Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another round trip

Another week in paradise (almost, the temperature still below 72 in the morning) is ending.
Yesterday, we were treated to a great moon show. The moon was at the closest it can be to earth on a full moon and there was not a cloud in the sky. Great show. It certainly helps getting a better understanding of the origin of the expression "mooning somebody".
During that last week, I did another quick round trip to Florida. This time I flew to Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, early (we got out of the cut at 6:30 a.m.) sailed across to Grand Bahamas with my friend Henri on Moving Up. At first sight, the weather window did not look all that great for that kind of powerboat, but in fact, it turned out to be almost perfect and we got to Port Lucaya in good time since we arrived at the customs dock at 12:25.
This time, clearing customs and immigration did not take long and we were back at the Grand Lucaya Waterway early in the afternoon. Pleasant dinner with Ezio and Stephanie, travel arrangements for Henri returning on Thursday to Fort Lauderdale and the day was over.
On Thursday, I drove Henri to the airport, and then went back to Papy Jovial, killing time with regular maintenance work.
Not much will happen until I fly to Miami and then Chile on the 28, so there won't be much to tell on the blog.
See you in a week

Monday, March 14, 2011

preparing to swim

Finally, I spent not two but three weeks in Fort Lauderdale, the third week being devoted to shopping, knowing that I was going to spend the whole month of March at Ezio's place.
Ezio arrived on Tuesday, his friend Bob on Wednesday. By the time we had installed the sails back in place, put out the shopping inside the boat in such a way that we could still live in there and be comfortable sailing back to Lucaya, the week-end was there.
We left on Sunday morning around 8 o'clock, passed the 17th street bridge at 8:30 and were out of the cut by 8:45. We were fortunate enough to have good wind, 15 to 20 knots roughly from a southerly direction and sailed at more than 7 knots for the first 8 hours of the trip. Then the wind abandoned us and I had, once again, to hoist the Yanmar sail and arrived at Ezio's place, on the Grand Lucaya Waterway at 22:55.
After a bite and a short sleep, we returned to Port Lucaya marina to clear customs and immigration, which kept us there until 2:30 in the afternoon after which we could return to the Lucaya Waterway.
The following days, Ezio worked hard in putting he finishing touches to the swimming pool and there is hope that by the end of this week we might be able to use it.
Meanwhile, I am returning tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) to Fort Lauderdale and leave on Wednesday aboard Moving'us with my friend Henri and sail (powerboat) back to Lucaya. The weather window does not look all that great for a powerboat, but it should be quiet enough to be able to do it in good time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another week in Sunshine State

Fort Lauderdale by brisegalets
Fort Lauderdale a photo by brisegalets on Flickr.
Another week during which I did not have to switch on the heater, the temperature remaining all week above 72. After the festivities of the President's day week-end, it was mostly work on Papy Jovial, to take care of some of the wear and tear resulting from the last 34,000 miles. She now has a brand new goose neck on the main, a new traveler for the spinnaker boom, and although it does not show, new pins on the elements of the roller furler. I should get the sails back this week. Oil change and other minor maintenance have been performed and she is almost ready to go out again.
On the positive, there was the visit of Tom and Sarah, the original parents of Papy Jovial when she was Precept. Tom and Sarah have been with me by email the whole trip, helping me not only with the weather, but anytime I would mention on this blog a technical difficulty on the boat, they would immediately send me an email suggesting ways to deal with the problem. I will never be able to thank them enough.
O)n the negative, there were two more yachts taken by the Somali pirates, one american with all four people on board killed in circumstances net yet very clear, and one danish yacht, with seven people including children, taken to the Somali coast for what promises to be another long wait in captivity waiting for someone to pay a ransom.
I am upset because I believe that those people who very clearly had no business being in that dangerous area, indirectly, were pushed to choose that route by people who keep claiming that the route around South Africa is dangerous and treacherous. This could not be further from the truth. Having done it myself, I had spoken to numerous skippers from South Africa who sail around their country all year round. Yes, you have to watch the weather very carefully, yes you have to make sure that you are not out there where worse conditons can be met. But with good weather information and careful planning, there is no more problem than sailing around britanny in the west part of France, or other areas known for difficult weather conditons at times.
By repeating endlessly that the route around South Africa is not doable by the average ocean cruiser, the end result is more people choose to go the Red Sea route with the consequences of risking a pirate attack. And the percentage of getting caught is very high, I am told around 1 %. If you were told that 1 % of the flights were going to fall out of the sky, would you fly ?
Enough said, but anybody who would like to know more about my experience going around South Africa, you can contact me on ""