Calling all boat project fanatics, this one’s for you! Boy, did we have a time trying to get our engine aligned. While Phillip and I knew we had some kind of issue going on with our prop shaft, the key that fits in the shaft (which was always coming out and we were hammering back in, brilliant plan!), and our coupling, we didn’t know it was quite as bad as it was.
Watch along as Brandon, Shane, and the great team at http://www.perdidosailor.com help us diagnose and solve many issues relating to our prop shaft and how it seats in the transmission. We had a machinist re-engineer our old coupling and make us a new one. We also re-bedded the strut and replaced the gutless bearing.
And, just as boat projects always do, the boat had a lot of extra hidden work in store for us in the form of a rotten engine stringer portion (under the raw water pump on starboard, no surprise) that we had to repair along the way. Fun, fun! Misery loves company! Give it a watch! More photos and write-up available at http://www.havewindwilltravel.com.
I hope you all have been enjoying these shipyard videos while Phillip and I were off galavanting across the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll have plenty to share from that adventure once we get our heads back on straight. It can be hard, at times, to transition from offshore sailors back to full-time lawyers/marketing gurus. But, the work is always worth it. In exchange for all of those photos and videos of us out sailing and traveling the globe, enjoy seeing us here all grimy and greasy wedged down in the engine room on our boat! You’re welcome! B.O.A.T., am I right? : )
Maybe they should change that B.O.A.T. saying to “bonded or about to.” The hardest part of our rudder drop was getting the stinking quadrant off! Heat, impact, cheater bars, nothing would work. So, the creative guys at Perdido Sailor had to come up with a different fix, and boy did they!
Ahoy crew! Shipyard Vid #2 coming at you, from Cascias, Portugal nonetheless! I put this video together a while back so you all would have something fun to watch while we were embarking on our second Atlantic-crossing helping deliver a new Lagoon across the pond from France to the USVIs! I know how you all LOVE boat project videos, so here’s another one for you from our interesting work at the shipyard this past summer.
While I wrote about this project several months back here, some of my followers love to see the video! This one’s for you! Phillip and I always enjoy working alongside the guys at the yard because we learn so much. They point out problems we didn’t even know we had and teach us fixes we didn’t even know were possible.
Watch here as we (finally!) get the quadrant off and make the necessary modifications to do that, check on our G-flexed keel seam from 2016, replace the cables for the throttle and shifter (because, according to Video Annie, they sounded like “Grandma’s panties coming down”), and shared some fun lighthearted joshing at the yard!
We hope you are all enjoying the shipyard videos and having a great time tracking us along while we are sailing back across the Atlantic Ocean. Follow on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/havewindwilltravel for real-time updates and locations via our Delorme!
Hey hey crew! As I write from La Rochelle, I have a confession to make. I’ve been saving a treat for you! I was holding this for when I knew we would likely be shoving offshore, so you all would have a fun video to watch as we struck out tomorrow into the notorious Bay of Biscay. We’re planning to head out tomorrow for either a short hop to a new port or a quick shakedown and turn-around. Either way, we’ll get water moving under the hull, learn a lot about the boat and crew’s capabilities and quirks, and hopefully make it to a new port in southern France or even Spain. The adventure begins! And, to celebrate the moment: a gift for you all! Your favorite, a (drumroll please) … SHIPYARD VIDEO! : )
I know how much you guys loooove our boat project/shipyard videos. Misery must love company, although I will say Phillip and I are far from miserable when we’re working on our boat. It beats sitting at a desk any day! While I wrote about this project previously (Shipyard Project #1: Reinforcing Our Rudder), this will be a very fun “catch-up” video for my folks who are strictly YouTube followers as these videos will bring you up to speed on all of the very cool work and upgrades we’ve been doing on our boat this past summer while Phillip and I attempt to complete our first Atlantic Circle this winter by helping some new friends deliver their new Lagoon 42 from La Rochelle, France to the BVIs. You’ll meet Kate and Cyrus with CruiseNautic soon, a very fun, adventurous pair. I guess you have to be to willingly hop on a small boat and sail across the Atlantic, am I right?
When we finish that voyage, Phillip and I will fly home to Pensacola, work for several months and then shove off on our baby girl, the beautiful Plaintiff’s Rest, to sail her as south as possible for hurricane season next year. Likely Grenada. We are not riding out another season in the corner pocket or the Gulf. It is horrendous to see what hurricanes can do.
I’ve got several more Shipyard Videos coming over the next few weeks so you all will have some fun things to watch while we are crossing the pond. Be sure to follow along on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/havewindwilltravel) where we will be posting via satellite through our Delorme. That way you can track us in real time across the Atlantic. Giddyup!
It isn’t a bad place to have to wait for the Lagoon, I will say that. La Rochelle is exquisite right now. Mist that fills the harbor every morning. Vivid yellow leaves the fall leisurely from the trees to the cobblestones, always mesmerizing me when they fall right before my eyes.
And the food! Fruits de mer! There are a thousand little restaurants, pubs, bistros, and—my favorite—fromageries! I’m afraid I have knowingly cultivated a full-fledged cheese addiction, and I, in no way, regret the decision. They eat cheese for dessert here. I mean … I love these people. J’aime La Rochelle!
Hello crew! From the stunning Atlantic-coast village of La Rochelle. I wanted to write you all a quick note from France before we shove off next week and begin our Atlantic adventure! I wanted to share a little more about our plans, our new friends, Kate and Cyrus, and why Phillip and I made such a drastic change to our cruising plans this year. When we were working in the shipyard this past summer, we had pretty-set plans to sail our Niagara 35 slowly and intermittently from November through the Spring of 2019 from Pensacola, to the Exumas to explore what we missed last year, then eventually to Grenada for hurricane season. Yet, we decide instead to hop on a new boat, with new crew, and sail back across the Atlantic Ocean?!
We must be crazy right?
