28 Dec 2018

28th December: Bequia

We're enjoying a great Christmas time here in Bequia with lots going on to keep us entertained. Our Christmas Day lunch was a fun affair with thirty or so of us from around the world coming together to share food and drinks and celebrate the day. Boxing Day saw us walking off the excesses of the day before, hiking 7 miles along the north-western ridge of Bequia with incredible views towards St Vincent. A hot and sweaty outing but fantastic. We're trying to hike most days but having a day off today: 11 of us are going out for lunch at our favourite restaurant. We may walk back .....

We've decided to stay in Bequia for New Year and then will head north to St Lucia. So another five days or so in one of our favourite places out here and then we'll wave goodbye for the final time. And this time it probably will be the last time, after two previous final farewells. Rather like some of the old popstars who keep having just one more farewell tour!!

Note to self: Take some photos!!

24 Dec 2018

Christmas Eve: Bequia, The Grenadines

We had a fantastic sail down from Martinique to Bequia, leaving at 4am and arriving 14 hours later just as it was going dark. There weren't as many yachts here as we expected, there still aren't, but it's great to be back. Bequia has nailed it for the cruising community: friendly locals, decent provisioning, a raft of boat services and a plethora of bars and restaurants, some even pretty stylish. So we're delighted to be back.

We've been enjoying ourselves with friends old and new, hiking, socialising, entertaining and generally having a good time. Tomorrow is another cruiser pot-luck get together at a waterside restaurant, you take your own meats to grill and a side dish to share. Should be fun, especially as we know a fair few that are going.

In less than three weeks we'll be waving goodbye to the Eastern Caribbean and bound for South America and our next big adventure. We'll be sad to say goodbye but are very excited about the year to come.

So Merry Christmas from the sunshine and beauty of Bequia. We hope you all have a great time!

15 Dec 2018

15 December 2018 - St Anne, Martinique

FINALLY, we appear to be coming out of the woods. Our SSB radio is fixed (it appears that two cables in a very tight connector were rubbing where they shouldn't and, although the system worked after it was first installed, as the hostile environment that we call the ocean got to the connections and a bit of corrosion ate its way into the connection, it shorted out and refused to transmit).

When the nice Frenchman (unusual to be able to say that!) came to the boat to look at the radio, he sat on the navigation table, which was badly designed by another French  man, and the whole thing collapsed under his weight, and landed on Debra's foot (yes, the one that is still recovering from the toe injury). Well monsieur Jacques was truly mortified and promised to repair 'la table', so he spent a whole evening and some of the next morning making new parts 'pour la table casse' from aluminium (aluminum for our US readers) and now after a great deal of effort, 'notre table est superbe!' He also didn't charge us for the full time that he spent on repairing the SSB which was a nice result!

So we now have a working SSB which we have tested for sending and receiving emails and weather grib files, and it appears to be hunky dory. We both hope now that we have fixed everything that needs to be fixed, and that we can now start to relax and start our odyssey. We aim to leave Martinique on Monday or Tuesday to sail down to Bequia where we will spend Christmas and meet up with a couple of sailing pals.

We also modified a Christmas poem today (well, Debra did to be honest!) and here it is:

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the boat
The bilge pumps we're hustling to keep us afloat
As Deb read her book, and I guzzled beer
She said 'that's enough, now come to bed dear'
Then out on the water there rose an uproar
As I reached in the fridge, to get one beer more
So up went my head, poking out of the hatch
But I should have thought first to undo the latch!
I saw stars for a moment, and quick as a blink
Debra laughed 'I told you, you've had too much to drink'.
The moon on the water lit the anchorage up bright
I could see all the yachts to my left and my right
Then what with my wondering eyes should I see
But a fat bearded guy in a boat next to me
Instead of an outboard hung onto the rear
Tied to the bow were eight tiny reindeer.
He was dressed in a red cap edged with fur trim
And Speedos that covered a bare fraction of him
I was shocked and astonished but what could I say?
I also go boating dressed exactly that way!
He then grabbed a bag, a bulging big sack
And hoisted it mightily up onto his back.
He said 'My name's Nick, and my friend I can tell
That your gelcoat needs buffing and your teak looks like hell.
Your vinyl needs cleaning, your lockers arranging
Your holding tank pumping and your oil needs changing
You've put these jobs off for too long, you know it
So here's all you need, this time don't you blow it!'
Then quick as he came he was gone from my yacht
His reindeer were champing and eager to trot
'Merry Christmas' he called as they cruised through the night
'And regarding the beer, Paul, then Debra is right!!!'

