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Old 16-10-2010, 14:39   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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October Oooohs

October Oooohs

We left you after several "Ooops!" events beginning the month. As always,
I'm candid about our misadventures, but we also have loads of good ones
offsetting them. October was no exception.

We started off with my first Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 8th. The
local hotel/restaurant/resort had set up around their pool and open-air bar
with a couple dozen different international beers, and some traditional
bratwurst, potatoes and cabbage (or, if you didn't think you'd like that,
roasted chicken). You could buy a package, sampling as many beers as you
wanted, for as long as you cared to, along with dinner, or you could buy any
of these exotics for the same price as the local Bahamian beers.

Those not set upon inebriation had the opportunity to eat from the regular
menu, supplemented by the same fare as the Oktoberfest, and order from the
expanded beer menu as well. As none of the 6 of us who went were interested
in a drinkathon, we did just that.

The entertainment during all this was a local "rake and scrape" (you'll have
to look it up) band with three guys on saw (the local equivalent of
Louisiana's washboard, I suspect) and vocals. When he's not doing that, the
lead, "Brown Tip" will also dive the bottom of your boat for you! When
you're in the Bahamas, rake and scrape's the name of the game, though I have
to confess I'd have preferred the German polka bands :{)) However, at that,
they were very entertaining, and all there had a great time with them in the

As the day was still young, we headed off down to the beach on the Atlantic
side of Elbow Cay (home of Hopetown), for beachcombing. While it was a bit
sparse, many pieces of sea glass, and, a special treat, some sea crockery,
was found. Wandering the town on the way home concluded our fantastic time
ashore. Ooooh!

Just a couple of days after our excitement with an adrift-in-a-storm
episode, we headed south to take advantage of the settled weather to visit a
renowned snorkeling spot.

We last visited the Sandy Cay Preserve area last year in October;
unfortunately, at the time, it was blowing entirely too hard to make
snorkeling either safe or fun. This year started beautifully.

The wind was in such a direction that it looked like a spinnaker run down.
Timing our departure, after I did the morning Cruiser's Net (I have acted as
anchor off and on for the last couple of months), we headed out at nearly
high tide.

Following the "cookie crumbs" laid down on our entry, in memory in our
chartplotter, made it easy to find the deep water route which even our 7'
draft could negotiate. On Monday, October 10th, we slipped our mooring at
10:30, putting us out the door from Hopetown on a rising tide.

By 11AM, having cleared all the tricky parts, we had the spinnaker up in a
trouble-free hoist and set, making a course of 253*T in a breath of air.
That huge sail is so efficient that we were making 2.0-2.8 knots with 0
apparent wind, coming from 120-140* on our starboard stern..

The first leg was short, so by 12:05 we'd jibed it around the furled genoa,
to which the sleeve controlling the tack was secured, making the new
apparent wind direction 110-120 on our port stern. Still very effective in
light airs, we were making 2.7-3.4 knots on 191*T with only 1 knot of
apparent wind.

The way down to Lynyard Cay is very convoluted due to all the shallow parts,
so we hardened on the wind a bit at 12:35 in order to make the needed 131*T.
Our apparent wind was at 60*, something we'd proven possible during our
photo shoot several months ago where I'd jumped in the dinghy to catch her
under sail.

Heading into the wind like that made the apparent wind now up to 4-6 knots,
but we were still making 3.8-4.5 knots SOG. Our relatively slow speed was
of no account, as it was a perfect day for a sail, and we'd be at our
anchorage in plenty of time for added pleasures during the remaining

The route being what it is, however, soon we headed back downwind a bit,
making the turn to 185*T at 1PM. That put our apparent wind back to 120* off
the port stern, and, with our forward speed of 2.7-3.8 knots, showed only
1-2 knots of apparent wind.

We'd kept a careful eye on the single dark cloud in the sky, but with no
wind evidence on the water, and no rain evidence to the cloud, when it
shortly passed over us and moved off, we relaxed and enjoyed the ride in
very light chop. However, our relaxation was short-lived, as the wind
shifted at 1:20...

