Tumultuous Uproar

A cruising boat with a racing problem...

17 November 2022 | Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou
14 November 2022
06 October 2022
04 May 2022
03 April 2022
15 March 2022
06 March 2022
27 February 2022
02 February 2022
17 December 2021
01 December 2021
30 November 2021

Bielle cinquante-neuf to the rescue

21 November 2022
Russ Whitford
The whining is over. Yes, I’m done whining about stuff not working on Uproar. I’ve fixed almost all the problems. We have working instruments, freezer, anchor windlass, alternator, water maker, etc. Best of all, I was able to accomplish these repairs with parts and tools I have on Uproar. Didn’t have to buy anything new.

There is still plenty to do. The stove/oven seems not to have the propane pressure it used to have. No problem, I have a new pressure regulator on hand. I’ll install it soon. The sound insulation around the engine compartment is crumbling. I’ll buy new and install. Anchor windlass still seems weak. We may be looking for a replacement in Martinique in a few weeks. The freezer seems to be taking too much power to freeze. I’ll keep adjusting the refrigerant until it seems right.

Ah, now Uproar feels like our proper, floating home. Pearl has adjusted well too. She loves running on the beach, occasionally with other dogs. She sure is fast!

We first set anchor in Carriacou in 2016. The next morning we joined the 9:00 am noodling class. This is water aerobics with swim noodles. One of the exercises is to sit on your noodle, office-chair-scoot around, high five everyone in the class and exchange names. What a great way to get to know fellow cruisers. We attended a birthday party at the end of the week and knew all 40 attending the party.

Friday, we joined the noodle class. Andrea, head noodlestress said, “I remember you, you are the one with the big noodle!” So I’ve got that going for me. Long story, not what you think!

We had cocktails on Makarios with Deb and Benj last night. Deb and Benj are from Wyoming. They had just launched their boat and sailed from Grenada to Carriacou. It was great to re-connect with them. We saw our first green flash of the year.

Back on uproar, duck fat fried potatoes and duck confit. Add to that Bielle, cinquante-neuf, 59% strong rum from Marie Galant, Guadeloupe. The cool, evening breeze became a Carriacou caress. All is good again on Uproar.

Sitter's Disease

17 November 2022 | Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou
Russ Whitford | Not bad.
Uproar has launched. More importantly, she if floating! While all boats float, there is always that question when launching, especially after a long stay “on the hard.”

Nolan painted the scratched up, dark gray boot stripe a muted teal to match the rest of Uproar’s color scheme. Looks great. We were both amazed how clean Uproar looked inside and out from being in the dusty Carriacou Marine Yard.

There were butterflies in both my and Lisa’s stomachs. We were about to end our five months as dirt dwellers and join the ranks of floating homeless. Would we and our puppy, Pearl adapt?

Uproar’s diesel engine fired right up and cooling water was exiting the exhaust as it should. I checked the anchor windlass, dead! OK, we will have to drop the anchor manually and see to fixing the windlass. We anchored in a safe spot after a bit of hassle getting the chain out of the locker. Unlocking the windlass refused to just let the anchor fall. Looks like bigger problems.

We had a quiet evening and a light meal, we launched right before five and it is pretty dark by six. Next day would be getting Uproar’s systems operating.

Solar panels were working well. I put them back up the first day we worked on the boat. After three days, batteries were fully charged. But the alternator was not charging the batteries. OK, I brought two rebuilt alternators back with me, no problem.

Installing the rebuilt alternator is not that difficult but cramped spaces and 80+ heat made it more of a chore. The fact that it was till not charging the batteries, even after a few tries with different wiring and voltage regulators added to the sweat.

I decided to get the freezer/fridge running. Well, it was making noise but not cooling. Add refrigerant, remove refrigerant, twiddle, still not working! Oh, instruments tripped the breaker off when turned on too. We anchored without any instruments such as depth. No problem, we know Tyrrel Bay pretty well.

A walk on shore with a coke break helped break my building tension. Several rums and dinner had me in bed by Seven. Then came mosquitos! OK, not a good start to life afloat!

I have written before that one of the most difficult aspects of cruising is keeping all the delicate systems working. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get this right. Lisa does not put pressure on me about this. She knows the stress it causes me. I didn’t sleep that well.

This morning, I got the alternator working! It was a few stupid mistakes on my part that caused it not to work. The freezer is still wheezing away. The machinery is working properly. I just need to get the refrigerant charge right. There is another cruiser in the anchorage who is an expert. I may ask for his help or to borrow his gauges. We fired up the watermaker, working fine. Things are looking up.

