Stuart Florida, Sunset Bay and Marina, is rated by many boaters are one of the greatest marinas on the USA East Coast, and we must agree. We have spent exactly two months here, working with Mack Sails and repairing our boat after Hurricane Marina damages in Puerto Rico. Now, with one last beautiful sunset and several gatherings with great friends, we actually departed. Hard to do, but we did it. Take a look at our final sunset….
Friends Friends Friends
Did I say, friends? Yes, we really enjoyed our many friends and shared meals together! Every night at sunset people gather on the porch or around the firepit and share a snack or a bottle of wine and visit. It really is an amazing place to live on a boat. Many people simply make this their winter destination, then in the spring they all depart and head north. Some live here full time, and we can see why. This is THE BEST place to live on a boat, hands down. We could easily live here if we were not cruising. Check out these great friends we shared our time with….
Fun Fun Fun times with so many buddies gathering in Stuart and passing thru. One more reason this is a hard place to sail out of, but we did, once all our work was finished.
NEW PLACE TO DISCOVER
With the winds EAST and the Bahamas due EAST, we have had to wait for a south wind or a cold front to head out. Well, with EAST winds, we can sail SOUTH so that is what we did. We powered out thru the St. Lucie Inlet to sea under full sails and turned south. But with only 6 to 8 knots and a 2-3 foot quartering sea, we added the motor to push through the chop. Still, we were in the Atlantic and heading to a new destination. That was West Palm Beach, FL. We have passed this 6+ times and never stopped. Others have told us how great it is. So, we headed to drop anchor off the town of the rich and famous. West Palm Beach was created and built by Henry Flagler to be a winter resort for the wealthy who would ride his train south and stay in his luxury hotels. They found it to be a perfect place to winter over. His idea, started when he was 65, worked and now, the town is better than ever and people still love it here. Mr. Trump has his Mar a Lago resort just down the waterway south of here. Lucky for the waterway at West Palm, when he is in town, it does not affect this area. Here we are, anchored off West Palm Beach….
We Found a DIVER
For two weeks, we tried to get a diver at Stuart, but it just never worked out. They are so busy and we were out in the mooring field, so we left with a dirty bottom and dirty prop. This slows down the boat, so we really wanted a diver to clean the bottom. A phone call to BoatUS and they referred me to SCUBA SCRUBBERS. We intended to leave a message, but theowner answered the phone on Easter! She said she would call me Monday to see if she could schedule a diver. She did, and by 12:30, she had a diver at our boat. WOW WOW WOW, now that is GREAT SERVICE. One hour of work and the boat bottom was cleaned of all barnacles and the prop was spotless, too. Each thru hull was cleaned and now we are ready to go. Outstanding company and outstanding service. I am really impressed with how they helped us out. http://ScubaScrubbers.com
Did I say we hoisted full sails on our way to WPB?
Passing MEGA YACHTS in West Palm
Yes, the 1% people of the world use the Lake Worth Inlet and the West Palm Beach area to have their yachts serviced. Here is motor vessel AQUARIUS; she is 301 feet long, 5 stories tall, she takes 16 guests in 8 staterooms and she carries 31 crew members to cater to the guests and to manage the yacht. It is PRIVATE. Can you say KA-CHING$$$$? Imagine paying 31 people’s salaries just to manage your private yacht! I guess the owner is not a public school teacher 🙂
HAPPY to be on Island Spirit
We are content and happy to be on Island Spirit and to be cruising to wherever we want to go! This little boat will take us anywhere. Lucky us! We are thankful and we appreciate this every day.
CALM South WInd = Easy Gulf Stream Crossing
We waited out the East winds, now a mild front is coming which will pull the Tradewinds south and that is when we go, Wednesday at daybreak. Yes, we prefer to sail, but any time you can cross the Gulf Stream in a south calm wind, YOU CROSS. Otherwise, it is 4-6 foot seas and you take a beating for 8+ hours. We do not mind a motor run. We will skip West End because the front is slow moving, so we can run all night on the Banks. We will pull up to Great Sale Cay around midnight, drop an anchor and sleep. Wed night into Thur, it will be NW and N winds but only 10-15 knots. So this will be a nice sail as we push on to Green Turtle Cay. See you Thursday!
Our LIVE TRACKING MAP is HERE
Thank you for sailing along! We enjoy the Bahamas and the cruising life and we love sharing it all with you. Please leave us a comment; we receive them in our email.
We have spent 18 days since our last post wrapping up hurricane repairs on Island Spirit. NOW, she is better than ever. We are very thankful we shipped back from St. Thomas to Stuart, Florida, to work with Mack Sails. Overall, we are very happy with the work accomplished and working with their team of 31 employees! Living aboard in Stuart at Sunset Bay Marina was an extra bonus! If you are looking to repair or refit your Island Packet Yacht, or any other yacht, then I highly recommend working with Mack Sails. You can read about their work and you can request a quote here: http://www.MackSails.com
A quick overview of work finished: We wrapped up the mast deck collar and caulking/sealing the joint, finished mast base wiring, connected VHF & TV to the new LMR400 wires, added a code zero masthead crane extension, added a halyard and mast winch for the code zero, re-commissioned the autopilot and compass, had the boat compounded and waxed to a level never seen before, installed mainsail reef lines, added code zero sheet blocks, made dyneema loops for shackles, worked on yamaha 15, test sailed a third time, provisioned, helped buddy boats, attended the Island Packet Factory Rendezvous, and worked with multiple Island Packet Yacht buyers, showing boats and working on offers.
