We are excited to share that Grant has been featured in SpinSheet’s March 2013 issue, sharing his knowledge of sails and how to care for them. Having inspected thousands of sails as an inspector for Bacon Sails and Marine Supplies in Annapolis, MD, he has always wanted to give a few pointers, hoping it would help others to extend the life of their sails.
Before Motu Iti, Amelia’s parents had cruised and sailed two other bigger 40 foot sailboats. One cruise was to the Bahamas for a year with a young family, the others summer cruises as a couple and with a young family.
They chose Motu Iti because her smaller size makes her easier to handle and take care of. Here is a video discussing the best aspects of downsizing to a smaller sailboat!! And, see Motu Iti’s blog on the topic here.
It can take a lot of creativity and hard work to make the interior space of a boat warm and inviting. Aboard Motu Iti, Nancy shows what she did to make the boat feel like home:
Sometimes we wonder why so many people, us included, live in places that are so dreary and cold a good chunk of the year. We are reminded of this every time we use Grant’s birthday as an excuse to visit a tropical locale. Three years running. Last year was on Velocir in Spanish Wells, Eleuthera.
We made a delicious turtle cake, making do with whatever baking pans were available.
For dinner, we skipped the sunset cruiser’s raft-up to enjoy some fine dining. We watched the sunset and the moonrise about 30 minutes apart.
Besides birthday celebrations, we’ve been reading, knitting, snorkeling and walking the beach. Relaxing in the Caribbean!
We stopped our lazy ways and got to work, taking Motu Iti out for a sail! The forecast was 10-15 kts with light chop. Sailing the Sea of Abaco, Motu Iti did a fine job gliding through the water, not wanting to heel too much even with some puffs.
At the end of our sail, Amelia got in the dinghy and anchored it, while Motu Iti sailed back and forth to get some great photos.
It’s hard to have good sailing pictures of your boat when you’re always on it!
Here’s some fun video of the sail:
We awoke at 0230 to drive to the airport. Three inches of snow on the ground…..great. We drove with one highway lane cleared and little salt on the road. We were almost to the airport parking lot when we slid sideways to a stop inches in front of a pole. Luckily, it was all very slow motion because we were not driving fast. Definitely the right time to get out of Annapolis, leaving Velocir in the snow, and head for the Bahamas to visit Amelia’s parents on their cruising sailboat, Motu Iti. (www.sailmotuiti.com)
Goldwin and Nancy have been relaxing in the Abacos this last month, and we are very happy to join them. Our first day was a bit breezy, but we headed over to a favorite of ours, Tahiti Beach, for some low tide nature viewing. The beach is a long sand bar that appears at low tide. The area is full of starfish, sand dollars, juvenile conch and other creatures.
Even though we have explored these waters before we always find something new, like this green starfish.
A rare sighting, this juvenile conch came out of its shell for us (trying to turn over).
The eyes always get us, they are oddly adorable making them extremely hard to turn into a meal. Luckily this one is not legally large enough to eat.
We zoomed around to a few good snorkeling spots. When Grant goes spearfishing he uses a pole spear with an elastic loop at the end (making it a homemade Hawaiian sling), dive weights to help him get down to look under crevices, a knife for safety and gloves to protect his hands from sharp lobster etc.
He found a spiny lobster in a grassy bank offshore, and speared it for dinner.
We also speared a few Lion Fish, an invasive species with no natural predators and dangerous spines. It is very much encouraged to spear them.
To finish our great day, Amelia made some conch fritters out of fresh-caught conch and a local batter Nancy had gotten.
It is hard to imagine that it was an entire year ago that we spent Thanksgiving aboard Velocir in St. Mary’s, GA: https://velocir.com/2011/11/24/happy-thanksgiving/
How time flies! We are thankful for family and friends this holiday season. Grant is thankful for our good health, Amelia is thankful for a life full of joy and Crew is thankful for treats……anything for treats.
Last month Velocir made it through hurricane Sandy’s strong winds unscathed. To prepare, we secured many lines to different connection points on Velocir and the dock. She was protected in her cove from the wind, so we just kept ready in case something happened but it was very mild. Our biggest fear was a tree falling, but luckily they held tight!
This week we winterized Velocir in anticipation of the long cold winter months ahead. We used environmentally safe anti-freeze and emptied the water tanks. There was a little fish in our water filter, so we set him free.
We even got out for a weekend sail with friends in mid-November, yay warm weather! The fall colors are a beautiful time to explore the tree-lined creeks of the Chesapeake Bay.