With the wind now at 90* on our beam, I shortened the tack (brought the
sleeve down next to the bow pulpit) and tightened up on the sheet again, as
is needed to keep the wind centered in the ballooning sail out front. Before
we were finished with that particular leg, it had moved forward even more,
to 80* apparent wind. At the same time, it picked up a bit, which made us
much more like a sailboat with a huge genoa than a spinnaker, as Flying Pig
threw off a huge bow wave as she charged ahead.

As was the case in every transit we've done of the area, that, too, was soon
over. The last little bit, to get us close to the outlying islands (we'd
been sailing fairly close to Abaco all this time), would be directly upwind,
so, while we still had room to run off (head downwind, to depower the sail),
we bore off.

In 10 minutes, we'd had a perfect spinnaker drop, with the sock containing
it to about 6' above the deck. As I stuffed it into the bag, waiting in the
forward hatch, I continued to let out more halyard until the entire sock was
stowed, leaving only the hoist outside the bag.

To simplify the next hoist, my practice is to keep the hoist, the tack, with
its sleeve, and the clew, with the sheets attached, at the top of the bag.
That way, it comes out without my having to root around to find the proper
ends to secure before we commence our hoist. So, now that the bulk of the
sail was stowed, I unclipped the strap around the furled genoa and put it on
top, and coiled the extremely long sheets.

They have to be very long in order for the "lazy sheet" (the one not being
used to control the spinnaker's tightness along the side of the boat) can go
around the sail, but still be secured to the winch at the stern. My
practice is to coil them such that I can take the entire coil with me as I
lay the sheets prior to a hoist, saving me the hassle of dealing with 150'
of line in a pile as I pass the bundle around the shrouds, keeping it
outboard. I have the coil rigged such that it stays in a bundle as I pay
out the sheet on the way astern.

All done, Lydia's been driving as I do that, and we have our anchor down in
10; of water, very close to a beach we'd visited last year, by 3:30PM. As
we were close to low tide, I allowed for the tide and the rise to our bow
from the water, and laid 100' of chain in the water. Once the snubber (the
relatively stretchy 3/4" Megabraid with a special hook on the end to keep
it attached to the chain) was in place, Lydia backed down hard. As happens
nearly always in these marvelous Bahamian waters' bottoms, Flying Pig
charged astern, then bowed and curtseyed as the chain came tight, moving
forward again as the snubber compressed and the catenary of all that chain
pulled her forward after Lydia let off the reverse throttle.

We could not have asked for a nicer day for a sail. Bright sun, light
breezes, perfect boat and sail combination. Like the 60's song, "What a day
for a daysail, what a day for a spinnaker, boyyyy" :{)) Ooooh...

Having been here before, we knew what to expect. Sure enough, we found the
flotsam diesel fuel jug hanging from the tree where we'd put it, with our
boat and people (and cat) names, and the date inscribed with a wide magic
marker. The trail quickly let out onto the Atlantic Ocean, and the beach
where we were hopeful of finding some treasures tossed ashore by the
previous recent storms.

We weren't disappointed, as Lydia's target this time was sea glass. That's
glass pieces which, over many years, have been entirely softened by the
waves and sand. There were several areas where we just shuffled along,
hunched over, picking up marvelous specimens clustered nearby. After we'd
accumulated about a pound of it, we headed back to the boat, as it would be
dark soon. Given that was what we came for, quitting only because we were
out of time made it a great end to a wonderful day. Ooooh...

This area is very sheltered from surge, the effect of Atlantic waves curling
around the end of an island, hitting you (typically) sideways, and from
fetch, when the wind is from across the narrow strip of land we were in
front of. However, the rocky shore on the Atlantic side, particularly in
areas where it was undercut, making sort of a cave, catches the waves
somewhat explosively. So, despite our being in a very remote location, we
still had a great internet signal, and, a bonus, were lulled to sleep with
the booming waves' sound coming across the island. Ooooh...

