Wednesday, 5 December 2012

some more pics

here are some more fun pics from our trip.

swimming in the middle of the atlantic. 13,000 feet deep water. 700 miles from any land.

arrival at the bitter end yacht club in Virgin Gorda BVI

Monday, 19 November 2012

Meal Plan

10 days at sea and you might be curious of our meal plan for our voyage.  Thanks in huge part to Rob's planning, ability to stash food throughout the various compartments inside the boat, his persistence with the fishing, etc. we managed to eat very well.

 Fresh Mahi Mahi from the fishing lines at the back of our boat quickly turned into Sashimi, complete with wasabi and soy sauce for dipping.  Grilled Mahi Mahi, with rice was another choice on the menu.
In spite of crashing through the waves while cooking, other meals included Lasagna from the oven, Steaks on the BBQ with a bottle of Red Wine, Thai Curry Mahi Mahi, Grilled Sausages with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, fresh Mediterranean Salad, eggs and bagels with fresh coffee in the mornings, and we even managed to have fresh fruit for the entire trip.  Needless to say, we ate well on our journey.

Way to go Rob!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sunrise and spinnaker

another in a series of catchup blog posts. please read below for another.
We will be making several posts tomorrow to catch up.
I'm a little late on this post, we've been having email problems from
the sat phone lately.

after 2.5 days of strong winds, steady 25 to 30 knots with gusts to 40
knots, and 20 foot crashing waves, the cockpit full of water and spray,
(youtube posts to follow when we get home), rain and thunderstorms,
excitement, etc. the winds finally subsided to 10 knots just in time for
sunrise on Wednesday morning, when we decided to launch the chute
(spinnaker). I'm in my glory! Having the spinnaker flying, pulling the
boat forward, the morning sunshine, me at the helm driving the boat
while sipping my morning coffee, does it get any better than this?
(This pic is just after launching the spinnaker at sunrise!)

On Wednesday afternoon the winds dropped completely. we had to motor,
stop for a couple of swims in the ocean, reel in a couple of Mahi Mahi
that Rob caught, which quickly turned into the freshest possible sushi
you could imagine, clean the boat, eat, sleep, swim, etc. its a tough
life out here!

after a day and half of motoring, and another excellent meal of fresh
caught grilled fish, we are now able to set sail again. only 435 miles
to go to the BVI's!

thanx for following everyone!


swimming and fish

We are stuck in a high pressure area with NO WIND.
I mean nothing at all.
The ocean is like glass most of the time although there is still a huge
gentle ocean swell of about 10 feet.
We are motoring towards wind at 25N 65W.
At least one other boat is running out of fuel.
We have such an easily driven hull that we could motor almost all the
way to the BVI's with our 50 gallons.

We stopped to go swimming yesterday and today.
Feels weird to jump off the boat with no land in sight and in 13000 feet
of water. Rob caught another Mahi Mahi last night and then another this
morning. We'll fry one up this time and have another for sushi.
We put up the canopy over the boom and we're mostly relaxing in the
shade and reading while the autopilot drives under motor power doing
about 5.5 knots.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

this boat goes to eleven

Where do I start?
On Sunday I went up the mast and fixed the minor problem.
Then later that same day Rob caught a fish. It was a Mahi Mahi
and we had fresh sushi for dinner.
Then late Sunday night the winds started to build.
We spent from then to Tuesday late night is huge wind and huge seas.
The winds were 20 to 30 knots with gusts of 40.
The seas were 10 to 20 foot rollers. They were just huge mountains of waves.
We again saw 11.0 knots on the boat, this time while on a reach in 40
knot winds and 20 foot waves. Fun and scary.
We had waves crash right over top of the whole boat.
The cockpit was regularly washed and one wave even drenched the inside.
Everything is soaked. All of our clothes etc.
And the marine rated expensive GPS antenna just shorted out because of
the salt spray in the last two days. We have backups.
Our main sat phone is also dead. We have a backup for that too.

