Season 24 GA-FL-Caribbean Sea

Hayden & Radeen in Stuart Fl ready to sail to Caribbean Sea season #24

We plan to add some catch-up blogging posts now that our season #24 has ended. We sailed from Georgia to Florida to the Bahamas to the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico to USVI to St. Martin and then finally onto Antigua. We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in Stuart Florida then moved down to Biscayne Bay and stagged there for the Bahamas.

Our Island Packet 35 ready to sail south

This year’s sailing was incredible because the winter had many strong cold fronts that came off the USA East Coast and these strong fronts pulled the tradewinds north or south making it a great sail to sail EAST! The run from Florida to the Caribbean Sea is 1,200 NM on a course of 120m. With the normal headwinds of 090m this places the winds 30 degrees off your port bow as you push southeast for a month!

So, with these fronts, we ended up sailing 9 legs from Miami to Antigua and we sailed 90% of all of these.  We had so many north winds that we sailed from Puerto Rico past the USVI and directly out to St. Martin. Then two weeks there, we turned around and sailed back to USVI on yet another north wind. Then two weeks later we sailed back to St. Martin. This is unheard of, but we enjoyed this all and will always sail east on any north winds the Caribbean Sea gives!

You hopefully are following us along on our public Facebook page for svIslandSpirit, that blog has been easier faster, and more current for posting. We have been using that page as our newer blogging platform for years. Yet, this platform has all our 13+ years of blogging, and tracking maps, so we need to resume this and update this as we have before. Thank you for checking in, I will try to post a summary of the legs we sailed to reach Antigua.

Here is a map overview of this season #24. Look at this run, we are very proud of our 5th Caribbean Season. We have stored the boat in Antigua and we hope to keep it based in the Caribbean Sea for a year or two. We will see….

Season #24 GA to Antigua, our 5th Caribbean Season

Interactive Tracking Map

If you look into this archive map you can zoom into and click on a point to see the date and time for that location. I use these archive maps to help me review times and distances.  See this link

https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/9d17-11d2708e-b11b/view

2024 IPYOA Calendar 21st Edition

This is my 21st year of creating the Island Packet Yacht Owners’ Association Calendar. This year’s edition is more global than ever, with fleet members sending in photos from as far away as Cape Horn, Alaska, Mexico, and the Netherlands! Island Packet Yacht Owners really get out and go sailing. It is always amazing where we see our fleet sailing too. Take a look at these photos and you will agree, that the IPYOA is global!

You can order a calendar here:
https://www.createphotocalendars.com/Shop/ipyoa

2024 IPYOA Calendar Cover, Jesse Shumaker and Mike Parsons Connie Hamilton Parsons
Rodd and Shelly Benfield 379 Tasi at Isla Carmen, Sea of Cortez, MX
Hayden Cochran Warderick Wells, Bahamas, Paradise 350 Traveller, 380 Painkiller, 35 Island Spirit
Suzy Suzanne Hurwitz 37 Cay Paraiso Water Cay, Jumentos
Marlene Adam Reasoner 420 Trance Sailing Wing on Wing
Jonell Bowman and William Bowman 350 Kharis on Port Clyde mooring, Maine
Jim Martin IP44 Alisoné rounding Heron Neck Light, Maine
Kevin Hornback 420 Catharpin Blue, Sailing Glacier Bay Ak
Judith L. Jacobsen 380 Touché in Fiordo Falcon, Patagonia
Jesse Shumaker 440 Vita Beata View of the boat at mooring from hike on Jones Island in the San Juan Islands
Carla and Jeff Hale 485 Latitude, Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow in Antigua
John Bartges Lisa Speer Bartges 445 No Wahalla between the Pitons in St Lucia.
Richard Hage 440 Big Bear and 27 Carpe Diem Big and Small in Leiden, Netherlands

Thank you everyone for looking at and enjoying our sailing adventures! This has been a lifetime passion of ours. Radeen and I appreciate you sailing along. Please add a comment as they are emailed to us when you comment. Thank you!

