Neverland Journey

02 October 2019 | 36 42.5'N:4 24.8'W, Malaga, Spain
30 September 2019 | 37 08'N:1 48'W, Alicante, Spain
28 September 2019 | 38 20.45'N:0 28.9'W, Alicante, Spain
07 September 2019 | 38 20.45'N:0 28.9'W, Alicante, Spain
22 August 2019 | 38 19.75'N:0 30.4'W, Alicante, Spain
09 August 2019 | Onancock, VA
30 August 2018 | Alicante, Spain
26 August 2018 | Ibiza
17 August 2018 | 39 3.94'N:6 41.17'E, At Sea
15 August 2018 | Tyrrhenian Sea
14 August 2018 | Sicily
09 August 2018 | Sicily
08 August 2018 | Catania, IT
06 August 2018 | 37 01.50'N:19 01.74'E, Ionian Sea
31 July 2018 | 36 48.58'N:21 56.38'E, Karoni, Greece
16 July 2018 | Home
26 August 2017 | Rethymno
23 August 2017 | Iraklion
22 August 2017 | Iraklion

Transition Time

12 December 2019 | 14 04.85'N:60 57.8'W, Rodney Bay, St Lucia
We have arrived and transitioned to our next phase of our adventure. Neverland crossed the finish line on Dec 7 at 7:21am local time (11:21 UTC) for an elapsed time of 15 days 21 hours 51 mins 43 secs. When I came onto my last watch for the passage we made a planned course change to be more off the wind at a broad reach. I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of sailing the boat under a nearly full moon on this point of sail without the rolling and yawing of the downwind sailing of the last 2 weeks. We had had a beautiful sunset and we experienced a gorgeous sunrise on the way into the harbor where we crossed the finish line.

During the days since arrival we have spent a lot of time relaxing and catching up on our sleep. We also had a few boat repairs to attend to such as getting the whisker pole repaired for our next run to Aruba. Fortunately, our old boat didn�'t experience some of the problems we saw on some of the newer boats. Perhaps the older boats were more over designed because they didn�'t know how the new materials of the day would perform.

Monica keeps commenting about how beautiful St Lucia is. It is completely different from the arid regions we visited at the beginning of our journey. We are at the tail end of the wet season here and everything a luscious green. We spent one day going to the rain forest in the center of the island. We enjoyed taking the zip lines down through the canopy as well as the tour during the cable car ride up and down the mountain. The guides are well trained in the history, culture and nature of the region.

Another day we visited a family farm for a cultural experience. The family and extended family want to keep the old way of doing things alive for future generations. They showed us how to bake the bread, saw lumber, and do a few dances. We were impressed during the tour of the grounds with the variety of plants. In addition to bananas and coconuts were nutmeg, cinnamon, cashews, and cocoa.

The awards ceremony was last night. There were awards for many categories including fishing photos, longest and shortest distances travelled, and the two boats that finished closest together (13 seconds apart). All of the kids were recognized with special prizes and certificates. The 8 boats with double handed crews and double handers with kids were recognized. The fleet was divided into multihulls and 3 divisions of monohulls. Neverland was in class 1C and actually won the class on corrected time. Each boat had been given a handicap and there was a penalty for using the boat�'s engine for propulsion. We chose to use our engine only for charging the batteries.

So tonight we are anchored in the bay having checked out of the marina and from St Lucia. We have put our copy of the Rally Handbook on the shelf for the last time. Tomorrow we head north to Martinique for a few days of French culture and cuisine. It will also be good opportunity to practice our French in conversation. We will go from there to Curacao for Christmas then to Aruba to put the boat in storage. We won�'t have the YB tracker anymore but I will provide position updates while underway. This journey is still full of awe and wonder.

Cape Verde to St Lucia (part 4)

05 December 2019 | 14 10.9'N:56 24.4'W, 250 miles to go
We realized I haven�'t posted a blog since Thanksgiving and we are into day 15 of our Atlantic crossing. We are getting excited because we have less than 48 hours to go. Our thinking is going to the to-do list for arrival and the other activities available for us. Of course, sailing and management of the boat continues.

This has been a downwind run almost the entire distance. Rodney Bay is on the west side of St Lucia and we will therefore need to secure everything in the cabin for the final upwind approach. The forecast is calling for 15 knot on Saturday so it should be a pretty good sail into the harbor and across the finish line.

One of the items purchased for this trip was a whisker pole to hold the jib all the way out to the side of the boat when going downwind. Our pole is made from 2 sections of aluminum tubing that telescope to about 19 feet when fully extended. We found that we gained ½ to 1 knot boat speed when using the pole and we could sail as far as 30O from directly downwind. Well, 2 nights ago the wind picked up into the 20s so I went about the process of adding a second reef in the main sail. This is the sail most ketch skippers reef first. As I finished the reefing task there was a loud noise then things got real calm. I looked around and saw that the whisker pole had buckled under the load and was flailing about. Monica was still in the cockpit so she rolled up the sail while I went about securing everything. I tied the bent pole to the lifeline stanchions and will disassemble it in St Lucia and try to get new tubing. The obvious damage was the smaller tube doubled back on itself. Less
obvious is the large outer tube also has a long sweeping bend in it. If a new inner tube doesn�'t slide inside the outer one then I will be replacing both tubes.

