Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Financial setback; progress toward Georgetown

Ted, TJ and I had a great day yesterday with one exception.

The day started with clearing out of the Turks and Caicos for Mayaguana
Bahamas. We were planning on a sail over to the west end of Provo to stage
for a sail starting at midnight for Mayaguana. As things happened, we were
invited by the crew of "Looking for Elvis" to some wakeboarding and skurfing
(skiing on a surfboard). We had a nice time of it, and learned a few tricks,
especially how to do a standing start on the surfboard.

By the time the fun was over, we headed out to the West end of the island;
We hauled TJ up the rig for a better view of the water and he spotted the
coral heads for us. He also sighted large starfish on the bottom, some
larger fish, and a good sized shark. When we got to our staging site, we did
some snorkeling on a great reef. We encountered a VERY big lobster who did
not appear to be at all intimidated by us

We also had a very good dinner in calm conditions before we decided to get

That is when we encountered our setback. When pulling the anchor up, it
fouled on rock. I decided to motor over it to free it. We freed it alright,
by breaking it. There goes a 45 lb stainless CQR, which retails for about
$1000. I hope I can buy just the part that broke, and expect that I can do
better than retail, or buy a lesser anchor, but still, that was a major

Right now we are 2 miles off the coast of Mayaguana. It is about 6:00, and
we sailed over night on calm seas. It made for easy sleeping off watch. We
are making only about 5 knots, but we could do it for says without getting
fatigued. I think we may skip Mayaguana since we do not have good light for
spotting coral heads; we may go on to the Plana Cays.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Dinghy surfing

Sometimes the wind does not blow.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Turks and Caicos

We are in Provo Turks and Caicos. Great passage here, with average speed of
7.3 kts over 400 miles! In addition to the Dorado, we caught a barracuda
that we filleted and ate.

Dana is here, and she took a room in a resort for a day, so the whole crew
could go over for showers and hanging by the pool for a day. We liked it so
much, we did the same thing the next day, even though we did not have a room
anymore. We decided that the only thing that would make our bad behavior
even more enjoyable would be to bring a complaint or suggestion for
improvement to the management, even though we were not guests. In the end,
we decided to pass on this rum punch fueled idea. We also refrained from
using more than one towel by the pool, as the sign suggested, so we very
model of restraint.

But our restraint only went so far, TJ climbed a coconut tree and pulled
down three coconuts. That was after TJ had his first legal drink at the bar;
the drinking age here is 18. By the end of the evening, he had decided that
he should become a bartender, and took up that duty on Madness.

TJ served rum and cokes last night before we enjoyed surf and turf with the
captain and mate of the sailing vessel "Looking for Elvis". We ate the
steaks that Ted brought and the last of the Dorado (AKA Mahi Mahi) we
caught. Time to go fishing again. Cuban cigars were enjoyed by some and
tolerated by others after dinner.

We rented a seven passenger vehicle to explore the island a little bit, and
it was a very good idea. We could have moved the boat around, but it was 30
miles, and Bruce and Dana's time is limited. Snorkeling was good here in the
T&C, but with a strong current. Luckily, it was running parallel to shore,
so we did drift dives.

I have some boat maintenance to do, my nav lights failed, and an alternator
bracket broke but still does the job, but I don't trust it.

We are out here looking for Elvis...


BTW - I came across a boat named "Fine Line", I immediately set about
looking for a boat named "Genius", so that we could raft up with "Fine Line"
in the middle. I could not find a boat by that name, but I did find
"Brilliant", but I don't think that warranted the effort.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On rout to Turks and Caicos

TJ and Ted joined us in San Juan just as planned, and with minimum delay, we
set sail for the Turks and Caicos. We were thinking that it would be a 3 to
4 day passage, but we look like we will arrive a lot faster. I think our
average speed will have been over seven knots.

We are about 3 hours from what we hope is a safe anchorage where we will
drop a hook and spend the night, then proceed to meet Dana in Provo.

I think we saw seas in the 12 foot range, but they were steep and sometimes
uncomfortable. We got pretty wet on what is a fairly dry boat.

On the way, we caught a large dorado (I think about 4 feet), TJ reeled him
in, and we filleted him and ate a big chunk of him for supper yesterday, and
froze the rest. He is quite tasty.

