Sunday, 23 July 2017

Newport Rhode Island, Social Cruising Continues ......

After a relaxed 50 mile passage we sailed into Newport, Rhode Island, arriving on schedule for a much anticipated dinner date. Coming into the harbor we dodged beautiful schooners and even more beautiful 12 Meter Americas Cup boats, all carrying passengers on commercial harbor cruises. Newport just oozes sailing tradition, money and tourists. We were lucky - old acquaintances and business connections had come forward, inviting us to dinner at the spectacular  New York Yacht Club facility in Newport.

So the mighty Crystal Blues, flying her Royal Yacht Club Of Victoria and Ocean Cruising Club burgees, rested on a mooring in front of the New York Yacht Club, while Ley and I prepared ourselves for dinner, not such a simple task!

New York Yacht Club At Newport, R.I.

Barbara Horton Lees and Steven Lees were relaxed and gracious hosts, having arrived in Newport themselves just that afternoon. We enjoyed a magic dinner on the great balcony of that beautiful building, looking out over the lawns, then standing with the members for the traditional cannon firing and flag lowering at sunset. After dinner we toured parts of the club house, once the Brown family mansion.

Of course this is the club that had just lost the Americas Cup to team New Zealand, though the spirit at the clubhouse didn't show it, and by the end of the evening we might have felt just a little guilty for cheering on the New Zealanders a few weeks earlier .... though I have a feeling that the New York Yacht Club won't hesitate to take up that proud fight again.

They have an incredibly active sailing program, hosting numerous race series for many classes, plus active sailing development programs.

Our hosts, Barbara and Steven, have lived on board their own boat for many years, and are working toward a full-time cruising life, so we were able to share stories of our own experiences.

The celebrations continued next morning with breakfast on board their boat, before we parted ways, hoping to meet at sea again in the future. We departed Newport later that morning in a light fog, bound for Bristol, Rhode Island, accompanied by beautiful sailing schooners and memories of a very special evening.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Great New England Social Cruise - Part 2

Noank Waterfront Homes
Leaving Norwalk, we motor sailed against a 25 knot north easterly wind to reach shelter in New Haven, Connecticut. Once again, this was a slightly disappointing harbor destination, however it did allow us to stage our way to the North East along Long Island Sound, in quite poor weather.  Life looked better the next day when we arrived at the village of Noank, at the southern end of the Mystic River channel, this time in beautiful sunny conditions.

Crystal Blues At Ram Island Yacht Club
First some perspective - Ley and I vacationed in Noank some 22 years ago, before we owned a boat.  In those day we just did a lot of boat looking, and there are very few ugly boats in Noank ... these folk have been raised with proper values! Everything is a classic, even the fiberglass versions.

This is a picture perfect New England village, set on a peninsular that sprouts beautiful scenes at every turn. All traffic for the Mystic Seaport Museum goes upriver past Noank, so it is a great place to sit and watch the passing parade of fabulous wooden and classic boats.

We were welcomed and hosted here by Sidney and Sandy Van Zandt, who are the Ocean Cruising Club Port Officers in Noank, having settled here after there own circumnavigation in a boat they built with their own hands - more power to them!

Sidney and Sandy also arranged a mooring for us to use, right across from their yacht club, made available by other club members.

Being social and resourceful folk, they also invited several members of the local Ram Island Yacht Club to welcome us, at their home, the very evening we arrived. The club is a family run organisation, supported by the goodwill of volunteer members and shows great family spirit, with an active junior sailing program.

So our three nights in Noank became a celebration of cruising and sailing, with many local guests visiting on board Crystal Blues.  We had gracious support from the Ram Island Yacht Club and it's members, who invited us to use the club wharf on our last evening in town. We really did not want to leave.

However we had to move on, as our very social cruise had forward bookings. So we sailed from Noank, onwards to the North and East, heading for yet another social event .....

Moonrise Over The Mystic River

Very Social Cruising In New England

Beautiful New England
Since leaving New York City our cruising life has become extremely social. An unplanned series of connections somehow linked up, to create a cruise through beautiful New England like no other.

We started with a visit to the New York Athletic Club Yacht Club, at Travers Island, Pelham, just north east of the city.

Here we celebrated Independence Day on July 4th, with our good friend Steven Shaw and his sons Eli & Ethan. Steven's friends Paul and Elaine Osmolskis arranged access to the club for us, and became truly sensational hosts. I should say here that Steven was Best Man at our wedding, and Ethan is our Godson, so it was a great and long overdue reunion.

