Friday, March 31, 2017

Grand Finale

Yesterday was the last cruising boat race of the season and since many cruisers are heading back home, crew was hard to find for Sunrise. I was 'elected' to be the third person on the boat along with Milton, the owner, and of course Dave. The wind was supposed to be about 8 knots, so we set the huge 155% jib sail. In reality it was about 13 knots with higher gusts and white caps. Wow, did we ever heel much so that I ended up being just 'rail meat', using my weight on the high side to try and keep the boat more level. I couldn't move around the boat easily so, except for steering, Dave had to tend the mainsheet, jib and winches by himself. He joined me on the high side when possible on the upwind legs, to keep the keel as far down in the water as possible, in order to help point towards the mark. It figures that the course was longer than usual due to the perfect sailing winds, which was tiring for a novice like me and Dave having to do more than usual. We were a bit overpowered on the upwind legs, but that huge jib helped when going downwind. We were racing along side of the Abaco Rage most of the day, with them in the lead, but on the last leg, we beat them to the finish. In the end, we came in third after the handicaps were tallied! Plus Sunrise with Milton and Dave as co-skippers ended up earning the Boat of the Year Award, a huge accomplishment!

Below are a few of Will Heyer's great shots of the racing action...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

One Last Safari

Before we stored away the kayaks for the summer, we loaded them up in Safari and headed south past Tilloo Cut. We were actually going to try paddling the cut, but the ocean swell was huge and the waves were crashing on shore.

We ended up in the lee of an estate called The Far Side or as many of us call it, The Castle. Even the iron coral looks like the castle.

As soon as we launched the kayaks, I happened to be looking in the right place at the right time and saw several dolphins near by. I even recognized one as Notch who frequents the harbor.

Washed up on shore we found a sister to our Daysailer Suja. I can tell that Dave was trying to figure out to get it back home...

There were also tons of turtles swimming around us and it made for a perfect ending to our paddling for the season. We didn't get out as much as usual, but when we did, it was fantastic!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Goodnight Abaco

With the time change making it lighter later, we have been taking walks out to the Sea of Abaco to watch the sunset after dinner. Tonight's was spectacular!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Feeling Smug

The forecast during the past week has been for very high winds today though the weekend. Since time is really growing short for us here, we made the decision to start hauling out our boats before the gale. First it was Jim Ryan's Sunfish and our Daysailer Suja, with extra thanks to Barry and Art. Yesterday we were going to go kayaking, but the wind had already started to pick up, so the guys really went to work. Dandy was hauled, put on its trailer, and is in storage.

Then Jim's skiff was hauled out and 'summerized', before decommissioning his sailboat Pepe too.
Even after all that, there was still time to haul out Walkabout, clean its bottom, flush the engine with fresh water, and put it away for the summer. We sure kept PJ and the forklift busy.

This morning our little marina filled up to capacity, as did the anchorage and the Hope Town Marina in anticipation of the coming bad weather. We've never seen so many boats and people here. At 11 AM the wind really kicked in and increased all day. As the wind howls through all the boat masts, we sit here feeling smug, knowing that we beat the weather and the first step towards departure is complete. Let the wind blow...we are ready!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Topping This Sailing Season

We just discovered that the online article about Dandy that was posted last summer has made it into a hard copy magazine. It is called The Best of Small Boats Monthly, 2017 issue, from the editors of WoodenBoat. Click HERE for the link to buy the magazine.

This is great publicity for all the Abaco dinghies, but I think that we've definitely had more than our fair share of "15 minutes of fame this season!"

Friday, March 17, 2017

Then and Now

Dave seems to be continuing his tradition of winning trophies. Waaaay back, it was for motorcycle riding & it looks like he won two different classes (must be that long hair helped him😉):

Now he goes a lot slower...5 mph, but the trophies are much bigger!

