FIGAWI Preparation, May 2018

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Thursday, we sailed Averisera from Stage Harbor to Hyannis YC, had lunch at the club and Ubered home. Friday, Norm did some last minute preparations including wiping the bottom again. 

We are moored adjacent to the fleet overall winner, a Pearson 32 rating 174. Last year she beat us by 70 minutes. We feel the need to improve on that time delta. Maybe beat her by 70 minutes?

We are in the Spinnaker Division. Our Class, D, contains the slowest spinnaker boats. The ratings range from 210 to 138. Averisera is a 141 boat. The class average is 160. The fleet has two divisions, spinnaker and non-spinnaker. The non spinnaker division contains a lot of boats that rate near us and slower. We will have 55 boats, mostly non-spinnaker, starting ahead of us. Lots of chaos on the course.

The forecast is for 10 to 15 knots from the South West all day. Could happen. Our first and last beats are easy high performance points of sail for us. The 10 is nm reach is the hard part.

Some pictures of the preparation:

In the foreground is the Pearson 32, Expedient. She won the whole thing last year with a first to finish. We noticed that she did not find the wind hole most of the rest of us did. She is well sailed and congratulations.  Hope we prevail this year.  Beyond her is Averisera. Still farther out is a Cape Dory 32. Three boats of the same length and completely different designs.

 Our rail padding is fitted to make certain the hiking crew, Z and t, don't suffer too much from the sharp tow rail edge. Hiking is an important job, more important than often described. Our boat must sail flat.

Zachary and Tabitha are crew, Tom Brown is driving, Norm is doing bow and boat identification.  Elizabeth runs the show and navigates.

Report on the finish to follow.

Averisera: Haul and Wash

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Averisera was in the water all winter and we have just gotten a chance to clean the interior and clean the bottom. All this is in preparation for the first race on May 27, the FIGAWI. Last year, we did not hual early and the resulting growth may have held us back a bit. This year we are going to be slippery.

Special recognition to the Chatham Station USCG crew. We see the men and women often during the season and this year at the boat yard. Averisera was docked next to the fuel dock used for refueling their 40001 patrol boat. The crew came aboard and gave us an inspection. Yes, we passed. We showed off our boat and chatted. It was very nice to get to know them a little better.  Good kids.

I brush the bottom from the floating dock. The brush is OK if it is done every week. This is the result of a brushing last week after a few months of no attention. It is difficult to do a thorough job when working from a floating dock in poor visibility.

At our floating dock we can only scrub one side at a time. This is the unscrubbed side. Cleaning was certainly required. 

As we were about to turn the boat in her slip, the world's nicest boat yard boy (son, Zachary) offered to simplify the whole operation by hauling the boat and pressure washing it.  Thanks! Harwichport Boat Yard.

Skinny and Slippery
Looking good. In a few weeks, we will find out if we are fast enough to bring home a trophy. 

Averisera is a far cry from this three story cruising catamaran pictured in the British Virgin Islands.  This is Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda with Mosquito Island in the background.

Averisera: Summer 2018, Plan A

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AVERISERA July08 by McGann.jpg

Three races we'd like to do. The local Hyannis to Nantucket "Figawi Race" is a must do. We finished fourth and think we can do much better.

The other two are run from the Newport (RI) Yacht Club and are shorthanded. The Offshore 160 is singlehanded. The NEST is a double handed event.

With some luck, we might make the September Maine Rocks Race out of Rockland YC in Maine. It is a 100 nm double handed event we won a few years ago.

Work gets in the way of sailing....

Averisera and Tupelo Honey. Years ago on Boston Harbor

Years ago at a mooring off Provincetown after a double handed race from Marblehead

Our new main and kite from Doug Pope in a drifter on Boston Harbor. The new Pope black sail is just visible on the fordeck. Doug has made us nice sails.

Caribbean Racing Circuit... next season

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At the end of a training cruise aboard a Hanse 505, the crew and I held onto a mooring outside Village Cay Marina/Moorings at the East side of Road Harbour, Tortola. A Beneteau/First 40.7, Olympia's Tigress was at a nearby mooring getting set up for the BVI Spring Regatta. The boat is available as a "head boat" for racers. Looks like too much fun. I love the idea and the program looks solid.