The next day, true to our usual performance, we didn't get moving before
about noon, but since our target was Sandy Cay, close to two miles away, we
headed out in the dinghy which had a clean bottom, thanks to our having
taken it ashore just before we left Hopetown. Now cleaned, it planed for
the first time in more than a month, and we were quickly there.

Friends of ours had touted this as the very best snorkeling they'd done in
the Abacos, rife with great underwater places to sightsee. This day proved
them right, though more for the amazing coral formations than the fish,
which were relatively sparse. After going through both of them (there's a
north and south reef, both with dinghy mooring balls), Lydia was chilled a
bit since the water here has cooled in the last month, so, while I'd gotten
warmed in the sun again, she stayed in the dinghy while I headed out again
for the north side, where I wanted to check out some stuff I'd seen.

Sure enough, I got up close and personal with a large ray about 25' down,
close enough to photograph. He just watched me cautiously, but since I
didn't do anything to alarm him, he just stayed on the bottom. I also got
some cool pix of other rays under way, and some nice jellyfish shots. The
jellyfish weren't concentrated, and were all on the surface, so a little
attention to my environment made it easy to avoid them both under way
(flippers) and on the way back up from a dive.

Great day, great pix, cool coral formations, including many colorful fans, a
few schools of fish, as well as one very large tuna which passed directly in
front of me as I was following a turtle, about 20' down, who posed, kindly,
for my lens. Ooooh....

We wanted to visit a local artist and author on Lubber's Quarter, another
island in the area, so after another evening of being lulled to sleep with
the very gentle rocking, accompanied by the booming surf on the other side
of the island, we headed north. Those interested can still see our track
for another few days by going to, and clicking the
"hybrid" link at the top right will bring up the satellite view which will
show you the shallows we avoided along the way.

Our visit was a history lesson, as he'd built his home nearby to a cave used
by the Lucayan Indians before Columbus took all the able-bodied ones,
leaving only the old, causing them to die out. Many artifacts and
interesting data points about their lifestyle had surfaced as he'd explored
their caves, and he was kind enough to give us not only an inscribed copy of
one of his limited-edition books on the history of the area, but a CD of
some of his recent writings. He makes his living writing and doing
watercolors of Bahamian features, and we sat, enthralled, as he spun his
tales and displayed his works. Oooooh....

However, darkness was approaching so we returned to Flying Pig. As we were
watching a movie, suddenly, the wind (all 2 knots or so of it) changed, and
we had an invasion of a cloud of mosquitoes which came from the nearby
shore, enabled by the shift which moved the wind from down a long channel to
across the island. OY!

Hurry, hurry, we started our engine and moved to a point midway between
Tilloo Cay and Abaco. Thus relieved from our biting friends, we finished
our movie and headed to bed. With no wind, we had flat seas, and were
gently rocked to sleep, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the Sea
of Abaco. Ooooh...

The final day of this post started with rain, and no wind, and got wetter as
it went along. As our eggs were gone (we have a pretty standard diet of
eggs in the AM, good for protein but no carbs to stimulate the hunger
glands, lunch of Zone Bars, complete nutrition in a couple hundred calories,
and something more substantial for dinner, great for keeping us trim and
healthy), we wanted to get to Marsh Harbour where we could restock. So,
reluctantly, we motored there, picking up the same mooring we'd left a few
weeks ago, and were soon snugly safe against even a hurricane.

What a wonderful couple of weeks. Great friends, some new and some old,
nice times doing the morning Cruisers' Net anchoring until we left Hopetown,
fun exploring and always interesting diving and photography. Whatta life.

So, as usual, as I've rambled on, I'll leave you here as we prepare dinner
for us and several other boats' crew who'll join us.

Until next time, Stay Tuned!



PS this is coming to you in a forum. If you'd rather receive these in your mailbox, click on the yahoogroups link and subscribe to The Flying Pig Log...
Morgan 461 #2 SV Flying Pig, KI4MPC
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