FAME!

Ahoy again Boatblog®  fans,

It has just come to our attention that we are famous!

These articles appeared in the March and April editions of Yachting Monthly.

YM March

MARCH

 

YM April

APRIL

“….from novice to ocean cruisers.”

Like it!

 

Ju & Lyn

 

X

(Thanks to Peter Smith, Atlantic crew on Reservoir Dogs for sending these to us)

The Virgin Islands

Ahoy there Boatbloggers® ,

Next stop after St Martins was the British Virgin Islands. You may be wondering why they are called this rather unusual name, and apparently it is because when Columbus first discovered them, he was so enchanted by the archipelago that he called them the “Eleven Thousand Virgins,” after the 11,000 Companions of St Ursula who were martyred in the 5th century by the Huns. Which is not as exciting as we might have hoped, but very interesting just the same. And the particular Virgin Islands we were going to were once British, hence, the British Virgin Islands – or BVI.

Unfortunately, getting there was not all plain sailing. We experienced our first STORM AT SEA!

 Storm 9

We should explain about pictures of storms at sea. They never look half as bad as they actually are, so if you’re looking at these pictures thinking, “What’s all the fuss about?” Trust me – when you’re right next to them, those are BIG waves!

Storm 6

The boat is rocking’ and rollin’.

The wind was a steady 40 knots, gusting up to 48 knots, which according to the official sailing handbook is “Force 9 – Strong Gale.” And for the landlubbers amongst you, that means, “Bloody windy.”

Storm 4

That number in the top right hand corner is the wind speed (TWS) for those of you that need proof!

Storm 2

But eventually we arrived safe and sound, and discovered why Columbus had been so enchanted. These are the stereotypes to beat all stereotypes of a tropical island paradise.

Tropical beach 2

Worth battling through a little bit of wind and rain for.

But the real reason that we were coming to the BVI was to meet our friend Nicho…

Nicho 1

…and Ju’s brother, Dave…

Dave 1

…who had come out for a week to be our new crew!

We sailed from one tropical paradise…

Sandy Cay Anchorage

to another…

Palm Tree 2

Snorkelling on the reefs in the crystal clear waters.

Snorkeling

Or canoeing…

Canoeing

Of course as soon as the sun had dropped below the yardarm, we had to have a sundowner…

Cheers

or two…

B Line Bar

Three..

Foxy s Bar

One more…

The Boys 1

(ok – that’s enough bar shots. Ed)

Ju even did a gig at The Last Resort

Gig at The Last Resort

(I said no more bars. Ed)

It was good having Dave and Nicho with us to help us with the sailing.

Crew 3

But all too soon, it was time for them to head back home to the cold and damp of Merrie England, so we bid our sad farewells, and set about preparing the boat for the next adventure.

This week we have a number of entries for the Boatblogger® Arty Farty Prize, so please vote for your favourite. 

Arty Farty 1

OLD ROPE

Arty Farty Hammock

HAMMOCK

Arty Farty Water

WATER

Big Splash

SPLASH

Domini

…and finally, AT ANCHOR

Please write your choice on the back of a hundred dollar bill and send it to the usual address.

That’s all for now. 

Next stop – The US Virgins!

 

Ju & Lyn

X

Probably the best regatta in the world….

….The Heineken Regatta.

Yes Boatblog® Fans, flushed with success from our racing debut on Galatea in Grenada, we decided to enter The Heineken Regatta on the island of St Maarten.

But this time in our own boat!

Now this is not something to be undertaken lightly, and certainly not something we could do double handed, so the first step was to put together a world class crew. Fortunately, as we have travelled across the Seven Seas, we have become friends with many fine sailors, in particular Stuart and Anne Letton from Scotland, and Dave and Linda Witham from California.

So with Ju and Lyn (from England) we had a truly INTERNATIONAL team, and knew that Domini (from France) was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Team Bonding

THE A-TEAM. From left to right:- Stuart, Anne, Ju, Lyn, Linda  and Dave.

All we needed now was a costume. 

Crew

Maybe purple wasn’t the best colour, but they had six of them on offer in Budget Marine.

We set about honing our skills.

Stuart was volunteered to be skipper…

Stuart

…on the grounds that he actually knew what he was doing.

Dave was Main Sheet Trimmer… 

Dave

Linda was Winch Grinder…  

Lynda

…and a thousand other things too numerous to mention.

