Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Puerto Del Ray, Coolaroo Cover, Air BnB

...Radeen with IS35 at the haul out...
After 6 days in the docks preparing the boat to be hauled out, we finally reached the travel lift at 0830 on Monday, May 22, 2017. The lift operators did a great job as they expertly moved our Island Packet 35 from the water all the way up to the yacht storage yard. The interesting new aspect was how they transferred the 17,500 lbs of boat from the travel lift down onto an 8 wheel diesel hydraulic trailer that they then used to back the boat into a storage location.

They use these wireless remote control hydraulic trailers so that they can place the yacht within 12 inches of the next yacht. If the stored yacht is placed with a travel lift. then the spacing between the yachta is much greater due to the width needed for the full travel lift. This entire transfer from one machine to the next took nearly 1.5 hours but it increases the yard storage by at least 25% in my observation. This was a very challenging transfer due to the Island Packet rudder support bar interfering with the machine's structure. They wanted to remove our rudder support bar and I requested that they figure out another way. They managed to work around this non structural portion of the keel and kept the structure of the trailer from hitting it. Due to this, our boat ended up blocking much higher off the ground. I am guessing our blocking is 24" underneath our keel. This created a challenge for us covering the boat as what was normally 5 feet off the ground is now 7 feet and up. More on that later. Overall, the haul out process went very well. The boat is now strapped down with 7 hurricane straps attached to concrete footings with steel bars. We are working with Quino Sanchez, the rigging expert, to watch our boat and monitor it through any storms and downpours. The boat will remained closed and locked and his only job is to pump the hand bilge pump in the cockpit. The solar, wind and battery bank are disconnected and there is no need to go inside the boat.

Here are photos of the haul out.

This is the hydraulic trailer. Here you can see the boat has been transferred from the travel lift to the trailer

The travel lift pulls away and can go do another lift. The remote control trailer can now drive the yacht into place.

The Island Packet rudder strap would hit the trailer structure, so the yacht must be blocked higher over this back bar
The hydraulic remote control trailer is backed into position

Each wheel is on a hydraulic piston so the yacht can be leveled once it is in position.

We placed the bow high to make sure she drains well. Here the trailer is moving out.

After haulout and blocking, we immediately started on the sun shade, Coolaroo cover. We began this work around 11 am and by 3pm we had the sides up and the front bow covered to the mast. We also had worked out the aft top piece and how it would go under the boom vang but over the whisker pole. By 4pm, the afternoon sun was so intense and hot that we called it a day, and headed off to our condo to shower and cool down. The next day we began at 0630 and we were able to complete the cover install and sewing by 1330. Overall this process of covering the boat with Coolaroo took us 9-10 hours of work, mostly all done by Hayden while Radeen was working below on cleaning, storing and packing gear for the summer storage time. The cost this year for this was $175/roll and we used 2 rolls. We use a 6' x 100' roll for the sides. From this, we make two pieces 6' x 40'. For the top, we use a 12' x 50' roll, which we cut into 12' x 22' for the mast to bow and 12' x 28' for the mast to the stern. We use UV black zip ties to stitch the fabric together and this year we hand stitched it with the Coolaroo rope and needle and that will be a back-up in case the zip ties fail due to the sun. Once this was on the boat, temperature inside dropped from 106 degrees F down to 95 degrees F. Day two, in the same outside sun and temperatures, the boat never got over 89 degrees F, so we are sold on this fabric protecting the boat from the heat and the sun. We are now hoping for no direct hit hurricanes to land on the east side of Puerto Rico. That is our current risk and we are fully insured via Markel with an added named storm coverage for this area.

Here are photos of the Coolaroo process.

The 6 ' x 40' sides wire tie to the top life line bow to stern. Very easy

12' wide x 22' long covers from mast to 2' over the bow pulpit

The bow piece is stitched to the aft top piece

Davits folded in, whisker pole tied to top of davits

Top aft piece. Mast to stern is 12' x 28' and rests on top of whisker pole.

This year I raised the whisker pole to cover the coils of my new reefing lines

The top piece is zip tied to the outside of the side pieces

I sewed this seam as I moved aft, after using the zip ties.

The top pulls tight aft. As I work my way back, I pull the top tight over the sides, too.

This is 1,200 sq. feet of fabric and it works great.

Cutting around the bimini frame takes time

The 12 foot top just so reaches across the beam at widest point

We used an 18 foot ladder to wrap the bow

Coolaroo makes clips that snap onto the fabric for attaching lines.