We had a flying fish fly onboard and hit the steering wheel and made it ring
like a bell.

We also had the excitement of relaying messages to the coast guard about a
local fishing boat that was burning out of control offshore. The crew was
found on a tender about a mile from the burning vessel; all were accounted
for, and were being returned to their home port by a good Samaritan. Once
again, the SSB as a tool for calling for help was a disappointment, or I
should say, the Coast Guard's monitoring of the emergency frequency was
disappointing. We eventually got satellite coverage, and called them on the

I hope this anchorage works out, or we may have to heave too offshore and
wait until morning to anchor.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dinner in Culebra

Culebra is said to be like Tortola was 50 years ago, a pristine and sleepy
little island on the edge of the world. So far it has lived up to that
reputation for us.

I arrived in Culebra this afternoon after a sail that started out kind of
weak, but finished strong. Sayonara and Madness set out for Culebra from
Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke (home of the famous Fox's beach bar) The winds
were behind us, but too much so. With the wind dead behind us, and the ocean
swell from the quarter, the motion was kind of rolly and uncomfortable for
the first couple of hours of the sail, but the wind clocked around to the
south in the early afternoon, making for a fast and comfortable beam reach
into Culebra.

We took the boats out of the inner harbor to a spot behind a barrier reef,
with nothing but ocean on one side, and the mangrove lined shore of the
island on the other.

We checked in to US customs and immigration (I am coming home!) and headed
out to our boats. I had invited Dave and Kristen to share the Flank Steak
that Dana had brought down to me on her last visit. Dana brings provisions
when she comes, and good beef is particularly hard to find down here.

Dave and Kristen came Madness for dinner and we put on the feed bag in a
major way. We had the flank steak rare off of the grill, Asparagus steamed,
drizzled in olive oil and salted with sea salt, brazed Brussels sprouts,
grilled pork chunks, spring potatoes, roasted red bell peppers, some grilled
portabella mushrooms, a French red wine from St Martin, and Armagnac and
chocolates for desert. All were served under a starlit sky on smooth waters
with the sound of the surf in the background. The hell here never ends.

It would be better if we did not have to come all this way, go through the
expense and effort to get to this place to fully enjoy such a meal. I am
sure that there are those who can fully appreciate it without leaving home.
But I have to admit, for me, it is hard to get myself living so fully in the
moment. This has been the greatest benefit of the trip.

Today I am eating the leftovers, and they are just as good as I remember
from last night. We (Dave and Kristen swung by) spent the morning chatting
with John, a local 25 year livaboard who was trolling for his lunch on his
very cool little sailing dingy with its hand painted sail with a stylized
dolphin jumping before a full moon. We also enjoyed visiting with his
little dog Lucy.

I fixed the outboard today, it needed another pull cord...I keep wearing
them out. This afternoon we will snorkel and fish, and go ashore for some
provisions. On Friday I head to San Juan to pick up Bruce, Ted and TJ for
the trip to the Turks and Caicos and beyond. Dana will join the program
again in the Turks and Caicos. I have already started cleaning and preparing
for a visit from the owner.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Thanks for making my stay so fun

A big thank you to Glenn Harman on Valor for his friendship, kiting
companionship, and all of the Bahamas guide books he lent me.

Thanks to Simon and Kathy on Darling for dinner and good times as well as
Barry on Entrepreneurship.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pictures from St Kitts and Nevis

Another cool kiting photo, taken by Kristen as I accidently sprayed her and Dave

Some more pictures from Antigua; sunset over Saba


Some kiting pictures taken a few weeks back; I am better now.

Some pictures from Antigua

Great day

I learned new tricks kiting,

I saw a pink flamingo in the wild.

I was invited and attended dinner on an 85 foot Oyster yacht.

25+ knots forecast for tomorrow.

PS - David and Kristen are ahead.

Dave and Kristen on Sayonara went ahead to Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke. I
decided that there was nothing but trouble for me there, so I stayed on with
the kiting crowd.

I hope to catch up to my buddy boat tomorrow afternoon.

