Sailing Around The World

Archive for November, 2012

Grocery Shopping by Barbara

Hello All:  Barbara here.  It is good to be back on Dragonsbane.  The 70 – 80 degree weather is easy to get used to!   The boat is getting low on provisions, and shopping has been a two day process.  That is, getting groceries.  The local people of Nassau are very helpful.  We found a store well stocked, however Dale and I had to be selective as to what we bought, since we had to carry everything back to the boat via, foot, bus and dinghy. Our first trip to the store was unsuccessful, as the dial-up credit card service was out and we did not have correct Bahamian cash to pay for out purchases.  We went back today, via a lengthy, back roads bus trip.  The bus driver dropped us off right at the door.  Hard to say what and when the bus routes are, as we haven’t found any.  You just tell them where you want to go, and you wind up there eventually.    

Downtown Nassau is gearing up for Christmas, as they are having the tree lighting ceremony tonight.  I’m not sure how that will go as the wind is quite gusty and blowing in over the Atlantic with thunderstorms predicted.   Santa will not let us down, he will be here to collect Christmas lists from all the good girls and boys. 

Unfortunately, Jacques has been under the weather, but is beginning to bounce back.   With high winds and thunderstorms approaching, he will be on anchor watch most of the night. 

A Bahamian Goooodnight,


Life is Complicated but Sailboats are More Complicated

I have read many books on cruising and what makes life fun well doing it. Funny thing is that they fail to mention that keeping your sailboat working well takes hours of work each day. I traded in riding a desk and collecting a pay check which was hard earned to over seeing the systems and health of a 43 foot sailboat for no money,  just experiences as payment. Well I think I should have asked for more money! I wake each morning thinking of ways this or that doesn’t work and then start read manuals, asking questions to the pros who now seem to be just as lost as I am.

 My conclusion is that MacGyver is full of shit and you need more then a Swiss Army Knife and duck tape to fix these issues all though I have used both so far.  I have also realized that when one solution doesn’t solve the problem or the next, or the next, and so on the stress builds and can cause you to drink more RUM. I get the whole drink like a sailor now. Its not that they are alcoholics they just need something to make the day of futile problem solving worth it. I tell myself everyday that well at lest I get one rum and coke with a cigar rotated in every couple days 

That said cheers and goodnight,


Srubbing Dragonsbane Bottom!

Nothing to exciting to tell about today’s adventure. I spent the first 3 hours of the morning in a mask and fins armed with a scrub brush and a scraper. I dived and swam for along time making sure that the bottom of Dragonsbane was clean and bright like her top side deck. Wow that sounds naughty! After a good hard swim and feeling the effects of holding my breath 200 times we pulled the anchor and set sail back to NassauHarbor. My mom will be rejoining the team tomorrow and will get to enjoy the frustrations of Nicole pilot and hopefully see some of the few sites at Nassau. Looking forward to her arrival.

Thanks for checking out the blog,


The Creepy Thing Under My Bed

`Tonight we are anchored in a small bay west of Nassau Harbor and in 8 feet of water. As the sun tucked below the horizon and the moon rose up to meet the stars above the man in the moon is smiling very bright tonight. As I was relaxing in the cockpit looking at the shoreline I noticed the moon reflecting the white sand bottom as if it was glow like a bright LED light beneath the water. As I looked a small school of bait fish or silver minnows swam by my boat. They reflected the moon and danced by Dragonsbane. The sound in the air was of still not moving and a perfect calm water surface that would be disturbed by one little stone dropped into it making a ripple if it could reach my location.
So I thought when I was a kid I was afraid of the creepy things under my bed and how if my leg or arm feel from the bed to the floor I would be snatched up. Well tonight I am thinking of all the little creepy thing swimming under Dragonsbane and the big black shadows that follow them in the moonlight. Well I will not be swimming tonight or dropping an arm below the waterline as I am afraid of the creepy things below.
Sleep tight Love you all,


I Named My Autopilot “Nicole Pilot”

Well I missed you guys yesterday posting but I have a good reason. For the last two days and tonight I and my dad have been working on the autopilot. For those who don’t know what I am talking about it’s the computer/hydraulic motor the steers the boat when I am busy doing other things like trimming sails or making food. Anyway I call it “Nicole Pilot” or Nicole for short because it was a girl that I dated in college and loved her very much but it didn’t work out and broke up with her. I wanted her back a few months later but it was not in the cards of life.

So I am sure you’re wondering why I named the autopilot Nicole. Well I have been trying to get the thing working and have drained all the hydraulic fluid twice and bleed the air out of it many times. I have taken the solenoid apart and put it back together. Still it doesn’t work and now I hate this F-ing thing with all my heart! If it would not take 6 hour to take out of the boat I would kick it into the ocean well giving it the bird but man!! I REALLY love that thing when it works! So back to the drawing board I guess.
A few good things I have learned, one it doesn’t work! Second I have drunk enough hydraulic fluid to say with full confidence I have take a few shots of hydraulic fluid. Third unlike hair gel hydraulic fluid stays in your hair and it repels salt water well and when combed it looks real good! Fourth no matter how hard you work on things sometimes they just don’t work at all. Yes Nicole, we will battle on Monday after I talk with some pros and find your sweet spot. For now I drink Jameson, which makes the hydraulic fluid go down smooth and pain feel good!