So much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!
Our trip last year to the Bahamas was a little underwhelming to our social life. We met some really terrific people, but learned that when surrounded by an older crowd the key is to have a baby around. Otherwise, as a young couple on a small boat you may as well be invisible.
Well, we’re not ready for a baby so hopefully the cutest puppy imaginable is the next best thing!?!?! Everyone is planning to invite us over to see their boat, go on a fishing adventure and explore a new beach now, right??!? Let’s have a long and fascinating conversation about our sailing adventures and the cruising lifestyle that doesn’t end with condescending comments like: “Do you know what radar is?” or “Do you have charts?”
So, we’ve had our hands full the last couple of weeks with our newest addition! This has been in the works for many months now, and it was finally decided that the Captains needed their “Crew.”
Crew is a Miniature Australian Shepherd. Today was his first puppy training day and he is at the top of his class with “sit” and “down.” He’s gone for his first swim, sailed in the new dinghy and likes to hang out on Velocir!
(All joking aside about babies and puppies, Crew brings joy to our lives that far exceeds any wistful social life….the part about being an invisible young couple on a small boat is not far from the truth.)
Just this last month we’ve started a new video series called “I’m On A Boat.”
It will cover all sailing projects and endeavors apart from our cruising on Velocir. Here are the first three installments about a Camper Nicholson 31 owner fixing fiberglass, gelcoat blisters and running rigging.
Hope you enjoy! And if you haven’t watched our other series “A Day in the Life: Cruising Albin Vega Velocir” you can watch at www.youtube.com/svvelocir
After spending time with family friends in Beaufort, SC, we are back to our trek northward. Every day we are trying to get 40-60 miles (8-12 hour days). We travel at about 5 mph. This is a lot faster than the way down, where we did 15-25 mile days, mostly under sail which made us usually slower.
We spent a rainy but beautiful weekend walking around Charleston. Some great food, a fun Farmer’s Market and sailboats racing in the harbour. The town is just restaurants, clothing stores and houses so we took advantage of the fine cuisine with a night out for sushi!
We enjoyed walking through the city last fall, but we especially enjoyed it in the spring with all the flowers out. We even stumbled upon the carriage houses of Charleston. There were 4-5 of these large buildings full of horses and carriages. One carriage looked like a Princess carriage and was all dressed up.
After two rainy days walking around town, we pulled up anchor on an equally rainy morning. We had two anchors down, a bahamian moor, because of the current (to keep us from swinging a lot). So, we pulled up our primary anchor first, fell back (down current) onto our secondary anchor and pulled it up. Charleston harbor is pretty mucky!
As we were heading out of the harbor we noticed a 40 foot Beneteau tacking back and forth under genoa sail alone. They were trying to head up current with less than 5 knots of breeze. Really, they were drifting backwards in the channel towards a bridge.
We realized their engine may not be working and they probably needed help. Sure enough, they were in need of assistance so we offered them a tow. They accepted so we readied our 120 foot long yellow 1” polypro line we tow our dinghy Raptor on. We have never cut it short in case of a situation like this where we received or gave a tow. Amelia led it to the winch for a strong hold, then threaded it back to the chock for a good lead.
Velocir was much smaller than them and we hadn’t towed anyone before, but we went slow and it went smoothly. Amelia tossed the line solidly, and they used the big looped end to secure it to their boat.
Grant maneuvered us across the channel over to Charleston City Marina, where two staff members were standing on a dock waiting for us. As we got closer, a trawler started to motor out of the narrow channel between the piers. The two young dock staff told us a boat was coming out of the marina and to get out of its way. We were up current and under tow, so we stopped, radioed them and asked that they give us the right of way. Actually, we kind of demanded it.
In the confusion of this, the boat we were towing decided they were close enough and let go. We didn’t really make a judgment call on this decision and just went with it. It was too early to let go. They drifted in the current to the left dock instead of the right dock (picture above). After making light contact with the sailboat on the left dock (people were onboard) another boat got it’s dinghy going and passed lines over to the right dock. Within 10 minutes they were all tied up and secure.
However, Amelia would like to point out that she saw a Charleston City Marina runabout boat on several occasions during our time anchored nearby. At no point did they attempt to assist in any way beyond having line handlers on the dock. Maybe there is some liability reason, but it seemed odd, because they were in radio contact with the sailboat and aware of the situation but did nothing to help.