Not my pictures, by the way. Don't know who took them but thanks for the work.

I watched in interest since I love to race more than cruise. In 2005, I ran a Frers 45, Rumor, that was said to be the first American yacht to do the entire Caribbean circuit as a for-charter race boat. We didn't do very well, lost money, and had a pretty good time of it. The next year, I was the boat keeper for a Farr-designed Beneteau 44 foot charter yacht we rebuilt for racing. that was Three Harkoms. The owner arranged for a full season of racing. It was a pretty nice season. 

These days, the circuit has expanded from a loosely organized collection of six or so races to a coordinated series of 14 races. the season kicks off with A New Year's Eve race in Antigua and ends in May with Antigua Sail Week. Meanwhile a full participant is going to sail Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts, Guadeloupe, St Maarten, St Thomas, and the BVI. Over a dozen regattas in about five months. Boggles the mind!

The schedule is posted on the Caribbean Sailing Association's web site:

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Evergreen (later Rumor) in 1984

Three Harkoms with Yeoman in 2009

Rodney Bay, St Lucia

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A long time ago, 1970 and 1971, Norm was mate on a schooner, So Fong, as it cruised and chartered the Eastern Caribbean. We visited the bay on St Lucia near Pigeon Island. It was completely desolate and So Fong was the only vessel in sight. It was said that a resort was planned for the bay area. In March and April of 2018, I saw it for the first time since my So Fong days.

Some So Fong stories here:,com_joomgallery/func,detail/id,875/Itemid,55/lang,en/#joomimg

Curiously, in 2005, aboard the Frers 45, Rumor, (ex-Evergreen, US7400) I sailed with a fellow who had sailed the schooner away from Viet Nam. 

A digression... It was something special to sail into the place about which I had first learned in 1971. Now, Rodney Bay Marina and Shipyard is a thriving place and economic center for the North end of the island.

This Spring; We sailed from Tortola to Rodney Bay aboard a Voyage 440, Twalzan, with the owner and one other crewmember. The trip featured mostly light air and a lot of motorsaliing to windward. The trip is about 350 nm and took about 60 hours.

Twalzan in her berth at Rodney Bay Marina. It is a beautiful facility and well staffed. Twalzan has some YouTube video of her delivery from St Augustine to Tortola in the Fall of 2017. Look up Twalzan Full Story.

On a road trip by rental car, we visited Marigot Harbour where, among other things, the Dr Doolittle movie was filmed. I was there in 1971 when it was sparse. We tied So Fong to a short pier next to another schooner who's name I forget. She was owned by the Beudreau family, I think.

The famous Pitons of St Lucia and the town of Soufriere which we visited.

Lush rain forest along path leading to Diamond Falls.

Norm at Diamond Falls.

Looking out towards the entrance to the marina harbor from the mall at Rodney Bay Marina. The area is fairly well developed in that typical American and European goods and services are available in quantity. The old fashioned West Indian flavor is gone, on the other hand.

Finally, I met a sailor from France who races against an Aphrodite 101 named Vert Gallant. I follow that boat on line as it is successful on the race course. I am always looking for tips from other Aphrodite 101 stories and pictures.

St Lucia, nice place.

Back in the Virgins

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Antigua was a treat to visit. The island had not been ravaged by hurricanes. The infrastructure was in beautiful condition. Stores and restaurants served up Caribbean hospitality. The yachts were stunning. I look forward to returning with Elizabeth. Years ago, we had some fine times on that island.

Back in the BVI and USVI the ravages of two Category Five hurricanes remained prominent. Progress with the cleanup is visible. It is going to be a long hard job. However, some of the scenes from sailing the areas follow.

A pretty Ruddy Turnstone visited us in Antigua. We see them up North, too, which makes the sighting special in Anegada.

Two 40 footers of the same design on moorings off The Baths in Virgin Gorda, BVI. Norm likes these designs as they are multi-chine designs for amateur boat builders. Both boats are attractive and fast sailors. I enjoyed seeing them sailing. Later, through the efforts of some forum guys, I learned these are RM1200s from the drawing board of Marc Lombard. 

