Sail Away With Me

11 July 2009 | Marsh Harbour
10 July 2009 | Abaco, Bahamas
09 July 2009 | Marsh Harbour
08 July 2009 | Marsh Harbour
06 July 2009 | Treasure Cay to Guana Cay
03 July 2009 | Fiddle Cay, Bahamas
24 June 2009 | Same
30 April 2009 | Abacos Bahamas
22 April 2009 | Green Turtle Cay, Abaco
10 April 2009 | Manjack Island
17 February 2009 | Abacos Bahamas
15 February 2009
14 February 2009 | Abacos Bahamas
13 February 2009 | Abacos Bahamas
11 February 2009 | Abacos Bahamas
07 February 2009 | Abacos Bahamas
06 February 2009 | Abacos Bahamas
05 February 2009
01 February 2009 | Bahamas
24 December 2008

Final Race

11 July 2009 | Marsh Harbour
Light Winds
9:00 am Friday morning we were to call Jay, the sail maker, to see if he was able to fix our sail for the fifth and final regatta race. July 11th. This race is around- the- island race from Hope Town to Marsh Harbour, a reverse of the last race. We called Jay, Hurray, our sail is fixed, and the wait is over. Doug, from Amazing Grace, came right over in his real fast, cool looking dinghy to take Larry to fetch the newly repaired sail. Within an hour they were back. Larry and I quickly hoisted the sail. Doug brought Bob, the expert racer, over and we were on time and ready to kick ass. We checked in with the committee boat and practiced a little. Again Bob timed it just right and we were the first over the starting line. How does he do that? We were moving fast downwind and were able to try out our spinnaker pole for the first time. Bob is a good teacher and we were learning a lot about our boat and sailing. Like - no seat cushions are used in races. I guess so they don't get lost overboard or don't get in the way, so the seat cushions were stored below. We found out real sailors ware padded pants - they say it's for comfort but I think it's for vanity (adds a lot to your backside). I think you can find these pants at Fredrick's of Hollywood or some places like that. Is that right Bob? Larry and I don't have these special sailor pants so we cowboyed up and just sat on the hard deck. Ouch! We were doing great the first part of the race and rounded the first two markers in good time. It was at the third marker, trouble began. I cut it too close and hit the marker. Not only did I hit it but I hooked it with the rudder. We were hung up - Drat again and again - Larry quickly pulled the rudder up, unhooked us while I started our penalty 360 degree turn to round the marker again. Bob's giving orders left and right trying to get us back into the race. It only took us back by about 3 minutes but that was enough for us to lose the momentum of the wind. We need wind to get this heavy boat moving and the last leg of the race we were moving slower than molasses. The good thing was we did not come in last like the previous races. The bad thing was we didn't come in first, second or third either. No trophy for us, just another PARTY! Yeah! The awards party was at Crossings Beach in Marsh Harbour. Food, drinks, music and the Junkanoo. These Junkanoo dancers were in elaborate costumes, one with the USA flag and colors, one of the Canada flag and colors and one of the Bahamas and others. The Abaconians really know how to make us tourists feel welcome. To our surprise, Larry and I did get our moment in the sun. We won the Most Determined Award, a bottle of Rum. Wow! Trying, not giving up, having a really good time, meeting great people, pays off. Come share our prize with us.

36th year Independence Day

10 July 2009 | Abaco, Bahamas
July 10th, Bahamian 36th year Independence Day. The Islands were celebrating with Junkanoos, bands, decorations, music, games, food and fireworks. But not for us. We are partied out! Instead we went conching between Hope Town and Johnny's Cay. The water here is 5 to 14 feet deep. Larry hangs onto the back swim step with his mask, snorkel and fins on and I motor at about 3-4 MPH. He looks like shark bait. When he spies a conch he lets go, hollers at me, and then dives down for the conch. I back up this tub of a boat to where I last saw him and hope like heck he at least looks up before he shoots to the surface for a breath of air. To keep the mess out of the boat we throw the conch into the dinghy we are trailing behind us. Today we got about 20. We threw the little ones back in. Just before lunch we motored over to Lubbers Quarters Cay to watch the Junior sailing races and to meet up with our friend Janet, and her grandson Teva, who was here visiting from Oregon. They were on her sail boat, Island Gal, also recovering from the races. She won second place once and third place once. Luckily they had company and they wanted to help clean conch. We rafted onto Janet's boat, the conch cleaners went to shore to do the dirty work, Janet took a nap and I read, watched the boats through another short thunder storm and cleaned. Tomorrow we will all get together and have conch salad. But tonight, Larry and I are going over to Doug and Debra's yacht, Amazing Grace (a 70 foot motor yacht) for dinner. So we packaged up the conch and motored back up to Hope Town to anchor next to Amazing Grace. Larry and I cleaned up the best we could and went over to our neighbors beautiful boat. After we were greeted, Olga, Debra's Mom, took Patti, another guest, and I for the boat tour. Everything was gorgeous; my favorite was the remote control coffee table that becomes a dining room table and the silverware that was shaped like fish. Debra was a terrific host and dinner was fabulous. We had a fresh green salad with homemade mandarin orange dressing, potatoes, asparagus, carrots and filet mignon, which Bob cooked on the grill to perfection. Amazing Grace, thanks for your hospitality, help and racing expertise. We couldn't have done it without you.

