May 18, 2001 8:46 pm

I have only stopped in front of a small indentation in the lee of West Caicos, on the way up from Luperon(Santo Domingo) to Atkins and Long Island, Ba. Will be interested in what you think, I heard the Turks are finicky on clearing in and out and you have to do it again in the Caicos, so we felt pressed for time and only anchored for the night far from everything.

As a rule, I have not enjoyed the Bahamas as much as other archipelagoes, except for Atkins, Abacos, some Exumas (eg, Warderick Wells and Allan's Cay, plus Royal Harbor west of Spanish Wells), and for Long Island where I made friends years ago after stranding on badly charted O'Neil's Reef on the NorEast coast, slightly above Sims settlement, which has trapped dozens of boats of which the Morgan42 I had just smuggled out of Haiti was only one of two surviviors. The fisherman who helped me then died 3 years ago trying to salvage a Haitian big sail cargo boat, but all the others were there and still beautiful, including the Jamaican nurse who helped a traveling Nigerian doctor put 10 stitches on a nasty coral gash on my leg. A long story, but an interesting island indeed.

If you tell me your intended program, I might have some insights. I found the Bahamas 2000 Yacht Cruising Guide most useful.

May 18, 2001 4:21 pm

Thanks much for the info on the Turks & Caicos. We're taking two boats, my Voyager and a friend's Bristol 40. I'm singlehanding down with a quick stop in Bermuda. My kids fly into Provodenciales on June 23, so I must be there then. We'll spend a month cruising the T&C, going wherever the wind and kids wish, before returning late July. No real plans at this point other than snorkeling, rum, etc.

Last year we had the same sort of trip to Nassau, the Exumas, Spanish Wells and Eluethera. Wonderful time. I thought some of the Exumas were wonderful, and agree on Warderick and Allen's Cay, which we visited twice. At one point in Allens my 2 kids, 9 and 13 at the time, were ashore processing conch, surrounded by big Iguanas. It was like Lord of the Flies. Also stopped at Royal Island for a couple of days - fascinating upside-down jellyfish all over the bottom. The previous year we did many of the Leewards and Virgins, stopping in Bermuda both going and returning. Also a great time.

May 18, 2001 9:22 pm

Last year when we were there, Bermuda, we found that the fuel truck would
come down to the wharf on Saturday mornings and we were able to save at
least a dollar a gallon.  Check this out at the laundry.  This was in St.
Georges, I presume that's where you're going.

May 19, 2001 8:11 pm

When I was there two years ago fuel was $4/gallon, and I bet it's even more now, so this is good to know.

Jun 1, 2001 7:06 am

Fair winds and waves and landings, I would seriously consider the Cape Verde: barge in Sal if you have to exchange crew, the international airport is there; but most of all the barge in Mindelo, to explore the wonderful people and the sao Vicente island and Baya de las Gatas and its dailing fishermen, plus take the ferry to Sao Antao and its jagged mountain jungles and pineapple and cane/rum plantations.

In the Canaries, don't miss Graciosa Is. at the NE tip of Lanzarote, a gem and one of the Canaries' only 3 harbors safe in the January-February S quadrant storms. People leave a bit of their heart in La Sociedad...


Aug 14, 2001 11:57 am

Turks & Caicos

The TCI is one of the odder places I've visited. It's rather hard to like at first visit. Many anchorages are very, very rolly. The place is so shallow that it makes the Bahamas look deep. Many of the islands have no anchorages at all, due to the shallow water. The first week I was there I was disappointed.

But then, something changed. Not sure what. We slowed down, rented a car, met a lot of "Belongers" (locals). Some were pretty abrupt; most were delightful. We learned to ignore the guidebook and rely on a locally-purchased chart. We found some incredible spots, fantastic. Motoring across some spots I could see the shadow of Voyager's mast on the bottom! The snorkeling, if you're careful to use the chart, is fantastic. My 14 yr old son and I found a couple of diving spots that were unbeatable. This year we carried two sets of diving gear, which worked out great. It's easy to get air there.

We went to Provo (all over), West Caicos (rolly, beautiful), and the Caicos islands (N and E of Provo). The Caicos islands were fantastic. Turtle Cove marina on Provo is hidious - floating turds all over. The Shipyard marina on the south side is much nicer.

I'd go back in a heartbeat.