Living on a boat full time, our systems are always in use. But sitting on the hard, in a salt environment takes its toll. I’ll continue to work at it and eventually we will have success. Just wish I could not let it get to me so much. As promised, I’ll tell the good and the bad about cruising.

I’m feeling better now, I even shaved.

We're back

14 November 2022
Russ Whitford
Tears rolling down my cheek compel me to write. Lisa and I used to live full time on Uproar. It was fairly easy. We knew where home was and lived it and loved it.

I was a bit wary about being a “snow bird.” Summers in WI and winters in the Caribbean. It involved turning our lives upside down, once and again every year. But summer in WI was such a delight.

Moto friend Mark asked, “Russ, you have sailed and traveled much of the world. What do you still feel about Wisconsin?” The answer came easily. Wisconsin is one of the most beautiful places I have lived. Add to that family and friends, it is home. Such a pat answer. But really, Wisconsin has one of the most beautiful landscapes, parks and countrysides. What’s not to like. OK, winter! Even winter was fun when I raced my old Ducati on the ice. But long, wet, cold springs……

Tonight, is our third night in Carriacou. Carriacou is a small island north of Grenada, part of Grenada. Lisa and I landed her in 2016. Within a week, we knew 40 cruisers in the anchorage and many became life-long friends. We sailed here in May, 2022. Pulled Uproar into the Carriacou Boat Yard and headed back to our WI, River Retreat.

Now again, we have a transition from familiar life, friends and family, back to the floating homeless. It is a bit daunting. We hauled 200 pounds of boat parts, supplies and a new puppy back to Uproar. I’m happy to report Uproar looks in fine shape after our absence. OK, the bilge pump quit. I’ll fix up something.

What really hits me is how much this too is home. People here in Tyrrel Bay still remember us and call us by name. The tropical heat is a bit daunting but after three days, we are sure we can adapt once again. Just take it slow and easy.

This evening, Lisa and I decided to prolong our evening a bit and go to Iguana’s for a cocktail. I asked Kaylin for a pirate strength rum punch. I’ve got the pirate look but insist, “pas dangerous.” Not dangerous! She gave me a wink and understood. Lisa started out with water, then graduated to a Cosmo.

They had country music playing on the screen. OK, on Uproar, we are quite new to that genre. In fact, on our play list, we resist country. Instead, we have a play list, “rural.”

Kaylin put on reggae for us. Started out with “Three Little Birds.” We all sang along. Then came “Redemption Song.” That’s when my tears started to flow. I have left Babylon and am now in Zion. Life is different here. The transition that I thought would be so difficult has now become a true part of me. Kaylin was taken aback by my tears. Lisa said, “We should go.”

No way.

“He who feels it knows it.” Bob Marley

My Zen master, John told me, “ Don’t try, just feel.” He so delighted in the difficulty I would have transitioning from my engineer brain to my true self.

Carraicou, thank you for tipping me back to my true self.

Boat Math

06 October 2022
Russ Whitford
One vintage, Glastron Jetflight speedboat + one Seadoo GTX jet ski = Jetflight jet boat
What could be more simple? Well instead of simple math, it is turning into long division. But I expected that.
The idea came when cousin Ken and I went on a road trip last summer. The mission was to find and buy a James Bond boat. In the movie, “Live and Let Die” James Bond jumped over a spit of land in his GT 150 speedboat. He (stunt double of course) even flew over a cop car. This scene made the GT 150 an icon. And I wanted one!
We drove through Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania and found the boat I purchased in Grand Haven, MI. It is a gaudy, gold metal flake finish, named Goldfinger of course.
During our search we ran across an older model of Glastron the Jetflight. The lines of the Jetflight appealed to both of us but the one we saw was too beat up for our purposes.
Goldfinger serves well as a river runner. She lives in the boat slip at the River Retreat, our home on the Milwaukee River. The Milwaukee River is quite shallow in places. A jetboat might be more versatile and who doesn’t like that rooster tail of spray from a screaming jet drive?
I found a nice, original Jetflight in Minnesota. Another road trip and it followed me home. I cautiously told Darren, who sold it to me, of my plans to cut it up and convert to jet power. Instead of being insulted, he heartily approved of the plan.
Two Seadoo jet skis for the price of one also followed me home from Illinois. I’ll sell the leftover one and trailer next spring. Hopefully, I’ll recoup most of the cost of the other.
The Jetflight is rated for a 65 HP outboard motor. I’m installing 110 HP with the jet drive. What could possibly go wrong? Whatever happens will happen at high speed!
Lots of noisy, power tools and violence produced a pile of jet ski parts and a Jetflight with a big hole in the bottom. Hours of cutting and fitting and the jet ski bottom looked like it belonged on the Jetflight.
Multiple layers of fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin and the Frankenboat was taking shape.
With the help of some river friends, the engine is now installed. I have started to assemble the jet ski parts back in the Jetflight hull. But that presents some challenges. I have to fabricate metal brackets to mount components and somehow link the steering wheel to the steering nozzle on the jet drive. Throttle linkage and reverse linkage will require some more McGivver work.
Here’s what I have so far. Stay tuned for the test run. My hope is that the Seadoo jet drive will not even know it has been installed in a vintage speed boat and runs like it should.

