Cutter Loose Sails in from Grenada

…Welcome aboard!…

We were so delighted to have our friends, Patricia and Eric, of IP 460 Cutter Loose, sail in to Hope Town Bahamas! Their arrival from Grenada has been anticipated since December. They have sailed the Caribbean for the last 3 winter seasons and are currently bringing their boat back home to Annapolis, MD. We have known them since 1992, when we both had smaller Island Packets on the same dock at Spring Cove Marina in Rock Hall, MD. From August of 2012 to May of 2013, we cruised together from Maine, to Maryland, then south on the ICW, to the west coast of Florida, then to the Abacos and back to Maryland. What wonderful memories we share together!

A beautiful sight – Cutter Loose next to us once again

For 5 sunny days, we enjoyed the civilized pleasures of Hope Town, including stops at the coffee shop, swimming in the pools and at the beaches, walking the North End loop and sightseeing. We enjoyed a happy hour gathering at the Lighthouse Marina picnic table with Art and Brenda of IP380 Zippity Doo Dah, Bill and crew of IP485 Jalan Jalan, Jesse and Robin of IP40 Robinsong, Greg and Sharon of IP40 Dream Catcher, as well as Bill of Providence and the crew of Callahan. On Saturday, we saw a wedding party travel across the harbour by dive boat, complete with a Junkanoo band and dancers. After the reception at the Hope Town Inn, there was an impressive display of fireworks lighting up the harbor as the Gully Roosters Band played at the other pub, It was an exciting time in Hope Town.
(We tried to convince Eric and Pat the display was in their honor but they did not buy that!)

Here are some photos of our great freinds Eric and Patricia

We celebrated their arrival with Gruet champagne
The Sunset Firefly Resort for dinner

On the Firefly golf cart….ride it like you stole it!

Girls will be girls!

Intrepid travelers, always ready for fun!

Selfie after a day at the Hope Town Inn’s beautiful swimming pool.

After 5 days in Hope Town, we moved our boats to Marsh Harbour to provision and to go to The Jib Room for rib night for the last time this season. The winds and waves were higher than expected, (30-35 knots) but we were on a mission and we accomplished it. Best wishes to the Jib Room family, Tom and Linda, as they anticipate the arrival of their first grandchild, who will be named Huck. Best wishes to Stephen and Bradley, the happy parents-to-be.

The next day, the weather and sea state were perfect for us to motor through the Whale Cay Channel and on to Green Turtle Cay for further adventures together! We were lucky enough to secure a dock at the Leeward Yacht Club in Black Sound thanks to IP friends Sara and Ken on IP40 TIN TEAN. We will wait here intil the winds and storms blow out for our crossing back to the Florida.

Raymarine RL70c Radar Repair

…Hayden with the Radar…

Our 2002 Raymarine RL70c Radar system has been having issues and presenting an error message that says “Antenna NOT Rotating.”  I called Raymarine and they told me it needed a new drive belt. We ordered one and, when installing it in Miami, I broke the new belt. Errrrr.

So, we ordered another one and this time, in Hope Town, Bahamas, I decided to take the entire Radome down off the mast and work on installing the new belt on the deck. This job took about 3 hours total in the bosun chair and about 20 minutes on deck to install the new belt. Once installed, I lifted the (heavy!) Raydome back up to the spreaders and remounted the dome to the mast mount, all while hanging in the bosun chair. My arms were killing me and so were my legs and hands from using the ATN Top Climber to climb a rope halyard myself.

Hayden’s shadow from the mast looking down

Once installed, we fired up the radar as I watched from aloft to make sure the antenna rotated. Yes, it worked just fine! So, I finished the install and reinstalled the cover and sealant at the mast and finally came down. Well, the radar worked for perfectly for three days. NOW, it says…..”Antenna NOT Rotating.” WHAT? YUP, it is broken again. Now we are very frustrated because we do not like to run full speed ahead at night without radar. To us, it seems very dangerous. We are now planning our return trip to the USA via daytime hops when we really prefer to run 24/7 and to run overnight. It is just easier to do because we can run in shorter weather windows. When we return to the USA, we will take down the Radome and send it to Raymarine for a full rebuild, if they can service equipment this old. If not, it looks like it is time to install all new electronics, because digital radars are not compatible with our chartplotter. This gear has served us well and owes us nothing after all these years!

The radar drive motor and old, stretched, drive belt

The antenna removed, so belt can be installed from the bottom

The new belt installed

Rewired unit at the mast

The radar cover reinstalled

Fire it up, warm it up

IT WORKS….yahoo….but NOW it does not!

The drive belt number #32110 Raymarine Part Number

The definition of Cruising? Fixing (or NOT fixing) your boat in remote locations! So true!


Every day we try the radar, but the message still says ANTENNA NOT ROTATING. We learned that Raymarine no longer accepts these units for repair and refurbishing, like we had them do in 2006. So, we continue searching on-line for possible solutions.