I singlehanded the whole way, stopping in Bermuda for a week and then to TCI. The kids flew in and spent a month cruising with me there. No wind for the first 5 days out of Bermuda! Motored 500 miles before the trades filled in. The trip back was 9 days from TCI to Norfolk, some weather, but a nice sail.

Aug 14, 2001 2:48 pm

Thank you so much for the details, West Caicos was eerie but just worth one overnight, and the charts discouraged us, plus what we had heard in Luperon about Turtle Cove, which you confirm. I guess we'll have to give it another try... In the Bahamas, I can recommend other eerie places, such as Atkins' deserted harbors, Long Island wonderful people (watch out for the ill-charted O'Neill's Reef on the NE side, opposite Sims and a bit north, I gps'ed the exact location from shore, but make sure you stay a couple of mile off shore all the way NW and around the lighted point), the Exumas (but not Georgetown itself).

How much, how and where do you keep enough diesel for 500 Nautical Miles? This could be a good subject of general interest, as bluewater sailors agree to this minimum target.

I ended up with 6 jerricans on deck to complement my "50"gal in-tank (two twin aluminum tanks to replace the original steel tank which was shedding scale galore, and gain a few gallons while avoiding any cutting of cockpit or bulkheads. I tried a flexible tank but too iffy in the end), and reducing speed to 1800 rpm on the old Westerbeke 30 whenever there were no headwinds or seas.

Congratulations for sticking with TCI. We did not have the patience on the way out of wonderful offshore sabbatical ways which made the whole Bahamas a bit pale at the time.


Aug 14, 2001 5:08 pm

Sorry to bother you again but your report on TCI was just so precise and useful it is now inserted in my 2000 Yachtsman Guide. Another question? What did you do in Bermuda for a whole week?


Aug 15, 2001 10:40 am

Ah, Bermuda! What did we do there for a week? Repairs, of course!

I singlehanded Voyager to Bermuda on the way to the Turks and Caicos. A friend took his Bristol 40 yawl (with 2 crew). We took the 2 boats to Bermuda, the TCI, and back. Our kids (and his wife - I'm divorced) flew into the TCI for a month of cruising, during which the two boats sailed together and rafted up each night. At sea, of course, we were often 100+ miles apart.

But the Bristol had various problems. One hr out of Bermuda they snapped the 3/4 bolt that holds the spreaders and lowers up! Earlier they had major mainsail problems. So we spent a lot of time there getting a bolt made and getting the sail fixed.

I've been going to Bermuda for 20 yrs, and was shocked at how much the island is being degraded. It's the damn cruise ships. St Georges gets 2 a day. Thousands of day trippers "do" Bermuda in 8 hrs. My old favorite snorkeling spot at Tobacco Bay was once pristine, empty, and beautiful. Now it's packed cheek-to-jowl with cruise shippers, and the water is murk.

We did rent mopeds and explored. But more and more Bermuda is just a way stop, a place for expensive fuel ($5/gal), nice people, decent supplies. Great ice - 50 pound blocks at Somer's Market for $14 each. Two lasts me 8 days.

We did meet some wonderful locals who had us up to their place for dinner and all.


Aug 15, 2001 9:12 am

Thanks for the confirmation of Bermuda's decay (I only went 1/3 of the way to it before swinging NE and E into the Gulf Stream, 2-3kts favorable current counts for Pianissimo), not surprising for an island which lacks wind most of the time. St.Martin's Dutch side is similarly haunted by cruise ships, and they are getting bigger every year.

Date: Wed Aug 15, 2001 12:08 pm

I spent two weeks in Bermuda and loved it.  I agree that the cruise ships
have messed it up as they have everywhere else they visit.  We now try to
avoid areas that cruise ships go to and find things are better.  

For refueling in Bermuda, rather than getting fuel at the fuel station
south of Somer's wharf, wait until Saturday morning and have the pump
truck come down to refuel several vessels.  My cost of fuel per gallon
was 1.90 and all we had to do was pull along side of the wharf.  I found
this tidbit out at the laundry speaking with several other yachties.


Aug 15, 2001 10:23 am

My fuel experience was the same two years ago on delivery from Caribbean to NY.


Aug 21, 2001 1:40 pm

Our trip from Port Aransas, TX to Clear Lake Shores (20 miles north of 
Galveston) was interesting.  Although we had done an eight hour sea trial 
during the survey, a couple of issues with the Bukh 20 hp auxiliary reared 
their heads.  We were backing out of the slip for the first time when the 
engine decided to stay in reverse.  After shutting down the engine and 
thankfully avoiding hitting nearby boats and piers, my friend Marshall whom 
I had hired as my delivery captain, found a missing fastener from the 
transmission shift linkage.  I managed to fish out a screw and nut from the 
boat's 20 yr. box and Marshall installed it.  The second issue reared its 
head later in the narrative.