Lyn…

Lyn

and Ju…

Ju

…tried not to get in the way.

And Anne…

Anne

 …did everything else.

So all in all, we had a first rate crew. All we needed now was some practice on the boat. Unfortunately, on the day we had planned to go out training, it was too windy to get out of the marina (I’m not kidding). So we had to sit in the pub all day and talk about how we were going to win.

Not to worry. Ready or not, the big day was upon us.

 

HEINEKEN REGATTA 2015 – DAY 1

 

Dave and Linda cast off our mooring lines…

Bottoms Up

(In case you were wondering, that’s Dave on the left, Linda on the right.)

The skipper gave his last minute instructions…

Crew Instructions 1

…and we set off.

Setting Off

Through the lifting bridge out of the marina…

Through The Bridge

…to the race area.

The five minute warning flag was raised, and we positioned ourselves near the start line.

Then…

Whooooooooooooo!

Racing

We were off.

Nice Boat 1

There were hundreds of boats all round us.

Nice Boat 2

 Including of course, some proper race boats…

Big Cats

It’s all very exciting. 

Action

We got off to a good start…even with Ju helming.

Hiking

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

There is a handicap system at work in sailing races, so that different boats can compete fairly against each other. After a hard fought race, Anne worked out that with the corrected times, from a class of fifteen boats, we had come…

Tactics

Let me see. Four hours twenty six seconds divided by 0.875, times the boat length, divided by the square root of the sail area, plus the combined ages of the crew, less their weight in kilos means that we are….

 

THIRD!

 

Not a bad start Boatblog®  Fans.

Could we keep it up for the next two days?

 

HEINEKEN REGATTA 2015 – DAY 2


The second day, Lyn took the helm.

Lyn 2

And as you can see in Stuart’s face, the pressure was on…

Stuart 2

…and that day we learnt many new Scottish words.

This time my friends, after another long and difficult race, we came SECOND in our class.

 

HEINEKEN REGATTA 2015 – DAY 3


So now the pressure really was on for the third day. We even got the pole out…

Wing on Wing

Even though Domini broke her own speed record, managing 12.2 knots (and that’s through the water, not SOG for those sailors reading who understand these subtleties) it wasn’t enough to keep the Schooner from overtaking us. 

Schooner 4

But still, once again we came SECOND over the finish line.

Spectator Boat

CROSSING THE LINE

But Oh No!!

Disaster!

As we went over the line, the race committee boat that we had just passed didn’t blow the whistle as we had expected.  This is the signal that would confirm we had finished and our time had been recorded.

“Why not?” Linda politely screamed at the officials on the boat.

“We’re just spectators,” one of them replied. “The finish line is over there.”

He pointed to an almost identical boat thirty yards upwind of us,  It turned out that the boat we had passed was not in fact the actual Race Committee Boat. It was the committee boat for another race that had forgotten to take it’s flags down, and they were just sat there guzzling gin & tonics.

“Goodness me! You rascals!” Ju remonstrated, or words to that effect.

As quickly as possible, we gybed round, tacked and gybed again, and eventually crossed the proper finish line. 

Race Commitee Boat

CROSSING THE ACTUAL LINE

But by the time we had done all this, our position had dropped down to SIXTH place. 

Grrrrrrrrr.

This was not fair, and we wanted to officially protest. To do that, under the rules of racing you have to raise a red flag. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a red flag, so we raised a pair of Lyn’s red trousers.

Red Flag

PROTEST FLAG

This meant that after the race, Ju and Stuart had to go to the International Protest Committee and explain that we thought it unfair to position such similar boats next to each other. 

After several hours, we discovered that our protest had been UPHELD. Which meant that our original position of SECOND was officially recorded.

And that, Boatblog®  Fans meant that over the three days…

(Cue fanfare)

The Overall Winner in the Lottery Class

of the

35th International Heineken Regatta 2015 

is 

DOMINI

 

First Place Overall

1st PLACE OVERALL

Much as we would like to take all the credit for our spectacular win, the real honours go to our fantastic friends and crew, Dave, Linda and Anne. And of course Stuart our amazing skipper. Thank you to you all, for giving us such a fun and exciting three days.

Now…off for some Rum Punches to celebrate.

Dinghy

Woo woo woo!

 

Ju & Lyn

Shark!