Ropes pull from one side to the other side

Once finished, I made cuts for the hurricane tie down straps to attach to the cleats.

Looking forward, the boat is now in full shade

Looking forward from seated at the helm, the pole is high enough to sit under

Job complete. LOOK at the waterline, it is OVER my head.
That is due to the 24" high blocking. This is the highest blocking ever!

Radeen under the bow and the 18+ foot ladder

Coolaroo Sun Cover worked again, this is great!

I booked a really cool Air BnB studio overlooking the marina. It has a small kitchen, bathroom and a totally tiled separate shower room and also a beautiful pool. We enjoyed making a hot breakfast each morning and in the evening we prepared simple dinners with food we moved off the boat. This has worked out very well. Imagine, a shower with unlimited hot water and a toilet that you simply push a lever and it flushes. WOW, what a treat! 

Photos of our cute room...

The steps down to our room overlooking the harbor

Our kitchen and dining table, gas stove and small refrigerator.

One room, one space, works for us
Can you find the Island Packet?

The view of Marina Puerto Del Rey from our patio. The pool is shared with the homeowner who lives upstairs
and one with one other rental unit.

Our private patio for wine and cheese. There is a lovely breeze here every evening.
At night, we are lulled to sleep by the tree frogs peeping. Such a lovely spot!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

USVI St John St Thomas Wrapup

...Typical St John harbor view...
After our three weeks of bliss in the British Virgin Islands, we sailed back to St. John and spent 5 nights circling the many wonderful harbors. We learned that only 2,700 people live on St. John. We also learned that there is nearly zero anchoring as well. The joy is that the US National Parks services manages 300 mooring balls for cruisers to use for $26/night. We secured our NPS "Golden Pass" so this gave us a 50% discount on the mooring ball fees, what a deal. You have to love supporting the National Parks Services as they do such a great job with a very limited budget. We anchored in new places along the south shore, including Saltpond, Cruz Harbor and Hansen Bay and look forward to exploring more of St. John next season.

Sailing into St. Thomas
Onward to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. We love to anchor in towns, and here we had this town immediately off our stern. After entering the main harbor, we went directly over to the east corner and dropped the anchor off Yacht Haven Grand. Usually there are one or two cruise ships in port, but lucky for us there were none, so the town was far less crowded. We were enticed by a Facebook ad to head out on a date night to one of the finest restaurants in town called "A Room with a View." We booked a table for 1830 and enjoyed the best meal of the year! WOW, what a place this was, with excellent service and delicious food. Our table overlooked Island Spirit anchored down in the harbor. See cool photos below.

Sailing for Puerto Rico
After one day in St Thomas, we topped up the diesel tank at Crown Bay Marina and sailed west. During our two night stop on Culebra, we rejoined sailing buddies Sea Star and Fezwig. We took off the headsails and decomissioned the dinghy. Ashore in Dewey, we had lunch at the famous Zaco's Tacos. All three boats booked slips at the massive marina Puerto del Ray, Fajardo (with 1,000 slips!) to decommission and haul out May 22 for safe land storage during hurricane season. We had planned to haul out in Grenada, but we got lazy and fell in love with the BVIs and USVI and felt we should do more of this area next fall before sailing down island. We were close, it is only about 350-400 nautical miles to Grenada, but it was a real joy to slow down and take in these beautiful, familiar islands, beaches and coral reefs. We have all next season to sail down island and that will only be 400 nm! We usually travel 2,000 to 2,500 nautical miles a season so next season will really be easy!

Dock 1033, pier #10
Now that we are docked in Puerto Rico, we have taken off the sails, the canvas, washed the boat and are stuffing everything below decks while we live aboard with this craziness. In a few days, we will haul out. Coolaroo Sun Shade has been shipped in and we are ready to make our second custom cover Monday and Tuesday. For now, we are preparing for haul out and are  already missing the joy and peace of the cruising life. We can not wait to relaunch November 6 and get Island Spirit sailing once again.

Here are photos, lots of them, to catch up on.
Thank you for sailing along......


Snorkeling St John....beautiful...

St. Thomas....Date Night...A Room with a View

Sailing St Thomas to Puerto Rico

Docking in Puerto Rico at the Massive Puerto del Ray Maina

Time to finish the de-rigging and prepare for haul out. Then Monday and Tuesday it will be Coolaroo Shade Cover Round #2.  We will cover the entire boat like we did last year with a 90% UV breathable sun cover fabric. This is what it will look like when we have the cover on....
Full Coolaroo Cover details from our May 2016 post here: