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Tallship Bounty Sails to Philadelphia

For our final leg up the Delaware River HMS Bounty sailed side-by-side with privateer Lynx. We were astonished by the strength of the current in the Delaware River and the amount of debris in the water. Many large chunks of wood and even a 30 ft tree!

It has been pushing 100 degrees the last few days with little to no wind, but we came in under full sail for the city of Philadelphia.  It took the crew just 20 minutes to set every sail on the ship, quite a feat in the hot weather!! Although we were motoring in the calm conditions, those towers of white canvas were, as always, a wonderful sight to see.

hms bounty by velocir

After all the sails are set the work is not over, later when they are struck all crew must go aloft to furl them back up on to the yards.  (Much more work than our sloop Velocir!!!!).  It is exhausting for us to keep up with the crew.  Hands become calloused and muscles ache.  But after a few weeks you become astonished at your own strength!

hms bounty by velocir

One of the best parts of being on the ship is climbing all over it.  Out to bowsprit, up the masts (three to choose from) and down into the depths of the ship.  Amelia’s favorite spot is the bowsprit.  It juts up and gives a beautiful view of Bounty cutting through the water.

hms bounty by velocir

Captain Robin brought the massive ship into the dock as smoothly as if she were our little Velocir. (He knows the ship well; even dropping the massive 900lb anchor twice doing a 180 degree turn in tight quarters with a side wind while we were in Annapolis to line up the dock just right.) After helping get the sails furled and the many, many lines coiled down; we went over to help the 110 year-old barkentine Gazela dock close to Bounty and watched yet another masterful docking of these huge ships. (www.gazela.org)

Amelia and Grant took the night watch of the ship last night so the crew could sing their chanties and drink their beer with the other tallship crew. While Grant was below pumping bilges (wooden boats…) he felt the boat suddenly heel 15 degrees….at the dock! Amelia was on deck saving the flags before the thunderstorm/squall came upon us blowing gale force and causing a complete whiteout. The crew stopped hanging the disco ball in the tween decks and burst from the ship clad in foul weather gear to rescue a tent on the dock that had exploded and then everyone jumped to repositioning dock lines and gear in the pouring rain after the wind had subsided.

We have had a lot of fun seeing old shipmates and getting to see all the historical sights Philadelphia has to offer. We will miss the wonderful crew of the HMS Bounty and although this the end of our journey on the ship, Bounty’s does not end: (www.tallshipbounty.org)

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Aboard Tallship Bounty

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We have left Velocir for a larger ship!  Well, only temporarily to crew the tall ship BountyBounty was built in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia in 1960 for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie Mutiny on the Bounty.  A wooden ship- she is 180 feet long overall.  The height of the main mast is 115 feet. (www.tallshipbounty.org)

This ship is significant to us because it is how we met!  Grant was a professional crew member and Amelia was a volunteer when they crossed the Atlantic together on Bounty in 2009.  Being back on the ship three years later is a fun experience.  It is also a lot of work!  Bounty has over 18 sails to hoist, furl and many projects to attend to.

Tallship Bounty by Velocir

Our watch the first morning was from 4-8 am, so we enjoyed the beautiful sunrise on the calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay as the anchor was hauled up and we got underway.  We had spent the night near Turkey Point, where the C&D Canal and Susquehanna River part.  There was a lot more current here then we expected, and moving into the Delaware River the current picked up even more.Tallship Bounty by Velocir

During the day, the barque rigged tall ship Guayas from Ecuador (launched in 1976) moved past us in the channel just before the entrance to the C&D Canal. Many crew members were aloft in orange work suits and waved to us.

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From 12-4 pm is work party!  During this time the Bosun gives the off-watch crew (crew not on watch) maintenance projects to do around the ship.  Today all the lines were taken off the pin rails so that the wood could be oiled.  Amelia and other crew also went up to the top of the rigging to tar the shrouds while Grant hung off the side of Bounty to do some painting.  We’ve tried to highlight these interesting and unique projects in our videos!

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Amelia stood bow watch as we came into our anchorage.  Just for a fun challenge, the mates turned off the GPS and used traditional navigation (compass bearings and paper charts) to get us near shore.  We were only .2 miles from our intended destination, so we did rather well.  Dodging crab pots was also a challenge but we managed to avoid them all!

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Later in the day privateer Lynx anchored near us.  (www.privateerlynx.com) After we are at anchor Bounty goes into a rotation called “anchor watch.”  One person spends each hour on watch logging our GPS position, writing down the compass bearings of three specific buildings on shore, completing a boat check and pumping the bilges.  We spent the night off Newcastle, DE in anticipation of our next stop, Philadephia!