We hope you enjoy it!

OK, so what have we still got to do before we leave on the World ARC? Well, sadly, we left our folder with lots of information in it about the trip at home, so we are trying to get that brought out to us in St Lucia in early January. We still need to activate the sat phone, after which time we can make and receive (expensive) calls mid ocean. We need to activate our Yellowbrick tracker so that you can all check our progress as we cross the mighty ocean that is the Pacific and know exactly where we are at any point. Incidentally, as we have AIS now, there are apps that can find Tumi anywhere in the world when we are transmitting. Anyone who wants this, just go to the app store and type in AIS and look for boat finder, You will see it there. We need to fuel up as much as possible, filling all the jerry cans (approx. 210 litres) so that we can motor if we get becalmed in the doldrums. We need to try out the Parasailor spinnaker in a downwind situation (we have always been sailing into the wind so far this season!) and finally do the last bits of spares gathering (pressure hoses, etc.) and provisioning. Then it's time to go!

January is going to be busy for us, but in the meantime, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year in case we don't post any more blogs till 2019.

12 Dec 2018

12 December 2018 - Le Marin, Martinique

We spent a lot of the weekend cracking on with writing book two, and it currently stands at 35,000 words and is flowing very well. Hqowever, we noticed that the inverter we have been using to convert the 12V boat system into 220V didn't appear to be charging the laptop. The charge light wasn't doing what we expected, so we started thinking that the laptop was failing. We need it on our passage to send and receive emails and weather reports, so we weren't best pleased. Anyway we took it into a local repair shop and the owner proved that the charge cable was doing what it should when connected to the mains, so by process of elimination, we singled out the inverter. The nice Frenchman said that we needed a pure sine wave inverter to do the job instead of the cheaper version we had on board, so off we went and €131 later we returned to Tumi to fit it.

So we're pleased to report that it's doing it's job and the laptop is charging. We went out for a late lunch to celebrate! And very enjoyable it was too, even though Debra shared hers with a local visitor.

Today is all about trying to get the problem with the SSB radio diagnosed so we've motored around to Le Marin and are awaiting them turning up. Another day in paradise!!

7 Dec 2018

7 December 2018 - St Anne, Martinique

The trials and tribulations continue apace. We are now trying to get our SSB radio to work properly as it appears to be receiving, but not  transmitting. Investigation and Debra researching on the internet has pointed us in the direction of the automatic tuner. We checked the connections and tested the voltage this afternoon, and it would appear that we have a voltage drop between the control unit and the tuner. It may be that the cable that was used (not the proper one) has caused the loss, and this will be our first  modification. We should hear the tuner clicking when we change frequency but this is not happening. This may mean that the (expensive) tuner needs replacing. We're not happy bunnies, to say the least, but we do need the SSB to send and receive emails from you all!

We have been reflecting on the season so far. All we seem to have done is repair the boat and our equipment, and buy provisions for our odyssey. So much work has to go into stocking up our stores and inventorising each storage space so that we know what we have available. Where we are in Martinique we have a few miles of bouncing dinghy ride each way to get supplies from the supermarche and I especially get rather wet on the return journey. That said, we are enjoying the fresh bread and pastries on offer in the boulangerie!

This weekend we are determined to relax and somehow enjoy ourselves. Normally, we would go for a decent walk somewhere, but Debra's toes are still not fully  healed and so that won't be an option but a wander around St Anne is always pleasant.

We might spend the time writing more of book two (23500 words so far).

We had a stowaway on our sail over from St Lucia in the form of a Gecko. Our plan was to capture him in a box and release him into the wilds of Martinique (hoping he could speak Gecko-ese with a French accent!) but we've not been able to find him again. Can they swim? Fly? Was he washed overboard on passage? Or is he in hiding, waiting to crawl inside at some point?!!!

We invested in a manual twintub washing machine last week, (two big buckets large enough to stamp around in, rather like treading grapes, one for washing clothes, one for rinsing), and it was used in anger this week. Very successful as it happens, maybe we should patent it! Good exercise too!!