You can order a calendar here:
https://www.createphotocalendars.com/Shop/ipyoa

 

Bahamas Exuams 2023

This was our 9th season in the Bahamas after spending the past 4 winters in the Caribbean. So, this was a review tour of the best places. The best part of the Exuams is between Shroud Cay and Rudder Cay. We focused on these places. Here was the planned route inbound, A direct run from Miami to No Name Harbor….No need to stop at Binini when the wx window is open. Run east as far as you can reach.

This is a short 20-hour run from Miami to Great Harbor in the Berrrys

After checking in, we powered on east to Highbourne Cay, then south to Staniel Cay, and onto Black Point as well. After Black Point, we pushed down to Rudder Cay and swam the Piano. From there we turned around and sailed back to Black Point, Staniel then Compass and Cambridge, and Warderick Wells and Shroud. Here are the best photos of the past month. Enjoy.

Photo Essay of Sailing the Exuamas 2023 One month…

Blue Blue Blue with a storm coming off Shroud Cay
Our pet nurse shark that loved the shade of our boat off Staniel Cay
The anchor chain in 20 feet of water
Radeen and the blue water of Black Point
Swimming with Eagle Rays at Warderick Wells
The beauty of Warderick Wells is breath taking
Lazy sailing in 10-12 knots on the beam
Buddy boat 35 JUST DUCKY and us sailed for Black Point
Warderick Wells never gets old
Sailing our fav, the Code Zero in 12 knots
The best sailing photo ever, 35 Just Ducky and 35 Island Spirit
Island Spirit with all three sails out
Bahamas blue
Down with the Q and up with the Bahamas flag
Radeen taking in the blue water of the banks
Walking Staniel Cay

This was a very short Bahamas season for us, only a month. We usually are over here in Jan, Feb, Mar, and April, then we sail back to the coast May 1. This season we did not sail over until the second week of March! Still, it was well worth the effort and time, and the push east to reach the 200 nm it takes to reach the Exuma Chain of Islands. No place has better watercolor and better beaches. Hands down, the Bahamas are a dream.

Heading North

We are sailing north to Freeport Bahamas where we will dock for one week at OCEAN REEF CLUB April 16-23.  Then after that, we will sail for the Florida coast. This season we will store the boat May 15-Nov15 at Brunswick Landing so we can get an early start at the Caribbean. We want to spend Christmas in the USVI. One more Caribbean Season for us. That is the plan.

Remember…. https://www.facebook.com/svIslandSpirit/
live updates there…..

2023 IPYOA Calendar 20th edition!

This is my 20th year of creating the Island Packet Yacht Owners Association calendar. I create this to make $5.00 profit off each sale. The profits go to offset the $1,000+ cost of hosting the website for IPYOA.com where we have nearly 20,000 digital photos uploaded by IP owners. My calendar sales are usually 75-100 calendars total, netting me $350-$500 per year. So, you can see that I am living off this income and going sailing…ha ha ha! NOT. Please take a look at these fantastic photos. Enjoy…

If you would like to buy one, please see

https://www.createphotocalendars.com/Shop/IPYOA

If you want a sailing calendar, then please place your orders here.. Three days of work, 47 photos submitted, plus the 10,000+ I have taken, and here is my 20th edition. Truly a labor of love for IPs.

https://www.createphotocalendars.com/Shop/IPYOA

 

Summer Refit Completed

Working since June 3, we have spent the summer repairing systems and upgrading failed systems. We have mostly been posting the progress onto our PUBLIC Facebook Page, so please LIKE and FOLLOW us there. You do not need Facebook to read a public web page! Here is the direct link, it is fun to scroll back and see the work.

https://www.facebook.com/svIslandSpirit

Here is the summary of the work completed. This has been a very big list of jobs. We will now begin our shake down and testing of all upgraded systems. We plan to make our 20th Intracoastal waterway run heading for Stuart Florida for Thanksgiving. From there we plan to push out into the Exuams and out to the USVI asap. We want to spend Christmas back in the Caribbean Sea. It is just far too nice, and we love sailing the Tradewinds. Getting there, well that is not fun. 1,200 nm on a course of 120m with a 090 wind! Or sail out to Bermuda and hang a right. For us, it will be a third trip down the “thorny path!”