Look at this error message…

I ran the diagnostics tests using instructions found at Raymarine’s website. (Note that running diagnostics was not suggested by the tech I originally spoke to.) All systems indicate “PASS” except one.

Notice that we have run this radar unit for 3,917 hours! WOW, it has been used for many days.

The Ship Heading Sensor says “FAIL” and that may be the issue. I will need to find out.

Here we are in beautiful Green Turtle Cay at the Leeward Yacht Club, waiting out this LO pressure storm arriving soon, After it passes, the ocean will be too rough to cross back to USA for a few days, so we will wait. There are many IPs here, including IP460 Cutter Loose, IP40 Tin Tean, IP40 Dream Catcher, IP380 Zippity Doo Dah, and IP38 Tatoo II. We will have fun, while doing some further trouble-shooting.

———————UPDATE ————-SOLUTION FOUND——————

I have determined the possible problem may be the optical sensor that is related to the ship’s heading and the rotation. I found the official part, it is called:

Raytheon/Raymarine Radome Heading Pulse Opto Sensor PCB (R104) M92650 M92652-s

It looks like this:

This part costs $30, and I ordered one to be shipped to Florida and I will install this when we get to the coast. This may finally fix our radar system!

Hope Town Beach Sailing Fun

Hope Town on Elbow Cay and Abaco photo essay. Enjoy the pictures. Remember to click on the photo to view them at full screen size.
A Curly Tail poses for the camera

Taking a break on “The Chairs” by the channel entrance at Hope Town

Beautiful contrast

Notice the lizard on the window screen

Hope Town Rental at Flamingo Villas at the harbour entrance

The Beach off Elbow Cay

Hope Town Walks, Radeen and Hayden

Three IPs: Island Spirit 35, Robin Song 40, Cutter Loose 460

Home from the beach and the pool at Hope Town Inn

Radeen at the helm

A day sail in Abaco

Treasure Cay sail to Hope Town

Radeen sailing with Autopilot, aka “Otto”

As you can see, life in the Sea of Abaco is very tough! We hope you can see why we like it here. The Bahamas are a fantastic destination from the USA east coast. We hope to see many more years of sailing here and enjoying this beautiful country and her friendly people.

Angel Louse Sails in from London

…Catamaran ANGEL LOUSE arrives Abaco…

Our good friends and long time email buddies and world sailors, Ed and Sue sailed in from London on their way to the USA east coast. Of course, we insisted that they stop in Marsh Harbor and go to THE JIB ROOM with us for Steak Night! Imagine sailing from London, south to Spain then to the Canaries and across the Atlantic in December into the Caribbean. From the Caribbean, they sailed north and east to the U.S. and Spanish Virgin Islands and then onto Dominican Republic and then north into the Bahamas where they sailed to ABACO.

We were so excited to see them after many many years of following their European Circumnavigation via rivers and the Med and then back across the Atlantic. When they sailed into the harbor after 6 days at sea, we gave then a full conch horn welcome and then delivered an ice cold quart of milk and warm homemade bread along with our WiFi internet access code to get online. These are key items for any cruising sailor who has been at sea so long. They were thrilled and grateful.

Radeen, Sue, Ed and Hayden at Jib Room

Later that night, we attended the world famous JIB ROOM and enjoyed the best steaks in the world. We watched the limbo show by Desmond and enjoyed the dance music by Jason. It is always a great time and I really enjoy sharing the Jib Room with friends. To me, this is one of our “Happy Places” and if you ever stop in, you will see why.

Champagne on Island Spirit

Radeen prepared dinner aboard Island Spirit and we popped a bottle of Champagne that Ed and Sue brought from Spain to celebrate their world sailing tour! What a great adventure. Radeen and I can not imagine crossing an ocean, especially without crew. Hearing their stories about all the places they have seen and all the adventures they experienced was a real thrill. We really admire them for their bravery and sense of adventure. These guys are AMAZING!

Country Flags on Angle Louse


We next sailed in their direction over to Treasure Cay to anchor for the night. It was quite hot and humid, so we all enjoyed bobbing the afternoon away in the calm waters of this exquisite beach of Treasure Cay. Ed and Sure raised the courtesy flags of all the countires visited over the past few years. What a sight to see a sailboat with so many different country flags (43!) and then to be here in Abaco proudly flying these flags was very impressive. What a lifetime adventure they are having. We are so proud to call them friends, close friends.

Here are a few more photos
Treasure Cay Beach day, look at the water with Ed, Sue and Radeen swimming

A crowded beach day at Treasure Cay

A Post Card….Treasure Cay

The Jib Room

Angel Louse anchored off our bow, very cool

Ed was a Federal Attorney, look at his boat napkins!!!!