After topping off the fuel tank, we headed out to the Gulf at 9:00 PM.  We 
had some peripheral storm activity form that storm that was threatening 
Florida and the seas were reported as 6-8 ft.  The boat managed well, but 
another friend who wanted to come along was ill before we got past the 
jetties.  I fared better although it was my first time ever to go offshore. 
I had the watch and helm from 10:00 PM to 2:00 am.  I do admit to having 
gotten queasy after spending twenty minutes below looking for batteries for 
one of the handheld GPS units, installing them, and resetting it.  When I 
was relieved, I slept on the port cockpit seat, since the seasick party was 
stapled to the port settee (we were on the starboard tack, jib and jigger) 
for the next 8 hrs.  It would have been comfortable if it hadn't been for 
rogue waves that soaked me every 30 minutes or so. Marshall had rolled up 
the spray dodger's plastic shield for better visibility to avoid unlit oil 
rigs.  You guessed it, we did not have radar.

After about 12 hrs., we decided to turn in at Matagorda since my one friend 
was constantly ill whether above or below decks.  I had gotten over my 
queasiness by then, and was even able to rest below in comfort.

We motor-sailed up the ICW for the rest of the way (not Marshall's or my 
first choice, if the engine had any skeletons in the bilge, they might show 

Later that evening, I happen to shine the flashlight on the unlit instrument 
panel, and noticed that the oil pressure was low.  There was a leak that had 
developed that required the addition of two qts. every three-four hours from 
Freeport on in.  That was why I earlier inquired about removing the engine.  
Just this week I found that it was an oil line that had vibrated loose 
enough to leak.  It was easy to reach from the cabin doors, and easily 
stopped by tightening the bolt on the fitting.  The engine ran great 

We ran aground twice on the clay bottom of ICW.  It took an hour to get 
loose the first time, and the second time required the assistance of a 
passing shrimper.  The problem had to do with the setting of the Nexus depth 
finder.  We set it to register the amount of water under the keel.  We used 
5 ft. to do this.  I later found that you have to specify -5 ft. when 
setting this.  Set as we had it, it showed five more feet than we actually 
had.  I feel that it didn't have a very user-friendly interface and that you 
needed a degree in elect. engineering in order to figure out how to use it.  
I sat down and finally figure all this out after we had arrived at Clear 
Lake Shores.

Almost forgot an incident that was amusing to me in retrospect.  In 
Matagorda Bay I asked the formerly-seasick party to rinse out my plastic 
waste basket which he had used as his sickness receptacle.  In the process 
of complying he dropped it in the bay.  We tried unsuccessful to recover it 
after a number of heroic attempts of leaning over the rail.  On the last 
attempt I almost had it, but it slipped from my grasp upon which the little 
Bukh and its three-bladed prop dutifully minced it up.

Despite what occurred, I enjoyed the trip overall, and came to bond with and 
love my boat.  I hope that readers will find my story amusing as well as 


Sep 21, 2001 9:14 pm

Why September? and where? That's too early for the Caribbean, and too late for crossing to the Azores and beyond, for which the best window is mid-May to mid-June.


Sep 21, 2001 9:52 pm

I'll probably move aboard sometime this summer. September 1 is the "cut the cord" date. My normal departure for the Caribbean has been Oct 15th to Nov 15th in the past. I may just amble down the coast after a month in Casco Bay, ME and leave from Beaufort, NC when the weather looks good or just head for FL and amble east or possibly Cuba for a few months.... no plans, no adherent schedules just yet... But a date sure gives one some incentive.

Your cruising stories and vast experience makes me envious and have possibly had some of the impetus force..... You could offer to crew for a month or so. I figure it will take you at least that long to tell me of your adventures.

Date: Sat Sep 22, 2001 2:17 pm

5-6 July 99, the proof that it is better to start 15May-15June from the East coast eastward instead of our 26June


Oct 1, 2001 10:43 am

Do not give up the dream, just alter it if necessary to circumnavigating the Northern half of the Atlantic between 40N and 10N, clockwise around the Bermuda-Azores High so the winds are in our preferred position: full & bye or aft thereof. Maximum crossing is 2200N or 15-20 days, and there are many archipelagoes to explore at leisure (Azores-Madeira-Canaries-Cape Verde-West Indies down to Grenada and Trinidad and back up - Virgins-Puerto Rico-Hispaniola-Bahamas), as you should take a full sabbatical year to do it from the East Coast, June to June, outside of the bad season wherever you go.