A violent day at The Baths of Virgin Gorda. Sometimes a big wave would crash in a spray enveloped the rocks near shore. No, we did not venture in with our dinghy!

A sleek catamaran at Sandy Cay between Tortola and Jost Van Dyke Islands. Cats are taking over the scene. Most are not as sleek as this one.

Anegada anchorage. two thirds of the boats were various models of charter cats, filled with smiling happy people having fun on the water. 

This freighhter brought construction materials to Tortola along with a little sailboat imported by a sailing school. Once empty, it loaded a lot of catamarans for London. Reports are the cats were damaged but not significantly and will be repaired in England. The below deck boats were loaded mast-down or without masts. Deck cargo of mast up cats can be seen. It took many days to get the cargo stowed.

Intra-island freighter moving dump trucks from the big island to Virgin Gorda, maybe the Bitter End Resort. Background shows a grounded local freighter that hasn't been removed from the beach yet.

Schooner Mandalay. Originally built for E F Hutton in 1923 and named Hussar. Registered in Zanzibar. She is sailing from Norman Island to Road Harbour. Peter Is in background.

Early morning view from my apartment overlooking Cowpet Bay at the East end of St Thomas. My last morning before heading home to Harwich.

The last thing I did with the guys at St Thomas Sailing Center. Replacing a headstay.

Caribbean Days

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Norm has been in the Caribbean since early December. He files this report.  Haha. I have been in the USVI, BVI, and Antigua. It is interesting to see the effects of two Cat 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, on the USVI and BVI. Widespread destruction hardly describes the scene. In boat yards, my normal venues, boats tipped over and flipped over. The recovery is interesting to compare. The USVI allow mainland workers and their equipment in immediately and FEMA covers most expenses. Or so they say. 

In the BVI. There are few workers from outside and much less money. The place is still beat up, depressing. The recovery is being undertaken by the population of 25-30,000 people. Not enough workers. Not enough money.

Some images from around the areas. The sailing remains excellent. The boats that are up and running are sailing and the sailors are excited.

USVI images 2018

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Wrecked boats lifted from beaches and placed on barges destined for a scrap yard somewhere. hundreds and hundreds of sailboats are junk. The USVI cleaned up pretty quickly. 

Cowpet Bay off the yacht club on a very pretty day. Great St James Is in the background.

View from St Thomas YC looking East into a coming squall. Some days in this winter the squall obscured St.John Island in the distance.

Dave Franzel, formerly of Boston Sailing now of St Thomas Sailing Center showed some images of his IC24 fleet after the hurricanes. All those boats are floating and sailing now. Thanks, Dave.

Now here is a story. I saw this boat when over in Crowne Bay Marina arranging a slip space for when Laura and Boys came down. It is an Ohlson 38 with a little CLC Boats nesting dinghy on deck. Follow Debi and Jack at:

BVI Images 2018

What a mess. Spainish Town Marina on Virgin Gorda.

So.. what pick s up a 20,000 plus pound catamaran and flips it up onto a seawall as if it were a pancake? It took all day to lift it off the seawall almost five months after the storms.

Nanny Cay Marina. Empty. Boats still under water. This scene was once a hundred plus yacht marina with concrete piers and bustling life. 

A beautiful Dutch yacht in Village Cay Marina, Tortola. Mooring Base is behind. Find the monohull? Sadly sunk and wrecked yachts litter the shoreline.

Antigua 2018

Falmouth Harbour is always able to show off some of the finest in yacht design. Anchored out are small sailing vessels of every description from all over the world.

A Hood 50, Caradow, anchored behind the reef at Green Island on Antigua's East Coast. The family has a bunch of kids and they sail around in a little Dyer Dhow sloop visiting their friends on other yachts. those kids are paddleboarding and sailing around the harbor. I only thought about how much our grands would fit in to this life.

A pretty Swan 48 and two ugly catamarans anchored off Jolly Harbour. Cats are taking over and power-only cats are surging in popularity. The Swan is what a boat should look like. Averisera is from the same designera and just as pretty. Seaworthy, too.

