Would you want to to sail around the world with your family on a sailboat?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Sinking of sailboat Rule 62

   While Morning Glory is far South from us,  Arthur and I have been keeping a close eye on hurricane formation and heavy weather that may come North to Beaufort, NC where she is.  This last hurricane Tomas especially caught our attention because it delayed the start of Caribbean 1500 Rally.  A boat from our yacht club, s/v Ilene, was participating this year and we were very interested in how the rally would handle the forecasted weather.  Behind the hurricane was a VERY nasty front with forecasts of high winds and large swells.  Mixing that with a Gulf Stream crossing sounded like a potential ass beating or worse.    How many stories have we read about races gone wrong because caution and and forecasts were not taken seriously.   There was a few days window between fronts and the race took advantage of it.  It looked like boats sailing to the Caribbean should make it in a day or two before the front,  and the boats sailing straight to the Bahamas would JUST miss getting pounded by high winds and heavy swells.  The first thing that I thought was what if someone has mechanical problems and lags behind.  Then not only do they have to deal with a broken rudder or  mainsail traveler, but they would have to deal with bad weather...  Unfortunately this seems to have happened and the cost was not only a boat but the life of a 46 year old woman.

    I have been trying to piece what happened but there is little news.  Rule 62 started out heading for the Caribbean but then diverted to the Bahamas.  The other boats heading to the Bahamas had already arrived safely because of their direct route.  According to various cruisers nets, Rule 62 was having trouble with their auto pilot and had the exhausting job of hand steering.  Other cruisers reported hearing them try to trouble shoot their problem over the SSB radio.  I also heard that two of the four crew members were seasick.  They decided to divert to the Bahamas this is where no one knows for sure what happened.  By this time the front had hit the Bahamas and the ocean was raging along the Atlantic side.  It looks as if they tried to make it through the North Bar channel by Lynyard Cay Saturday night, November, 13 when their boat was swamped.   Two members were washed overboard and recovered.  They then deployed their life raft and tried to row to shore when another wave overturned the raft. Three of the members made it to shore but Laura Zekoll is still missing a presumed dead.   I just shake my head in amazement at the poor judgement that lead to this tragic development.  How did this happen?  Why was this mistake made?

     Sailing in the Bahamas is one most beautiful places, but also one of the most technical.  Many lives have been lost on the dangerous reefs over the centuries.  There are some simple rules everyone should follow there.  Number one is to never enter a cut or harbor at night.  These cuts are dangerous and every factor needs to be considered. And NEVER attempt one during an ocean rage.  What led them to make this decision?  Was it exhaustion and sickness.  Was it lack of seamanship?  How did they not know the conditions?  When you're traveling with the waves you often can't see them breaking until you see them breaking behind you, but the forecast said they were there -and very wicked.  Why did the rally not advise them?

     The death of this woman is haunting me.  I think about the night we arrived in the Bahamas.  We had three days of rough weather and decided to cut our trip a little shorter by going to the Abacos rather than farther to San Salvador.  We arrived just before sunset and knew we shouldn't attempt entering March Harbor.  So I spent that night sailing back and forth fighting currents and waves.  We had made a big mistake of throwing our watches off.   The last day was nice and instead of taking turns sleeping every 4 hours we enjoyed so time together fishing and cooking our fish.  That made for a very rough night.   I extended my shift as long as I could so Arthur would be rested enough to navigate through the reefs to safety.  Having 4 able seaman (8  and 10 year olds don't count) would have made all the difference in the world.  But then again, what if they got very seasick and I had to take care of them and the kids.  That would probably be worse than just the two of us.  I would like to discuss that with other offshore cruising sailors.  So if anyone is reading this, give me your thoughs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's been a long time

It has been a long time since I updated my blog.  I'm sorry to all those people who are interested in our grand adventures.  The end of our sailing season was filled with friends and fun.  Arthur did a good job of blogging about it in his blog http://svmorningglory.com (click on "content" on the sidebar to see our adventures last winter) He tended to update his blog while I was cooking dinner (the only spare time he had).  We had so much fun in the Berries and in the Exuma Land and Sea Park that I really didn't have time (not to mention no internet access).  He can also update his blog by the satellite phone due to special compression software associated with sailblog.