Lake Michigan cruise on Favorite Child

08 August 2022
Russ Whitford
Lisa and I can’t get away from sailboats. And we don’t want to. We have been both crewing on some racing boats; Eclipse, Perfect Ten and Timberwolf. Great fun racing with friends.
Lisa’s brother, Paul bought a Pearson 34 cruising boat this year. Paul is so excited about this boat and has worked hard on upgrades. We did several sails and she sails just great. Paul has been getting the boat ready to cruise in Door County with Erin and their three children, ages 9 through 16.
The difficulty in cruising from Milwaukee on Lake Michigan lies in getting the boat approximately 100 miles on the open lake to Green Bay or Door County cruising grounds. There are ports along the way but it takes time. The usual method is to make three, day hops but that burns up three days of vacation time.
We offered to deliver Favorite Child back from Door County to save them the sea time and possible weather issues. Plus, we got to cruise for a week and introduce Pearl, our new sea dog to sailing.
Door County, the thumb of Wisconsin, is often referred to the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Quaint and historic villages dot the coast line along Green Bay. There are islands, limestone bluffs and plentiful hardwood forests.
We drove Erin’s Honda Pilot to Menominee, MI for the handover. It’s great to have helpful Alberte kids unload our gear and load theirs into the car. The Alberte two poodles were running around the park having a great time but largely ignored Pearl. Menominee VFW had a BBQ tent running to support a fishing tournament. Best $4 hamburger ever!
It was also fun to meet other sailors we hadn’t seen since we sailed out of Milwaukee seven years ago. Dinner out and a good night’s sleep prepared us for the next day, sailing to Sister Bay, Wisconsin. Wind was fair and pushed us along at a good clip for the 20 mile trip. Fortunately, Lisa made reservations at the Sister Bay Marina for a dock.
Friends from Whitefish Bay, Jane and Andy Hendrickson have retired to their cottage in Sister Bay. We spent three delightful days hanging out with them and their two Corgis. Pumpkin is 10 months old. She and Pearl wrestled almost constantly. They sure slept well.
Lisa and I enjoyed walking around town and borrowing the marina bikes. Lisa fashioned a papoose from a Turkish towel for Pearl to ride with me. Pearl also enjoyed her first pupaccino, cup full of whipped cream! Sister Bay is crowded with summertime vacationers and most of them wanted to stop and pet our puppy. Pearl was well socialized and enjoyed the attention.
Sturgeon Bay, 35 miles away was our next destination. We enjoyed a leisurely sail down the Door County shoreline in calm water and moderate winds. Still, it was a six hour sail that brought us into the luxurious, Centerpoint Marina ($100/night). Again, we met sailors we hadn’t seen in years. An early dinner brought us to an early bedtime.
Weather would be a factor for our 100 mile journey back to Milwaukee. We made an early start, sailed under the last drawbridge and out the canal into Lake Michigan. There was no wind. We motored south with no firm decision as to how far we would go or where our next port would be.
Lisa and I are used to long passages while cruising. The engine was purring along and autopilot relieving us of tedious hand steering. We read, napped and decided to just push all the way to Milwaukee. About 25 miles to go, we motored into dense fog! Favorite Child does not have the radar or AIS systems Uproar has. We were sailing blind! AIS is a system that receives signals from commercial vessels and calculates how close they will approach. It gives a clear warning of a dangerous collision. We did have cell service. I remembered the website, marinetraffic.com, that monitors AIS signals and puts data on a website. Lisa was able to confirm that there were no commercial vessels in our area. That was a relief! But we still couldn’t see other pleasure vessels who usually don’t transmit AIS signals. I told Lisa, “There can’t be other fools out here with us.”
Fog cleared as we entered Milwaukee Bay and we docked Favorite Child at 2am.
How does fresh water cruising compare to our Uproar adventures? It is totally different. We avoid marinas with Uproar and consider them “boat jail.” In Door County, there are spots to anchor but constantly shifting winds make them tenuous in unsettled conditions. Plus, we had no dinghy to go ashore. The facilities at marinas are nice with friendly staff, showers and great restaurants nearby. It is a different experience and still, lots of fun.
But we much prefer quiet nights at anchor to marinas. Plus, anchoring is free, not $100/night. Favorite Child performed well and is a fine cruising boat. We will want to help deliver and cruise again next year.
And Pearl turned out to be a perfect boat dog. She seemed right at home. I was able to teach her to go potty behind the wheel, an area we can just clean out with a bucket. Good puppy!