Now, we are on the LAUNCH PAD. The weather window is opening and it is moving and changing, but it looks like this Sun, Mon, Tue or Wed there is a window for motoring over to the Bahamas. We plan to take it if we can. We have worked all of February and now all of March and we are READY to go sailing.
Here is a photo story since our last post…
We love MIAMI BEACH, so it was off to another Wallcast. this one was all Baroque music, which was performed in Bach’s coffee house in the 1730’s. If you like high-quality outdoor concerts, (FREE) then google this up and attend one of these. This was our 11th Wallcast!
New Cockpit Table
We bought a NEW Teak table and hired a professional varnisher to apply a finish. LOOK at the shine! WOW, this is the most beautiful piece of wood on the boat. We can’t wait to have a fine dinner on this lovely table.
Sealing the Mast Deck Joint
We always seal up our mast with simple BOAT LIFE CAULK and then we use 4″ mast boot tape. Here are some photos of how we finished off the mast collar and sealed it so rain and sea spray will not leak and drip into the cabin below.
Mast Wiring Continues…
The continuing saga of the LMR400 wires seemed to never end. Here we ended up running LMR400 from the mast base to the nav desk to maintain the low loss cable 100% of the way from the VHF to the masthead antenna. Our VHF was always good, but now we are hearing Vero Beach from Stuart! WOW. LMR 400 wire is THE BEST.
Rig Tuning with a PT-3
Tuning the standing rigging was another job. I always use a LOOS GAUGE PT-3 tool to read the tension on each wire. The Island Packet Yacht Factory publishes the rigging tensions for every yacht. We have a copy onboard and there is one at http://www.IPYOA.com/docs. Every year, before sailing out to sea, we tune (tension) the rigging wire to factory specs.
Commissioning the new Zeus3 and Pilot and Compass
Out into the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, we did a few circles to recommission the B&G autopilot. We replaced our chartplotter (Zeus2) with a Zeus3 and the software needed to be commissioned. This requires a few circles. Here is our track as we tuned in the pilot and digital compass.
OFF TO THE ISLAND PACKET YACHT FACTORY RENDEZVOUS
Since we were still here in Florida working on the boat, we decided to attend the first ever IPY Factory Rendezvous. Leslie and Darrell, along with the entire factory team, hosted a great weekend of events. The best part of any RDV is the reconnecting with good friends and IP owners. Here are some photos of this great time….
Doc. Jr. and Doc. Ette….
While over in Tampa, we decided to drive north and visit our friends’ son at Starbucks. Nicholas and Bethany are wonderful young people who are both a joy to visit. We nicknamed them Doc. Jr. and Doc. Ette. (PhDs are brilliant!) Thanks for taking time away from your academics to share a coffee.
Back to work on the boat
After a fun weekend at the IPY Rendezvous in Tampa it was back to Stuart and continuing to work on the boat. We decided to buy something FUN after all this work and expense. So, we bought a Mack Sails CODE ZERO, a top-down furling spinnaker. This sail is a large jib, about a 175%, and it is good in winds up to 20 knots apparent. They are mainly used for light air so this will be fun to sail north up the coast in May. To add this new sail, we needed a masthead extension, a new halyard and a mast winch. Now, we are just waiting for the sail to be built. Then the FUN can really begin.
Cut and Finish the floor around the mast
I grabbed a jigsaw, made a template and cut the wood pieces that fill in around the mast. This finally finishes off the entire job and we can now focus on other tasks like preparing to sail and returning to cruising.
TIME FOR A DETAILING JOB
With all the work finally completed, (March 22, 2018) we hired PASQUALE DETAILING to compound and wax our hull. WOW, what a job that was. Our boat has never ever looked like this in 17 years. He worked off a floating platform, in the water and used a massive buffer. With 800-1000 grit compound, he ground the oxidation off the hull, taking it back to better than factory new. Then he waxed, and when he was finished, the hull now has the best shine it has ever had. (Pasquale usually is repelling off 100-150 foot yachts buffing them, so this little 35 footer was easy for him.) Great job!
Yacht Brokers for Whiteaker Yacht Sales
There is nothing we like more than showing others the quality of an Island Packet Yacht. Lucky for us, we get to share our passion together with others as we have the honor and privilege to show yachts for the Whiteaker Yachts Sales team. Here we are taking a break from our repair work for a yacht showing. We really enjoy this activity. We like to help others….
