Living the Dream

Who: Captain Chris May & Admiral Linda Moore
Port: Key Largo, Florida (But we're from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. " --Mark Twain
20 December 2011 | US Virgin Islands
03 October 2011 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
21 August 2011 | Ceiba, Puerto Rico
17 August 2011 | Roosevelt Roads Marina, Puerto Rico
24 June 2011 | Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico
13 June 2011 | Ponce, Puerto Rico
05 June 2011 | Boca Chica, DR
26 May 2011 | Ile a Vache, Haiti
21 May 2011 | Manzanillo Bay
14 May 2011 | Ocean World Marina
19 April 2011 | Sapodilla Bay, Provo, Turks & Caicos
13 April 2011 | Sapodilla Bay, Provo, Turks & Caicos
05 April 2011 | Sapodilla Bay, Provo, Turks & Caicos
30 March 2011 | Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas
28 March 2011 | Clarence Town, Long Island
21 March 2011 | Georgetown, Great Exuma
15 March 2011 | Georgetown, Great Exuma
13 February 2011 | Georgetown, Great Exuma
29 January 2011 | Georgetown, Great Exuma

Windward Passage

26 May 2011 | Ile a Vache, Haiti
Captain Chris
Enjoying a Prestige, the local beer brewed in Port-au-Prince, while in Ile A Vache.

With our despacho for Boca Chica on the south coast of the Dominican Republic in hand, we left Manzanillo headed west. For our non-sailing friends, the intent is this: Heading east, into the prevailing winds and seas, means waves crashing into and over the bow, strong winds over the deck, and not a lot of fun. Heading west, the waves roll under the boat instead of crashing into it, and because the boat speed can be subtracted from the wind speed (vector addition for the engineers out there, magic for others), a gentle breeze coming from astern to keep the sailors cool as we sip our drinks. That's the intent.

We left Manzanillo at mid-day, as the mornings are generally calm. We still had to motor for a few hours until the wind built enough for us to sail, and then we were able to sail for about 12 hours until the wind died. To try and explain some of the magic, if there is six knots of wind blowing west, and the boat is traveling west at five knots, there is only one knot of wind blowing against the sails, which is not enough to keep a flag flapping, much less keep the sails full and push a twenty ton boat. As a result, the boat slows down and the sails flap every time the boat rolls over one of those waves. The slapping Dacron and clanking hardware make life aboard tense, as you sit and think how much it will cost to replace the sails and hardware being worn out prematurely. As a result, sails come down and the "diesel wind", AKA the main engine, starts. In our case it ran for another thirty six hours, other than a few hours flying our cruising spinnaker and moving at two and a half to three knots (you probably walk faster through the mall), and the final few hours when we were approaching Ile A Vache when we were able to sail on a close reach towards the anchorage. I guess it's not trade wind sailing, but we'd rather have the weather too calm than too rough. I guess we read too many Bruce Van Sant stories of howling trade winds and boats bashing into the seas and were left wondering where our trade winds were (We knew a high pressure ridge would result in lighter winds than the seasonal average, but what we saw was even lighter than the models predicted).

We pulled in to Port Morgan on the west end of Ile A Vache about 5 PM, with an escort of children, and grown men, in dugout canoes. Usually there were two per canoe, one to paddle and one to bail. They all had a similar hustle: did we have work for them to do, did we need a guide, did we need to buy mangoes/bread/anything else, did we have sails/line/clothes/snorkel gear we could give them. Some had stories of woe to accompany their requests, others were just silent between asking for things.

When I chartered in St. Lucia, when you decided to use the services of a "boat boy", typically they would guard you as much as possible and keep the others away, or by saying "We're with Tico" the others would leave. It didn't seem to work that way here. We did befriend Castel and Darvy, who brought us rolls from the local bakery, papaya and cashew apples, and learned to live with the other visitors who came by daily, eventually buying some lobster also.

