Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Birthday Time

Champagne toasts
 Thanks to everyone that remembered my birthday and sent me happy thoughts that day.

Its always sad to be away from home on any special occasion, but good friends to share the day with are very special.

In my case that was Carl and Leslie on "Frolic", we did an awesome beach day - which incidentally is my favorite thing to do- swim.

Some people had the most awesome water toy on the front of their jet ski. I tried to convince Gord to get one for the cottage, but first he'd have to buy a jet ski.
 Others were just trying to keep the beach bunnies from  falling apart.
 Then we did the Caribbean shower on the back of their boat and then dinghy'd to the Oceana restaurant  overlooking Hassle Island and out over the ocean in St Thomas.

It's a spectacular old place that has been everything from a private villa to the Russian embassy, destroyed in hurricane Marilyn and rebuilt it is currently an upscale restaurant .

Carl, Sue and Leslie

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Saved by a Naked Guy!

Our rescue was necessitated when on our way back across Charlotte Amalie harbour to Ocean Wings, the Dinghy engine quit.  I know, you've heard this song before, but I swear this is not going to be another of those "year of the Dinghy fiascos". In this case just a loose hose, in need of a clamp.

However, we started rowing,  when into their dinghy jumps three guys, coming to give us a tow.
Two were dressed, one was not!, he stood up and handed us a line and politely told us we should tie it on to something. Giving instruction like a seasoned sailor, while announcing to us.....I'm  naked!  Like we didn't notice.

Did I forget to mention, he was with his dad and brother and was only about 4-5 years old, curly haired, tanned from head to tow and obviously totally knew just what to do to tow another sailor in distress.   As I said, a seasoned sailor and cute as a button.

Captain Ron???

What a great and funny movie. If you've seen it you'll know just what I mean, when I say, our poor little, somewhat tired "Ocean Wings" is sitting here amongst the biggest, fanciest mega yachts in the Caribbean.  Here we sit, on the dock, tied up beside these 5 story, 200 ft floating palaces.

We're feeling we just must be on the movie set of Captain Ron!!!   You haven't seen it? Go watch it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Problems, problems, so many problems

   We know we're getting older, cause the trek to the top of the ladder for the 50th time today has really ggot us pooped and then of course there's the work once you get up there.

We're replacing a leaky throughull and learned just how thick our hull is!   a full, measured 2 inches.
I think the old girl will keep us pretty safe.   

our Hull thickness



Our forestay plate had to come off- nasty messy, job, which Gord did by climbing into the chain locker and by wearing his handy ,dandy designer work hat. Isn't he cute.

Then I got to scrape the nasty old 5200 off in anticipation of the newly welded, newly strong and ever so shiny plate that's ready to go back on.
Its an important part of the rigging as it holds the jib furler onto the bow of the boat. There be no sailin' without that shiny bit of stainless.


Great news is the engine started on the first crank. Bad news is the Genny didn't.

But we're ready and plopping her in the water just the same so we can head to St Thomas to get some quotes on replacing any rigging that might be at the end of its rope ( no pun intended)  its time for a new insurance survey and we want to make sure we pass and stuff like this spinnaker halyard block would terrify even the most seasoned rigger.  I have to say it definitely freaked me out last season when Gord hoisted me up the mast using that nasty bit of equipment.

Hallelujah, the genny is not broken, just a cracked, loose wire and she too fires right up.

We're ready for the water! Splash!, the fridge fires up, gives a huge belch of water out the  side of the boat and stops.  Will the problems never cease?

Its Friday, the riggers aren't expecting us till Monday and Mike, our fridge repair guy is already on high alert, so we grab bags of ice to go, a few groceries and were off to Francis Bay for the weekend.

Francis Bay is calm, sunny and quiet and wouldn't you know just as I have the end of the mooring line drop into the water, Gord hits the bow thruster......  chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk and i'm sure you can guess what gets sucked in and caught.  It was already 5pm and I figured I'd missed my swim. Nope, got to go in and retrieve the line out of the bow thruster propeller. Its just a little chewed,  I got my swim and all is AOK in paradise and we finally take a little R & R break from the work and just swim and relax.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Boat Yard- On the Hard

Ferry ride to Virgin Gorda
I'm supposed to get them up there , How???
Now this is not the place of tropical dreams. Smelly, dusty, hard , hard work from dawn to dusk all done climbing up a 30 ft ladder.   Paradise!?!

The best part is there is no snow, ice or any minus anything temperatures.

The second best part is hooking up with friends from previous years that are all here doing the same dusty, dirty work all day that we do.

Happy hour is at 6pm outside Buck's were the company is fun and the beer is cold.

Gord, Tom, Mike & Betts at Bucks
This year Meg and Tom beat us all here only to find out that their engine had seized, so they are sitting at the dock awaiting the arrival of a new engine and making the best of it by swimming, dancing and enjoying that cold beer.  Mike and Betts are here from Vancouver and are almost ready to launch.  Carl and Leslie just finished bottom painting their catamaran and will most likely launch first. In fact, they splashed this afternoon and are on their way to North Sound.

