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Winds and Waves and Rain, Oh My!

The spirit of the “Christmas Winds” were upon us during parts of our BVI visit in December.  The Christmas Winds are expected in the Caribbean and usually means wind speeds of 20-30 knots.  Thus, the sailing can be spritely, to use a Christmassy term, during the holidays.

One particularly gusty day, we were anchored off of Sandy Spit when a fairly ominous looking storm approached:

Sandy Spit Storm

The sun highlights Sandy Spit like a favored haven.

The usually blue waters took on a more menacing green cast and the waves built out in the channel.  Luckily we were a bit protected by the reef that runs between Sandy Spit and Green Cay.  Though the storm didn’t last long, the winds and waves remained throughout the night.

We were very happy that we had invested in a heavier Spade anchor at the Annapolis Boat Show and that TMM had already installed it for us:

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As a precaution we let out a little more anchor chain, set an anchor alarm, and had a very restful night.  We are really glad there weren’t many boats anchored nearby because the boat that was anchored parallel to us on our starboard side? Well, the next morning it was at least three boat lengths behind us!

I’m really thankful for a good anchor, a solid hold and an anchor alarm to let us know if something goes awry.

Boat Show Wrap Up ~ Part 2

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 I interrupted our Annapolis Boat Show posts with news about the all female crew who sailed Let It Be for a week, but I wanted to share some additional thoughts from the boat show.

Some of the things we found at the boat show are practical and fun, like SeaSucker.  Fountaine Pajot did a great job designing the Helia, but they missed out on some little details; like drink holders!  SeaSucker, a company that makes suction cup accessories, to the rescue.

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SeaSucker ~ these suckers really suc  ~   tion that is! 

  Last year we bought some SeaSucker cup holders that can be moved to any flat surface on the boat.  We have a set we leave at our helm station and they are constantly in use. We like SeaSucker products so well that we go by their Annapolis booth because they always have cool new stuff.

This year SeaSucker had a GoPro/camera mount that I decided we really needed:

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SeaSucker Camera Mount

 The camera in this picture is way more sophisticated than the one I currently have, but at least I know that if I buy a heavier camera, my SeaSucker is up to the task of holding it.  I am hoping that we will get some great photos and group shots using this mount.  SeaSucker has other cool stuff, like a mount to hold your Ipad or Kindle.  The possibilities are endless!

Play time for us includes kiteboarding and sometimes that means we must communicate in a very wet environment. We want to make sure that when kiteboarding we can send a message for help or transmit a location beacon back to the boat without calling in the Coast Guard.  DeLorme had a booth at the show and we were able to learn a bit about their InReach system.  However, because technology changes so quickly, we are waiting as long as we can to make our decision about this satellite driven communication.

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 DeLorm InReach

We were impressed with the reviews of these Spinlock PFDs so we searched out that booth as well.  After trying on the PFDs and learning firsthand about features and maintenance, we decided the Spinlocks are comfortable and unobtrusive enough that we will wear them… essential when we get to the point of offshore/overnight passages.

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Spinlock PFD.

That pretty much wraps up the “big” decisions from this years Boat Show for us.  I was sad to leave the show and once again say goodbye to all the pretty new boats and shiny toys available.  However, my credit card was happy to return to my wallet and get some rest as it had more use than usual!

Boat Show Wrap Up ~ Part 1

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We had another excellent visit to Annapolis. I think this is the first time we had a whole day that was sunny and beautiful! The weather this year was much better than last year but the show felt less crowded this time.

We successfully gathered information on several systems including water makers, top down furlers and fuel polishing systems.  We have not bought any of these pricey little numbers yet, but we have a much better idea of what is on our wish list.

We were impressed by the FilterBOSS fuel polishing system. The owner, who spends about six months a year living on his sailboat, was very patient and thorough in explaining the system and our options.  Because LIB has one fuel tank, two engines and a generator, we agreed that the best option for our purposes would be a combination polishing/filter unit to supply fuel to the port engine and genset. This would allow us to clean the fuel and return it to the tank and filter the fuel before it enters those two engines.  On the starboard engine we would use the fuel filter system only. By spending a few extra dollars, we can add a water alarm to the polishing/filter unit.

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FilterBOSS

We are very close to buying this system because it would help prevent any fuel problems and assure our charter guests that LIB’s engines run smoothly. Anyone who has been around marine engines knows the troubles bad fuel creates and we would like to prevent those issues for our guests.

One item we did order is a beefier anchor.  While no one has reported any trouble with our current anchor, we think this one will improve guest confidence:

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Spade Anchor

Spade anchors routinely come out at the top of Practical Sailor reviews and the physics of this anchor makes sense to us. The current anchor on LIB has worked well, but we wanted to step up our confidence on the hook.  For us, Spade was the answer.  This upgraded anchor will allow guests to feel more secure at anchor and increase their confidence when sleeping on the hook. Thankfully, Spade is shipping our new anchor as it is surely over the maximum suitcase weight allowed on the airplane.

We have not finalized our thoughts on water makers, but currently RO is at the top of our list. We both like the idea of replacement parts that are easy to find and the people we have spoken with are very happy with their ROs.

Top down furlers were interesting and I was glad to talk with a few dealers and compare the products but we have not decided if we will invest in one.  Several times when flying our spinnaker, we have used it as a dead downwind sail and have flown it attached to the windward forepeak instead of to the bow sprit. A furler would remove this option and we are not ready to accept that limitation yet.

Since a water maker and a top-down furler wouldn’t affect charter guests, they are not a priority at the moment.

We did buy a few other things, but I’ll cover those in a separate post.

Happy sailing!

Research Made Fun

Next week we will fly to Annapolis where we must suffer through the 2014 Sailboat Show.  Dang!  What a hardship!

According to an article in the Capital Gazette, only 130,000 of our sailing friends will descend upon Annapolis for the show.

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                    Photo by Joshua McKerrow, on staff at Capital Gazette.

In 2012 at the Annapolis show, we wound our way through dock after dock of beautiful new boats, and the eye-candy was just too tempting.  After comparing several sailboats, we fell in love with the Fountaine Pajot Helia.  When we returned to Texas, we worked with Don Pietrykowski at TMM, and by good luck and fortunate timing, we were able to buy Let It Be and have her delivered to Tortola only four months later.

This year, the expenditures will be much smaller, but the research will be equally important.  Once we live on LIB, we will need to make several additions; many for safety and some for comfort. Okay, and a few more just for fun!

The Annapolis Boat Show is an excellent opportunity to look at many brands in one place.  Attending the show allows us to see and physically touch equipment as well as talk with well informed sales reps.  While I make light of this, the Boat Show is actually a fabulous opportunity to gather excellent information and seriously compare product features and ease of use.  Plus talking with others who have real-time experience with products we are considering helps us learn what we should be asking that we may not have considered.

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Of course, walking docks and research is pretty thirsty work, so we might just have to have a painkiller or two ~ just to stay hydrated!

 

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