We kind of are … : )
Or just in full-fledged pursuit of adventure! So, how did this whole opportunity unfold? How did we meet Kate and Cyrus? As Kate and Cyrus would tell you, all great stories begin with either “Once upon a time,” or “This ain’t no shit.” Well, this, my friends, is no merde!
We actually crossed paths with Kate and Cyrus while cruising but did not know it. Phillip and I were making our way back up the west coast of Florida after our cruising in the Bahamas this past season and we made an unplanned duck into Destin to get out of some not-too-comfortable conditions out in the Gulf: 18 knots on the nose that was set to continue well past midnight, well before we would be able to get to Pensacola Pass to get out of that mess.
So, we navigated the entrance to Destin Harbor for the first time, which was not easy. It’s a bit of a tricky zig-zag, shoaly entrance, but we made it. And it was one of those moments, when you finally get out of the stuff, the boat is settled and in one piece, and you drop the hook and feel your nerves finally start to settle out. Once the hook was set, Phillip and I both promptly made a boat drink (because that’s exactly what you do in that moment) and were kicked back in the cockpit heaving happy alternating sighs of satisfaction, when this large catamaran cruised by.
I saw a gal on the bow filming, which, being a bit of a fellow videographer, caught my eye. I could see she had a remote for the winlass around her neck, and I shouted some comment about how it would be awesome to be able to drop and raise the hook with the push of a button. We shared a lighthearted exchange or two and said “Cheers!” before their catamaran cruised on out of the anchorage. I had no clue at the time that cheery blonde on the catamaran would soon become one of my very good friends, someone I would cross the Atlantic Ocean with, but it was. That was Kate!
Kate and Cyrus were sailing with a captain to gain sea time towards their RYA licenses, and they were making the overnight run from Destin to Pensacola for bluewater experience. The catamaran they were sailing on, s/v Makarios, actually stays in a slip in Pensacola just a dozen or so boats down from where Phillip and I keep our Niagara 35. While Kate and Cyrus noticed our boat name, s/v Plaintiff’s Rest, as memorable when they were cruising through Destin Harbor, they didn’t think much more of it until they went the next week to Sea School for the necessary credits toward their USCG licenses. Ahhh … STCW Sea School, that was a fun time.
It was their Kate and Cyrus saw the insignia I had left on the Sea School wall, put two and two together (HaveWind with the boat they saw in Destin), and Kate then decided to reach out to me. There were here exact messages!
It’s connections and stories like this that will always make me feel grateful I created this (once very little) traveling sailing blog that has somehow reached so many. Seeing young cruisers like Phillip and I, and many others who are sharing their stories via blogs and videos, Kate and Cyrus decided to similarly sell the house in Minnesota and downsize to life on a boat. It was really neat, as we began to chat further, to learn about their plans to start a crew-chartered boat, CruiseNautic, on their Lagoon 42 in the USVIs as their quote-unquote retirement. Kate and Cyrus had already created their platform and signed up with Dream Yacht Charters to act as the broker for the boat purchase by the time we connected. The boat, a brand new Lagoon 42, was supposed to be completed early- or mid-November and their vague plan was to sail it from France to the Canaries to the USVIs from mid-November to early-January. A very fun plan indeed!
I’ll admit, Phillip and I get offers to crew often at HaveWindWillTravel, which is very cool but most of them do not work with our schedule or our own cruising plans. This one, however, seemed to fit a particular niche for Phillip, the offer of an amazing journey during the holidays when his work is a bit slower. When I told Phillip about the offer—mostly in jest—one evening while cooking dinner, I was surprised by his response:
“We would complete our first Atlantic Circle,” he said.
And, I remember thinking, then and there, there was a real chance this was actually going to happen. Phillip is an avid sailor and lives for offshore sailing and once he was thinking the voyage would fit with his work schedule and offer him something that is a true bucketlist item for him—completing an Atlantic Circle by sailboat—it was very likely he would work hard to make this happen.
That was July. Only three months before Phillip and I had planned to set sail in our own boat headed eventually for Grenada. But, the more we continued to talk about Kate and Cyrus’s offer, the opportunity to cross the Atlantic Ocean again was like this luminous jewel on the horizon. Another epic voyage. Another month of amazing challenges, memories, and bonds between new friends. How do you turn that down if it’s even remotely possible?
Look at these two. The answer is you don’t.
Phillip and I figured we would have plenty of time to sail our boat all over the Caribbean in the coming years, but another Atlantic crossing with a young fun couple felt like an opportunity we could not turn down. And, we are very grateful for the commitment and work we have put toward making our lives, careers, and income as flexible as it is so that we can seize opportunities like this when they come along. Phillip was the man who initially taught me the incredibly important concept of time-value. That is, to make sure I valued experiences and time more than money and things, and it was his support and creativity that helped me begin my online marketing business (which has since grown across many avenues and platforms) that allows me to say, with resounding excitement—“YES!”—to adventures like these.
Once we began emailing, at first, then Skyping, with Kate and Cyrus to both get to know them and to discuss more details about the voyage, their travel plans, etc., Phillip and I started to get that tingly “Holy crap this is really happening” feeling. It’s a prickle beneath our skin that tells us there is one amazing, eye-opening adventure in our future. And, each conversation we had with Kate and Cyrus told us the four of us were very like-minded, in pursuit of the same goals, with a similar approach to challenges and provisioning, and collectively a very knowledgeable and fun crew. While Kate and Cyrus do not have the extent of bluewater experience that Phillip and I do, we all compliment each other in different ways. Cyrus is a mechanical engineer by trade, capable of dissecting and repairing virtually any system, with a good bit of sailing miles under his belt on he and Kate’s Precision 26 on Lake Lanier. Big plus for an offshore voyage.
Kate also grew up sailing with her father on Lake Lanier, and is an adventurous, fun-loving, talented singer and songwriter. Another huge plus for an offshore voyage. Here is Kate jamming out with her Fleetwood Mac cover band!