Hopefully, next week will be easier on the pocket, but we're not holding our breath. The local SSB radio agent returns from France on Wednesday and will hopefully diagnose the problem. The solar panels appear to be doing a good job, something positive to end on!

4 Dec 2018

4 December 2018 - Martinique

Who says it never rains in the Caribbean? They lie! We have had a good sail up from St Lucia this morning, albeit  a wet one ... Several showers during the passage, but with our new extra cockpit enclosure, we kept dry. Even now, sitting in the dry while the rain continues to fall from the sky, we can sit outside with no problems. Neat!

The ARC boats have been arriving into St Lucia over the past couple of days, and will continue to do so for the next week or so. It was nice to be able to talk to the sailors who have achieved the crossing and we're thrilled to be able to talk about it. It has got us both all fired up and raring to go with our World ARC adventure. Bring it on! We have 5 weeks between now and departure on the 12th January. 🌏🌎⛵

3 Dec 2018

3/12/2018: Rodney Bay, St Lucia

Yes, we've finally escaped from Grenada, 140 miles north-northwest to St Lucia, home of the Pitons, Soufriere volcano and mudbaths (you can smell the sulphur a couple of miles offshore) and the departure point for the World ARC in January. It was a boisterous trip up, 24 hours beating into high winds and seas but we made it in time to meet Debra's Mum for the day on Sunday.

Our arrival into Rodney Bay marina was greeted by two fellow World ARC sailors we last had lunch with in Bequia back in March. But a lovely welcome and a taster of what is to come in terms of camaraderie.

St Lucia is definitely less humid than Grenada which has made sleeping easier. It's also cloudier but that's probably a short-lived thing.

We have just enjoyed a delicious lunch (coconut shrimp and lobster burger) at a very stylish new hotel that has opened since we were last here ... we'll definitely be back.

This afternoon we're being kicked out of the marina as ARC boats are arriving and they need the berth so we'll anchor off Reduit Beach in Rodney Bay itself and then head to Martinique tomorrow. It feels like we're finally on our way!

29 Nov 2018

29th November 2018: Final day, Prickly Bay!

Yes we're finally heading north today for St Lucia after three and a half weeks at anchor in Prickly Bay getting things sorted on board. After a frantic scramble yesterday we're ready (we think!) or at least as ready as we can be. Despite a last minute failure of a battery charger on Sunday evening, a great Trinidadian marine electrician worked miracles yesterday fitting it and the ampmeter. So now we can charge the batteries and see how full they are as well.

Our neighbours from home cruised into Grenada for the day on Tuesday and we had a fun few hours on board, showing them Tumi and our lifestyle and catching up on the news from home. We're meeting up with Mum in St Lucia for the day on Sunday and will be collecting the things we either forgot or couldn't fit into our bags from her. Hence the push to sail up there.

I'm pleased to report my toe is making a good recovery and I'm going for a walk this morning before we sail. It's been very frustrating!!

We're both looking forward to actually sailing today, our first time since March. Hope we can remember how!

24 Nov 2018

24th November 2018 Prickly Bay

Well, what a week! We have finally got the better of the power anomaly by scrapping the dodgy MPPT controller and getting our money back, and replacing it with a different one that we can manage via Bluetooth, and can see at any time how much energy is being pushed into the batteries. The spiking on the circuit has disappeared so we are much happier with that.

The Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday was great fun, a potluck affair where everyone made a side dish and the venue roasted the turkeys ... in a pizza oven! There were competitions for trimming boats with extra flags and we won a prize!

We both are too much and followed that up yesterday with lunch and dinner out! So much for any weight loss!!

Yesterday afternoon Debra damaged a toe getting into the dinghy when the painter (that's the rope we use to tie the dinghy to the boat or a dock) got in between her toes and bent one sideways. Her foot is now black and blue and swollen and in need of some reiki treatment to ease the pain. We won't be doing too much walking in the next few days.

Actually, today is the first day in ages that we don't need to do anything, and so that's exactly what we are going to do, nothing!

Our neighbours from Chagford are arriving in Grenada on Tuesday, so we will spend the day with them, then on Wednesday or Thursday we will have the last two bits of equipment fitted, and then we are out of here sailing!

We will head up to Carriacou and clear customs and immigration there, take advantage of the duty free fuel once we clear out and fill up the Jerry cans and fuel tank. From there we will head north, maybe stop into Bequia for the night, flying the quarantine flag, then continue up to St Lucia.