Passage crews can be found from friends or SCCA, and there enough friends ready to sail with you in the islands. At age 67, if my wife Barbara were willing, I'd go right back out, doing it again, and again, and again!

Fair winds and dreams


Oct 8, 2001 11:53 pm

I have been thinking of sailing from NY to Azores to Med.

If I follow thru it would be nice to sail with other boats. I think I would be leaving end of May 2002 or very early in June. If anyone is interested in sailing at same time we could communicate the long lonely way to the Azores.


Oct 9, 2001 6:50 pm

How long do you wish to stay in the Med, and what type of things do you like?

Besides the Azores in 1999, I have run years ago at various times the French Riviera and a bit of the Italian one (Livorno-Pisa), the Baleares, Corsica, Sardinia to Lipari, then Greece from Kephalinia through Corynth Gulf into Athens and the Cyclades all the way to Ios and Santorini (but no time for Crete).

I have friends who regularly leave their 50' ketch in Turkey to spend the winter in Paris...


Oct 10, 2001 10:36 am

A trip to the Med sounds a like wonderfull idea. Since I come originally from that area (Italy), it has always been a dream of mine to cross the pond and what a great way of doing it in the company of other boats. I will consider joining if my Seawind does not sell (it is for sale at the moment) and if I can get enough time to fit out the boat for such a voyage. The thought of it is keeping me awake on quite a few hours of the nights.
Any input on your preparation would certainly help me and others that may ponder the same trip.


Oct 10, 2001 7:14 pm

I have charts of Azores,Gibralta,Balearic Islands. Also some charts of Sardinia and Sicily. I have Heikell Italian Waters Pilot. Phil Brieff In my mind I have made the trip many times. Now maybe in reality.

I have my boat for sale also. However, I really don't know if I will sell. My boat is for sale for economic reasons but it is not absolutely necessary to sell. Where do you hail from? I'm located in the Bronx, N.Y.

If our boats are similar we may be able to save on spare parts carried


Oct 31, 2001 12:06 pm

Salvatore: the trip to Italy, Med islands, Croatia, Greece and Turkey (cheap wintering) is wonderful, and so is coming back via Madera, Canary, Cape Verde and the Caribs. Have done it all (in two installments, 30 years apart, and only the second one with a Seawind II) and would go right back pout again if spouse were accepting!


Nov 1, 2001 8:33 am

Go for it, (Rhode Island) the weather is warming up here for a few days. I found that, with a simple sleeping bag (plus one inside the other in December), parka on top of down vest, wool hat and warm pants, long wool socks and wol gloves on top of fingerless polypro gloves (in case of delicate work), I am cosy through early December, and don't ven bother to cook warm meals or tea/coffee on short stints.

If you have to stop just before Newport for weather or fog, Pt.Judith is a cinch. I found in the middle of the red buoys line that protect the eastern beach a white mooring buoy that has double pendants on top of its flat crown, very handy. This past summer, 3 lovely ladies paddled from the beach on their inflatable, just to tell that their husbands are away but would be delighted to have me on their empty mooring. They had their own drinks in hand, which I was glad to complement with macadamia nuts and French pate on crackers, plus my favorite mediaeval story on "What women really want"... A lovely evening, indeed! But the mooring may have disappeared in the winter preps...

In Newport, I had a wedding at Eisenhower House near Fort Adams, so I docked att he Museum of Yachting tiny harbor at the northern tip of Mt.Adam, a bit far from town f ou have business there, but absolutely charming and quiet. The MOY has a very inersting loft consecrated to sailing pioneers, including Frenchman Alain Gerbault, to which we must try to add Alan Eddy and his Seawind: But my call at the time for a Rhode Island Seawind II did not elicit any response, hence my trying to help here.

