small world sailing

America F#*K yeah!

N26.03.56 W80.07.81

Welcome to Hollywood. I had to come up the coast as I over estimated the strength of the gulf stream, not as bad as everyone was making out, and come up on the coast a bit early, but it was a nice vista. These things never come up good on digital cameras but you get the jist.


But I’m ahead of myself, yesterday as you know I was sat at Cat Cay in the wind waiting to leave for the US of A and here is where I was sat.

The night before on the Bahama Banks I took this around sunset.


And this morning I took this as I was using my Hydrovane self steer. This is going to be the single most important piece of equipment on board and I’m happy to say it works brilliantly. To anyone with a boat, buy one! Better than those noisy Autohelms that use valuable electricity and couldn’t hold a course on a mill pond, this thing is so easy to use, silent, and never stops working till the wind stops blowing.


The Flags optional.


So I’m in Ft Lauderdale, had a visit from the US Coastguard about 15miles out, big stinking boat comes up and Radios across. What’s the name of your vessel? – Half Price – Can you spell that? – Hotel, Alpha, Lima, Foxtrot, Papa, Romeo, India, Charlie, Echo – Please can you spell the name of your vessel? – H>A>L>F>P>R>I>C>E. So obviously knowing the phonetic alphabet is an unnecessary skill in the US Coastguard agency?!? Anyhoo they took a few other details, some of which I lied about for expediency and then it came. ‘OK sir, you have a nice day’ I nearly fell over board, I had arrived and I can quite honestly say I can’t wait to leave again. That said the marina staff are very nice, mind you the guy who runs it is British. I’m moored up in someones berth and surrounded by Sunseeker and other such vessels. Feel a little conspicuous in my little boat. Minimum charge here is for 40ft at $1.80 per ft. Convinced I’m going to hit one of them on the way out, going to try and rig some kind of line to help me out when I leave as I know this thing will pull very badly to Port in reverse and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Tomorrow I’m off to the Marine Store. I have a very big order to collect, a fair bit of it not for me, this has turned into a bit of a community service. I even have Nicks Passport on board so I can get it’s stamped when I come back in, no Nick though. I only found out today that they don’t know what a Chandlery is, which is why I keep getting blank looks when I ask where one is.


Anyway, I’m going to leave early Friday and sail right back to Nassau over night 175miles so will get to see what I can make in a 24hr period. Today in the Gulf stream I registered 8.7knts at one point, very cool. In the mean time does anyone think this might be a better option?


Will write again on Sunday probably when I’m back.



May 31, 2007 at 03:30 Comments (0)

Sailing Again

N25.32.24 W79.16.39

Success! I’m in Catt Cay, as you can see. Set off from Nassau yesterday morning and was having such a good sail by the time I got to Chub Cay that I decided, having had unpleasant experiences in Chub last time, that I would carry on across the Grand Bahama Bank. This Bank is massive shoal area, only 3m deep across most of it, sand, weed and rock.

If I could have taken a picture of the stars in the sky at 4am this morning I would have done for you all to see, amazing universe we live in.

So today I’ve chilled out and slept a bit, went swimming, tidied the boat up a bit and made a couple of adjustments to the rigging. It’s still blowing pretty hard so I came out on my own again as the couple (Peire and Valarie) didn’t want to go in anything other than perfect conditions, they both suffer from sea sickness so I understand that.

Can’t wait for the new sails now. I put a little Rip in each of these sails yesterday so they look real smart with white Gaff tape bandages!

So I’m going to head out early tomorrow, bout 4am I would think, the wind will be more moderate then and it’ll give me plenty of time to get into my berth in Lauderdale and have a shower and get this salt off me.

This boat sails so well, motors like a tractor but you can’t have everything. Last night I furled away the headsail and shortened the Main as much as I could as I didn’t want to make Catt Cay in the dark, but even with all the sail short and sailing badly it was difficult to keep her under 5kts. If the motor didn’t vibrate every bone in my body this would be the perfect boat for me.

I’ll send a couple of pics tomorrow when I get proper Internet. Going to check on the anchor again now, if it drags this time though I’ve got about 55miles to go before I hit America. it’s been blowing force 5/6 all day again today, from the east, it’s been doing that for two weeks solid now, glad it’s sunny again though.

Speak Soon chums and loved ones.

L x.

May 30, 2007 at 01:02 Comments (0)

Still Blowin

Still Blowing! F5/6 for over a week now. Hugh, my neighbour, said it had snowed in Denver yesterday and had been hotter in Chicago than in Miami, crazy weather. A couple of fronts heading out of the US are hitting a ridge running from here right through the north Atlantic passed Bermuda causing some really weird unseasonable weather.

I was listening to Herb on the Shortwave Radio last night, he’s a retired meteorologist out of Vancouver. You check in with your yacht and he directs you across the Atlantic weather wise. We lost his communication before he got down to us but it sounded pretty blowy this side of the ridge.

So I’m still sat in Nassau Yacht haven beginning to twiddle my thumbs a bit, it’s not even hot at only 26degC, again I have my jeans on.

Going to go and have a chat with Nick for an hour on his 53ft Steel Yacht, lovely boat and a really good guy.

