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.
We traveled to Puerto Rico to assess the damages to Island Spirit. Here is a 5-minute video with photos of our first visit.
We created this 4-minute video outlining our options to repair our mast and rigging in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Please have a look here:
We created this intro video on our YouTube channel outlining the launch of svIslandSpirit and our plan to raise funds via Patreon. All the funds raised are NOT for us! We will be using the money to help people in need after the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, USVI and the BVIs. We hope we can help someone. That is our goal this 2017-2018 cruising season. Enjoy this 2-minute into., and please become a Patron and make a small donation. Thank you
Radeen and I have redesigned our ten-year blogger site and imported all the content into a our new WordPress site located on my own server at www.svIslandSpirit.com. Then we reworked our Twitter account and our Instagram account to reflect this new svIslandSpirit design. Next, we create a Facebook page for svIslandSpirit and published this with the same banner and profile picture. Our final step was to build a Patreon donation page where our followers can contribute to help us meet our new goals.The goal is to raise funds via our blogging, photo essays, and YouTube videos. Each time we produce new content, the Patreon members will make a contribution of their selection being $1, $2, $5, $10. As these funds build up, we will present a balance sheet under the donation menu link. The money raised is NOT for us. We will be giving away all the money to people and families and organizations that we discover who really need help after the destructive hurricanes of IRMA and MARIA. We are hoping to organize hundreds of our subscribers under Patreon generating funds to donate to those in need.
We hope you like our idea and we know people have enjoyed our blog for many years, now we are hoping to put this to work to help those in need. Thank you for joining our team. Please look over all the new social media links above and Like and FOLLOW our accounts. We will do our best.
|Hard to believe it has been 44 years since we met at Millersville State College on the first floor of Gilbert Hall.
Very thankful for our enduring friendship!
.Friday afternoon was spent celebrating with live music and drinks at an outdoor bar.
|Selfie and Smiles in the Sand and Salt Air|
|We all love to walk, so off we went to The Big Chill Beach Club for a breezy Sunday afternoon at the Indian River Inlet.
Hayden met us for another drink and great live music at Hammerhead’s Dockside at the Delaware Seashore State Park.
|Joanne’s family beach house…..so charming and comfortable!
This event was rescheduled several times over the last few years….thank you, Joanne and Mike, for not giving up on us!
|…Radeen with IS35 at the haul out…|
After 6 days in the docks preparing the boat to be hauled out, we finally reached the travel lift at 0830 on Monday, May 22, 2017. The lift operators did a great job as they expertly moved our Island Packet 35 from the water all the way up to the yacht storage yard. The interesting new aspect was how they transferred the 17,500 lbs of boat from the travel lift down onto an 8 wheel diesel hydraulic trailer that they then used to back the boat into a storage location.
They use these wireless remote control hydraulic trailers so that they can place the yacht within 12 inches of the next yacht. If the stored yacht is placed with a travel lift. then the spacing between the yachta is much greater due to the width needed for the full travel lift. This entire transfer from one machine to the next took nearly 1.5 hours but it increases the yard storage by at least 25% in my observation. This was a very challenging transfer due to the Island Packet rudder support bar interfering with the machine’s structure. They wanted to remove our rudder support bar and I requested that they figure out another way. They managed to work around this non structural portion of the keel and kept the structure of the trailer from hitting it. Due to this, our boat ended up blocking much higher off the ground. I am guessing our blocking is 24″ underneath our keel. This created a challenge for us covering the boat as what was normally 5 feet off the ground is now 7 feet and up. More on that later. Overall, the haul out process went very well. The boat is now strapped down with 7 hurricane straps attached to concrete footings with steel bars. We are working with Quino Sanchez, the rigging expert, to watch our boat and monitor it through any storms and downpours. The boat will remained closed and locked and his only job is to pump the hand bilge pump in the cockpit. The solar, wind and battery bank are disconnected and there is no need to go inside the boat.
Here are photos of the haul out.