Monday, March 13, 2017


While Dave was off beating everyone in the Sunfish races, I was helping an Abaco dinghy that had flipped over before the first race even started. It took four boats, a big bucket, and my electric pump to de-water it. The photos below were taken when the boat was almost bailed out, but at first we had to hold the boat up, because it was so full of seawater that the top edge kept going underwater, sinking it again.

This is the third time I have had to help pump out a dinghy and now that I think about it, it's always the same boat. Interesting!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

On A Roll

The winning streak continues! Today Dave won the Sunfish races. He was actually first in two out of three races.

He was so far ahead in the first race that you could barely see the boats behind him.

He led the pack with his starts especially in this race.

Another first place glass added to the growing collection:

What a sailing season we have had, both for leisure and competition!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

All In A Row

Hope Town recently celebrated their Heritage Day, and many of the Abaco Dinghies were featured.

Some of the boats were sculled with one oar like pirate Goldwin is doing in this photo:

Dave also was there and went sailing in Dandy, later taking some of the event participants for a ride.

When the awards were given to the kids for their essays, they were given a book written all about Winer Malone's Abaco Dinghy boat building. How appropriate!

It's wonderful how much attention these historical dinghies have been receiving lately.

Friday, March 10, 2017


Looks big and mean, doesn't it? It's actually just a nurse shark and only 2 ft. long! I followed it for about half an hour today while I was kayaking. It tried to hide in the rocks, but I quickly found it and got really close...

What a fun outing with turtles and rays swimming under me. The tide was super low and I reached down and grabbed this gorgeous starfish. As soon as I sat it down on the front of the kayak, it sucked on to the plastic and I had to pry it off. After my photo shoot I gently placed it right where I found it.

Then I snuck up on the this little green heron who looks like he just ate a fish.

I think I saw almost as much wildlife as Dave and Jim Ryan did snorkeling at Fowl Cay, and all I had to do was kayak just outside the harbor.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What A Comparison

1400 Horse Power vs. 1 sail power....Dandy looks pretty tiny next to this boat with four engines!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Unusual Request

Every morning we listen to the Cruiser's Net on the VHF radio at 8:15 in the morning. There is all sorts of information learned plus weather reports for our area. The past several days there has been an unusual request announced. There was a homing pigeon that must have been blown off course, wandering around the Abacos. Finally someone got close enough to see that it was from Miami, found a cage and food, and gave her a name...Rebecca. They contacted a homing pigeon group who claim that if she is brought back to the States and let go, she will find her way home (I guess her internal GPS must not include the Bahamas?!). So the request went out for any sailboat heading back to Florida to volunteer to transport Rebecca back and release her. No one has stepped forward yet, but then again it is going to be blowing 20-30 mph for a week, so no one is going anywhere. Meanwhile, Rebecca is well taken care of. Hopefully it all works out for her and her instincts kick in when she sees U.S. soil again. I hope she remembers her passport!

Footnote: Back in high school I used to go out with a guy who's family had homing pigeons. We used to transport them as far away as 100 miles and they would all make their way back home. They truly are amazing birds.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Once again Sunrise won the latest cruising boat race, the Spring Regatta. Owner Milton was the skipper this time and they had three guys on board with winds of 15-20 mph. Despite the higher winds (and a change in handicap rating), they exceled and all their hard work paid off.

Two more races and it's a pretty good bet they will be Boat of the Year. What an accomplishment! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Too Fast

Day sailing has become a huge highlight of this season. We've really had some rollicking sails in both the harbor and out on the Sea of Abaco. Yesterday we went out with Jim Ryan in his CL 16 sailboat, and Richard Woods in his sailing 10' Duo dinghy that he designed. We didn't realize this, but Richard was filming while we were sailing.

Of course we are in the distance in all the shots because we are the fastest. 😊 Tomorrow the conditions look perfect for another venture out and we have to do this while we can. Big winds are headed our way and then we're into March Madness with so many meetings and events. Others may talk about sailing in the club, but we're out there doing it...a lot!