One more SHAKE DOWN SAIL
We headed back out into the creek for one more shake down sail. Island Spirit is ready to head EAST to the Bahamas. Let’s get back to our program of cruising and sailing and exploring.
Time to PROVISION
Here we go. We know this process. Go to every store and buy up all you think you need, then stow it onboard. This is run #1 of 3 or 4 runs….
Let’s Gather the IP owners…
One more IPY gathering of owners at Sunset Bay turned out to be yet another great time to visit with the 22 people who attended.
VIDEO recoding on ISLAND SPIRIT
Ed of Starboard Films wanted to interview us about our hurricane challenges and our decision to ship the boat back to Florida. So, up with the lights, camera and ACTION as Radeen and I shared our story. How fun, thank you, Ed!
AND NOW IT IS TIME TO FLY…
It has been a long process. November assess damages in Puerto Rico. December return to Puerto Rico and launch the boat. January ship back to Florida. February pull mast, March finish repairs. April WE SET SAIL….where to????? First, we will sail to the Bahamas where we can set long legs and sail for many hours. From there, we will sail back to Florida, pick up our Code Zero sail, and then set sail NORTH. We will sail back to the Chesapeake Bay where we can enjoy the boat for a summer and fall. Then in the November, we will sail south and back to the Caribbean Sea. We see no reason to sail back there now, only to store the boat June 1 for hurricane season.
We want to sail and we want to use our boat after all this effort and expense. Thanks to the team at Mack Sails, we can now do exactly that!
With any job, big or small, the hardest aspect is finishing and wrapping up the “punch list” of loose items and redo items. That is where we have been for the past 10 days! The mast was pulled Feb 5, the new mast installed Feb 28. The final jobs are outlined below as we enjoy living here on mooring ball #2 at Sunset Bay Marina. Yes it is far cheaper to be out cruising and anchored out on our 55 lb Rocna, but until we can raise a sail and shakedown this new rig, we simply keep plugging away on the remaining jobs.
Job #1 Install the deck collar mast pin. This is 3/8″ stainless steel pin that goes through the bolted down deck collar and all the way thru the new mast. The purpose of this mast deck pin is the stiffen the deck and prevent it from flexing upward when you tighten down the wire rigging. The new wire rigging is loose when installed and then it is tensioned to the published factory specs. The proper tension is measured with a PT-3 Loos Guage. For our Island Packet 35 these settings are 25 for the uppers, 18 for the lowers and 10 for the backstays. It is easy to do, you simply snap on the PT-3 to the wire and then tighten the Sta-Lok until the gauge reads the proper number. Here is a photo of my PT-3 at 25 on the upper shroud.
But first, lets get back to this mast pin. Many Island Packet Yacht owners do not know about this pin and some yachts do not even have one because it was left out when rigging. Some people think the pin is to keep the mast in place if the yacht flips upside down at sea. NO, that is not the purpose. The sole purpose is to add strength to the deck. Imagine if you pull and push on the sides of the boat just abeam of the mast. Push hard inward and upward, What will happen to the center of the deck? It will flex upward due to the upward arch of the cabin roof. Now, add a solid bolted down metal collar around the mast, centered on the deck. Drill a hole, insert a heavy pin and now push in on the edges. The deck will flex upward against this pin and the deck will be solid with zero flexing. This pin basically creates a triangle between the two upper shrouds and the deck collar. Once the rig is put under full load and tensioned, this pin is locked into place and can not move. The deck will not move when bashing offshore in heavy seas. It makes the boat really solid. Here are photos of how I drilled the deck collar and fit the pin into place.
After finishing the mast pin I now returned the rigging wire to full loads and re-tuned the rig for the 2nd time. I like tuning the rig, I do it every year before we set sail for sea. The final task on the rigging is to add the cotter pins into the turnbuckles and then, finally, she is ready for a shakedown sail.
Our other punch list item we have been working on far longer than we like, is the wiring in the mast. We bought and had installed the best wire and very expensive wire for the VHF and the digital TV antenna. The wire is called LMR 400, and it is very thick and very heavy. This wire requires special end fittings in order to mate the thick core to the proper antenna. The LMR- 400 is very thick and it was run to the VHF antenna. The thinner wire core is the 75 ohm and it was run to the digital TV antenna, all new antennas. The issue became that we discovered, after a few hours of troubleshooting, that the bottom fittings were reversed. TV on VHF and VHF on TV wire. Form the job photos we could tell that they proper wire was connected to the proper antenna on the masthead, so that seems good. We just need to cut off the bottom wire fittings and install new fittings with TV fitting on the TV antenna wire and a VHF fitting on the VHF antenna. An easy mistake to make because the wires look the same, but the core diameters are different.
During these little punch list jobs, we celebrated Radeen’s and Alan’s birthdays together. Something we have done for years. Thank you, Alan and Kathy for diverting to Stuart to make this happen…
Of course, I spoiled Radeen with a gift of a new Propane Regulator which was still in the original package. Then after installing this, I made her scones and homemade bread. To top it off, I took her out shopping and then to Bonefish Grill. In all, it was a very fun birthday bash for a few days.