KBW10 Transmission repaired

WE DID IT, thanks to Alfred Holzer of Schooner Bay Marina for remanufacturing our KBW10 transmission. With his expert mechanical team, he was able to source the repair parts and remanufacture the gear. No one can do this, even Mack Boring said no, it can not be repaired. Well, not true, Alfred can do it.  If you need any Yanmar repairs, call, email or check is ENGINE LIST on his website here: https://schoonerbaymarinallc.com/site/ 

Here is our Facebook post about this repair.

 

B&G Halo 20+ Radar added

This will be our THIRD B&G radar antenna in 4 years! Not good. Especially since the antenna is mounted 25 feet up the mast at the spreaders. So, I had to climb up using my ATN top climber, and remove the broken radar so I could send it back to B&G and they could “sell” me a replacement one then at 50% off, or $1,100. Thanks. So, in early Aug I climbed the mast and remounted the new Halo 20+ antenna, and it fired right up. We are happy to have digital radar back for our offshore nighttime passages. We had to run all the way home from Nassau Bahamas last May/June to Maryland without radar. Offshore at night full speed ahead is not really safe without radar. Here is our Facebook post about the re-install:

 

Trip Summary Caribbean to Chesapeake Bay

Our wonderful winter cruising adventure concluded when we sailed into Rock Hall, Maryland, our home port since 1991. We both agree the sail home from the Caribbean took much longer than first expected. We departed USVI on April 2, 2022, and we arrived at our home dock on May 31, 2022. A total trip of 3,319 nautical miles was traveled this season, including Puerto Rico to Antigua.  The total NM sailed from St. Thomas USVI to Rock Hall, MD was 2,410! We both agree the sailing was fantastic departing the Caribbean. With an approximate course of 300 degrees and with the Tradewinds blowing from 090, that makes the wind 150 degrees off our starboard bow for a broad reach all the way home. Well, at least it is a reach from the Virgin Islands to The Exumas in the Bahamas!

Once we sailed north of the Bahamas, we began to get into the coastal frontal winds coming off the USA east coast.  These frontal winds pull the trades south or southwest and then the front blows in with northwest and north and northeast winds making for a challenge to plan passages north. We easily sailed 3 days out of Puerto Rico to reach the Bahamas, and then we sailed easily northwest thru the Exumas, but once we reached the Nassau, Bahamas area, we were firmly controlled by these coastal weather patterns. These delayed us a month on our way from Florida north to the Chesapeake Bay. Many cruisers ahead of us were “stuck” for weeks waiting for weather windows to simply move a day or two up the coast or even in the ICW, Intracoastal Waterway. 

This is the overview of our entire sailing season. 3,319 nm traveled.

Highlights of the Season

As I reflect back on the season past, I have many fond memories and images in my mind: the Southern Cross constellation rising over Antigua as seen from the blackness of Barbuda at 3 am. Code zero sailing and reaching downwind for many, many miles under autopilot vane steering. Coffee shops of French St, Martin. Sunsets over St. Thomas as seen from St. John. Happy hours at the rebuilt Saba Rock. Watching the sunset while anchored off St. Barts. Day after day of beam reaching for the Bahamas at hull speed 7.0 knots+ and discovering the beauty of Conception Island with great buddy boat IP370 SEA LYON. This winter and spring were pure joy and a wonderful escape from the hibernation of Covid. We really enjoyed this sailing season!

Island Spirit reefed down sailing hull speed into the sunset
We set these sailing and cruising goals to paper in 1996, they came true in 2011, and now, in 2022 they are still leading us onward.

Here are the 63 legs we ran this season

My interactive map where you can zoom in to see these legs is archived here:
https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/029c-222ed31e-ae72/view