If you encounter the wrong winds on the way back, you may seek the more sheltered waters of Long Island Sound, in which case I suggest the Fisher Island Sound (Stonington for repairs, and West Harbor for good sjelter and no detour, are the best) as an entry. There are lots of good shelters on the North coast of the LI sound, but you have to wait for Port Jefferson before you find good coves and harbors on the South side. Please feel free to stop at Rye/Milton Harbor behind Peningo Point (give 50 ft space around the unlit white can at the tip of nasty Scotch Caps, the end of the Point, and don't venture North or West of the line between that can and the red nun in its East off the Clubs). There is no launch service at American YC after this weekend. Later, you may come to the dock and/or call VHF 71, using my name, to ask for instructions and if I may be contacted at 967 4970. The staff stay to work on moorings and docks, and have given me rides on their whalers.


Nov 7, 2001 8:21 am

I don't remember if I answered your post that is below. I may not bring my boat back from the Med. I plan to spend some time at each stop along the way (like a week). Then probably keep the boat at a marina in Israel (Ashkelon or Ashdod). That is if Israel still exists. I would then sail to Cyprus, Turkey, and Greek Islands.


Nov 8, 2001 8:54 pm

I was asking because I have sailed along that wonderfully civilized sea (Our Sea of the Romans) and still unspoilt in many places. I don't know the Spanish coast, and the French and Italian Rivieras are very nice, but a bit civilized and out of the way. Do not miss the Baleares (Ibiza and Minorca's Ciudadela remain etched in my mind), North Sardinia and South Corsica, The Italian islands from Ponza down through Lipari and Sicily, then all the Greek Islands on each side of the Corynth Canal, a good short cut which ends near Delphi, a great taxi ride from Itea, the 4000 year old small harbor, as are Athens and Sounion's Neptune Temple.

(Croatia is marvellous too, I hear, and so is Malta and even the Tunisian coast. The Algerian and Libyan coasts are much less attractive and security is a problem there.)

Follow the Aegean Greek islands down to Crete via amazing Santorini (Sailing with an old tuna fishing ketch from Britanny into that open volcano is also deeply etched), and up along the Turkish coast before you go down that coast and around to Rhodes and finally Israel.

Just remember that the Meltem wind is barrelling down the Aegean from mid-June through August. With short steep seas whipped by 35kts gusty winds, it's no picinic even down wind, so you end up travelling from 3AM to 10 AM when it steadies some, and you hug the coasts on either side when trying to beat North. The Turkish side has more islands for shelter between the nasty headlands. The Adriatic has a similar wind, but not every day, I understand, a bit like the Mistral on the other side of Italy and on the French coast. Never get caught by Mistral on the North side of Mayorca, it lifts enormous waves which have capsized many yachts, some no more heard from; especially if it shifts abruptly from to a strong Easterly, wich can happen in minutes.

Don't trust Greek captains unless you have several strong references, many are just incompetent and very arrogant, a walking and sailing catastrophe in being... I almost got killed by one brandishing a 2x4 with nasty nails, and one of my friends lost her boyfriend in a charter boat lost at sea through sheer incompetence (she is strong swimmer, dragged the lad over the last mile of swimming to an island, and found him dead on arrival, she was the only survivor...)

You can take a couple of years and much more, although I have French friends on 50ft ketch who are starting to speak of crossing the Atlantic after 10 years of roaming the Med... They found good wintering marinas in Turkey too (see SSCA bulletins).

Make sure your engine is in good shape, one of the problems in the Med is either very strong winds and short steep seas (never get caught on a lee shore, I have lost another friend that way on the Northwest shoulder of Corsica), or no wind at all for longish periods.


Nov 8, 2001 10:40 am

Thank you for the advice and benefit of your experience.

I am planning to go to Azores, Gibralta, Baleric Islands, southern coast of Sardinia and Sicily. Next would be Crete, stopping at Hania and another northen coast harbor at the east end of Island. I would prefer to do the southern coast of Crete but do not have any info on suitable ports. Then I would end in Israel. My experience in the Med consists of taking the ferry from Athens to Crete. Conditions during my trip in December were very good.


Nov 9, 2001 7:02 am

Yes, cool (sort of Indian Summer like, I just come back from a trip upSound, and earlier to Block Is., not much nude sailing these days) and good in the winter, it is just that the mid-June-early Sept (those dates fluctuate a little) period is uniformly windy, because the hot Sahara and Western Desert of Egypt create a huge low in the South.

Good program for a fast trip. Iraklion in Crete is the main city-harbor, a bit protected by an island and breastworks. Stay well away from shore on the way to and fro, the south Coast would be the best in summer months, and there are a few good bays and fewer ports, eg, Plaka. Balearic Isles, Sicily are great, I don't know that I would bother to go up to South Sardinia where Cagliari is very industrial, the North (Madalena, Porto Cervo) being much more interesting.

