Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Launch & Prep Island Spirit 2011

Our wonderful passage from Bermuda to Maryland has ended and we are now moving aboard Island Spirit for the next 12 months! Preparing a boat from the yard to the slip and ready for sea is a lengthy process. All the sails are off, the water lines are full of antifreeze, the dinghy needs to be launched, the outboard needs serviced and the boat needs waxed and cleaned.

So, within 24 hours of hitting the docks from sea, we had her launched, moved into our slip and the sails went on. During this time, I also volunteer my web services to a charity that needed a quick website for the ISTE conference in Phila this week. So I was lucky enough to be doing two of my favorite task....Working on Island Spirit....and....working on websites....

Here are photos of the prep process so far...
The boat in the storage yard, last one left....it is JUNE...remove the cover and launch this GIRL

Launched...but no sails, dinghy on deck, no water, and VERY DIRTY

Roll our properly flaked Genoa/Jib sail onto deck, this is 135% Genny, it is 35% past the mast

Pull sail up to bow, shackle the sail into the furling drum system

Wire the shackles closed so they do not open at sea when the storms hit

Tape wire to prevent sails from catching a wire

Use jib halyard and feed sail into furling foils, hoisting and feeding up sail

Once hoisted, tension the halyard with the winch

Furl / rollup the sail....ready for sea. Note small cutter sail was put on with the same process
Saltwater hands from 6+ days at sea....
Next task....Water system draining and flushing the lines. Change the engine oil, transmission oil, antifreeze and clean and wax the cabin top. After that, enjoy the 4th of July with Wendy and Craig and then depart for Acadia Maine....

SEASON # 11 is LIVE....let's go exploring....

Monday, June 27, 2011

30 Knots below decks: Video

This is the view from below decks after the gale winds died down to a steady 30 knots. What a great sailing machine an Island Packet 40 is, as it handles these conditions very well. Thank you Captains John and Nancy for sharing the adventure with us.
30 Knots Below Deck Video

Friday, June 24, 2011

Steak Flambe Video

Did I tell you that John, the owner/captain of IP40, Larking About is a gourmet chef? Every dinner is prepared bu John and he really is an artist in the galley. The meals are all top quality even while offshore sailing in a gale with 30-35 knots of wind! This video we called KICKING IT UP A NOTCH as I was able to capture Steak Flambe prep in the galley while on anchor in Duns Cove on the Chesapeake Bay. Warning...DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bermuda Photos 2011

Here are 83 photos from our 700 photos taken! These photos show the diversity of the passage from Bermuda to Maryland June 2011. We enjoyed calm seas, beautiful sunsets and full moon rises, gale force winds, and storm conditions peaking at 54 knots of wind. Also shown in these photos are the fantastic meals Captain John prepares offshore. What a treat to enjoy a delicious meal at sea. Thank you John and Nancy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

High Wind Sailing off Cape Henry, VA

This video was shot on June 20, 2011 on our return sail from Bermuda to Maryland aboard an Island Packet 40, Larking About. Thank you John and Nancy for treating us to a FULL GALE not one but TWO gales of 32 knots and MORE! What a trip of a lifetime. Thank you John and Nancy for being such good sailors and good friends....

or watch it here

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Safe passage, BDA to Chesapeake

Team LA40, Larking About is crossing into the Chesapeake Bay from sea
after an exciting ocean voyage from Bermuda. We departed BDA at 1430
hrs on Thur. All are doing well onboard and the ship is in perfect
shape. Photos, and videos to follow.
Hayden and John, Nancy and Radeen

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Huff Puff

Happy Father's Day, WFK and Dads everywhere. Brief because it's a bit bumpy: we are crossing the Stream in a peaceful 26-28 kts, which is DOWN from our average 30 kts plus since 0200 this am. Ship and crew are all well, and we have just finished dinner. The good news is that we have been flying along on tiny sails at 8 kts: the bad news is that right now we are heading for New York! Will report longer later: today has been a safe but stormy ride. Best, Nancy John Hayden & Radeen
1900 Sunday June 19 '11 3602N 7302W WNW 28 kts, speed 7,5 under triple reef main double reef jib and staysail heading 350 :( hoping for a wind shift/reduction, maybe will end up in Cape May? 190nm on the bow.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Zoom Zoom

