Sailing 425nm PR to Bahamas

We did it. We sailed our longest stretch at sea, 72 hours, 3 days from Puerto Real, Puerto Rico to Mayaguana, Bahamas. We have sailed 400+ miles before but faster due to the Gulf Stream.  I am so proud of Radeen who had zero fear of standing watches in the black of night with no moon and no horizon sailing at 6-7 knots of boat speed rocking and rolling side to side. We both were exhausted upon arrival. simply from maintaining balance and trying to move around the boat. We are not long-distance sailors and we can not imagine longer legs, but for now, we are happy and feeling successful. Here is a map of the run.

3 days at sea, 425 nm 72 hours on a beam reach to broad reach doing 6 knots plus round the clock.

You can see our live sailing tracks and also VIEW ALL TRACKS here:

You can also see JUST THIS SEASON’s map of where we have sailed

Our watch schedule

We really tried to maintain the Captain Blaine Parks watch schedule for two. But it is difficult for me (Hayden) to sleep when Radeen is alone at night on watch. So, I never get enough sleep and that makes this process far more difficult. When we sail with three people, that changes the entire game. Here is the schedule we tried to maintain for 3 days:

  • 0600-1200 Radeen
  • 1200-1800 Hayden
  • 1800-2100 Radeen
  • 2100-2400 Hayden
  • 0000-0300 Radeen
  • 0300-0600 Hayden

Meals were at 0600, 1200, and 1800. Again, not easy cooking or getting even a one bowl meal together.  Radeen freezes the meals and they are then a warm-up and serve into one bowl. Here is our first dinner…Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, coconut rice, and peas.

Chicken satay w/peanut sauce, coconut rice and peas. One bowl, as taught by ocean sailor John Knight.

The sailing winds

We waited for one week in Puerto Rico until all the squalls and rain and thunderstorms moved out of the area. This delay gave Cat and Bob of  IP 370 Sea Lyon time to catch up with us. Once the stationary TROF and squalls left, we both departed for sea. This worked out so well as we had a predicted wind of 13-18 knots from 090 with gusts to 20-25 and squalls to 25k. Then the winds were to move to NNE at 15-19 gusting 20-25. These numbers on a course of 300 to 320 degrees placed the winds on a beam reach to broad reach for three full days. Our motoring was about 2-3 hours for battery charging and hot water for showers. The sailing was amazing. So, 2.5 gallons of fuel for 425 nm. Not bad. Here are some sailing photos.

We had dolphins playing in the bow wave, so this was the only time I was on deck
We sailed many hours under full sails, main, jib and staysail
The view out and thru our new strata glass windshield is fantastic
Hello sunrise off our stern, it’s about time. WOW, the nights are long when there is no horizon.
Hello SUNSET over our bow, nightfall is coming, just keep on sailing NW.
Rain squalls are a blessing as they wash off all the salt spray
Look out IP 370 SEA LYON, the squall is coming with rain and 27 knots of wind

A Sun Halo

This was so amazing. On day 3 at noon just south of the Turks and Caicos bank, I looked up at the sails and noticed this sun halo.  From what I read,….. A halo is an optical phenomenon produced by light (typically from the Sun or Moon) interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere…….well now, that was really cool. So of course I shot about 50 photos, here are a few!

This was my first view and I thought I was hallucinating Ha Ha.
Then I look fully and thought, no, that is really there, it is not on my camera

Of course, the challenge was to get this halo centered on the mast. This was the closest I could get.

Flying Fish Below Deck….yup

Imagine the thoughts this poor flying fish had when he took off out of the water and caught a flight up and over our cockpit then into the companionway and directly down below to crash land, not back in the water, but onto a hard teak floor. Sailing on a hard starboard reach, he flopped downhill and came to rest against our port sofa bunk. We never discovered him until breakfast daylight, and there he was. We were like…..WHAT??? how did this flying fish fly into the below decks. The only way was via the port side cockpit rolled up the enclosure. He was the largest flying fish I have ever seen. Poor guy.



One Flying Fish flew into the cabin below. NO WAY….yes way!
This poor Flying Fish did not make his passage South. He flew into our cabin below decks at night!

Arrival Mayaguana, Abraham’s Bay

After 3 days at sea, we arrived Mayaguana and thought we would just drop anchor off the lee shore and rest. We needed rest and we also heard that you can not check into the Bahamas here. So the plan was to drop anchor where the guides say to anchor and sleep. Well, we arrived at 6 am, and by 730 am I am fighting with my anchor chain and 55 lbs. Rocna anchor wrapped around rocks 30 feet down at Start Bay. I dropped in the sand but that must have been only 1 inch of sand and we dragged it right under and around large rocks nearly the size of the boat.

