Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Season is Starting to Roll

More and ore of these huge yachts are beginning to show up here is St Martin. 

We are heading to Nevis/St Kitts tomorrow. 

Jim Gregory 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

We need to meet these people!!

Some People Just Know How To Have Fun!!!

I almost set a catamaran adrift today!!

Sunset off Shell Beach, St. Barths

Morpheus moved from Gustavia a short distance to Shell Beach, St. Barths early this morning.  We have a great spot right in the middle of a very small harbor, the popular beach just a couple blocks from the town is covered by millions of small shells (the source of the name),  there is a small cafe "Do Brasil" here, and the water is warm and spectacularly clear.

We spent the day onboard for the most part.  Lots of swimming to cool off, and Deb swam in to the beach for a glass of wine with the cool people that make up St. Barths.

My adventure of the day had nothing to do with "cool people".  Instead, it involved a 45 foot charter catamaran.  The captain came in with his non boating guests and anchored about a boatlength behind us and somewhat less in front of a worn out looking bulletproof cruising boat.  The "guests" gave each other high fives as the anchor hit the water and immediately dove overboard heading for the beach.

This was all entertaining to us, until we saw the captain jump in his dinghy and head for the beach and presumably the beach bar as well!!  Really???  When he left there was no more than 10 feet between him and the cruiser behind us.  We couldn't beleive it.  But hey, when in France its best to figure out how things work before you get to critical.

Well, it didn't take long and about 45 minutes later the wind shifted and the charter boat swung right into the bow of the old cruiser.  Nobody on either boat, and at least the charter boat was getting the worst of it.  That old cruiser had a huge metal anchor roller that seemed to be taking big bites out of the catamarans stern.

Anyway, I jumped in my dinghy and headed over to the other two boats.  I used the dinghy to pull them apart and confirmed that there was nobody aboard either boat.  Once done, I headed in towards the beach to find the charter captain.  At that point, another "local" cruiser buzzed over to the catamaran and showed me what I should have done.

Apparently, the local custom is, if you are an idiot and leave your boat unattended in a place where it can hurt others, it's fair game to jump onboard, pull up your anchor and motor your boat to where ever the good samaritan thinks it should be!

It was great, to see the charter captain running down the beach full speed towards his dinghy as this other guy pulled up his anchor and was motoring the boat out of the harbor!!

Next time, I'll know what to do....
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Morpheus at anchor in Simpson Bay, St Martin

Jim Gregory 

Bermuda to St. Martin - From Debbie's point of view.

On Nov 13, 2012, at 5:30 AM, "Deb Gregory" <> wrote:

This is for my family and friends who won't panic with the true (to me) version of our last passage.

Whenever I have reservations about my life style for the last 2 years, Jim always says, "Don't lose your sense of adventure!" Well, after this trip I think I can say that I am not loosing my sense of adventure, just for parts of his adventures. I think that was the last passage I'll do. I'm flying from now on. Unfortunately the last 2 days were great, so, like child birth, it makes the first 5 days hard to remember.

This trip was supposed to take 4 to 5 days. It took 8. I never thought we were going to die, I knew the boat would make it. I wasn't scared, (except when driving at night, downwind, in big waves, but that's a personal issue) but there was a lot of time when I couldn't tell you if life was going to get better or worse.

Start with the day before we leave Bermuda. That will be day -1:

Day -1: Fire in the Galley oven. Get it out by simply turning off gas. Figure out Broiler is toast and by extension the oven as well. But after testing, the rest is ok. Crew shows up. We have 3 friends joining us. 1 we sail with all the time. 1 sailing friend from college, one a San Francisco sailing friend.

Day 1: Nice day sailing. We forgot to pick up our case of duty free rum when we checked out. (Bad Omen) Almost turned around, but no. Should have.

Later we have a squall from 10 to 35 knots in 60 seconds. No damage but you mentally go from 0-60 in 5 seconds! If you are asleep, all of a sudden you are up and running. Adrenalin surge! Rain and squalls all night*.

(This means that you are sailing at night, no moon until late, and rain clouds blow up with big wind (20 knots) and TORRENTIAL RAIN in front of them, then 2 knots behind. This leaves you wallowing in the waves with the waves slapping for 1-3 hours. It's worse than nails on a chalk board. Seriously a bummer. You go from cool and groovy, to all hands on deck in less than 1 minute, then try to get the boat moving again while wet and clammy.)

