stranger because the shop you were in didn’t have what you wanted.? I have.

So a big thank you to nameless strangers and new friends for your kindness, above and beyond the call of duty. The roads are bigger, the houses are bigger, the shopping malls are bigger and the hearts of the people are bigger.

Thank you to everyone, especially Westbrook and Cindy Murphy and the OCC..

English American
Biscuit Cookie
Scone Biscuit
Crisps Chips
Chips French Fries
Pavement Sidewalk
Lift Elevator
Bottom Fanny
Fanny Not going there
Ground floor First Floor
Cellar Basement
Autumn Fall

I didn't see the Twin Towers

05 September 2015
I didn’t see the twin towers.

When we left New York we refuelled at a marina on the New Jersey side and looked across the Hudson towards the heart of Manhattan. 14 years ago the view of Manhattan and the view of the world would have been quite different. The twin towers obliterated along with the lives of thousands of innocent people, not only those who were murdered but their many friends and family.

In my short visit to New York I quickly grew to love the city and the people of New York. We met with only kindness and often astonishment and enormous interest in our way of life. We’ve visited many poorer countries, well, aren’t they all, but It’s also the place where we have seen the highest number of homeless people, some clearly with mental health problems but also many women just like me, ordinary looking, fairly well dressed and clean but declaring themselves homeless and alone. This is unusual. There are too many to overlook and it’s fairly terrifying how quickly I learned to ignore what I was seeing. ‘’You can’t help them all’’ is often said but if we all did something then perhaps something would get better, but what to do?

I asked a New Yorker about these ordinary looking women, clearly not alcoholics or junkies and how could they be in this predicament. The answer given to me was healthcare. The New Yorker speculated that illness combined with lack of adequate insurance and suddenly you’re homeless, on the street, having sold everything to pay the bills. It wasn’t the answer I’d been expecting but the answer I was given.

It’s not as though New York lacks a sense of community, it feels like many villages that live alongside each other but somewhere on the road people get lost and drop out of the system that should take care of them. Someone said that a civilisation is judged on how they take care of their vulnerable people. I’m not just writing about New York, this could be any city in the world, but it seemed so out of place and out of character here.

Coming up to the time when we think 9/11 and the evil that was unleashed I would like to say how I honour and applaud the people of New York. They lived through this horror and the mess it has made of the world. I also remember those who were lost on the other planes and their bravery and heartbreaking messages of love to those they were leaving behind. What do we say to our friends and family when we know we’re about to die? It’s always the same thing, whether we are Christian, agnostic, atheist or Muslim. I love you. Who runs this world, the people who love or the people who hate? Don’t spread the hate.

I would like to read any comments, positive or negative or enlightening.

Stan the Trolley bus man.

04 September 2015 | CApe May
Cape May

Stan the trolley Man

First impressions. Stan the Trolley Bus Man. Big man, big welcome, big heart. What a welcome to Cape May and it just got better.

Stan, I’m a fan, drives the free trolley bus around Cape May. He should have a statue. He gives a genuine warm hearted welcome to everyone. None of your bull sh*yt welcome but the real loud thing. We had trogged into the town, hot and sweaty and sat down on a bench under a tree to cool off. Stan and the Trolley bus appeared on cue. In we walked into an air conditioned bus and Stan made us welcome. He went off his route to drop off two people outside their home and took us into town pointing out interesting things along the way. It was the end of the season, only four other people on the bus. Stan was equally kind to all. I wish he was my Grandad, although I may be older than he is.

Next stop after staring around was the tourist information shop. We met Craig. Craig is a marvel. Artistic and very informed, he understood our needs, ie. Food, wine, beer and he kindly spent about half an hour guiding us. We left with a map with his cycle routes marked so that we could safely find the brewery, cheese farm, vineyard and fisherman’s wharf without getting squashed on the highway. We took all his info and walked around town. Think Aldborough or Southwold rather than Margate. We found an ice cream parlour with stools and a pinball machine. I think the pinball machine was fixed as I was rubbish.

After strolling around we went shopping for supper and at the checkout we met a lady who volunteered to drive us back to our anchorage. We gladly accepted and off we went. Isn’t that amazing.

What a wonderful place this is.
Vessel Name: Capisce
Vessel Make/Model: Moody 44
Hailing Port: Plymouth
Crew: Anthony Good, Jane Good
About: Two good sailors off to see the world, there's such a lot of world to see. We set sail from Lymington on 29th June 2012 and reached the Caribbean in January 2013.
Extra: The biggest challenge of our cruising life is getting internet connections so please be patient waiting for blogs. We promise to do our best.
Capisce's Photos - Main
67 Photos
Created 26 June 2015
some small islands
5 Photos
Created 22 June 2015
5 Photos
Created 2 February 2014