Time to give up our easting!

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With the COVID blues mostly behind us here in Florida, Lennie and I had to decide what to do with the boat for hurricane season. No chance we are staying in St. Thomas and dealing with each storm skirting by. We need to get the boat out of the H zone and before June 1st. We have been waiting and watching to see if the Caribbean will “open up” but it never does. In fact, we keep getting news of new lockdowns. Some boats are headed for Grenada but the restrictions and quarantines don’t work for us so we decided to sail her home.

Stretch her legs

Even if there wasn’t a storm season, I think we would have left St. Thomas and St. John anyway. We just needed to get the boat moving. It needs to be used and sailed – or maybe that is what we need. We flew to St. Thomas with a fresh COVID test and began our provisioning. We planned on a week’s sail back to Fort Lauderdale and we were excited. After discussing the route with Chris Parker, our weather router, he suggested a departure 2 days later……and suggested a strong cold front would prevent us from crossing the gulf stream 6 days later, so now we need another COVID test to enter the Bahamas where we would stop. We headed to the clinic in St. Thomas and waited in line for a test which was promptly emailed to us. So now we were good to leave. We had my friend Mike to help us with the delivery. He knows the boat well since he helped us sail it down in the fall of 2019.

It takes a day or two

Passages, even short ones are full of adventure and require a lot of planning. You think about it constantly and focus on your preparations. You start watching the weather and going over your checklists. No matter how well you plan there is nervous excitement when you actually set out. As captain Ron says “if something is going to happen it’s going to happen out there” and so we left the harbor and headed over to Culebra in the Spanish Virgin Islands to chew up a few miles and wait for the weather to calm per Chris’s recommendations. It’s a short trip of about 18 miles but the winds were howling and the seas were 10’. We anchored in a beautiful bay and took a Rose’ dinghy cruise and headed off to bed early. Around 6 we woke and raised anchor and headed offshore. We would be about 30 miles north of san Juan by afternoon and leaving the coast of Puerto Rico by midnight. Even though we had sailed together for years we all had to settle into our movement, watch schedules, cooking, cleaning and boat maintenance schedule. After a few days it becomes normal and you realize the peace and serenity of being on passage. We were fortunate to have great wind for 4 days which pushed us along at 7.5 average knots all the way to the Bahamas. We flew the Parasailor, code zero and asymmetric spinnaker as the winds shifted like a cat’s tail from north east to south east and back again. It was a fantastic trip with very little motoring which is all we did on the trip down 14 months earlier. The days flew by. It’s hard to explain but none of us had time to read with all the activities of fishing, sailing and working on the boat. Nights are always Lennie and my favorite and it’s wonderful to be out there alone and contemplating yourself, your boat and the ocean around you. Its magical.

Back to the Bahamas

 Lennie and I have cruised the Bahamas for over 20 years so everywhere and everything is familiar to us. We realized that in our rush to get the boat home we forgot that stopping here would be a great diversion. Besides, we didn’t have to be north of Cape Hatteras until July 1st according to our insurance policy. We arrived in Great Exuma and tied up in Emerald Bay Marina. This place is wonderful with a great restaurant overlooking the ocean right across from the marina. Mike flew out that day to get back to his own boat chores as he owns one in Antigua and another in San Francisco Bay. I guess you could say we have inspired him and his wife with this sailing lifestyle and they are all in   Lennie and I spent another day on the boat and look forward to returning for a few trips before completing the trip back to Florida. Yes it feels great to be on the move again……..

 

 

30 Responses

  1. Ben Acaster

    Parker was good to us when we were in the Bahamas for 4 months last year.
    Safe sailing and all the best.

  2. Mike Bevers

    Sounds like a great trip. I helped deliver my friend’s Beneteau 361 from St Thomas to Peurto Rico in January, and flew back down in February for 4 days of sailing. Him and his friends have chartered a Lagoon 42 out of Porto Dey Ray Marina and I’m in charge of the cat. Heading down March 25th and returning April 4th. We’ll take his boat and the cat out for a week with 11 of us.
    Are you keeping your boat in Chesapeake Bay for the summer? You mentioned having to be past Cape Hatteras by July 1st?
    Happy St Patrick’s Day!
    Mike

    • happytogether

      Hi Mike, That sounds great!!! We are heading to the Chesapeake but no plans in concrete for now. If Caribbean is vaccinated we will head back in November.

  3. Ted Boender

    Randy, it’s great to hear from you guys and I’m super happy you had a good passage. You motivated us as well. We are enjoying our Leopard 40 but this Covid crap has got to come to an end. Sooo tired of the division and other people’s anxiety. Let’s get the shot and live life!