Leg From To Nautical Miles
1 PR St. Thomas USVI 47
2 USVI St James 8
3 St James St. Martin 117
4 STX SMX 12
5 SMX St. Barts 25
6 St. Barts Antigua 90
7 Jolly Falmouth 7
8 Falmouth Jolly 7
9 Jolly Sailing 13
10 Jolly Sailing 20
11 Jolly Sailing 15
12 Jolly North Sound 25
13 North Sound Barbuda 37
14 Barbuda St. Barts 82
15 St. Barts St. Martin 16
16 St. Martin Sailing 10
17 St. Martin Marigot 4
18 Marigot Grand Case 5
19 Marigot BVI 110
20 Sopers Bitter End, BVI 29
21 Bitter End Anegada, BVI 17
22 Anegada Bitter End. BVI 17
23 BVI St. John, USVI 13
24 St. John St. James, USVI 4
25 BVI Willy T, Normans, BVI 15
26 Willy T Jost 13
27 Jost Sopers 6
28 Sopers USVI 6
29 Red Hook St. James 4
30 St. Thomas St. Croix 43
31 St. Croix St. Thomas 43
32 Red Hook St. James 4
33 St. James Red Hook 4
34 Red Hook St. James 4
35 St James Red Hook 4
36 Red Hook St. John 4
37 Red Hook St. Thomas 10
38 St Thomas Crown Bay 4
39 St Thomas Culebra, PR 30
40 Culebra Patillas, PR 58
41 Patillas Salinas, PR 25
42 Salinas Guanica, PR 42
43 Guanica Puerto Real, PR 38
44 Puerto Real Sailing 4
45 Puerto Real Mayaguana. BS 520
46 Mayaguana Conception, BS 178
47 Conception Georgetown, BS 48
48 George Town Black Point, BS 60
49 Black Point Highbourne, BS 56
50 Highbourne  Palm Cay – West Bay 64
51 West Bay Stuart FL 231
52 Stuart FL Ft. Pierce, FL 30
53 Ft. Pierce St. Augustine, FL 188
54 St. Augustine Charleston, SC 224
55 Charleston Cape Lookout, NC 257
56 Adams Cr. Belhaven, NC 51
57 Belhaven Coinjock, NC 87
58 Coinjock Great Bridge, VA 37
59 Great Bridge Portsmouth, VA 11
60 Portsmouth Deltaville. VA 55
61 Deltaville, VA Solomons, MD 64
62 Solomons, MD Annapolis MD 50
63 Annapolis, MD Rock Hall, MD 17
    TOTAL Nautical Miles 3319
    Total Statute Miles 3819
    Total Kilometers 6146

Again: Our interactive archive map is here:
https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/029c-222ed31e-ae72/view

The Decision to Sail Back

This photo says it all. As we set sail out of St. Martin with the sun setting on the French harbor of Marigot, Radeen and I decided that it is all simply too beautiful to sail out and head home with the thoughts of never coming back. So this photo was taken the moment we both agreed to sail back next season because this is just too beautiful not to. We have fallen in LOVE with the Caribbean Islands of USVI, St. Martin, St. Maarten, Antigua and Barbuda, and Martinique. We must return, so that is our plan. The boat is in our home port, where we will refit all systems for maintenance and upgrades. We will sail right back to the Caribbean Sea ASAP in the late fall of 2022. This is why we have the boat we have, she is meant to sail, and Island Spirit loves to sail the ocean. She will take us there!

The moment we decided to sail back, as we sailed out of St. Martin for the BVIs. That is the sunset on Marigot over our stern.

Cheers to all, and thanks for sailing along.

Celebration bubbly, Annapolis, MD May 2022
Island Spirit with her country flags flying

Stern Tube and New Cutlass Bearing

We decided while we were hauled out for Kyle Ulrick of Swan Creek Marina, to paint and wax and replace our gold stripe, that we would pull the stern tube and replace all. The last time this was done, was 2013 by the Island Packet Factory. Now after 2700 hours of motoring and many trips up and down the ICW and into the Bahamas and even the Caribbean, we thought it was time.

I will say, this job was way harder than I recalled from when I did it myself in 2001, I guess being 21 years older might be the reason. I highly recommend not trying this yourself. The biggest challenge was pulling off the prop shaft transmission coupler. That was very difficult. The yard mechanics said we would never get that off, well, that just made us work harder.

Thanks for some great buddies, like Freddie and Ken and Ray and Don and Radeen, we all worked for two days and pulled the stern tube and installed a new one along with a new packing gland and new packing. She is ready for another 2700 nm and 10 years at least.

