Punch List Jobs Trying to Wrap Up

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.

Island Spirit has a mast and the IPY Flag is hoised once again!

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.

The PT-3 Loos Gauge

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.

Testing if my drill will fit and be able to drill the hole. The rigging needs to be removed to allow the best access
With the rigging off, I drilled into the deck collar and into the mast at the line om the mast. This helped when drilling the other side.
Our original mast pin was too long for this new mast. This is a 3/8″ stainless steel pin. It needs cut! Good luck.
Lucky for me, we cute the pin at Apex with their metal cutter. THANK YOU!
With the pin in place, we now can add a band clamp to hold it in place and finish the job.
I always us boat life caulk to seal around the mast and deck collar. Notice the band clamp around the pin.
Step one working towards the deck/mast seal is now complete. The last step I do is to wrap the mast boot area with 4″ mast boot tape. Then we cover all of this with a custom canvas wrap.

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.

LMR 400 50 Ohm left with the thick core. Digital DV 75 Ohm on the right w/thinner core

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…

Birthday dinner at Sailors Return

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.

What a gift, a propane regulator
Hayden Scones, cranberry and walnuts
Hayden bread, yum yum
Out to dinner after shopping, Bonefish Grill, Radeen’s fav

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.

Out with the old Zeus 2
Drill in a new Zeus 3
Fire up the new Zeus 3 and enjoy the bright screen
Import all 1,084 waypoints and our routes into the new unit.

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….

Watching the sunset from our mooring ball….

Mack Sails Completes Mast Replacement

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.

The crane lifted our new mast (56 feet) from the trailer in the parking to our boat in the water.

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.

Jeff cutting the deck to make room for the larger mast
Island Packet builds a great yacht, this was solid and no gap presented as the hole was cut larger!

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.

The view from the boat as the crane lifts the mast
The mast shoe with very special Bahamian coins and a silver dollar earring which belonged to a dear friend for good luck. These were under the mast before, plus we added a new coin from the Dominican Republic from our travels last year!
The mast being lowered into the deck. The wires will be led out the side hole once it is inside near the keel. Very, very dangerous!
The Mack Sails Team and crane operator work so well together. It is obvious these crafstmen know what they are doing.
The view from below deck as the wires lead the way down.
Jose guided the mast down and I helped fish the wires out the side hole and into the keel. You hope and pray the mast does not fall while reaching under the rig!

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 stem ball mast fitting insert
The stem ball inserts into these mast fittings and the fitting is inserted into the mast cutout and secured in place. The rig loads are distributed over this fitting, pulling against the mast.
Sta-Lok wire fittings can be installed on site as the wire is cut to length.
New Sta-Lok turn-buckles ($140 each!) installed on my new (2013) chainplates.

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!

Radar mounted under the spreaders
Radar at the spreaders

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.

Colin Mack and Hayden Cochran on Island Spirit, with new mast installed

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!

Hayden and Ed, a selfie as the mast is installed.

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.

Roll out a JIB
Test out a Jib and a Staysail. Next the mainsail…

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!


Mast Repair Challenges Week 2-3

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 original deck collar needs to be cut larger
The original mast shoe vs the new mast shoe, which will be bolted to the keel

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.

Removing teak plugs. #1 drill a 1/8″ hole
Removing teak plugs #2, drive a screw into hole, plug backs out

With the teak cabinet removed, we now could remove the shelf….

Removing the shelf to get to the chain plate

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….

The hull is exposed and the chain plate structure can now be examined

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.

Looking up under the deck, the chainplate was fully examined.
The cross welds are perfect, no cracks, the fiberglass down strands fully secured. All looks excellent – we are relieved to have found no damages. Thank Goodness!

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.

Extra epoxy putty added around the chainplate.

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 $$$!

The finished bathroom cabinet reinstalled

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.

Look at the core size of LMR 400 wire. TV=75 ohm and VHF=50 Ohm.
Building of the masthead
Masthead nearly complete
VHF and Cable TV end fittings for the base of the mast
The end fittings look great

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 New World Center is right off of Lincoln Road Plaza. A fun venue.
This is about 5:30 pm, 2 hours before the concert. This place will be packed by 7:30. We always take this center spot.
The 7,000 sq.ft. HD projection screen on the side of the wall

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.