In 2006, Elizabeth went snorkeling for the first time off this beach at Five Sisters Islands off Jolly Harbour, Antigua. Back in the Three Harkoms days. We sailed for two weeks from Antigua to Guadeloupe to Dominica to Barbados. It was wonderful. Thanks Elizabeth! xo

It was one of those gifts of a day in late February! Today, sun was shining, wind was no more than 10 kts, tide was low at mid-day in Chatham, and the grandkids were on Cape for a visit at the end of school vacation week.
We took the long walk to Morris Island, the trail that starts at the National Wildlife Refuge at Quitnesset. Our first look over the body of water behind south beach revealed 5 Long-tailed Ducks among some eiders. The eiders have completely demolished most of the mussel beds that had been thriving along the shore in late January. Now hardly any mussels and few eiders.

We took the woodland trail to the start of the dune path, and began the walk along Hardings Beach Point. I had seen a Snowy Owl there two weeks ago, and wanted to see if it was still around, so the grandkids could see it. Our group split up, with dune walkers and beach walkers. As we got closer to the midpoint of the point, we spotted the owl. We spent the next half hour, trying to see how close we could get to the owl without spooking him/her. Pretty close it turns out. Not close enough for a good picture, but close enough for the children to appreciate the beauty and size of this owl.

I'll post some pics, though the owl is very small, barely a dot.

Valanta: Virgin Islands Charter Prep

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The Hanse 400, Valanta, needed a good cleaning and rearranging. Hot work in a rolling anchorage. The results are OK.
View of the harbor from "up the hill" and the USVI have hills. Valanta not visible though off to the left. Great St James Island in background. Christmas Cove anchorage in lee of island.

For some reason, this computer will not publish a portrait image as anything but landscaape. Maybe operator error??

Dishes are clean, lockers are tidy, floor is wiped and the boat is ready for the next sailors to step aboard and sail, sail, sail.

The "rubber ducky" leaks and Norm had some repair materials in his kit for just such an event. The little quick patch from West Marine is OK. The major leaking is stopped. The problem is that the patches do not overlap well so the air weeps in a few places. Much improved, though.

The problem to solve is one of reinforcing the Hypalon at the verry afdt end bottom of the pontoons. No matter how diligent we are, the boat gets dragged up the shore and the tube gets a slice or puncture. "Captain" Norm recommends a sacrifical layer of Hypalon laid onto the exposed areas of the pontoons.

The other idea is to have a nice rowing dinghy in plywood with an epoxy/glass bottom layer.

.The damaged area is repaired with a clear plastic patch, adhesive on one side. There are three of the three inch rounds arranged to cover offending slices. The slices were discovered using a soapy water solution. Bubbles mean leaks. As luck had it, the slices revealed themselves one at a time.

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About nine feet long, tows like a dream, strong as a horse and carries a big load. A bit difficult to stow on deck. Difficult but not impossible.

tag: Valanta.  Also see Valanta Bermuda to St Thomas

USVI Scenes

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Mid-January 2018, Norm sailed in a US Sailing Assoc Bareboat Instructor Qualification Course and snapped a couple of images of the local scene. Yes, he passed the qualification.

A big British catamaran is loading charter guests at American Yacht Harbour in Red Hook, St Thomas. The white shirts and green shorts are a nice livery for the crew.

The view from the water at Secret Harbour resort. We did anchor practice and had lunch here.

A beautiful home with an impressive stone foundation adjacent to the resort. Nice anchorage.

Hurricane destruction. Boats loaded off the beaches in St John onto a barge and carried to Red Hook for demolition. Each boat has a number. We saw numbers in the 60s and there is still a lot more work to do. Some boats a very nice looking. Others appear to be old derelicts finally being removed.

Another view of the same pile of old boats being demolished.

A couple of beach bars at Lindberg Bay which is near the airport. This area got hit hard by Irma and Maria losing a lot of beach sand. A beautiful anchorage.

Fearless Leader?
Cowpet Bay, East End of St Thomas

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