It is hard to understand how important the 4th of July really is, unless you call America home. Its a time of family reunion, contemplation, celebration and fireworks.

We dressed Crystal Blues with signal and club flags, plus our big battle flag, and made ready to join the party. We learned that night that the New York Athletic Club was pivotal in the start of the modern Olympic Games - together with a similar club in Chicago they basically kicked the ball off and started the modern Olympics. While berthed at the club we also received a visit from Thomas and Linda Delaney, OCC Port Officers for New York, who had seen our burgee flying and wanted to make sure we were looked after ... which we certainly were.

Incidentally, the US Declaration Of Independence is reprinted and published each year on July 4, by the New York Times. Check it out here.

NYAC Yacht Club Launch - A Proper Way To Go Ashore
The 4th Of July Picnic Cruise

We started the 4th of July with a delightful picnic cruise on Long Island Sound, before heading back to the yacht club for a serious overdose of fireworks that night.

Two Old Friends - Now Very Old !
Next day we moved on, arriving in the town of Norwalk, Connecticut, after a four hour passage. There we met with David and Jody Neaderland, long time friends that started with a business relationship back in the 1980's.

Dave and Jody were at our wedding in 1998, and also cruised on Port Philip Bay with us.

Now they have two great children, a growing business building AV middle-ware and a marvelous newly renovated home. It has been a long time ....

The reunion in Norwalk was warm and memorable, however once we recovered the next morning we needed to move on, and departed before the Norwalk dock authorities could attack our bank account again ..... (fifty US dollars for every six hours on a very crappy town dock was a bit steep).  Dave & Jody - we'll be back guys!

And the unusual part about the start of our New England cruise ? In two consecutive ports we met with old friends who were present at our wedding - couldn't have planned it better.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

In One Day, In New York .....

The Guggenheim Experience Is Mind Expanding
OK, so our last post didn't really cover the New York experience ... suffice to say it was a mix of excitement, culture, history, art education and grief. Our first stop, the impressive 9/11 Memorial, certainly brings home the scale of the disaster, and I'm not showing images here, simply because they don't do it justice. Its a powerful place.

 The amazing Guggenheim Museum filled most of our time, with the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture competing with (and in some cases dominating) the great master art works on the gallery walls. It's a staggeringly beautiful building.

New York is BIG, so big that moving around town efficiently means spending big on cabs, or using the subway.

I'd forgotten just how tricky the subway system can be - in the image at left I'm sitting happily on a platform waiting for a train that eventually never came - that wiped the smile off my face. We were on the wrong platform, in the wrong station. Not very efficient.

We finished the afternoon at the Russian Tea Room on West 57th Street, right by Carnegie Hall. We had cocktails, they make an outstanding dry martini, though the place has lost some of its former charm following a refit in 2009. Still, we both loved it for the decadence, and the Faberge eggs were very New York - BIG. Back on the train at Penn Station, we were home to Port Washington in time for a late dinner. Didn't see a show, didn't hear any jazz, but had a great day.

We'll visit New York again later in the summer, for music and retail therapy, though I'll need more training on those subway numbers and routes.

The Russian Tea Room Also Plays With Your Mind, With A Different Aesthetic

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Sailing New York City

Sailing in to New York Harbour is a blast - we did it once before in the year 2000, but this was the first time in our own boat. Entering under the Verrazano Bridge the wide sweep of the harbor opens up, with lady Liberty on port side and Manhattan on starboard. With sails down, we motored around Liberty Island for the essential photo session, then headed north up the Hudson River to anchor near the 79th Street Boat Basin, passing first Governors Island (where I was a guest back in 1972) then lower Manhattan to starboard.

Heading Up The Hudson River, June 29
The boat basin provides moorings for visiting vessels, but we found they were all out of commission. We were encouraged to anchor to the north of the mooring field, which turns out to be at West 98th Street - a very long way from the boat basin. Looking forward to a meal ashore we persevered, only to find that the wind-over-tide conditions were so bad we didn't dare leave the boat, which was dancing around the anchor constantly.

One night was enough - next morning we retrieved our anchor (with some difficulty - lots of snags in the river) and headed out, determined never to anchor on the Hudson River again!

Here's To New York City - My Bloody Mary Was Perfect
So down river we went, then turned to port at the bottom of Manhattan and headed north again up the East River, timing our run to cross the confluence with the Harlem River, "Hells Gate", at slack tide. Continuing north west we moved out onto Long Island Sound within a couple of hours.