Day 2: Engine Fire at dusk, fire extinguisher and fire blanket called into play. Starter motor burned out. No engine, so no electricity except for what solar panels could produce. (Solar panels are great!)

No electricity officially sucks. Enough for instruments and computer updates twice a day, nothing else. No auto pilot, so we go to 1 hour on watch hand steering, 4 hours off. In theory this is not too bad (if all can steer and stuff doesn't go wrong in the middle of he night). Jim doesn't get 3 hours of sleep in a row for the rest of the trip. I'm trying to restructure the menu since I can't bake bread and the stove is seriously questionable .

Jim's sterilized version published via a post to the blog - "We had a problem with the ignition system of the engine. Now can't start it. No other issues and solar will keep us powered enough to get to St. Martin. So rare updates from here."

Ya think?

Rain and squalls all night*.

Day 3: Instruments spontaneously go out. We still have the "old fashioned" compass, but nothing else. We each hand steer a 1 hour watch all night At 2 am I have serious thoughts about the Bermuda Triangle, which we are definitely not in, and aliens coming down from outer space and taking us off the boat, leaving Ita all by her self. No shit. Seriously! Rain and squalls all night*

Day 4: Jim fixed instruments!! Turns out it was 1 loose wire. Jim debugged. He's da man! Then, another galley stove fire. The clamp that connects the supply valve for the oven to the main gas line was cheap metal and corroded all to pieces allowing gas to escape. Jim removed the oven valve and plugged the hole with ... you guessed it - Duct Tape! This left us with only 1 burner for the rest of the trip. Rain and squalls all night*. Too much wind for me to steer.

Day 5: Wind during day, no wind at night and 3 hour waterfall at night. We did soaking wet sails slapping back and forth circles for 3 hours. Rain and squalls all night*. Too much wind or too little for me to steer.

Day 6: Light wind most of the day, then a Huge Squall, (2 hours w/ 25 to 30 knots) then nice wind 12-15. Finally into the trades. Nice night with some rain. Beautiful stars. Big Dipper to the north and southern cross to the south, moon rises to port.

Day 7: Mostly good wind. Some squalls at night. Sometimes no wind at night for periods, resulting in slapping sails, yuck.

Day 8: Drop anchor at 7:30 am under sail 30 seconds before a 23 knot squall arrives with torrential downpour. What a finish! Clear customs, buy a new starter and Jim has engine running by 5pm. YEAH!!!! New stove tomorrow!! DOUBLE YEAH!!!

Jim's Comments: Well, most of what Debbie describes is generally correct, although it does seem to be flavored a bit via her point of view. Which is understandable. I actually think there was some really great sailing involved along the way, and having to turn off the electronics etc. and just go sailing was a good reminder of how easy we do have it most times. Plus, she downplays her skills when it comes to driving the boat. She did really well and could have continued. She just didn't like it.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

RE: Morpheus - Half way St. Martin - Dead Starter - Seeking Advice??

My comment posted to the blog

Anonymous2:34 PM
In my defense I never suggested any of those ideas because if things went wrong the potential for damage was far worse than the need for speed or cold beer.

Forget about loss of life, there was real potential with any of those solutions to scratch paint or more drastic the wood. And we know how Jim is about the wood.

I was going to suggest bump starting the engine which we have actually done on the tugs, but that requires speed and you had little of that at the time.

As Frederic mentioned there is also the possibility of starting the engine in reverse. Google the effects of that, it is not good.

Your Brother

Morpheus - Half way St. Martin - Dead Starter - Seeking Advice??

Hi everyone,

Below are the two best suggestions that I received when looking for help getting our engine started a few days ago.

How is it that the French are so much more clever than the rest of us???


Emmanuel Renoir
Any way to wrap a rope on the front crank pulley and use blocks to the boom? Main tight, puff of wind, release main to pull on rope and crank engine. Could use crew to pull on rope too! Or push on boom.
Good luck!

Frederic Laffitte
1/ You need to rig a system of ropes around the flywheel of the engine if it
is accessible on your boat,like a winch, making sure that the rope is
wrapped the correct way or your engine can start in reverse and destroy

2/ With a system of pulleys you need a line that goes up to the spreaders or
higher with a 4 to 1 ratio and attach a jerry jug to this block and tackle

3/ The jerry jug must have a way to be released at a distance so its weight
will pull on the block and tackle when you hit the release.

4/The block and tackle will pull on the line wrapped around the flywheel and
starts the engine....

It sounds crazy but it works well, a French round the world guy did it every
day for 2 months to charge is batteries.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

And soon, you will have the rest of the story...