One more job accomplished is our replaced B&G Zeus2 chartplotter. Our national B&G rep, Steve, was so kind to replace our 2 with a 3 because the screen was not as clear as we expected. This has been in the works for nearly a year, and now, we finally have received our replacement with a Zeus3.
So, as you can see, we are working thru the punch list. Soon we should be able to go sailing and test out this new mast. For now, we do not mind being in Stuart, Fl. We have missed two shipping dates so far, for shipping back to the Caribbean, and the longer we are stuck here, the more the Caribbean sailing season is slipping away. We are not sure what we are doing related to sailing out, sailing back south, going to the Bahamas, or sailing for home. Who knows. One thing is for sure…..we need to finish this job and shakedown…..then we can start our 2018 season!
Thanks for sailing along…even if we are not sailing….yet….
Team MACK SAILS has completed our hurricane Maria repairs with the installation of our new Charleston Spar #S622 and all new wire rigging with swagged tops and Sta-Lok stainless steel fittings on the bottoms. This team is so professional, and it is very obvious they all have done this hundreds of times before. With Colin Mack leading his team of 5, and the expert crane operator on site for 3 hours, the mast installation and rigging was flawless.
Last week the deck opening was cut larger and a new mast collar was bolted down to the deck to allow this new section to fit into our boat. They no longer make the NG-60 Isomat Spar, so this is the recommended replacement. Jeff, the master craftsman, cut the deck and seated the new keel step. Now it was time to step the mast.
Overall, the cutting of the deck and the mounting of a new keel shoe was not that big of a deal. We were worried about this part of the job, but Mack Sails has 31 people on their team with everyone is skilled in different areas, so the work was easily handled. Great job, Jeff!
In with the mast, let’s go! The crane picked up the mast 55+ feet overall, 500 lbs, and lifted it from the new spreaders which have a solid bar thru the mast. The crane rotated around as Colin and his team positioned the mast over the deck. Jose and I went below deck to help guide the mast down into the keel. The 7 wires coming out of the bottom of the mast needed to be fished through a side hole, then fished into the keel and forward thru a chase to the junction boxes. The final process was directing the crane fore, aft, left and right to position the bottom of the mast onto and over the shoe. The mast shoe has a groove and a raised metal ring that matches the profile of the mast. This locks the bottom of the mast into the keel and secures it. At this point, the mast was through the deck collar and onto the keel shoe, so it will stand on its own now.
With the mast NOW in place, it was time to cut the standing rigging wires and tighten down the rig. The wire tops had stem balls swaged onto the wire using hydraulic presses back at the Mack Sails Shop, and the bottom fittings were cut on-site using Sta-Lok fittings. What a great way to rig the wire. These Sta-Lok fittings are easy to repair at sea or in a remote site. They are expensive but they are strong, if not stronger, than swaged fittings. Sta-Lok info here.
The mast installation wrapped up with the mounting of our B&G 4G radar antenna just below the spreaders. This needed to be drilled and tapped into the mast and wired. They waited to do this to make sure the mount did not hit the rigging wire as it exited the mast. We like the radar up the mast, even though it is more complicated to wire. One IP owner said, mount the radar as high as the highest waves you want to see over. So, it is up the mast for us. We want to see over 10-15-20 foot waves!
At the end of this afternoon, the Mack Sails team had the mast installed, radar mounted, all wiring rigged and cut, new Tides Inn Strong Track installed, new boom gooseneck and new boom vang fittings mounted to the mast. This was an amazing process. Working with a team of people who hustle and simply know how to get it all done was a joy. Again, we cannot imagine trying to do this job in Puerto Rico. Our decision to ship back and to hire this company was the right decision. We have ZERO concerns with their work. Thank you, COLIN MACK and your entire team. WE HAVE A NEW MAST.
Thank you also to Ed who shot video and photography material for use on the Mack Sails website and their YouTube channel. This added even more excitement to the entire job. Great job, Ed!
The next day, we installed sails and Richard returned to complete the spinnaker car track mounting and winches and cleats on the mast. At the end of that day, we backed out of the service slip at Apex Marine and hosted a Jib and staysail and we sailed down the river. It was wonderful to be sailing again! IT HAS BEEN A LONG PROCESS….but now we can begin the shakedown, stretch in this new wire and begin our 2018 season.
Team ISLAND SPIRIT is BACK…..Hurricane Maria knocked us down and Mack Sails rebuilt us back to better than ever.
Now, time to buy Radeen a nice new present, I think a new CODE ZERO would be very nice for her……..go MACK!