I can’t wait to sing a duet with her during the passage!
The four of us clicked very easily and we all had a good feeling about crew comraderie for the voyage. The good thing, though, we knew we would be spending several weeks together in France in a tight little Airbnb—a great place to see if we really did mesh well together, before shoving off for good.
Kate, Cyrus, Phillip, and I been here a week now, cooking dinners together, sharing stories, laughs, worries, concerns, and we all get along fabulously and foresee an amazing experience ahead. It’s a goal worth every 12-hour days’ work we put into it. Offshore voyaging is such a reward. And, doing it with friends and fellow sailors who share the same joy and awe of it as Phillip and I do, makes it even more memorable. We cannot wait to share this voyage with you!
Here is a fun video tour of La Rochelle—our haling port for the moment—as well as some very fun photos from Paris and our rendezvous with the infamous Captain Yannick from our first Atlantic-crossing in 2016. We are soaking up every minute of this journey and looking forward to seeing and getting on the new Lagoon 42 next week!
Pics from Par-eeh!
This guy …
Boy did we miss Yannick!
And, it was great to have such a personal and knowledgeable tour guide in Paris!
Who me? More to come about this medal of honor.
Love this man!
Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
This guy had a happy ending. Google Victor Noir Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Fun story there!
Shopping in the sail gear shop brought back some fun memories from our first Atlantic Crossing!
Some pretty big news here at HaveWind! Many of you have been wondering about our cruising plans this coming season, where we are going, which routes, etc. I’ll bet this one hadn’t crossed your mind! We’re going to complete our first Atlantic Circle! We’ll be helping some new friends deliver their new Lagoon 42 from La Rochelle, France to the BVIs, likely via the Canaries, in Nov-Dec, 2018. Phillip and I are both stoked to go and share the journey with you. We’re flying to France this very day to spend some time with Captain Yannick from our first Atlantic crossing and enjoy La Rochelle for a bit before we shove off. Check out the announcement video below and follow along in real-time via our Delorme posts on our Facebook page! I’ve also got some fantastic shipyard videos coming out here for you, too, while we’ll be offshore so be excited for those. Au revoir! : )
High times at Harbour Island High! These high-flying kite-surfers were also there on a boat at Harbour Island when Phillip and I were there, back in March of this year, only their boat was just a smidge bigger. Owned by a billionaire. Yes, with a B. It’s amazing the potluck of people you meet while cruising. But, they were super humble and a lot of fun to “hang” with … get it? : ) From Spanish Wells, Phillip and I decided to hire a captain to help us navigate through the treacherous coral-ridden path, known as the “Devil’s Backbone,” into Harbour Island, and we spent a fabulous three days exploring ashore, kiting our a$$es off (with the billionaires!), and hiking the south side with Brett and Kristen from Life in the Key of Sea. As we share work from our time in the shipyard this summer, it’s also fun to remind ourselves what all of that hard work is for. Flash back to one of our last stops in the Bahamas this past March with a fun video and photos for you below from our time in Harbour Island. Enjoy!
There was no end to the surprises the Bahamas kept revealing were in store for us. At Spanish Wells, we were honestly expecting a more industrial fishing town, not many stunning sights. But, then we got this:
It won the award on Plaintiff’s Rest for most beautiful beach in the Bahamas. For us, anyway, our first year there having only made it through the Abacos, Eleuthera, and the Berries. We’re often told the beaches and shorelines in the Exumas are just incomparable, but we haven’t seen them in person yet. So, until then, this neon-breathtaking-blue beach on the north shore of Spanish Wells will have to do. C’est la vie.
But, Harbour Island turned out to be a great surprise, too. Initially, when Phillip and I were planning our route through the Bahamas in 2017/2018, Harbour Island was not one of our intended destinations. Our (very vague, back in 2017) plan was to tinker through the Abacos, then make our way down through the ragged islands and the Exumas—to the extent we could—before we needed to get the boat back to Pensacola for hurricane season. When we got to Spanish Wells, our cruising timeline was starting to close for the year. Currently, Phillip and I are more “commuter cruisers,” who spend roughly half of the year aboard our boat cruising and the other half (broken up here and there) back home in Pensacola working. Somehow you gotta pay for all this fun, right?
So, we knew our window was closing and we still had on our list: the Berries, the voyage back across the Gulf Stream to Florida, and all of the wonderful cruising we wanted to along the west coast of Florida. With that in mind, Mother Nature decided to throw us a curve ball. Around the time we were planning to leave Spanish Wells one of those very common north fronts came through and it looked like it was going to blow for days.
This meant we had one of two options: 1) Run down to the Exumas and try to find a place to hide there for the four-or-so days we expected weather. (And, many of you who have been to the Exumas likely know—hiding is not a great thing to try and do in the Exumas. The islands are just so small and sparse, they don’t offer great protection.) So, we could either race down to the Exumas, try to hide for a bit, hope for a few clear days, then race back to the Berries and onward to home or … Option Two. Tuck into Harbour Island, which was just a short half-day jaunt over in Eleuthera. Here is where we were in the Bahamas:
We could then drop the hook there for a few days to escape the coming winds, explore Eleuthera and the Berries slowly, then pick our way home. As you can imagine, any option with the word “slow” in it is likely the one that’s going to appeal to us. You just cannot do the Exumas in five days. I think it’s blasphemy. Birds would start flying backwards. Ducks would bark. Strange things would happen. I’m sure.
With the Harbour Island decision made, Phillip and I then had to decide whether we were feeling brave enough to navigate the very rocky and coral-ridden inlet to Harbour Island—known locally as the “Devil’s Backbone”—on our own or hire a captain to take us safely through. You can see here the many, many coral heads that litter the path from Spanish Wells into Harbour Island! Makes me want to tuck my keel and run. Yipes!