Martinique to Bequia

04 May 2022
Russ Whitford
“I can hear the tree frogs.” We anchored in Anse Cochon, St. Lucia just before dusk. As the sun set, we were enjoying our traditional anchor beer after a passage. Lisa’s “beer” was chardonnay and mine rum. We had an idyllic sail from Martinique with only one moderate squall. Forest surrounded the bay and the tree frogs were in full song. First time I have heard them all season.
Our stay was short, the next morning I awoke at 4:00 am. Lisa said, “Let’s wait another half hour.”
“I’m up and we need to get going.” We had a 62 mile sail to Bequia and wanted to arrive in time to clear customs.
We started out motoring in the calm, lee side of St. Lucia. The wind picked up and we put up full sails. Sanitas, Mike and Jen, were our wing man sailing with us from Martinique. They were anchored down island a little further at The Pitons. Underway, we spotted them on AIS, about 4 miles ahead of us.
We rounded the south point of St. Lucia and the trade winds started to howl. OK, 18 knots or so aren’t exactly a howl but we had to reef the main. Then the seas picked up. Mike on Sanitas called on the VHF, “Hey are you guys seeing the adverse current we are?” Yes we were. There were over 2 knots of current against us. Uproar would normally do over 7 knots in those winds. Our GPS showed only 5 knots over the ground, sometimes even less.
Five knots is about our threshold of pain when sailing. Any slower and we turn on the engine. But the engine wouldn’t help against current. Uproar was already sailing fast over the water. It took about 15 miles and 3 hours before the current let up. Uproar ramped up to 7 or 8 knots and we knew we were out of the current.
Then the squall hit. Mike saw 28 to 30 knots of wind sustained for 20 minutes. The wind blew and the sea flew. A good dose of rain added to the fun. Our GPS showed 10.5 knots as our max speed. That’s fast for a cruising sailboat. Two more hours and we were in the lee of St. Vincent. Ahh, flat water again. We shook out the reefs and unrolled the genoa. Sanitas was closer to shore and darned if they weren’t in a great wind line. We suffered some light wind but still resisted burning diesel.
Lisa said, “This is a relaxing sail.” I was working it hard to catch Sanitas. They did admit to motoring some.
As we continued south, we left the calm, lee of St. Vincent for 12 more miles to Bequia. We had to sail east of south on a close reach. Uproar came alive but once again, we had to reef down for a squall. We passed Sanitas just at the tail end of the squall. We took their picture and they took ours. It is rare to get a picture sailing in heavy weather.
The seas flattened as we entered the lee of Bequia. We did arrive in time for customs but the medical protocols required we have an agent take our medical test documents and issue a medical certificate before we could proceed to customs and immigration. We later learned that this was sort of a $50 scam. If we took our documents to the hospital, they would reluctantly review them and issue a certificate, no charge.
We were in no hurry, we received our certificate from Daffodil, who visited our boat to get our papers. We didn’t have to go ashore. OK, that was some service provided and she was very nice.
It was time for another anchor beer. Mike and Jen dinghied by and joined us in some wine and ti punch. Love being back in Bequia! It was worth the sporty sailboat ride.

Vessel Name: Tumultuous Uproar
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 42s7
Hailing Port: Milwaukee, WI
Crew: Russ Whitford & Lisa Alberte plus Pearl, our Toy Fox Terrier
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Uproar FULL ON in the North Channel! Picture by Rick Pask.
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