Hope Town – Marsh Harbor Jim and Gail

…The Ladies sharing a drink…

What a fun week with college friends Jim and Gail, buddies we have known since 1973! They arrived last Wed. at noon and sadly departed today, Thursday, for their flight back to the cold rainy Northeast. During their visit we toured Man-O-War island and snorkeled Fowl Cay Preserve and Johnny’s Cay near Elbow Cay. We anchored in the settlement harbor on Great Guana and of course compared the drinks at Grabber’s Beach Bar vs Nipper Juice. We concluded that the Grabber’s drink was better but the beach swim and walk at Nipper’s was better. So both beach bars have their plusses.

This is close reaching for MH

We had a wonderful sail upwind in 15-20 knots from Great Guana to Hope Town where we returned to our mooring ball. Easter Sunday we enjoyed walks in town and a wonderful lunch at FIREFLY Sunset Resort. Later in the day we returned to town via the resort golf cart and enjoyed a swim in the pool with a beautiful full moon rising over the ocean. The next day found us snorkeling Elbow Reef with a reef shark. Tt was a race back to the dinghy to see who could get out of the water the fastest while Jim fended off the shark! Next we moved south to Tahiti Beach for a fun day of playing on the sand bar at low tide where we pitched beach umbrellas, swam and drifted in the warm clear waters between Elbow Cay and Lubbers’ Quarters. Returning to Hope Town we made our way up the Elbow Reef Lighthouse for the lighting by Elvis who has been a lighthouse keeper for 19 years! This is a MUST SEE event. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse is a world treasure and needs to be protected and saved forever. If you ever come to Hope Town, you much see this lighting.

THE LIMBO KING, Desmond is amasing

As our time was running our, we set sail for Marsh Harbor where we anchored off our favorite place, THE JIB ROOM. No trip to the Abacos would be complete without attending the World Famous Jib Room RIB NIGHT on Wednesdays or STEAK NIGHT on Saturdays. It was our plan to make Rib Night be Jim and Gail’s wrap-up night on Island Spirit and as always, it did NOT disappoint us. The Jib Room simply has the best program with friendly owners (TOM and LINDA) the best food, great drinks by STEPHEN (The Bilge Burner,) best limbo king (DESMOND) and best dance party (JASON). Everyone always has a great time, including the children, the food is delicious and plentiful and the people are fantastic. This is simply one great place and the very best way to wrap up our visit with wonderful friends. Thank you, JIM and GAIL, for taking the time to visit Team Island Spirit in Abaco. We had such a good time!

Here are photos of the past 5 days.

Radeen out at Firefly Sunset Resort for Easter Lunch

Happy Easter 2015 from Hayden and Radeen

Elbow Reef Lighthouse

Jim and Gail at Elbow Reef Lighthouse heading up at sunset

The view to the east where Island Spirit is on a mooring ball

ELVIS is one of the two men who light the lighthouse

We had the opportunity to look inside the lens after it was lit!
Departing HOPE TOWN for a great sailing day…..
The view from our walking trails around Elbow Cay 

Beautiful landscaping and flowers of the Bahamas

Reaching north in east winds heading for Marsh Harbor

The water color while sailing over a sandy bottom in 10 feet of clear water

Dream sailing, broad reaching in 15-20

Simple cell phone photo of sailing from the bow on Autopilot

Selfie of Hayden sailing from the bow

Why do I love this so much? Why?

Gail and Jim looking over the bow as we sail on calm fun day

Then onto the JIB ROOM for RIB NIGHT….where we connected with more Island Packet Friends
Our Jib Room Team: Nate, Gail, Radeen, Melba, Dave, Suzy, and Jim

Dave and Suzy of IP 37 CAY PARISO from Maine

Nate and Melba of IP350 TRAVELING LIGHT from Virginia

Gail and Jim, our guests on IP 35 Island Spirit

Radeen and Hayden of IP35 Island Spirit

The JIB ROOM and the happy people

Nighttime shot, not clear, but shows the fun. Great pic Dave
The Limbo King, DESMOND is the best, no one can go lower, NO ONE!

Limbo… low can you go?

Happy Jib Room fun with Jim and Gail.

Jim and Gail heading departing with Island Spirit in the background

Home sweet home, IP 35 Island Spirit

Do we have to go home? Off to the Airport via cab.

One Curly Tail sunning on the concrete, so cool
The Logo of ISLAND GIRL boutique is so cool, it says it all

What a fun 8 days it has been, full of good chats, tours, sailing, great meals cooked onboard, good drinks and plenty of laughs and fun. It is really a good time to share this cruising life style with close friends. Thank you for sailing along….

Abacos with Jim and Gail

…Radeen, Gail, Jim and Hayden snorkeling …..
Life in Abaco Bahamas with college friends, Jim and Gail, is really a fun time. Snorkeling, swimming, exploring areas and sharing great meals and fine wines onboard Island Spirit make for a really good time. Here are some photos of our past few days…..good time…..

Oh My Gosh! Tahiti Beach Day, Snorkeling Day, Man O War Day, Nippers Day, and still sooooooo much more to explore together. Abacos are great, and the best is yet to be…..JIB ROOM Wed Night!