As with any major yacht repair job, challenges come up that are unexpected and this mast replacement job is no different. The challenges stem from the fact that the new mast is 1 inch larger in profile front to back. This one inch increase has caused the need to replace the deck collar and the keel shoe. Not only do these items need to be replaced, the fiberglass deck and fiberglass headliner, along with the embedded metal plate, need to be cut to allow this mast to fit into our boat! So, off with the old deck collar, out with the old keel shoe and off to the welding shop and powder coating shop they go. Of course, the mast came with a new shoe and a new deck collar, but these are being machined and worked into our design. Here are the two items we are working with…
The next challenge this week has been the inspection of the port side chain plate. WHAT?! Did I say, “CHAIN PLATES!” YES, We took out the bathroom cabinets and hull liner to inspect and verify that the welds and chain plates installed in 2013 by the Island Packet Yachts factory were all OK. This meant that I had to remove the teak plugs, unscrew the teak cabinet and remove the hull liners. The trick to removing teak plugs is to first drill a 1/8″ hole into the center of the plug. Next drive a screw into this 1/8″ hole and, when it hits the screw head, it will pull the plug out of the hole. Very easy to remove all the teak plugs.
With the teak cabinet removed, we now could remove the shelf….
Once the shelf was removed, we could remove the hull liner. This is the whiteboard with the teak trim making the inside of the cabinet look so nice….
Looking up under the deck, we can now see the port forward chain plate. These are NEW chainplates made by Garhaurer Marine and installed by the Island Packet Factory in 2013. We wanted to make sure the welds were not cracked and that the structural fiberglass was not damaged.
While we were in here with the chainplate fully exposed, we decided to add some more epoxy putty around the hull, as suggested by the factory. This was not necessary, but while here, and with everything opened up, why not? We used Pettit Epoxy Putty.
With the satisfaction that we had zero chainplate damage, we reinstalled the bathroom hull liner, shelf, teak trim and cabinet. This all simply screws together, with zero glue used. It is incredible how the original Island Packet Yacht craftsmen hand cut compound angles and chiseled custom fits for all these trim pieces and supports. I was amazed as I took this all apart. No wonder an IPY costs so much $$$!
While working on these inspections by us on the boat, the Mack Sails Team (Jeff) was working on our mast wiring and new mast building. Jeff is wiring in a new Digital TV antenna and a new VHF antenna, wiring them with LMR 400 wire. This new wire is massive and has very low loss due to the size of the solid center copper core. Of course, this requires LMR 400 end fittings and soldering and crimping to make the proper end fittings. All halyards and lights were installed and wired, along with the blocks needed on the spreaders for the stack pack and flag halyards. The mast is finished and ready for install.
We entertained ourselves with a spur of the moment drive to Miami Beach to attend our 10th Wallcast. These are outdoor symphony concerts in “Soundscape Park” and are considered the #1 venue in South Beach. We always try to attend these events. With a rental car, we were able to drive down and enjoy the concert along with 1,000 other people….There were pieces by Stravinsky and Debussy, plus Stravinsky’s early work from 1910, “The Firebird.”
The final job we accomplished while waiting for our mast install, was repacking the chainplates. This requires sealing the chainplate tangs with silicone. There are two ways to do this, and we did both.
#1. Remove the cover plate, pick out all the old silicone and inject new GE Silpruf to reseal. The problem with this process is that it breaks your varnish seal around the cover plate. I do not prefer this way.
#2. The other way to seal chainplates is to simply apply more silicone GE Silpruf around the tang above the plate. This requires no removal of the plate and it maintains the varnish seal around the plate.
So, we have been working on the rebuild as we await the mast install and new wire rigging. As soon as the deck is cut and the new keel shoe is installed and the wire rigging is made, then the mast will be installed and we can add the boom and our sails. Hopefully, NEXT week we will raise a sail. Until then, we have been enjoying our friends and this dream marina, Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, Florida.
Installing a new mast that is a new design and a new profile into a 1994 Island Packet Yacht is not an easy task. All we can say is, thank goodness we are not trying to accomplish this in Puerto Rico. If I had known that the mast profile was NOT the same and that our mast was not an exact replacement, then maybe, just maybe, I would have repaired my original mast in Puerto Rico. But we are here now and we made the decision to replace the mast.
Onward we go….New Mast installing SOON…..thanks for following our misadventures!
We are so glad that we invested the extra effort and expense to ship our boat back to Stuart, Florida to work with the team at Mack Sails. Colin and Travis have built a great company and with a good team capable of rigging and installing anything on yachts. Everyone thinks of them as sails only, but in reality, they are a serious rigging shop and also they do fiberglass, electronics, and millwork. So, anything you need they can take care of and complete the job. If you can’t get it fixed here, then you are in serious trouble. Thank you Team Mack Sails.
Within a day or two after shipping our boat into West Palm Beach, we removed the remaining gear, boom, vang, and loosened all shrouds and prepare for pulling the mast. On Monday, Feb 5 Colin pulled the old mast out at Apex Marine with ease and set it on the ground. Now with the old mast on stands, we could inspect the damages at the spreader even more. Whatever hit the mast was very large, heavy and forceful because it broke the spreader base and tore open the mast, above and below the spreader. The spar company said it could not be repaired, so we are here to refit with a new Charleston Spar section #S622. Here is a photo of the damaged area at the port spreader welds.