Ahoy there Boatblog fans,

And once again thanks for all the feedback and comments. In response to Alan’s remarks, it’s not the waves that worry us Al – it’s the WILDLIFE!!!

Now you know me – I’m not one to over-dramatise a situation. So there we were, anchored in Columbier Bay on the North West coast of St Barts. A bay known for its rich profusion of wildlife – in particular the turtles.We could see their heads poking up out of the water all around us, so we thought we’d go for a snorkel with them.

Ju climbed down the ladder on the transom (that’s the bit at the back, my landlubber friends) and peered into the depths. When all of a sudden…

Der dum….

He saw, right next to the keel…

Der dum….

 

Shark 1

JAWS!

Now it might not be a Great White, but it still has big teeth. And I would like to point out that the photos make it look a LOT smaller than it really was.

Shark 5

He waited on the ladder ready to jump back on the boat as soon as it started to look hungry. But after a while it seemed like it wasn’t doing any harm, so once he’d stopped hyper-ventilating through his snorkel he swam off to look for turtles.

And there were plenty of them.

Turtle 3

…and thousands of starfish.

Starfish

But soon it was time to return. It was a little bit worrying swimming back to where the shark was, but the Jacques Cousteau in him realised zat somehow he must get back on ze boat…

Der dum…

So imagine his surprise when he found…

Der dum…

Not one…

Dum dum dum dum dum dum

…but TWO Sharks.

2 sharks 2

All of a sudden, one of them shot out to grab a passing fish. We have never seen anything go from nought to sixty so fast. Apart from Ju climbing back up the ladder.

 

St Barts itself is an amazing island; very different from the other islands we have been to. For a start it is French, but it is also the playground for the super wealthy. The sudden contrast with the other islands was a little unsettling.

One More Toy

There are streets of designer shops, and the sort of designer shops that are SO exclusive that you’ve not even heard of them. Rolex and Armani looked cheapskate. The locals thought that our clothes must be really upmarket, because they’d never heard of Primark.

But it was all very nice, and once I had arranged a bank loan we went for a coffee and a croissant.

Shell Beach St Barts

SHELL BEACH – THE ANCHORAGE IN ST BARTS. A beach made entirely of shells.

But before we got to St Barts, we had called in at Nevis and St Kitts. The crossing between islands has been pretty rough in the last few weeks, and thirty knots of breeze (that’s what we sailors call ‘wind,’) is not uncommon.

Rough Seas 2

Nevis is a very nice place to go, with botanical gardens…

Botanical Gardens Nevis

Lovely restaurants converted from the old plantation owners homes…

 

Plantation garden 2 NevisPLANTATION RESTAURANT

St Kitts is about 6 miles away as the shark swims…

St Kitts From Nevis

ST KITTS AS SEEN FROM NEVIS

This is Domini at anchor from the top of the hill in St Kitts. Next to Robert Redford’s house. (He wasn’t in)

And this is the same place from ground level.

At Anchor

COCKTAIL HOUR

And now we are off to St Maarten to enter the Heineken Regatta with our friends Stuart and Anne Letton from Time Bandit and Dave and Lynda Witham from Purrfect.

On the way to St Maarten

ON THE WAY TO ST MAARTEN (Courtesy of Time Bandit)

And this weeks award for best Arty Farty picture goes to Lyn for her work entitled “Happy Hour.”

Arty Farty Cocktail

We’ll let you know how we get on in the Regatta.

Au Revoir for now

 

Ju & Lyn

Bye Bye Windward Islands – Hello Leewards

Ahoy there Boatbloggers ® 

Welcome back to the latest edition of theboatblog.com.

We have certainly been racking up the nautical miles since the last issue. We are no longer in the Windward Islands, but have headed North and currently are at anchor in Little Bay, Montserrat.

It was last Wednesday we bid a sad farewell to Grenada which had been our home for a few weeks. We actually had to stay that long, because the diesel hose for the generator had sprung a leak and we needed to get it mended.

But if you have to wait to get a leak mended, you might as well do it in Grenada.

Because this is where they make the CHOCOLATE.

Grenada Chocolate

THIS IS HOW CHOCOLATE STARTS – bet you didn’t know that.

…and the bananas.

Grenada Bananas

Not to mention the rum.

One day we went trekking through the rainforest…

Trecking

RAMBO

This will get cut

MRS RAMBO

..and ended up at a waterfall.