Once we returned to the states, we traveled North to Beaufort, NC -the place where we started- just in time for hurricane season and Stephen's 5th grade graduation.  We spent the hurricane season on land in NY building the cruising kitty and getting the house closer to sell or rent.

Now all my time is taken up by homeschooling the kids and my "spare time" is spent cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.  I have no idea why any parent would choose to homeschool without a darn good reason!  It is a full-time job without pay.  I can't wait to get back on the boat.  There is much less cleaning (fewer room and less space has it's advantages) and a lot less laundry.  The children should also have more incentive to finish their assignments quickly when the beach is calling.   The kids are doing well with homeschool.  They are learning more than they would at public school but kids need socialization.   That is my biggest challenge.  I thought we were only going to be here a month or two so I didn't sign them up for any activities, and now I am regretting it.  Rivers' favorite activity -catching feral kittens and taming them- is done for the season and we've found homes for all the kittens but one.  Stephen's favorite activity -playing on the computer- is taking way too much of his time.  He is TRYING to get as much time in as he can before the limited access on the boat.  That, of course, is a bone of contention.

Everyone has been asking what our plans are.  Keep in mind plans and boats don't go well together but this is what I've come up with so far:  We will be taking the 11 hour drive down to Beaufort over Thanksgiving to do as much work as we can.  Mainly maintenance and adding some updated electronics and improving the SSB (right now we can't run the autopilot and the SSB at the same time).  Arthur loves his gadgets and improving things.  We would like to get Morning Glory back into the water around Christmas, and the kids and I will move onboard.  Arthur is working and will be using his frequent flier miles to spend time with us.  I forgot to mention the new satellite communication system we will installing over Thanksgiving which will allow for long weekends together.   We'll see how well this works out.  My original plans were to move back on the boat at the end of August - like I said, plans and boats don't correspond.

If any one has any questions or comments or if you want to know more about something, please comment.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Did we really just fit through that???  It was a tight fit not to mention a bit nerve racking, but we safely made it in to see our friends s/v Nathaniel and s/v Las Sirenas anchored in the harbor around Staniel Cay

Thunderball Grotto

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The Pigs around Staniel Cay

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The maiden voyage of the pram we built

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I know it's way past time for a new post

I cannot believe how quickly time has passed.  We have had a great time here in the Bahamas and are already talking about heading back.  I really do have a good excuse for not posting more- internet connections have been abysmal.  Arthur has been able to update his blog because sailblog has great compression software and he can transmit on very low band and also on his sat phone.  His site is svmorningglory.com 

We have met some really great friends and have traveled to some really beautiful places.  Some quick highlights since my last posts are:

Georgetown- arriving just in time for the Family Island Regatta where the local race in their hand crafted sailboats.  The children got to participate in the children's regatta.  Georgetown is where we met some really great people like Kylie, Stuart and Sammy on s/v Clementine, and the Shewowow guru Simon and his wife Andrea and children Esther and Stephen's new best friend Damien on Nathanael.  We also met Scott and Esme and their children Haley and Alana on Las Sirenas.  I also can't forget Liberty, Side by Side, and Asolaires (which I know I spelled wrong) and many other people I am sure I'll run into again.

The Exumas-  What beautiful pristine islands.  Just make sure you stock up before arriving because there is nothing there in the way of provisions. We went to Rudder Cay, Staniel Cay where we met up again with Natanael and Las Sirenas.  There we saw swimming pigs and the famous Thunderball grotto from the James bond movie. We also went to Cambridge Cay, Wardwick Wells and Hawksbill Cay.  At Hawksbills we had our final shewowwow  in the Shewowwow Grotto and said goodbye to our good friends on Natanael. Our last day in the Exumas was at Shroud Cay at the most spectacular beach I have ever seen. I can't believe I forgot my camera.  I will try to get some photos from friends to post.

