Blown Charging No shore power

Well, we started up the engine after our happy fix yesterday only to find out the Balmar regulator blew the fuse again and shut down our replaced spare alternator. So, we said….”Who needs an Alternator?” We do not, and we disconnected the positive output from it and pulled the power on the 614 Balmar regulator and started the engine. We have 400 watts of solar and 450 watts of wind turbine to power the 12 volt electronics. The engine will run as long as it has fuel and cooling. The alternator belt is needed to turn the coolant pump, so it needs to stay in place. So, we start up YEAR #9 of boating retirement cruising with several challenges.

Our happy photo departing Clark’s Court and heading for the cut thru the reef

What is going on?

This problem should not be that big of a problem. It is a simple regulator and a standard alternator. The problem is that the 10 amp fuse that is in the red positive line to the regulator keeps blowing. Then when I unplug the regulator from power, and I replace the fuse and then plug back in the regulator, it smokes and sparks and blows the fuse and I pull the plug again. Tech support at Balmar had me measure the ohms on the field wire (blue wire) to ground. If this showed a very low ohms reading then it must be a short in the alternator. So, that is WHY we pulled the alternator and replace it. The really odd aspect is that when rebuilt, it all ran fine for 30 minutes producing 14.4v, then down to 13.9v so the new rebuild was working fine. We were happy. The next AM, we fire up the engine and POOF, blown fuse, dead regulator and the same situation when replacing the fuse. 

No charging when the engine is on, this is not good. We need a regulator and alternator working

So, we depart, Let’s Go

We do not need an alternator or regulator to run the engine. That is only needed to produce 12 volt power and we have wind and solar for that. The engine is starting, the engine is running fine, the alternator belt is turning the coolant pump, so let’s go. We did. We ran out thru the reef, performing our engine checks as taught my Tom Tursi of MDSchool.com and made it to sea. There we turned downwind and rolled out the jib. We motor sailed most of the way west and around the south corner of Grenada.

Rolled out the job on starboard as we motor sailed west in 10-15 knots
Radeen is always so positive and so happy and she is a great sailing GrL. This photos makes me smile.
We round the south corner and jib to port.

SQUALL, here we go…

Shortly around the corner we had a rain squall and the winds came up to 25 knots dead on the bow, so we turned downwind to 120 angle and set the jib on a nice broad reach and then we furled the jib. Of course the furling line was not run properly so it was far more difficult, but we got the sail in an then turned back into the wind pushing on into limited visibility. Our start has been and continues to be challenging. It is Dec 12, 2019, seven days after flying in!

The visibility is limited due to the rain on the canvas
This was our view making this run. We even docked in the rain

Welcome to Port Louis, Grenada

We roll up the enclosure and suit up with foul weather jackets, set up the dock lines and get out the fenders. We are docking at a marina with shore power, water, laundry, restaurants, and a pool. YES, this will really be nice. We mainly want to plug in the boat to run the Air conditioning to dry out the boat from all this humidity.

Happy Radeen in the rain heading into St. Georges, GRenada
We are docked on the NEW docks with water, power and view of the marine supply store called ISLAND WATER WORLD where we have an account!

Let’s plug into shore power

Well not so fast there sailor. You are in the Caribbean, power is tricky down here. It took 2.5 hours to get my plug plugged in and to turn on the power switch from the other side of the world. Via numerous radio calls, managers, electricians, service workers, etc, they finally were able to plug us in. Well, HOLD ON says Island Spirit, I might have another problem.

YUP, we now have no 120 volt on the boat. We have proven power is to the end of my cord. The cord is plugged into the shore power plug like we have done since 2001. NO power into the boat. No worries, I have two plugs, lets forget the battery charger plug, let’s plug into the air conditioning plug because that is all we really need. NOPE, no power going into that plug either. So the dock team leaves proving with a volt meter that they have delivered 120 volts to the end of my shore power plug.

So, we now have a NEW challenge. Why is there no 120 volt power going into the boat? It all worked last year, because we used it. OK, time to tear apart another electrical system.

We find corrosion on the breakers, but the plugs looks fine
We have two plugs with two breakers. One plug and breaker are original 1994 on the right. The other plug and breaker to left are new 2001 for direct to air conditioning. Neither are working

We think we have problems? Ha

Check this out. This yacht owner has problems too, and he is a billionaire from Russia. Look at this! He is missing the E on his OCEAN VICTORY yacht sign board. Can you imagine the stress and frustration of that? We are so lucky, we just have no way of charging out boat and no way to plug in our boat…ha ha 

Russian Steel billionaire Ocean Victory Yacht is soooooo beautiful. That is 6 stories above the water
See, even mega yachts have challenges, she is missing a letter!

We also do not need 4 fuel truck

This is also NOT our problem. This mega yacht named DAR, another Russian billionaire needed not one, not two, but four fuel trucks to take on 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel. So, we think we have problems, ha, not like this. 🙂

The 4th fuel truck to empty into motor yacht DAR, 30,000 imperial gallons loaded
Motor Yacht DAR, google that Took on 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Merry Christmas. Remember, these are all a wright off for tax evasion, as they are “charter boats” and book as a business. This yacht has a crew of 30 and takes 12 guest. So that is 2.5 crew per guest. WOW!

We will figure this all out

We are safe, we are warm, we have solar, we have ice in frig, we have water and food, who needs power? We will now replace the regulator and next we will look into replacing these plugs and breakers after we trouble shoot them with our volt meter checking if they are working or not. Welcome to the Caribbean, where your boat takes a beating from storing it in the hot humid tropics!