Today after a grueling two and a half days we are
sunning in light winds with the spinnaker up and the autopilot on.
This is a well deserved rest.
The weather is 28C and we are all in shorts and t-shirts and we have
reggae on the stereo.
Tonight with the light wind and waves we can finally use the bbq.
Steaks and red wine for dinner!
Will post pictures when we have better connectivity.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

up the mast

After a glorious day of sailing yesterday we had variable direction 2-8
knots last night. Most of the fleet motored all night. we motored for 3
hours so we could keep moving or else the gulf stream would carry us
north. As the night fell we started to hear a strange creaking/groaning
sound from the top of the mast where the head sail halyard go in. As the
sun rose the sound was worse. Later today we are expecting 20+ knots.
Fearing that the jib halyard sheave was seizing and we would not be able
to douse the jib, the captain decided that the smallest lightest person
had to go up mast and investigate and oil it. Hmm, the captain (me) also
realized that at 6' tall I am the smallest person on this boat. This is
not a normal cross section of society. So up the mast I went. it wasn't
bad at all. If i wasn't afraid of heights I could enjoy it more. The
view was spectacular. The boat's pitching and rolling was not as bad as
expected. But everytime we hit a wave it felt like the boat stopped
under me and the mast and I were flung forward. creepy.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

I hear the mermaids singing

25 hours of sailing done!
We are in the gulf stream now.
The water temperature has risen from 11C to 23C.
8-12 foot swells with 15 knots of wind from the north.
We are 165 miles out from land.
Last night we heard dolphins (mermaids) playing in our bow wave. We
could hear them singing. We had phosphorescent plankton in our wake.
We had tons of shooting stars and just a sliver of the moon just before
sunrise. Most of the night we were well lit by Jupiter which was very
We also had a passenger. A small bird came to rest on our life ring and
actually took a nap for about half an hour and then flew away.

We can now literally smell the carribean! The ocean smell changed
significantly as we crossed into the gulf stream.

Friday, 9 November 2012

And...we're off!

Blue skies, blue waters, and the sails are set!

We set off this morning at approx 0720EST with a brisk north wind of 20knts while we sailed through the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. There was lots of traffic this morning in the Bay as we were heading out.

We're now clear of the Chesapeake and heading out into the ocean. The winds seem to have dropped out here so we're shaking out the Reef and going to hoist the Genoa and hope to be able to gain more boat speed to keep up with the other big boats in the Fleet.

Its a nice sail out here so far, still chilly so looking forward to getting into the gulf stream and some instant warm weather.

Stay tuned and we'll update how the sailing is going.

Paul _/)

I've Been Working on the Chain Gang

After many weeks of working on the boat - we finally head out to the "real" sea. Up early and excited.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


After 3 days of boatwork and waiting for our weather window it looks
like we are ready to depart.
The gulfstream is waiting for us and will take us east at 4 kts and warm
us up quickly.
I can't wait.


Fleet tracker

We all leave early tomorrow morning. This website
is the tracker website for the fleet.
Some of the fleet left last Saturday in advance of the storm that went through the middle of this week.
The seas in the gulf stream are 16 feet and steep right now but by the time we get there in one day they will be more moderate.
The important thing to remember is this is NOT a race :-)
We will of course be monitoring the positions of the other boats and carefully trimming our sails for optimum speed. We will win, i mean get there first.
Actually, since we have one of the smallest boats in the fleet we will likely be behind most boats.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Salty Dawg

We have joined the salty dawg rally.
The plan is to leave very early Friday morning (6am?)
This will get us into the gulf stream by daybreak on Saturday.

Thats all, just a quick update. We are still doing lots of boat work to get ready.

Monday, 5 November 2012

48 hours

here we are

We spent two days and nights sailing from Haverstarw New York to Hampton Virginia.
The first night we hit almost 9 knots with a double reefed main and no job in 33 knots of wind.
On the second night we hit 11.0 knots and regularly climbed over 9 knots in 22 knots of wind with a single reef and a storm jib. We shaved about 6 hours off our expected time to get here.
With our AIS receiver we have lots of visibility of the ships around us and feel totally safe in the pitch dark.
We are split into two shifts (2 on deck and 2 sleeping) with about a 4-5 hour shift. We plan to change it to rotating shifts so that we never have two exhausted people on deck at the end of a shift.

