Ship's NEWS: Atlantic Tour 2010

March 14, 2010 - Moving around -

We loved St. Thomas as it has a nice bay (free anchoring & free dinghy dock), delicious food, wonderful weather, no seagulls or mosquitos, the US dollar and US Post Office.  We immediately got started sanding & varnishing – hooray!!!  

The beautiful weather 85 degree/day 75/night felt perfect.  We spent 10 days in St. Thomas.  Then we rounded up more crew and had a lovely overnight sail on the very unusual 10 knot southerly to St. Barts.  St. Bart’s is French (read expensive).  Last year we anchored across from Gustavia and it cost $50/night to anchor. This year we anchored for free at the north west end of the island just an easy 2 mile dinghy ride to Gustavia. It was fun to eat and shop for French food for a couple days while we waited for a weather window to go to Antigua. 

Three days later we up-anchored and headed for Antigua only 90 miles away. 

We currently are anchor down in Falmouth Harbor in Antigua.  Again the weather is spectacular so we are busy sanding & varnishing.  We did find something else to do while we are here, the much needed stripping and varnishing of our 2 masts.  We stripped the masts 21 years ago so they were ready.  They were still shiny but getting dark.  We found a local father & son team and they are doing a great on such a difficult job.  We will be here for a while longer.  Luckily, we love it here. 

Lani is getting some sewing done between the sanding and sweeping up of old varnish shards everywhere.   Richard of course is doing what he loves: varnishing and sanding.  There is lots to see and watch as this is the place is full of giant sailing yachts like Valsheda, Ranger, Mirabella IV, Adela, Andromeda and many more.  Not to mention giant power yachts such as Leander, Skat, Slipstream and many more.  It is unbelievable. 

Our new plan is to tour the Caribbean Islands until hurricane season arrives and then sail south to the Grenada/Trinidad area.  We arrived so late from the states, then we were delayed by the mast project and the Antigua Classic starts April 14.  It would be a shame to leave the Caribbean without seeing the southern islands.   

Having a great time-
 ~ Lani

January 20, 2010 - Anchor down -

We arrived in St. Thomas, USVI yesterday morning at 9AM. We had a good passage with only one lumpy day (sailor term). Lani got to go out to lunch so life is good.

Today we scrub decks and start polishing.

Cheers, Richard

January 18, 2010 - On final approach -

Well we have finally arrived to warm, sunny, wonderful weather. It feels marvelous! We are on our final leg. According to our navigator we'll be rounding the western side of St. Thomas tomorrow a.m. Should be there before 1000 so that makes this run an 8 day trip. Not bad. After all, it is January.

Currently we are motor sailing in light air. There is no need to go fast as we do not want to get there before dawn.

1/18 Monday. @ 1500 hours:

Lat: 19 45 N, Long: 65 27 W, Speed 5k, Wind Speed: 9t @ 130m, Clouds: 30%, Bar: 1019, Sails: 2x reefed main, fore stay sails & jib Course: 179, Miles to go: 90 (ETA: 18 hrs.)

All continues to be well on board. Hope all is well with you all.

Cherio ~~~Lani

January 17, 2010 - Something different today -

Squalls, it has been the catch word in the log currently. They started about 24 hours ago & could return again. Happily no lightning. The squalls bring a lot of wind but not much rain. So we let out the jib bring in the jib. Currently we have the main staysail down as we had big wind a rough/lumpy seas. Our crew is complaining that they are not getting much exercise so we may run the jib & staysails up and down a few times.

1/17 Sunday. @ 1500 hours:

Lat: 22 14 N, Long: 65 23 W, Speed 5k, Wind Speed: 17t @ 80m, Clouds: 60%, Bar: 1019, Sails: 2x reefed main, fore stay sails, Course: 169, Miles to go: 234 (ETA: 2 days)

It is lovely warm. Not much in the way of sea life. Our poop bird has flown the deck.