Since losing the whisker pole we have been sailing wing-on-wing, the Brits call it �"goose wings�". The main is held with a preventer on one side of the boat and the jib is held out by the wind on the other side. This becomes a real balancing act when the waves causing the boat to roll are thrown into the mix. And we can only go straight downwind +/- a couple degrees. This arrangement will get us close to the channel between St Lucia and Martinique and we will do the rest on a reach.

Fishing is finished for us for now. I caught 1 dolphin and lost all 3 lures I bought in Las Palmas. I�'m sure I will be able to restock in St Lucia. I want to get some heavier line since I can�'t stop the boat.

Thanksgiving at Sea - Cape Verde to St Lucia (part 3)

29 November 2019 | 14 25.2'N:42 59.6'W, middle of ocean
Thanksgiving has always been a special holiday for me having grown up in a large family. This was the meal when the whole family was at the table together. Mom would go buy the biggest turkey she could find, usually 22 or 23 lbs. It took a lot to satisfy 7 kids growing up together. Mom made this stuffing that was out of this world. She would start on Wednesday laying several loaves of bread to get stale. If it wasn�'t hard and crusty it wasn�'t ready for the stuffing. I�'m not sure the reason for this because the first thing she would do with it was put turkey drippings in it to make it juicy. The best stuffing was what was cooked inside the turkey. It was a lot moister than the stuffing cooked in a separate dish. The bird would go into the oven before many of us woke up. There was always the concern about how long it would take for a 23lb turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. The specialists warned everyone each year to thaw the bird in the refrig to avoid spoilage and the variou
s maladies that go with it. Most of the time my sisters helped in the kitchen. We always had mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows toasted on top. I had quite a sweet tooth then so this was one of my favorites. Then there were the green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, special breads and rolls, and of course the turkey. When the turkey and all the fixings were ready the family would gather around the table, have a blessing and enjoy the feast.
Monica on the other hand was not born in the US. She didn�'t know anything about Thanksgiving until she was about 11. Her memory from the year her family immigrated to the US was her mom fixed turkey legs rather than a whole bird. They had heard American tradition is to have turkey on the holiday but didn�'t know what it involved. A few years later when we were working on getting married my mom taught Monica how to prepare a proper Thanksgiving turkey dinner. She has been doing it ever since and we have passed the tradition on to our kids as well. Monica�'s mom did learn how to make a turkey feast and hosted many Thanksgiving parties for their friends.
Now here we are on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Monica bought a couple turkey legs in Mindelo, had just baked some bread that was used in the stuffing, brought some sweet potatoes and marshmallows so we could have a small feast in our cockpit. She couldn�'t find any cranberries on the east side of the Atlantic but you can�'t always have everything you want.
We are thankful for health and strength and daily bread as well as our safe passage so far. We are thankful that Rachel�'s twins are home from the hospital. We are thankful for our many friends and family that are supporting us during our fulfillment of this dream.

Creatures from the Deep �- Cape Verde to St Lucia (part 2)

28 November 2019 | 14 29.4'N:40.14.3 06.01'W, middle of ocean
It�'s always interesting to see the life around you in the water and in the air. Out here in the middle of the ocean we don�'t see many more birds but there are still the flying fish that constantly fly to get out of our way. We sometimes wake to find several of them on the deck. Monday we sailed near a pod of whales. We see a lot of dolphin (mammals) and didn�'t know there were so many varieties.
One of the favorite things to do as a cruising sailor is to fish. It�'s always exciting to hear the zing as the reel runs out when a fish strikes the lure. Sailboats travel at the perfect trolling speed of 5 to 8 knots. We have been averaging 5 to 7 knots on this trip. They say if you don�'t catch a fish on this crossing it�'s because you didn�'t put a lure in the water. Near the beginning of this leg I had a hit that was taking out my line real fast. I had set the line in the water for about 5 minutes when I heard the characteristic zing. I could tell it was a strong fish that had taken the bait. In my excitement it tried to stop it by tightening the drag too soon. The fish broke the line taking the lure, exciter birds and about 25% of my line. The problem with fishing from a sailboat is you can�'t stop the forward motion very easily and definitely can�'t back up to reel in the fish. Yesterday we were sailing along when the zing started again but the fish threw the hook. I have ca
ught the requisite Mahi Mahi (dolphin fish). It was small but the perfect size for the 2 of us.
Last night we were finishing up dinner when I mentioned that I had forgotten to bring in the line. We get pretty busy during the evening with taking evening star sights, dinner and the radio chat. About 5 minutes after I mentioned the line still in the water (about 3 miles deep) I heard the zing. We totally didn�'t expect anything 2 hours after sunset but there was a fish on the line. When I reeled it in, without much fight, I was surprised to see the fish in the photo. It sort of looked like an eel but I wouldn�'t expect to find one on the surface of 3 mile deep water. I have never seen anything like it before and it was kind of scary looking in the dark. It had about a 3 foot long slender body with a huge mouth full of teeth. The front teeth were at least half inch long and looked very sharp. We snapped a few photos, gave it a shot of gin and threw it back. If anyone recognizes this fish leave a comment on the blog.

