Our Car the AB Dinghy

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Team Island Spirit is on the launch pad, and as soon as this Noreaster storm dies down and the flooding and high winds and wave die down, we are SOUTHBOUND. For now, here is an interesting post about our CAR, the 10′-6″ AB Dinghy with the 15 hp Yamaha 2 stroke that does 22 knots!  This will get us to shore for the next 7 months!

Here is a direct link to the post on our public Facebook Page.

Here is a direct link to the post on our public Facebook Page.

 

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Intracoastal Waterway Southbound ICW

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Provided here is a simple outline of the popular stops and the common offshore legs for running the ICW southbound from Maryland, Chesapeake Bay to Miami Florida, and Biscayne Bay.

!!!! PDF doc here
ICW Run w-Offshore Op

The ICW Run w/Offshore Ops

Team Island Spirit outline presents the various stops we normally use, plus I have integrated the many offshore options to go out in the ocean. Ocean runs are usually overnight and can be 12-24-36 hours. It all depends on the weather and the run. Here is the basic outline down the coast MD to FL.

Miles are Statute Miles: M

SOUTHBOUND, Starting in Rock Hall, MD

  1. Solomons Island off Zahnisers Marina
  2. Deltaville, VA, Jackson Creek
  3. Hampton or Willoughby Bay
  4. M 0 Portsmouth, VA, South Ferry Basin
  5. M 12 Great Bridge
  6. M 50 Coinjock
  7. M 102 Deep Point, Alligator River
  8. M 158 R.E. Mayo Shrimp Dock or Bonner Bay?
  9. M 188 Cedar Creek, or Oriental
    • M 197 Jarrett Bay Boat Works FUEL STOP
  10. M 200 Beaufort, NC (+ 10nm to Cape Lookout)
    • #1 OFFSHORE OP
      Cape Lookout to Wrightsville Beach 64 NM Or
      Cape Lookout to Charleston SC 205 NM 
  11. M 228 Swansboro or M 244 Mile Hammock Bay, NC
  12. M 283 Wrightsville Beach. NC or
    M 295 Carolina Beach, NC
  13. M 309 Southport, NC or Dutchman Creek or
    M 315 St. James Plantation Marina

    • #2 OFFSHORE OP
      Southport to Charleston 122 NM 
  14. M 355 Barefoot Landing Marina
  15. M 381 Waccamaw River, Bull Creek
  16. M 403 Georgetown, SC
  17. M 451 Whiteside Creek, SC
  18. Target #1:
    • Charleston Maritime Center, Mile 464
      Docking at slack tide only, anchor off aircraft carrier and wait
    • #3 OFFSHORE OP…
      Charleston to Fl/GA line, Fernandina Beach, FL 160 NM or
      Charleston to St Augustine 190 NM 
  19. M 513 Ashepoo River
  20. M 537 Beaufort, SC
    • #4 OFFSHORE OP….
      Beaufort, SC to FL/GA line Fernandina Beach FL 122 NM or
      Beaufort SC to St. Augustine 152 NM
    • Port Royal Sea Buoy is 21nm from Beaufort SC, this is a 4+ hour run to sea!NOTE: We skip Georgia with this run!
  1. M 717 Fernandina Beach, FL
  2. M 735 Ft George, FL
  3. M 778 Augustine, FL
    • #5 OFFSHORE OP….
      Augustine to Ft. Pierce FL 161 NM 
  4. M 832 Daytona, FL
  5. M 878 Titusville, FL
  6. M 898 Cocoa, FL
  7. M 952 Vero Beach City Marina, Fuel Stop
  8. M 966 Ft. Pierce, FL
  9. TARGET #2:
    • Stuart, FL SUNSET BAY MARINA, Mile 989+6 
  10. M 1000 Hobe Sound, FL
  11. M 1022 West Palm Beach, FL
    • #6 OFFSHORE OP…
      West Palm Beach, FL to Miami 66 NM 
  12. M 1065 Lake Sylvia, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    1. #7 OFFSHORE OP/Req. @55ft
      Julia Tuttle Bridge @55 ft
      Lauderdale to Miami 26 NM 
  13. M 1088 South Beach Miami, FL
  14. TARGET #3:
    Dinner Key, Coconut Grove, Mile 1095
    Crandon State Park Fuel Dock is the best
     
  15. WELCOME TO BISCAYNE BAY FL….PARADISE

CONCLUSION

The Run SOUTH to Florida, to Miami, and Biscayne Bay is a boating goal that many dream of accomplishing. It is far easier than expected. We now have found our favorite places after many years of making this run:

  1. Portsmouth South Ferry basin, Commodore Movie Theater
  2. Charleston Maritime Center, because it is on the correct side of town, no mega dock for us!
  3. Augustine, is always a must-stay place
  4. Vero Beach City Marina, a mooring field where you can live forever
  5. Stuart, Fl, where the #1 Marina, SUNSET BAY MARINA is located. This is a dream, our base
  6. Biscayne Bay, Florida. Base here off Coconut Grove / Dinner Key Marina area. Then learn how to access South Beach and the many anchorages and beaches. Sail Sail Sail every day! Enjoy the beaches as well.
  7. The Florida Keys….no thank you, as there are not many beaches, no great harbors other than Marathon! So, after 5 winters in the Keys, we no longer go there. We stay up in Biscayne Bay and sail and swim and enjoy a great area as we prepare for the run to the Bahamas and south.

For Team Island Spirit, we have run the ICW 20 times, plus we have spent 8 winters in the Exumas and 4 winters in the Caribbean Sea. We have 4 summers in Maine and 10 summers in New England based in Block Island, RI. We have owned our Island Packet 35 since 2001 and estimate 40,000 nm under her keel. We really enjoy this lifestyle and today, we are making our 5th Caribbean Sea plans now. We will see you out here:

www.svIslandSpirit.com and #svIslandSpirit on social

!!!! PDF doc here
ICW Run w-Offshore Op

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Summer Refit Completed

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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!”

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KBW10 Transmission repaired

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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.

 

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B&G Halo 20+ Radar added

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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:

 

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Trip Summary Caribbean to Chesapeake Bay

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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
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Stern Tube and New Cutlass Bearing

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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

 

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Bahamas to Maryland HOME

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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……

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Sailing 425nm PR to Bahamas

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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:
https://share.garmin.com/islandspirit

You can also see JUST THIS SEASON’s map of where we have sailed
https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/029c-222ed31e-ae72/view

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
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Off to Sea SAIL along

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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.

Meals

  • 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 (MDschool.com) 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:

https://share.garmin.com/islandspirit

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.

https://share.garmin.com/sealyon

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….

 

 

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