Goodnight and Good Luck,


Cursing Served Best with a Cocktail in Your Living Room

Picture a beautiful sunset 200 nautical miles out at sea and a nice 15 knot breeze blowing you along with the sound of haul cutting through the sea like knife. The boat is moving swiftly and is in complete control of every turn of helm you give her. Yes this is the life so perfect and wonderful, only a rum and coke would put the cherry on top of that Sunday.

BAA LAAA Reality check!!!!! The sun goes down and great sunset gave you a great look at the deep dark clouds descending upon your bearing and the sea begins to have swells an average 10 to 15 feet. That cloud that looked like a picture from a post card is about to drop the hammer on you like god himself decided to say hi and then smiled. The sails become stiff and the helm that could be control with your fingertips is now being controlled with a white knuckle grip and your heart is racing. Green water is now washing over the deck and you are struggling hard to grind in you r sails and balance the power of the wind and the motion of the sea as the boat heaves 15 to 20 feet in any direction but where you want. Your body and feet play a game of hop scotch as you crawl to the forward deck to clear the head sails in anticipation of the 40 knot wind you are about to have. Then youre hit with a massive 16 foot wave sending salt water at you making your clothing wet and fills your mouth with salt water. Then just as youre about to kiss your butt good bye the sea throttles back and becomes calm.

A hour later the sea is so calm its like sailing across a sheet of glass and at night the stars dancing across it which makes it hard to tell which is heaven or earth. But then you realize that with no wind and your current motor purring along at 2500 rpm it is consuming about a gallon of diesel and you have a striking distance of 600 nautical miles but your objective is 700 nautical miles. Now its time to worry again.

Know at this point youre ready to throw in the towel because multiple systems are broken and you just want to check out. Guess what man? When offshore sailing there is no pause or a time to just check out! Your living life on a razor and DRAGONBANE is your armor to Cruise through it. Life as a cruiser is tough but man, it has great highs and the greatest lows, just like the sea. The best is when you make it to the harbor and you dont hit the multiple reefs between the outside ocean and the inside harbor and finally have that living room cocktail!


Morning Swim/Setting the Anchor

How A Real Man Sets A Anchor


Our Sailing Instructor Paul Exner


Looking back at Dragonsbane at anchor

The Damage done to the paint on our keel from grounding back in Beafort

Dragonsbane Prop

So we went for a swim this morning and all I could think about was shark week! They said the morning is the worst time to going swimming next to reefs etc. Well I figured I had a 50/50 chance because my dad is much slower, lol. Also I prayed to god and he said I am safe but you guys are screwed! At least thats what I told my dad. Location 25deg 5.24min North, 77deg 24.46min West.

Using The Water Maker

So for the last three days we have been using our water maker and it has been working until today or so I thought! My dad turned the water maker on and let it run for a few minutes and then sampled the water and found it to be fresh with no salt. He turn the valve to start filling the water tanks. An hour later I took my water bottle and sampled the water and found it to be somewhat salty. My dad said it was fine and not to worry so I kept drinking out of my water bottle. So about hour and half later I took another drink and said you know this taste a lot like diesel fuel aswell. My dad said o yeah your water bottle was in the sink and I clean out the engine compartment bilge and dumped it into the sink. He said he wiped off my water bottle but didnt think anything went inside. Well it did and now I have a real good idea of what diesal and saltwater taste like.


A Few Pictures More to come

Nice Ride In the harbor channel

Local Boat on the Eaast harbor channel these ship are everywhere here.


View From Our Boat At Anchor

Atlantic Resort Nassua, may try my hand at the casino tables!


Getting the sails ready for the coming squall! This was out at sea 200 Natical miles from land



I See Land

Location: 25deg 33.67min North, 77deg 03.411min West.

So after 4 days I will get to see land soon. Had a good sail last night as we sailed with the spinnaker all night and switch over to our jib as I sailed through some little squalls. We should be at anchor tonight in Nassau hopefully before the sun goes down. I am looking forward to having a few drinks.

Almost To Bahamas

We are about 50 nautical miles from the West Bahamas coast but we are sailing about 150 more miles to Nassau. The wind is around 6kts but behind us and we are flying our spinnaker making about 5 kts. Its also warm here I have been wearing my shorts for the last 2 days and enjoying the weather.

Last night was a very cool night, there was no wind and the sea was flat as a pancake like glass. It was so cool because the sky was really clear and the stars where so bright that they reflected off the ocean surface. It made the boat seem as if it was floating through the ski and I no idea where the horizon was and where the ocean stopped. I sat back smoked a cigar and listened to some music and totally got lost in my thoughts, it was a perfect night!



Need A Little Wind Here!