The cost to hire a captain was roughly $120 (and we added a $20 tip). While we are in no way made of money, our keel and hull are not made of material that is good to slam into a coral head. It just seemed worth it to us—our first time coming into Harbour Island—to hire a captain to ensure a safe entry, no damage to the boat, and avoid the immense stress it would put on us trying to do that ourselves. Now that we’ve been in and out and laid a track, I feel confident Phillip and I could now do it on our own, but we didn’t feel the need was great enough to chance it the first time, in light of the fairly low cost to ensure safe entry with a captain.
There were several captains available to take you most days, either at 9:00 a.m. or around lunch. The run through the Devil’s Backbone took about 3.5 to 4 hours, traveling as we do at roughly 4-5 knots under motor. The captain that took us in was very knowledgeable and nice and told us to follow him “very closely.” He did not tie up to our boat or board, but he puttered slowly in front of us, making sure we were on a safe path, communicating with us often via radio, and he got us in safely.
And, while it was a beautiful day, gorgeous waters, and a successful navigation, there was one thing about the trip that bothered me and Phillip. When we were envisioning doing the Devil’s Backbone ourselves, both of us had a mental image of one of us standing at the bow, sun directly overhead, pointing out coral heads left and right, giving cues to the helmsman at the wheel. To be frank, we kind of wanted to gain that experience while following a captain so we knew we would be safe. Like a test run with training wheels on. But, here’s the thing: we couldn’t really see the coral heads. Neither Phillip nor myself could make them out. Sometimes I would feel like I saw one up ahead and it turned out to be a big patch of black sand or grass. Then sometimes I didn’t feel like I’d seen one at all, but there it was breaching the surface where I thought there was no coral.
I can’t explain why we couldn’t see the coral heads. Perhaps it was too early in the day, although it was a very clear, bright day, and we navigated the corally (that’s a word today) section from about 10-12:00 p.m. Perhaps we just don’t have good coral eyes (another linguistic gem for you.) Whatever the cause, that part about the trip made us very glad we had hired a captain because he obviously could either see them where we couldn’t, or he just knew the route between them by heart. (We later learned it is both but mostly the latter). Either way, it was a beautiful day and a very enjoyable journey.
Once in Harbour Island, the captain rafted up with us briefly to get his fee then sent us on our way. Phillip and I navigated the shoals (which would later become our kiting ground when the tide was out) to drop the hook behind Harbour Island on the south side. We took the dinghy over to Man’s Island and snorkeled around, which was really fun. I saw my first lionfish underwater. Oh, and sea cucumbers, too! Those lovable lazy slugs. Phillip and I were also very surprised to find such a diverse, budding little town ashore with plenty of shops, eateries, nice restaurants, conch salad shacks, clothing boutiques, etc. There was a laundry mat where we washed all of our clothes and linens for $4/load and wifi in certain places. I certainly had one of the nicest, most beautiful “offices” I’ve had in a while. No complaints from this little remote worker!
The north side of the island also promised pretty pink beaches! While I imagined an entire beach shoreline the color of conch shell pink, that’s not really what we got. But the sand did have a nice rosy hue to it and—pink or not—it was gorgeous! One of my favorite parts was seeing the horses walking along the beach. The locals apparently give horse rides on the beach often to attract tourists (and it works!) but it was still cool to see my favorite animal in now one of my favorite places: the Bahamas.
We also inadvertently ended up dropping our hook next to another cruising couple we had previously connected with on social media: Brett and Kristen aboard Life in the Key of Sea. We met up with them one of our last days in Harbour Island, hiked the south side, and ate at the famous Sip Sip with a stunning view of the Atlantic shore. Brett and Kristen were very like-minded and easy-going (as most cruisers are) and we connected instantly. It was fun to hear the places they had been, their plans going forward, and a lot of the wacky, unfounded questions we all get from people who aren’t cruisers. Like “How do you feed the dogs?” Kristen told me someone had asked her, as they have two very lovable rescues aboard. It’s like the ability to buy dog food in advance and store it on the boat while cruising cannot be fathomed.
People are funny! But we always get a kick out of some of the questions we get, too. For instance: “What do you dooo all day on passage?” is another one of my favorites. You don’t have time to think about it, you’re usually so busy fixing things, checking the weather, holding your shift, cleaning, napping, fixing more things, researching, cooking, more cleaning, fixing something else, then it’s all of sudden the next day and you don’t know how it happened. We definitely had a good time laughing with Brett and Kristen about these shared bewilderments from our followers!
Phillip and I also did some of our best kiting from our entire Bahamas trip in Harbour Island. Mainly because the folks we kited with made it so memorable. It’s always the people, am I right?! Phillip, from our table at a little vegan restaurant, saw someone pumping up a kite on a tiny spit of sand in the harbour. He couldn’t help it. That man smells wind, I tell you. Instantly, he was up, “Check please,” and we were on our way out there. We met the folks and got to talking to them. Obviously—when you’re all on a tiny island with no airport—the question of “How did you get here?” often comes up. The gal with them said offhand “Oh, we’re staying here on a boat.”
“Oh, cool. Us, too. Ours is that sailboat over in the distance,” as I pointed.
“Oh nice,” she said (I now know) graciously.
“Where’s your boat?” I asked looking around for perhaps another monohull or cruising catamaran.
The gal got a little quiet and responded, “We’re on the biggest one here. It’s the Trending Yacht over there.” And by “over there,” she meant a vessel big enough to block out the sun. The thing is 165-feet of mega-money. It is a badass boat. Fun video for you here:
I mean. Whoa. We later learned her dad, who owns the boat, is not just a millionaire. But a billionaire. With a B. Say it again. Whoa. Check out more photos, video, and info about the boat and crew and the charters they do at Trending Yacht.