Race #4

09 July 2009 | Marsh Harbour
Favorable winds
Race #4 (the 3rd for us) was on July 9th. The course was from Marsh Harbour to Hope Town, a round-the-islands race. Jep and Joanne, our expert racers could not be with us. Sad to say, they had to head back to the states for a funeral. They were visiting friends, Doug and Debra, aboard, Amazing Grace, a beautiful 70 foot motor yacht. Also aboard were Doug's brother, Bob and his wife Sharon. Bob agreed to help us race. So again we had an experienced racer helping us. We picked up Bob in the Harbour and headed out to the committee boat to check in and assess the starting line. The committee boat asked us if we would take the responsibility for two, not one, but two, twelve year old boys with us. Well, what does one say to the committee boat? YES, of course. So, now we had two more helpers, Scott and Danny. Both these boys had more experience than I did and Bob put them right to work. We skirted the starting line, heading for the buoy, counting down the seconds and again we were the first ones over the starting line. The excitement begins. We had fair winds and the boys would sit on the head sail lines to apply more pressure - catch more wind. We rounded the first two marks in good time. Then we had to tack over and over again towards the third mark. The zig zags across the waters we made were perfect. The boys did a great job. We were keeping up, even catching up to the other racers. I could vision a trophy in my hands, everyone clapping and taking our picture. Then POW! Flap, Flap, Flap, What the h***!! We blew the head sail. A huge, gigantic tear. We were dead in the water. I was in shock. Bob had to gently tell us we had to withdraw from the race. Wait! What else can we do? There has to be something! It didn't sink in that there was absolutely nothing we could do, until he called the race committee on the VHF radio and told them in a very authoritarian voice "the sailing vessel Dana Jean is withdrawing from the race". Ouch that hurt, we were so close, and we could see the last marker. DRAT, DRAT, DRAT. The boys were picked up by the chase boat. I guess we weren't that much fun anymore. And, while everyone else was finishing the race, we motored over to Man-O-War Cay, to the only sail maker around. As we were taking the sail down it started to rain, a downpour. What Luck! We ate lunch soaking wet with not so happy faces. Jay at E.B.Y Sails said he would try to get the sail fixed by Saturday morning for the final race. However, the next day, Friday, was the Bahamian Independence Day and he would not be working that day. Jay said to call Saturday morning at 9:00 to see if he was able to finish the sail. We had to check in for the race at Hope Town, Saturday before 11:00. The sail would be in Man-O-War Cay. In our boat it would take about forty-five minutes or more to get there and then another forty-five minutes or more back. If the sail did get fixed that would not give us enough time to enter the race (and we think our boat is fast enough to be in a race? Crazy!). Doug on Amazing Grace offered to take Larry over and back in his go fast, I mean really fast dinghy, named Ding Dong. A plan was made, now nothing left to do but wait. Wait, and well there was, of course, another party. This night's party and awards was at the Harbour View Lodge, out by the pool, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. A spectacular view, a gentle breeze, Bahamian band, and free rum punch. Who could ask for anything more? Well....... an award would be nice. Maybe someday.

Race #3

08 July 2009 | Marsh Harbour
Not enough
After the first race, Larry and I knew we didn't know anything about racing and needed help in the next race and just by chance, the night before the 3rd race, (second for us) I meet Joanne by the bathrooms. As we were waiting for a stall to open up, I asked her if she knew anyone who might want to race with us. She said, let me talk to my husband, Jep and see if he would like to join you. Well as luck would have it he did and he was an experienced racer. That evening, Larry and I took everything we could, about 800+ lbs, off the boat and stored it at Mangoes Marina. We are serious now. We had an expert with us. Jep joined us in the morning and we were off to win a trophy. Jep took over and boy was it exciting. This was the Marsh Harbour Race, one of the more difficult races, a triangle and windward leeward course. We were the first ones out of the starting line. He made it look so easy. As we were sailing along, Joanne had a dingy bring her out to the boat and underway, going about 6 knots, she just hops onto the boat like this was something she does every day. I was impressed. And she was also an experienced racer. Now, we had it made, two experienced racers. Ya hoo! We didn't make one mistake, rounded those markers like pros. Opps - where did the wind go? Oh No! Last again. Well, at least we had fun, enjoyed our time with Jep and Joanne and learned stuff about sailing/racing. But wait, there's more - there is another party! I'm now seriously thinking about rum. The awards and party was at Snappas in Marsh Harbour. The rum and beer were free and the music was great. Larry won a case of beer in a game to see who could drink four cans of beer the fastest. He won by default and moving empty beer cans around (cheating) not by drinking the beer. I told you these events are rigged! Everyone had fun and Larry shared the beer.