After a great night of rest in the very calm anchorage, we took the dinghy to the dock at the Port Morgan resort and walked up to the office. Rose Marie and Didier were very accommodating and reinforced the commonsense attitude: you do what you can, you can't help everyone. Don't spoil the children, $5 is a day's wages for a man's work. Although that helped, it still tugged at our heartstrings every time someone came by, making us realize how much we have although we sometimes think we have so little. We arranged for dinner at the resort, as I felt they were due something for their help and free mooring balls, and then toured the grounds as well as the local settlement. "Green lawnmowers" were in use: goats tied to stakes. While having some fried breadfruit and hot patties in the village, the local English teacher Frederick stopped to say hi and ask where we were from. We wound up hanging out for the afternoon with him, walking through the village to the other side of the island where the Abaka resort was. The walk involved picking our way across a slightly flooded tidal area, climbing over rocks, and picking our way around the muddy cow-path areas. Watching the locals with bare feet go through the mud and water almost made me think that was a better way. Almost.

We stopped at Abaka for a beer, and it was obvious that most of the resort patrons arrived there by boat and hadn't left the resort grounds. I know I've done the same thing in Jamaica in the past when staying at a resort, so it's interesting to see things from the other side of the coin.

We made our way back to the boat and cleaned up for dinner at 7. With a decidedly un-crowded restaurant, we leisurely worked our way through sushi, broccoli soup, shrimp with rice and vegetables, and orange cake before the yawns started and we turned in after finding out we could take care of the bill in the morning. When morning came, we made our way to the office for an internet session of downloading weather, and took care of the bill - $75 including our beer and wine: not too bad, especially with the free mooring ball and internet. After looking at the weather files, we decided to leave the next morning. We visited the village one more time, where Linda gave some sewing supplies to several women she had seen sewing. After giving Castel and Darvy some money for more bread, and a few t-shirts, we cast off the mooring and set the sails for Isla Beata, the southern cape of the Dominican Republic.

Linda has posted more photos in the album and on Facebook!
Vessel Name: Troubadour - Beneteau Idylle 15.50
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau Idylle 15.50
Hailing Port: Key Largo, Florida (But we're from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
Crew: Captain Chris May & Admiral Linda Moore
About: Chris and Linda chose early retirement from corporate "office space" and cubicle life at GE Healthcare in Waukesha, Wis., to pursue their dream of going "down island" to the Caribbean.
Our backgrounds: ***Linda is an insured PADI Divemaster and Master Scuba Diver. She is also a member of DAN the Divers Alert Network. She is trained as a Red Cross Emergency Responder; has completed the STCW BST (Basic Safety Training), and holds a USCG MMD (Ordinary Seaman). She has been sailing [...]
Troubadour - Beneteau Idylle 15.50's Photos - Main
Places and faces along the way.
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 1 February 2011
Odyssey (definition): a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune
2 Photos | 5 Sub-Albums
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The final preparations before sailing offshore are captured in this album.
76 Photos
Created 21 August 2009
Pictures of our shake down sail to St. Augustine, August 13-17, 2009.
18 Photos
Created 21 August 2009
These are pictures of our "shake down" voyages on Troubadour to get her ready for sailing long term.
65 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 9 May 2009
This album begins April 2009. We are moving into another phase in the refit. This phase is primarily focused on the rigging and deck maintenance as we prepare to go offshore.
121 Photos
Created 19 April 2009
This album is for all the side trips we take to enjoy lifes bounty.
30 Photos
Created 18 April 2009
Chris's retirement ceremony.
7 Photos
Created 28 December 2008
The dream continues as we experience the adventures of living aboard during our refit.
79 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 21 December 2008
Troubadour gets wet!
10 Photos
Created 18 December 2008
This album is dedicated to our family and friends who have visited us during our journey.
36 Photos
Created 18 December 2008
This album is dedicated to our new friends.
4 Photos
Created 11 December 2008
Goodbye, Wisconsin. Pictures of our home while the Estate Sale was going on in the fall of 2008.
16 Photos
Created 6 December 2008
The beginning of our refit while Troubadour was in the boat yard.
34 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 10 November 2008

Living the Dream

Who: Captain Chris May & Admiral Linda Moore
Port: Key Largo, Florida (But we're from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. " --Mark Twain
"I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand; Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand. Life is good today, life is good today" -- "Toes" by the Zach Brown Band