Thursday, February 26, 2015

Celebrating 37 Years

Yesterday was our 37th wedding anniversary. It was a gorgeous day and we are finally back to to spring-like weather. The sailing club was having a gathering at the Narrows at Man-O-War Cay, so we joined a group of about 25 people for lunch.

The Narrows, or locally called the "Low Place," is just a spit of land separating the Sea of Abaco from the Atlantic Ocean. In rough weather the waves break right over the rock road to the other side.

We brought our kayaks and took an excursion.

I also joined a couple of the ladies for a swim and was actually surprised that the water was as warm as it was, considering how chilly the air has been until just recently. 

It sure feels good to be out exploring and have the weather nice again. What a great way to celebrate!
Thank you Catherine for your great photos.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Meanwhile, Back On the Committee Boat...

Towards the end of the dinghy races, things started getting 'interesting' on board Solitaire 1. We had a super low tide that day and when the captain realized that we were touching the bottom, he decided the best thing to do would be to transfer the whole race committee into the mark set boat to complete the final race, while he motored out to find deeper water. We gathered all our personal belongings and important scoring sheets, and got in the mark boat just as the first boats went over the finish line.

Alas, it was too late for Solitaire 1 to move on its own, and a neighboring cruising boat with a twin outboard skiff came over to help try and tow them. Now the boat was hard aground! Ann and I, the two main score keepers, caught a ride in another skiff back to the sailing club to tally the results, while everyone else helped the committee boat out. None of the racers were even aware of what was happening out in the Sea of Abaco. The rest of the race committee arrived at the end of the awards stand-up and said that Soli was still out there, but now floating again. I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until I saw the photos later.

They finally got her moving and floating again by heeling the boat over with a halyard from the top of the mast.

No harm done, but I hope Catherine and David didn't have a mess to deal with after being at such an angle.

I sure am glad I didn't stay on board while all this was going on!

Photos by Sue Holloway

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Third Place!

Dave sailed three great races in the Sunfish class on Sunday, and ended up coming in third overall! He said that it was some of the best racing he has ever had on a small boat.

A lot of it has to do with timing the start.

His main rival was junior sailor Joey Gale and they had some great one on one competition.
 Joey is taking after his father Jeff, who is almost always one of the top three winners (Joey even beat his father in one race). At the end of this series, it was Jeff first, Joey second, and Dave third.

During the last race Dave got caught on the windward mark's anchor line, fouling it, so he had to do a 360 circle to exonerate himself, before heading to the next mark. He caught up to everyone and still finished third. Congratulations Dave!

And no, I didn't manipulate the scores, even though I am the Sunfish score keeper. ;-)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Giving Back

Today was the annual Hope Town Volunteer Fire & Rescue's Fundraising event. As you remember, HTVFR was instrumental in getting Dave to Marsh Harbour and then Nassau when he fell from the mast (would you believe it's been two years already?!), so we really like to help out when we can. This year they didn't need us as volunteers, but we still joined in the fundraising festivities. Besides food being served, swidgles (rum & coconut water) and beer were doled out. This is Stafford's specialty.

Dave checked out the t-shirts and tumblers...

Husband and wife team Bob and Lorraine sold 50/50 tickets out of a fireman's boot and helmet.

There was a huge raffle with many great prizes, but we didn't win anything this year. There was also a live auction for a Honda XL 350. I tied Dave's hands up so he couldn't bid! The bids went up to $2500 and the lady who won, walked up to the auctioneer and announced that after paying she was donating the bike back to be auctioned again, and HTVFR received another $1500 on top of that.

This is Adelaide, who is being assisted back to the street by dispatcher Chris. She is 100 years old and can be found at most of the events here in Hope Town. She is an amazing lady, full of stories and poems that she has put into books that were published. If you are wondering why Chris has a bandage on his leg, it's because he was getting the XL 350 running (it had been sitting for a couple of years) and the bike 'bit him' when he was test driving it!

