Friday, January 30, 2015

On Top Of The World

Glad the professionals are doing this work!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Leader of the Pack

Actually, the pro sailors were out front and Dave was leading the '2nd string' of racers. This photo sure makes him look like he is winning though. Thanks Lorraine for sharing!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Light's Out

Our famous Elbow Reef Lighthouse is closed for repairs during the next week. At night it has been so strange not to see the light on. This has been planned for a while, and since it is a navigational aid, everyone possible has been notified including the Bahamas Defense Force, and BASRA (Bahamas Air Sea Rescue). Notices have also been on our cruisers net, at all the ferry landing areas, the Abaconian newspaper, the Hope Town Bulletin online, and I even put it on the HTSC website...and now this blog!

Living next door to the lighthouse, we get a front row seat to what they are doing. First they had to get their tools to the top of the 25 knots of wind. This is the same way that we get the Christmas lights to the top.

Then a scaffold system was set up (all the materials came in crates on the freight boat). The workers use harnesses with two clips on them, similar to what the procedure is when you go zip-lining. Always have at least one clip on the safety rail.

Then the metal work began. The man doing the work specializes in repairing lighthouses. Click HERE to see an article about him.

FYI, the flagpole has now been lowered too. Late yesterday afternoon, when we returned from the Sunfish races (Dave came in 4th out of 13 boats in 0-5 mph winds), we heard jackhammering. A few minutes later we saw lines on each side of the pole as it was lowered, but then suddenly it came crashing down. We heard a bunch of clapping, so it must be nothing was damaged. It's a good thing volunteers didn't attempt that project. My next photos of the lighthouse from the porch probably won't have the pole in the middle of least for a while, until they figure out how to rig and get it back up.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dandy Progress

The work on our Abaco Dinghy Dandy has been progressing. Dave has been making and installing the pieces of mahogany to make the stringers stronger.

He also made some beautiful name boards out of the same wood, for the transom of the boat. He plans on carving in the name and port (Hope Town) eventually.

After I dug out the old wood putty that covered the bronze screws attaching the transom to the wood planks, Dave tightened all the screws up, making it more secure. It will still need to be caulked to make it water tight.

My next project will be to sand all these floorboards and ready them for painting. There's some cool windy weather in the forecast, so the conditions will be great for this type of work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gone Sailing

Photo by Catherine Allin

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rough Start

Yesterday was the first Sunfish race of the season and the wind was howling. Sometimes it gusted up to 20 knots, which was right on the verge of cancelling the three race series. 12 boats came out to accept the challenge, but Dave was in the back of the fleet, finishing 10th overall. He was just glad to be out there after recovering from the flu, stuck it out until the end, and didn't flip his boat.

I was able to watch it all from the race committee boat, while keeping track of the finishers and doing the scoring. I worked with our amazing friend Di, who is 85 years old, still lives on her catamaran in the harbor, and even crosses the gulf stream. She is so fact her points addition was better and faster than mine!

Still a good day on the water, but hopefully next time it won't be quite so windy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Part of our volunteer projects has been to investigate the possibility of fixing the upper pulley and installing a new halyard on the lighthouse flagpole. Remember this from a few years ago?

That's obviously never going to happen again, so Dave had to come with a plan that could make it so that anyone could service the aluminum pole. The original flagpole was shorter and made out of wood. A slot was made in the base, and it had a tabernacle so it could be raised and lowered with the aid of two fixed points and a block and tackle or come-along. Today we checked to see how far down the concrete base it went, and whether the base was solid concrete, or perhaps part of it was just concrete building blocks. First Dave drilled a hole into the pole and put down a wire to see how deep it went all the way to the bottom, about four feet.

Then he drilled holes in the concrete in the top and side of the slot...unfortunately it's solid and would need to be jackhammered to access it.

The next quandary is how could this flagpole be lowered the first time to put a tabernacle on it? It is tall and on the side of a rocky hill. Definitely not a job for the volunteers!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Can You Find Him?

While we recover from the flu...yes, Dave caught it also...we get great pleasure from watching our hummingbirds on the porch. We have at least one male and female Cuban Emerald, but also a pair of rare to the Bahamas, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. Can you find the male sitting in the trees, waiting to chase other 'intruders' away?

I believe this is the female at the feeder around the holidays. The lights never even bothered them.

I know the photos aren't the greatest but these fast little birds sure are hard to capture 'on film'. I swear they know when I have the camera out and they quickly disappear.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

An Impressive Sight

Dave raced on the Abaco Rage yesterday and although they came in last, everyone had a great time. Dave is now the bowman and helps with the jib.

 (Above photos by Will Heyer)

The winds were so light that a couple of the boats even dropped out. Not the Rage though, with that huge mainsail. They even sailed into and through the harbor.

What a sight to see as they maneuver through all the moored boats!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Our first full moon dinghy drift of the winter season was much smaller than last spring's record setting one. This time about 20 boats showed up, so it was much easier passing the appetizers around... and you would be guaranteed to get your dishes back! We were a little worried all day because it was windy, but by sunset there was barely a breeze.

The full moon peeked out from behind the clouds and lit up the whole harbor, making a great end to the evening.

Monday, January 5, 2015

From Tree To Boat

The trees that surround our apartment are corkwood trees. They are what the 'knees' are made of in the Abaco Dinghies. The shape works perfectly and you can almost picture the beginnings of a boat...

While Heinz is working on the dinghies over at his marina, Dave has started working on Dandy here in the boatyard. He is organized and has his own little corner to complete the project, with his tools and work bench close at hand.

We don't have any of the original wood, so Dave is making pieces out of mahogany to sister into the knees already in place. He found cracks in some of the braces, now that the floor boards have been removed for painting.

This will ensure that the boat will be strong and hold her shape. You can see the angles and why the corkwood works so well.

The restoration will continue when our next cold front arrives. Now it's calm and time to get back out on the water!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dinghy Work

The Abaco Dinghy workshops are in full swing now. While Dave works on ours here in the boatyard, Heinz, Will and other volunteers work on the ones that were stored at Hope Town Marina. First they have to come off of the custom made rack and these small wooden boats are heavy!

Next Sunday is the first race of the season, and although our Dandy will certainly not be ready, hopefully some of the other classic dinghies will be out on the course.

Thursday, January 1, 2015