There is another storm coming up the coast with 60 knot winds. We are stuck here till Thursday or Friday. Our rally left one day early and so we got a refund. We are planning to hook up with another rally that is also leaving on Friday.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Good Morning Everyone!

Good morning to our followers.
The sun is up, and hopefully soon to warm us up. We had a great sail through the night passing Atlantic City to our Starboard. There's lots of shipping traffic out here off the Coast, good instruments and good visibility so we had no troubles.

Winds were most of the time between 25 to 33 knots. Giving us a max boat speed of 8.87 knots with a double reefed main only!! incredibly fast! The waves were between 2 to 6 feet.

its still cold, we need to get further South!!

Further updates to follow!

Take care.
Follow us on:

Paul _/)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

NYC skyline

we just crossed under the George Washington Bridge and approaching New York City.

Paul _/)

our track so far

check out our track so far today.
we plan to sail for 2-3 days to virginia.
Its 10C and 20 knots from the north.
We were doing 7 knots at one point with a double reefed mail and no jib.


Paul=) _/)
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.

We're on our way!

Well, we have gotten under on our journey, finally. We had a ton of work to do on the boat before we could leave. Its a sunny day so far, with a brisk wind from the north. Its really cold, and I'm looking forward to getting further south to some nice warm winds and water!

Its interesting seeing the perspective of the effects of the storm from the water as we pass by, I'll post some pics coming soon.

Just a quick post for now, for my first post on this Blog.
We share a glass of champagne for good luck and a safe journey.

Talk again soon!

Paul=) _/)
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Sandy Photo Album

Below is the photo album for hurrican sandy.

hurricane sandy

On the move tomorrow

Great news, our two other crew, Paul and Chris, have arrived.
Lots of work got done on the boat today and we are ready for offshore sailing.
New York harbour is open again as of this afternoon and we can sail on.
We plan to sail from Haverstraw in the morning and probably sail straight to Hampton Virginia.
The weather will be cold but the winds are very favourable.
Apparently it is snowing now at the nearby airport.
We now have a SPOT tracker on board.
At this link you can find our location updated every 10 min.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

limited access

We are both well and the boat is well.
There is disaster all around us.
Entire marinas are wrcked. Some boats at our marina are wrecked but
all in all our marina faired well. Our boat is completely unharmed.
Our docks were inches from rising overtop of the pilings.
The water stopped rising at just the right time.
At one point a set of docks from another marina came into our marina.
They drifted psdy our boat and smashed into other boats in our marina.
The nearby town of stoney creek is completely wrecked.
I walked through just as the national guard was letting residents back
to their homes.
Lots of crying.
Currently there is no power and limited internet.
Cell phone seems to work sometimes but not always.
We can send and receive texts and emails.
We just setup a method to send blog posts by email (hence this post)
Once we get full internet we will make a picassa album of the pics of
the disaster.


Monday, 29 October 2012

storm going away.

there is debri everywhere. i mean trees in the parking lot and floating everywhere. (they were floating in the parking lot). Around the safe house we saw 4 large trees get ripped out by the roots. when the safe house started to sway in the wind we left to a better place. we hid in the upper floor of the marina office (the lower floor was flooded) untill the waters started to recede. now we are back on the boat. the wind is a very gentle 30 knots gusting to 45. no more 76 knots.

storm storm storm

76 knot winds seen on my mast instrument. 12 foot storm surge. We left the boat for a safe house, the safe house flooded and started to fall apart. We are now at another safe house. The wind is starting to let up bit the tide is going out. The boat is safe. I feel better now.
OK, no more cute song lyrics, this is getting very serious.
The winds just gusted to 100km.
The owner of a boat two slips away is going to try to get to the marina with thoughts of bailing from here.
The danger is that we will get overrun with the storm surge.
Can we even get the boat out of here with these winds?
Can we find a safe spot to anchor on the Hudson?
Wish we knew....

rising tides

This is your captain,
We are about to attempt a crash landing,......