Rivers birthday party
Now we are experiencing culture shock at the Atlantis resort off Nassau.  I'll take pictures of our view and post them tomorrow.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Starting to get on island time

It's starting to feel like we are finally in the Bahamas.  We sailed to Great Guana Cay on Wednesday and spent 2 nights there. We had a lovely walk to the other side of the island where there is a magnificent 5 mile beach.  The colors were breath taking!  There is a huge barrier reef that protects the beach.  It's the third largest barrier reef in the world.  There is an inner reef which we snorkeled. 
It had beautiful corals and sea fans.  There were big crevices and caves for fish to hide in.  There was not a ton of fish, but we saw a nice variety including a huge lobster.  Too bad lobster season ended a week or so ago.   We forgot our camera so Arthur and I hiked back this morning while the kids slept in then ate their breakfast.  They are so cute calling us on the VHF when they get up.  The pictures that we took do not do justice to the color of the water.

A big cold front is coming down from Canada and bringing strong winds and rain late tonight.  We ducked into Hope Town to wait out the weather.   It's a very quaint little hole in the island that is absolutely packed with boats.  Around the lagoon are cute little cottages painted bright colors.  We haven't had time to explore the island yet.  When we arrived we were visited by another cruising boat with 2 children.  Charlotte Ann has 2 lovely children aboard, Dylani age 9 and Mitchell age 7.  Rivers was thrilled to play with a girl her age and Stephen enjoyed playing with the little boy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What's for dinner?

Mahi Mahi are so colorful

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Leaving Beaufort 3/30/10
                               Are we there yet?

Finally Moving, Finally Bahamas

Well we finally left North Carolina!!!  It's about time.  We had a great weather window open for us on Tuesday, March 30, so we decided not to mess around down the coast but to cross the Gulf stream North  out of Beaufort and head South once we crossed it. Winds were predicted to be light and from the right directions.  Well they got the right directions part right but the wind was a little stiffer than we would have liked.  We flew across the Gulf Stream with a third reef in both sails and and faces full of salt water.  The first 2 days were tough and poor little Rivers got very sick.  Then it finally calmed down and we started to get accustomed to our 4 hour watch schedule.  We even got our fishing lines out and caught 2 Mahi Mahi on the third day!  Unfortunately I lost the first one while I tried to net it, but we soon had another bite and that one we had for dinner.  Delicious!  Arthur sauted it with olive oil, scallions, garlic and a little lemon.  We arrived in the Bahamas late last night and we had to go up and down the coast until daybreak when we could make a safe harbor entrance.  We are at Marsh Harbor in the Abacos.  We decided to spend tonight at the Moorings/Sunsail marina.  The local customs office is closed on weekends, but they will come to you at the marina.  We had to stay on the boat for a couple of hours until the three customs officers arrived.  I'm not sure why it takes three but I must say they were the nicest custom officers I've delt with.  It was very hard keeping the kids off the dock until we were cleared.  We also needed to wash all the salt off our boat and do laundry.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Up the mast

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When does the Relaxing Part Start?