Now that the mast was pulled and on the ground, we could strip off items like the VHF, Digital TV, Lightning Protector, Winches, and all spare ropes, etc. The new Sparcraft / Charleston Spar Section #S622 is at Mack Sails and we will next rig the new gear onto that mast. One surprise came up and that is that the new mast is 1″ larger front to back than the old mast! That does not sound like a lot, but it is. The mast is the same width, but being one inch larger front to back means that the deck mast collar now needs to be removed and laser cut and the new deck collar welded onto our plate. Then we will need to cut the deck around the mast hole larger, as well as the headliner underneath. This will all need to be re-fiberglassed and sealed where the deck and headliner gap open. The keel step, at the bottom of the mast, needs to be removed and a new mast shoe, as they are called, needs to be lag screwed into the concrete and lead and fiberglass keel. All of these changes were not noted on the insurance settlement as no one knew the new mast section was so different. So, we are now dealing with these new challenges as we make the repairs. Note: They no longer make our old mast section, it was from 1993.
Here are some photos of the deck collar.
The next challenge turned out to be the Kato Radar mount that we had made in 2002. These cost about $1,200 and we wanted to reuse the mount. Well, from last year when we mounted the new B&G 4G radar antenna, it did not fit properly. So, with this mount off, we wanted to solve this and move the new B&G antenna to the center of the radar guard. This project went thru all kinds of bids to re-weld it and then we even ordered a new Kato Mount which would have cost $,$$$, so we stopped that. Then Radeen and I designed a simple solution of adding two 1/4″ stainless steel bars to the bottom of the B&G radar and simply bolting down these bars. Well, thanks to the best welder in Stuart, Mike at NATIVE WELDING, we will have these bars. Now, all we have to do is remount the B&G onto these bars and bolt it down. EASY.
So the B&G radar / Kato radar mount was a bigger project than expected, but we solved that. Now onto the new VHF and Digital TV antenna and wire. As recommended by Chris and others, we will be using the best coaxial wire, Times Microwave LMR-400 cable and end fittings. With this coaxial cable, loss to the antennas is less than 12% where normal RG-8 and RG-59 are near 30% loss. Yes, the LMR-400 is more expensive, about $1.00 to $2.00/foot in bulk, plus the good end fittings, but we hope to never have to do this again! So we decided to put in the best wire. Thank you, Chris of s/v Temerity for the info. I was not aware!
During this time we also had some Island Packet Fleet fun where Radeen and Terri (IP 38 SAILBATICAL) organized an Island Packet Minivous. We gathered together 19 owners and 10 yachts here at Sunset Bay Marina from 2-4 pm on Feb 10th. We shared stories of cruising plans and yacht systems, enjoyed a few drinks together and really had a fun time. Of course, we hung up the IPY Battle Flag (5′ x 9′) and shared stories, some true and some exaggerated 🙂
Week one of the repair was removing the mast and removing the gear and identifying challenges. Week two is building the new rig and solving these new challenges. Next goal is to finish the rig and step the new mast, that may be week 3 if all goes well. Again, Radeen and I are so happy to be here in Stuart, Florida and to be working with Mack Sails. We made the right call shipping the boat here. This team will solve all these challenges. Imagine this in Puerto Rico…..that would have been a real issue.
We continue our motoring around the BVIs including a run to North Sound to see first-hand the power and destruction of Hurricane IRMA and MARIA to our favorite place in the entire world, The Bitter End Yacht Club. First, we stopped into Road Town on Tortola to pick up CCT sim cards for data and cell services and for a few supplies. Taking a free town mooring right off the Moorings stone seawall, we could see into the harbor where there were sunken yachts and flipped over 50-foot catamarans. With total shock and disbelief, we dinghied thru the harbor looking at the destruction. Right on the fuel dock, there is a 60-foot cat upside down! OH MY GOSH! These people have been thru hell and back and are still suffering the damages of a CAT 5 hurricane 4 months ago.
The people we talk to are trying to get back to normal, whatever this new normal will be, and they express pride in their progress. There is so much more work to be done. At the CCT cell store, all the windows were blown out and plywood with temporary windows covered the 3 story office building. Construction workers were offloading more windows and more plywood. In the midst of this destruction, we witnessed kindness and optimism. Everyone we talk to about the storm and damages to their homes simply says, “We are ALIVE, we are still here, Thank GOD!” To hear their stories and the horror that they endured is really heartbreaking. One waitress described losing the roof on her house, moving during the eye to a friend’s house and losing that roof. She and her children went into a closet and she held the door against the wind. It makes our simple little damages to our mast so trivial. We count our blessings!