|This is the hydraulic trailer. Here you can see the boat has been transferred from the travel lift to the trailer|
|The travel lift pulls away and can go do another lift. The remote control trailer can now drive the yacht into place.|
|The Island Packet rudder strap would hit the trailer structure, so the yacht must be blocked higher over this back bar|
|The hydraulic remote control trailer is backed into position|
|Each wheel is on a hydraulic piston so the yacht can be leveled once it is in position.|
|We placed the bow high to make sure she drains well. Here the trailer is moving out.|
|The 6 ‘ x 40’ sides wire tie to the top life line bow to stern. Very easy|
|12′ wide x 22′ long covers from mast to 2′ over the bow pulpit|
|The bow piece is stitched to the aft top piece|
|Davits folded in, whisker pole tied to top of davits|
|Top aft piece. Mast to stern is 12′ x 28′ and rests on top of whisker pole.|
|This year I raised the whisker pole to cover the coils of my new reefing lines|
|The top piece is zip tied to the outside of the side pieces|
|I sewed this seam as I moved aft, after using the zip ties.|
|The top pulls tight aft. As I work my way back, I pull the top tight over the sides, too.|
|This is 1,200 sq. feet of fabric and it works great.|
|Cutting around the bimini frame takes time|
|The 12 foot top just so reaches across the beam at widest point|
|We used an 18 foot ladder to wrap the bow|
|Coolaroo makes clips that snap onto the fabric for attaching lines.|
|Ropes pull from one side to the other side|
|Once finished, I made cuts for the hurricane tie down straps to attach to the cleats.|
|Looking forward, the boat is now in full shade|
|Looking forward from seated at the helm, the pole is high enough to sit under|
|Job complete. LOOK at the waterline, it is OVER my head.
That is due to the 24″ high blocking. This is the highest blocking ever!
|Radeen under the bow and the 18+ foot ladder|
|Coolaroo Sun Cover worked again, this is great!|
Photos of our cute room…
|The steps down to our room overlooking the harbor|
|Our kitchen and dining table, gas stove and small refrigerator.|
|One room, one space, works for us|
|Can you find the Island Packet?|
|The view of Marina Puerto Del Rey from our patio. The pool is shared with the homeowner who lives upstairs
and one with one other rental unit.
|Our private patio for wine and cheese. There is a lovely breeze here every evening.
At night, we are lulled to sleep by the tree frogs peeping. Such a lovely spot!
|…Typical St John harbor view…|
After our three weeks of bliss in the British Virgin Islands, we sailed back to St. John and spent 5 nights circling the many wonderful harbors. We learned that only 2,700 people live on St. John. We also learned that there is nearly zero anchoring as well. The joy is that the US National Parks services manages 300 mooring balls for cruisers to use for $26/night. We secured our NPS “Golden Pass” so this gave us a 50% discount on the mooring ball fees, what a deal. You have to love supporting the National Parks Services as they do such a great job with a very limited budget. We anchored in new places along the south shore, including Saltpond, Cruz Harbor and Hansen Bay and look forward to exploring more of St. John next season.
|Sailing into St. Thomas|
Onward to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. We love to anchor in towns, and here we had this town immediately off our stern. After entering the main harbor, we went directly over to the east corner and dropped the anchor off Yacht Haven Grand. Usually there are one or two cruise ships in port, but lucky for us there were none, so the town was far less crowded. We were enticed by a Facebook ad to head out on a date night to one of the finest restaurants in town called “A Room with a View.” We booked a table for 1830 and enjoyed the best meal of the year! WOW, what a place this was, with excellent service and delicious food. Our table overlooked Island Spirit anchored down in the harbor. See cool photos below.
|Sailing for Puerto Rico|
After one day in St Thomas, we topped up the diesel tank at Crown Bay Marina and sailed west. During our two night stop on Culebra, we rejoined sailing buddies Sea Star and Fezwig. We took off the headsails and decomissioned the dinghy. Ashore in Dewey, we had lunch at the famous Zaco’s Tacos. All three boats booked slips at the massive marina Puerto del Ray, Fajardo (with 1,000 slips!) to decommission and haul out May 22 for safe land storage during hurricane season. We had planned to haul out in Grenada, but we got lazy and fell in love with the BVIs and USVI and felt we should do more of this area next fall before sailing down island. We were close, it is only about 350-400 nautical miles to Grenada, but it was a real joy to slow down and take in these beautiful, familiar islands, beaches and coral reefs. We have all next season to sail down island and that will only be 400 nm! We usually travel 2,000 to 2,500 nautical miles a season so next season will really be easy!
|Dock 1033, pier #10|
Now that we are docked in Puerto Rico, we have taken off the sails, the canvas, washed the boat and are stuffing everything below decks while we live aboard with this craziness. In a few days, we will haul out. Coolaroo Sun Shade has been shipped in and we are ready to make our second custom cover Monday and Tuesday. For now, we are preparing for haul out and are already missing the joy and peace of the cruising life. We can not wait to relaunch November 6 and get Island Spirit sailing once again.