21 Nov 2018

21st November 2018 Prickly Bay

It's been a frustrating few days. We fitted two new solar panels on Saturday, U-bolted onto the existing frame. All went apparently well. I did the wiring from the isolator backwards to the solar panels. We have a controller to govern the charge to the batteries to stop them overcharging, the works. It should all have gone smoothly but unfortunately, it appears that something in the extra load of energy running through the electrical system has disrupted a circuit. The result of this is that our stand-alone battery bank in the bow has a power anomaly and the voltage has been fluctuating abnormally. This has triggered the power alarm on many occasions. Not good. The panels look nice though, as far as solar panels can look nice!

Anyway, three days later with input from fellow cruisers, lots of rewiring and insertion of two in-line fuses as isolators, and the charge going directly to the batteries, we seem to have settled the fluctuation down a bit. We are monitoring the situation but a local solar panel expert seems to think it should be okay.

On a good note, we needed to have an AIS transceiver for the world ARC instead of just the receiver we currently have. I fitted the new wiring yesterday, including a separate switch to be able to run silent without transmission in areas where we don't want to be seen. We needed a cross-over cable (120 eastern Caribbean dollars) to tmake a link to our existing network, but once installed, it was bingo! I scooted across to a neighbouring boat in the anchorage to find out whether they could see us and yes, a tick in the box. Something went well for once.

Tomorrow is US Thanksgiving lunch at the local hostelry, we are making brownies and roasted vegetables as our contribution. It will be nice to do nothing for a day.
Another good note is that we are nearly there with the canvas work and it's looking great. We have a dry cockpit area now which will be a real treat!

Somehow it feels that we are finally getting sorted. We still need a couple more things fitted and we are good to go sailing!!!

16 Nov 2018

16/11/2018: Grenada

We had a late night last night, well by cruising standards that is. 11.30pm, the cruising equivalent of 2.30am given nine o'clock is known as the cruisers' midnight. Several G&Ts and glasses of wine being enjoyed with new Canadian friends, a fun evening was had by all.

Today should be the final day we have the riggers on board, a nice crew of local men led by Wayne, a rigger with over fifteen years experience of climbing up masts. So we now have a working furler for the genoa, a replacement steel lower for the one that was coming unwound and three halyards (lines) dropped inside the mast. When Wayne removed another of the steel cables holding the mast upright (they have to do this one at a time so the mast doesn't fall down) we asked to inspect it before he took it away to make a replacement. His boss, the chap who had surveyed the rigging for us, had said the fittings were badly rusted and pitted and we were interested to see how bad they were. They didn't look too bad to our untrained eye (and off the record Wayne agreed with us too) so we asked him to clean them up first so we could have a proper look at them. Lo and behold, an hour later they were shining like new with no evidence of any pitting at all. So we got the surveyor to have a look at them again with his magnifying glass and he agreed they didn't need replacing after all! We made the decision to have Wayne clean up and inspect all the other fittings first to decide which, if any needed replacing. The answer: none. Obviously we're pleased not to have the additional expense of replacing half of the standing rigging, but not so impressed with the initial assessment of the rigging surveyor.

We're into our third day of predominantly cloudy weather with a few showers thrown in. It's still very warm and it's a shame our cockpit enclosure isn't complete as otherwise we'd be able to sit outside. Instead we have to stay inside during the showers with the hatches closed and it soon gets very hot indeed.

We're using our time on board waiting for the various marine tradesmen to work on 'Survival', the sequel to 'Meltdown', our first literary endeavour, and it's flowing very well.  We've written over 15,000 words now and are enjoying developing the characters brought forward from the prequel. We're aiming to have it finished before we set sail for the Pacific so have about 8 weeks left. At the current output, that shouldn't be too much of a problem!

All being well the new solar panels should arrive today and we'll get them fitted this weekend. It will be nice to know the batteries are being kept topped up more efficiently without us having to run the generator as long each day. It will be a big advantage for the Pacific where the availability of diesel may be more limited.

So all in all, things are heading in the right direction and we may even be able to sail before too much longer.

14 Nov 2018

13th November 2018 - Grenada

Today has been a real trial. Yesterday our water pump decided to ignore its pressure switch and it over pressurised the system, causing the pressure relief valve to open yet again. It just shows that the relief valve was doing what it should, but it was not what we needed.

