Island of tides

We arrived in France about 9am and tied up at the Yacht Club of Saint Pierre. Yes, there are French territorial islands just off the coast of Canada.
The town was beautiful, a cross between New England and European architecture with Caribbean colors. We checked in with Immigrations, then Customs. Lisa our resident Mass State Trooper traded patches – receiving the National and Local border control patches for hers. The Customs agents were friendly and provided information on the local restaurants and markets. We headed into town for breakfast, but found many places closed and settled in at a nice cafe.
We returned to Tioga and the crew was able to shower, finally. Dan decides to do a quick load of laundry – 2 hours later, having difficulty opening the dryer door, ready to peel it open with a crowbar, the nice woman at the desk came to assist – European dryers must open differently than those in the US.

The crew headed back to town and split up – Philip and Peter went on a hike into the hills to launch Moby for some aerial recon and photos. Lisa, Dan, and Steve went to a local pub to check out the beverages. Difficulties with Moby, was the only disappointment of the hike. The top of the hillside provided spectacular views of the town, the coast, and islands.
The crew reunited at a local street party with live band and drinks. At 7:30 we headed to dinner where special guest chef Stephan Ro-Bear made an appearance. The crew dined on escargot, scallops, smoked cod, and redfish. We stopped back in the pub for a nightcap (or 2) and headed back to Tioga for a well deserved sleep sans watches.

We awoke this morning to dense fog and headed to breakfast at one of the recommended restaurants. It turned out they served toast, croissants, and baguettes – that was it.
We took a water-taxi to Ile aux Marins – Island of Tides. This small island, with 20 year round residents is like stepping back in time. The only vehicles on the island are a 4 wheeler and a few sit-n-ride lawn mowers. We visited a fort (4 cannons), a shipwreck (20 feet of the bow), a church and graveyard. Very similar to Cuttyhunk with its small houses, abundant vegetation, and ocean views. The crew agreed this island was a highlight. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the island’s restaurant and museum and boarded the ferry back to Saint Pierre and another night of fine local hospitality.



A long weekend in P-town

We took advantage of the long Independence Day weekend and sailed from Nahant to Cohasset (where we anchored and barely got the cockpit cover up in time to stay dry during the Thunderstorm and to get the grill going) and then on to Provincetown the next morning (on the Northern tip of Cape Cod); all’n all roughly 50nm.

The weather turned out to be much better than forecast (as always in P-town), we found a good anchor spot close enough to shore (to avoid the by now horrendously expensive moorings that resulted from a new company investing heavily into big boat slips) and had a great time in the fabulous town.
We met Linda’s brother Bill and partner John, had cocktails in numerous bars, strolled up and down Commercial street, rented bikes to enjoy the amazing bike paths through the dune to Race Point & Herring Cove and enjoyed good dinner conversations with the crew from Lois (ie Henry, Jen and Blue).
The piano player in the Crown & Anchor did not disappoint, the A-House pushed our nightclub experiences to new levels and a long stroll along the beach brought peace of mind.
The initially single floating house in the bay (actually designed in Austria by our friend Kilian) has by now grown into a small collection of floating structures. Most of them are moored across the bay in the cove where we also counted roughly 50 seals (and no great white sharks (yet)).

The sail home was pleasant and a little calm. We only saw one whale, but better than nothing.

Can’t wait to go again.

Btw – except for the captain – we had an all female crew and it was great to see how much they had learned during the previous Atlantic sails – it can be done, girls!


Moments aboard Tioga on Father’s Day

What do six friends talk about while eating dinner in the cockpit of a sailboat floating in Bermuda?
We would tell you exactly the subject of those discussions, however, this is a family blog.

By the way, our crew is now complete. Pete and Dave arrived three days ago to start getting the boat ready, followed by Philip and John, then Dan and as of tonight Josh. We all know each other well so the barbs fly. It’s one of those welcome situations when you’d feel left out if nobody busted your chops.

For the first time in three days, we have more than two cubes of ice, which we know will make James Devereaux jealous back in Nahant. We’re drinking Dark and Stormies and there’s nobody here to keep track of how many rums we’ve had.
Besides, we’re not going anywhere. We’re livin’ the pirate life right now.Bathing in the salty sea, carrying jugs of water to the boat, buying groceries for our trip back to Nahant later this week.

All joking aside, it’s a lucky moment that we’ve landed here aboard Tioga, the elegant 44-foot Alden sloop that has carried crews all over the world.
Today was the second day of the America’s Cup races where America’s Oracle racing team got slammed by the Emirates New Zealand team.Some of us watched the action televised at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, where the action on the water was easier to see and understand because watching the race from the waterfront was simply too distant.