Once freed, we decided to try the west shore, Betsy Bay, only to find out that a north swell was running and 6-foot waves were crashing onto the beach making it impossible to anchor there. Now, we needed to bash back EAST into the 20-knot tradewinds to work our way into Abrahams Bay, a place we did not want to go due to tons of coral heads. With no other option other than to go back to sea and keep sailing, we decided to work our way into the reef area. Remember, we are exhausted and all we want to do is drop anchor and sleep. This all took us from 6 am arrival til 1130 when we dropped anchor. OMG, one shot of rum finally and we crashed!

Arrival at 0600….anchor down at 1130…OMG!

The REWARD….the Bahamas Waters

After sleep and hot showers we awoke to this….look at this beautiful water. We had great news via VHF from the local ambassador, Scully, who informed us that we now can clear into the Bahamas here, saving us a long sail to Clarence Town. After completing the lengthy clearing-in process and paying for our cruising permit at the new online government website, we went ashore with Bob and Cat to complete clearing-in. The Island Administrator, Ms. Chatham, was very helpful and pleasant to talk to. It was still time-consuming for our paperwork to be sent to Matthew Town, Inguaga Customs officer and to be returned. We felt so welcome by everyone we met!

Our Lil BUNS has a girlfriend. Sea Lyon’s AB dinghy 🙂 with Bequia chaps
Island Spirit on anchor off Mayaguana
Buddy Boat 370 SEA LYON achored off Mayaguana


Next up….an Island Tour with SCULLY, the man of Mayaguana

Today, should be a fun day with Scully showing the flock of pink flamingos and taking us to shelling beaches and then a traditional Mac & Cheese and BBQ chicken lunch at his sister Vicki’s home. This is a unique place and so remote. 

Hayden. Bob, Scully, Radeen and Cat on Mayaguana

Off to Sea SAIL along

Team Island Spirit, along with Bob and Cat of IP370 Sea Lyon, will make a three-day ocean run from Puerto Rico to the Bahamas starting Thursday at 0630. Over the next three days, we will be sailing (hopefully) on a broad reach of some 450 miles. Winds are forecasted to be 13-18 knots gusting 20. Of course, there will be squalls which will be 30+ knots and these usually arrive at night. We plan to sail under the B&G autopilot set to hold a 150-degree wind angle. We will double reef the main at night and shake it out in the morning. We hope to be sailing nearby our buddy boat, at least within sight of each other.  It is a big ocean and at night, it is great to see a light out there of another boat going your same way. Here are the sailing ladies of Island Spirit and Sea Lyon:

Radeen and Cat, ocean sailing ladies

Watch Schedule

It is just the two of us on Island Spirit, Radeen and Hayden, and our watch schedule will be 6 hours during the day and 3 hours at night. 

  • Hayden: 0600 to 1200
  • Radeen 1200 to 1800
  • Hayden 1800 to 2100
  • Radeen 2100 to 2400
  • Hayden 0000 to 0300
  • Radeen 0300 to 0600

The great aspect of this schedule is that meals are eaten together at shift changes.


  • Breakfast 0600
  • Lunch 1200
  • Dinner 1800

The challenge is to get your sleep when off watch. Keep rested. Stay alert when you are on watch. Be safe. JOB #1, do not hot anything. Job #2 call for help if any sail changes are needed: reefing, squalls, ships.

Here is a photo of the course, three days.

450 miles, Puerto Rico to Bahamas

Life onboard

We try to have normal days at sea, such as reading, fishing, sailing, cooking, sleeping, showers, and planning.  Yes, we have a nice bathroom below with a nice shower seat and space. We heat the hot water tank by running the engine 20 minutes. Then we have hot water for showers below deck in the head. YES, we shower EVERY DAY, just like at home. We are amazed at how showering on sailboats is a big deal. So many cruisers make this a big deal and always refer to how they wish they could take a shower. Well, on Island Spirit, we take hot showers daily, usually at night before going to bed. Even when sailing offshore!

Follow our LIVE track

Whenever Island Spirit moves, she has a live tacker that places a pin on a map. This creates an archive map of where we have sailed. It also is a valuable safety item as our land safety team of Jeff and Sharon (dear friends)  and Tom and Rita ( monitor our progress. They are the stand-by team that makes sure we arrive safely. We remain in communication, usually with Jeff and Sharon 24/7 and this helps to make us feel a bit safer. Please follow our live track here:

The fun aspect of this link is if you click the VIEW ALL button, and then zoom back, you will see all the courses we have run. Very cool to see.

Our Travel Map Archive, VIEW ALL to see, then zoom back

Buddy Boat IP370 SEA LYON

Lucky for us, we have good friends BOB and CAT sailing along with us. They just sailed up from Trinidad, and are also heading for the USA like us. They arrived a few days ago and lunch for us, we now have a buddy boat. We plan to be making the same run all the way to the USA. Here is their tracker as well. Hopefully, they will be in sight of us.

Buddies, Bob and Cat of IP 370 SEA LYON

Thanks again for sailing along with us. Hayden and Radeen

Walking our 3 miles daily here in Puerto Real….