In the Azores, don't miss Horta, Faial, and let know, they live there, retiring when they lost their beloved Nirvana in a Puerto Rico hurricane and building their own house. They are the best hosts and wonderful people, and you may want to go down in the Caldera volcano (Tim was a wonderful companion there, we two old coots did a lot of philosophising during numerous breathers on the vertical way back up, dry weather only!). You can bypass Flores which does not have a good harbor (even in Lages, you may be stuck at anchor for days in nasty surge which prevent dinghy landing as the fishermen take up the only accessible spot on the quay...), but San Miguel (good marina too) and the other islands are great.

and like Nelson looking for the French, give yourself the trip along a couple of times back and forth, but over a couple of years, so you don't miss the other Med spots before you come back via madera, Canary, Cape Verde (not to be missed) and Caribbean.

Be well! What a perspective!


Nov 26, 2001 7:55 am

Tampa Bay area - Don and Brenda -

Regards our location, we are approximately 2 miles north of Tarpon
Springs, Fl., a small Greek fishing village. The name of the area is New
Port Richey, with Gulf Harbors being the community. Its generally listed
in Pilot's guides as the Gold Coast or Gulf Harbors.

On our way in yesterday we noticed a SW II anchored just off Anclote Key,
know of any one in the area?

All are welcome to stop by our wharf for a few days if in the area. We
are a Seven Seas Cruising Harbor.


1635 Mar 1, 2002

Dear Friends and Family,

We left the Hollywood City Marina this morning after three enjoyable months - the longest we have been in one place since 1996. We especially enjoyed being near Deirdre after a long separation. But our time was up and we had to move, even as March came in like a lion.

The plan was to sail south and west along the Florida Keys and visit the Dry Tortugas, 80 miles west of Key West. Instead, we motored down the ICW to this pleasant spot to decide what to do next. The weather forecasts are not good. In fact, we canít stay here past Sunday as the wind is forecast to shift to the southwest and we would be on a lee shore. So we are considering our options and hoping for a better forecast in a day or two after which we will decide if we will be able to continue down the Keys or turn around and head north to Jacksonville in preparation for our return to Puerto Rico in April.

Weíll keep you posted and you can check our position at: <> We will update it daily when on the move.

Best regards,

Gil and Judy

1639 Mar 1, 2002 9:13pm

Subject: Luperon, Dominican Rep.

Dear Gil & Judy: By all means, on your way to Puerto Rico, check into Luperon, Santo Domingo at about mid- point of Hispaniolaís North Coast, past the Haiti border. If you canít get charts or drawings from other cruisers (I got my sparse data from talking to a cruiser in Dominica), just remember to stay somewhat on the left side when entering, avoiding the mid-day when the sun is straight above and fwd, until you can aim at the marked channel (sticks) that lead Eastward to a beautiful hurricane hole circled with mangrove, where cruiser comes for a brief stop and stay the whole summer and fall. It is now so popular (but an enormous amount of room) that they may have put buoys at entrance. Provisioning is of great value, and the people most hospitable.

Happy Sail, Bert de Frondeville, Pianissimo 80K

1817 From:

Date: Tue Apr 30, 2002 9:37am

Subject: Re: White Horse Tavern

To Jack Ganssle


Make yourself known to the bartender at the White Horse. If I still have a sou left (not certain) when I get there I will ask him to keep a drink on ice for you.

All the best,

Temple Plainsong K32

1820 Apr 30, 2002 10:45pm

Subject: Re: White Horse Tavern

The General Manager & master-bartender of The White Horse is an old friend.... Walter Paynter, Say Hello for me while you hoist a Dark & Stormy over my absence.

1826 May 3, 2002 11:44am

Since moving aboard DAYBREAK last May we have not had the opportunity to do much sailing. On a couple of passages off the NJ coast, we did observe a normal amount of weather helm. While in Annapolis we renewed the rig and replaced the old Hood furling gear with a new Profurl. What we did not notice was that the rigger did not put a turnbuckle in the forestay, and we canít remember if there was one in the original setup. Further down the line, while in Florida we purchased a new 120% furling/reefing genoa. We also had a Cape Horn installed.