Captain says "watch the storm surge"
Captain says "watch the docks break free"
Captain says "cut the lines and motor out to sea"
Have some rum and relax,  ha ha ha 

This is going to be some day...............

This is the time, and this is the record (blog) of the time....

basically from one of my favourite artists

So, frankenstorm promises a historically high storm surge up to 11 feet in places.
Coupled with a spring high tide at the same time we may have all the docks float free of the pilings.
If that looks like it will happen we will cut the dock lines and motor out to the far side of the river (the lee side) and anchor out there. That's where the coast guard ships are settled in.

That's what my head says. My cozy, soft squishy side says hold on to shore.

we'll see.
pic is of spring high tide this morning before the surge. Very little margin left in the pilings.

and a random pic of the mast coming down in toronto.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Storm Front

We've got a low pressure system and a northeast breeze
We've got a falling barometer and rising seas
We've got the cumulonimbus and a possible gale
We've got a force nine blowing on the Beaufort scale
(Billy Joel - Stormfront)

We've done what we can.
We added a couple hundred feet more dock lines and Hammertime is almost in a hammock.
Certainly any spider would be proud of the web we created.
We went to town and bought beer, wine and rum.
Am I forgetting something, oh yes, we got food too.  Lots.
The holding tank is empty, the water tanks are full.
The batteries are charged and our diesel is topped up with a couple of extra jugs lashed to the boat.
We even did our laundry in anticipation of the power going out.

Now the hard part starts - we wait.....

There's a storm front coming
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming
Small craft warning on the radio
(Billy Joel - Stormfront)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

our exact location

our exact location is right here

this sattelite pic is old so that is not our boat under the green arrow. But thats where we are.

Twas two nights before Sandy
and all through the marina,
all of the creatures were stirring, even the mice!

Early this morning there was much scurrying.
People were arriving with dock lines in hand and heading to the boats to get them secured.
Special tie-down instructions have been distributed to everyone.
Some boats are covered in tarps and otherwise prepared for whatever may come.

"Batten down the hatches," is the mantra around here.

We got some great news this morning: we can stay here!!!
As  Pasquale was waiting in the office for our destiny, the staff were clearly answering many phone calls and turning all newcomers/hopefuls away.  Talk about luck!
Our lucky streak continued, as we got moved to a new slip.  Our original one was near the mouth of the harbour and Hammertime "rocked" whenever any other boat came or went.  The storm would have done worse. We are now centered in a double slip with dock-lines spider-webbed all around.  We should be good as long as the docks hold.  Looking at the (floating) docks makes one a little wary since it is evident that a lot of the welds holding everything together have already cracked.  Hmmmm.....

The other good news is that Hammertime is once again a sailboat.  We rented a car today and headed into New York to pick up the sails.  Getting to the marina was quite the adventure.
First, we knew that there was going to be a toll to get across the George Washington Bridge.  In anticipation, Pasquale and I were fishing through our pockets to see how many quarters we had.  Ha!  Quarters? The toll to get across the bridge was $12 !!!  The next segment of our trip was trying to figure out how to get to the 79th St. Marina.  Turns out that you need to go underground through an opening that is for authorized vehicles only and then snake your way through all manner of construction, vehicles, forklifts etc. until there are a couple of parking spaces under some subterranean tents.  We assumed the tents were to keep rabble from the dungeon from falling onto the cars.  The walk out of the dungeon brought an amazing sight.  We were on a walking/running/biking trail along the Hudson River.  There were lots of people out enjoying the day.  We got the sails and then had lunch at the cafe above.  Even though we were a bit down on the marina for how they treated us WRT the sails, this is definitely a place to go back to.  What a location.