Thank you for sailing along……
Snorkeling St John….beautiful…
St. Thomas….Date Night…A Room with a View
Sailing St Thomas to Puerto Rico
Docking in Puerto Rico at the Massive Puerto del Ray Maina
Time to finish the de-rigging and prepare for haul out. Then Monday and Tuesday it will be Coolaroo Shade Cover Round #2. We will cover the entire boat like we did last year with a 90% UV breathable sun cover fabric. This is what it will look like when we have the cover on….
|…a BVI’s sunset as seen from Peter Island…|
We sailed into the British Virgin Islands on April 12, 2017 from St. Thomas to Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, where we picked up a mooring ball at Foxy’s and checked into the country from our own boats for the first time. Even though we have been here 9 times before on charter boats and land based vacations, this time it all was so different and new yet so familiar. Now it is May 8th and we are cleared out to leave to the USVI, St. John, where we will explore the USVI for a few days before making out way back to Puerto Rico to haul out on May 22. While here in the BVI’s for the past 3 weeks we toured all the popular locations: Sandy Key, Sandy Spit, The Dogs, North Sound, The Bitter End Yacht Club, The Baths, Trellis Bay, The Last Resort, Road Town, Salt Island, Cooper Island, Peter Island, Norma Island, The Indians, White Bay on Jost van Dyke and then to West End/Soper’s Hole to clear out.
|42′ Grand Banks SEA STAR, buddy boat|
The changes we have seen is that every single harbor has 30+ mooring balls which are designed to prevent anchoring and to help the charter fleet. There are 10 million catamarans running around as charter boats, some bareboats and some with professional captains. All the harbors turn over every day with the mooring balls being vacated by 9am as the charter boats push onto the next destination in the one week they are here. So getting a ball is easy between 0900 and 1200. After that, it is a free for all battle with boats blasting through the harbors racing to secure the last available mooring ball. When all are taken the only thing left to do is to drop an anchor in 40 to 50 feet of water and let out 200+ feet of anchor chain, if you have it. Most charter boats have about 100-150 feet….ooops!
|380 Lagoon Catamaran FEZYWIG, buddy boat|
|The famous Soggy Dollar Bar and beach|
The BVI islands and many destinations are still fantastic to visit, many unchanged but a few, like Cooper Island Beach Club, were really improved and a very nice surprise. The Bitter End Yacht Club is still one of our favorites and it has not changed, and we like that. Of course Saba Rock is now 10 times the size of the original rock with a fantastic bar and a fun tarpin feeding show at 1700. Trellis Bay and the Last Resort along with De Loose Mongoose are very fun places to hang out. Snorkeling has been wonderful and the beaches and walks have been a dream as well.
We are really enjoying our boat buddies, Lauren and Bill on 42′ Grand Banks SEA STAR and Meloney and Don on 380 Lagoon FEZYWIG. We are an unusual bunch and we think there is a funny story to tell that would start out….A Motor Yacht, a Catamaran and a Monohull pull into a harbor and ... but that is as far as we have gotten. We are all very lucky to have buddies to run around with and to share the discoverr and the adventures together. We will all store our boats in Puerto Rico and actually be on the same flight out of SJU to PHL. Sea Star is heading to Canada via Buffalo NY and Fezywig is heading to Toronto for the summer. We are heading to PHL. Here is a fun gathering on Island Spirit off Norman’s Island.
|Team Six Knots party on Island Spirit(L-R)
Hayden, Meloney, Bill, Don, Radeen & Lauren
It has been a very very enjoyable British Virgin Islands tour for the first time on OUR OWN boat. For now, it is onto the USVI and back westward….downwind….yahoooo….to Fajardo, Puerto Rico where we will haul out on May 22 and store our boats until Nov. Here is our InReach tracking map of our travels around the Virgin Islands.
Our interactive maps are here:
|The trip around the British Virgin Islands|
|Moored in Road Town to get supplies at Bobby’s Market|
|Oh No, trouble will happen at the Willy T!|
|Beautiful Privateer Bay, anchored at the south end of Norman Island and snorkeling from the boat|
|Willy T (again!) and Team Six Knots. We need to come back here in November and December.|
|Radeen and Lauren on the Willy-T|
|Someone did a varnish service to the cockpit area|
|Sailing Cooper Island to Peter Island|
|Heading back to Jost van Dyke to The Soggy Dollar Bar, home of The Original Painkiller|
|Beautiful blue waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel|
|Passing through Sopers Hole|
|White Bay of Jost van Dyke, anchored off Ivan’s|
|Stern to Bow photo of White Bay on Jost van Dyke|
|The homes on Soper’s Hole, West End of Tortola|
|The homes on Soper’s Hole West End of Tortola|
|Shopping Soper’s Hole|
|Radeen and her latte, spoiled girl.|
|The sun sets on Soper’s Hole’s colorful buildings|
|Laundry drop off day, now off for another Latte….|
|The J-Class and world famous sv Ranger
|The J-Class and world famous sv Ranger
|The USVI vs the BVIs map|
|Where are the BVIs?
Where is Fajardo, Puerto Rico? We will store in PR, May 22
Now time for St. Johns, St. Thomas, Calebra and Culebrita enroute to Puerto Rico.