Ocean Wings was in pretty good shape, but the strong winds that went through in November and December took out some of our messenger lines, so the challenge is now to get our halyards up and through the top of the mast so we can hoist sails. The winds also played havoc with our lazy jack lines and they chaffed through at the top. Challenge is just to figure out how they go back up.

The unveiling
More Luggage

Up the mast

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pit Stop with Mom in Florida

It was a short sweet visit this year, but we did play a little more santa.   Hit Bealls to do some shopping ( I won't apologize, I just cannot visit Florida without a trip to Bealls)  In fact I believe it's a mandatory requirement for entry into that state. Haircut, pedicure and a visit with cousins Marion and George, then off to catch a flight to the islands.   Warmth at last!!!

Heading South

The holiday festivities are over and we hit the road.  We're driving a New Mercedes down this year for a couple who winter in the Bradenton area. Posh wheels and we tried very hard not to give it back, but the boat was calling.

It seems like every year, the first thing we pack is the cold we just got from our grandkids, why should this year be any different. So the second thing we pack is the cough syrup, throat lozenges and tylenol.  Grandkids are awesome!!

Let's not forget all that lovely, absolutely necessary stuff we got at the boat show, it comes too. All packed into 3 large, stuffed duffle bags. two wheeled carry-ons full of all the necessary electronics, camers, ipads, computers, Mp3 players, Wii console, internet hotspots for each country, epirb, memory sticks, along with a few of the very heavy boat parts.  Then a tote each for the personal items and we are official on the road. They sure do love those carry-ons at the airport security check ins, masses of electronics, with wires streaming in every direction. Goes without saying that they always get opened and pulled apart.
I do usually get lots of accolades for the amount of stuff I can manage to stuff into such a small space.  Must be the boating experience??

Driving through the mountain in January is not for the faint of heart , Fog, rain, Ice, snow and lots of Road pizza that didn't make it across those 6 lane interstates. Sirius radio and those posh wheels made it seem like a piece of cake.

The reason we go...... and the reason we stay

We start our boating season in January, coincidentally right after Christmas.
 Sadie the Pirate and Owen the Dragon 
We have a couple of little reasons for that late start and they are called Sadie and Owen, Ben and Nick.

Our little princess
The family entertainer
Gord would happily head south earlier but I just don't want to miss the adorable little trick or treater's.
Then the amazing choreography work that goes into the annual Christmas concerts.

The hype and preparation for Santa's arrival and the sheer wonder that even though they only behaved well enough to get a lump of coal. Santa loves them and came through just the same.

Junior family members having Christmas fun

Santas arrival

Santa loves Ben too
Karen & Nick
Sadie and Owen Christmas day

Now the reason we leave, especially this year has a whole lot to do with scrapping off cars, trudging through snowbanks, ice storms and power outages.  Not to even mention the -30 to -40 degree weather.  Who would voluntarily stay??? 


Boat show Time Oct 2013

Boat shows are the best. you get to preview all the latest gadgets the you probably don't need but manage to convince yourself that you just can't live without, so you buy them and pat yourself on the back for getting such bargains on such great stuff at such a discount because you bought it at the show.

Lots of Nifty Gadgets
We're no different, we love the gadgets. This year we bought the latest and greatest in stainless polish, nifty new fluorescent, indestructible, self wrapping chaffing gear, new snubbing gear, power winch ( we're getting pretty old and worried about all that cranking), latest LED navigation lights and various bits and parts that I'm really not sure what they do.
Rain or Shine, the shopping must go on

We developed quite an intimate relationship with the glue guy this year  after eating lunch at Pussers and breaking off a front tooth on one of their extra unexpected long tined forks.  His glue came to the rescue and I could continue to smile without looking like an old salty dog.

A new 52' Shannon, we can all dream
Previewing the latest and greatest of new boats is nothing short of a drool fest.  Our favorite?  The swing keel Shannon that can take the ocean swells , then come right in to the Bahama shallows.

Then rounding a corner, who should appear but our friends from Toronto; Gar and Helen, owners of a 40 ft Valiant back in Toronto. They were just as shocked to see us as we were to see them, so we had some fun dinners in Annapolis swapping stories.

Gar , Helen & Sue

You'll hear more about Gar and Helen in March when they arrive to share some sailing with us aboard Ocean Wings and check out the Virgin Islands for a future trip down aboard their Valiant.

Sailboat owners Gord and Sue aboard their 55' Whitby Ketch "Ocean Wings" share their adventures and travels as they start their retirement, living their dream of seeing the world from oceanside.
Ocean Wings is a recent purchase and our first foray into the Sailing Lifestyle. We're excited and a little scared. Join us in our adventure.