Sunday, March 30, 2014

Boom Brake

We have been trying to rig a preventer and or boom brake on vs Honey Ryder for some time with varying degrees of success.  A preventer keeps the boom from doing an accidental jibe - which is a very bad thing/very dangerous/can kill someone/de-rig a boat!  We find that even on a good point of sail, ocean swell can cause the boat to roll enough to potentially have an accidental jibe.  Therefore we always rig a preventer.  Generally Tom goes out on deck and ties a line from the boom to the toe rail forward.  This works great until you want to tack and go a different direction.  We needed a better system.

For the passage down to the Caribbean, we used a line off the end of the boom rigged on both sides, the idea being that we wouldn't need to leave the cockpit.  It worked....ok but still needed improvement.  Additionally it chaffed on the brand new dodger - argh.

We then started seriously talking about a boom brake.  There is one on the market and we looked at it in a chandlery in St Martin.  It's really beef, which isn't a bad thing but the cost was beefy as well!  Cha-ching Cha-ching!

Then Tom got to thinking.....ours doesn't have to be that beefy.

Who else uses something like this?  Bing!  Mountain climbers.  Baxter on Sv Terrapin has done some climbing in his day to put it mildly.   He and Tom talked through the concept.  Tom ordered a Super 8's from REI and our friend Michelle brought it down when she visited us in St Martin.  The price was so reasonable that Tom decided to order two.  Take the word marine out of a product and watch the price fall to something reasonable. 

We are still testing and tweaking.  Remind me down the line and I will try to report back how it is working.

Falmouth Harbor Antigua

Reef on the south side of Antigua

We motored from Jolly around the southwest corner of Antigua, into the wind, inside the reef and into the quite Carlisle Bay.

Check out the way they store these racing boats

The next day we motored straight into 18 knots of wind and on into Falmouth Harbor - thankfully a short distance.
Part of Falmouth Harbor
There are many, many yachts in here but it's a big space.  Some yachts are at one of the three marinas.   Some moored and some anchored, like us.
Local laser sailors use the anchor field as practice course - zoom zoom -very close at times
While there are a few boats smaller than s/v Honey Ryder, most are bigger.
Checking out the BIG yachts and some are really, really big yachts

More than a handful of classics around as well.  WOW!
We are perfectly happy with s/v Honey Ryder but we still like to walk the docks and see other boats to get ideas for our boat.  Plus who doesn't like to look at boat porn up close and personal when possible!
Dinghy dock in background -Rocks were tippy - not good with a sack of groceries that includes eggs
First we had to land the dinghy and get ashore.  Not always an easy task.  Sometimes it's Dinghy Jungle Gym Obstacle Course time when we come ashore.
Dinghy dock balance beam event - score 9.6 - stupid Russian judge!  HA! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jolly Harbor Antigua Channel Markers

Check these out.  Of course I guess it's better than a skinny piece of PVC sticking out of the water - like in some places or nothing at all.  It just crackes me up.

*Plus I love showing off the beautiful water color down here.

Monday, March 24, 2014

RIP Larrybear

Photo by Mary Ann Hogarth - professional photographer and Larry fan
March 24 -We pulled into Antigua again yesterday and got wifi to learn that our cat Larry has died.  He was approximately 15-16 years old.  We had him for the 13 or so years of his life until we moved aboard last year.

Larry was a walk up to our house umpteen years ago.  I think he looked through the window and saw our extremely old cat Reba and thought "Ah.  She will die soon and then I can be top cat."  Little did he- or us for that mater- know that Reba the cat would live to the ripe old age of 26.

However, after hanging around for six weeks and us trying to find his previous family to no avail, we took Larry in.  He was a great addition.  Although to Reba the cat, he was the little brother she never wanted.  Anyone else who met Larry liked him.   "I don't even like cats, but Larry is kewl." We heard that often.  He was a likable guy.  He was a cuddler - and he and I cuddled often.

We had a long range plan.  Close down land life, move aboard and live FULL time on s/v Honey Ryder.  Larry would NOT do well aboard.  He was a land based, low gravity, clumsy, de-clawed (by previous owners) cat.  We didn't think it would be fair to him to drag him along on our adventures.