When we got back to the boat, we found out that the Erie Canal is now closed.  In anticipation of Sandy, they closed the locks and started to lower the water levels.  We were told that high tide on the Hudson came two hours early yesterday - all due to the extra water they dumped down the canal.  Clearly people are taking the storm very seriously.  Not sure what will happen to the boats that are stranded somewhere in the canal, but I guess we are lucky to be where we are.  (I withhold the right to retract that last statement in a couple of days!)

We heard that there may be a run on food and other supplies.  We will still have our car tomorrow, so, hopefully we can get into town to get some provisions.  Will let you know how that goes.  The adventure continues.
.... and to all a good night!

Friday, 26 October 2012

It's just a jump to the left,
and a step to the right.
Where will Frankenstorm land?
Will it be a "hundred year storm?"
Buy your extra dock lines now.
That's the local chatter.

We got up early this morning and did a long motor (mad dash) directly towards Haverstraw.
Once again, we were wondering why we were the only boat heading south and everyone else was heading north???  Ahhh, what do they know?  Wimps.
From what we have heard, Haverstraw is about the best place to be to weather the storm.  We are in a protected harbour.  The  only bad news is that it is unclear whether they will let us stay here.  There is talk about  moving us to another slip, or sending us away to some other place.  We'll see.

Just to keep life interesting, we got confirmation that our sails are at the 79th St. Basin Marina.  Seems that because we are not going to show up there tomorrow (duh) they don't want to hold onto the sails for a few days.  So, tomorrow we will need to rent a car and go immerse ourselves into NY traffic.  How's that for hospitality and help in adverse conditions?  The ok part of this is that we get to see NY - maybe more than expected if we get our directions wrong - and hopefully we can stop to get a few last minute items plus maybe start accumulating provisions for the ocean segment.

The Hudson keeps getting bigger and wider.  Tides are also a major factor.  This morning we crawled for a while until the tides turned and gave us a push.  It is pretty clear why many do this part of the trip earlier in the year.  Most of the marinas down here have already shut down.  All of the boats are on the hard, the docks are out and lights are off.  This makes the logistics of planning each day all that more difficult.

That's it for today. Lots of excitement coming up!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012


hurricane sandy is bearing down on us (or so they currently predict).
Tonight we are docked in Kingston NY about 80 miles north of New York City.
In Google maps  there is a pic of a boat tied up right where we are.

The mast is up, the boom is up and all the rigging is setup. We can sail now except that we have not yet received our new heavy weather sails.

Our current plan for the hurricane is to motor down to Haverstraw NY which is known as a safe harbour for boats escaping storms on the NY coast. While there we will monitor the hurricane path predictions and figure out what to do.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Mast is up!!!!  yay!!!

lots of work to do tomorrow to setup the boom and tension the shrouds etc.
Need to build a motor mount for the dinghy motor and need to mount the dinghy and liferaft in a secure location.
Also need to install the solar panels.

AND....... hurricane sandy is heading our way :-(
Should we motor down to virginia now and get there just ahead of the storm or wait it out here and sail down after the storm passes.  decisions, decisions......

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Phew! 57 miles covered today.  At one time we were doing 8.54 knots over the ground (helped by a following river current). 9 more locks behind us. By lunch tomorrow we will be in Albany and picking up some items and doing work on the boat. By late Tuesday we should have our mast back up in Hop-O-Nose. That means New York by Thursday unless we doddle and do more boat work. In the pic you see us at the bottom of one of the highest locks in the world.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

This is Sailorob signing on.
I'm here to keep things honest.
Funny how every time a story is told, the wind speeds get faster, the wave heights get taller, the rum bottles get emptier, the appendage sizes get bigger...  oops, that might be enough.
Well, the boat is starting to look like a boat instead of the truck that you see on the intro to the Beverly Hillbilly's.  Today, we could actually turn around in the cabin.  For weeks we've been bringing gear on board for the various projects that still needed doing.  Of course, when we undertake a project, we spend at least half the time looking for various bits and pieces.  The most common line we hear: "Have you seen...."  At least one person reading this blog is going to get a big chuckle out of that sentence.  (That is also a mantra at home.)
So far the trip has been very interesting. The Oswego/Erie Canal has been, well, Erie.  Sounds like most of the cruisers went through a few weeks ago.  Each day we have seen no more than one other boat - going the other way.  Is there a message here????
From what we can gather, in the summer, the locks would be full of boats.  Now, we get custom service from the lock-keepers.
Pasquale just informed me that no-one wants to read a verbose blog, so I'll finish my third bottle of rum and sign off for the night.  Cheers!