Anyway, we have a spare pump and I burrowed into the garden shed (the sail locker) beneath the false floor where I keep my spares and got the replacement out. The old pump worked through a relay which involved more wires than the new model had. We traced everything through the relay to work out which wire does what, and we still didn't have enough connections. Anyway, we split a wire and finally came up with a solution that worked and now the water system works properly again. I have ordered a replacement pressure switch which I will substitute at a later date onto the old pump to make it into a new spare. I know the pump worked, so with a new pressure switch it should be hunky dory.

That done, we expected to have a relaxed evening. Not so. We put the watermaker on and having filled our drinking water bottles, we switched over to fill the tanks. Unfortunately when I was doing the pump repair this morning I turned off the inlet valve to the tanks and forgot to open it again. The pressure from the watermaker built sufficiently to burst a joint behind the control panel which in turn flooded the bilge. Two hours of tracing the source of the leak and repairing the damaged joint we put the boat back together again.

In addition to this, the riggers have taken one of the shrouds down to make two new ones. They will be back tomorrow morning early to continue replacing the rigging bit by bit.

We also had the refrigerator man back to take another look at the freezer compressor. He re-gassed the system a little, and touch wood, it has settled down a bit now. He also reduced the rpms for the motor and that should make it run smoother and more efficiently.

One good thing from today is that we have some smart new canvas to keep the cockpit dry when it rains. We feel that we are getting there.

We have reserved two solar panels and a regulator to fit on Tumi. This will boost the battery bank and keep them topped up. We will be fitting them next week.

 A couple more weeks of hard work and who knows, we might be able to go sailing again!

10 Nov 2018

10 November 2018: Prickly Bay, Grenada

One week in and it definitely feels as though we've turned a corner and things are getting back on track. After the success of Thursday (well done Paul for fixing various problems!) we awoke yesterday to find the bilge still dry and got up bright and early to fit the recently returned mainsail before the daytime winds built. It's always a fiddly job, trying to attach the top and bottom of the sail to the cars that run up the track inside the mast, especially when the hole in the mast provided to achieve this task is barely big enough for a child's hand. Once again Paul's determination won through and we now have the mainsail back on and, importantly, have stopped the spindle clanging inside the mast. Silent nights now a realistic option!

We're having a cockpit enclosure made over this and next week which will keep the cockpit dry when it rains, or if we're sailing into choppy seas. We probably should have done it when we got Tumi but better late than never. The new side panels will offer us good visibility, while the mesh sun screen at the rear will help keep us cool. It will be brilliant to be able to leave things out in the cockpit 24/7 without the worry of them getting soaked every time it rains.

The couple on the boat anchored next to us invited us over for morning coffee yesterday, a lovely couple of hours getting to know them and exchanging boating experiences. They were very admiring of Tumi, twice offering to swap yachts with us! Not a chance!! Our socialising continued last night when we joined five other couples for dinner. A fun evening.

The week ahead should see the rigging being fixed (nothing heard from Jeanneau as yet), the cockpit enclosure finished and hopefully us gaining more insight into the whole battery charging scenario on board. But today we're off to one of our favourite restaurants on the beach for lunch. There's definitely a light at the end of the re-launch tunnel!!

8 Nov 2018

8th November 2018 Prickly Bay

Prickly Bay is an apt place to be right now, prickly because we are experiencing several glitches as we get to use more facilities on board which is rather frustrating to say the least.

Yesterday we found that the water maker would only work on 12v and not on 220v - it's an essential part of our life aboard so needed to be fixed soonest.  I looked for my multimeter to check the power supply only to find someone had stolen it over the summer. I'm lost without one, so many jobs need it, but I investigated the electrical circuit for it and discovered the fuse had blown. Not just any old fuse of course, life is never that simple, so I knew I would have problems sourcing a replacement.

Anyway, we went shopping yesterday for some food essentials having been scratching around for foodstuff since we got here. There is a hardware store next door to the supermarket and that was our first port of call after we got off the bus. Debra headed for the soft furnishings department and I got the tools section. I know, boys and their toys, but this was essential to me and I got my multimeter. It was exactly like my old one that I got from Lidl, except this one was double the price. Welcome to the Caribbean!