From there it was just a few miles to beautiful Port Washington, a large protected harbour that offers free mooring for two days to visiting boats.

The local town has all the required services, and we were able to ride the Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station in New York in only 40 minutes. It's a perfect way to visit New York by boat - anchored in a safe and friendly rural environment, but with easy access to the city. We visited the 9/11 Memorial in the morning, had lunch in Chelsea and toured the Guggenheim Museum in the afternoon.  By dinner time we were back in Port Washington, no stress, and no wind-over-tide. Port Washington is a cruiser friendly place that deserves better recognition.

Early Morning East River Transit

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Cruising USA - Generous Folk In Every Port

This is Ben, a clam fisherman who works the waters of Sandy Hook Bay, just 20 miles south of New York City. Ben is a "clammer" - hard work on these cold waters, as all the retrieval is done with muscle power, no engines permitted when actually fishing - he rakes the bottom with long rakes. He's also a sailor, and one of the very many Americans who have been incredibly gracious and generous hosts to us, since we arrived on the East Coast of the USA.

Fresh New York Clams
When we anchored in the Shrewsbury River near Pacific Highlands, Ben was on his way home.  He stopped his boat and said he'd like to offer us a meal of New York clams - could we pass over a bucket ?

Of course we could, and Ben loaded us up with a decent meal of large clams. They were delicious, and we owe Ben a beer or two when we pass his fishing grounds again in a few months.

Ben isn't alone in his generosity to cruising travelers - from the first day we arrived in Charleston (South Carolina) people approached us, seeing the Australian flag, and offered to help. In two days on the dock in Charleston we were offered moorings in three different harbours on Long Island Sound. One passing sailor watched me removing the Raymarine wind vane from the top of the mast and immediately offered us a spare that he had at home in his garage. Others have simply been there when we needed them, helping with local transport and sharing local knowledge, opening their homes and sharing meals and social time together.

Some of the support is tendered through connections with sailing associations - the Seven Seas Cruising Association and the Ocean Cruising Club in particular - those clubs have a network of friendly volunteer port officers in many of the harbors and towns along this coast. Club membership does have it's benefits.

Frankly, we've never felt quite so loved, there is a real sense of engagement and support here that we didn't expect - despite the many times we've toured and worked in the USA in the past. Yacht Club members are quick to offer support and if possible share their club facilities. So, hats off to the friendly people of the US east coast - from the Carolinas, to Chesapeake Bay and on to Long Island Sound, it is a delight to cruise here - we thank you all!

One Of The Protected Berths We've Been Able To Use - Thanks Walt & Mary !

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Chesapeake Bay to New York City - Just Cruising

The Lady Maryland, Sunrise Off New York City

We departed the city mooring field in beautiful Annapolis on Monday morning, heading north up Chesapeake Bay. The bay narrowed as we moved north, and we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful wooded countryside and rolling farmland, a sea of green.

Bridges On The C&D Canal

 At the top of the bay we turned to starboard, running east through the C&D Canal. As required, we lowered our sails for that section, concentrating on the (truly) beautiful scenery along the canal shoreline.

This canal carries quite large ships, car carriers, tugs and barges, traffic of all types, but we had a quiet passage and exited just in time to anchor in the Delaware River before dinner.

Where the canal exits, the Delaware River is a massive tidal estuary, at times miles across.  We set out at 5:00am with a run-out tide, seeing 9.4 knots SOG at times, and traveled over 50 nautical miles before reaching the Atlantic Ocean once again, right at Cape May.

The Delaware River - Tankers, Container Ships, Tugs & Barges, plus Nuclear Power Plants

Beautiful Cape May

Cape May has a fierce reputation as somewhere to keep well clear of, however we found calm conditions, sunshine and blue skies, and were able to cut across the (very shallow) inshore shoals at Cape May to hug the shoreline as we turned north towards New Jersey and New York City.

Charting Caution - Cruisers should note that the Navionics chart data card we purchased for our Raymarine chart plotter, only weeks ago here in the USA, was woefully incorrect through that area of shoals - clearly that sand moves around a lot. However the Navionics Sonar Chart data on our iPads was absolutely spot-on accurate. I really do need to update the chart plotter card with the latest data from the iPads ..... it seems that Navionics crowd sourced depth data, known as Sonar Charts, is paying dividends. It also seems that buying a new data card at West Marine, or any chandlery, doesn't mean the chart data will be "fresh".