Now we are motoring on the canal about 5 miles east of Rome New York. We spent the night in Rome. Yesterday we crossed the mighty Lake Oneida. Its about 15 miles long. The forecast was for 2-4 knots of wind and flat water.  Instead just after we started the crossing a storm hit us and we had 30 knots and 2-3 foot waves with some clumps of 5 foot waves.  exciting times with the mast on deck. All day long the only weather we had was while on the lake crossing. murphy's law i guess.
This morning we have beautiful mist over the autumn leaves.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

So we're off.
We set "sail" at 1pm Oct 16th.
Made it across and length of the lake in 22 hours. Since the mast is down on the deck (we have to have it down for the canal system in New York) we motored the whole way and consumed only 11 gallons of diesel in 22 hours of motoring; very encouraging for our ocean voyage.
We had 8 to 12 knot winds and 1-2 foot waves most of the time. At around 4am the wind built to 15-20 knots and the waves built to 3 feet. The front of the mast was in danger of being dipped in the water so we turned into the south shore to get out of the wind and waves. It was a very good move since the wind only built.

We are now at winter harbour marina just at the entrance to Lake Oneida. the winds today were gusting to 30 knots and we elected not to cross the lake. We have crossed 8 locks so far and have 22 to go.
Below you see the latest addition to to boat. A fruit hammock. Thanks to Chris M who intended it for wet clothes.

our location on the map.,-76.160038&hl=en&num=1&t=h&z=17

Monday, 8 October 2012

shakedown sail

We made lots of changes to the boat and the 4 of us went for a shakedown sail.
We reached back and forth across the lake overnight and logged a large number of miles.
The night was rainy and cold and stormy. As the storms approached we saw the wind go from 9 to 20 and down and up again repeatedly. We made the cautious move and took down the head sail and reefed the main just in case we got 30 or 40 knot gusts in the middle of the lake.
We never saw more than 20 knots but Hammertime was sailing a steady 7+ knots on a reach and close reach under a reefed main alone. What an awesome boat.

We learned somethings about our clothing. It was inadequate. Rain, 10C and dark can be very very cold. We had some minor issues with the new autopilot but overall it performed very well and it handled about 80% of the driving.

Next, mast down and motor to Oswego.
We're in scramble mode now. Making sure we have all the paper work, clothing, parts etc for the trip.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Ok so this is the blog for HammertimeII's trip to the Carribean. Not too sure how we'll use this. Probably post daily status and interesting things we see or adventures (storms etc). I guess we can post pics here also. We may default to FB or this or maybe use both. We'll see.

The trip is about 3000 miles. The first few hundred will be motoring with the mast down. the last 2000 will be sailing in the Atlantic.

The boat is nearly ready. We had a "work party" this week where we all worked late into the night and slept on the boat and then started working again in the morning. The mast will come down next week in preparation for motoring down the hudson river (lots of bridges) to New York where the mast will be put up again and we sail out into the Atlantic and down to the carribean (with a stop in virginia).

Paul, Rob, Chris, and I (Pasquale) are well prepared and will be doing a 30 hour sail this friday/sat. The goal is to do a man overboard drill at least 8 times. One each with a different person at the helm and in daylight and darkness. We may also test out our drogue and will be testing reefing the main to the 1st and 2nd reef with each of use doing the reefing single handed.
On the way down to Virginia we will pic up a life raft and other items needed for survival (hopefully never to be used).