We are safe and sound in St. Martin. Our predicted 5+ day trip turned into 7. We ran into engine problems, mast issues, gas stove issues, instrument outages, lack of wind, too much wind, squalls, big squalls and really big squalls.

But...we are here. Tonight I expect a bit of a rum squall and then tomorrow we'll work on telling a bit more about the trip.

BTW - The engine is running as I type this!!! They had a replacement starter in stock when I walked into the Yanmar shop. Deb is very happy!

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Anchor down - st Martin

Arrived and anchored moments before a thirty knot squall hit the harbor. 

Par for the course in this trip!!

Jim Gregory 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hey Rob

Well, this passage has been one for the record books. Engine issues, gas stove issues, instrument issues, light wind that always seemed to blow from St. Martin, etc. We could have used your constant optimism for the past week.

Things changed yesterday after a 30+ knot "squall" that lasted a couple of hours. We are finally in the trades and making miles directly towards St. Martin.

Last night the skies cleared and the breeze was blowing hard. My watch from 3-6am was spectacular. 18-22 from behind, big waves, a sky filled with stars. The Big Dipper directly behind, and the Southern Cross ahead off the port bow. Great stuff!

And the perfect time for a little Pink Floyd!!

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Update - Still dead upwind to St. Martin

Three days and three hundred some odd miles of progress. Fairly pitiful.

Its been upwind the entire way. Yesterday spent dodging squalls with up to 30 knots and then sitting in the lulls that follow in 6 knots of wind.

Pretty frustrating stuff.

All good otherwise,


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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Alls Good

Just need that sun to come out for some solar charging and maybe a windshift so we are not heading dead upwind.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Greetings - Last update for a bit probably

We had a problem with the ignition system of the engine.

Now cant start it. No other issues and solar will keep us powered enough to get to St. Martin.

So rare updates from here.

We are fine.

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Rum Emergency - Hopefully averted....

Greetings from Morpheus. We are once again underway and heading South!

Adios to Bermuda and her tropical storms. I've had enough of that for awhile.

Mark Adams and Jim Carrick (fellow Richmond Yacht Club Members!) arrived on Sat. afternoon, and the four of us moved from Hamilton around to ST. Georges yesterday. Gibb Kane joined us yesterday afternoon and we finalized the boat and had her ready for sea prior to dinner.

Here's the Rum Emergency part. I suppose we may have had one too many last night with dinner?? any case, when we checked out of customs we forgot to mention my case of duty free Goslings that was sitting behind the counter for pickup!!!! Argh. We were two hours out this morning before I remembered. For a few moments I actually considered turning around, but those thoughts were quickly disposed of. Instead, we have called the local harbor master and asked very nicely if she could not perhaps arrange with the next boat heading South to make a delivery for us??? I'm hoping a bottle or two might make this deal work???

Anyway, we hoisted the mainsail at about 8am in absolute calm and have spend the bulk of the day sailing slowly upwind in 8 knots of breeze. The forecast has us sailing upwind at least 70% of the way. And, it also has the winds primarily in the 10-15 knot range. Guess we will take the good with the bad!!

Will keep the updates coming, but don't expect any true excitement along the way. Sounds like a perfect trip to me.


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Sunday, November 04, 2012

As if a hurricane wasn't enough

The yoga studio one block over from us just burned down. I swear the world is ending and it's all starting in alphabet city

Saturday, November 03, 2012

I miss my Etchells!!

Here is the line up at RBYC. I was going to race with Tim Patton last weekend, but Sandy ruined that!!

Jim Gregory 

Sandy is back!

Unbelievably, Sandy or the storm previously know as Sandy is back and making our lives difficult again!!

The storm hit New York, went a bit farther West, and has been moving NNE ever since. It's no longer a tropical storm or a hurricane, but it is still huge and last night Deb and I "slept" through a windy (25-35 knot) night at anchor. 

Today, first thing, we headed in to the dock at RBYC. 

LUXURY!!!!  Electricity, water, and a bar!!

Jim Gregory 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Video of the power plant two blocks away exploding

I choose great places to live don’t I?  Power plant down the block from me decided to go nuclear on us.  The three more days without power estimate might be a little optimistic.  Crazy thing to see first hand though, huge boom followed by complete darkness except for cop car lights, definitely turned lower Manhattan into a creepy place.

Patrick M. Gregory
Stonebridge Partners
81 Main St., 5th Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
Office: (914) 682-2700
Fax: (914) 682 0834