Saturday, 27 February 2016

Feb 27 2016

after refueling they are off again, having head wind and waves, but benefiting from the strong gulf stream current, they are moving right along....

 and they are attached to a dock at old port cove marina in Palm Beach!

Gerry's comments:

added 30 us gallons to the tank which should be enough for Palm Beach, where we arrive late afternoon, with speeds to 9.8 knots, carried by the Gulfstream.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Feb 26 2016

making progress, not fast but steady! (Head)Winds should lessen as the day goes on.

Bri's additional comments:
once again I get a text to say "help" please find us a place near Miami, we need to get fuel. I still do not know that they need fuel for any other reason than normal engine usage!

they kept on motoring, now docked at  Miami Beach marina fuel dock. The will refuel and leave again tomorrow or the day after! BUT first they will sleep

Gerry's comments:

2:30 am, we add a canister of fuel after the tank finally runs dry, but this is only good for about three hours. We add another 2.5 canisters but now aim for Miami, where Brigitte has discovered a marina close to the sea. We arrive shortly after the fuel station closes and spend the night in a slip, get some sleep and have our first shower in a while the next morning.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Feb 25 2016

plowing ahead, little to no wind unfortunately.....

but still making good progress,

Gerry's comments:

at 3:30 am we turn around the Bahamas Banks (Andros), and now have the wind  from the NW, motorsailing at 6 knots with only the full mainsail. Speed later 4.8 at 1000 rpm. Eta now friday night or saturday morning. 04:45 staysail up, engine off, speed 4.5kn. An hour later motoring again, slow progress. At 11:30 sails down, motoring straight up. Huge waves straight on (wind against current, Gulfstream), lots of water inside, miserable day. Gulfstream now carries us along at 2 to 2.5 kn and we advance at 4.5 kn.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Feb 24 2016

using the stinkpot as a means of transportation due to lack of usable winds.

To be fair, one should give the engine a bit of a workout every once in a while.

It becomes clear now, that I was clueless, I (Bri) did not know that they had a fuel problem (again) sorry for misleading you all!

Gerry's comments:

still motoring at 12 noon at 1200 rpm. We raise the spinnaker, speed 4.5 to 4.8 knots. Three hours later dead calm and we stow the spinny. Motoring again.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Feb 23 2016

they are making good progress

Gerry's comments:
good sailing during the night. Then a few gybes, then nothing. Motoring, with the attendant fear of not having enough fuel.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Feb 22 2016

waving goodbye to Haiti, the place we love to dislike, have friends who were poorly treated after a boating accident there....

G and R are pleased with their progress.

Gerry's comments:
main increased to 2nd reef, 5 knots. Slow the rest of the day.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Feb 21 2016

they are moving right along, now south of Turks & Caicos. Avoiding close proximity of Haiti (for now obvious reasons!!)

Gerry's comments;
variable winds, we sail, motor and motor-sail. At 3:30 pm the genoa commits suicide. It starts with a small rip but extends along the foot of the entire sail as we try to crank it in. We raise the stay sail and the main with 3 reefs.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Feb 20 2016

moving right along......just a bit bouncy but really fast   :)

...and here Gerry's update:

Richard returns 10 days later and we leave the following day,  on the 18th. The following morning we are approached by a RIB, with a man, covering his face, a woman and a child on board. He wants to know if we've seen Sargasso fields for him to fish under. We say, yes, but way back, and he heads back towards the Puerto Rican coast. We suspect that we were being cased but that, when they saw two males, one of whom being Richard, AND the fact that our sailboat has a canoe stern and not the usual easy access of a sugar scoop they decided to look for easier pickings.I have set up hourly satellite telephone text messages with positions with Brigitte. She phones the PR coast guard, who call us for a full description of vessel and crew.
Another problem is discovered: the primary fuel tank leaks a little and we don't know how much fuel we have left. It is situated a little higher and thus the entire tank doesn't drain, as before, but now we have to worry about fuel if we can't sail.
We sail close hauled, there is a fair bit of wind and the genoa gets cranked in  by about one third, still we move at 5.5 to 6.3 knots. Early morning we reduce the genoa to about one half.

We are getting bounced around, big waves but good progress. Less wind, so genoa 100 %, eta Palm Beach now friday 26 between 2am and 2 pm... discover that I have forgotten to reconnect the vhf antenna: no wonder we have heard no traffic. Later we change course for Great Iguana (Bahamas), wave action easier, speed 6.8 to 7.5.

OK, now here my additional comments:
G usually sent me the updates between 1 and 2 pm; as usual I made the blog update quickly and was just minding my own business when the mobile told me once more that I had a test message. Another message from G. G saying, do not worry BUT we are being bothered by a RIB with a masked man and I will send you hourly updates! 
Well isn't that swell! I went online and realized that US Virgin islands as well as Puerto Rico "were American" and there was a US coast guard station on PR. I called them via skype and told them what G had told me and they decided we would cut out the middleman (woman), they would contact G directly!! GREAT and thanks!
However this did leave me a little on edge and I have to admit I did not have the best of nights. The days are usually easy, the nights are worse. I knew that Dominican Republic could be a bit tricky as well and most certainly so could Haiti!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

18 Feb 2016

..........and they are off again!

