Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Currently, there is a high pressure ridge sitting over our route to the Azores which create low/no wind or wind on the nose.  So as we wait out our weather window, we are closely managing the systems that we will use under way.  Communication is important, not only for family and friends but in case of emergency, we want to have as many mechanisms as possible to get help.

So, Baxter and I have a Spot Connect as we did on the passage from the BVI and will send a daily email to anyone interested detailing our position and status (as much as 45 characters allows).  In addition, Daniel also has a Spot that he has used that will be our "redundant" backup.

If you would like to be included on the emails, just let us know and we will add you to the list.  If you would prefer just to check our position periodically, here is a link to our SPOT page.  If you want to bookmark it, each day should have a new update.

All four five (WOOF!) of us are so excited and ready to get underway!

Start Line

It's hard to wait in Antigua, but we will suffer through...

Swimming laps every morning

Could be worse…

Monday, April 28, 2014


We have a daily to-do list outlined for the next week with quite a few items to be checked off and we are working fast and furious to get Terrapin (and ourselves/Kala) ready for the passage.  It doesn't help that Baxter and I have both caught colds in the last few days but the work still has to be done, no lame excuses.

We were very excited to see Daniel arrive on Saturday and John on Sunday!  Their enthusiasm for the passage is awesome and even Kala can't stop talking to them about it.  She is so excited to have someone else on the boat besides boring ol' Mom and Dad.  We have all settled into our individual spaces for the next month or so and it is nice to be in a happy groove.

We will spend a few more days in Falmouth and then head over to Jolly Harbour.  From there, we will do laundry, fill our water tanks, check out of Antigua and initiate our weather routing, including looking for the best time to head offshore.  Then it is nothing but us and the North Atlantic.  We're all filled with anticipation and excitement…but we still have a few days and projects remaining - back to work.

The open space that I am working to fill with the partial enclosure.
My sewing assistant hard at work (you can barely see her black nose hanging out.) Sometimes she inadvertently hits the pedal and off to stitching she goes.
The enclosure…not seamless perfection but it should keep us warm(er) and dry(er)
The Mont Gay Rum "Red Hat" party - these are very coveted caps and Baxter and I drank A LOT of rum to get a couple.

Airing out our foul weather and warm gear before the passage.

Baxter and Daniel having fun during Antigua Race Week.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Work and Play

Baxter and I are working to get the boat ready for a long passage north. Since you never know exactly what to expect, we are doing our best to get things accomplished.

I have taken on the task of a partial cockpit enclosure to try and keep us as warm and dry as possible. Not really needed in the Caribbean, but should come in handy in Ireland or anywhere north of 40 degrees. Since I just learned to sew last year, I don't expect too much but something that will get us by. The professionals quoted us $2500 for the project. I hope to do it for $60….pictures to follow.

We also had our wheel recovered. Not really a safety issue but it will help if we have to hand steer for hours.

Another improvement we think will make a huge difference is having our traditional spinnaker modified to an asymmetrical. Spinnakers are typically light air sails (unless you're racing) and this might be the perfect passage for that. With four of us on board, if the weather is good, it will be great to have it ready to raise. With the traditional spinnaker, we would most likely keep it in a locker as getting it out and up would be logistically a pain. 

These projects have not stood in the way of having more fun in Antigua. We were very excited to meet up with Mike from Right Turn after his partner, Kate, flew in from the UK (Mike is the one who gave us great advice since he has crossed the Atlantic five times - most single handed). We spent a few nights laughing and sharing stories before they left to eventually head to the Western Caribbean. 

Antigua Race Week begins this weekend and it is very different than Classics but the energy is high and full of excitement!

Anna and Haken (SV Unicorn) in perfect style for the Cream Team party.
Mike and Kate on SV Right Turn
Baxter at the North Sails loft discussing our pretty spinnaker.

Picking out new colors for wheel.
Beautiful job - Thanks Annalea!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Summer Plans

As the calendar pages keep turning and we get closer to June, we are finalizing our plans for hurricane season in the North Atlantic.  Our options include staying in the Caribbean south of the "hurricane belt" (Grenada or Trinidad are the usual locations), going to Aruba, Bonaire or Curacao (the ABC islands) in the western Caribbean, going back to the US or going further north.

After much consideration, including financially, physically, logistically and mentally, we have decided to head to Ireland via the Azores.  We have two friends, Daniel and John, that have decided to join us, which helps make the decision much easier as they can help with watches and any sail changes or emergencies that arise, and will be great company in general.  Our current plan is to change watch every two hours, subject to change based on weather or issues.  With two-on/six-off, each person will be able to rest for six hours before they are back at the helm.  The break on a long distance passage is critical to being prepared for an emergency.