Cape Verde to St Lucia (part 1)

25 November 2019 | 15 35.65'N:33 06.01'W, middle of ocean
We had a great start out of Mindelo Harbor at 12:30 on the 21 November. Everything turned quite blustery as we entered the channel between the islands of Sao Vincente and Santo Antao. There is usually an acceleration zone between islands where the breeze can go from 15 knots to 25 knots with gusts to 30+ knots. That�'s what happened here. So we continued downwind as the breeze decreased once we passed the islands. There is also a wind shadow on the downwind side of the island for up to 100 miles. As night fell on the fleet so did the breeze. Everyone was struggling through the night trying to find sufficient wind.
Friday evening I tried fishing again. I had my hook and line in the water about 5 minutes when I got a bite. It took off and when it jumped I saw that it was a mahi-mahi. Unfortunately in my excitement I tightened the drag too soon and too much and broke my line. The fish took off with my lure, teaser bird and about ¼ of my line. Since then we have figured out how to slow the boat if we ever get another bite. That�'s life.
Yesterday a pod of dolphins paid a visit. These are much larger than the ones we saw in the Med. The didn�'t jump like the smaller ones either. They seemed to be the size of the bottlenose porpoise we are familiar with in the SE USA like Flipper but brownish instead of gray.
By Sunday we had really settled into trade winds sailing. We are heading basically due west at 5 to 6 knots with the wind coming over our right shoulder. Today the wind is 10-15 knots from the ENE and the boat was only doing 5 knots. We set the mizzen stay sail and picked up a half to ¾ knot boat speed so we are very happy. This difference translates to 3-4 day earlier arrival. Faster passages mean less time at sea and more time in port at the end.
Only 1620 miles to go.

5 days in Mindelo

21 November 2019 | 16 53.4'N:24 595'W, Mindelo, Cape Verde
We are back under way but I will talk about that later. We were pretty beat up after the first leg of the rally because of the crazy wave patterns. The wind driven waves were coming from one direction and ocean swells were coming from about 90O. We never could find a good way to point the boat and we fell a couple times when a wave would hit the boat. During one of Monica�'s falls she bounced off the navigation table and landed against the stove on the opposite side. She bruised her ribs pretty good so we went to the clinic on Monday. We met several other rally folks while there with similar problems. At the clinic you prepay for the services. We paid for the doctor visit then visited the Dr. he prescribed some medications and an x-ray for good measure. Paid $60 for the x-ray then had a chest shot taken. The x-ray was the digital type and we left with a CD containing the picture. I took a taxi to the pharmacy, the first one was closed so he took me to a second one. The driver
waited for me and drove me back to the clinic. The full fare for the taxi was $3.00.
Tuesday we took a ferry to the adjacent island, Ilha de Santo Antao with a large group of rally goers. The tour took us from the south side across the mountains to the north side. South of the mountains was very dry with little vegetation. It was cloudy at the ridge so we couldn�'t see inside the caldera. The north side has luscious vegetation with trees and agriculture. The entire island was covered with the ruggedist mountain I have seen. The islands came up from the sea as volcano erupted. There was never a land connection with the continent of Africa so there are none of their type of animals. The guide said there are no snakes, rodents or any other such pests.
The marina constantly had a swell rolling in past the breakwater. The floating pontoons were difficult to walk on and the boats were constantly in motion. Many of us commented that we would be better at anchor in the harbor.
Neverland was the 80th boat to cross the finish line. All boats were given a handicap before the rally and the results were much different. There were 3 classes of monohulls and one class of multihulls. Neverland was in class 1C with a handicap of 0.809 putting her at the bottom of the list overall, the only way to go was up. After times were corrected for the handicaps Neverland found herself at 4th in class. The rally organizers didn�'t look at overall finishes but our corrected time put Neverland in 5th position overall, including the multihull class. The top finisher was a catamaran. All this really means is that the crews on the larger boats didn�'t sail them to their potential except the catamaran Minimole.
Vessel Name: Neverland
Vessel Make/Model: Allied Princess 36
Hailing Port: Onancock VA USA
Crew: Mike Gould-Captain
About: Mike has been sailing since 1986. He has made trips from Virginia to Maine and back. Several trips in the Mediterranean. He has sailed other vessels in the open sea.
Extra: Monica has sailed alongside Mike during all these years. She has loved sailing and enjoyed every minute out on the open seas with Mike. She looks forward to more adventures as a sailing couple-especially the eventual Atlantic crossing.
Neverland's Photos - Main
Sailing Kalamata, Greece and surroundings
16 Photos
Created 7 August 2016
Boat Trip 2015
5 Photos
Created 4 July 2015