We are currently at 29deg57.755min North, 76deg14.442min West. The wind has dropped off to 4kts-6kts but is still on our aft beam. We will put up the spinnaker and see if we can get some speed out of Dragonesbane.
Yesterday we had a few storms with 10 to 14 foot waves and it slowly died off to our current condition. There were a few stars out last night and passed a couple of big ships, one was a war ship. Any we are making our way.


Crossed The Gulf Strea

Hi Everybody! We are currently 125 nautical miles off the east coast working our way south east to the Nassau Bahamas. Everybody is doing well and other then some threatening storms we are making slow progress, could use some wind out here. We have been on the water for about 36 hours.

Fun story about our engine trouble which was a simple solution. We thought we were running on our starboard fuel tank but turns out we were on our port. We also found out that when you are out of fuel you get a low pressure alarm. Well thats what I get for not checking all systems DAMMMM IIIITTTTT! Sure was a dumb mistake to make but thats what happens when you play it really safe. I know now to start from the beginning Fuel and work my way back to the engine. Thanks,

Being Towed Is Crazy In Morehead City

Fun story as we where being towed into today we where towed up a very narrow channel at 7 knots. As we where passing throught the narrow channel entrance Dragonsbane hit the sand bar bottom and was drag right through it. That was scary and then just when I thought the tow boat driver was some crazy asshole we increased power as we approched a draw bridge that was closed. He didnt slow down and kept on the power, 6 boat length before hitting the draw bridge the bridge started opening and we had to steer the boat to the center of the channel so our mast didnt hit the bridge.

So when we got to the dock I asked the tow boat captian why he dragged us over a sand bar? He responsed with “well the other side of the channel is a rock shoal” O ok then! Not sure how we are going to get Dragonsbane back over that sand bar other then heel it way over and give the BEANS!!! I will let you all know how that turns out!

Sailing Isn’t Easy

Getting Towed into Morehead City NC

We made it from the Chesapeake Bay Maryland to Morehead City North Carolina but only one problem we have no engine. This morning around 04:30am the engine shut down due to a low oil pressure alarm. Also the water mineral filter canister broke lose and fell on the engine control wire harness which we think may have done some damage. I check the wire harness and a few other things but no go. So we sailed the last 11 nautical miles at 3.5 kts and we are anchored 1/2nm off shore waiting to be towed in.

But on a good note I saw a few whales; a bird hitched a ride for 12 hours and had breakfast with us before taking off. It was also one of the most stars lite skies I have seen in many years. Looking forward to more of the offshore experiences I will update the engine and departure time soon.

The Bird That Sailed with us for 24 hours Night vision red light when I took the picture of the bird.

Day 1

Currently underway about 30 nautical miles off the east coast of North Carolina heading for Morehead City to anchor. Previously we made it from Annapolis to the Chesapeake Bay entrance in less than 24 hours and averaged about 7.5 knots under sail. The wind was off our starboard aft and gusted up to 27 knots with 5 to 6 foot waves. Not a bad sail but unfortunately it was enough for my Mom. I am sad to lose her so early in the trip.
Due to weather and a possible tropical storm coming up the gulf stream we will be sailing down the east coast to the Bahamas as of right now.

The Weather Window Is Open

Well our plan is to finish up some autopilot issues in the morning, finish picking up some supplies, and setting sail at 12pm Thursday 11/8/12. The weather looks like it will be in our favor with 20 to 30 knot gust pushing us out the Chesapeake Bay. It will take us 24 hours to make it to the ocean from Annapolis. I am hoping the 10 to 13 foot wave prediction will not be as bad when we set sail into the ocean but the wind will be good regardless until Monday hopefully. I will try and update our progress next evening via SSB radio.




Weathering the Schedule

Our plan was to leave today but Mother Nature has a different plan. The NOAA weather prediction show a 30 to 60 knot wind that will be in our face starting this evening and the bulk of the wind Wednesday. Our plan is to leave tomorrow Wednesday and work our way down the Chesapeake over the course of 2 days and we should be on the Atlantic Ocean with 25 to 30 knots of wind at our back. That should sling shot us across the gulf stream and then down to the Islands. Hopefully this delay will give us time to finish up all those little projects and do a few small sails to tune the rig and work with Paul. I will post the moment we leave.

My Phone was Taken Out By Sandy

FYI, my cell phone is not working and instead of replacing it or upgrading it I have choosen to shut it off to save money. So if you need to get ahold of me please post here!

Trying to finish UP EVERYTHING!!

Well I have been slacking on blogging but I have been busy doing everything. My dad and I finished installing the new autopilot which took two days instead of one. We have also been running around town buying spare parts, food, and planning on where to put all this crap which has been a little tricky! Anyway wanted to let you all know whats up!

O yeah and my SSB radio for weather and email has stopped working.  I am trying to solve that issue too. Good news is that I got our Sat phone working. Bad news is I have no weather information SHIIIIIIIIIIIT!

Testing my Posting By Email

Hope this works!