Luckily, Sarah came into Larry's life.  She made it her task to help us find Larrybear a new home.  First he was placed temporarily with her Aunt Helen and then with all time cat lover Allison.

We are SO grateful to Sarah, Aunt Helen and Allison for giving Larrybear a good home in his last days.  

Thank you SO much to all of you.
RIP Larry!
I know this isn't sailing related but I just felt the need to post.  Thanks for indulging me this non-sailing post.  

Speaking of Goldilocks

Hang 10 surfer dude highlights!
Check out Tom's blond hair -okay -  light brown streaks.  Some were cut off this week when we did a little trim up but he still has several.  The deck of the boat has turned out to be the best blow drier ever!  And it's such an awesome feeling to let the wind blow your hair dry. I've turned into bikini girl talking about hair. Sorry!  Inside joke.
Ready for a little trim
And yes, Tom's hair is still somewhat long'ish even after the trim.  Guess what!  Many sailor guys grow their hair long because it's 1.)  It's easier  2.)  They can put it in a ponytail thus being somewhat anti....whatever and more pirate like AND..... .3.)  Tom can!  Not very many 50+ guys can grow hair at all on their head at all!!  Just saying!

Barbuda to Antigua

March 23rd
We set sail from Barbuda around 8:45 today.  Before exiting Low Bay we had all three sails up (main, headsail and staysail).  It was an absolutely perfect day and we happily sailed along in winds 12-14.  s/v Honey Ryder averaged 6+ knots and saw a top speed of 7.4.  No matter.  We were just content cruising along.

We arrived back in the Jolly Harbor anchorage six hours later.  Wonderful sail!!

Codrington Barbuda

Town center of Codrington
March 20th -After the Frigate Bird Colony,  Goldilocks took us into the only village on Barbuda - Codrington.  Approximately 1800 people live on Barbuda.  The island has done a really good job of keeping growth aka hotels and tourism to a minimum, thus preserving the natural beauty of Barbuda.

Goldilocks walked us around town a bit and then to the Roti Queen's house for lunch.  Marci was having trouble with her cooking gas but Goldilocks helped her and so it was decided that we would come back at noon (30 mins later) for Roti's.
Roti Queen
Goldilocks then took us around to a place where we could sit out of the shade.  It ended up being the local bar/meeting house/gathering spot.  It was on the town center.  Tom bought a beer and then we walked about town a bit.
New paved road with drainage in one section
The houses appear to be in much better shape than other Caribbean islands we've been to.  Most houses had a yard and fence and some had a few bushes and trees/landscaping.  Additionally there were some fantastic concrete roads about.  Then we went back to the Roti Queens for lunch.  We had to wait.  Several people came and had take away.  They would respectfully wait for their food just outside her kitchen door which was slightly open.  Sometimes they visited with her through the door but they never went in or opened the door further.  Tom and I had the chicken roti.  Mike had a veggie roti.  Goldilocks came back and had a huge bowl of cows foot soup (bull soup) only it wasn't in a bowl but a Pyrex dish slightly larger than a meatloaf pan!  He said she makes the best and I believe it as he ate every drop.
Common facade in Antigua and Barbuda
During lunch, Mike inquired about local healthcare.  They have a hospital and three doctors.  Two from Cuba and one from the US- I think. They are provided a house and car while here and can bring their families.  They rotate through for a period of time and work 9-2 and plus call.  They also have 3 med students from Barbuda - I think, that have just finished up med school in Cuba and are now back doing their final internships.  They have nurses as well.
 After lunch, we walked around town a bit more.  Horses are really popular in Barbuda.  The local horses just wonder around town.  Donkeys too.  The thoroughbreds are kept in stables.  Every other Sunday there is horse racing and the entire island shows up to watch.  If you are into horses, I would think this would be a must for your visit.  FYI because of the horses and donkeys, they also have flies but they aren't too bad.  
Ad for Venezuela sponsored public works projects
The local fisheries dept has a lovely, modern, new facility to sort their fish.  I mean super fancy.  When we asked about it, Goldilocks said the Japanese had built it.  Hum?  He explained further that Antigua and Barbuda still have rights to limited whaling because of their heritage and so... the Japanese are trying to get in good with both for that reason.  A-ah!  This lead me to ask about the billboard we saw in town advertising three public works projects being built by the Venezuela government.  I asked what they wanted in return for doing these three projects.  Nothing is FREE, right?  Goldilocks said it started with Chavez trying to bring all the Caribbean nations together on their side and against the USA.  Hum?  Very interesting.  I wonder who is paying for the nice concrete roads we saw?  
Objection list to those running for office