We hope that today will be the last day and that the weather front will move north overnight giving us fair breeze to head east to Florida.

I don’t mind really, I only realized we had another week of May yesterday as I have lost all track of time, often listening to the Radio news to find out what day it is!

Speak to you again when I have news, going to pick up a sight seeing guide and find something to do, perhaps have a holiday!



PS. If i’m not responding to your emails, it’s cause they are getting lost in the ether, I’ve had a couple go astray now, but hey, that’s the Bahamas, everything only almost works!

May 25, 2007 at 17:22 Comments (0)

All Revved Up

The boats all back together now, the engine runs sweet as a nut. I threw away 25gallons of fuel and topped the tank with fresh fuel, not before spending the day upto my armpits in deisel tank scrubbing it clean and getting all the sludge out! I changed the filters and off she went sounding much nicer than she did before. I even changed the oil and topped up the transmition fluid, very good indeed.

I also overhauled the anchor situation, I now have 150ft of new 3/8” chain in the anchor locker, enough for a generous 10-1 scope and a size up on what I had before, I also have 140ft of rope and 20ft of chain on that as my manually deployed anchor, heavy duty stuff, I’m going to get a new anchor a size to big when I get to Lauderdale but will make do with whats on board for now.

So now I’m sat here with fuel and water in the tanks, food in the fridge and the weathers turned a bit foul. I’ve met Pierre and Valarie who are also off to Ft Lauderdale and so this time we’re going to head out together, heading back to Chub Cay and onto the banks before crossing the gulf stream. It’ll be nice to do it in company but Valarie suffers with Sea sickness and wont leave before the weather turns nice again. Mind you, it’s was gusting 30knts in the Harbor last night and it’s not been much better today, so I probably wouldn’t go anyway. We’re hoping to catch the last of this system to push us up to Chub on Wednesday at the moment, then on to the banks in nice calm warm weather.

I’ve given up all hope of leaving on time, I’m guessing mid June at the mo but can’t really say, there’s nothing for it but to sit and wait, it’ll take as long as it takes. Thats the beauty of boating though eh?

May 22, 2007 at 02:54 Comments (0)


N25.24.48 W77.55.17
Well that was eventful, a lesson to us all to be sure.
Note, the co-ordinates listed are the last co-ordinates I took down. Heres the story. I motored out Nassau Harbour yesterday about 11.30 on route to Chub Quay (Cay)(Bloody Americans) I had a magnificent sail, the weather slowly built till in the end I was bounding along at 7kts really thinking I should put a reef in the mainsail. Still, came upon Chub ‘Cay’ started the motor, lowered the sails and headed for the anchorage. By this time it was blowing good and then the motor died! Oh hell thought I and spilled a little head sail still heading for the anchorage. The motor wouldn’t go and in the end I turned the headland of the anchorage and headed up wind as much as I could before furling the sail and lowering the anchor, all was well and I was quite proud of myself for a tricky job well done.Now you have to understand for those that don’t boat that anchoring is not an exact science. I have only dragged my anchor once before and that was on a short scope (not much rope out) in a weedy anchorage.

To cut a long story short, whilst below trying to get the engine going I started to drag. I hadn’t been entirely happy with the position I’d anchored in as the wind was from the east putting a large reef know as Mama Rhoda Rock directly astern. I felt the anchor drag and headed forward to scope out more chain, I guess I was around 10/1 ie 50ft out. Normally in the UK 4/1 works just fine.

I went below to struggle some more now aware that my position was not necessarily a safe one. The anchor dragged again, I scoped out more, and again and more.

I called into the marina and asked if they could send a boat for a tow, they kindly agreed but said they only had a small yard boat available. It came out and sure enough it wouldn’t budge me but the kindly folk suggested that as I was now holding I’d be fine till morning when they could send someone to help with the engine.

I then got 30ft of line and tied it to a big Bruce anchor, far to heavy for normal operations and although the scope was shorter than I would have liked, I felt good about it. I chucked it out as a safety net and almost instantly dragged on the other anchor again!

The Bruce held for a bit then it dragged too, then the danforth dug in then the Bruce then the danford, all the while getting closer to the reef.

I struggled on with the engine but it was no use. About 9pm I put out a distress call as I could hear the Reef behind and didn’t like the sound of the waves on the Rocks. My fear was for the boat, I could easily step off the boat to the shore of the reef and might get the odd cut but would be ok. The boat however would not!

Two boats came to my aid, one a small coaster 4miles out and one the personal motor boat of the Island manager. The coaster would have made a better tow but would not be here in time, by now the anchors were out of the sand and onto the rocky bottom dragging with every rolling wave.

Derran (thats the correct spelling) radioed and said that he didn’t want to bring his brand new 33ft power boat to close to the reef and that they would return with the yard boat to bring over a line.

Well, I could have spit at the reef by now so donned lifejacket and got passport and suchlike together just in case the boat didn’t make it.

They returned and John boarded my boat with a line, no lifejacket! Talk about the nick of time. Apparently this sort of thing happens all the time, sometimes they save the boats, sometimes they don’t.