But, the crew (the two guys in the video above and photos below) and the daughter, “Biz” (short for Elizabeth), were super cool and a ton of fun to hang out with. The crew also told us the owner of Trending is—much unlike most other mega-yacht owners who are total douchebags—very low-key. He just wants everyone to have a good time, and wants to keep the boat in good working order so folks can appreciate it. It felt pretty freaking cool to meet my first billionaire! We had a great time kiting with them several days in the harbour. The two guys helping Biz learn to kite and crewing on the boat were total adrenaline junkies, trying to loop their kite (which usually ended in monster crashes into the water), hoisting each other up into the air, launching wicked jumps on the kite, etc. The “Trending Show” was a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
In all, Harbour Island was an unexpected treat. Phillip and I had never really envisioned ourselves heading this deep into Eleuthera during this trip to the Bahamas. (We had envisioned ourselves in the Exumas instead.) But it was just further proof that when we go where the wind takes us (and not try to fight the universe’s obvious coaxing) we usually are rewarded to an unexpected but surprisingly unique and memorable new place. Harbour Island definitely fit that bill.
Hope you all enjoy the video, write-up, and photos below. We only have one more destination in the Bahamas to share before we scoot back across the Gulf Stream and start trickling up the west coast of Florida back to Pensacola, in blog time that is. As I mentioned in the video, in real time, we just splashed back after 4.5 weeks in the Pensacola Shipyard with Perdido Sailor, having accomplished some very awesome and necessary projects on our boat, and we’re now working to prepare our workloads and stock the boat for this season’s cruising. I will announce our plans soon. We’ve got something very, very cool in store for you followers. Stay tuned!
For now, let that Harbour Island footage roll! Enjoy!
Following the captain through the Devil’s Backbone:
Off on a dinghy adventure to snorkel around Man’s Island:
Our favorite time on the boat: Captain’s Hour
Exploring the awesome little town on Harbour Island:
The pink beach on the north shore!
Time to get our kite on!
The fun billionaire-ess and her cRaZy crew!
Enjoying the little eateries and shops in town:
Hiking and dining with Brett and Kristen from Life in the Key of Sea!
I was completely sober when I took that picture … promise ; )
Maybe they should change that B.O.A.T. saying to “bonded or about to.” I’m sure many of you have faced this. One of the hardest parts of a boat project is the initial disassembly. Trying to get bolts that have been in place for thirty-plus years to budge. Or how about a stainless steel bolt in an aluminum piece? I know you’re cringing now. But, at least I can say we had access to our curmudgeon bolt. I had a follower post recently in order to get to bolts he needed to access to re-bed his strut, he had to remove two diesel tanks. Just to GET TO said belligerent bolts.
Shout-out to follower, Rob Miller, who tacked that job! Rob, you’re my hero. In our case, with access, albeit uncomfortable and tight, to our bolts, I’ll consider us on the lucky side. Here’s what we were dealing with. These are the components of our rudder/steering system:
The quadrant (which is in two half-circle pieces) mounts on the rudder post by fitting onto that slotted “keyway” mentioned in the diagram, and it is then bolted together, four bolts at the base, inserted in opposite directions, which thread into opposite piece of the quadrant. You can see here, the two bolt heads on port (your right) and the two holes that the shafts of the bolts on starboard are threaded into.
We knew in order to drop the rudder we were going to have to get these two quadrant pieces apart in order to remove the quadrant so the rudder post could be lowered. For this reason, Phillip had the idea to spray (well, I should say Phillip had the idea to send his bendy grease monkey down in the lazarette to spray) PB Blaster on the four bolts under the quadrant periodically for a few weeks before we hauled out hoping that would help loosen those suckers.
But, as many of you know, when you allow two different metals, here stainless steel and aluminum, to sit together for years upon years, the metals can undergo a chemical reaction and literally bond themselves together. When the boys at Perdio Sailor got in there, that is what they found. The bolts holding our quadrant to the rudder post had thoroughly seized.
With Brandon in the starboard lazarette (which stinks, that one is super tight and uncomfortable) and Shane in the port lazarette (which is a bit more spacious, but not as much for a 265-pound guy), the boys made several attempts to get the bolts to budge. First they tried manually.
Then with a cheater bar. Then with the impact driver.
Then with heat (lots and lots of heat) followed by the impact driver.
Thankfully, three of the bolts finally gave up the ghost with heat and impact and came out, but we had one last stubborn holdout on the port side. The boys continued to battle it with the impact driver, then heat, then impact, then cursing. Still nothing. More heat, more impact, more cursing. No movement. Shane finally dropped his wrench and said “I’m cutting it out.”
Breaking a Bonded Bolt
I’ll be honest, I didn’t exactly know what “cut it out” meant, but watching the guys at the shipyard—who have to deal with obstacles like this every day—think through a problem and engineer a solution is the exact reason we like to haul-out with Brandon’s exceptional team and learn from their thought-processes.
Shane’s idea was to cut the bolt head off, so he could at least pull the two quadrant pieces apart and remove them from the boat.
Then he could try to drill into and perhaps extract the obstinate shaft or, if that would not work, he could drill the shaft out, enlarge all four holes slightly and either re-tap them for new bolts, or go with through-bolts instead. Shane chose the latter and we now have four bigger, stronger, more-secure bolts, locked down with Nylocs, holding our quadrant on the rudder post.
And, it was educational for Phillip and I to learn how the crew at Perdido Sailor work around, what might seem to us, an insurmountable obstacle. You’ll also notice Shane really cleaned and spruced up our thirty-three year-old quadrant.
Thirty-three … pssssh. That pretty gal would get carded in bars. “Can I see your ID Ma’am?” : )
Proof TefGel Works
In addition, to ensure this unwanted bonding did not happen again (because you never know, we might need to remove the quadrant again someday down the road), Phillip and I used TefGel during the reassembly to ensure, this time, the stainless steel bolts did not try to bond with the aluminum quadrant.