4 Months After
After getting fuel and a few provisions and a sim card in Road Town, we headed off to North Sound to see the remains of the Bitter End Yacht Club and Saba Rock. Motoring into North Sound, where we have gone 10 times before since 1986, was a bittersweet trip. We already knew what we would find, but we had to see this for ourselves. Out of all the places we have traveled, this place, The Bitter End Yacht Club, has always been our #1 happy place. We have many, many happy memories from here, of birthdays, Christmases and even a wedding. As we motored past looking at the total destruction, tears streamed down our faces. Everything is destroyed….the clubhouse, restaurant, marina, sailing center, gift shop, conference center and wedding cabana. The homes on the hills are blown apart. The Estate House we rented during our friends’ wedding is blown off the face of the earth. Nothing is left. We simply cannot believe the destruction. The eye of this hurricane came right over the entire BVIs and that meant they had 200 mph winds from one direction, then a clearing during the eye and then 200 mph winds from the opposite direction. It is this reversing of the winds that will destroy buildings and do total destruction!
After motoring past Saba Rock and looking at the destruction there, we turned south towards Leverick Bay and realized that this may be the last time we ever sail to the Bitter End. Thirty one years of happy times spent here and then one hurricane levels the entire resort. The family that owns this property will keep this closed for one year as they graciously work on rebuilding the homes of their many employees who have lost it all. They started a donation fund to which we donated right away. You can read about that in the Bitter End’s website here: http://BEYC.com You can also go directly to the donation page here: https://www.youcaring.com/bitterendyachtclubemployeesthevirgingordacommunity-944198
We ended our North Sound tour with a night at Leverick Bay to see Michael Beans Pirate show. This is the best show in the islands and he gets everyone involved in the show. Michael is a great man and even though he lost his home/boat in Spanish Town in the hurricane, he has restarted his show. Of course, he had to totally rebuild his stage and set and sound system and is back up and running. He is a one-man show and he is very very popular. We always enjoy his show. Leverick Bay Marina is rebuilding and they are open with the beach bar and pool and docks. The market is open and stocked, but the Pussers Store is closed for rebuilding. Overall they were hit hard also, and they are rebuilding fast.
From Leverick Bay, we motored south past Spanish Town, another location where many boaters store their yachts for the offseason. As we motored past we could see many yachts on their sides and leaning over. Several of our friends lost their yachts in this location. We hear the harbor is closed due to sunken yachts. Again, there is so much destruction and it is heart breaking.
From here, we pulled into the Baths, where we have been at least 10 times. Today there was a north swell running due to the large storm off the USA east coast. We have never been here when there is a RED flag hoisted. This means that it is very dangerous to swim into the Baths. The swell was causing large waves crashing up onto the beaches and then pushing 20+ feet up into the trees! WHAT? I have never seen this. So, we decide to not swim in. The park has roped off the beaches and you have to take your dinghy to the perimeter rope, tie off then jump in and swim into the beach or the rock. With these waves crashing on the beach it would have been dangerous to body surf in, so we sadly motored past.
We motored back to Peter Island, Great Harbor where there is lots of protection and then move down to Norman Island for Pirate’s Bight as we meet our Team Six Knots, Fezywig and Sea Star. Then we will move over to Soper’s Hole and base there as that too is very protected. We hear that Omar’s coffee shop is open!
One last topic:
OUR SHIP to SHIP to FLORIDA!
We are watching the ship we are assigned to, and it is still in ITALY! What? Yup, Italy, that is 4,500 nm away, it is to be in St. Thomas Jan 18-20 loading us. At 15 knots of speed this ship needs 13-14 days to make it here. That means it needs to depart Italy in the next few days. If it does not, then I am betting this ship will cancel as well. If that happens, then we will need another new plan. Oh well, so it is. At least our motor is running great!
Happy New Year everyone, Radeen and I wish you all, happiness, good health, and adventure in the upcoming 2018 year. We enjoyed celebrating new years eve on Jost van Dyke, at Foxy’s in the British Virgin Islands. It was an amazing and enjoyable party that lasted well into the new year. We were proud to have made it to 1:30 am. This party is considered one of the best places to celebrate the new year and it really will be one to remember. We had this on our bucket list for many many years!
From Jost, we moved over to Road Town, Tortola and then on to Peter Island. But, while anchored off St. Johns, we captured these amazing moonrise photos in the valley at the same time while the sunset to the west was creating a show of its own as well. What a special scene to enjoy from our boat. Remember, we are motoring around between St. Thomas and the BVIs waiting for our ship to arrive (Jan 20th) where we will be loaded onto the deck and shipped back to Florida for our mast repair and new rigging. We thought this was the best solution, and we still think it is the best solution, we just did not count on a one month delay of the ship. With that said, we are happy for the delay as we can now return to the places we saw last year and assess the damages from the hurricanes. More on that sad news in another post, for now, I just wanted to share these great photos of the moonrise and wish you all a Happy New Year.
