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Friday, November 5, 2010

TO PORT,........TO STARBOARD, .... AND IN BETWEEN ........



Rumor has it that one of AMERICA's biggest legal battles began right here in this dinghy, tied to the Government dock in CULEBRA P.R. ................



With HURRICANE TOMAS hovering over HAITI, where there is already nothing left to take, the winds in CULEBRA P.R. are being sucked into the vortex at 20-25 knots (30mph), ....... We have the 'hook' down in Bahia Honda, and riding it out like a "cowboy on a bronco"............. The little red boat anchored in front of us last night, is behind us this morning ........... Small shock for us, bigger shock for him ............ But on the PORT side of us, is another classic wooden yacht called "FLYING CIRCUS", whose people we had met previously ............ Suddenly there appear to be new people on board, and we soon discover that they are the real owners and the others are care-takers ............ The owners LON and ROSIE, go at it from sun-up till dark, despite the tremendous wind and grey skies, doing repairs and restorations .......... They have ten days to do the upgrades, before flying back home to "FRENCH POLYNESIA" where they manage a huge superyacht for charter work in MOOREA, the island of dreams............... Captain Lon (that's Capt. LON, not Capt. RON)........has owned this beautiful ketch since 1975 .............. She was built by William Albury in MAN-O-WAR CAY in the BAHAMAS, of Island pitch-pine on oak ................ And in the conversation with them over 'sundowners', it comes out that their crew-member sitting back in Polynesia, spent a considerable amount of time being the caretaker of the yacht "ARITA" when she was in CAPETOWN, SOUTH AFRICA............... So much so, that he is currently busy restoring a JOHN ALDEN yacht himself .............. Says "he fell in love with ARITA's design" ........ We all know how that feels ............. So why then, when the wind is blowing so much, does the wind generator on the mizzen mast refuse to do its job? ...............



Built in 1956, 'FLYING CIRCUS' is in remarkably good shape .............And has some really traditional features, like this rack and pinion steering gear, all cast in bronze, attached to a transom-hung rudder, and a 'bumpkin' on the stern, to hold the rowing dinghy, (No joke in this weather), and no life-lines ......... Not sure if that's traditional .........But in the category of 'sensible', are these fiber-glassed decks, the envy of ARITA's crew .......... Great people, kindred spirits, who we hope to see again during our Pacific crossing to Australia...............



Which brings us to "THE IN-BETWEEN" .......... There are many things on a yacht that mostly go un-noticed ................ This little hold-all, just inside the cabin has the tools and lights that you grab from the cockpit for "what's wrong now........" type situations, and the yellow EPIRB (emergency-positioning-indicating-radio-beacon) is for the "beyond what's wrong now........." situation ..............There is also the pair of long-nosed pliers for pulling out fish hooks and the flame-thrower for lighting the bar-b-que and burning rope ends ........... Stuff you just have to have ............ But way more important than any of that, is VENTILATION AND MOVING THE AIR .............No point 'In searching for palms' in the tropics, if you don't have fans and hatches ...............That little round stainless steel deck sky-light has a solar-powered fan beneath it, sucking in the air to ventilate the "Queen's" hanging closet .................Queen's closet....... Most important ..........



The sunshade cools down the deck and the cabin top, but the hatches and especially the tent over the forward hatch, works wonders in bringing air below ........... Drop that tent down a few degrees and it makes it rain-proof, so that even during rain we have air down below ................And the stainless steel mast-rail is another blessing .... Holds lines, fenders and is a great place to hang on to, during heaving seas when reefing the mainsail and pulling on halyards ........... Don't know how they manage it on those beautiful polished fiberglass production boats ........... Where would you tie up your pony? ........... Then again on those production boats they have their electrics neatly bundled and labeled, not like our 'spaghetti' but then again, look how much we need to get into that small space ............. When the lid comes down, you won't see any of that .............. So glad........



Now to the STARBOARD SIDE of us, in the anchorage ............ The land side, on which there are iguanas, flowering trees with giant seed pods, and water-edge restaurants, and on the hill is a closed-down factory............ The 'DEAD-RAT FACTORY' ............ This was the factory in which they produced rats for the U.S.NAVY ...........For years, Puerto Ricans wanted the NAVY to leave ......After all, who wants to live next door to a bombing range .......... Eventually they did ......... In return, they stopped buying rats ........... The rat factory is now DEAD ........



Not sure why the U.S.NAVY wanted rats ....... I know they use canaries in mines, and I know that rats won't stay on a sinking ship .............. Oh, no, ........ Say it ain't so .......




And maybe I should retract what I said about fiberglass boats, for look what just anchored beside us, on starboard.............. Seven miles of sailboat, worth at least the deficit of a depressed country ................ And just a little too close in 25 knots of wind ...............

Should I go over there and tell them that they are exactly where the little red boat ended up this morning? ................ Nah .............Lets wait and see if the yacht lives up to its name ................ " SUNDOWNER "



video


And because we have two new underwater cameras coming from EBAY, we just had to include some 'fishy' underwater video that "The Queen of Florida and the Bahamas" took while swimming with the 'Heiress' at the island of LUIS PENA near Culebra P.R. a week or so ago ...................... Size is everything ............... Don't let anyone tell you otherwise ...............

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