Posted by: suliere | March 23, 2013

Tarpon Under Our Bed

Yes… two 6foot long specimens sitting under our boat here in Lauderdale Marine Center for a few days – they chase the small fish.

Lesley is now here and we are in provisioning mode for our departure. The issue being do we, as a UK flagged boat, go down to Key West and across to Cuba or do we go to Cuba via the Bahamas? Also … how do we get back? We hear that the USA is not keen on even foreign boats coming back to the USA directly from Cuba.

Yesterday we installed our Spinex system and finished filming the first part of the Top Down Furling video … the film shows the path we took to end upo with the simple two click system for changing sails.

Thats it for now from Paul and a catchup from Lesley –

It transpired that hurricane season was to become a complex time for me with my family.  October saw us steeling ourselves for a sad and untimely bereavement closely followed by twelve surgical operations with varying degrees of severity and success. The most intense and distressing of times being my eldest daughter’s spinal surgery which resulted in 4 operations in 8 weeks and a wound that took four months to heal.

Lesley leaves a snowy UK for the sunshine of Florida

Lesley leaves a snowy UK for the sunshine of Florida

Needless to say it was with mixed feeling that I eventually seized the day and booked my flight to Join Paul aboard Suliere in Florida.  I arrived feeling fragile, exhausted and lucky but somewhat guilty as within days of my departure the UK was besieged by the heaviest downfall of snow seen in March for over 100 years.

BBQ anyone?

BBQ anyone?

Three weeks of Floridian sunshine can work wonders on one who arrived so pale and wan and as each day passed I felt my spirits lifting, a gentle process of settling in with the warmth of the sunshine melting away those winter blues.

20130331 Easter Florida Boca Ratan Delray Beach 8

 

Early days were spent reacquainting myself with my own belongings which was novel, followed by some therapeutic clearing and rearranging of cupboard space, this fully engaged me in the task of getting back into live aboard mode. Easter saw us having a great day out with Stan and Elaine,  a visit to  Boca Ratan, Delray beach and  Wakodahatchee Wetlands Park all great places and new to us. 20130331 Easter Florida Boca Ratan Wakodahatchee Park 11

 

20130331 Easter Florida Boca Ratan Wakodahatchee Park 23

 

Florida is a great place to be and Paul had been very busy putting many new systems aboard to make life easier. With more time on his hands than expected, he was able to initiate jobs that we might not have had done for the next couple of seasons.

With most of the work complete it was time to provision for the months ahead.  Knowing we would be heading to Cuba at some point for several weeks, we decided to take advice from  the cruising guides and blogs which suggested it was essential to stock up on all staples so that we had everything that we needed  with us.  Any fresh fruit and veg that we found along the way as would be an added bonus.  We also purchased a box of soap bars, toothbrushes, tooth paste, shaving gel, disposable razors, nail varnish, lipstick, children’s crayons and paints, note pads and more as gifts to hand out in Cuba.  Although the Communist community provides most things they are rationed and strictly regulated.  When these items run out they are very expensive for the locals to buy.

 

So with Suliere’s cupboards filled to the brim and everything looking ship shape me thinks its time for an adventure…….


Responses

  1. Paul, First of all we’d like to thank you for taking the time to show us the many additions you have made to Suliere, your St Francis 50, a most impressive display of technology… a bit too complicated for our level of technical ability I’m afraid but you seem to understand it all.

    I did want to clear up a few discrepancies regarding your entry about our unfortunate accident on the Chesapeake Bay last fall, which frankly, I was a little startled to see writ large on your blog for the world to see….most embarrassing for me personally

    The fact is that I was at the helm one dark night last October and ran into an unlighted day marker. We notified the Coast Guard and the marina that was responsible for maintaining the light and have resolved the entire matter in our favor, thank goodness!

    I must say that Duncan and George at St Francis were extremely helpful and leapt into action once we informed them of the problem. They promptly arranged for Sparcraft in Capetown to crate and airfreight the parts we needed to BWI. All of which they did at their expense while we waited for our insurance check. The only glitch was that apparently factories in the new South Africa are required to close for over a month over Christmas and we did not get the parts until January 19th! Georgetown Yacht Basin did an outstanding job bringing our beautiful boat back to pristine condition and we left for Florida on the 26th, on the coldest day of the season no less!

    This unforeseen and most unfortunate event did allow us time to have Georgetown install our fabulous new Cruiser RO water-maker, which we highly recommend (http://www.cruiserowaterandpower.com)

    As you saw we finally made it to Ft Lauderdale and hauled out to put rope cutters and new seals on our sail drives which had eaten some monofilament line along the way and were damaged. We should have taken heed of your installation of line cutters on Suliere last summer at Georgetown Yacht Basin.