January 16, 2010 - Still making way -

We are making nice time still doing 7k to weather at 45 degrees luckily the sea state is pretty - 4 feet. Read a lot of books - luckily I have a lot. We are still getting in some eastings and are happy with our progress so far.

1/16 Sat. @ 1500 hours:

Lat: 24 42 N, Long: 66 11 W, Speed 7k, Wind Speed: 12t @ 80m,Clouds: 40%, Bar: 1021, Sails: 2x reefed main, 2 stay sails & jib, Course: 156, Miles to go: 385

We are all ready to be there - hopefully soon.

Cherio ~~~Lani

January 15, 2010 - Back on some breeze -

Last night after dinner we got just enough of a light breeze, hoisted the sails and we have been sailing every since. We are not setting the world on fire but we not running Roger. Who says a schooner does not go to weather? Check the stats below.

1/15 Fri. @ 1500 hours:

Lat: 26 41 N, Long: 68 72 W, Speed 8.4k, Wind Speed: 12t @ 96m, (8.4k at 45 degrees in 12k wind not bad for the old girl)Clouds: 80%, Bar: 1025, Sails: Full main, 2 stay sails & jib, Course: 175
Miles to go: 535

It is nice and warm 75 degrees in the day and 68 at night - perfect.

Old "poop on the deck" seagull is gone for now.

Cherio ~~~Lani

January 14, 2010 - Motoring -

We are motoring along in light wind and the seas have settled down. It is warm. The guys (not RES) have got shorts on. It is 75 degrees in my port hole.

We have been joined by a new crew member on board- It is a seagull. He likes the aft deck so of course now it truly is the poop deck.

1/14 Thurs. @ 1500 hours:

Lat: 28 20 N, Long:70 20 W, Speed 5.1k, Wind Speed: 9t @ 50m, Clouds: 80%, Bar: 1023, Sails: 2 stay sails, Course: 132
Miles to go: 671

We are hoping the wind will fill in this afternoon.

Cheers ~~~Lani

January 13, 2010 - Lost the puff -

After having a lot of wind so far it appears we just now are losing it. We decided to head down & motor a while as the seas are big & rolly. We have gotten a lot of "easting" in so that should help us. Last night at midnight the wind went around north so we gybed. For a while it built to 34 knots but we had already reduced sail so we did well.

1/13 @ 1500 hours:

Lat: 29 34 N, Long:72 58 W, Speed 7k, Wind Speed: 14t @ 132m, Clouds: 90, Bar: 1021, Sails: Main double reefed & 2 stay sails.
Miles to go: 800

All is well on board.

Cheers ~~~Lani

January 12, 2010 - Good to be out again -
As usual the weather forecasts were incorrect. We have had wind from the southwest (not nw) and 25k (not 15k) but we are handling it well. We had a 220 mile day yesterday. This a.m. after riding in a 10 foot swell we sheeted in the 2 stay sails, let out the main, and sailing somewhat deeper with the stay sails damping our rough ride. We are still keeping up good speed and have a much more comfortable ride.

1/12 @ 1500 hours:

Lat:30 35 N, Long:75 50 W, Speed 8k, Wind Speed: 23t @ 273m, Clouds: 50, Bar: 1021, Sails: Main double reefed & 2 stay sails.
Miles to go: 943

We are still getting in some "easting" hoping that the wind will go around as predicted. We crossed over the Gulfstream in the night last night and it is much warmer. The temp in my port hole is 65 degrees. Much warmer than Charleston.

We are doing well with great crew.

Cheers ~~~Lani

January 11, 2010 - Headed South - USVI
Hi to all:

1/11 @ 1700

Lat:32 16, Long:79 06, Speed 9.5, Wind Speed: 16.6t @ 264m, Clouds: 0, Bar: 1024, full main, 2 stay sails & jib.  (Main double reefed    & jib down @ 1800 hr.)

We got underway at 10:30 a.m. The weather was much better today as it was sunny & I could not see my breath for the first time in days.  We are having a great sail trying to get some "eastings" in as it is predicted to go north then west.