Grenada Waterfall

It would have been rude not to jump in…

Grenada Diving In The Falls

…so we did.

They have great beaches…

Grenada Beach

and walks.

Grenada View

But it’s not all just fun and games. There is still high powered business to attend to.

Grenada Ju

A HARD DAY AT THE OFFICE

We were pleased that when the Getty’s heard we were in town, they insisted on parking their boat next to ours. 

Taletha

TALETHA

Now that’s a pretty boat. If you want to charter it, it’s $380,000 a week (or you can have a week on Domini for a bit less.)

Anyway, time to move on. Our first stop was Carriacou, which is still part of Grenada and only about thirty miles north.

And then we left the Windward Islands, and set sail for Dominica. It was an overnight passage past all the Grenadines, St Vincent, St Lucia, Matinique until we arrived  in the Leeward Islands. I’ve no idea why they call them that. They’re a darn sight windier than the Windwards.

Dominica is delightful. Completely unspoilt by progress. Which is great when you want to see virgin rainforest, but not so good when you want to charge your mobile phone.

We rowed up the Indian River..

Dominica Indian River 1

..which is completely magical.

Dominica Indian River 2

Almost like a film set.

In fact it is a film set. They shot Pirates of the Caribbean here.

Dominica Indian River 3

They don’t allow outboard engines, so the only way is to row. Which is exhausting.

So we got Martin to do it.

Martin

MARTIN – Master River Guide

Dominica Birds of Paradise

PARROTS OF THE CARIBBEAN

Dominica Red Caves

They call it the Nature Isle.

Dominica

And it is. We were sorry to leave.

After Dominica, we sailed through another rainbow…

Rainbow

…to Guadeloupe, which is technically France, so they take Euros, speak French and take three hours to eat lunch.

We had a bit of a drama last night. 

We were anchored at Deshaies in the north of the island. Roundabout midnight, a storm hit us. 30 knots of wind, and horizontal rain. We got up to double check everything was alright, and that was when we noticed that we were now perilously close to one of the other boats. 

The anchor was dragging.

No time to lose. In the middle of this gale we weighed the anchor just in time to avoid hitting anything. But it was a close run thing. The French tend to anchor in the same way that they faites le camping. Right next to each other.  

But that was just the start of the problems. Now we had to lay the anchor down again. It’s hard enough normally, but in 30 knots, terrible visibility, and surrounded by other boats it’s a nightmare. 

Finally we managed to drop the anchor again. It appeared to be holding and all seemed well, so we decided to run an anchor watch and take turns to stay up and check that we didn’t drag again. It was all fine for an hour or two, but then on Ju’s watch a mega squall hit, and we started moving again. He called up Lyn to weigh anchor and start the whole process again, when suddenly we stopped.

The anchor must have dug itself in again!

Ha ha. Not so simple. It had caught on something, and was not budging.

Still, at least we were no longer moving. We decided to carry on the anchor watch and sort it out in the morning.

At long last the sun came up, and the storm died down. Ju dived down on the anchor to see what the problem was. We had snagged it on an ancient rusting bit of chain from a long abandoned mooring bouy, and it was not coming off without a struggle. It was about 8m down, so Ju took a deep breath and dived down with a piece of rope which he managed to slip around the rusty chain and bring back to the boat. What a hero! This held the chain up, so all we had to do was lower the anchor, then motor forward till it was clear of the chain and we could haul it up.

At least that was the theory.

And the theory worked!

Bon heureusements!

 

So…off to Montserratt!

This is a remarkable island.

Montseratt 1 Distance

In 1997, the volcano in the south erupted. You can still see  steam coming out of it now.

Montseratt 2 Volcano

The devastation is hard to comprehend. This is the capital, Plymouth.

Montseratt 3 Plymouth

 It looks like a nuclear bomb has been dropped; the houses all buried in ash and lava. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the church is buried up to its steeple.

And it is from here, in the north of Montserrat  and about ten miles from the volcano, that we send you this blog.

But to finish, this issue’s arty fart prize goes to Lyn, for her study entitled simply. Coffee.

Arty Coffee

COFFEE

By the time you read this, we should be on the way to Nevis.

 

Bye for now Boatbloggers ® 

 

Ju & Lyn

The Grenada Regatta

Ahoy again Boatbloggers ® 

And greetings once more from sunny Grenada where, unlike our friends in the UK, we are sweltering in the heat. 