The local street bar that we need to check out

Alternator Short

Well, our first Caribbean / Grenada boating day started out great but then presented new challenges. While warming up the engine at 0900, to check all systems, we noticed that the charging system was at 12.5 volts. That is odd. That means that the alternator is not putting out the normal power, which should be 14.4 to 13.3 volts. This is usually a very simple solution with Balmar gear. Usually 99% of the time, it is simple power to the Balmar 614 regulator is off. A wire came off, a fuse burned out, there is a short somewhere.  So, after running for 15 minutes, we concluded that the alternator was not working and we needed to look into this. We alerted IP38 DreamCatcher that we would remain in dock and solve this problem. Well…..from 0900 to 1500 we did. OMG.

We are ready to go

We had just spend 5 days in the boat yard preparing the boat for launch. We launched it yesterday and finished the sails and dinghy late last night. Today we were planning on departing and moving over to town where we could have access to groceries and marine supplies plus water and power on the dock. This dock is the service dock and water and power are not easily delivered. So we planned to launch the boat and move. Well, not today.

Island Spirit with IP38 DreamCatcher

We start with the Balmar 614

Like most alternator problems, it is the 12 volt power not getting to the regulator. So we first start there and check all the fuses with our volt meter. Sure enough we find a blown fuse on the red line powering the regulator. So, we replace this and POOF, it blows again along with smoke and sparks. NOT GOOD on a plastic boat. NOW it is serious, any time we have electrical problems, we take them very seriously because they can start a boat fire and that is not good. So, we now need to find out why the fuse keeps blowing and where the short is located.

Checking the 614 regulator wiring harness. All is good.

Balmar to the Rescue plus Google Fi phone

Balmar has always provided the best support over the many years we have used them. So, I called Washington State from Grenada and spoke with support. I explained the issue and they pointed me to testing the alternator for a short. I said, it was fine when I put it always, and now it was stored for 6 months and POOF, it is not working. Very odd.  I wanted to Full Field the alternator and jump it, but they explained that this could be a serious problem if there is a short. So they had me check the ohm reading on the blue field wire to the ground. If it was 7 – 8 ohms then that would be OK. If not, we have a short. Well the ohms were .007 which means going to ground, a serious short inside the alternator. So they directed me to pull it and replace it. 

OH, sure, this alternator cost about $650 dollars, I will just go get another one!

Balmar documents and help is always the best

Off with the old. which is new

So, we pulled the old, 3 year old $650 Balmar 100 amp alternator and we checked all the wiring. We could not see anything wrong with our ships wiring, so it had to be in the alternator.

Pull the old white Balmar
We always disconnect the red power feed from the alt back to the battery, as that wire is large and directly to the bank. It is serious if you short out that large wire, so we take it off the bank first, then drop the alt.

Pick an alternator, we have 3

We have full spare parts on Island Spirit just in case we need to make repairs at sea or in remote locations like this. So, In our bow locker under the bed we pull out two spare alternators and one spare Balmar 614 regulator.  So, we have the parts to fix this. The problem with alternators is that they all fit the saddle differently and their wiring connections are in different location. Add to this, their field wire and stater plugs are different. They all should be universal but they are not.

The oldest alt seemed to be my best fit. The saddle was right, and the field wire plug was the same as the Balmar, so it was plug and pray. 

My three alternators, Balmar 100 amp, Ample Power 120 amp, and Yanmar/Hitachi 55 amp. We use the smallest one,

Of course we do it twice

We always do things twice it seems with 12 volt power as this is our weakest skill set. Here I installed the alternator with positive, negative and temperature prob, leaving the field wire til after installed. Once fully set up and bet tension done, I go to the back to plug in the field wire and it is behind the heat exchanger, so I have to remove it all and start over. Round two, I connected all wires and THEN mounted and installed the alternator.  Rookie mechanic mistake.

Installed and running, all looks good.
Close up of my marking from when I last removed this. Positive, Field and Negative>s it is not the right bolt on top, but it was all I could make work.

We did it

A required selfie with our success. We are happy and all is back up and running. This has been the most challenging launch in 18 years. The heat, and humidity is high. The boat is in the worst shape in 18 years. We are having breakdowns on new systems that we put in to come down here. And to top it off we are rusty and not even close to up to speed. Toughest start ever and we think it is just the remoteness of the start.  It sure is 10 times easier in Stuart, Fl or Miami, Fl. WOW. 

Hayden and Radeen with an alternator repair need now in Grenada

Next up, hanging with the big boys

This is where we are gong, over to the main marina in town, Port Louis where we will hang out with the big players. Check out these buddy boats!

Oh yea, we hope to stop over and visit….NOT INVITED….i bet
Our first destination from Clarks Court Marina.

Our LIVE tracking MAP is here

We run the Garmin InReach and when the boat moves it places a pin on this map often. Please look at out map here, and if you want to see all our pins, click the VIEW ALL TRACKS and then zoom back.

https://share.garmin.com/islandspirit

Grenada Launch Day

We did it, after 5 days of boat yard work we launched the boat here in Clark’s Court Grenada at 0900! SHE FLOATS, ENGINE STARTED, we did not sink! even after doing this every year since 1991, we still get very nervous doing this. There are so many aspects that could go wrong, and there are many systems that have not been running, we get very nervous until we are floating and docked and secured.

It is so hot, we are soaked every day by 9 am, and during noon to 2 pm you have to take cover and get out of the sun. Here we are, 9am and the boat is picked up. We started at 8am

Launching with a tractor and hydraulic trailer

We have not seen this set up before pulling into here in May. This hydraulic trailer is incredible and our boat at 18,000 lbs is a dinghy for this machine. The driver can make the rig wider, taller, lower, and tilt. It is really interesting to see. 

The lifting trailer backing up to our boat

Move the Jack Stands!

In order to back the trailer under the boat, they need to remove the jack stands. Notice how they re position them at an angle allowing for room for the trailer! This looks so dangerous, we stayed back.