On April 15th, we sailed out of the St. Johns River in Florida bound for eastern Puerto Rico. We used up most of our fuel in the first few days motoring in light to non-existent wind. After four days of that, we decided we could not afford to burn any more fuel so shut down the engine for the remainder of the voyage. The wind was mostly under 10 knots out of the NE, which did allow us to sail slowly in the right direction. We did have a few episodes of higher winds - 25 to 30. What we found throughout this passage was that we had a pronounced lee helm. It was necessary to set the rudder to windward before engaging the Cape Horn or it would not hold the head up to weather. As we were mostly very close to the wind, I was also able to get the boat to self-steer by simply tying the wheel, again with a spoke of lee helm cranked in.

I have always thought that it was possible to control lee/weather helm to some degree by altering mast rake. Upon arriving in Puerto Rico, I observed that both main and mizzen have a slight rake. Of course, with no turnbuckle in the forestay, there is no way I can reduce or eliminate the rake. I contacted the rigger about it and here is his response:

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Regarding your query: the rake of the mast is set by the design of the boat and does not change. Turnbuckles are there to facilitate the tensioning of the stays and not to alter rake. Weather/lee helm is caused by the change in the center of effort of the sails and is adjusted with sail trim.

It sounds as if there is too much sail area in front of the center of effort, (genoa) and not enough behind, (mizzen sail). The boat must be balanced with the sails before you use self steering.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I would appreciate comments from the group on this topic. He mentioned using the mizzen - I just assumed it would not work going to weather - am I wrong on this? Yves (Cape Horn) also said in passing that I would not be using the mizzen when on the wind.

Sounds like we are missing a great party but, as you can see, it would be a long journey. If this gathering is held every year, we will probably make it in 2005.

Gil and Judy Steinfort

From: Jul 20, 2002 1:27pm

Subject: Bahamas trip.

We just recently returned from a cruise to the Bahamas which was not as pleasant as usual because of bad weather, mostly rain. But there were a couple problems on the way home that might be of interestWe have a Westerbeke 30 with about 6000 hours on it.On our last day returning to St. Pete, the alternator suddenly stopped charging although the tachometer still worked properly. I looked into the engine room and could discover nothing wrong. Later I discovered that the cable carrying the generated current from the alternator to the diode and then to the battery had corroded near the alternator connection and had burned the insulation on the wire for a couple inches. It had also burned the terminal on the alternator. In retrospect, I believe the corrosion was due to the knotmeter transducer which is installed in the engine room. I keep it out of the water most of the time, but when I insert or remove it, there is a big gush of salt water into the engine room. I almost always cover the engine with a garbage bag, but at least once I forgot and the salt water splashed onto the motor and alternator. This is probably the source of the corrosion. The corrosion caused a high resistance point in the cable which then heated and burned the insulation and alternator. Whether there was an actual flaming fire, I do not know.

A little later that day, the engine alarm rang and I noticed very low oil pressure. I stopped the engine, then looked in the engine room and found the pan beneath the engine full of oil. There was an oil leak but I could not then determine where it came from. We sailed the rest of the way into Boca Ciega Bay, through the drawbridge and anchored for the night. Then next morning we launched the dinghy, lashed it alongside with the motor in place and used the dinghy to tow "Ixchel" the last mile to its slip. Further investigation disclosed a leak in an oil-pressure switch. It is part of the alarm system. The switch was original. The leak produced a solid stream of oil at least an eighth inch thick. Further investigation showed that there are two oil pressure switches, although the wiring diagram only shows one, (push button start) and that both are necessary for proper operation of the alarm system.

I have replaced the oil pressure switch, and there is no leak yet. I still havenít got the alternator-regulator system working properly.

Dick Weaver SWII75K

1991 July 22, 2002

Hi Everybody,

Thought it was about time we checked in again.

We are currently in Grenada. We arrived here the day before yesterday and are planning on staying for about a month. Between here and Trinidad we are going to try and get through our list of boat jobs and a major reprovision before heading for the ABC islands and Panama.

