Friday, October 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Sandy

Friday and everyone in Oriental is doing the Hurricane Dance. Miss Judith & I joined the dance this afternoon. We stripped down Thalia to the bare necessities. The dodger, bimini, and extension connecting the two was removed and stored in the quarter birth. In the rain , the water is already up a foot, Judy put all the stuff in the cockpit below while I zipped up the mainsl and then tied it up with a 9 mm line. Then it was pull all the lines through the cockpit clutches wrap them up and use plastic ties and anchor them to the stanchions. Finally, now that we were both completely wet, I tossed Judy two stout lines from the bow to pilings 15 feet away. We pulled the boat out into the middle of the slip so she could rise and fall when Sandy came to town.
Home and wet, coffee was delicious.

Refitting Thalia

As we engage in the planning process of going south for the winter/spring there are many things we need to do in order to have a good voyage. The two major projects are upgrading the engine / propulsion system and the single sideband system.
We are in the repowering process at Deatons. The old Nanni Mercedes engine had many peripheral problems. An elusive oil leak that we worked on but never completely solved. We were leaking approximately one pint of oil every twenty four hours. To my dismay it was going into the deep bilge and resulted in sucking out the bilge on a regular basis. Additionally we had instances of fluctuating oil pressure and voltages. Then there is the issue of having a Nanni Mercedes in the US. Its like having a Puegot…..Good luck on parts and skilled mechanics. After evaluating engines I’ve settled on a Beta 50 which is a 50 hp 4 cylinder fuel injected diesel engine that is a marinized Kubota block. They have good reviews in the sailing community and routine maintenance tasks can be easily accessed. As part of the repower project the PSS Dripless packing gland will be replaced with a traditional packing gland.
With the realization that we will be away from our Verizon Hotspot for web and email we are replacing the old Icom 700 with an Icom 802 SSB and a Pactor III USB modem. This will allow us to do both weather fax and email while offshore.
Hopefully this will al be completed within the next two weeks and then we’ll have a week of sea trials before leaving. Judy is working hard on provisioning. Below are some photos to show our progress.

              There she is the little OILER of my bilge.  Here last hours in the saloon before moving out.

                                 The Nanni Mercedes coming out thru the companionway hatch.

The engine being lifted up and away from the boat.  The bucked beneath the engine is for dripping oil.

                                                    The new Beta fifty engine.   I love red!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The Routes South
Well…after several weeks of reflection and analysis on the issue of routes south we have arrived.  Coastal hopping and the “Thorny Path” thru the Carribean is the decision.  I’ve spent time taking to local sailors who have done both routes along with my own analysis of the two routes which are the “Coastal Hopping/Thorny Path” versus the “Bermuda/Anageda “ routes. 
Some thoughts on the “Bermuda/Anageda”route.  Weather windows are only accurate for the next three days and forecasting beyond that is wishful at best.  During  twenty four hours with good winds or motor sailing we will average 5-6nm per hour with a range of 144 nautical miles during a period of time when a weather system moving at 40kts can cover an ocean area of 960 nm.  Its 4-5 days to Bermuda as a bail out port and then another 6 days to the Virgin Islands.  I’ve concluded that it is inevitable that we could easily get hammered on either or better yet both legs.  YUM!!  Going out to train in bad weather with minimal safety….probably a questionable decision!!  Several sailors have basically said, from their own experience, that you will get into bad weather/ sea states.  Although we spent the summer offshore and cruising we have only been offshore for 48 hour hops and only in good weather.  Certainly that is continued evidence for excellent judgement as a captain but it may not be enough to keep me out of galley assignments!  Finally, I must ask “Whats the hurry?”.  So….those are my thoughts about routes south.  Until we acquire some more sea time in bad weather I like my decision……Pass the Margs …..check out the sunsets from the cockpit….no worries!!  I can almost hear the Jimmy Buffet music or is that Bob and the Whalers?

The “Coastal/Thorny Path “ and “Bermuda/Anageda” routes.