Here is the Facebook post about this

 

Bahamas to Maryland HOME

THE TOTAL IS IN…., 3,294 nm run over 62 individual legs!
Here is the total trip:
https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/029c-222ed31e-ae72/view

We made it back to our home waters of the Upper Chesapeake Bay, May 30, 2022 after a challenging weather month of May.  Many cruisers were complaining about the spring weather and how they were stuck and could not move north. We wanted to sail from the Bahamas direct to Cape Lookout, a simple 3 day passage with the aid of the Gulfstream, but our weather router, Chris Parker, said there was not going to be a good 3-day window. So we headed for Florida and then ran north on shorter, single overnight trips. Here is a screenshot of our entire voyage:

Dec 2021 to May 2022, Caribbean Sea to Annapolis MD

Archive Maps are interesting

 We have all of our trips archived on our MAPS page. We use two services to do this, Garmin InReach and Spotwalla. The Inreach device is the tracker that sends our position report to the Iridium satellites and then back down to Garmin which records the position into a database.  This data is then pulled and presented on our shared public map. With Garmin, you can see the current position or you can VIEW ALL position reports to see everywhere we have sailed.  Here is our Garmin shared map, click VIEW ALL then zoom back!

https://share.garmin.com/islandspirit

The second service we pay for is Spotwalla. The developer recognized the need to extract these data positions and create what are called TRIP MAPS. A trip map has a start and an end date and pulls all the data points within that timeframe. We like this better than Garmin in the fact that we can focus on one season, where as Garmin combines all seasons together. Here is this season’s trip map:

https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/029c-222ed31e-ae72/view

All our Maps

With many years of cruising, we have archived ALL our maps and indexed them by years on the MAPS menu link.  One of the tasks I am working on is to extract the data of miles from these maps. Garmin keeps the mileages of each leg and I am working on the total of all of these. We estimate we have well over 40,000 nm traveled on Island Spirit since 2001. Here is out map archives:

https://svislandspirit.com/maps/

Bahamas to Florida

Our passage from Bahamas to Florida was the calmest we have had in 11 years of crossings. Literally, the Gulfstream was a lake. What a simple motor run this was. Look at the ocean on this passage, we never see this….

Arriving Stuart, FL

Of course, we had to return to Stuart, Florida and the Sunset Bay Marina, one of our all-time favorites. We enjoyed a wonderful week there with many friends. Thank you to Tommy BOY and Sailor GrL for the best cherry smoked rib-eye steak ever. What a treat that was. Thanks to all our cruising friends who loaned us cars, invited us to their homes, and simply enjoyed the sunsets and coffee bar with us as we all caught up on each others happenings. Here are a few Stuart Photos….

Tommy BOY…..
Sailor GrL…..
Alex and Amy world travelers…..
Cheerleader Lynn and Jim
Rick and Terri and Jean, lucky bums who live here in Stuart FL

Onward North….but no WX Window:

We really wanted to sail directly from Stuart Fl, 2.5 days direct via Gulfstream passage to Cape Lookout. Well, that never worked out because the storms were running and there never was a wx window more than a day or two. The CAPE index was really high, indicating strong updrafts in the air which turn into severe storms over the stream. This made us decide to NOT run the stream home, and that meant day hopping up the east coast! Here is the issue….

 

St. Augustine, here we come

We departed Stuart and made an inside run up to Ft. Pierce to visit our dear friend and world sailor, Jeffery of famed IP460 FLYING FISH. Jeffery just completed his circumnavigation and was in Ft. Pierce preparing his yacht for sale. If you are looking for the dream WORLD VOYAGING YACHT, then look at FLYING FISH HERE:

http://flyingfishsail.com/
https://www.yachtworld.com/yacht/2017-island-packet-460-8239004/

After a wonderful visit with Jeffery, we headed to sea for an overnight run to St Augustine, Florida. This is always a great stop because of the city and the outstanding harbor as well as Tina and John. We have “family” friends as we call them here in town. They always connect with us and enjoy our time together. Tina is the sister of our dear friend Anita at home. Then we also connected with our fellow yacht broker, company owner and lifetime sailor GrL, Melanie. She runs her own yacht brokerage firm called Sunshine Yachts. Always a good time in St. Augustine….