The jack stands are cleared but a few are put back at an angle to hold the boat.

Back up the trailer!

The driver then backs this massive trailer under the yacht while the helpers help with direction. The trailer is in the lowest position right now. Look at how close the frame is to the ground and wheels.

The trailer is backed under the yacht

Raise the Hydraulic rams

The large rams then are raised up taking the load of the yacht but they do nto lift the yacht. First the process is to get these rams up and tight against the yacht. Then all the remaining jack stands can be removed.

The rams are raised and pressed against the yacht

Jack up the trailer

Next the entire trailer is lifted as the frame hydrailic rams press the frame vertically. Notice the frame and the wheels now, the entire yacht and frame are pushed up and the yacht is now lifted off the ground. That is 18,000 lbs mininum and more like 20,000 lbs due to all the extra gear we have loaded onboard. So, 10 tons lifted and off it goese.

The frame of the trailer now is lifted up

There she goes

Island Spirit is headed for the water on a trailer with a tractor. OMG! How crazy is that? We then move the car and follow along with the rig.

Riding the trailer to the water
We are in company with RUTH, the 100 foot tall ship also heading to the water in the 240 ton travel lift,
Very cool photo, Island Spirit with RUTH, 35 foot vs 100 foot
Look at the scale of this mega yacht

Back her down the ramp

This part was interesting as Radeen and I had to climb a ladder to the board the yacht. We then had to ride it down the ramp and into the water. Then when the boat was deep enough we had to check all thru hulls and start the engine and get water flowing and cooling and then, they let us free. We backed away and with 20-25 knots of ENE winds blowing we are feeling the rush. It is always so wild….what if….will drive you crazy.

Backing into the water

Off we go, our first leg

Drive from the ramp to the marina and dock. Get your dock lines ready, hope and pray the engine keeps running, hope and pray the anchor is ready, get your fenders down, get to the dock.

Radeen is getting the lines and fenders ready

Success, leg #1 completed

We did it. Leg one is finished. We launched and moved 200 yards to the dock. Notice that the dinghy needs launched, the staysail needs installed. The jib needs installed, we never do these on the jack stands as that is not safe.  We need to finish these jobs today, which we did, and then check out of here and move over to the town of St. Georges where we will dock at Port St. Lucie where they have electric and water on the dock. No services here.

Island Spirit on the dock, day one Dec 10, 2019
Dinner on the dock over looking the marina with a nearly full moon rising

A celebration Beer

Ahhhhh a cold one to celebrate and dinner with Dean and Kim. Let the good times start. Enough work….

Grenada Prep Day 3 4

We are ready for launch and  will move out of our comfy air conditioned condo and onto the boat Tue, December 10, 2019. Boat yard work can be so difficult, especially when it is hot. First you have to climb 12 steps up a ladder to the deck. Your power is only wind and solar for lights and fans as there is no access to a power plug. This means there is no air conditioning. Water is only the water in your tank, as there is no water hose that is easily reachable. So, we are preparing the boat with all our own services. To help, we hired out the hull waxing, the stainless steel cleaning, and the interior cleaning, for the first time ever. So we are helping the local economy as we prep the boat.

 

Our 1994 Island Packet 35, ready for launch Dec 9, 2019, Grenada

The Prep Work

After a quick breakfast in the condo, our first task (after painting and hull wax) was to re-run all the halyards we had pulled off the mast to protect them from the intense summer sun. While I am working on deck, Radeen is working below deck cleaning and sorting out the boat. 

Boxed milk, protein Weetabix and finger bananas, yum yum
Good morning Radeen, can you tell it is HOT and she is ready to clean da boat 🙂 ?Halyards and sheets going up.

Halyard work

Most people do not pull the halyards and sheets off the boat and store them below decks. This is something we have done since we arrived down here in the Caribbean. When pulling off the lines, we pull a small 3/16″ chase line in its place so we can then re-pull the large halyards back up and into the mast. Yes, most of our lines are internal, but when stored, half of the line is external, and that gets damaged by the UV/sun.

Mack Sails rigging, they add a nice loop on the lazy end, making pulling easy!
The main halyard pulling 50 feet up the outside of the mast, into the crane head and down the 50 foot mast and out the exit. You really do not want to lose these inside the mast!
My jib halyard, I used my old green main halyard so this I had to sew together and then tape. Sewing makes sure it does not pull apart as you pull it into the mast.

Loading the Main Sail

Our new main sail is a fully battened main sail, which means it weighs in at about 50-60 pounds. We also have a stack pack, which we love, but putting this all back together and pulling up the lazy jacks and loading in the sail battens can easily take two hours. It is not an easy job, and I have done this 18 years! First we have to run the stack pack bolt rope into the boom and hang the pack inside out. Then we load the loose footed main sail onto the boat, but just the tack and clew. We then push all the main sail over to the port side. Now we pull the bottom of the main sail up and over the boom to the starboard side. With the first bottom batten pocket now on the cabintop, we can take apart the batten car and install the long batten and tension it. We do this for each batten,  until we reach the head of the sail. At this point we can then load the head of the sail into the Tides Strong Track, and push and lift it up the mast track until all is loaded. With the main sail only pulled up about 4-5 feet, we can now work on the lazy jacks and lift up the stack pack. Once the stack pack is lifted, we can then fold and store the main sail into the pack.

The Stack Pack on the boom inside out with lazy jacks on the deck
The Main sail fully loaded and the lazy jacks pulling the stack pack up and into position. We need to run the reefing lines next!