Also, I a happy to report that Bruce Fortier is coming to help me move the
boat from San Juan to the Turks and Caicos, and Ted and his friend Nina's
son may come as well.

Dana plans to meet us in the Turks and Caicos. My sister Nat, her daughters
Kimmie and Anna, my Brother Ray, and possibly my brother Pete and wife
Debbie are planning to meet me in the Bahamas.

Looking good for crew and visitors.


More kiting, new tricks

Today was devoted to kiting. Good group of people, great weather ~22kts),
picturesque spot on a private island.

Today I managed two successful back rolls, one to port an one to starboard.
I also managed about 25 each not so successful, where I would complete the
360, settle down in the water and have to re-start. I am making progress.

Tomorrow the winds are supposed to be 25-30.

Boosting Large

Dudes, nuclear winds, and I am boosting large. I was skating the choptop,
sent the kite back hard, carved up and popped off of kicker into zero
gravity. Land it, Bottom turn, toeside, carve and back across the bay, and
all right in front of the Bettys.

I am pretty sure that I saw your house from up there.

Oh...sorry...I think I was channeling Spicolli from fast times for a second
there. But I will go on to say that I am starting to like kiting in the
third dimension. Jumping can be very quiet and smooth when you start to get
it down. I don't really jump that high, but one of the newbies said I was
jumping about 7 feet.

It is a very good group here, and I am heading out to join them on the


Friday, March 13, 2009

Good to meet you.

Good to meet you all this evening, and looking forward to seeing you on the

Next time I am onboard your boat, I will have to learn more about your wifi


SV Madness

joe@zialater.com; glenh@cruzio.com

Still here

Awesome kiting day, it all came together from the company to the wind, to
the seas, to the place to leave the dinghy.

After kiting all afternoon with a guy named Jean (French) I found out that
he lives no more than 10 miles form me in the Boston area. He even remembers
when I posted an invitation to Boston kiters on the Masskiters forum to come
join me on this trip. He may even be joining us at the house in the outer

I am off to dinner with my new friends.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Heineken Regatta

Well the results are in and the final scores tabulated, and the winner of
the big prize of the Heineken Regatta is: Lost Horizons.

Lost Horizons happens to be the boat that Dave and Kristen from Sayonara
were crewing for, so I got to watch them go up on stage and receive their
trophy. They deserved it, they were battered and bruised like you would not
believe; their boat broached 3 times which means that it essentially turned
on its beam ends {which means that it's mast was parallel to the water}].
They told me today that the boat was broached when the spinnaker blew, and
they were all glad it did since it was dragging them slowly onto a rocky
shore, and now one was able to get to the spin halyard to release it.

Our boat did not fare as well in the standings, but we did not get very beat
up, and we had a good time.

BTW - If things go well, I will crew for Lost Horizons in Culebra.


Sunday, March 8, 2009


I had a good day of racing on a Corbin? 49, a dedicated race boat that is
normally shipped to and from the tropics and dry sailed ( which means when
the boat is not actually being raced, it is hauled out of the water and
stored in a cradle.

The crew was a lot of fun, they were novices for the most part, and the
common thread was that they were all supporters or coaches of a rugby team
back in merry old England.

Derek, the owner, has three or four big race boats, and seems to be
independently wealthy. Clive was a character that I initially thought looked
like Mr. Faulty from the BBC series "Faulty Towers", but I later realized
that he was the spitting image of Stephen, Penny's husband (I don't recall
the name right now) from the other BBC series "As time goes by".

Rob described the many virtues of Rugby, and related the story of going to
the cricket finals in Australia (Oz). He and a mate wandered into an area
known for its strong support of the Oz team, both wearing union jack shorts,
and England shirts. The crowd was less than cordial, leading his mate to say
to them "I have the greatest fighting style ever, so just bring it on". Rob
was just wondering whether his medical coverage would be extended to him in
Australia, when his mate went on to complete his thought. "I run very, very
fast". The crowd roared with approval and laughter, and invited the cheeky
English bastards to a drink.

I will be meeting my new mates for a social drink or two in a little while.
The night can only go so late, as they are leaving for Antigua in the wee


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Racing tomorrow

I have a ride for the Heineken Regatta tomorrow, some sort of 45 foot custom
race boat. Should be fun.