Since Antigua, which is where we last checked in from a couple of months ago, we have been moving quiet quickly down through the islands. From Antigua we yellow flagged it down through Guadeloupe and Les Saintes. We did stop for a couple of nights in Les Saintes but because of our state registration we would not have been allowed to check in. The next stop was Dominica. We anchored in Prince Rupert Bay for about a week. Dominica is a beautiful island but quite poor. We did a few of the tours here. One of them was a river tour up the Indian River. Our guide was very knowledgeable and pointed out a lot of the flora and fauna. Also did a trip up to a small pool and waterfall in the mountains. It was a bit of a hike to get to but well worth it. It would have been nice to have the pool at the top of the hill instead of the bottom as we where all hot and bothered by the time we got back to the car and could have done with another swim. We actually got to know our guide quite well and he had another boat and us over to dinner one night. It was a lot of fun and they cooked us a traditional island dinner of crab in a coconut sauce and provisions, which are things like taro, cassava and taro. The only black spot on the visit to Dominica is that while we where there two boats in the anchorage where boarded during the night. No one was hurt and nothing was stolen but it made every body feel a little vulnerable.

From Dominica we headed to Martinique. On the way we where hit by the squall from hell. Things were a little hairy for a while. Another boat had passed us a little earlier and they very kindly called us on the VHF to find out if we where all right. We met them a little later on in Anse Mitan and they told us that their aneometer had registered winds up around 50 knots. We came through OK with only a couple of minor tears in our jib sail. We loved Martinique. It was great being able to stock up on all those little delicacies, like cheeses, salami, and cheap wine. It was spoiled a bit when we heard that some one with US state registration had been $9000 for not having national documentation, even though they had been cleared in by customs and immigration. After a week and this story we decided it was time to move on.

St Lucia was our next stop. Here we met Ian and Mary from Jamminí after we offered them a tow when we found them trying to row in to the Rodney Bay Marina with a broken oar. We hooked up with these guys and buddy boated down to Marigot Bay. We spent a couple of days in Marigot Bay relaxing and cleaning the bottoms of both boats. Also met another couple, Ali and Curt of Force Five. As we are all around the same age we decided to travel together and headed for Bequia. We had a screaming sail down to Bequia averaging about six and a half knots most of the way. A couple of times we where clocking around 8 knots sustained. In Bequia Jamminí discovered that they had run out of money and decided to head to Tobago where it was cheaper stopping in the Tobago Cays in the Grenadines on the way. We all decided to go to the Tobago Cays as well, so spent a couple of days topping up the water and fuel tanks and doing some grocery shopping before following them. We spent a couple of days in the Tobago Cays snorkelling, having a couple of beach bbqís and generally just hanging out before Jamminí left for Tobago. We are planning on meeting them in Trinidad at a later date. They are also going through the Panama Canal and heading for Australia, so we going to try and do the canal together and help crew each others boats through.. Force Five and us continued cruising down through the Grenadines. The Grenadines are a lot of small islands with only the basic facilities and a lot of beautiful beaches.

After a couple of weeks here Force Five headed back up to Bequia to do a few things and see some of the islands we had missed. We headed to Grenada as we had to get the paper work for getting my passport renewed. We are also waiting on the next step of the paper work for getting our boat documented in Australia. This should take care of the problems we are having because of the state registration we have now. Like all things to do with the government they are taking their time to get it done. Fingers crossed it will be soon. We will be spending about a month In Grenada before heading to Trinidad. We have a large list of things we want to do on the boat while we are in Grenada and Trinidad as all the facilities are here. Nothing major, mainly just inspecting things for wear and tear, reprovisioning and just generally getting ready for the Pacific.

Thatís all our news. Looking forward to hearing from every body. Until next time.

Alison and John.

2004 From: bdefrond <>

Date: Tue Jul 30, 2002 10:38pm

Subject: Force Five trip offshore

It is wonderful to hear from Allison et al. on their well started circum. I would like to stress that US Documentation is cheap, and easy to freely update yearly, and the French are not the only people to object to State Documentation once you are out of the Bahamas-US pond.

also, the Grenadines are a lot moe that small islands with beaches, lots of boat building and wonderful people and landscapes. Bert dF Pianissimo 80K

2005 From: bdefrond <>

Date: Thu Aug 1, 2002 4:43pm

Subject: Re: Bahamas trip.

Dear Dick, I believe that I informed the group of my similar experience two months ago: the "oil center" plug (screwed in, with two electrodes sticking out, indeed "manning" the alarm) pulled out and splashed 4/5th of my engine oil into the pan and on the walls on stbd side. A nice mess, thanks for the absorbent pads stocked onboard!

Frequent checks of the oil pressure while under power seem to be a must!!! My Westerbeke 30 has only 3000 h, but Iíll be watching even closer, especially the forward injectors and rings, as they are apparently the first to overheat when oil is low.

Sorry abt the weather in BAH! Bert dF, Pianissimo 80K