Sailing Regetta

06 July 2009 | Treasure Cay to Guana Cay
After the wonderful FREE Cheeseburger in Paradise party was the 34th sailing regatta, July 3rd - 11th. The $300.00 entry fee kept us from participating but by the second race we couldn't stand being left out, so we bit the bullet, paid our entry fee and for the first time ever became racers. The majority of boats came from Florida, with a few locals thrown in. Some come to race, others come to party. The race courses are triangular or round-the-islands. The goal of this sailing regatta is to increase summer visitors and to expose boaters to their wonderful cruising area. After every race there were award parties held on different islands in different settings. All, with free rum. The first race party was on Treasure Cay at the Coco beach bar. The Coco beach is rated one of the world's top 10 beaches. You would not believe how soft the sand is there. We were one of the few boats who anchored right off the beach. We have a draft of only 18 inches so we can just about park on shore. The sunset here was breath taking. At this party, Larry won a bottle of rum for doing the Electric Slide line dance. Personally I think it was rigged. There was Larry and four gals, me included, and you all know I dance better than Larry. I don't like rum but the prize should have been mine! The next day, the second race, the first for us, was a race from Treasure Cay to Guana Cay. Larry scrubbed the bottom of the boat that morning and we were excided. We studied the course and made our plans. The horn blew and we were off. What the be gee bees! How can a sail boat go backwards with the sails up? Look everyone's gone! We can't even see them and we haven't crossed the starting line yet! Larrys yelling orders, I'm about to cry and then we get a break. The committee boat wasn't going to wait for us. They picked up the starting bouy and just left. We now have no starting line to cross, what luck. We get going and plug our way along. We are about 30 minutes behind everyone but we are determined to finish our very first race. After rounding our first marker we see a storm coming, maybe we'll get some strong winds and catch up. Sure enough the storm came up from behind. I close all the hatches putting towels down where I know the leaks are. What the heck - the rain is falling sideways and coming in the door and back windows. Can't close the window, Larry's got to see the GPS. Can't close the door, I have to go in and out. Where are more towels? The storm did give us a push. But with all the rain we couldn't see! Larry's watching the GPS and I am straining my eyes to look ahead making sure we don't hit another boat. You couldn't see your nose in front of your face. This is crazy. The wind reaches 35-40 knots. We are flying. Just as I'm about to say "Stop this madness" the rain lifts and lo and behold right there, I mean right there in front of us is the marker. How did Larry do that? We round that marker with ease and head for the finish line. Where did the wind go? As we came slowly across the finish line hours after everyone else I think I saw some sour faces in the committee boat, were they going to be late for the party? Oh well, at least this time they waited for us and Larry and I finished our very first race! Yea! On to the next party! This party was on the main street (golf cart street, no cars) of Guana Cay. We had a wonderful hamburger and were pleased to hear our new friends from UK, Julia and Stuart on Just Too (Ju -Julia + St- Stuart = Just) won second place. Boy, were they happy and we were happy for them. No racing tomorrow, it's a day of rest and for us nursing wounded pride.

Cheeseburgers in Paradise

03 July 2009 | Fiddle Cay, Bahamas
Hello everyone,
Ever since we arrived in the Abaco Islands boaters have told us to stay here long enough to attend the Sailing Regatta, their parties and the Cheeseburgers in Paradise Party put on by the Stranded Naked beach ware company. Well, who are we to pass up FREE hamburgers and rum? So we stuck around and went to Fiddle Cay a small deserted island north of Green Turtle Cay. We didn't know what to expect so we went a day early. Stranded Naked - Bob, Patty and crew were just setting up, they brought ; tables stands, signs, grills, gallons of rum, and of course cheeseburgers- 1,200 hamburgers and 800 hot dogs with French fries and all the trimmings. Larry, being a good neighbor, went to see what was happening and Bob and Patty put him to work. They raked the beach, picked up trash, set up the stands, hauled in the rum and put out swimming area marker buoys so the kids could have a place to play and dingys wouldn't crowd the beach. After Stranded Naked and crew left we were the only ones there. We were designated "night security". We must have done a good job because everything was still there in the morning when we woke up. The crew came early and then the Stranded Naked boat house came and anchored and then everyone got back to work. Stranded Naked had a great crew and soon everything was ready for a party, food, booze, music and games. Boaters trickled in for a few hours then - Holy Cow, about 11:00 a.m. someone opened the gates. Hundreds of boats of all sizes were heading our way. Larry and I scrambled to the Cheeseburger line just ahead of the crowd. The rum punch line went fast but some people waited 30 minutes or longer for a hamburger- but they were worth the wait. Thanks, Stranded Naked you put on a great party! For helping, Larry and I received yellow crew T-shirts and a wonderful BBQ rib dinner, with Brazilian rice and potato salad, aboard the Stranded Naked House boat later that night after all the party people left. The next morning we helped clean up and we were surprised how clean the beach was left. This party was the kick off for the 34th Abaco Sailing Regatta. The first race was July 4th. If you ever get a chance attend this wonderful annual beach party.
Vessel Name: Dana Jean
Vessel Make/Model: Gemini 105M Catamaran
Hailing Port: Kennewick, WA
Crew: Larry Gabaldon and Dana Brown
Dana Jean's Photos - Main
Abaco, Bahama
No Photos
Created 17 February 2009

Sail Away with Me

Who: Larry Gabaldon and Dana Brown
Port: Kennewick, WA