leeonsea

small world sailing

All Change Please

Erm, slight change of plan.

I didn’t take the Dufour to the US for Craig, instead I agreed to do the Fit out on it myself and he’ll pay me accordingly.

So what I’m saying is, I’m not coming home this year, well not in the boat anyway. Tomorrow I’m off to the Exumas as previously threatened. Allens Cay tomorrow to look for Iguanas and the Thunderball Grotto later in the week. Still want to see the swimming pigs!

I’ll take plenty of pics to post when I get back and will probably post while I’m away. I’m nervous about spending time here with no money but I’m sure I can last out till at least Christmas, which will be a nice Holiday.

Watch this space ;o)

L.

June 21, 2007 at 18:14 Comments (0)

Still No Wind

Still no wind! The rain came down again last night and lightning took out
the power on the dock so no wind, humid as hell and no Aircon.

Met up with an Australian and his Japanese girl friend, they arrived in a UK
flagged Dufour 38, nice boat. He’d bought it in the BVI’s and sailed it up
to Nassau, he wants it in the US for fitting out to take it across to the
Med. He works as a Pilot for the UN and has in the last 3 months stamps in
his passport for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Darfour. So he’s not keen to go
into the US without a Visa plus he has to be back at work by the end of the
week.

So to pass the time I’ve agreed to deliver it for him to Lauderdale. It’ll
occupy me for a few days and hopefully by the time I return the wind will be
back and in the south east and I can get gone.

Last night we went over to Atlantis for the Casino, crazy place, people sat
behind one armed bandits punching $5 to $100 bets every 10seconds and not
looking like their enjoying it, I don’t get it. I saw a few middle aged men
clearly on Cocaine with impossibly young women on their arms winning and
loosing $7000 bets on the Craps and Roulette tables, amazing!

I personally I didn’t loose a thing, but then I didn’t bet a dime so that
all works out. So I’m off to sweat a bit more now, it’s just gone 6pm and
it’s getting cool enough to move again, I haven’t got off the sofa since
lunch. Bye for now.

Lee.

June 18, 2007 at 00:30 Comments (0)

Sails Are Here

25.04.51N 77.19.00W

It took two days to fly the new sails from Hong Kong, half way round the world to Nassau. It took 4 days to get the sails from the airport, 10 miles to my boat. God Damb Bahamian useless lazy good for nothing B%^&*”ds.

Anyhoo, they’re here now and they’re great.

So tomorrow I get to go up the mast again and secure the antenna to my SSB and to fix a small problem with the Furling gear for the head sail before I hang the new one.

Other news includes the little generator I got for power and some other boring stuff involving me climbing over the engine again and getting very sweaty. But all is well and working out, we’re definatly getting there.

I hope to be off the latter part of this week, I’m going to head out to one of the islands for a mini sail with the new sails and also to check out the battery situation etc. I’ll spend a day at anchor and have a swim and a Holiday from all this work I’ve been doing. Then I’ll head off at 60deg for the Azores.

There is one slight fly in the ointment, theres little or no wind and there hasn’t been for some days now. In fact there’s been consistently less than 10knts since I got back from the US. Need wind to sail.

So today as a result with the Aircon running flat out I managed to keep the temp inside the boat down to a manageable 30C. I’ve no idea how hot it was outside but I did have to walk across town to pick up some parts and I had to shower this evening, even I couldn’t stand the smell of myself.

A weather change is in order. At least I’m (almost) finally ready to go. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the anchor for a day or two and sleeping before a 20 day crossing without a proper nights sleep. Less apprehensive now though, just want to get going.

L.

June 12, 2007 at 04:33 Comments (0)

Nearly There

N25.04.51 W77.19.00

Back in Nassau, got back at 1800local time on Monday night. Spent the last couple of days installing the bit’s I bought. New VHF installed and the SSB long range radio. Today I’m going to fit the Liferaft to the deck and build my new anchor.