From Cape May we continued north west along the New Jersey shoreline, passing Atlantic City and its network of high rise towers just before dinner time. Over night we motor sailed on, in company with the schooner Lady Maryland, arriving off the entrance to New York Harbour just after sunrise - it was a fine welcome to New York. After breakfast we motored in to the Sandy Hook Channel and found a very sheltered anchorage in the Shrewsbury River.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Twenty Two Years On, We Return To Annapolis

Boat dreaming, in June 1995. This image captured with an early Digital camera, all of 756 pixels wide.

Way back in 1995 Ley and I visited Annapolis, playing the tourists while on a business trip to the United States. We were busy running a growing business, but we dreamed of sailing and cruising to places exactly like this. Two years later we purchased Crystal Blues and the dream became a reality.

So, almost exactly twenty two years after that first Annapolis visit, we're now able to sit on the same docks and look at our own floating home, moored just a 100 meters off shore. It does feel good!

Since the adventure began we've sailed over 50,000 nautical miles, crossed several major oceans and visited seventeen different countries. Ïn an email received yesterday, our friend Jim Cate encouraged us to "have as much fun as possible" while we are here. I can assure you Jim, we will keep trying!
Back In Annapolis, Older & A Little Wiser

Crystal Blues arrived in Annapolis on Friday afternoon after a down-wind run up Chesapeake Bay from Solomon's Island. We've taken a mooring for the weekend right off the town dock, which is ground zero for boat watching in this most nautical of cities. Members of the local Annapolis Yacht Club have hosted us to the club, so once again we are being looked after very well. Tomorrow we head further north up Chesapeake Bay, then enter the C&D Canal for a (hopefully) smooth transit through to the Delaware River.

Southern Hospitality

Here in Virginia, we've been blessed by southern hospitality - on arrival we were hosted by family friends (thanks Lael & Katherine!) who have a dock in beautiful Horne Harbor, a small tributary of the Great Wicomico River. Horne Harbour is a recognised Hurricane Hole, with steep forested banks plus a few homes peeking through the forest on the ridges above. Miles from the nearest town, it is both natural and rural. Otters and beavers live in the creek, there are deer and squirrels on shore, bald eagles and osprey nesting along the banks. It's a perfect anchorage, though the shallow entry needs a rising tide for safe navigation.

Horne Harbour - Peaceful, Pretty & Protected
After 10 days there we moved down river to Cockrell Creek, in the town of Reedville, staying on another private dock, this time as guests of Walter Keith and Mary Frazer who are, like us, members of the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA). Walt & Mary volunteer as "cruising station" hosts for the area. We joined the SSCA about 18 years ago, and it has taken until this month to meet members on their home territory - what a great welcome they delivered.

Crystal Blues At Rest, Walt & Mary's Dock, Cockrell Creek

Rocking Chairs On The Balcony, With Walter & Mary

On Horne Harbour we were able to relax and enjoy the local environment, plus start a series of jobs on our maintenance list, including the removal and refinishing / bedding of another deck hatch.

Those jobs were completed on Cockrell Creek, with great assistance from Walt & Mary, who provided transport and a vehicle when we needed it.

They also managed to ramp our social life up by several notches, with sundown drinks on the balcony each evening, beautiful meals together and an introduction to the local community, specially through the Reedville Fisherman's Museum. The museum is only 100 paces from Walt & Mary's front door, and is an important social connector in the area. Members gather every second Friday evening for a pot luck sundowners session at the museum. Our first Sunday in town the museum also hosted a New Orleans Blues music event, with a great local band headlining - check out the Adrian Duke Project. With all that hospitality we felt quite at home in Reedville, also hosting locals onboard Crystal Blues.

Cockrell Creek Mast Work - A New Windex Instrument Installed
On Tuesday and Thursday mornings the wooden boat workshop at the Museum is in action, attracting a keen group of local volunteers, restoring vessels and building new ones. I was of course invited - its a great way to spend a day.

I think it's a little unkind for the local ladies to refer to it as the retired men's club - but whatever fits! The shed smells exactly like a wooden boat workshop should and is very well equipped.

These guys do great work - evidence is floating at the museum docks, with beautifully restored and maintained fishing vessels, both power and sail.

Our own work included removing the washing machine from the lazarette space, so it could be repaired on deck - this provided great entertainment for the locals. The machine has done great service since we installed it in Singapore 8 years ago, but the refit in Trinidad almost killed it - the exit hose was choked with anti-fouling paint. We also installed a new long range wi-fi receiver, in reality a wireless bridge, to replace our older Wave WiFi device - but that's news for a future story.