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while.  We have been very busy doing uninteresting things.  We have gone into the water, but we haven't gone anywhere except for a couple of engine tests, to get diesel and to move to a better dock.  We decided to go through all our systems and to fix everything here in the states while we still have access to our car.  We checked all of our pumps and bilge pumps and automatic float switches and found one bilge pump's motor was dead and one bilge pump had some electrical problems that Arthur had to fix.  While he down in the dregs, I had to find a correspondingly dirty job.  I decided to rebuild our main head (the manual pumping toilet for those of my non-boating friends).  The head is a relatively simple pump and you can buy rebuild kits for it.  They recommend that it is rebuilt every two years, but people seldom do that.  They usually wait until it becomes an emergency fix.  You know, that time, underway when the the bowl is full and you used too much toilet paper and it just won't pump......   Well I wanted to avoid that, and by the way it squeaked when you pumped it, it was way past due.  We already had a rebuild kit on board with all new gaskets and o-rings and such.  It was actually a simple job that took way longer than it should have.  The first time taking something apart is always like that because I read and reread all the directions, making sure that 13A in the diagram  is the same gasket in my hand.  Next time it needs to be done it will take me 1/3rd the time.  How did I become the head mistress??  We also finally tackled the watermaker.  Again for my nonboating friends, a watermater is a reverse osmosis system that basically pumps saltwater through a membrane to get fresh water. I thought for sure we ruined the very costly membrane over the past year by ignoring it and not changing out the winterizing solution from last year.  Arthur spent a whole day rinsing the system and cleaning it with an alkaline cleaner. But wonders of wonders, it works!  We filled our starboard tank with good fresh water, not the brown stinky stuff that comes out of the faucet here.  Another thing holding us back was the dinghy motor.  We decided to test the dinghy since we hadn't used it since the summer.  It magically started the with the first pull, but there was no water pumping out to cool the motor.  We had to rig up a block and tackle to hoist it up to the high dock (we were not on a floating dock at the time).  We managed to get it into the truck and over to a great guy, Larry Holt, in Havelock.  It was the impeller and it took an extra day to get the part.  Our last job (why we waited for it to be our last job I'm not sure) was the anchor light.  I think we just forgot about it.  Last summer while anchoring off  Norwalk, we noticed that our anchor light was out. I remembered this the day before we were planning on taking off and anchoring for the night.  This morning, bright and early, I was hoisted up the mast to check on it.  Arthur tried yesterday to use our self climbing device that we bought this summer, but the main halyard got twisted when he tried to hoist the climbing rope. So, I had to fix that while I was up there also.  I had to be hoisted on the spinnaker line which doesn't quite reach the top of the mast by Arthur and Stephen was working the extra safety line.  I couldn't see to get the light down, but I could reach up high enough to take pictures of it so we could buy the replacement.  This lead to another trip to West  Marine where they know us by name.  Of course, they didn't have it in stock since it is a very pricey item.  How can a light be $500?  I hoisted Arthur back up on the main halyard this time, with Stephen again manning the safety line (he is becoming a pro at this).    Since it was on the main, I got to use the electric winch which was much faster and easier and he was able to get high enough to take it down.  We have to decide if we want to overnight a new tricolored  LED one like we have for Tuesday or to get just a regular anchor light.  The forecast is for rain and thunder storms tomorrow, so I don't think we will be heading up the mast until Tuesday AM anyway.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We are finally in the water!!!!  And suprise - our waterline is not too bad!  Maybe I can go back into the truck and add a few things I took off....Posted by Picasa
It was a long trip from Core Creek Boat Yard to Jarrett Bay Yard where the lift is.  I am amazed at how smoothly it went.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Moving Along

Well it stopped raining and we're getting a lot of jobs crossed off our to do list. The kids are having a great time running around the boat yard. They have been carving little boats and sailing them in the mud puddles, and riding around on their scooters. I am soon going into town to look for a laundromat. We are counting this week as their spring break. We are taking our time getting into the water. While we are in the yard, everything is much easier and we have access to our truck. We are having a great time even though we are working very long and hard days.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's raining again

It's so hard to be motivated to work when it's raining. I would much rather recline and read a good book or knit while listening to one. Wait- I thought that what life would be like now that we've quit our jobs and left our house, but it takes a lot of hard work to get to that point. We still haven't moved onboard. It's been pouring for the last 3 days so we went shopping, got our hair cut, went out for dinner. We are taking advantage of the fact that we still have a truck available. Right now the biggest fiasco is the electric system that we spent thousands on this past summer. Our new inverter is not working so we will have no power to our outlets. The good news is that is under warranty but the bad news is that we have to take it out, send it to them and wait about 5 weeks before they ship it back. We have no idea where we will be in 5 weeks. We can surive without it for a little while and we can have it shipped to the Bahamas. Arthur is messing with - I mean testing and fixing- electrical problems. All the salon cushions are in piles around the boat and electrical boards are pulled out and he needs to find that short in the freezer. I guess it's another night in the motel. That's alright, at least we have TV there and hot water.

We are scheduled to go into the water on Monday. Once we are in the water, we are going to anchor in the vicinity until we test all our systems. That way, we will still have access to our truck if we need to get parts. My main concerns are the watermaker and the autopilot.

Sorry if I haven't answered people on facebook. We've been working all day then the four of us fight over use of the computer at night.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Now for Unpacking.....