It will be the third day of racing, and the first two were marked by high
winds and consequent high failure rates. The inner part of Simpson Lagoon
has started to collect a few dismasted boats, and I heard that one trimaran
capsized, though it is just a rumor, and the boat may not have been racing.

Dave and Kristen from Sayonara have been racing on a J122, which has so far
exploded the roller furler swivel, blew up a perfectly good spinnaker, and
snapped one of the jib sheets.

Winds have been in the 20s all day, and gusting into the 30s. Some of the
gusts lasted for many minutes. For the final leg, they chose not to fly the
(replacement) spinnaker at all, as their main competitor had snapped their
main halyard.

I can't imagine why no one volunteered to climb the mast with a grappling
hook, a bunch of fishing poles and a boat hook to run a new one. If Bruce,
Paul, Alan and I were there, things would have been different.

I talked with the crew of another boat that hit the windward mark and had to
do a 360 as a penalty. I guess they were not able to shake it off, because
at the very next downwind mark, one of their crew found himself on the wrong
side of the jibing boom and was propelled over the lifelines some distance
out into the water. Luckily, he was close to the boom as it started over,
and it did not have time to gather momentum before it swept him over. He was
unharmed (I saw him at the yacht club) and was picked up on the second

I did laundry.


PS - If you are going to race in over 30 knots, do it on someone else's
boat. (Like Leslie and Ira's)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In Transit

I am on my way to St Maartin from Antigua. This is my first overnight single
handed trip. It is about 100 miles. Complicating things a little further,
this is the first time I am traveling with the dinghy on the davits.
Everything seems to be going fine so far.

I could not have asked for a better forecast for such a trip, the winds are
very light, the moon is half and will probably light the sky until nearly
pre-dawn light. I started out about 1130. I would have gone sooner but for
the checking out, provisioning, and sweating the dinghy down.

I also had to go shopping. The nice little kitchen timer that Martin got me
gave up the ghost. I must have left it out unprotected in the salt one too
many times. It is a key piece of equipment, since it lets you relax between
scanning the horizon without worrying about loosing track of time. You can
get in ten minute cat naps. I bought two replacements to be sure.

I should get in sometime in the morning. I started out fast with 7 kt speeds
on the genny alone, but the wind has died down, and I have been content to
loaf along at 4-5 kts and do some reading. I have not put up the main sail,
and would rather not when alone. I will motor if the wind dies any more.

From there, I will head into the BVIs and on to Puerto Rico. I am shooting
to be in San Juan By the 13th. I hope to leave there for the Turks And
Caicos around the 23rd or 24th, weather permitting.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another successful bonfire

For those of you who have sent me email in the last few days, I am not able
to receive for some reason, only send. I expect that this will be remedied
when I next go somewhere with a hot spot.

Dana and I organized a gathering of cruisers on a local beach for a bonfire
last night, and it was a pretty spectacular success, if I do say so myself.
Jerry, Carol, Simon and John from Meri Balette, Mario and Lillian from the
Maltese Falcon (not the big one, but a smaller Maltese falcon), Guy and
Sylvie (Who spoke only French) from a charter boat, Mel and Phil, and Beth
and Evans, (who are quite famous among cruisers) were there. I think there
was at least one other couple there.

There was a lot of cruising experience, including a circumnavigator and a
three transatlantic teams there.

Dana and I went around in the morning, and invited people, and called the
Maltese falcon in the next harbor to have them extend the invitation to
those anchored there.

Around noon we went out to collect firewood from the opposite shore. The
area around the fire pit was, no surprise, picked clean. We had to go pretty
far afield. When we came back with the dinghy loaded to the gills with
driftwood of all description, and the two of us wearing goofy sun hats, I am
sure it was a pretty comical sight. I wish we had taken a photo.

We planned on a little cocktail hour starting at local sunset (six) , with
everyone returning to their boats for their dinners; but there were enough
appetizers that most stayed until at least eight, and some stayed until
about 10. The sky was clear and bright, the breeze was light but steady, and
the temp was perfect. The biting insects honored the treaty I forged with
them, and stayed home this evening.

Wish you could have all joined us.