Monday, December 31, 2012


We took a tour of the new Hope Town Inn and Marina that we have watched being built over the last two years. Remember these photos from last season?

This is what it looks like now!

What a beautiful and impressive resort it's turned out to be, right here in our own backyard!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

First and Last

This year's second annual Junkanoo Competition wasn't much of a competition because only one group showed up to participate. Rumor had it that the costumes for at least one of the other groups was held up on the freight boat that was a day late. Such is life in paradise sometimes. However the group that did perform is the best that we've seen, even in previous Junkanoos. The costumes, dancing, horns, bells, and the beat of those drums (even the little kids played them!) were fantastic.

One of the highlights of the night started before the parade even got underway. We watched as a fire was burning in order to stretch and dry out the goat skins that go over the drums. 

What a "short, but sweet" re-introduction to Junkanoo. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so we can go to Marsh Harbour for the big Junkanoo parade in February.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Off To A Great Start

Boxing Day signals the start of the Hope Town Sailing Club's race season. This year we had to postpone it a day, but it was well worth the wait. The conditions were perfect with sunny skies and 10-12 knot NW winds. This annual race usually only draws a few boats, and this was no exception. However, even though there were only six boats, the skippers and crew made up for it with their enthusiasm.

 No one was timid at the start line, that's for sure. 

New Horizon was the race committee boat, so we had great seats to watch the action, including the Abaco Rage sailing by with 16 people on board (always thrilling to watch!).

 This was a well run race and a perfect start to the season!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Yesterday was Boxing Day, a national holiday here in the Bahamas. One of Hope Town's Boxing Day traditions is the golf cart parade. It's always fun to see what themes these imaginative people come up with. The winner and our favorite too, was the bubble bath queen.

Some, we weren't sure what they were trying to do, but I do believe that the beach was picked up and everything re-purposed.

Right after the parade, Mother Nature gave a show of her own with this gorgeous sunset. What a grand finale!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Memorable Morning

What a way to start the day, especially since it was Christmas Day! We woke to no wind and flat calm seas. What perfect time to kayak around the north end of Elbow Cay. We headed out into the Sea of Abaco, which was like glass.

This is the sister to our Abaco Dinghy. We believe that they were made at the same time.

Approaching the north end and heading out the cut to the ocean.

The ocean was a little bit rougher, but still no problem paddling around the reefs.

We had to time our landing on the beach, so we didn't get broadside to the waves. Notice how many people are on the beach?

Right after we portaged the kayak over the sand dune and back to the harbor, we went swimming in the ocean. Adding to the ambiance of the morning, the nearby church started playing the carol Joy to the World on its bell chimes, just as we entered the water. It was quite a moment and we realized once again, how lucky and blessed we really are!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Twas The Night Before Sailor's Christmas
By Gerald Ewing

T’was the night before Christmas, I swung on the hook
With snowflakes a’landing, asleep with my book
When up on the deck I heard footsteps and stuff
“I’ve been boarded!” I thought, and I tried to be tough
Then down the companionway hatch came a dude
He was dressed like a nut and I thought, “I’m so screwed”
But he laughed and he hummed as he surveyed my junk
So I figured he must be the resident drunk
His eyes were lit up like a junkie on speed
But he gave me a whole bunch of stuff that I need
Like rum and cigars and new charts and a dinghy
And some kind of fancy electrical thingy
I knew it was stolen but I wasn’t telling
I just hoped he was giving and wasn’t just selling
And I poured him a grog which he downed with a wink
Then I poured one for me (Lord I needed a drink!)
Then he staggered above to the dark snowy night
As I peeked I beheld an incredible sight
Eight tiny dolphins and a beautiful sleigh
And the dude hopped aboard and prepared to make way
The dolphins were ready to power the sled
But the guy raised a genny and mains’l instead
With a burp and a chuckle he gathered the breeze
And called to the dolphins, now swimming with ease
“Hey Stalker and FEMA and Cancer and Nixon!
Or Stinky and Pepper Spray, Mason, and Dixon!
Or whatever your names are, you cute little fishes,
Here’s to every last sailor, my best Christmas wishes!”
As he sailed away leaving a wobbly wake
I hoped he had not many stops left to make
He got close to shore and he soon was aground
But the dolphins proceeded to pull him around
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!”

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect

A bunch of the Sunfish sailors wanted to get together and have a practice race before Christmas. Being the Sunfish Fleet Captain, Dave came up with the Holiday Warm-Up Regatta. To add a little spice to the race, he decided to make it a LeMans start from the Nathan's Bay Beach on the Sea of Abaco. This means that the Sunfish all line up on the beach with their sails down, and the sailors have to run down to their boats at the starting signal, hoist the sail, and push the boat out into deep water, in order to start the course. This worked well since we had no race committee boat, and it was really fun to watch.

Ready to run!

Our starting signal was this super loud cannon!

Time to hoist the sails and push the boats out into the breeze.

Off they go.

The sailors varied in age from a couple of spry 70 year olds to an 11 year old junior sailor (who came in 4th!). This made us wonder if we should rename the event  "Are You Faster Than A 6th Grader?"

At the finish, the racers had to beach their Sunfish and run back up to the starting line, with lots of cheering and encouragement as each competitor arrived. Dave did really well and came in second out of eight boats, which proves that practice makes perfect...well, almost!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Launching of the Rage

The past several days have seen a flurry of activity at Lighthouse Marina and Boatyard, preparing the Abaco Rage to be put back in the water. Dave, Jim, and Will worked a whole day on repairing the mast step, reinforcing it with an aluminum plate and fiberglass work. This is where the mast sits on the keel.

The area that they have to work in is so small. Here is Jim under the deck sistering the sheer clamp.

They also had to put a bushing in the rudder gudgeon.

Yesterday was launch day and the Rage was picked up with straps attached to the forklift.

Then it was placed in the water in the travel lift well.

Next came the hard part of raising the 60 ft. mast. Normally the freight boat would do this with its crane, but today it was unavailable due to the amount of supplies being delivered (I've never seen it that full...Christmas rush time). Instead, the mast was tied to the forklift and lifted into place.

 It took a bit of maneuvering to get it in the right spot.

Meanwhile Dave held the headstay towards the stern, so that the mast couldn't fall forward.

Then it was time to sort out all the lines, stays, and shrouds.

The headstay ended up getting fouled around the top of the mast, so Rich tried lassoing it from up on the forklift.
Unfortunately that didn't work, so Dave had to once again go up in a bosun's chair and straighten it all out. It took several hours to rig everything, all the while, the bilge pump was going on every few minutes. The crew said that it takes about a week for the wood to swell up after being on dry land all summer.

What a great experience it was, watching the whole launch process. Even the boatyard manager exclaimed about how launching and rigging the Rage is like no other sailboat that he's dealt with before.

Now it proudly floats on its mooring in the harbor, ready to start racing in the Hope Town Sailing Club's winter regattas.