Monday, December 31, 2012

We meet up with fellow RYC Members - Torben and Judy Bentsen!!

Tivoli Moored in Christmas Cove
 In mid December, Deb and I shifted back into sailing mode, and headed out for the 100 mile overnight from St. Martin to the Virgin Islands.  Our mission was to track down Torben and Judy Bentsen from the Richmond Yacht Club.

Torben and Judy left RYC on their boat "Tivoli" about three months before us.  While we have been able to keep in touch via email and blogs, we have only managed to cross paths once before in Magdellena Bay, Mexico.

Morpheus Anchored in Christmas Cove
We had a great (translated easy light air) sail to the Virgin Islands and arrived off of Virgin Gorda just after Sunrise.  Perfect!  We took our time sailing down through the BVI's heading for Christmas Cove where the plan was to meet up with Torben and Judy.  With only a few miles to go, we noticed a race going on that looked to have about 12 boats slowly working their way downwind. 

Suddenly, the crew on one of the boats that looked sort of familiar jumped up and started waving our way.  That's right, Torben and Judy had decided to "race the house"!!
Pre-Christmas Warm Up onboard Tivoli!

We all got together that night and the following one to catch up, share stories, and drink and eat early Christmas treats.

It was great to see Torben and Judy again.  And, we'll have plenty of chances to meet up again over the next month or so.  We all are hoping to see each other at the New Years Party at Foxy's.  (standby for pictures!)

End of Year Catch Up #1

We've been a bit negligent updating our blog this month.  Part of that was due to the fact that our onboard internet solution died along with all the other things that have decided to fall apart over the past month or so.  Hopefully, most of that stuff is behind us now, we shall see.

In any case, here follows several short updates to catch up on a few of our activities over the past three weeks.

Early December Repairs
St. Martin is the perfect location for those looking to refit or make repairs to their boats.  There are fully stocked marine stores with everything and more that your typical West Marine might have at home, and plenty of skilled technicians around that specialize in all the standard systems that might typically be found on a typical cruising boat.  While the rest of the Caribbean has only very limited access to marine supplies, you can find almost anything here.  So, we took advantage. 

Auto Pilot Repairs
Just over a year ago while sailing to Bermuda, the metal bracket for our autopilot ram was badly damaged.  I had it "repaired" and added some additional metal to make it stronger.  But, I was never able to get it to seat perfectly and after trying several solutions over the past year, I finally bit the bullet and decided that I needed to build a custom footing to take up the space between the brackets bottom flange and the mounting block on the hull. 

A couple of days later, after some fun with epoxy and epoxy fillers, the almost finished product looked like this and we are back to 100%.

Repairs - Painting the Bathroom Floor

Not all projects are gucci glory projects...

Project number two involved repainting the floor in the head with Awlgrip.

Initially I thought that it would be a good idea to learn how to use this paint since so much of the boat is painted with it and I figured I could save a few dollars at the same time.

WRONG!!  This project probably took twice as long and cost at least as much as paying an expert.  It's not that I had problems, but by the time you purchase the sandpaper, chemical cleaner/degreaser, paint, paint catalyst, thinner, flattening agent, roller, brushes, etc, etc, etc. you have saved no money at all!!

At the end of several days, the end result is great and I have plenty of left over (very expensive) painting supplies for the future.

I guess I'll have to find some more projects!

Cockpit Table Upgrade

Our final project was putting new legs on our cockpit table which had been "non functional" for over ten years!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Yesterday's disaster

I took a break from dinghy shopping and went kiteboarding for an hour yesterday. Not much wind, but apparently still enough for me to make a mistake and fly my kite into the water at warp speed!!

I guess it wasn't designed to deal with my mistakes. The main panel exploded leaving a four foot rip from front to back. Sort of a huge pressure relief valve, only that's not helpful in terms of getting or remaining airborne.

Another day, another repair project!

I've decided that its time to revisit the fundamentals of boat maintenance in the midst of all these breakdowns.

Christmas is coming!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When will this end??

Our dinghy has an inoperable tumor in its floor!!

It sure seems like 10.5 years must be a magical time that everyone designs their marine equipment around!

We've had great luck keeping everything together, but the last two months have been a string of one breakdown after another. 

I knew we were pushing our luck with this dinghy, but now we are certain that we've used absolutely all she had to give!

Time for some more shopping!!!

Jim Gregory 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Answer to last weeks "Visione" quiz!