The local kids had fun sitting in all the fire and rescue vehicles throughout the day. Most of the trucks have to be smaller to get down the narrow streets. 

We really liked the new Polaris rescue vehicle. I think we need one of these back at the Pashley Ranch...minus the backboard though!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Class Is In Session

'Professor' Dave gave a Sunfish class to some of the club members who wanted to learn or refresh their sailing skills. Later all seven of the club's boats went out and the skippers all had a blast practicing their maneuvers in the crowded harbor.
Photo by Lauren Storck

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Living Legacy

Today was the day that Winer Malone came to visit and share is wisdom about his Abaco Dinghies. Here in Dave's work area are Winer, Dave, Chris Prewitt, and Craig Knowles.

''Dandy'' turned out to be a standard issue 14 footer. We had incorrectly assumed that it might be a twin sister to George LeBoutillier's ''Coconut'', but ''Coconut'' has  builder's birthmarks from a later date, and is trimmed in mahogany provided by the ''foreigner'' that commissioned the building of her. ''Dandy'' is trimmed in cypress, pine planked, and framed from either corkwood or madiera. We learned that all but late model boats are fastened with brass screws, not bronze as originally thought. ''Dandy'' has a standard keel and mast too.

Here is the sad, but restorable remains of a 14 footer, aptly named ''Winer Malone'', rescued by Craig Knowles. She is a much closer twin to ''Dandy'' than ''Coconut'' is. Both boat are about 30 years old.

 At 86 years, Winer is still as sharp as a tack, and still has a stout ''boatbuilder's handshake''.

Winer is pointing out some construction details that help to identify the age of the boat. Winer originally identified the boats by the length of the keel, but the owners adopted the overall length to describe them. The boats are generally two feet longer than the keel.

This boat has suffered from years of neglect and exposure. The basic shape and construction verify its pedigree. It is obvious that this boat has had many desperate attempts to keep it servicable.

The stem of ''Winer Malone''. The rake of the stem identifies the original purpose of the boat, whether it be work or recreational. This boat is a sailing model, with no provisions for a sculling oar or a livewell.

Here is the stem of ''Dandy'', and the resemblance is uncanny! ''Dandy'' is of the same vintage and purpose, but has had the luxury of longevity from living in the northern U.S. and away from the harsh semi-tropical climate. It was unused and forgotten, and covered, for decades! What a reunion!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Today our apartment was wired for internet. I wouldn't call it high speed, but it's definitely higher speed! Our wifi service was getting slower and slower and we kept getting knocked off line every 5 minutes. This was excruciatingly frustrating when I was trying to do the sailing club's website with all its photos that have to be uploaded, and when the connection was broken, I would lose all my hard work. Same with this blog and the Abaco Rage's blog, but the HTSC website is more complicated and time consuming. Hopefully communicating will be easier and we won't lose important emails, which has been happening also. Even the owner of the internet company said he emailed me and I didn't get it! Now that's ironic...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Always A Project

There always seem to be projects to do around it for ourselves, friends, the lighthouse, or the sailing club. Dave thrives on mechanical things, like this motor that died in a friend's ice maker. Unfortunately this time, it was beyond repair. Getting items such as this to the Bahamas isn't an easy task, so he really wanted to try and fix it instead.

He couldn't ask for a better place to work on it, overlooking the harbor.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Haitian Connection

Occasionally one of the Haitian freight boats will stop in Hope Town to pick up whatever has been collected in the local Haitian community, and continue on its way to Haiti. This boat was a bit scary to think that after today, it will be totally loaded up (including the roof) and head out to sea. Water was pouring out of the bilges and the engine was smoking.

However, these boats are heavily built on the beaches of Haiti, and they are used to the trip and adversity. We wish them a safe journey.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Crew Member

The Abaco Rage added a new crew member at their latest race...Elvis the lighthouse keeper. Dave is trying to get more of the Bahamian residents involved in the Rage, and now Elvis is hooked. He was a great asset to the team and says he plans on going out whenever he is able.
Photo by Carol Dichter