The watery whispers of Larking About began at 1620 yesterday, when we reached the expected light South Westerlies and killed the engine. After 25 hours of motoring, the lazy sail at 5 knots through a calm sea was like resting on a fresh-made downy pillow: we relished the peace and a smooth dinner - sweet and sour pork, which was an easy cook in the calm galley. The winds then steadily freshened, and by 2200 the whispers had turned to gurgles as we hit 6 knots. Four hours later we were double-reefed on the main in 25 knots of wind and streaking along at 8.2 knots with a slight current assisting. So the forecast was correct! And what a grand sail! With a near full moon, flat seas, and 20+ knots at 75 degrees off the port bow, Larking About had one of her best ever nights at sea. My guess would be that last night hooked Radeen on ocean sailing! Talking of hooks, yes we did get a fish on the line yesterday mid-day. It took the line off the reel in a hurry, and some reports state that when it broke the surface the first time, it was at least 5 feet long! Anyway, we were dealing with a foxy old fish, who swam towards the pull, broke the surface again, threw the hook, and I swear I heard him laughing as he threw his tail at us and danced away. So we made do with the pork, and dreamed of Ceviche for lunch, and Mahi-Mahi in a Dijonnaise sauce with capers and lemon wedges. Jim, sound familiar? Talking of Jim, Nancy and I miss you, you were great crew! But then, so are Hayden and Radeen, and they...well, at least, Radeen, is much prettier to look at, and Hayden wears shirts with sleeves on them!
Best to all from a happy bunch Larking About over the Atlantic waves, John , Nancy, Radeen and Hayden
0900 Saturday June 18 '11 3339N 6935W Winds SW 20kts Under Genoa, Staysail, SIngle-reef Main, at 8kts Seas 3 feet, Sunny: i.e. pretty darn perfect!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Off to Sea

After dancing the Duty Free Fuel Tango with Bermuda customs, we did indeed fill the diesel tank tax-free! Thus loaded with fuel, we added water and a box of Gosling's Black Seal rum, and by these vital supplies well burdened, we were well and truly ready. So we set out to sea at 15.30 yesterday, Thursday June 16th, and with light winds, we have been motorsailing due West, which is South of our direct line; but we are playing "Believe the Forecast" once again, and expect Sweet Southwesterlies to join the party and blow us on the beam into the Chesapeake. We are all well and looking forward to turning off the motor and sailing. Hayden has been snapping pics galore when not playing with his Gizmoids, and Radeen is coping well with a slightly bumpy ride. She has her happy smile on, and we think she is enjoying her second passage across the Bermudian waves. Nancy finds sleeping easy on the weather cloth, and now has a bright chirpy face after her morning coffee! Last night was bright with a full moon, which did not set until after sunrise. At 0430 I was just about awake on watch when I jumped quite high at a big splash just feet away! Then I was wide awake and was treated to a Dolphins by Moonlight show! The ocean keeps on finding new ways to surprise me.
Best to all, Hayden, Radeen, Nancy and John
JFK 0710 Friday June 17 '11 3231N 6637W Motorsailing at 6.7 kts in bright sunshine. Wind light WNW Seas 4 feet

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bermuda Harbor Radio

Inside Bermuda Harbor Radio, Aiden watch keeper
We hiked up the hill to Fort George, the site of the world famous Bermuda Harbor Radio who guides every ocean sailor into the port of Bermuda. After days at sea, it is welcomed voice to hear Bermuda Harbor Radio come up on the VHF and make contact with each vessel arriving the island. We called from a local hotel after hiking 1/2 way up to the fort and they told us that Bermuda Harbor Radio will NOT give a tour. We kindly asked if they would call up to the fort and ask if we sailors could hike up for a tour. They responded and YES...come on up, so we hiked across the golf course and up the hill and arrived at the door of the mote surrounded fort. After crossing the plank high above the mote, the watch keeper looked out the window above and unlocked the gate. We climbed the stairs to the top building and were presented to the state of the art facility. Aiden, the on watch keeper was actively working a yacht that had run out of fuel, and he told us to stand by and he would be with us soon. After dealing with this yacht, Aiden gave us the tour of the technology and the ocean sectors they manage as well as all ocean search sectors. What a treat for us, we spent about 30 minutes inside the fortress and were amazed at the data management. We will be heading out to sea today and Aiden will be on watch as we clear out...

Bermuda Harbor Radio NOC

The Logo on the Building

The MOTE around Fort George, the bridge is the access to BHR

BHR on top of the fort

The view of BHR from the harbor...Thank you Bermuda Harbor Radio!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bermuda Docks

Hayden and Radeen Bermuda streets
We are side tied to the customs dock living aboard Larking About and enjoying Bermuda as we wait for a weather window to sail back to Maryland. St. George's is a quaint and lovely English Town with the famous White Horse Tavern just off our stern and the town square to our beam. We can easily walk to beaches, the dinghy club and of course many shops in the town. We had the honor of meeting Bernie, the honorary host to all arriving yachts at Bermuda. Bernie arrived on his moped and shared stories over a cup of coffee and a lovely visit. We plan to depart Bermuda on Thur or Friday, most likely Friday as this presents the best window for sailing home.