Today is also Father’s Day, and we’re six fathers all with children. So it’s odd that we’re not with our families, but this kind of adventure is important to us. It makes us brothers.We’ll always have this time to share and remember.
Luckily we also have more one thing in common: we all miss our families and appreciate their support of our thirst for high seas adventure.

The Kiwis Take Two

The Tioga Sailors get a front row seat to the greatest sailing spectacle.

Last night, Peter and Dave enjoyed a fabulous night of watching the sunset waiting for Captain Philip and John to arrive. Many flight delays in Boston and NY had the Captain and Johns arrival at sunrise this morning. Thanks to a friendly customs officer showing her true Bermudian hospitality- their hitchhiking to Grotto Bay was short lived. Dave left early to catch the photo/press boat and the rest tried to catch up on sleep. We got up and had a quick swim and left for the race. We arrived at the Hamilton Ferry dock only to find the next ferry would not get us to the race in time. Our luck changed when we approached a few Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sailing instructors who were heading to the race in their boat. They grabbed three extra life jackets and we were on our way. The spectator boats lined the course, copters flying over head, giant jumbotrons, and thousands of well healed, semi-sober, Rolex wearing, race fans were everywhere. We arrived just a few minutes before the start, and the major mis-queue by Team Oracle crossing the start line early. The day didn’t get much better for Team Oracle as they lost both match races. After the races we headed for Bone Fish for drinks and to find Uncle Dan – who was entertaining a group of US Coast Guardsman by telling old GI Stories – thankfully it didn’t include the Goat Joke. We then headed to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club for a cold drink! We were awed by their silver trophies and half hull models. We retired to the Cedar Bar in the Club that was relocated from their original location about 85 years ago. Only True sailors would relocate a bar! The Club manager provided us with a little RBYC history. We headed back to Grotto Bay and the waiting Tioga. John was able to get his luggage that was presumed lost at some unknown airport between Boston and Bermuda. Cheese and salami nicely aged on the tarmac. Dave arrived at the dock shortly after and we are now settling in for a cool peaceful nights sleep. Tomorrow we’ll see if Team Oracle can post some sort of comeback.


We need to move the Dory Club to Antigua

The highlight of the day was clearly the hike up to Shirley Heights (the lookout above English Harbor). It started with a water taxi ride across the harbor from Nelson’s Dockyard, followed by an amazing path to various lookouts before turning uphill to get to Shirley Heights on the top.
As every Sunday, Shirley Heights was filled with an eclectic mix of people (sailors, regular tourists, locals, a steel band and a regular band), offered bbq’ed food and lots of rum punches. We ended up dancing for a couple of hours and had a great time.
In other words  a great party at an even greater location.
The sun had set when we arrived at the top and the harbor was lit up by a see of anchor lights. In our opinion one of the best views (if not the best) in all the Caribbean.

All this fun was a nice finish to a busy day. We started in the morning getting the new crew up to speed on the equipment of the boat, safety procedure etc. We checked the ditch bags, completed the food plan and had Roger review our medical equipment (now that we finally have an actual doctor on board).
A lot of time was spent, trying to figure out if and how we could use the alternator without a regulator (even Bob Hansen, of Hansen Marine – the Westerbeke dealer in Marblehead did not know). We still do not know, but made the decision that is was ok to at least install it and get it ready for use. Of course the new alternator did not fit into the current bracket and we went ahead cutting the brand new alternator into shape (it clearly no longer looks brand new anymore, but now fits into the bracket). It is now wired without the regulator but still does not charge the batteries.
Ulf and Roger motored over the Catamaran Marina and got the contact details of the local alternator expert. We will connect with him tomorrow at 7:30 and try to get him to come to Tioga and help us out. We’ll see how that works out as we are still missing half of the wiring harness…

Arrived in Antigua

When the sun came up, the clouds had moved on and we had a beautiful, yet sportive finish upwind to Antigua. While Antigua Classics had not begun yet, we came across quite a few spectacular boats that were practicing before the big date.

As before, Antigua or Falmouth Harbor (where we are anchored) did not disappoint. There were lots and lots of amazing boats at the docks (a lot of them classics, but also the Maltese Falcon and lots of other modern superyachts were tied here), the mooring area was filled with boats and the Antigua Yacht Club had renovated quite a bit.
UNESCO world heritage site, Nelson’s Dockyard, is where we went through customs & immigrations and had a brief look a the wooden boats moored stern to.

After a meal on the boat and a few repairs we caught on sleep (hence this delayed post).
Hopefully, we will get our electricity challenge under control so that we can run the fridge again.