We have great crew on board Dan Rumplik, Bill Hayne, & Jonathan Rickers aboard for a total crew of 5.  All is well on board with 1132 miles to go to St. Thomas.

Cheers   ~~~Lani

December 26,2009 - Charleston, SC
ASTOR is docked in Charleston SC.  Originally our plan was to have Chrismas with Mariah & Daniel in the USVI but once again Mother Nature did not agree.  After our trip from sunny Newport CA (after winning "Yacht of the Year" from the Newport Harbor Yacht Club) we were presented with cold and windy weather in Norfolk VA.  We did not get a weather window to go to St. Thomas so we decided to go to Charleston SC. 
Dec 19th the whole east coast was hit hard by a freezing northeaster.  On  the morning of Dec. 20 we were ready to go to Charleston but when we slid the companion way open there it was: real winter.  There was snow all over the deck and all the sheets & lines where frozen stiff.  Even though the wind had subsided so we decided to go.  As it turned out it was a good weather window to round Cape Hatteras (a notoriously rough cape).  The wind was fresh 20-30 knots from the north so we had a good down wind run and the current was with us the rest of the way.  We did not venture out far enough to catch the Gulf stream. 

We had a fast trip as we did a 195 mile day for the first day but then the wind subsided and we ended up motoring the last day.   

We arrived in Charleston a 435 mile trip at 4 a.m. on Dec. 23. Mariah, Daniel & dog TUX  arrived at 7:00p.m. on Christmas eve and we were ready with the tree decorated & dinner prepared.

December, 2009 - Norfolk, VA
The East Coast chapter is coming to an end, and I found a bit of time to jot down some notes. Time for a huge update. Here are some notables from our East Coast visit. Best wishes to all following along and wishing you only the best for the upcoming holidays. ~ Lani

Summer and Fall 2009

June 15: ASTOR arrived in Newport RI from Bermuda.  As it turned out we stayed a long time at anchor near the Ida Lewis Yacht Club.  It was a fabulous place to be and be seen.  Newport is home to so many beautiful yachts big & small.  While we were there we rented a car & toured many of the local mansions and all the tourist spots in the area.   

From the moment that we started planning our trip to the east coast Lani was looking forward to being reunited with her cousin Anne.  Anne and her husband John live in Boston and has a summer cottage in New Bedford MA.   During our stay in Newport we visited with her many times and got to know her children and even the grandchildren.  It was very special as Lani had not seen Anne in 20+ years.
Our touring included a short drive to Mystic Seaport.  What a wonderful place for sailors.  It was just full of everything having to do with building & sailing wooden boats. 

July 25:  We arrived back to ASTOR after a great car trip to Mystic Seaport.  That night while generating our 10 year old generator burned up.  It truly burned up.  Luckily it was contained in its fiberglass enclosure and when the air supply was cut off, it extinguished its self and did not burn ASTOR.   The alternator that charges the small battery for the generator seized up and caught on fire taking all the wiring with it.  We had planned to leave Newport the following day or two but now everything changed. Richard got busy and ordered a new generator from Florida.  Since we were at anchor we rented a generator which had to be on deck.  A little noisy but it did the job.  It also kept boats from anchoring too close.  We had planned to replace our tired generator this year just not at anchor in Newport.  Well of course it was an involved project but Richard could do it – no problem.  However, just getting the old one out & the new one in was quite an ordeal.  To make a long story short: we received the new generator and 2 days later Richard had it installed and it is running beautifully.  Our old generator was 8KW and the new one is 12KW and it is in the same size fiberglass box.  It was nice to get it done and there are worse places to be stranded.

While we were anchored hurricane “Bill“ headed our way.  We had a few days of bad weather with high winds 30+ so we knew our anchor was down good and holding.  So we decided to stay put.  The local harbor patrol hassled us as they wanted us to move out but since it was a Federal anchorage we told them we were staying put.  It turned out that it did not blow over 25.  A real non event.