Larking About at the Customs Dock

Bernie visits team Larking About

One of the beautiful beaches we walked to for a swim

The Customs Dock with Larking About aft the pilot boat

Last Night, a beautiful night time shot

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Adventures START

Hayden, Jason and Whitney
 We have started off our year of cruising and travel with a full set of adventures beginning with a family wedding in Philadelphia. A fantastic reception at the Constitution Center was perfect for a history teaching Groom and a BEAUTIFUL Bride. Jason and Whitney's wedding was incredible and made us proud to be included. After this capstone event, we returned home to swap the wedding clothes for our ocean sailing gear and begin our trek towards BERMUDA. We will crew on http://LA40.blogspot.com, an Island Packet 40 footer returning to the Chesapeake Bay.

Up she goes onto the AAA tow truck
We loaded our bags, digital devices, laptops, iPads, GPS SPOT, sailing harnesses, gloves, night watch caps, fleece, and wind pants, tossed in a few t-Shirts, swimming suits and shorts and we were off. We luckily planned to spend the night at the airport which would allow us a place to park our car for 2 weeks and then not have to deal with the AM traffic rush. What was NOT planned was a car break down in Essington, south of the Airport, where our starter decided to stop working.

We tried jumping it as well as beating it with a hammer attempting to get the starter over the "flat spot" issue it seems to have. FORGET IT, let's get this thing towed to the hotel, where we were staying just one block down the road and deal with it when we get back. Enter AAA tow truck driver, STEVE, and we have a new suggestion. Steve picked up the car and took it 4 miles away to www.PacificoFord.com where they will replace the starter while we are away. PERFECT solution!

"Goldie" gets her first ride on a tow truck
So, our year has started off with excitement and adventure and that is what it is all about. This little episode reminded us of our motivational quote...

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

We think we reacted well to this small curve ball. After all, we didn't miss the wedding and we didn't miss our flight!

Tomorrow it will be far, far away as we arrive in Bermuda and meet John and Nancy aboard Larking About!

Radeen with Debbie, mother of the Groom

Friday, June 3, 2011

Compound & Wax

Island Spirit, an IP 35 Under Shrink Wrap
Finally we have begun the spring prep on Island Spirit with a weekend of compounding and waxing the boat. We have done this now for 20 years, and every year I say NEVER AGAIN....but then I forget and I do it anyway. Well, let me tell you, compounding and waxing an Island Packet 35' sailboat is like waxing a tractor trailer. I am always glad we did not buy a larger boat at this time of the year.

Last year was the best year for doing this job because we WROTE A CHECK! Jeff, my good buddy and I decided we had enough of this waxing process and called Clazey Detailing who gave us a two boat discount and charged us $325.00 to compound and wax. WHAT A DEAL, but this year, no deals, the fee was $500 and we decided to do it our self once again. It really does not take that long, but it is tough on your back, arms and shoulders. The times it takes is....2 hrs to compound one side and 1 hr to wax one side, for a total job of 6 hours. So for $500 that equals $83/hr for my work. Not great, but I will take the savings.

Here are some photos of the fun....

Radeen helps with SLX fiberglass cleaner and etches and cleans the waterline

Cut the cover up to the deck, and wash the hull. This give us a few more weeks under cover.

Climb up on scaffolding and compound the hull, round one

Round two....wax the entire hull, we use Collinite Cleaner and then Fiberglass Wax

Radeen with Island Spirit

These small buffers get heavy after a few hours of working overhead

VERY rare scene....Island Spirit is LAST in the empty boat yard

NEXT TASK....Fly to BERMUDA and crew on an Island Packet 40 called Larking About sailing her back home to Rock Hall, MD. Our Trans-Atlantic voyage on her has been canceled due to a very serious illness in the owner's family. We will cross the Atlantic next summer.

So, we will stay on schedule with our flights out to Bermuda on June 13 and instead of heading EAST out of St. Georges Harbor, we will head WEST for the Chesapeake Bay some 650 miles away. Once back, we will launch Island Spirit on June 21, first day of SUMMER and our program will begin.

Summer plans are to enjoy Rock Hall through the July 4th events and then sail for Acadia Maine for the summer...in the Fall we will move to Annapolis, MD and then November we will make the run south to the Bahamas. ....welcome to Island Spirit season #10....the blog is up and running again!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Building LOFT railings

The access ladder up to gym
More fun was had building a new 3rd floor LOFT / Gym railing. This room is up on the third floor and is reached via a very cool handmade ladder up into the room. The room is our gym where we have a treadmill, bike and weight bench with dumb bells. The room is 12' x 15' with cable TV and a 4' x 4' sky light. It is a great room and we have enjoyed it for years, now it was time to finish off the railing. Here are some photos of this house job. Soon, very soon.....we will move aboard and be back sailing the sea...

Looking up into gym, with new railing

In the Gym / loft with the new railing

New gate and latch

The gym