Our tiller arm served amazing proof of the power of TefGel to prevent different metals that are in contact from bonding over time. Phillip and I installed our below-decks hydraulic auto-pilot (which we lovingly call “Lord Nelson,” because it came from a Lord Nelson boat) back in 2016 when we were hauled out to repair our rotten stringers under the mast and replace the rigging. In order to remove the rudder from the boat, the tiller arm also had to be removed. This is the bronze tiller arm mounted above the quadrant.
And, although the arm had been in place for two years untouched, with TefGel in the mix, the stainless steel bolts that hold the bronze tiller arm on the rudder post easily unthreaded. Proof: TefGel works people. Use it!
Alright, one problem solved. What’s next? Alignment of our steering cables!
Re-Aligning Our Steering Cable Pulleys
When Brandon first crawled down into our lazarette to inspect the quadrant and steering system, he noticed immediately that the alignment of our steering cable pulleys to the quadrant was not ideal. (Even though the cables are off) can you see what Brandon saw in this photo?
The base of each steering cable pulley was about one-quarter to one-half inch lower than the “seat” (the center of the groove) in the quadrant for the cables.
This meant our cables had to travel uphill to fall into the seat of the quadrant. Not something you want them to have to do.
It should be a perfectly-aligned straight shot from the pulley right into the seat of the quadrant. All of these years, and I hadn’t noticed that.
Just another reason we love having professionals, like Brandon and his team, crawl all over our boat looking for potential issues. “Look in every locker! Check anything you want! Sure, wiggle it. See if it works.” I say that because we want the Perdido Sailor guys to find anything they can that needs to be fixed while we’re in the shipyard. And I stress “need” because there is a time and money factor; no boat is going to always be in 100% pristine condition. But, we want them to find problems while we’re in the yard, because that’s when we want to fix them—when he have great tools, supplies, and experts readily available to help and supervise, rather than finding the problem when we’re out there underway with less resources and knowledge to devote to it.
And, the joking and ribbing that goes on at the shipyard is just part of the fun. Here, Phillip had missed the measurement of the additional height we would need to be jacked up in order to drop our rudder by just a couple of inches, and the guys never let him forget it. If you don’t do it absolutely 100% perfect (because we all do that, all the time, right?), they’ll pick on you. But, the more they pick on you, the more they secretly like you. Shipyard Fact No. 64.
When Brandon saw the steering cable issue, he had the idea (since he knew we were dropping the rudder which would mean the quadrant would have to come off) to lower the quadrant just a bit to make it line up better with the pulleys. I immediately laughed when he said it. Just as a knee-jerk reaction, because I knew how very little room we have between the quadrant and the aft strut. How do I know this? Because I saw that tiny little space disappear one exhausting night in a beat-down underway when our rudder had tried to make a sneaky exit out of the boat.
That was a fun night. And, a fun little video for you here of our quadrant literally grinding its way into the aft strut that supports the post, why it happened and what we learned the very simple remedy was: tighten the cockpit nut that threads the shaft up higher into the boat.
But, lack of space between the quadrant and the aft strut in order to properly align the quadrant with our steering cable pulleys did not hinder Brandon either. I swear, they don’t see obstacles, they see solutions taking shape. And Brandon certainly had one here:
Cut it. Re-engineer it. Make it work better. You gotta love that guy.
Brandon had his main guy, Shane, modify the aft strut by cutting a nice even chunk out of it that would allow us to mount the quadrant back on the rudder post at a lower spot to make it align perfectly with our steering cable pulleys. Here is a video of Brandon checking Shane’s work after Shane and I reassembled the quadrant for inspection:
And, do you know what “get in there and square that up a bit” means? Another disassembly of the quadrant by Shane and I to finalize the cut and sand it out, then reassemble the quadrant and steering cables …. again … to make sure everything worked and operated perfectly. I’m telling you, by Day Two at the shipyard, I am quite confident I could disassemble and reassemble everything on the rudder post myself. What an awesome confident feeling!
But, it will all be worth it when our quadrant now has free space and no chance of making contact with the boat if it the cockpit rudder nut gets a little loose in heavy seas (although Phillip and I now know to check and occasionally tighten that nut), and our steering cables are no longer having to step up to fall into the seat of the quadrant. Now they are perfectly aligned. Little things like this I’m sure will add years of awesome cruising years to our beautiful boat. And, while we continue to learn the more we work on our boat, I know she still has many lessons to teach us. And, I know we’ll be ready to learn them, whether they occur at the yard or out in the big open blue. It’s a great big school out there!
I know some days will look like this …
But many others will look like this …
And I wouldn’t have it any other way! More shipyard projects to come. Next up. We’ll give props to the prop shaft by re-bedding the strut, replacing the cutlass bearing, and re-engineering a new coupler. Stay tuned!
Life is swell in Spanish Wells! Or breathtakingly beautiful at least. Phillip and I were happily shocked to find our favorite beach from our entire Bahamas trip tucked away on the north shore of what we thought was going to be an industrial little fishing island in Eleuthera. We were also really excited to make the jump to this island because it would be the first we were back offshore since crossing the Gulf Stream to get to the Bahamas. We love to travel offshore. The sunsets underway are just indescribable. I love when they bathe the boat, and everyone on it, in “sunset.” Fun video for you all here, and photos below, from our sail down to Spanish Wells and the beautiful north shore we paddled there. Lobster, cannonballs, and starfish await! Dig in!
Spanish Wells is about 50 nm from Little Harbour. We decided to make the sail overnight to arrive in daylight at Spanish Wells. We left Little Harbour around 4:00 p.m. the day before and arrived in Spanish Wells around 7:00 a.m. the following day. A nice, 15-hour run. We didn’t have much wind and had to motor a good bit, but we didn’t mind! We love being underway!
Love this man.
We installed AIS back when we had our mast down in the shipyard in 2016 and we have never regretted it. It is so comforting to see large ships on the screen and know their direction, speed, and the closest point of approach. It is also good to see their name and know you can hale them if you are unsure your vessels will pass safely. We only receive AIS; we do not transmit.
Plaintiff’s Rest, happy on her hook!