Resealed chainplate where the cover was removed. Look at the removed varnish as well.

#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.

Simply seal the chainplate around the tang. This is what I normally do.

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.

Radeen’s wonderful Principal and Wife, CHARLES and CONNIE visited, what a joy to celebrate Valentine’s Day together.
World Sailors ED and SUE presented their European Circumnavigation and USA Great Loop travels to a packed crowd here at the marina. AMAZING SAILORS! (Note our Honorary Crew of Angel Louise shirts!)
VANESSA and JIM IP 420 Windrunner had us over for dinner and surprise …. LORETTA and JIM IP380 Plan Sea were there,, too. What a great time!
When I work on Island Spirit, I am in uniform….MACK SAILS…

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!

Mast Repair Work Begins Mack Sails

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.

Radeen and the Mack Sails Sign at the shop

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.

The damaged Mast, Port Spreader Weld. Imagine the force needed to do this!

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 original deck collar bolts into a metal plate that is fiberglassed into the deck. This all needs to be cut larger front to back!
Here is a section of the #S622 and how it will NOT go thru the deck! This is inside looking up at the hull head liner.
Also, the bottom of the mast step, the shoe in the keel needs to be changed, then the cabin floor will need to be cut to match the new mast profile!

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.

The goal was to move the B&G to the center. The plate is too far forward because this was a Raymarine mount.
The simple solution, two bars, 1/4″ x 13 with 3 holes 14 cm apart. This will bolt to the B&G and then to the mount and then it will be centered.

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!

Our old mast stripped of gear. The furling gear will be moved over.

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 🙂

Hayden, Radeen, Tommy (IP40 SAILIN SHOES) and Terri (IP38 SAILBATTICAL)
Jim of IP420 Windrummer brought his IPY Poster of our fleet sailing to Maine in 2009. What a great helicopter photo!
Happy IP friends, Vanessa, Radeen and Terri
Our fleet gathering. We had so much fun, we forgot to take more photos ;-(

In conclusion:
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.

Here are a few more photos:

Sunset Bay Marina and Anchorage, the #1 place on the East Coast to spend some cruising time.
The Sunset as seen nightly from Sunset Bay Marina
Riverwalk, a boardwalk trail around town on the river, so beautiful day or night.
It was also my birthday and I really enjoyed sharing the day with IP buddies at the Mini-vous. Thank you all….

Road Town to North Sound and more

Our travels around the USVI and BVIs, last year spring and this year

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 fuel dock at Road Town 

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

Road Town, Tortola

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!

The Sailing Center, my happy place, with the main dock up on landd
The Bitter End Yacht Club Main Building May 2017
After the hurricanes of 2017

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:

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.

The Michael Beans Pirate Show at Leverick Bay

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.

Spanish Town as seen from the water

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.

North Swell running into the Baths = RED FLAG

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!

Pirates Radeen and Hayden at the Michael Beans show

One last topic:

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!

Thank you all for following along.


Moon Rise over St Johns

Moonrise over St. Johns

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!

Beautiful St. Johns

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

St. Johns Moonrise
Amazing moonrise over St. Johns
Island Spirit on a mooring, St. Johns
Sunset at the same time as the moon rise, beautiful.

Puerto Rico to STT to BVIs

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!

Nonprofit Logo

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.




2018 IPYOA Calendar Released

Today we have released our 15th annual Island Packet Yacht Owners Association Calendar. The diversity of the photos are interesting and the images are beautiful. This project takes me 3 days to create and about 20 hours of work and Radeen and I are really proud of this edition. The calendar is created and sold via our simple online store at www.Cafepress.com/IPphotos The calendar has a margin of $5 and this is used to offset the costs and the software subscriptions paid to run the serves at www.IPYOA.com. Our Island Packet Yacht Owners Association website is very active with nearly 3,000 members and the site serves nearly 20,000 web pages a month! Enjoy the site and enjoy the calendar.

Here are the images for this 2018 IPYOA Calendar