Run to town

While Radeen is working below decks cleaning, I ran to town to get dinghy gas, car gas, propane bottle filled, WD-40 and more. Notice that the car ha the steering wheel on the “proper” side of the car, the right side. In Grenada, they drive on the left side and that makes for an interesting activity. I fold in the mirrors when driving because the cars pass each other about 1 millimeter apart, so we are NOT paying for mirrors. A common charge. Who needs mirrors? I bought $60 ECD for the car and I bought $70 ECD of gas for the dinghy. This was about 4 gallons in the car and 5 gallons for the dinghy! $1 USD to $0.37 ECD, basically divide the ECD by 3, that will get you close.

Our rental car, Toyota Rav 4, $50 USD per day plus $15 Insurance with a $2,000 ECD  deductible! YIKES, do not wreck.
I found one gallon of oil, so I bought it. That’s the rule in the Islands, if you see something and will need it, buy it no.  Thje gallon was $100 ECD for one gallon, so that is $37 USD for a gallon of oil. OH MY GOSH!!!!!

Spoiling Radeen

Sunday the local cafe here at Clarke’s Court had local craftsman selling handmade items. I had to buy Radeen something, so I found these Grenada colored ear rings. So nice.

Christmas present for Radeen, spoiling her daily 🙂

 

Of course I took her out to lunch but the place was closed today….

Our Lunch stop….closed, darn it

Finish the Bottom Paint, Install Canvas

The yard has to move the jack stands so we can paint under the pads. So, they came out and re positioned all 9 jack stands. This is why we keep back a half a gallon of paint. The extra covers these pad areas and then the rest is used as a second coat around the water line. That is a wrap on the painting and we can then pull off the tape

Removing the tape, bottom paint is finished. Yes, our boot stripe is needing another paint job, but it OK for one more year.
Looking good,
Much easier than loading the sails, the dodger and bimini go on next. This canvas is old and needs replaced. Design ideas are being discussed.

Out to dinner at Clarke’s Court

Breakfast and lunch are in our condo/room but for a treat after a hard day’s work in the boat yard, we shower and go downstairs for a nice dinner. Radeen ordered a Caribe and said it was the best beer of her entire life! The Cruiser’s Reef Cafe is newly open and they are doing a great job seven days  a week, 7 am to 11 pm. WOW, that makes long days for the staff, who are all consistently polite and friendly.

Look at Beautiful Radeen, the hard working boating GrL

NOT FOR SALE…..but ….. make an offer…

We always joke that we are always prepared complete with signs and all. Island Spirit is NOT for sale, no way, …. but …. go ahead, MAKE AN OFFER….ha ha….like we said, She is NOT for sale….but sometimes we ……nope, won’t go there. OK, launch day Tuesday, Dec 10th is here…

Grenada Boat Prep 1 2

We arrived into Grenada with our two duffel bags, two overhead bags and two backpacks after two days of travel. First PHL to MIA, spent the night in Cambria Hotel and caught up with Dr. Nicholas.  Day 2 MIA-GND and landed in the country about 430 pm. Passed thru customs and our car rental drive was waiting for us with a sign with our name on it. How wonderful. We love it when a plan comes together. Let the new sailing season begin.

Welcome to Grenada, it is sunny and warm 85F. Off to customs

But first, getting there….

We asked out dear friend Jenna is she would UBER us to the Philly airport because were were leaving for 6 months and wanted to leave out car in the garage. Well she was a real pro. Jenna and her cute son arrived right on time and she even had snacks and drinks for out ride to the airport. What a great friend. Thank you Jenna!

UBER Jenna and our new Crew member and jib trimmer in back with Radeen.
Running light, 2 duffel bags, 2 overhead carry on bags, 2 backpacks. We are gone

Arrival in MIAMI, the best

We have flown into Miami many times but this approach was incredible. The pilot flew down the coast at about 5,000 feet just offshore and we watched the coast and the famous sights of West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, South Beach and the City of Miami pass by our wind. What an amazing sight to see.  

Just offshore of Florida around West Palm Beach
Turning west flying directly over South Beach, so cool
Flying across Miami to the airport out west of town

UBER Drive # 2 Dr. Nicholas

Our other personal UBER drive was Dr. Nicholas who is the son of Dr. JB our great diving instructor and close friend. Nicholas picked us up at the MIA and took us to our Cambria hotel where we all three enjoyed dinner together and we caught up on his Doctoral work in Psychology. How proud we are of him and all his hard work. Thank you Doc Jr.

Dr. Nicholas helped us out when we arrived Miami, thank you so much!

Day 2 of travel to Grenada

Back to the MIA airport via shuttle van at 0830 for out 1130 flight. We like to be early and it has always worked out.   We were told to dress up like you are going to Sandles Resort so that customs does not look for boat parts. We failed, as we always look and dress like boaters. My IPY hat and my Whiteaker Yacht Sales shirt were not helping me sneak in to Grenada.

Selfie on the Flight MIA to GND
There it is, arriving GND, of course you fly into the EAST Trades!

Welcome to Grenada

We are happy to be back and we are looking forward to Caribbean sailing Season of 6 months! No schedule, no destination, no plans, just get this boat up and running, get her launched and lets go sailing. Let season 18 on Island Spirit begin NOW….GRENADA!

WHAT NO CELL, NO GOOGLE FI?

You all know how much we love out Google Fi service and since March 2019, when we started using our first two Fi phones, Motorola X4 $150 shipped into St. Thomas, thanks to JENNA. We love this service. Since March we have taken the service to 19 countries and we have connected upon arrival. Here are are in Grenada, where it worked fine in May, and we can not get onto the grid.

Well, 6 hours of tech support, with Google Fi and three different techs via WiFi chat, no one could get our two phones onto the grid. So, I asked my good boat buddy, Dr. Don of sv Fezywig and he gave me the answer in 4 or 5 clicks. POOF, we had 4G LTE just like that, just like expected, just like before. So, a BIG thanks to Don for connecting us back to the net.  