THE yacht broker, Melanie and owner of Sunshine Yachts
Our St. Augustine “family” Tina and John….

Offshore again to Charleston, SC

We had dreams of docking and walking EAST BAY Street in Charleston, but when we arrived and called every single marina for a dock, they were all full. ZERO slips available.  So we dropped the anchor off the aircraft carrier and rested. We were only here to pick up a new B&G RI10 radar interface box that never did fix the broken B&G radar. Thanks, B&G, we did not need it, even though your tech told me to buy one. The problem is the antenna and we have now ordered a new one. So, our visit to Charleston was a bust and out the inlet the next morning we raced….

Our view from anchor

Once more Offshore run to Cape Lookout, NC

We departed Charleston after breakfast and made the offshore run for Cape Lookout, NC. Each of these ocean runs was about 36 hours, so one more overnighter at sea. Sadly, much of this had to be motor sailing as again, we were running before storms and trying to get into port before they would hit us.  At this point of the trip, we were really missing Caribbean Tradewinds sailing, as the winds are steady and always from the east. Here on the coast, you need to deal with cold fronts and storms. Not fun, and we missed the trades. When we reached the Beaufort NC inlet, of course the winds were 20 gusting 25 knots. We needed to reef down to a double reef as we bashed into the ebbing tide, making 3 foot standing waves in the long, long inlet. Finally, we reached the ICW and ran up Adams Creek to a calm anchorage after 36 hours. Here are some ocean scenes…

Moring calm and the code zero
Sunsets at sea are wonderful

Now to run the ICW north….easy

Well, that is what you would think, except for more severe thunderstorms and lightning. We cant believe it,.We actually had to take a dock for 2 days in Belhaven, NC to wait out storms. While there we walked, reprovisioned, used their free laundry, and ran our ship’s air conditioning, a real treat. It takes 3-4 days to run the ICW up to the Chesapeake Bay. 

We ran this in one day!!!! and we also got lucky missing a 75 mph storm
This morning’s storm blasted the Outer Banks and ran behind us.

HELLO CHESAPEAKE BAY

We finally reached MILE MARKER #1, in Portsmouth VA. This is always a must stop location for us. Here we walked the town and waited in line for TOP GUN TICKETS. What a fantastic time at the movies. We also connected with fellow IP sailors Jane and Pat and their friend Race of M’Aingeal. Jane is an amazing singer and guitar player and we had a wonderful time together for two days in Portsmouth.

The GILMERTON Lift bridge, hello, Norfolk VA
Good times in Portsouth VA
Jane is an amazing guitar player and has a beautiful voice
We are not in the Caribbean….hello ship

Chesapeake Bay Stops

The normal run up or down the Chesapeake Bay always seems to be Norfolk, Deltaville, Solomons and Annapolis. These are all about 50 nm apart and take about 8-10 hours to run. During our stop in Deltaville, we met up with longtime friends Jim and Laurie and we also met new owners, Nancy and John. In Solomons, we connected with long-time boat buddies who sailed with us to Maine and Florida. Mary Anne and Ron.  What a wonderful home coming….

 

 

Laurie and Jim…
Mary Ann and Ron

Pulling into Annapolis is HOME

Yes, our home dock is in Rock Hall, MD, but pulling into Annapolis is the real feeling of HOME. We first sailed here and rented boats here in 1986. Every year since we have sailed to Annapolis and have spent many nights here. This is one of our all-time top destinations. When we sailed past the Thomas Point Light, we finally knew we were HOME…..it has been a long, long, much longer than expected trip from the Caribbean Sea. We feel very accomplished and we are proud of the distances we have run. Go, ISLAND SPIRIT!

12+ country, state and territory flags

CHEERS….we did it

Celebrating with fine champagne on mooring ball #1 Annapolis MD.

Thank you all for Sailing along.

We will soon wrap up this blogging season, but please be aware you can follow in more real-time on our Facebook public Web page. We enjoy posting and sharing there as well. Now it is time to check in on our house and also to fully service Island Spirit. She needs some work to keep her in mint condition and to prepare her for the return to the Caribbean Sea in Nov 2022. It is too wonderful there to not sail back. WE LOVE IT THERE……