Reedville offers visiting cruisers a friendly and peaceful home, with several good restaurants and countless quiet and sheltered anchorages. Three local marinas can provide fuel, water and dockage if required.

Check the link below for more images of the beautiful Reedville village.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

New Cockpit Shades - Looking Swish Again

Beautiful New Cockpit Shade Covers
After 6 months on the hard stand in Trinidad, our cockpit covers were looking kind of shabby and unloved. Almost 8 years old, they had seen a lot of use in hot and steamy Asia, plus windy South Africa.

Ley purchased 40 meters of Ferrari Stamoid Top fabric in Singapore back in 2011, and over recent years she has sewn new shade covers for the fore deck and the midship area. The balance of that fabric roll was intended for new cockpit covers - a project Ley has just completed.

Why Stamoid Top? On the web, we found the following statement, by W Marine canvas:

"Stamoid Top is a vinyl-laminated (both sides) high-tenacity polyester.  Although Ferrari Stamoid makes a wide variety of yachting textiles I chose Stamoid Top due to its prevalence compared to the other Ferrari Stamoid products. This fabric is very durable and tolerates extreme long-term exposure quite well considering that many of the applications for which it is favored tend to remain installed year-round.  Stamoid should only be used for applications which do not require the fabric to breath since as a vinyl-coated fabric Stamoid will not breathe." Read more about the differences between Stamoid, Sunbrella and other similar materials here.

We whole heartedly agree with that review of the qualities of Stamoid Top. Longevity of the covers against UV damage and abrasion is excellent, specially when sewn with Tenara thread. Our covers were all sewn on Ley's Sailrite sewing machine with a walking foot.  Sewing with Tenara can be a bit of a challenge at first, as the thread needs quite tight tension to make a well balanced stitch, but it can be mastered with a little practice.

Cover Rolled Up, Inside View
We love the Stamoid white also for the diffused light it bathes the cockpit in on a sunny day, while reflecting most of the heat. Further, the fabric is not bulky to roll up and store.

 Both our boom shade tent and the new cockpit shades are attached with bolt rope tape sewn to the covers. This slides into a PVC bolt rope track that is screwed or pop riveted to the boat. This makes for a very secure installation, and also allows very easy installation and removal.
Cover Rolled Up, Outside View

Our covers are stowed in position, rolled up and secured with straps. It's simple to undo the drop-nose hooks and unroll the shades.

We use bungee cord and nylon hooks to clip quickly onto the life lines.  This combination allows us to have excellent shade, cool breezes and shelter from the rain when we need it.

Best of all, our outlook is not blocked and the cockpit remains dry in all but very heavy rain.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Charleston Hurricane Reminder

Like a sad and permanent warning sign, this sailboat has been high and dry on the banks of the Ashley River in Charleston, South Carolina, for the past 10 months or so. It dragged anchor during the last hurricane that passed by here.

One American friend told me that through the summer, he is "always looking over his shoulder" as he sails on this coast. You just can't tell when a hurricane will head your way.

In Australia, tropical cyclones don't extend much below 28degrees south, but on the US east coast hurricane impacts are felt all the way north onto Long Island, at 40 degrees north.

In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy killed over 40 people, destroyed 250,000 vehicles and flooded the New York subway system, shutting down business and cities all over Long Island and the New Jersey shore.

The storm surge was over 14 feet above normal high water.

Hurricane Matthew Passes North Of Us In 2016

Our (new) marine insurer, Y Yacht Insurance, asks us to be north of 36 degrees by June 1st, or we would not have cover for damage caused by "named storms" - this is not an uncommon condition, though some insurance companies allow cover to continue somewhat further south.

Needless to say, we'll cruise the US coast this summer somewhat cautiously, always watching over our shoulder. In reality, we're watching the 5 Day Tropical Weather Outlook on the NOAA web site, as per the image at right.

You can see the current NOAA Hurricane Center warnings, if any, by clicking here.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Charleston, South Carolina

We arrived in Charleston after a five day passage from Cuba, running north west through the Old Bahama Channel and then north up the coast of Florida and Georgia, riding the Gulf Stream current towards our first US landfall.  The current did not disappoint, giving us 10 and 11 knots over the ground for many hours.

Approaching Charleston in the early morning, we were surprised to see three large square rigged ships ahead of us, all waiting in the offing for Charleston Pilots to guide them in. On VHF radio we spoke with the tall ship Picton Castle, seen above, and learned that a tall ships festival was happening in Charleston that coming weekend.

We sailed on through the entry channel, all 15 miles of it, entered Charleston Harbour (without a pilot) and berthed at the Charleston City Marina, the Mega Dock. Welcome to the USA!