What’s Up? Island Spirit

What’s UP? I know. We have not been blogging here for a long time. That is because so many people have moved to social media, Instagram and Facebook that we too have been posting photos and videos there far more than we post here. Yet, I know there are many of our followers and family that do not use social media, so here is a quick update for all of us to share.

Full Moon rising as we wait on the west coast of Puerto Rico for the weather to sail NW to the Bahamas 500 miles+

Our Caribbean Adventures 2022

We have had a different but calm and easy Nov to April Caribbean season, our 4th winter here.  This season we started in Puerto Rico in Nov and departed the dock on Dec 20 for the USVI. We have fallen in love with the USVI. St. Thomas, St John, and St. Croix. Each has its own distinct personalities and plusses and minuses.  We can’t pick a favorite because we like them all for each aspect that we sail to them for. Then from the USVI, we pushed east out to Antigua and then after a great time there it was back north to Barbuda and westward to St. Martin. Talk about love? How about the FRENCH ISLAND of St. Martin. OUI OUI.  From there it was back to the BVI and onto a week or two at the Bitter End Yacht Club. A quick sail north to Anegada for lobster with Nina and John of IP 40 Sunkissed and back to the BVI. There we moved to Red Hook for the month of March where we had a full new canvas job built better than we could have ever imagined. Now, we have moved west down the south coast of Puerto Rico as we are trying to sail the boat back to our home port of Rock Hall, MD. Here is a map of our route this season.

Our tracking map of the Caribbean Season 2022

What? New Canvas?

Yes, we decided to search for and schedule a replacement full canvas job in Annapolis or Rock Hall, MD, when we got home in May June July Aug. After several bids and many not able to fit us in until the fall, we asked the local Island Packet dealer in Red Hook, Andrea, and Skip King, if they knew of a canvas guy in USVI. That was when it all turned around for the good. They connected us with David Livacz, of Neptune’s Loft, who was available to do our canvas in March. When he sent photos of his work, he really impressed us. Without ever meeting up, we committed to him and paid our 50% deposit. Then we moved quickly from the BVI over to Red Hook and we meet to overview the job on March 4th. He started the next day and within 3 weeks and 3 days he finished a completely new design full canvas job on Island Spirit. The job included a full cockpit enclosure as we have had for 20 years, plus some shade covers as well.  In the end, we were 100% pleased and thrilled with his work and his incredible skills.  He did exactly what we wanted and his work is better than any canvas job I have ever seen.

The goal of the new design was to get rid of the low Chesapeake Bay (not cool) dodger that upward sloped fill into the high bimini. What kind of design is that? With the inspiration of IP38 DREAMCATCHER which has a flat roof and full enclosure, we modeled it after Dean and Kim’s yacht. Now we have a full-height roof that we can walk vertically underneath right into the companionway steps to go below. For 20 years we were bent over 90 degrees just to trim a sail. NO MORE, now we can actually stand up and sail. UNREAL, So wonderful. It feels like a spacious new boat to us!

OLD, low dodger with upper bimini. Out with that….
NEW High dodger, forward bimini roof making the space far better.
Strataglass crystal clear enclosure and windshield
With a one level bimini roof design, 13 feet x 8 feet, the cockpit, seems even bigger
Custom shade fabric completed the job. This is 80% screen, so we can see out, but we take these down for driving and sailing.

Sailing For HOME, now

We dedicated all of March to David for the canvas job, and he met the deadline of not going one day into April. He completed the job and we started our trek westward to Puerto Rico. That means we went back to Charlette Amalie and of course the Green House for lunch to reflect on how lucky and grateful we are. 

One of our happy places since 1986, Green House St. Thomas USVI

Onward to Puerto Rico

From the USVI it is a dream to sail west to Puerto Rico and also the days down the south coast as well. There are fun places to stop like Culebra, Vieques, Salinas, Patillas, Gilligan’s Island, and Puerto Real. Each stop is a sail downwind from anchor to anchor in Caribbean Blue waters. Sailing west on the south coast of PR is as good as it can get…..that is unless you sail NW 1000 miles back to the USA east coast. Here is a social media post of sailing the south coast of PR:

Here is one more video:

Ready to Go to Sea, Thur

We are now on the west coast of Puerto Rico in a great harbor and town called Puerto Real.  We have been waiting here a week, as the severe weather north of the Dominican Republic dies down. That TROF and updraft of thermals dissipate Wed night and then Thursday at 0600, we will head to sea. The run will be 300+ nm to our first possible stop, BIG SAND KEY south of Grand Turks. If we press on past that, we will go to South Caicos or up onto the banks, another 24 miles. If we feel good and the winds are as predicted, we may just sail past the Turks and onward to the Bahamas. There, our target is Long Island, Clarence Town, another 210 miles where we can check into the country. Please follow along as we sail.

Our Live Tracking Map is…

Our Social Media PUBLIC web page is:

Thanks for sailing along with Team ISLAND SPIRIT
Leave us a comment, as they are emailed directly to us