Moonrise over St. Johns, USVI Click images for full-screen picture
We arrived in Puerto Rico on Dec 3, 2017 to begin the preparation for launch and for motoring our boat over to St. Thomas for shipping back to Florida for our repairs and mast replacement. Today, it is Dec 31, 2017, Happy New Year as we are sitting off of Foxy’s at Jost van Dyke. We have been dealing with many situations few weeks and add in the fact that our ship has been delayed one month really threw us off our plan. But, as with most cruising situations, you need to learn to monitor and adjust and deal with whatever is handed to you as you cruise. After busting our tails to launch, and prep the boat for travel, we found out the day we arrived at the shipping dock that our ship was delayed one month because none of the other 22 yachts could make it on time,. We were the only yacht ready for shipping, so they delayed the ship. At first, we were really frustrated and we wanted to cancel our deal. Guess what? You can’t, all you can do is wait for the ship. So, after a few seconds of disappointment we realized HEY, we are “Stuck” in the United States Virgin Islands, the USVI, and that is really not so bad. So we began our partial commissioning of our boat making it livable for the next month. This required getting a dinghy launched and rigged so we could get off the $100/day dock. Then we added canvas and the enclosure for shade and rain protection. Then we moved off the dock and anchored out in St. Thomas. NOW WHAT? Live the Island Life, that’s what.
What a life it has been. First off our buddy boats are here so we all gathered up for a swim off Honeymoon Beach, the site of our first Caribbean swim last year when we arrived. Next, we moved into town and dropped the hook right off the cruise ship docks because the Christmas Winds were kicking in at 25 knots, gusting 30. The great aspect of being on anchor in the Caribbean Sea is that the Tradewinds are ALWAYS from the East or NE or SE, always, always EAST. The fronts and squalls are always from the East. There are no fronts that spin you around to the SE, S, SW, W, NW, N and then NE like in the entire East Coast and the Bahamas. WOW, what a joy to be on anchor here in the Caribbean. So the stage was set, we will stay here in STT, St. Thomas until the winds die down and enjoy Christmas on the hook and tour town and the island with our buddies. That is exactly what we did and it was wonderful.
When the winds calmed down, we made a motor run out to Buck Island and then to St. James Island to Christmas Cove where the famous Pizza Pi Boat serves great homemade pizza for $20. We took the $1 bus (was actually $2) to Red Hook to see Island Yacht Charters and Skip and Andrea, the Island Packet Dealer. Their fleet of 15 Island Packet Yachts all have damages with 5 needing new masts and with every boat in need of fiberglass hull repair. They have full support from the Island Packet Yachts factory who will be sending a team of 3 people down from Largo, Florida to repair all the yachts. It will take most of the season to make repairs and they hope to have their fleet back up and running by April/May timeframe. This was difficult to see as we toured the area and saw just how destructive the hurricane was to so many places. This makes our damages very minor as we still have a boat that floats and we still have a full mast, just with damages. We are so lucky.
Now, after a few weeks in STT, we have cleared into the British Virgin Islands, the BVIs as we all call them. We motored over to Jost van Dyke where we cleared into the country and we are on a mooring ball off the world famous FOXYS where we will take in the wild fun New Year’s Eve party. We hear it is THE PLACE to be. As the new year begins, we will motor up to Leverick Bay in North Sound and reconnect with Michael Beans and his fun Pirate Show. We have helped him with some website work and we want to see the area and maybe even the Bitter End Yacht Club.
As for our nonprofit work, we have been giving away LUCI solar lights to many people in Puerto Rico who are without power. We have 5 left and we plan to give them away here on Jost. We can see so much damage to the structures and the landscaping, and we see yachts up on the rocks and beaches. These storms IRMA and MARIA have done so much damage, but the people are so strong and so positive that we are reminded of just how kind and wonderful the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are. They are rebuilding and they are survivors and the tourists are coming back. It will simply take years to rebuild all that was damaged.
Enjoy this photo essay of our time from Puerto Rico to BVIs. CLICK IMAGE for screen size image.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Radeen and I are very excited to announce that our new nonprofit logo has been completed. Following the advice of another IPYOA member, we used the website Hatchwise.com and entered our logo ideas into their service. We elected the least expensive option and quickly received many renditions of our ideas. We continued with one designer who eventually understood our goals. It became clear we were working with someone who did not speak English fluently. Explaining the idea of stick figures and also the words “Can Help” turned out to be a big challenge. The designer turned our ideas into this great logo and we are happy with it.
We have built our nonprofit idea a new website of its own. It has grown quickly and we felt it might get lost or confused in our sailing blog, svIslandSpirit.com. The new nonprofit website is hosted on our own server here:
We have completed nonprofit corporation filing and have been awarded an EIN, a federal tax number. We have opened a business checking account and a business PayPal account. All the donations received have been transferred to the new bank account or new PayPal account. Our Patreon account is also connected to the nonprofit. Every dollar donated goes directly to the nonprofit corporation and is fully tax-deductible. All donations and purchases are listed here:
Thank you to all who have already donated, we really appreciate your support.
On December 3, we will return to Puerto Rico, taking with us 30 Luci Solar Lights to give to people who still do not have power in their homes. Our goal is to simply help one person at a time and so these 30 lights will help 30 people and their families. We are doing what we can with your help. As we sail into the USVI’s and the BVI’s and further south this winter, we will continue to help people affected by the hurricanes. As our logo presents: Everyone = a family. Can Help = hammering, shoveling, painting. Someone = giving a simple gift. That is what our mission is all about. Helping One Person at a Time.