    We brought our boat up to the Chesapeake Bay on July 7th 2012 where we had the most wonderful sailing season in the Chesapeake and a beautiful trip up to Maine for three weeks in August. Steven was a commercial fisherman in Maine in his 20’s so he quite experienced on the water. That being said we sailed many weeks this past year and almost every weekend with family and friends.

    We are most thrilled with our St Francis 50 – except for the helm seat which we also noticed you upgrade to a Stidd which we are planning to do also. I did like the two little cleats you had put on the back of the boat – we will be putting them on at some time this spring

    You did leave us with some concern about our main halyard which we have had checked out. We did find that we were incorrectly lashing the halyard to stop it clanging against the mast at night, when at anchor and it was chafing against several bolts and fittings which had begun to chafe the line. We have corrected our mistake and foresee no further problems with the halyard, Thanks for the heads up though.

    All that said I would leave you with words from Mark Twain:

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

    • Bonnie
      First of all all i did was comment in my diary blog about your unlucky start. After you announced your crash into the Bouy in public at the Miami boat show I thought it was OK for me to place a comment about my sympathies. Having a rope around your prop is hardly a new thing – I have also done it and indeed had rope cutters fitted. In any event I learnt from a mutual friend that you were offended and so deleted that paragraph in which i expressed the hope that you had plain sailing from now on.

      Now I feel, I must reply to your points:-
      1. “The fact is that I was at the helm one dark night last October and ran into an unlighted day marker. We notified the Coast Guard and the marina that was responsible for maintaining the light and have resolved the entire matter in our favor, thank goodness!”
      All I wrote is what you had made public – that you hit a bouy at night – I had already deleted this before you even responded to me. I still consider that bad luck and hope your troubles are behind you. There was no more to it than that. I already understood that the bouy was in the correctly charted position and should have been lit, which it was not. I was alongside you at Georgetown Yacht Basin. Just 15 foot away was your boat with a building being built around it having had the cross beam bent into a V shape and the ;ladder between the tramps smashed into the body of the boat. Yet i did not publish a word or use the photos anywhere because I thought you may reasonably object. Having heard you joke about it all at the boat show in a talk to a packed tent, I thought the mentioning of it with empathy was in order.
      So Bonnie nothing I stated was incorrect – it was all true and written in a spirit of understanding.
      2. “As you saw we finally made it to Ft Lauderdale and hauled out to put rope cutters and new seals on our sail drives which had eaten some monofilament line along the way and were damaged. We should have taken heed of your installation of line cutters on Suliere last summer at Georgetown Yacht Basin.”
      Yes installed because we had also wrapped a rope around our props. No big deal and again nothing I stated was untrue or put in other than a sympathetic manner. You had both sail drive seals replaced – that was clear from the work in the yard so your explanation of mono around the props surpasses me.
      3. I fully appreciate that you will defend Duncan/St Francis marine at any cost. You are however rather making the issue of the mains falling down on a number of St Francis 50’s a little foggy and rather twisting was I told you. The fact is that mains have fallen down on three boats to our knowledge – there could be more. Ours was because the sail was made to high – the P value was wrong. We had to have the sail shortened. Others like on delivery boats I do not know the reason for but i can tell you that the excuse you offer for those cannot be valid.
      4. “Paul, First of all we’d like to thank you for taking the time to show us the many additions you have made to Suliere, your St Francis 50, a most impressive display of technology… a bit too complicated for our level of technical ability I’m afraid but you seem to understand it all.”
      That sounds like Duncan double speak Bonnie! Nothing I showed you was high tech/complicated. The design fault that allows saltwater all over your water maker, the need to inspect your main halyard, the need to upsize your blocks before they fail as they surely will being undersized according to the manufacturer. Nothing on Suliere that is what you call Hi-tec has gone wrong. Its all the basics that were wrong time and time again. Over $120,000 has been spent getting Suliere right. I have a great deal of experience on how to improve and fix SF50’s and was just trying to help with no gain to me.
      I was surprised that you did not consider it important to go through the list of mods, fixes and upgrades on Suliere when you were here. All we had was a hurried discussion on just some points. These included your need to upgrade your blocks on the main/traveller – three boats have failed on that one. The list of things I was trying to advise you on are basic. So please do not accept the totally untrue propaganda from Duncan about all the hi-tec things being the issue because I for one will not allow that to be spread.

      I think we should just accept we are different people and not really bother commenting on each other in the future.

  2. Well done Lesley for getting there. I hope whatever the troubles are at home that they have finally been overcome.

    So, you have got the sails, all else has been done, the entire boat has been polished!!!! Now when are you actually going to set off southwards 🙂 ?

    All the best.

    Mike

  3. Yes entire boat polished but on top is the daily I95 deposit of soot and oil!
    We are in the final days of provisioning and just need to decide to head south Wednesday or wait until after the Easter rush.


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