The reason that really big boats like Visione need to ensure that there is a line running down from a man being hoisted up the mast is pretty counter intuitive.

The man being hoisted is usually being lifted via a halyard that runs from a winch on the deck, up the mast through a block at the top and then down to the crew's bosun's chair. 

It seems that at some point, as the person is hoisted up the mast, the weight of the halyard line running down the mast from the top becomes greater than the combined weight of the crew person being hoisted and the line running down from the top of the mast to his chair.

Without a hold down line, he would accelerate uncontrollably up the mast until he slamed into the top and most likely was severely injured.

I wonder who figured this out the first time????

Picture of the Day

Just found this picture of Patrick kite surfing off Edgartown.

It's a great photo, but I wish I could remember whether this was taken in
the middle of a great trick, or just before another massive wipeout!

I'm going with wipeout for now!!


Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

I guess the "book" was too good to put down for dinner?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

My first effort painting with Awlgrip

We had some paint beginning to peel on the floor of the head. There were also a couple of issues with water intrusion around the shower floor. So... A week ago I started a "one day" touch up repair that morphed into a weeks work and lots of expensive supplies. 

The labor was free however, and I am very happy with the finished product!!

Jim Gregory 


This "sailboat" is HUGE!!! If not quite 200ft, I'll bet she is all of 150 and perhaps a not more. 

Quiz of the day:  the crew sent a man up the mast today. Not only was he attached to a Hayward which obviously was used to pull him up, he was also attached to a line that ran down from his harness to a block on the rail and then to a winch!!  To win this quiz tell me why he had a line running down from his harness....


Jim Gregory 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Super Yachts Lined Up

Lots of really large yachts arriving in St Maarten right now. 

The Antigua Super Yacht Boat Show ended a few days ago. 

These boats need to fit between two sides of a small draw bridge that opens each afternoon for inbound traffic at 530pm.  

The St Maarten Yacht Club is just inside the bridge on the right as you enter. The inbound traffic makes for great free entertainment if you are enjoying happy hour at the yacht club. 

Very few boats have hit the bridge but that's hard to believe as you watch some of these huge boats line up for their turn!!!

Jim Gregory 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

This would not fly at home

Took this from our dinner table last night.

  I really like the fact that the light socket near the bottom of the stack  is pointing straight up in the "rain catcher" position. 

Jim Gregory 

Monday, December 03, 2012


Picture of the Day

Under Sail from St. Kitts to Nevis

We are anchored (moored actually) off the beach at Nevis.  The Four Seasons Resort is a short walk up the beach, and was the location of Commerce One's last Sales Club in 2002.  The wheels had started to fall off the bus at that point and I think we all knew it.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Twice in one day....

Deb Here...

Who woulda thunk?

This morning, anchored way out in Simpson Bay, St Martin, having coffee, we suddenly hear a police alarm right outside our boat. WTF?

We are being boarded for a safety inspection. Ok.... We welcome the Dutch St. Martin Coast Guard aboard, ("Would you like coffee, sirs?"). Vicious Ita goes in her box. They ask lots of questions about where we've been, where we're going, weather we have safety gear, but don't go below. 5 minutes and we are done. No hassles.

Jim and I then have a nice sail over to Statia, which is 1/2 way between St Martin and Nevis. Drop anchor at sunset, cocktails, relax...

Full dark, about ready to go below and make dinner, when Jim and I both spot a very dark boat operating darkly in the dark... No running lights and it starts coming directly towards us like a shark.... Hmmmm...

Spot light on us. It's a Caribbean Narcotics Boat. Ita goes back in the box. They come aboard, this time wearing guns, and start pulling up floor boards, looking in bags, etc. Wow, Full on Search! After a few minutes, Jim shows them our track on the computer, and they figure out we are not the boat they are looking for. Their skipper calls them out of our bilges, they say thanks very much, and they leave.

If we get boarded tomorrow, I'm going to really suspect there's a bad guy out there who looks like us....


Update from Jim: I've never been boarded by Coast Guard or any other official before yesterday. (Well, there was that one time on my Dad's boat, but let's ignore that!) Twice in one day?? What are the odds??

My favorite exchange of the day...

CG Officer: Do you have anything that you want to declare??
Jim: Excuse me??

CG Officer: Guns??
Jim: No.

CG Officer: Large amounts of money??
Jim: No

CG Officer: Drugs??
Jim (looking confused): If I declare them are they legal??

I made them laugh....

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