It is amazing how cell technology is on every island, this is our tower

Let’s Get to WORK, unwrap, prep for paint

Job #1 was to remove the 1,200 sq.ft. of coolaroo sunshade cover. This is a 90% UV blocking fabric that we buy and fit to the yacht. This is the third time we have done this and it works great. We simply cut the sip ties dropped it and then folded and rolled the fabric back into 4 rolls. We are thinking of storing it here, but Radeen wants to pack it into the sail locker and take it with us. YIKES! Not sure we have enough room for it, we will see.

This is our cover of Coolaroo, see previous blog post on how we did this.
We rolled it up and tossed it to the ground
The folded length of 50 feet rolled up onto the car hood, that worked
4 rolls of coolaroo fill the back seat of this RAV

Next Task, PAINT THE BOTTOM!

We have painted the bottom of our boats since 1991. We know the process well and we have painted this IP 35 nine times. It takes us a couple of hours to prep, we do not sand the bottom. We simply flake off any loose paint, sand that area, and then tape the boot stripe and roll on new paint. Painting takes 2 hours with both of us working on the job. Radeen has always helped paint the boat, she helps on every job and THAT makes us a great team.

Radeen preparing the bottom, chipping off loose paint
12 steps to the deck, one full flight up, we get our workout
Radeen like to cover up because this paint is nearly impossible to get off your skin or out of your hair. I just use latex gloves.
I took this photo to show how far ONE GALLON reaches. All the starboard side plus this much of the port side. One Gallon of Trinidad is about $325 USD, we need two gallons to paint this boat.
Touch up Radeen as she works the rudder and prop areas
We tried to recreate the AMERICAN GOTHIC photo, pitch fork etc, but with paint rollers…ha ha
Painting on Day 2. Taped at 0730. Shook paint at 0800, Started painting at 0800, wrapped up at 1030, time for coffee now

Power in Grenada = 220v 50 htz

When we travel, we always travel with power plug adapters, and here in Grenada, the power grid is 220 volts, much like the rest of the “real” world. Look at this plug, it is like the one used in England. Also notice that our room has 110 volt next to all 220 v. This is very kind, but also very unusual. They know many Americans come here so they are trying to accommodate us all.

The rooms at Clarks Court Boat Yard can be booked and we stay here while working on the boat. Nice rooms with a balcony, little kitchen and bath.
The room view looking over the docks and the exit to sea in the distance
Here are the power outlets. On the left, 110 volt like USA, on the right, the normal UK/Grenada 220 volt. Not the switches on the outlets. Very nice.

A nice Break at UMBRELLAS with Dean and Kim

We are here in the yard with another Island Packet Owner, IP 38 DreamCatcher owned by Dean and Kim. They invited us to go to Umbrellas on the beach for burgers and PainKillers. YAHOOOOO….great idea. So, after we painted the boat, we cleaned up and hit the beach bar at 1230. Dean and Kim have been cruising their IP 38 now 4 years and they have sailed from Florida to Grenada and they know the area well. They have helped us with this area and this boat yard. We are following their lead.

The best Beach Bar, Umbrellas, Grenada
If you are with “PhotoBoy” Hayden, then there will be selfies. Fun times to remember. Hayden, Radeen, Kim and Dean.

We picked up two pets

These are the local goats and they are everywhere. Herds of them roam the boat year and come down out of the hills. These are the two at out yard exit. Should we take them on the boat? nahhhhhh

Team Island Spirit’s new PET GOATS

Up next

We need to have the jack stands moved and paint under them on Monday. We need to keep cleaning and unpacking and get the rust off all the stainless. We have hired helpers to help us out. We hired out the hull wax, thank goodness. We need to re-run all running rigging Sunday. We need sails and canvas put back on. We need to recommission the dinghy and 15 hp Yamaha. All by Tue when we launch and move aboard. Lots of work recommissioning a boat that is in storage. Welcome to the boat yard. 

Thanks for sailing along. 

Remember we are SOCIAL MEDIA people too 🙂

If you look at the menu on http://svislandspirit.com/ you will see all our social media links. Follow and like us there as well……

  • https://www.facebook.com/svIslandSpirit/
  • https://www.instagram.com/svislandspirit/
  • https://www.youtube.com/user/IslandSpirit35/videos
  • https://twitter.com/svIslandSpirit   (We do not tweet much, but our InReach does :-))

Off to Grenada 2019

Let the new sailing season begin in Grenada Dec 5, 2019. We fly in, spend 5 days preparing the boat (uncover, wash, paint and wax) and then we launch Dec 10th! Move aboard that day, and then move the yacht around to the town of St. Georges, Grenada where we will dock Dec 11th to 16th setting up the yacht. Sails, halyards, dinghy, outboard, watermaker, and provisions. If all goes well, we plan to sail out Dec 16th for maybe Bequia where we think there is a Christmas celebration. This season will be one of simple cruising and Eastern Caribbean Explorations. Hopefully filled with many new discoveries. Final task today…PACK and get to PHL!

The Plan on getting there
The plan on where we will sail
This could be a fun diversion to the west and downwind.
We still have our sights set on a full Caribbean Exploration, 2 years East and 2 years West!

Happy Island on Union Island

Departing Tobago Cays, we sailed downwind a very short distance west to Union Island where a man named Janti built “Happy Island.” This is similar to the island off the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI’s called Saba Rock. Saba actually was a rock that was expanded dramatically, but HAPPY ISLAND did not exist before. Janti created the island by piling up conch shells on the reef. WHAT? Yes, he gathered up conch shells tossed away from the harvest of the conch. Next, he hauled and piled these shells up until he had enough area to build a small shade building. Eventually, this grew and grew and grew into what is now Happy Island with a complete house and bar with a dinghy dock, palm trees, picnic tables, and large speakers for party music. Happy Island is the place to stop on Union Island, it is right in the middle of the reef! Look at these photos over the years!