So, this morning we noticed that the bilge pump kept kicking in to drain water from the bottom of the boat, never a good sign. I tasted the water to see if it was salty (sign of a leak in the hull fittings). Nope, fresh water. I realised it must be a weak joint in the pressurised water system. Not good. We traced it to the pressure release valve on the hot water cylinder and typically it isn't in a very accessible place (nothing is on boats!). Several cuts and scrapes later, I managed to remove the valve for inspection. At this point we had to stem the flow of water coming from the hot water tank which was hot, and Debra suggested bunging the outlet up to save my burning fingers. It worked and off I went to try and find a spare.

Unfortunately, we're in the Caribbean. Get real! No such valve exists on the island so we have had to order a replacement from the UK. We thought the existing valve might have some calcification causing the unit to stay open so we dunked it in some kettle descaler and it seems to have done the trick. We reassembled everything (more scrapes) and so far so good.

The next task was to get the water maker going. I sourced a 50amp circuit breaker to replace the faulty fuse as no fuse was to be had. Who uses fuses these days anyway? It's so antiquated. Anyway, I fitted the new breaker and the water maker is doing its thing. Two successes so far.

The next task was to repair the air fan on Debra's side of the cabin. It had decided to give up the ghost and refused to turn. Back to the trusty multimeter and I could see that there was plenty of power there but no turning fan. I stripped it down and cleaned the contacts. Hey presto! Another successful job.

In between all this activity, we had the canvas people round wanting the bimini on to see how it fitted and to determine where they will stitch zippers to add our new side panels (and hopefully keep the cockpit dry when it rains) then once they knew that, the bimini needed taking off again. We're exhausted! A couple of G&Ts and an early night beckons!

7 Nov 2018

7/11/2018 : Back afloat, Grenada

We arrived back on Saturday evening and after a pretty manic Sunday of preparation, Tumi was launched on Monday morning and we were able to move back on board. That's about where the good news stops!

Little of the work we had asked to be done while we were at home has been completed and as I type at 1.30am, unable to sleep because of the slamming spindle inside the mast, I could quite merrily swing for the sail loft who in seven months failed to find a few hours to restitch the seams on our main sail. Hence the disturbed night's sleep: without the mainsail wrapped around the spindle, thereby cushioning it from hitting the mast, the spindle slams from side to side inside the mast, metal on metal, and reverberates through the entire boat as Tumi rocks from side to side with the small swell. We've been promised the sail back by Friday ... fingers crossed.

We also returned to find that the mousing line we bought in March wasn't UV resilient and had perished over the summer. So as soon as Paul tried to pull all the lines (halyards, sheets etc) back through the mast using the mousing lines he so carefully left in situ, they collapsed like tissue paper. So we need a rigger to go to the top of the mast to drop three halyards (ropes) down inside it and hopefully be able to hook them out at the bottom.

The electrical work we had requested also hasn't been done by the but conversations on Monday and Tuesday with a different marine engineer may bear fruit ... in about 3 or 4 weeks time. Looks like we'll be in Grenada for a while!

And finally, to cap it all, the rig survey we requested before embarking on our Pacific crossing yielded a lot of problems with rusted and pitted cabling and swages bringing the integrity of the standing rigging (the bit that holds the mast up) into question. We are not very impressed: most rigs last into double figures years, indeed insurers only demand a survey once a rig is 10 years old. Ours is 4.5 years old! We have taken it up with Jeanneau but aren't holding our breath.

So all in all not a great start but nothing that time and throwing money at it can't solve. Welcome to the world of yacht maintenance in the Caribbean!! On the upside, it's sunny and warm ☀

29 Oct 2018

29th October, ready to depart ...

We have had the removals people in today packing our valuables ready for our departure. We will be renting our house out (hopefully) for the time that we are away, and we fully expect to be living out of a suitcase when we return to the UK next year.
The final bits of the propeller to fix the wobble are on their way to Grenada, as I write this, it is in transit with an expected delivery of the 1st November. We hope that it will be fitted by the time we arrive  on the island on the 3rd November. We are crossing all fingers and toes!
Once we arrive in Grenada, basically we will have one full day to get Tumi ready to launch, then we will have a day in a slip fitting the sails before we head round to Prickly Bay to meet up with the people who will be stitching our existing, and making our new canvas bits and pieces. We fully expect to be in Grenada for a couple of weeks before heading northwards, and should be able to meet up with some friends in between times.
The next bulletin will come from Grenada!

