Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WINTERLUDE 2016 PART TWO

Having spent most of January cruising in the Caribbean I was lucky enough to miss JONAS the named blizzard that hit the area. Luckily there was no Arctic freeze following the storm and temperatures rose melting much of the snow before I returned.   So unlike last winter I was easily able to get down to the boatyard and check on BIANKA and see how she fared while I was away.
The deck cockpit and the deck on the south facing side had very little snow on them. The Solar Bimini where I had not yet reinforced the Lexan center piece had collapsed on one edge dumping some snow into the corner of the cockpit.


Something I will take care of once things warm up. For now I re positioned it back and slide a temporary brace underneath it. The deck area on the northern side of the boat still had about two inches of slushy snow and ice. I thought there would be more snow and bought a plastic folding shovel along to help remove it:

 I got this folding plastic shovel many years ago as a Christmas present. It's made for carrying in the car. But, I found a better use for it on board to help remove any snow and ice on the deck that might linger over the winter. It's small enough for the deck area and it being plastic does not mar the deck.

The cover over the mast partners was still secure so it was time to see how things were in the cabin. I looked in the bilge and there was a little bit of water in the bilge. Not surprising since the boat had been through a major Blizzard two weeks before.

I used my two gallon wet/dry vacuum to suck the water out and splashed some more antifreeze into the bilge:

 This should help keep things unfrozen until I can once again check on things in another week or so. I did find one item that gave up the ghost from the last time I used it last winter. That was the small ceramic cube electric heater:
It was still putting out heat but, the fan was not working. It was on BIANKA when I bought her in 1995 and was working last winter helping to keep me warm while working on board. Though I guess twenty plus years is a pretty good run. I'll probably buy a replacement for the next visit.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE

The FONTUS water collector. This is a product currently under development that bears watching:




 Of course it would have to be tested at sea. But, could become standard equipment in every ditch bag or life raft if it works as good as this video shows. Especially if it can be scaled up.



Friday, January 29, 2016

RIDERS ON THE STORM

I spent most of January cruising in the British, U.S. and Spanish Virigin Islands. Even though the Jonas Blizzard/Nor' Easter that hit the United States east coast last week was 1500 miles away. My cruising trip in the Caribbean was affected by it's formation over the Atlantic. The easterly winds we had been enjoying since we started sailing on January 12th suddenly started to veer out of the south. As shown in the video below. The X on the video shows the approximate location of the boat I was on:



I was feeling pretty good as I first heard of the storm approaching the northeast area.   I had recently left the northeast to spend a few weeks cruising in the warm Caribbean to escape part of winter. I did not expect the storm being 1500 miles away for it to impact my travels on board. But, when the winds switched to the south and started to feed into the storm the waves also picked up. When the reefs along Culebra  were hit by waves it made for very poor visibilty for snorkeling for several days. Though on the plus side we did have a nice sail over to Fajardo from Culebra. Though it was a sobering lesson on how powerful these winter storms can be.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

SOMETIMES YOU GET LUCKY

The word from NOAA:

"...BLIZZARD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY
AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN UPTON HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD
WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY
AFTERNOON.

* LOCATIONS...THE FIVE BOROUGHS OF NEW YORK CITY...COASTAL
  PORTIONS OF NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY...AND LONG ISLAND.

* HAZARD TYPES...HEAVY SNOW ALONG WITH STRONG AND POTENTIALLY
  DAMAGING WINDS.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 8 TO 12 INCHES.

* WINDS...NORTHEAST 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE LOWER 30S.

* VISIBILITIES...ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES.

* TIMING...SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON."

Meanwhile down here in the Caribbean it looks like this:


Feel lucky to be down here cruising for a bit as a blizzard approaches up northbut, still thinking about BIANKA on the hard.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

MY RIDES HERE

After two days relaxing on Lindberg Bay St Thomas. We took a cab to the other side of the island and stopped for breakfast at a place called Molly Malone's in Red Hook. While enjoying a second cup of coffee a family of chickens strolled through the open air restaurant:



Well at least I know the eggs will be fresh. After breakfast we were just a few steps from the dock at the American Yacht Harbor where the Dolphin Water Taxi I had reserved was waiting to take us to the West End of Tortola:


It was a quick half hour ride in calm seas. We entered Sophers Hole:



and passed an interesting waterside bar:


Beers, Burgers N Beds. What more does one need here in the Caribbean?  We then moved on and docked at the Immigration Office:



It was a quick trip through immigration since the Water Taxi people had prepared all the documents and had collected the fees in advance. Soon I was in a van heading over to the former CSY docks to start the next part of the journey.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

DOWN ST. THOMAS WAY

After checking on BIANKA as it hibernates in the boatyard for the winter. It was time to head south to get back on the water at least for a little bit. First stop was in St. Thomas where we took a room on Lindberg Bay.  A charting catamaran was hanging out  off the beach while doing some repairs between charters. Made a nice backdrop for the sunset:
Not a bad way to end the first day.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

WINTERLUDE 2016

Well the winter temperatures have finally arrived. Gone are the 70 degree F days that arrived around Christmas. It was a blustery cold day but, I made the first winter visit to BIANKA to check on things. The bilge was pretty dry considering we had some pretty heavy rains over the past few weeks so the boat seems pretty tight. I mopped up what water there was in the bilge and splashed some antifreeze in:

I am hoping the winter will not be as bad as last winter when snow filled the cockpit and also found it's way into the bilge which eventually turned into ice.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

NEW YEARS WISH

Hope everyone reading this has a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016 with fair winds everyday

Thursday, December 24, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME

I've been pretty busy since I pulled the boat and so it has been hard to keep posting on the blog. So I thought I'd share a little Christmas present I bought for myself. It's a Sailrite Folding Sewing machine table. Since I bought the Sailrite Ultrafeed® LSZ-1 Sewing Machine last year. It seemed like a good idea to enhance my sewing area with a proper table to work on. It came fully assembled and flat in the box:


It was pretty easy to setup. I had to adjust the sunken platform for the proper height of the LZ-1 sewing machine. It took just a few minutes.

Once that was done it was simply a matter of loading the Sailrite sewing machine in it's base cabinet  onto the platform:

It sits nice and flush with the table surface. With the legs locked it was pretty stable and has a convenient ruler running across the edge of the table. I think it will help with my winter project which is sewing a new sail cover for BIANKA. More on that later.

Monday, December 14, 2015

ANCHORS AWAY


I'm  trying to catch up on things and put up some blog posts of things done and not done this past season on board. One of the things I had been planning to do was to attach a waterproof camera to the 33 pound Bruce anchor that serves as BIANKA's main anchor. It has been a doing a great job since I bought the boat. It has held in 30 to 40 knots of wind including a brush with Hurricane Earl. I trust it but, I was still curious how it was doing it's job. I never did setup my camera for some underwater video of the Bruce but, a fellow in the Pacific Northwest has. He shows it setting pretty nicely with a 2.5:1 scope Here is his video: