Yes, this is our 20th year of owning and sailing Island Spirit. She is family! We never thought we would keep her 20 years, as we always thought we would move up to the IP40. Now after 40,000nm+ we see that she does not stop us from going anywhere we want to go. We have sailed her 10 times down the East Coast ICW and 10 times north. We have pushed 8 winters into the Bahamas and now this is the 4th winter in the Caribbean. Two of these runs to the Caribbean started in Annapolis, MD and ended in Grenada! Island Spirit loves to run and we know this boat inside and out due to our 4 total refits. Here is our yearly send off photo….ten x two 🙂 December 20, 2021.
Departing Puerto Rico
Leaving the dock after your yacht has been in storage for 16 months is not an easy thing. The number one concern is…WILL SHE RUN and WILL SHE KEEP RUNNING? Imagine this. You leave the shelter of the protected Puerto Del Ray Marina, turn EAST directly into the tradewinds on your bow. The waves are 4 feet at 6 seconds and you need to power directly off a stone wall jetty UPWIND. Of course, this would be the perfect time for the fuel tank to stir up some dirt and your fuel filter to clog and your engine to die. (This is why we polished the entire fuel tank ourselves before departing.) We were nervous to say the least. Here is a photo taken about 1/4 mile out as we bashed east!
Departed with IP40 Gypsy Soul
We left PR with new friends aboard IP45 Gypsy Soul. Todd and Kitti were heading to STT as well and we all were hoping to depart on the calmest day possible Well, 15 knots and 4-foot seas are calm here. You can see what an Island Packet 40 looks like in this sea state.
Blue Water is WHY
Why put up with such “calm” conditions you might ask. Well, one of the reasons is that the water is so beautiful. When compared to Florida, or the coastal waters or even the Bahamas, the Caribbean Sea and Ocean water blue is like no other blue. Look at this photo, just a simple cell phone photo from the helm. The gorgeous is one of the reasons we love to sail here. It is worth all the effort and expense.
Arrival St. Thomas, USVI
There is something very special about sailing your boat to St. Thomas, USVI, and dropping the anchor off Charlotte Amalie. As the sun sets over your stern and the full moon rises over your bow, the city lights come on and illuminate the harbor. The water reflects the lights and makes a beautiful show of colors.
Tradition, The Greenhouse for Lunch
Since 1986 we have always celebrated our arrival in STT by going to THE GREENHOUSE and looking out on the water and reflecting on all that we went thru to get here. This year we celebrated with Todd and Kitti and shared a very fun lunch together. Here is the required selfie in front of The Greenhouse.
You sail, you get presents!
One other tradition we (I, Hayden) have is that I like to buy Radeen a treat for being the great sailor that she is. Every time we sail into STT we go shopping, it is tradition. This year, with an exorbitant amount of boat expenses, and travel expenses, and dockage expenses we did not go wild. We simply wanted a necklace pendant of freshwater pearls and some pearl earrings. So, off we strolled to our favorite place, GRAND JEWELERS and sure enough, I found exactly what I wanted. Radeen was thrilled and we were very happy with the deal. Again, WELCOME to ST THOMAS.
The Season has FINALLY begun…
Now that we have left the docks and we are out on the anchor, we feel the season has begun. You all know as boaters, the hardest part of any trip is simply leaving the dock. If you can do that and just keep going, then you are cruising. Sure the boat will break down, systems will fail, winds and waves and squalls will build, but, you left that slip and you are finally out, Once out, you simply learn to deal with these normal boat challenges along the way. They say, Cruising is….Fixing your boat in remote locations….and that is so true. We are so happy to have left the dock!
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