We’re back in HIBERNATION and so the boys have come together for another podcast to help brighten things up a bit and bring you up to date on the latest from SYC. First off they chat with Chef Kol about a special Christmas in July food offer and then Commodore Ash takes the mic to fill us in on news from Club organizers.
David Suda gives us an Off the Beach update and John Chipp reports on some destinations he and his crew have been to in recent weeks. We round off the show by talking to David Keyes-Tilley about two of the Oasis crew Greg & Lynda Coombs who are stuck aboard their boat in Grenada. (You can read an account of their adventure below)
Our sailing story started in 2017 with a decision to make a break from the life we had been living & do something a bit left field, we have been avid boaters all our lives & had been involved in sailing at different stages. Travel has also been a big part of our lives so why not marry the two, sailing & travel.
We started looking for a suitable yacht to meet our needs, this search covered most of the world but concentrating in Europe & the USA , with yachts between 40’ to 50’ – Something that could be sailed shorthanded, after searching literally thousands of yachts we came across a center cockpit 48’ Sparkman & Stephens in Annapolis Maryland built in 92 on the east coast of the states, the yacht was built for shorthanded cruising & racing with a great custom fit-out a spacious 2 cabin layout with loads of living space & as with most American boats all the bells & whistles,
Purchased the yacht in June 2018 travelled to the states to inspect & have a survey done. Returned home to start preparation to pack up our lives & move to the states.
Moved to the states in March 2019, we worked on the yacht for 5 weeks before splashing her. We spent the next few months sailing around the Chesapeake bay area, getting used to our new home, we were not disappointed the yacht sails very well & is a true blue water performer.
Sandringham yacht club & Annapolis yacht clubs are associated & have limited reciprocal rights, we spent several evening enjoying their hospitality. Annapolis along with Newport are considered the sailing mecas for east coast sailing the amount of yachts is unfathomable,
We headed off from Annapolis heading north in June with our first taste of the Atlantic ocean from Cape May to New York, actually anchored directly behind the statue of Liberty an amazing experience, we sailed up the Hudson river & anchored around 79th street, & spent several days touring the Big Apple, one of our most memorable sails in New York Was sailing up the east river under full sails under the Brooklyn bridge & onto long island sound we completed several circumnavigations of long island during our summer of sailing, such an amazing place great sailing conditions with winds generally around 10 to 15 knt like many places you could spend a lifetime in these waters & not see it all
We sailed onto Newport Rhode Island & anchored out side the Newport sailing club more like a castle, as it happened that the 12 mt world championships were being held that week with 21 12mt yachts all pre 1986 competing 2 Australian yachts were there, Kookaburra 2 was one, sadly they are owned by an Italian, it was amazing to see all these beautiful yachts in the one place & racing hard we sailed onto Mather’s Vineyard & Cuttyhunk, where the rich & famous spend their summers, then sailed back to Annapolis for the Annapolis boat show, a Great opportunity to purchase some much needed yacht equipment prior to our crossing to Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean
Spring was well & truly upon us with winter just around the corner, by the time we departed Annapolis it was now November & cooling down.
The weather window for crossing the Atlantic this time of year was fickled with wild cold fronts coming off the US main land colliding with the warm air & seas moving up the gulfstream, we sailed to Norfolk Virginia & waited for an opportunity to leave, we waited about two week & finally a opportunity presented, we had a professional weather routing service provide a sail plan for us with way points & possible weather conditions.
We departed on our 6 day passage for Bermuda the first few day we uneventful crossing the gulfstream at Cape Hatteras with no issues, day 3 we were welcomed with a southerly front of 30 to 40 knt on the beam which lead to some conditions for the next 24 hrs , we were then greeted by a northerly change at 3 am with 55+ knt winds & 8 to 10 mt seas, with some quick reefing we were sailing with a storm jib only, surfing the biggest seas I had ever seen, we were seeing up to 15 knts on the down hill, after 3 hrs of hand steering I let the auto pilot take over, other than the initial shock of the size of the seas & the noise that is produces we felt very safe the SS handled the condition with ease, as no doubt most have heard the saying that the human fails long before the yacht, so its was back to the sea bunk & rest up, we sailed into Bermuda with a wet boat damaged main sail but alive, on arrival we leant the sad news that 3 yacht were missing & never found & one other yacht lost 3 crew overboard with one not recovered, welcome to the Atlantic.
We had good friend & sailor fly in from Australia to spend a month with use & help us on the next leg from Bermuda to Antigua this was a 7 day passage with some exciting sailing averaging around 175 nm per day , one day out from Bermuda we lost all our instruments for no reason, no radar no AIS no auto pilot, no plotter ,of course this happened at night, unable to find the fault, for some reason the auto pilot came back to life but nothing else, we used our phones & ipad to plot our course. On arrival in Antiqua all the instruments started working again & to this day have not faulted? Some say the Bermuda Triangle; there are lots of stories.
From our arrival in the eastern Caribbean until now we have been island hopping our way down the Island chain, it is a sailors paradise, trade wind that blow every day from the east between 10 & 25 nkt with the islands running north south latitude it is a beam reach up & down, without fail the temp 26 to 30 water temp 27 dgr
Some of the islands, Antiqua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada.
We had planed to sail up to the British virgin islands & USVI’s, onto the Bahamas but we have been waylaid due to the virus & locked down in Grenada for 3.5 months,
As it is now Hurricane season even if we could move it would not be wise, Grenada is on the edge of the hurricane zone it was last hit in 2004 by hurricane Ivan, which destroyed most of the island, so a lot of time is spent listening to the weather forecasts & always being ready to make a run for it if one is predicted or head for a hurricane hole in the mangroves.
Life in Grenada is pretty good, not to expensive, a large cruising community, we are located at Hog island on the southern end of Grenada, there are a few Aussies here & lots of drinking holes, beach bars, one is 200 mt from our yacht!! Need not say any more.
Going forward we have several options when things open up. One is to sail to the ABC islands off Venezuela & onto Columbia or Head north too the BVI’s Puerto-Rico , Bahamas, Cuba, & onto the western Caribbean, Belize then Haul the yacht for the next hurricane season & head home for a few months & get back to sandy yacht club
To Sum up its been one of the best things we have done, its not all beer & skittles there has been some tough time & home sickness can be one but the longer we are away the more relaxed we get, the more we look forward to the next destination & adventure
All the best to the members of the SYC
Greg & Lynda