Daniel arrives in Antigua this Saturday and John on Sunday.  Baxter and I are working hard to optimize the boat for the passage.  The route to the Azores, depending on weather is approximately 2,100 miles and should take anywhere from 15-21 days.  After a couple of days of R&R in the Azores, we will head back out to sail the remaining 1,200 miles to Ireland, expecting it to take about 8-12 days for a total of about 3,300 miles and 23-33 days at sea.

Obviously, if the need arises, we can always divert to another island in the Caribbean early in the passage and then Bermuda is an option the longer we go.  The route we hope to take will ride the eastern trades for a few hundred miles and as they fade, we will skirt the Azores High by going north.  When the winds fill in around the high and we can catch a west/southwesterly wind, we will begin moving east towards Flores.  The route to Ireland is a bit hard to predict this far out and will most likely be based on weather systems coming off the US east coast.

We are super excited about the passage and Kala is up for it too.  She said she is getting a little warm in the Caribbean and would like to meet other Border Collies in Europe. She has passport, will travel.

Part I

Part II

Monday, April 21, 2014

Classic Friends

If you weren't able to catch our last two blog posts, we have spent the last week enjoying the beauty of these truly classic boats at Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.  The Regatta involves five days of racing and parties and we have been fortunate to view the competition from different hill tops around the island as well as from the dinghy (though we try to stay out of the way of boats that don't have time to worry about staying out our way.)

There has been a hospitality event every night with free drinks and tapas, sponsored by Panerai and the band usually starts playing around 6 pm.  Last night, Wayfarer Marina in Maine (yes, Maine, USA) sponsored the "Maine Party" with lobster bisque, free Mont Gay rum drinks, an auction, and a raffle.  It has truly been an amazing experience and we are so glad we were at this spot on the globe at this moment in time.

Being here now also gave us an opportunity to catch up with some great friends while we've been here. including Tom and Sabrina on Honey Ryder, Haken and Anna on Unicorn, John and Robin on Imagine of Falmouth, Glen and Elise on Windara and so many others.  We've also been fortunate enough to meet so many new friends like Rick and Diane on Edorfin II, Lee and Sharon on Allegro**, David and Alex on Banyan, Heather and Don on Asseance, Rene and Stacy on Pipe Muh Bligh…the list goes on and on.

The hard part is just as the wind blows us together, it also takes us in different directions.  As it was in St Maarten, it is time again to say goodbye and fair winds.  We hope to see all of them again - who knows maybe we will all meet here in Antigua for Antigua Classics 2015??

For those wondering, after a second trip to the vet and another taxi ride to St John's, Kala is on the mend.  She is on heavy duty antibiotics but her energy is back and she is asking for treats again (the sure sign she is herself again :)

** As a side note, Lee and Sharon on Allegro were part of Valiant Yachts in the 80s and actually sailed Terrapin in 1982 and 1984 when it belonged to Dan Scoggins, the first owner (founder of TGI Friday's).  The boat's name then was Jubileum and Lee and Sharon were nice enough to share their stories and memories with us.  They having an extensive sailing pedigree and we feel so fortunate to have met them.

Hospitality was also in full effect in the morning with espresso and croissants.

Second trip to The Ark.  Reluctant as she was to visit Dr. Fiona,  she knew it was necessary.

Hiking up with Tom and Sabrina (Honey Ryder) to watch the races.

Worth the hike.

Antigua Yacht Marina…center of the action.

Anna and Haken!!  So excited to see them here (Haken is not always blurry.)

Best concert of the week!  Playing a little Bob Marley gets everyone signing along.

Our dinghy concert on Good Friday.  Thanks to MV Bodacious for the use of his boat and David and Trudy on Persephone for the music.

Quite the turn out for an impromptu "concert"

The race course.

Spirit of Rani ready to raise the headsail.

Close to the action in the dinghy. Wind was blowing 25kts which required the silly hat.

Bishop Reef marker as the classics head out.

Three in a row.

Rainbow - the J Boat that blew everyone away.  Full Sail!

Tom and Sabrina from Honey Ryder who we have become good friends with and now are moving south to Trinidad.  Hopefully we will meet again.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

More Photos from the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.

These are not ordinary sail boats, they are classics.  

Enjoy the craftsmanship and imagine, if you can, the boat healed over, screaming through the water to round a mark, toe rails submerged in water as it pours across the deck, tacking and gybing down the course, with sails flogging and rigging whistling.