Self explanatory

Pretty clear

We stopped a couple of different times to read the local postings.  One was about people running for office. One guy in particular was against certain people running and so had files a grievance saying so.  We were also able to peruse the local voter registry for the island of Barbuda as it was handing up outside the bar and post office.  It listed everyone, gave their voter reg number and told what they did for a living.  Another posting asked the people please get their horses off the cricket field!  So interesting.

Goldilock's skiff
We stopped in a local grocery store on the way back to the dock.  It was small but nice.  Mike bought a loaf of bread.  I thought the veggies that they had looked good - tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, lettuce and I think carrots.  Goldilocks said they have two other grocery stores.
Pride and joy buoy
The town dock primarily has small fishing skiffs that are used to fish the lagoon, get lobster, and take tourist across the lagoon.  The entrance to the lagoon is only big enough for small skiffs.  However off to one side of the town docks, near some mangroves, there is a huge, red sea buoy.  I asked Goldilocks about this.  He said some of the locals found it floating close to shore.  It's a sea buoy from Nova Scotia- blown WAY off course.  They drug it back into the lagoon and now it's used during hurricane season to sound storm warnings.  I think it's primarily a big prize for the village....."look what we found!"   It was just funny to see if sitting there.  

Goldilocks and the Frigate Birds

Frigate Bird Colony on Barbuda

March 20th.  Meet Goldilocks.  He was our local guide to the Frigate bird colony on Barbuda.
Goldilocks himself
Mike from vs Right Turn joined us for the day.  It was nice having an extra hand to help us drag the dinghy up the beach.  The surf washes up pretty high on this beach so we needed to be sure it was up high enough to keep it from washing back out to sea.  Then we walked the 100 ft over the sand dunes to the lagoon.
Channel markers off Tom's shoulder and bow of the boat

Yes, we were that close to land going FAST
Goldilocks picked us up right at 10am and we took off across the lagoon.  Some places were very, very shallow.  Local knowledge is a must.  There was one shallow pass where there were flats (land) on each less than 10ft off each side.  We (Tom, Mike and me) all braced a bit as our little skiff went screaming through that section at full speed - 15knots or so.
Goldilocks tossing dead branches to provoke an aerial fight

Bird taking the branch back to it's mate.....if it makes it....the other birds have other ideas
Once inside the mangroves, Goldilocks stopped to break off some dead mangrove branches.  He used these to show us how the Frigate birds fight to take branches and food away from each other.  He was very knowledgeable telling all about the birds.
So many birds
At one point he shut off the engine because it was too shallow and then he just used a long pole to take us along the edge of the mangroves.
chicks, nests and adults mixed everywhere
We were able to get quite close to the nesting birds.  Hundreds of birds filled the sky and hundreds more sat in the branches of the mangroves.  Maybe even thousands as this is one of the largest in the world.
Chick and then two non-attached males - puffed out and looking for love
We saw chicks, teenagers and adults - male and female.  The males with  the bright red pouches puffed out under their head have not yet found a mate for the season.  The male birds with deflated pouches have already been chosen by a female.  There is a joke or two in there about never mind.....  The males travel great distances.

The water near the frigate colony was full of thousands of jelly fish of all sizes.  Goldilocks said they were harmless and showed us by scooping one up.  Tom scooped several up.  They were not pretty like some jellyfish but really rather ugly and gross.
Jelly fish - thousands

small, weird, ugly jelly fish

It was all very interesting.  If you go, we would recommend Goldilocks.  You can reach him by calling on VHF radio to the Coco Point Hotel and telling them you want to book Goldilocks.  Or he has a cell - 722-54-74.  His VHF broke.