Where you see that big yacht there is the entrance (through Devils Backbone) to Little Harbour. We’ll take you there on the blog next! There were so many mega, mack-daddy cruising yachts in there!
Favorite beach from our entire Bahamas trip! The north shore of Spanish Wells! Have any of you been here?
Little drizzle sand castles. My brother used to make these when we went to the beach as kids. It brought back a lot of memories for me. Like someone left them there just for me!
It’s hard to even say when the water begins and the shore ends. They just melt into one another.
Conchy yard art! : )
Fresh caught lobster tails we bought from a local fisherman. Only $5 a tail, can you believe it?!
Back to the boat to cook up the best dinner on the island!
Baked lobster with Phillip’s famous mushroom risotto. I am one lucky girl!
Poor Phillip snagged his toe on a branch when we were walking the north shore. Be careful when you walk folks! Pick up your feet and dodge the ragged, jagged things!
Aren’t the colors in the Bahamas beautiful? All roads, fences, signs, etc. are all so tropical and vibrant!
What’s up? SUP, that’s what! Time to paddle!
Or time to perch (while Annie paddles).
That’s Phillip way out there (the little spec on the horizon) paddling away. We could see for miles across the neon teal water it seemed.
And, Phillip got our inflatable YOLO paddle board for me as a birthday gift years ago. (You see? Lucky girl!) It has proven to be a very convenient and valuable little “toy” to have on the boat. We like it because it packs down and serves as an extra vehicle to and from shore. It’s also a great workout and a wonderful way to explore flat, shallow waters.
If you see a bridge over water, you must jump! It’s an Annie rule. CANNONBALL!
You know you’re living the good life sitting in the cockpit of your boat, drink in hand, and someone’s bikini is off! ; )
Hello HaveWinders! This is some very exciting news! While I have, for five years now, written and filmed and produced and, at times, spoken to inspire others to pursue a more passionate, balanced, challenge-driven life, I have not yet done so professionally. On a big stage. Well, life is about challenging yourself, right? And impacting others. So, here I go! My amazing friend, and inspirational speaker herself, Pam Wall, actually inspired me to this. And, with Phillip as my forever-cheerleader, I believe I can reach a lot of people this way and be able to work more travel in while still working. Win, win! You can check out my new speaker website here (www.anniedike.com) and even give my first five-minute storytelling clip a listen here (www.anniedike.com/storytelling-competition).
Wow, I do wear a lot of hats!? I hope you all are as excited as I am about this new Annie chapter, and I hope someday some of you may be able to watch and meet me at a speaking event. I have been working very hard to fine-tune my talks, build strong tie-ins between my sailing stories and valuable life lessons and it has been a challenge, but a very rewarding one. If you want to get a little taste of Speaker Annie, I have some more exciting news. In an effort to push myself into this and really test my talents, I submitted a five-minute storytelling clip to a competition on SpeakerMatch, to be selected and critiqued by this Hollywood story-telling guru (he has worked with the likes of Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon … whoa). And I WAS PICKED! You can listen to my clip and even register to hear Michael Hague’s critique of me live on air Thursday, July 12th at 12:00 p.m. CST here.
I’ll be waiting eagerly on the line to speak with Michael Hague on air and find out what he feels fit to do with my story: tear it up, build it up, restructure the whole thing. Bring it on Hague! I’m eager to learn! I’ll share with you all here as soon as I get some footage of myself speaking at a live event and testimonials from audience members. If any of you have and upcoming conference or seminar that you think would benefit from a few salty, motivating tales, feel free to reach out. It’s all about building your skills, adapting to changes, and finding balance while pursuing both your passions and your biggest challenges. Through challenge comes creativity, to see new strategies, new solutions, and a new, happier, bolder you.
“I’ve been told: ‘You might be just a bit young to be telling others how to live.’ But the way I see it, you don’t have to be old to die, and you don’t have to be young to live. It’s the living—challenging yourself to fill every moment with passion and presence—that’s the hard part. If I can inspire just one person to that end, then I will do it until I truly am old, whenever that may be.”
LIFE IS SHORT. FILL YOUR SAILS.
If you would like to hear my announcement in person, and some other HaveWind news, here is a short video clip below that I put together for my YouTubers (who were curious why Phillip and I haven’t been putting out our usual informative, speaking-into-the-camera type videos in a while) talking about why Phillip and I decided to pull away from the YouTube/Patreon platform last year, the upcoming videos we are planning to make for you all this summer (dropping and reinforcing the rudder, switching to a composting head, if I can get it to fit, and plenty of other boat projects), our cruising plans this coming season, and my Speaker Annie announcement, if you want to hear it in person. Well, as “in-person” as a YouTube video can be. It’s the first eight or so minutes of this video, followed by our video from Green Turtle Cay, which you may have already seen (remember the Bucketlust cRaZiEs?!). Enjoy the Video Annie blurb!
Enough with this maintenance in Marsh Harbour! It’s time to get sailing and set our hopes on Hopetown. This was one of our favorite stops in the Abacos. Many cruisers live here full-time on a ball in the harbor which gives the place a very welcoming, community feel. There are lots of quirky little shops, beautiful flower-lined roads and bike paths, great restaurants and the stunning Hopetown Lighthouse, one of the oldest manual Kerosene-lit lighthouses in the world. Phillip and I were incredibly fortunate to score a ball in the harbor our VERY FIRST night there (some people have waited years for one) and enjoyed a stunning three-day stay at Hopetown. Enjoy the snorkeling in Marsh Harbour, our sporty sail over to Hopetown, and a bike tour around picturesque Hopetown in the video and photos below. Stay tuned next time for a trip to Little Harbor, a little-known hurricane hole at the south end of the Abacos where we were welcomed by friends who had just built an amazing little bungalow there. Plenty more to come!
On our way back to Marsh Harbour. We were thrilled to find that a Delta flight opened up recently from Atlantic directly to Marsh Harbour, so that makes leaving the boat in the Bahamas while we fly back and forth to handle issues at home much easier!