August 25:  Sailed up East Coast headed to Maine.  We stopped at several ports along the way.  Our first stop was in Buzzard’s Bay MA.  We anchored near the Cape Cod Canal at Woods Hole.  The next day we decided to transit the canal.  This canal is 7?? miles long and over 200 feet wide.  It is affected by the tides so you have to plan your transit.  Luckily for us the timing was perfect.  It has 3 bridges 2 are fixed & one is a resizable railroad bridge all open to over 100 feet.  It is not legal to sail through the canal.  The good news was the current carried us along at the fastest speed we have ever achieved while motoring 11.5k.  Once through the canal we hoisted sails and had a wonderful sail for nearly 60 miles arriving at Marblehead just at sunset.   This was our first encounter with lobster trap floats.  No lazy watches for us as we had to keep a sharp look out even in 300 feet of water.  The next stop was Gloucester just a short 15 miles north.  We stayed there 3 nights as hurricane Danny rolled through.  Danny delivered 35k of wind but again our anchor held and we did just fine.  We were able to go ashore and tour Gloucester which was a real fishing port with yummy seafood.  With Danny on its way we headed out and had a long day of sailing then motor sailing to Portland Maine.  We once again got to the dock at Portland Boat Works just as the sun set.  Whew! 

August 31:  Arrived at Portland ME.  It was unusual for us to be at a dock but it was nice.  We rented a car and shopped.  On September 4 Mariah, Daniel & dog Tux flew into Boston so we got up at 5 a.m. and drove in to pick them up.  It was great to see them as it had been a long time since we had been together.   The next day we left the dock and set out to explore the Casco Bay.  We were kept busy dodging a million lobster floats.  One night we anchored near a lobster coop and were able to buy lobster for $3.25/lb.  So we picked up a few and Richard cooked them to perfection.  Lani just does not like cooking the live lobsters so this is one time that Richard is in the galley.  It was cool but it did not rain for the 5 day visit.  We had lobster 3 out of 5 nights.  Yum!  We returned to the dock and the kids headed home.  Darn!  The next few days were spent cleaning, polishing, doing projects and having lunch out. 

September 22: Steve & Jamie Sidells came for a visit.  We met Steve & Jamie in 2000 when we were anchored in the lagoon at Bora Bora, and they were aboard their boat REBA (a Celestial 48) and invited us over for sundowners.  We have been great friends every since. While in the south Pacific we met up with them in Vanuatu, New Zealand and Australia.  For their Maine visit we shopped Portland then sailed to Booths Bay where we shopped and dined. 

While in Booths Bay we tracked down David & Judy Nut & family. They were cruiser friends that we had cruised with during 2000-2002 and had last seen in 2003 in New Caledonia.  We had a wonderful afternoon reliving our wonderful adventures and getting up to date with the 4 kids.  We stayed a few nights in Booths Bay enjoying everything wonderful about Maine.  Then we returned to Casco Bay for a few nights where we indulged in more yummy lobster. 

October 6:  Left Portland headed south for better weather.  Our first stop was at Portsmith on the border of Maine & New Hampshire.  When we entered the Harbor Patrol came out to meet us and we thought that perhaps there would be a problem anchoring.  However, he just came out to welcome us to the harbor and tell us how handsome we looked.  Nice.  Once again we had to sit out some bad weather before heading further south. 

After 2 nights we continued on down the coast stopping at Gloucester then through the Cape Cod Canal again on to Newport RI arriving just at sunset on October 11.

We stayed in Newport for 10 days.  We rented a car and ran errands.  We also drove to Boston so we could say goodbye to Cousin Anne & husband John.  We hope we can meet up somewhere in the Caribbean in the spring.  We were delayed again because of bad weather. 