Checking in at the marina office we learned that our two day stay on the dock would cost over $300.00 Australian dollars, plus power and water of course, and plus taxes .... but OK, they do provide a great courtesy bus service, and the staff are very friendly, but ouch it sure costs. So we made the required phone call to US Customs & Border Protection, and soon enough were visited by two very courteous border protection officers, who cleared us into the United States and departed with all our citrus fruits, pork products, eggs etc. The fact that they asked us to throw all this "dangerous" stuff in the river makes a mockery of the actual risks associated with this produce - we refused, and insisted they take it with them for proper disposal (incineration). Maybe not such a great welcome after all!

Ah, but Charleston is just so genteel (and yes, I've been wanting to use that line for weeks). A city of only 20,000 odd souls, the major industry is tourism, followed closely by more tourism and then education coming in a distant third. A single cruise ship arriving in port will swell the population by more than 10%, but when they leave the old town is staggeringly beautiful, and the university students get on with life as they do anywhere else in the world - with music, good food and boundless optimism. Charleston was the major British trading port before the War of Independence, and also a major center for landing and selling slaves from Africa, so it does have a chequered history.

After a couple of days on the (expensive) Mega Dock, our bank manager insisted we move off, so we anchored in the designated anchorage area just off the marina, spending time with local resident friends we had first met in Trinidad.

Cutting Away The First Obstacle
Two days later it was time to leave, however our departure was rudely delayed by something big and ugly attached to our anchor chain. With about 20 meters of chain still out, and the windlass straining, we hauled to the surface a major ball of chain,  three anchors, rope rode, and general barnacle encrusted mess. Our chain was wrapped twice around this nightmare, which also had another chain running to the bottom, now drawn tight.

With over a knot of current running in the river it was going to be a challenge to clear this, so first we cut the other chain with our angle grinder, taking some pressure off. Then we were able to motor forward against the current and eventually flip the twists of our chain off the ball of anchors. It was too big to lift onboard, so then we cut it away and let it fall to the bottom. Next we continued retrieving our chain only to find our anchor was stuck fast on something big and heavy.  We engaged the chain stopper on deck and tried to motor off it, but only managed to blow a lot of diesel smoke in the air. At this point we decided to call a diving service and went forward to release our chain - we'd be here for another night - but found the chain stopper jammed by the rising tide.

Hooking Up The New Rocna & Swivel
Now we were truly stuck - the windlass couldn't haul chain in and the rising tide was rapidly pulling the bow under water. Out with the angle grinder again, and we proceeded to cut our own precious chain, abandoning the big Rocna anchor we purchased in Thailand.

Then it was back to the Mega Dock marina for three days while a replacement anchor was delivered to Charleston for us. We will not anchor in that part of Charleston Harbour again!

Despite these problems, our overwhelming memory of Charleston is positive, it is a great town for cruising visitors. An excellent anchorage is available off the James Island Yacht Club, just a few miles down stream, where we christened the new anchor before heading off into the North Atlantic again.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Cruising Fun In The BVIs, A Sailors Paradise

The British Virgin Islands are a sailors paradise - reaching across the Sir Francis Drake Channel is a marvelous way to spend an afternoon, racing south west past Virgin Gorda, heading for a Dark & Stormy at the floating bar in The Bight on Norman Island - it's the stuff dreams are made of.

The fun continues when you enter harbour, as legendary super yachts and equally legendary classic yachts seem to be everywhere. At Jost Van Dyke we watched the (very few) entrants in the annual wooden boat regatta come back into harbour - what they lacked in numbers they sure made up for in style. That night at Foxy's Bar the prize giving was a typical yacht club style event, with perhaps more rum consumed than was wise.

Old man Foxy was even there for a little while, however I think he needed to go back of house and review his share portfolio or something - that guy has worked hard and done well  - I do remember him cooking lobster for me 30 years ago on the beach in East End Harbour, near Diamond Cay..

J-Class Classic Ranger At Virgin Gorda

If the racing or wooden boats don't get you, then the charter boats provide the most entertainment, specially at anchoring time. We invested some time helping folk pick up mooring balls in trying conditions - an afternoon in the cockpit wasn't complete without seeing at least one blooper. Heck, we've all done it, right?

Trying To Get Both Hulls Hooked Up ... Very Trying

Why Is The Dinghy Under The Boat? 'Çause Propellers Love Painters.

Overall, the British Virgin Islands are simply a great place to be on a boat.