The view of Happy Island from our boat on a government mooring ball
Happy Island begins, in 2002
Happy Island in 2003 with a shade building
Janti, the builder, in 2004
By 2006, a home was built
An article about Happy Island was published in a newspaper
Happy Island with concrete sea walls and palm trees
Janti can be very proud of what he created, now the hot spot of Union Island
Happy Island May 2019 painted in the bright yellow, green and blue colors of the flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. What FUN!
Team SIX KNOTS, minus SEA STAR, taking in the joys of HAPPY ISLAND as more boaters arrive
It really is amazing what has been built on top of conch shells!
Hayden, Radeen, Mel and Don, in a sunny selfie on Happy Island

A walk around Union Island

In order to leave for Grenada, one must check out of the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That requires a stop on Union Island at the Customs and Immigration offices at the airport or at the local town’s office building.  The local office will charge an overtime fee if you request services over lunch or on a weekend. We stopped in at 1205 and decided to walk the town until early afternoon and spend the overtime fee on ice cream instead. Union Island is a busy little town with street vendors, gift shops, bakery, grocery store, banks, and a coffee and ice cream shop. Of course, we hit Gypsy Soul, the coffee and ice cream shop above the Captain Gourmet.

Union Island, the town of Clifton, is the home of all the hard-working people who run boats over to Tobago Cays. They sell bread, fish, jewelry, collect trash and they created a Beach BBQ for cruisers and charterers. The trip from Union is about 7 nm in small homemade wooden boats with outboards. Supporting these industrious people at their BBQ is well worth the $40 US, including transportation from your boat in their boats. The menu is a choice of chicken, fish, or ribs with vegetables, rice and bread served family style. They all work so hard to make it a special event for the cruising boaters. Then after running the Beach BBQ, they make the crossing across open ocean waters to Union Island late at night. Thank you CLIFTON, we will be back.

The main street with shops and vendors
We loved this sign, look at the top….directions to THE MOON
The coffee shop with balconies overlooking the main street
The 2nd floor coffee shop was so interesting
Our #1 shop on Union Island, Clifton, was the Captain Gourmet, with upscale  French and local items on the first floor and ice cream, coffee and snacks on the breezy second floor. Again, the French know how to live. Both businesses are owned by Linda who is from France. Her husband owns Happy Kite, the local kiteboarding shop.
Looking out over the harbor at Union Island from the coffee shop.

Where is Happy Island?

Happy Island on the reef off Union Island
Tobago Cays downwind to Union Island and Happy Island

Zoom Into our Travel Map Here

Thank you for sailing along with us, we really enjoy sharing this adventure with our friends and family.

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Season 2018-19 Begins

Our summer at Saltbox 13 flew by and it is always a comfortable retreat and change of pace and activity from the cruising lifestyle.  We find the contrast of life on land vs life on a boat to be so interesting. On the boat, we live off solar power, wind power and a 100 amp alternator and a little diesel fuel. We make fresh water out of salt water, we walk for all groceries. At home, we live in a passive solar home but have endless water (38 gal/minute well) endless power 120 volt, 24/7 internet, cable TV, cars, bikes, and a large Weber grill. Life on land is soooo easy, life on a boat is soooo simple. The contrast is interesting and we enjoy both equally.

Required selfie as we start off in Annapolis MD 2018

Our first two weeks aboard find us in Annapolis Maryland as we stow and store all the items we moved onboard. We are adjusting to living without a car for the next 8 months. We are working thru the yacht systems, some need repairs, some need adjusting. Solar and wind are working great, and we have found once again, our new B&G 4G radar is not working AGAIN. So we are focused on that major system which allows us to sail offshore safely at night. We need to fix it as we are heading offshore 5 days after the boat show!

Living on the mooring ball for a week off the Annapolis Yacht Club

We spent one rainy week on mooring ball 50 in Annapolis and then a fun 3 days at the Seven Seas Sailing Association SSCA gathering at the Maryland Yacht Club in Rock Creek, near Baltimore. Now we have moved back to Annapolis where we are attending the sailboat show, as we have done for over 25 years. We really enjoy seeing so many cruising friends and Island Packet Yacht Owners. We created and host lunches at the Fleet Reserve at the 2nd-floor roof tent every day from noon til about 2 pm. It is a great way to meet up with buddies. We also look at all the new gear and rigging ideas, most of which we either have or don’t need. We go to seminars and learn new ideas and hear about other sailors’ adventures. It really is a great way to spend a long weekend. We can’t imagine missing the Annapolis Boat Show.

We along with Whiteaker Yacht Sales host our IPYOA.com Noon Lunches

So, we will return to blogging and we will share our photos and adventures once again. Our destination this year is the Caribbean Sea once again, but this time we will push onward past Puerto Rico and make it to Grenada by May 15, 2019. There we will haul out and store the boat from June 1 to Nov 1 for hurricane season. Between now and then, we will have much to share and many photos to capture. Thanks for sailing along.

This is the way we made it to the Caribbean last year, here we go again
This time, we WILL push onward and make it to Grenada for storage. 

Our New 2018-19 cruising map is active here. It will be updated as our boat moves. We use the Garmin InReach tracker and the Spotwalla service to archive our trips. This way you can always see where we are. It is interesting to see the creeks and rivers we run and the ocean passages we will make.

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=1b7bf5bb462b62d758&hoursPast=0&showAll=yes

Hayden and Radeen.…docked at the Boat Show, let the FUN BEGIN again!