Should be able to make daily updates as of tomorrow!

Monday, 15 February 2016

15 Feb 2016

They are still at Crown Bay marina.

Mind you, not quite true, Richard flew home to Ottawa, Canada on Wed Feb 10. He worked a few days and he will be back on board Wednesday later afternoon. At that point they will look for a weather window and get going again.

Gerry, as skipper, with 1 crew, sailed a brand new X-yacht to Saint Martin, that was an interesting experience!

Here Gerry's update:

Richard goes back to work for a week. At customs we meet the agent for the Sevenstar vessel Singelgracht, which is unloading yachts. He drives us back to the ship and we have chance to look around and meet Jay Jones, the local Sevenstar rep. A day later I see Jay in the marina with another fellow, looking glum. They confess to a problem: an brand new X-Yacht has been unloaded and the owner insists that it be delivered where contractually agreed, namely in St. Maarten.  Might I consider the delivery? I agree and wait for a second crewmember. We leave at 6:30 pm, motor through the night and the morning of the following day. Owner very happy until he discovers that the crew stays on the manifest until we can prove that we're leaving. This takes some doing and causes us to return to St. Thomas only the following day.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Feb 9 2016

SY Octopus is docked at Crown Bay US Virgin islands.
The reason for the move is the weather, the forecast showed sailable winds, but in actual fact they had to motor! Since the forecast is a mixed bag Gerry and Richard decided to turn into the bay at Charlotte Amalie, attach to a dock and see what the forecast does in the next little while!

Here Gerry's addition:

Feb 8: no excitement. We run the engine 3 hrs a day to charge the batteries, to run autopilot (he's German: Otto Helm) and plotter. Now aiming for St. Thoma US Virgin Islands on account of the forecasts from Brigitte who has arranged for a berth for us calling different marinas via Skype. The satellite telephone has come in very handy, first to find a suitable marina in Grenada and now in the USVI.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Feb 4 2016 update

Hi everyone, today was an interesting day with a few twists! Sy Octopus1 is currently docked at the Prickly Bay marina in Grenada. An unexpected leaky fuel tank is the culprit!

As captain and first mate are busy addressing the issue I just wanted to let you know that they are well. In typical male fashion, they know where they are, how they are and hence no need for communication!

Here Gerry's update:

Feb 3: trouble develop alright but of a different kind. The engine stopped (we were motor-sailing). We checked filters, changed a few, and the engine started again only to stop again an hour later. We started to go through the whole routine again and when I came to blowing into the filter's intake line I encountered no resistance. We were both incredulous as the tanks were full when we left. We finally took the floor up to look at the tank and Richard noticed that the connection between the tanks was leaking. Turned out that the idiot who installed the new tanks in Gran Canaria had used a hose that was not diesel resistant and that the hose had disintegrated. We couldn't make Grenada that day and cruised 20 nm off the coast all night. Next day we stuck the fuel intake into one of the seven diesel canisters we carry and proceeded towards Grenada where Brigitte had found a marina with fuel and a mechanic. Strangely enough the engine was consuming about 80 liters an hour (vs normally about 4) and we went through six canisters before finally the light went on. Diesel engines suck more diesel through the system than they need and return the rest to the tank, from where it ended up in the bilge and thus the sea. From that moment Richard stuck both intake and return lines into the last remaining canister and we made it to the marina. The mechanic came with a fuel resistant piece of hose the next day, we filled up the tanks and canisters  again and left.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

....and they are off once again

Gerry arrived in Trinidad on Monday January 18, he has been busy ever since, cleaning Octopus and getting everything ready for departure.
Monday, February 1 Richard flew down from Ottawa Canada to join Gerry once again. Richard has been crewing on all the long distance trips, starting in 2002 moving SY Octopus from Lake Ontario to Sidney Nova Scotia. A year later on the trip across the Atlantic, in 2012 from Turkey to Gran Canaria and in 2013/14 from Gran Canaria to Trinidad via the Cape Verde.

Tuesday, 2 Feb 2016, after some last minute jobs they were ready to leave together with an American and another Canadian sailboat. Safety in numbers!

Feb. 2 Richard arrived the day before. I had spent two weeks trying to get Octy in shape for the trip. On the day of the launch I had forgotten to open the seawater intake valve and thus burned the impeller driving to the dock. Not having changed impellers on this engine I looked for and found a mechanic to install one of my spares. He found the bits of the old one in the heat exchanger. When we tried to hoist the genoa, it got stuck near the top and we had to find a rigger in a hurry.
We left late afternoon, in order to sail away from the Trinidad and Venezuelan coasts in the dark with the lights off to avoid the pirates which had attacked two boats in December. We thought we were sailing in convoy, under radio silence, but as it turned out one of the other boats developed engine problems and turned back, while the other dropped the anchor and waited two days. This is probably why we saw no-one on either radar or AIS.
We sailed in between two drilling platforms, knowing that if trouble developed we could issue a mayday and be heard.

By noon today I (Bri) received the long awaited text message from the Sat phone announcing that they made good progress and the location.