The big news for this instalment of The Boatblog ® is that Ju and Lyn are no longer just a pair of middle aged cruisers (or “yachties” as some prefer to be called, in the hope of sounding less sleazy). We are now officially racers, and have a nice red shiny cap to prove it.

Nice Red Shiny Cap

NICE RED SHINY CAP

Let me explain.

As luck would have it, we arrived in Grenada just in time for the start of Grenada Sailing Week. And not only that, it was all scheduled to start in Port Louis Marina, where we just so happened to be berthed.

This is the classic yacht, Galatea. She is an absolute beauty. Built in 1899 she has sailed all over the world. And when I say sailed, I really mean sailed. She does not have an engine. 

Galatea 1

She is owned and skippered by master mariner Judd Tinius…

Judd

JUDD

For our landlubber friends, I should explain the significance of not having an engine. Berthing (that’s parking to you) is one of the most difficult things to do with a boat, and is often a source of much hilarity for onlookers in the nearby bar. And that’s with an engine. Coming alongside, or up to a buoy under sail is virtually impossible, and something you only ever do in a dire emergency, or if you’re doing your Yachtmaster exam which is the same sort of thing. But of course Judd has to do it all the time, and just makes it all look sooooo easy.

Anyway,Galatea had come to Grenada to enter the regatta, and ended up berthed right next to us in the marina. And we would like to be able to say that Judd immediately spotted our sailing prowess and insisted that we help him crew his boat in the forthcoming race. But that wouldn’t be true.

(I know that at theboatblog.com we don’t normally let the truth get in the way of a good story, but in this case we know that some of the crew of Galetea will be reading it)

What actually happened was that he needed someone to help pull the boat off the dock with the dinghy (remember – no engine) so Ju stopped munching his bacon sarnie and offered to help.

And off they went for the first day’s racing, while Ju brought the dinghy back to the dock.

 Galatea 2

And they managed a very respectable second place.

On day two, Judd invited us to come along and crew for him, and of course we leapt at the chance. Unfortunately Lyn wasn’t too well that day, but Ju went along anyway.

Winch Monkey 1

WINCH MONKEY

It’s very exciting being on a proper racing boat, and especially a classic like this. You go incredibly fast…

Tipping Over 1

get pretty wet…

Rough Seas

…and tip over a lot.

Tipping Over 3

In the picture above those are Ju’s knees in between the two hatches. You can just about make out the camera in his hand as he takes this picture…

Tipping Over 2

Now that’s what I call tipped over.

From Astern

But it is all fantastic fun.

Holding On

Now, I don’t want to take all the credit but with me helping on the second day, Galatea managed to come in 1st place!

Just saying.

 

On the third day, Lyn came too.

Lyn

It was vital for us to win this day’s race if were to stand a chance of being overall winners.

Lyn at work

It was a really close run thing. All the way round the course, we were neck and neck with the other classic boats, Blue Peter  and Coral of Cowes.

The Race Is On

It was the second to last leg, and gradually we managed to squeeze into the lead…

Galatea 4

We put a couple of boat lengths in between us and Coral of Cowes….

When all of a sudden…

Disaster struck.

The mast broke.

Broken Mast 3

No one was hurt, so we pulled the sails out of the water and tied them down,

Broken Mast 4

..and were towed back into the harbour.

Broken Mast 1

The whole of the mast from above the second spreader had collapsed and broken in two.

Broken Mast 2

So that was us out of the competition.

 

 

 

OR WAS IT…

 

 

Nothing stops Galatea. Overnight, and against all expectations, Judd and the rest of the crew managed to  rig up a new forestay, and repair the damaged mainsail in time for the fourth day’s racing.

So off we went with a short mast, a deep reefed mainsail, and the staysail for a jib.

Repaired Mast 1

We knew we couldn’t win, but that wasn’t the point. We went out and we completed the course.

And overall we achieved a fantastic 3rd place. As well as an extra special award for Sportsmanship.

Woo woo!

So we’d just like to finish with a huge THANK YOU to Judd and all the amazing crew for making us so welcome on board, for teaching us so much, and for giving us such a good time.

Thank you Galatea.

We hope we meet again very soon.

Galatea 3

 

Ju & Lyn

Racing Sailors