Check out more tallship activities at: www.sailtraining.org

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

The cost of cruising is always a hot debate.  The general rule is that the smaller you go, the less expensive.  Every foot of boat increases costs exponentially.  The Albin Vega is about the smallest one can go in, and we think our costs reflected that.

Many people are curious about these things, and we hope this is helpful for any planners out there. 

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Amelia has tackled the ominous mega-binder of everything Velocir to bring you a pretty fair outline of our costs.

Ways We Saved Money:

– Grant’s employee discount at Bacon Sails, so most of our budget was slashed 30%

– Buying a large portion of our materials and gear secondhand.

– Wedding gifts (tools, cookware, safety gear, SPOT, AIS etc)

– Lived with family and on Velocir while working

– Completed all installation and work ourselves

– Under age 26 (health care covered through parents)

– No debt to pay

– We were given hand-me-downs and many materials were lying around the family workshop

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Outfitting Costs:

How much do you spend before you even leave!?!  Many people, Grant included, are very wary of knowing the actual cost of outfitting Velocir.  Well, Amelia can’t calculate it 100% anyways because we didn’t keep perfect track. We’d also like to point out that we went above and beyond in preparation.  It was worth it for us, but many of these things certainly do not need to be completed before going cruising.  It was as much a journey as it was an education.  Velocir was not purchased to go cruising. Amelia got it with her Dad as a father-daughter project and completely re-built it from the hull up.  A budget-minded cruiser would probably buy an already outfitted boat to save time and money.  But then you can’t have it “your way” and know every inch of your boat. Ah, compromise.

Approximate Total Cost: $27,000 (without employee discount 30% more)

To see a slideshow of the work done on Velocir click here.

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

To give a sense of our discount here are a few stats:

– Our New Sails: $2768 (Retail $5500)

– Our Chain: 85 cents a foot (Retail $3 afoot)

Cruising Costs:

Our cruising costs are 100% accurate.  Every receipt was recorded into a spreadsheet and reviewed monthly. Our goal was to spend no more than $1000 a month.  As you can see, the average cost per month was $920, and could have been less if not for our towing incident!  The total we spent during 8 months was $7421.  It turns out, once the boat is cruising-ready, it is the cheapest thing we can do.  (Not many lifestyles where you do not pay to sleep at night.)

Month 1 (Annapolis, MD to Wrightsville Beach, NC)

We are still working out the kinks, but focusing on sailing not motoring.

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Boat Items: cleaning supplies, hose fittings, fasteners, extra manual water pump, deck wash pump

Misc Items: surf wax, cleaning supplies, books, postcards, fishing supplies, fishing license, etc.

Month 2 (Wrightsville Beach, NC to St. Augustine, FL)

A new toilet takes a chunk out of the budget.

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Boat: new Nature Head composting toilet, hose, installation parts

Dockage/Mooring: St. Augustine

Misc: fishing supplies, leisure

Month 3 (St. Augustine, FL to Marsh Harbor, Abacos)

We stock up on food before the Bahamas, get snorkeling gear & pay customs fees.

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Boat: oil, fasteners, hardware, paint

Dockage/Mooring: Cocoa, FL

Misc: Bahamian Customs, snorkeling gear, fishing gear, rum

Month 4 (Marsh Harbor, Abacos to Governors Harbor, Eleuthera)

Off on our own, not buying stuff.

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Dockage/Mooring: Spanish Wells Mooring

Misc: rum, beer, taxi

Month 5 (Governors Harbor Eleuthera to Georgetown, Exumas)

By a grocery store again, enjoy fresh food!

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Misc: rum, ice, festival tshirts

Month 6 (Georgetown, Exumas to Morgans Bluff, Andros)

Get stuck in Andros with no anchorage, fill-up on fuel for crossing.

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Dockage/Mooring: Fresh Creek, Andros 3 nights

Misc: straw market, Androsia

Month 8 (Fort Pierce, FL to Morehead City, NC)

Towing incident, then resort to motoring to get through the ICW.

Cost of Cruising: Albin Vega Velocir

Boat: tow offshore, hoses

Dockage/Mooring: Fort Pierce, FL (towing related), St. Augustine mooring & NC

Misc: books, taxi to customs, local art

Month 9 (Morehead City, NC to Annapolis, MD)

Fuel: $56

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