Radeen and Hayden, Oct 3, 2018, at dock, Annapolis Boat Show time

Stuart FL to Rock Hall MD

It is very difficult to blog and post while moving the boat 10-14 hours a day, every day, 1,000 nm.  Twelve days after departing FL, we finally are getting a chance to catch up on photos and blog postings. We have had a fantastic run from Stuart, going offshore direct 525 nm in 3 days to Cape Lookout, NC. There we entered the ICW, Intracoastal Waterway, and worked our way north to the Chesapeake Bay. Once in the Bay, we blasted north in 2 days. We never did that before, running the bay in 2 days. We count home waters as Annapolis to Rock Hall, Maryland, with the Bay Bridge as our defining landmark signifying we are home.

This 2017-18 cruising season has been an unusual one, starting in Puerto Rico with a damaged mast from hurricane Maria. We shipped the boat to Florida and had it repaired by Mack Sails. We tested the rebuild out by sailing a loop around the Abacos and the Berrys. With it being so late in the season, we decided to sail for home where we could use our boat for the summer and wait out the next hurricane season. We will sail back to the Caribbean next season and resume our adventures there. For now, we will enjoy the boat here on the Bay for the summer of 2018.

Here is a graphic of our season.

We departed Stuart on Monday, noon, May 21

Heading out the inlet in a near squall that caught up with us about 3 miles offshore, we were out and heading north. There was a nice 3 to 4-day weather window with forecasted southeast winds of 15-20 knots and no threat of thunderstorms. We liked the forecast so, even with the squall, we left. It was a bit exciting, but we kept telling ourselves the forecast was great. Let’s keep going. Well, we took a beating for about 4-5 hours out of the inlet and we actually thought about turning around, but we pushed offshore to the Gulfstream.

The calm after the squall

Our passage was great

We had it all, broad reaching full sails, all three, we reefed 4 times, had 3 squalls, lightning and rain, and even 4 hours of code zero offshore. The sailing was really wonderful for days. We both commented many times how amazing the sailing was. Endless sailing. This trip was the longest offshore trip we have made. 60 hours 525 nm. We had two days of 200 nm which was due to the 3-4 knots of the Gulfstream. Making a 200nm day is a great day on any sailboat, let alone a little 35 footer. We were pleased with our speed and the push of the Stream.

On our second  day, we were 400 nm from St. Lucie Inlet, near Stuart
Here we are 24 hrs from our last 24 hr point, it was 200.1 nm

The days rolled on and we enjoyed the passage. Radeen and I are not always thrilled about ocean passages, but we do them when we can to cover longer distances. For us, we would rather anchor and rest at night, but sometimes you just have to go to sea and do shifts and keep running 24/7. This was a great time to go offshore, to go north, and we are very glad we did it. Here are the photos from offshore…

Code Zero sailing for about 4 hours
Radeen keeps our logbook up to date
This is the coolest sail, so easy to use. We use it when winds are under 15 knots.
Sunset on the port side, heading north
Full mainsail, we reefed down 4 times.
Sunset at sea, Day 2
Radeen keeping the sun off her face
Calm seas 100 nm offshore
Hayden hooked in and on watch

Arriving Cape Lookout at 0400

We arrived Cape Lookout before daybreak in a thunderstorm. Our new radar went out the afternoon of the second day so we were running blind all night, a very uncomfortable situation. After making the Cape straightaway, we decided to not go into the harbour until daybreak because it was so dark. With no moonlight, no radar and one lighted buoy missing, it was best to wait. We simply put away the jib and, with a reefed main, we sailed along the shore until 0530 when it was light enough to go in and drop the anchor. We slept until 0800 and then headed out using our code zero for the Beaufort Inlet and into the ICW in beautiful conditions.

Arriving at 0400, we waited until 0530 to go in and anchor

Up the ICW, Cape Lookout to the Chesapeake Bay

This is always an easy and interesting section of the ICW. We have run this 10+ times and know the route well. We also know the stops and the anchorages. We have stopped before at Oriental, River Dunes, Manteo,  Edenton, Elizabeth City, Dismal Swamp, Norfolk, etc. but this time we were on a delivery running for home. So, we followed our dear friend Reuben’s route into Coinjock. There we made reservations for a prime rib dinner and a dock. What a treat that was after days at sea and on the hook. Coinjock was a welcome relief and we may always go this way from now on. It also saves one day of travel so that was another reason we went this way. Very fun stop. Thank you, Reuben.

The Coinjock Restaurant
Date night since we did not kill each other offshore 🙂

The next stop PORTSMOUTH, VA

We never ever miss this stop at the Portsmouth, VA ferry basins. We dock  along the waterfront and walk into town on High Street, taking in the Bier Garten, the Commodore Movie Theater, and the local coffee shop. What a great stop to see the new Star Wars movie, “Solo.” So much fun for sure.

South Ferry Basin, Portsmouth VA, our 11th stop here!
Thank you to the US NAVY and all who serve!

Photos of the ICW…

Shrimp boat, NC
The clear brown waters of the Pungo River-Alligator River Canal
22 nm long canal, the Pungo River-Alligator River Canal
Water stained tea colored from the cypress trees
Biting flies are numerous and massively large  in NC
Beautiful trees in the swamps
One lone tree as we turn into the canal

We reach the Chesapeake Bay….HOME waters

These are our home waters! When we reach the Bay, we feel at ease and safe. Starting our sailing here in 1986, we have anchored in nearly every creek and cove. First stop, Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland. and one of our favorites. It was an unexpected pleasure to have dinner with Mary Ann and Ron of IP380 CAVU and Sharon and Greg of IP40 Dreamcatcher, but we have no photo of the fun to share.