17 Oct 2018

17 October 2018 Some last minute activity

We are really on the countdown now, getting ready to depart and rejoin the warm weather out in Grenada. We have had to have the rudder bearings replaced on Tumi as there was a bit of play from having achieved over 10,000 miles of sailing in her. That went OK, but when the boat guys were working on the rudder they noticed some significant play on the propellor (see below).

So we have had a flurry of emails between ourselves and the UK agents for Gori props and several spare parts were ordered and despatched on Monday. The stripped down prop had some worn bushes and these have hopefully been replaced.

As the day of our departure draws rapidly near, we are shocked to see just how much stuff we need to take back with us, not least of which is technology based. We have invested in a laser flare which gives us 8 hours of constant use instead of an average 30 seconds from an individual pyrotechnic flare. Not cheap, but very practical. I only hope that we never have to use it! Hopefully we can fit some of our clothes in the bags as well as the 'stuff'.

6 Sept 2018

6th September, Chagford - Tempus fugit!!

We are now down to 8 weeks before our departure and we are starting to realise that we still have much to do. I spent yesterday afternoon linking our Yellowbrick tracking device to my phone in readiness for our departure so that we have another means of communicating with the outside world when we are at sea.

We have a list of spares that we still need to purchase, but there is a boat jumble in Newton Abbot on Saturday the 15th so I will try to get most things that we need there and whatever is left on the list will mean a trip to a good chandlers.

I have been recovering from a shoulder injury I sustained earlier this year and yesterday's physiotherapy session confirmed that I need to delay intensive use of the joint for as long as possible. On the basis of this advice, we have decided not to do the Western Caribbean rally which gives me an extra 2 months recovery time before we set off on the World ARC from St Lucia on the 12th January. It also means that we can be a part of the rally from day 1 instead of trying to break into any already established relationships further down the line when we would have joined the rally in Panama. Also, we are intending to get some canvas work done and we will have more time to get the work completed before we have to head off.

Those of our readers who follow our progress will now have a new tool available on our blog. The Pacific crossing map page will show you our exact position at all times. It won't be updated until I activate the yellowbrick tracker, but thereafter the map will be updated every few minutes. Enjoy watching our progress!

Finally, our crew members for the trip have all been invited to register for the leg(s) they are joining us on and to enter their personal details for customs and immigration and cruising permit issuance purposes. This exercise will make their participation real, and no doubt a few people are somewhat excited too, we are!!

14 Aug 2018

14/8/18 : Chagford

We had some frustrating news last week: The project management and guardinage service we had instructed to maintain and monitor Tumi let us know they were no longer in business. Well technically the sleeping partner in the business had reappeared to take over the reins and the people we had been dealing with resigned. Everything is now up in the air and so we are speaking to other companies to take over as it turns out none of the work we'd wanted doing on Tumi has been done, nor the maintenance. Fortunately we still have three months to go before we splash back in on 5 November so there should be time to get things done but we could have done without the aggravation. Long-distance boat ownership is not without it's challenges!

On a more positive note we have paid our deposit for the Pacific Islands Circuit rally which we will join in June in Fiji and leave in November in New Zealand. Exciting!

22 Jul 2018

22/7/18 : Chagford, UK

Some information about places we'll be visiting ....

Santa Marta, Columbia

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We should also be able to visit Cartagena, Columbia

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The San Blas Islands

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Through the Canal ...

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... and onwards to the Galapagos islands

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where we hope to see  lots of ...

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but not too many ...

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We're also hoping to see ...

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Then it's the loooooong leg to the Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands (including Tahiti and Bora Bora)

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The Marquesas, where the dress sense is relaxed ...

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the anchorages are pretty spectacular

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and it's bound to leave its mark on us!

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Then it's on to Tahiti and Bora Bora

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where the crystal clear waters are full of

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Next come the Cook Islands ....

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to see lots more atolls and coral islands, and sample the local way of life

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Then Niue Island

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Not so keen on the sea snakes!

And Tonga

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where we might get close to

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and where we might see some

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Onwards to Fiji, our last destination with the World ARC before joining the Pacific Island Rally to explore the Fijian islands in depth.