October 21: Up anchored headed for NYC.  Our first stop was near New London CN.  Then we spent 3 nights in Jefferson Harbor on Long Island NY waiting out another storm system.  We then had a great sail along Long Island headed for NYC  

October 25:  ASTOR arrived NYC.  We had a lovely motor sail all around Manhattan.  It was a sunny Sunday so there was not much traffic on the rivers.  It was a great cruise and we got to see all the sights including the Empire State Building, United Nations, Nautical Park, Statue of Liberty, and Ground Zero from the water.  Once again we got the anchor down just minutes before dark.  We checked with a couple marinas but they were very expensive ($700.00/night) and very shallow.  We opted instead to anchor off the 79th Street public marina on the upper west side.  Turned out we were just 2 blocks from Broadway with the subway terminal and 4 blocks to Central Park.  It was a really great location.  We toured the city via the double decker bus seeing everything we had missed via water.  We were there while the Yankees played the Dodgers for the World Series and saw the chaos of the New York Marathon.  The anchorage was not crowded at all, unlike the city.   

November 2:  Up anchored and sailed past the Statue of Liberty then headed south bound for Baltimore.  We did one overnighter and then anchored in the Delaware River near a nuclear power plant .  The next day we headed up the Delaware River and transit the Chesapeake/Delaware Canal.  The canal was plenty deep and wide and all of the bridges were either 100+ feet or could be raised to that height.  We really love these canals as they save a lot of miles.  We then hoisted sails and sailed down the Chesapeake before we reached Baltimore’s inner harbor once again just at sunset.  We were anchored 11 days right in the heart of Baltimore’s water front down town.  It was great.  We rented a car and drove to Washington DC.  We did the tourist thing again taking the double decker bus tour.  We once again had to wait out another hurricane this time it was “Ida”.  “Ida” only caused us a little problem as we were protected by the downtown buildings so we only had winds to 25k but it really caused a lot of damage along the coast.  Richard & I picked up a cold and had to recoup a little before moving on.

November 14: We upped anchor and bound for Norfolk via the Chesapeake Bay.  The Chesapeake was truly wonderful as it has flat water and each day we had wonderful wind.  Our first stop was Annapolis.  We anchored off the Yacht Club and toured the city, shopped and had a few lunches out. 

On Nov. 19, we had another lovely sail down the Chesapeake.  We anchored in the Great Wicomico River.  The reason for us to visit the Great Wicomico River was to have another reunion with another cruiser family.  This time we are here to be reunited with “Uluians”.  That is what we have called them when we were with them in the South Pacific 2000-2005.  Mick & Christine where cruising on a Hans Christian 46  named “ULU” hence “Uluians”.  We spent many hurricane seasons with them in a marina in Sydney Australia during which they had Tahie (now 8) & Bay (now 5).  We spent a wonderful evening with them first on “ASTOR” showing them the changes that have been made over the years.  Then we had dinner at their beautiful home on the river in Virginia.  It was wonderful to see them again and catch up on our mutual adventures.  The next day we sailed off to the North river near Mopjack VA.  We had to motor sail as the weather settled down.

November 21: Arrived in Norfolk VA.  We had arranged for a dock/slip and we arrived one day early.  We are really enjoying Norfolk.  Actually we are in Portsmouth so we are near restaurants & shopping. 

November 27 to December 6:  Richard & Lani returned to Newport, CA(via plane).  It was time to catch up with reality.  You know: teeth cleaning, doctor checkups and taxes.  Yuck!  We did get to see our wonderful friends and eat way too much.   While we were there, the Newport Harbor Yacht Club presented “ASTOR” and Richard the prestigious Yacht of Year. We are so honored.  We there only 10 days  and it was fun but it is good to be back on ASTOR. 

Now we are preparing to depart to St. Thomas USVI, hopefully by Christmas.

Summary Note:  Our summer on the East coast was a wonderful experience.  The weather however was horrible.  While we were anchored in Newport RI for 2 ½ months we had only 10 days of nice (not great) weather.  On July 26 they announced that this was the wettest month in history and it rained a lot more before the 31st.  The whole east coast did not have a summer which did make us really miss Southern California.