We just arrived in Beaufort, NC late Monday night and spent the last two days unpacking. It's rather like putting a puzzle together, trying to get all the pieces to fit. We are staying in a little motel off the ICW in Core Creek. It's just what you'd expect from a motel except it smells a little less moldly than some. We are planning to move aboard in a day or two once everything is put away and I launder the sheets. Morning Glory is on land right now and we try to fix a few things before we go. I would love to post some pictures but we can't find the cable to connect the camera and it's not a standard connection. I may have to have a friend look for it and mail it to us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wait! that 's got to fit in there too!

A couple of days ago I asked the kids to pack their toys they want to bring in a box. I told them that they are limited to the size of the box and that's all they can bring. Rivers packed. She went through her toys and stuffed animal making three piles as she went along: one to keep, one to give away and one to pack away for our return. She organized her American Girl doll clothes and packed the one she wanted to bring along with her dolls. She picked through her Barbies, stuffed animals and packed all her Calico Critters. I helped organize and cut down her art supplies. Stephen quickly grabbed his legos, magna-tiles and a few board games. The children are done and now it's my turn. How can an adult have so much trouble packing her toys when the children packed theirs with so much ease? I've got my yarn and knitting supplies. Can't go without that. The beading supplies would be great- we could make jewelry to sell or give as gifts. I have to take my guitar. I've always planned on learning on the boat. Where is my sewing machine going to fit? I need to sew curtains for Rivers' cabin and I plan on doing some canvas work. How do I pick which cookbooks to bring? Books should go into a separate box - but they are so heavy! Which reference books do we bring? AARRRGG!!!!!!! My biggest stress right now is overloading the boat. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Possible Delay

Things never seem to go quite as planned. The original plan was that Friday, February 26 was going to be the kids last day at Mamaroneck Avenue School and we were going to drive away to the boat on Wednesday the 3rd. Yesterday, Stephen brought home a permission slip for a field trip to the Beuhler Challenger and Science Center. I thought this trip was going to be mid-March and had already told him he couldn't go. Now I find out that the trip is Friday, March 5. It looks like such a cool field trip - I want to go too! Rivers does NOT want to stay in school one more week. I told her that if she stays at home next week that she has to start home school right away and it won't be playtime. I'm sure I can find plenty of work for her that won't require too much teaching for a week since I will be frantically packing and cleaning. She is very behind on her French a la Rosetta Stone and she can work on her typing lessons, and don't forget about workbooks! Also reading- I forget that reading is part of school. She is such an avid reader that I sometimes have to threaten her to put her book down- "Rivers, if you don't put that book down and eat, I'm going to hide it!" I think I can easily find a week's worth of less supervised school work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

1&1/2 Weeks to Go

One and a half weeks to go and I'm starting to freak out a bit!!! I have so much to do. I submitted the homeschooling paperwork, but the superintendent's office is closed this week. Now I have to go through tons of paperwork, get the mail stopped, deal with the bills, get someone to mow the lawn this spring, return the school instruments, quickly order anything we might need so we can get it delivered in time, get the kids to pick out their toys to bring, pack up the house, and the list goes on and on.... The kids have been home from school this week for spring break. Hopefully, I will get more done next week once they are back. Wish me luck. We may not get out of here until two and a half weeks.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another check on the list

I can check off another item from my to do list. Our cat Inky is in his new home. We had to chase the poor cat all around the house after he escaped the first time. Arthur finally dragged him out of the closet. It was so sad when he left. He was our first cat and I miss him already. Now we need to find a home for Tiger Lily. I would prefer to find someone to take her in while we travel and give her back, but I know that that is unrealistic. She is a very special cat with an extremely outgoing personality and she is very intelligent. Anyone who would take her in would fall in love with her right away.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

ICW - First leg

Here are some pictures of our trip along the intracoastal waterway from Portsmouth, VA to Beaufort, NC

Thursday, February 4, 2010

First entry

Here is my first post. We're not on the ocean quite yet..... Hubby's given his notice and were still preparing. How can a family of four acquire so many things!!! I've found a home for two kittens but we still need to find homes for the other two (anyone want a cat?) and I have mountains of jobs to conquer before I can devote time to blogging. First job is to sort through New York State homeschooling paper work. Those of you from NY can sympathizes with me because you understand NY bureaucracy. (maybe I shouldn't use the word "understand" - how about "are familiar with").