I love the view from a plane window. So much to see!
While we were thrilled to return, after leaving out boat in Marsh Harbour for six weeks while we flew back to Pensacola to handle some work things (and another huge thanks (and yet she still deserves dozens more!) to fellow Marsh Harbour live-aboard, Diane, who sent us amazing photos of our boat every couple of days while we were gone), we had plenty of work to do to open up and clean the boat and re-provision and prepare her for another two months of cruising in the Bahamas. We spent the first day cleaning her, filling the batteries and propane, grocery shopping, turning the engine over, etc. And, we were pleased to find our baby was just as excited as we were to have us back and she was full of juice and cranked right up on the first try! Way to go Plaintiff’s Rest!
We were pleased to find, having left our Kanberra gel bins full while we were gone, that the boat smelled super fresh when we opened her up for the first time in six weeks and there was hardly any mold on the ceiling. (In Pensacola, pre-Kanberra, we used to have tons of mold that we had to constantly wipe away with Clorox wipes during the summer). This Kanberra stuff is the real deal people!
Filling the batteries. Ours are Trojan wet cells that we have to fill with distilled water about every 30 days – 6 weeks. I always laugh because Phillip looks like a coal miner when he does it!
We were thrilled the find our fancy wine bags were still in tact!
It had rained a good bit in Marsh Harbor while we were gone, which was actually a good thing because it kept the bilge flushed out and fresh. We emptied her one time down to bone-dry to watch anew for any possible new leaks.
Then after all that work, it was time to go snorkeling in Marsh Harbour! I got some great footage of the fishies and plant life in the video. Hope you all enjoyed it!
Post-snorkel meal at the Jib Sheet. Oh yeeaaaahhhh!
We packed away our Bahamas courtesy flag while we were gone. She was only a little tattered from her first six weeks in the Abacos!
Back to our happy place! Sundowners and read-time in the cockpit of Plaintiff’s Rest!
I made a new friend at the marina, too. This amazing Labradoodle was so cute. She would sit in this chair, looking very much like a human being, and watch as people walked by. She was darling!
Sunrise over Harbourview Marina!
Time to de-dock (that’s a word in Annie land) and get this boat moving over to Hopetown!
It was a great day sailing, with winds of 18-20 kts. On the nose, but we’ve got much better at reefing down our offshore 90% working jib (“Wendy”) so now anything up to 20 kts is still comfortable for us on the boat. That did not used to be the case with our 135 genoa!
Following our waypoints on the Explorer charts to a “T.” I love those charts! They make cruising the Bahamas, even with a six-foot draft effortless. Just follow their lat and lons and play the tides and you are golden!
We couldn’t reach anyone via the radio to see if there was an open ball in the Harbor at Hopetown (we were pretty sure they’re wouldn’t be as folks had told us cruisers covet those balls and hold them often for years), so we dropped the hook on the outside and dinghied into the Harbor to get a lay of the land. It was kind of nice, too, to traverse that narrow inlet for the first time in our tiny little rubber boat, not the big beauty!
And, we totally scored!! After talking to a few boats, asking around about a potential open ball (and having a few of them lightheartedly chuckle at us), we were finally sent to a guy named Dave on a catamaran who unofficially monitors the balls, and he got us in touch with this amazing guy, Truman, who runs the balls at the Harbor, and as luck would have it a couple was leaving that afternoon, so we were going to spend our evening ON THE BALL! Phillip and I knew exactly how lucky we were and we were super excited! But, the ball would not open up for a another few hours, so we headed to shore to grab a bite and explore!
And Hopetown, of course, did not disappoint. Stunning Atlantic shores, crystal blue waters, stretches of white stunning beach. It was everything we hoped it would be (no pun intended … okay maybe just a little one ; ).
We ate here at Brandon’s Bar on the beach, an awesome little salty lunch spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean!
These pictures don’t really do it justice. But the sunsets and sunrises in the Harbor at Hopetown were breathtaking. It was all you could do to just sit and watch and look around. Something about all the boats floating around you and the colors on the water were just mesmerizing.
Time to go see what this lighthouse is all about!
Beautiful little flower-lined streets guided us along the way. One of my favorite things about the Abacos are all the rich, luscious colors that greet you just walking the streets. All of the pathways and roads are also very narrow, which means no freaking stink-pot, tank-sized SUVs. Thank goodness! Just little golf carts and foot traffic. I have to say there is no part of me that misses the consumerism and traffic of the states. None.
You cannot NOT go to the Bahamas and NOT get conch fritters (three times at least to compare at different places! ; )
There’s the lighthouse! One of the last remaining manual, kerosene-lit lighthouses in the world. This beauty was completed in 1864 and used to guide ships around the treacherous Elbow Reef.
We signed the book! S/v Plaintiff’s Rest was here! 101 lighthouse steps we never fear!
Isn’t the view from the top amazing? The striking colors of the water is always what catches my eyes and breath when we view the Bahamas from up high.
Got myself a little Hopetown Lighthouse trinket (and proceeds for buying this beauty go toward lighthouse preservation and restoration). Cute huh?
Then it was time to explore more of that awesome little island. We rented bikes (24 hours for $24, very reasonable) and spent the next day and a half biking around Hopetown.
It was even cooler to see the lighthouse from our ball in the Harbor after we had walked all the way to the top and saw the view from up there.
We left this little thank-you note and our “ball fees” ($20/night) on Dave’s catamaran, along with a bottle of white and one of my books as big thanks for his help in enabling us to score a ball our very first time there. We certainly enjoyed our time and can easily say Hopetown is one of our favorite stops in the Abacos. But, gees, it’s hard to even pick favorites. There are so many. Hope you all enjoyed the video and photos. Next time, we will take you to Little Harbour at the south end of the Abacos and Pete’s Pub! Stay tuned!