We love to sail past Thomas Point Lighthouse
HOME, Thomas Point Lighthouse

Annapolis Maryland

Our HAPPY PLACE, St. Mary’s cove under the Spa Creek Bridge
Our favorite alley in Annapolis where we always take a photo with the Maryland State House

Chesapeake Bay Bridge, NOW we are HOME

We have not been north of the Bay Bridge by boat since 2015. We stored our boat in Stuart FL two years ago to prep for sailing to the Caribbean Sea. Then last season, we stored in Puerto Rico. Now we have returned and it was a fun run to cross under the Bay Bridge again. We always cut the corner and that presents these great photo shots looking back into the center span of the bridge with the perspective vanishing point. Very cool photo.

Looking east into the center spans from in between the bridges

Rock Hall, MD tower

From the center span of the Bay Bridge, we ran for the Rock Hall tower which is a range marker pointed to the main ship channel. Once we reached this, we were home. We motored into Swan Creek and around the creek to Spring Cove Marina. We have been at this marina since 1991. It is the special place where we built all our sailing and cruising dreams. We spent many summers planning and dreaming of going off cruising. For now, we will base here and enjoy our boat.

The Rock Hall tower and the way into our creek
Docked at Spring Cove Marina, sun setting over our bow

CHEERS, it is a great life cruising on a sailboat

A little tired after all these miles, but we were happy to pop the bubbly…CHEERS

We celebrated our arrival at The Harbour Shack with great friends, Sharon and Jeff of IP35 Lucille and Ray of IP 27 Wye’s Guy. Again, no photo of the fun.

Thank you all for following along. Your comments arrive in our email box and we love to hear from you.


OUR MAP. Where we have been and where we are now. If our boat moves, this map updates. How fun.

https://share.garmin.com/IslandSpirit

Code Zero sail added

We added a new sail to our rig, a CODE ZERO. After repairing and rebuilding our new mast and rigging, we finally got the boat back to where it was when we stored her in Puerto Rico. Then Hurricane Maria damaged us and we came back to Stuart Florida for repairs by Mack Sails. Once finished we really had nothing to show for all this work and money, so, we bought Island Spirit a cool new CODE ZERO furling spinnaker. These sails are good with a wind angle of 40 degrees down to 140 degrees but the best angle is 50 to 110 and apparent winds up to 20 knots.  The true beauty is that the sail simply unfurls and out it comes. Then when you are finished with it, you simply furl it up and it stays in place forward of the jib. To accomplish this we added a masthead crane extension and a new halyard. We welded a new attachment point between the anchor rollers and we added a new self-tailing winch to the mast. Here is a photo of the first day we hoisted the sail:

Sailing 2 knots in 4 knots of wind, Code ZERO only!

Welding the Bow

We needed to add an attachment point on the bow, so we hired the best welder in Stuart, Florida, Mike Davis of Native Welding. We moved the boat to the docks and placed the bow over the dock and Mike was able to modify our bow rollers and we added a new arch welded between the two rollers. This places the Code Zero attachment point dead center and well forward of the forestay. On the newer IPs, with the larger bow rollers, they can simply shackle to the existing roller structure. This mod, we are now pulling up on both anchor rollers which are thru bolted with larger bolts than our forestay uses, so we have no worries about strength here. Take a look at the welding process photos. Very nice work.

We docked and then lowered the anchors, then moved the bow over the dock
Mike Davis is an artist and a talented welder. We added a new arch between the rollers
This is stainless steel welding which needs argon gas and 100 amps of power
Mike’s helmet is a digital welders helmet with fans, exhaust and it records the hours welding
Mike Davis welding stainless steel on Island Spirit
The added bow between the rollers
The two outer bows are simply bolted on, we wanted something stronger so we welded the center bow.

The Furling Rig

Code Zero sails use a continuous line furling rig. This rig is the Profurl NEX 2.5 which has a working load of 2.5 tons, or 5,000 lbs. The idea is that these sails can be rolled out and deployed easily and they can be furled back up just like a jib. The furling line is continuous and comes off the drum back to the cockpit where it returns to the drum via a ratchet block. This helps with furling by allowing the sail to roll out easily.  To see, watch this YouTube Video here by Profurl: https://youtu.be/rcgc5CnJbl4 

 

The Profurl NEX 2.5 Flying Sail Furler

The Code Zero forward of the Jib

The Code Zero stays furled up and forward of the jib. This becomes one of the most used sails on the boat because it has such a wide range of uses. Unlike a spinnaker, which you have to get out, hoist with the sock on it, rig up the tack to the bow, set up the sheets and pull up the halyard. Then set up the boat on the course, pull up the sock and then set the sail. With this, you get on course, roll out the Code Zero and sail. When finished, roll it back up and leave it right there. For the spinnaker, you go up on deck as the wind builds (oh great) then pull down the sock, now this big tube of sail is hanging there, now lower it to deck or down a hatch and good luck finding a place to store it. Code Zero, furl it, forget it. DONE.

Here is the Code Zero in its place, ready to go. ready to sail

Sailing Photos, Fun Fun Fun

Our second day we sailed 3 times up and down the river and sailed from 40 degrees down to 140 degrees. This sail loves 50-110 degrees. We have a whisker pole and a topping lift so we can rig this for dead downwind as well. Enjoy these sailing photos.

Reaching
Close reaching
no main sail, just the code zero
Our sailmaker is www.MackSails.com We really like this family run USA Stuart Florida company
so much fun
Looking aft, this is about a 165% 170%
Fun Fun Fun

Captain Photo Required

Hayden with his new code zero, way more to follow, just wait til we get to sea with this sail

Hayden with our new Code Zero Sail

Tomorrow we hit the OCEAN

.Tomorrow we will take Island Spirit out to the ocean and test this sail out in 10-15 knots with the full mainsail up. This will be very exciting. We will have a drone flying and our friend Ed taking video from a chase boat. We are working with Mack Sails on a video, this should really be fun.

We really like Mack Sails Company. Thank you, Colin and Travis www.MackSails.com