The big news is the Sails are almost here, they left Menphis last night so shouldn’t be far away now. This is great news as its the last bit of the jigsaw before I can leave.

So I’m going to head up the supermarket tomorrow and sort out a menu for the journey back. I wanted to run the Fridge but I’d need to charge the batteries fully every day and that would use more fuel than I could carry. Another lesson learnt from the USA trip.

So, the time is nearly upon me and I find I’m getting increasingly apprehensive, not in the boat but in my own ability and not as a sailor but as someone who’s about to spend 30days alone on a small boat with no one to talk to except Herb on the shortwave once a day.

I hope the weather fair.

Lee.

June 7, 2007 at 15:08 Comments (0)

Blow Out!

Well, what a day, thourally bored now and still in Ft Lauderdale. I left this morning at dawn into fairly high winds, F5/6 and the pretty steep seas of the Gulf stream. Alas the small tear in the Genoa blew out into something of a large hole which was in some ways disappointing and in other ways a relief. Disappointing in as much as I new I was heading back to Lauderdale to spend even more money but a relief in as much as I knew it would happen and as I need spare sails on board it’s good that it happened now. The sail is rotten, the previous owner had patched it up for some reason with very heavy canvas when he should have thrown it away, same as the main sail really although thats not quite so bad but does need a repair when I get back to Nassau.

So I was back berthed in Harbor Town Marina by 9am after a rather hairy entrance to the port as there was a lot of shipping coming in and out and as the port entrance is just a river running out onto a beach there’s quite a swell.

So I asked about, Lauderdale bills itself as the yachting capital of the world for some strange reason, I think they only understand yachts that have about 1000 horse power because there’s only one sail loft and they only do repairs.

Anyway, I phoned and spoke to Amy who said I should bring it down right away and she would see what she could do. I got a taxi across town and we spread the mess out on the table, there was a very big hole from luff to leach which could have been re-sewn but the main edge of the sail which has a rope in it which feeds into the forward stay to hold the sail in place had also broken and torn the sail around it, this is a very serious issue as you can’t mend the rope and it would have needed to be replaced.

I said I would prefer that it be thrown away, it should have been anyway, and did she have any second hand sails. She did and after a search we found a very heavily made sail, a little short and only a Jib, ie, a small fore sail but nicely made and in heavy cloth with a few patches but well found.

I was charged $250 which it very good as the new sail I’ve ordered is about $1250 although that is about 50% bigger. Pleased, I came away and got into my waiting taxi. I was back at the marina by noon. I spent the afternoon hanking the sail on and compensating for it’s slight shortness, it’s good, it’ll be a good emergency sail.

About 10oclock this morning it started to rain, heavily, it hasn’t stopped. What was going to be a breezy day has turned into a named tropical storm which wouldn’t have been the greatest fun to sail in although I’m ever more confident in the boats ability as the weather has been consistently heavy, without the rain, for over two weeks now.

So I’m stuck here waiting, I’m going to see about the weather in the morning and see if this has blown north by then, otherwise the option is to leave late and cross the banks Sunday in daylight which will knock 15miles (3hrs) off the journey as I was going to go around them for safety on the overnight leg of my passage back to Nassau.

Really coming down now, when it rains here it really rains, I’ve not known rain like it in the UK, the Capital of rain, it’s big and warm and very wet rain. I can see a film of water running like a waterfall over my windows, not droplets but a constant even flow like someone has a bucket and is just poring it over, crazy.

 

Anyway, these are all good lessons and I’m really beginning to feel like the boats coming together, it was a lot less ready to sail than I’d originally thought but each little setback brings me closer to a boat I can feel happy and confident in, we’re really starting to get on well and those of you who sail will understand what I mean by that.

 

L.

June 2, 2007 at 02:20 Comments (0)

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.

 

Lee.

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!


L.

 

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)

Whoops!

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!

 

L.

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

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