With a snip of the cutters on the Bruce and a slip of the clutch on the chain we were free of the useless anchors and in tow away from the rocks, finally getting into the marina around 11pm. Not one of my better boating experiences and all down to some rather nasty cost cutting by me.

Today the engine runs, not off the tank but off a jerry can. I circulated the fuel in the tank though a special filter when I got here but didn’t drain and clean the tank, the fuel looked ok but the tank it appears was not. Also, the fuel filters are twice the price in Nassau as the States so I didn’t replace it, just flushed it out with a view to picking up a new one this trip. As a result the engine stopped, no fuel is being pumped out the tank and that which has passed has completely blocked and already dirty filter. I saved myself $100 and a few hours in time not cleaning the tank properly and have cost myself 2 anchors and 100ft of chain…….TiT. Could have been worse, could have cost me the boat!

Heading back to Nassau tomorrow for a proper tank clean, new filter, new chain and an anchor!



May 15, 2007 at 22:13 Comments (0)

Food For Thought

As America is Rocked by some early season storms think on this.

Bahamian Gas (thats petrol to you and I) is $4.30 per Gallon, thats 56p per L and thats expensive compared to the US.

Apple Juice is $10.45 per Gallon.

The Cheapest Bacardi Rum is $30 per Gallon or £5.00 per L.

Crazy world wouldn’t you say?


May 11, 2007 at 04:05 Comments (0)


So you think the Bahamas is Paradise hey? And who could argue with you, today I saw a sign in town advertising the best cheese burger in Paradise so it must be?!?

But today the bilge pump deposited it’s rather dubious contents over me and it rained this morning, it was so humid I’ve been constantly soaked in sweat all day.

Here’s the boat at dock, the big canvas takes the sun off and keeps it a bit cooler, it’s coming on but I need some stuff I can’t get here, so I’m going to have to get it shipped in from the states and I don’t know how much of a problem thats going to be. The apathy here is truly irritating. No body has what you want and no body cares.


I’m desperate to get out of here, I hear the Exhumas are stunning including swimming pigs, iguana and of course the set to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. But I need these things and I can’t get them and it’s bringing me down.

I know a lot of you thought this was going to be a two month long holiday. I was never in any doubt that there was going to be some work to do and that it wouldn’t all be fun and don’t get me wrong I don’t what to be at home, well not all the time. But things are unnecessarily hard here.

Don’t worry though, I’ve still got a couple of weeks before the sails turn up, I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to go and see the Bahamas for real or whether I’ll be stuck here trying to get the boat finished but either way, it’s the experience I’ve been looking for.

L x.

May 11, 2007 at 03:07 Comments (0)

Weekend Report

This Saturday I was going to take the now officially renamed ‘Half Price’ out to Rose island for the weekend, Alan up the dock however invited me out on his beautiful Aluminum Catamaran, so I greatfully accepted.

It was a great day, we sailed out to a small bay off the island and anchored off in water shallow enough to stand in, so the first job was to clean the boat, all the guys got in the water and scrubbed both hulls.

Then it was time for Lunch and Alan got the BBQ going. After lunch it was Diving off the Bimini roof and generally snorckling about and having a good time in the water. This is the point at which I realized both sea urchins in your feet and jellyfish on your chest hurt quite a lot.

Note the beers in the picture, the whole day was a bit of an alcohol fest, but not to worry, Alan had a cunning plan. On the way back we strung a line from the boarding platform at the back, then jumped in at the front letting the boat pass over our heads before hauling ourselves out on the line trailing behind the boat. Such fun I did it a number of times and sobered myself up for the evening drinks and singing.

All in all a very good day, yesterday was spent at Dave’s house lounging on the sofa or by the pool recovering.

Today I have woken to the sound of strong wind and rain through the rigging which looks like it wont be subsiding anytime soon so for the first time in two weeks I’ve put trousers on instead of swimming shorts. So back to reality again and on with the repair work to the boat. Hopefully the weathers going to pick up for the weekend and I’ll take ‘Half Price’ out for a little spin.


Wishing you all well.



May 7, 2007 at 14:52 Comments (0)

Good Day!

A good day today, I painted out the old name and applied the new name transfers and tomorrow night we’re having a little renaming BBQ as Dave is donating me a BBQ to clamp on the stern. Also today Jonathon, an Argentine living in the Dominican republic and currently here trying to sell his old boat, donned his scuba gear and scrubbed the barnacles from my bottom.

So I went scuba’ing today for the first time which is a very weird experience but I’m pleased to say the bottom of the boat looks pretty ok.

Today was election day so it was half day closing and there was a lot of noise and has been over the last week, individuals of one party or another take it upon them selves to strap the biggest sound system they can find to the back of their car and drive around making as much noise as possible, preferably at 2 in the morning when I’m trying to sleep.

Anyhoo, it’s makes no difference if the shops shut on a half day or not as they have nothing I want. Which is both a blessing and a curse, If I need something I go and find out that they don’t stock it then improvise, quite a cost controlling procedure which is helping.

Thats all for now, we’re off out on Friday to Rose island for a bit of a sail and see how she goes, photos to follow.


May 3, 2007 at 01:19 Comments (0)