    All the best,
    Ted and Annette
    SV Serenity
    St Augustine, FL

    • happytogether

      Hi Ted and Annette! So nice to hear from you! Its almost over I’m hoping!!! maybe we will see you in Annapolis! Randy

  4. John Montgomery

    Good to have you back on the water. I have a 60′ charter in BVI for July. What are your thoughts on whether will be up and going, that is with no quarantine requirements?
    Thanks
    j. Montgomery

    • happytogether

      Hi John, I would change the booking to USVI. St John is great for a week. Don’t trust anything the BVI says. You will be masked up everywhere and most things are closed. Please reconsider. Until BVI is fully vaccinated they are not open.

  5. Danny Thompson

    What does your insurance company say about sailing in the Mediterranean for the summer? Did you get any drone shots of you flying the parasailer?

    • happytogether

      Hi Danny, Insurance changes in each area and we have not priced the med but many Leopards are there. No we didnt fly the drone but man that sail is my favorite by far.

  6. Walter Riley

    Glad to hear you guys are back on the water again. Speaking to my friend/lawyer in Antiqua, you have made the
    Right choice! They have had 27 covid deaths out of an average of 1650 deaths (all causes) on every year, and you would Think the way they are responding that the Island is falling into the ocean. They have re-established quarantines yet again. They move in lockstep with the Carricom (former Brit territory’s) countries. Next winter will be worse for tourism than now.
    They are appx at 10% of hotel room capacity. It’s an economic disaster zone. It’s like a year long Hurricane! No fun cruising anywhere in the Carribean during this PLANDemic. FL is the land of the FREE! Again good choice to head to FL. BTW, GA, SC ended mandates as well, NC is pretty much back to normal too. You have lot’s of places to cruise.

    • happytogether

      Hi Walter, I agree. We are waiting until the Caribbean is vaccinated before we head back. Glad to live in Florida!!!!

  7. Mike Sawyer

    Randy and Lenny – always a great read of your boat adventures. I think everyone is beyond tired of all the covid restrictions, but you have been able to navigate the challenges better than most…Thanks for the update Mike and Susan

    • happytogether

      Hi Mike and Susan, Thanks for reaching out. I think we are headed in the right direction. Looking forward to normalcy soon.

  8. Kurt. Chamberlin

    So happy to hear from you guys! Miss the videos, you look great glad to see your heathy and happy together (had to throw that in Ha Ha!) Safe travels.

  9. Neil Davies

    Sounds like a great trip! We did the same in 2019. Planning to head to the Bahamas in the next couple of weeks for a brief visit then north up the East Coast – maybe run into you along the way!
    SV Midnight Sun III

    • happytogether

      Hi Neil, Yes plenty of boats heading to the Chesapeake!!! See you there

  10. Ken Douthit

    Thanks for the update. We, likewise, are tired of the unknow of Covid. We are still stuck in Mexico (as you know, there are worse places to be stuck) and too late now to head for the Caribbean. We have decided to sell Rubber Ducky and buy the 53 power but, it looks a little too corporate for us. We are going to Fort Lauderdale next week to look at it and some 51’s. Maybe do intercoastal this summer and head south after hurricane season. I’m sure we will run into each other along the way. Are you sure you are finished with the left coast. We have sailed it our entire lives and it doesn’t get old. As you know. Ken & Joyce, s/v Rubber Ducky

    • happytogether

      Hi Ken, Thanks for your comment. glad to hear from you. Glad that Rubber Ducky is serving you well and understand the move to a power cat. We loved our time on the west coast and plan on doing it again. I want to be in the sea of Cortez when the water is warm! Keep in touch

    • happytogether

      Hi Kristen, Thanks for reaching out. We are so excited to be on the move again!!!!

  11. Billy Gouty

    Randy & Lenny, Great to hear from you guys! So glad you had a safe passage! Ginger & I are supposed to close on our Fountaine Pajot 42 Astrea, mid-April and plan to put it in Charter in St. Petersburg, FL. It should arrive in Ft. Lauderdale late June, and be there for a few weeks before bringing it around. Our work life is not as flexible to just keep it for us to sail, and felt it best to be used more often. We hope to get down to St. Pete once a month and spend long weekends exploring the Southern Gulf Coast & the Keys. Hoping the next boat is used more like you and Lenny are with Happy Together. You guys have been great inspiration for us to enjoy this sailing lifestyle… even if we have to tip toe into it. All the best!

    • happytogether

      Hi Billy! So close to getting her congrats to you and Ginger! I love your plan. Its how we started with the part time thing. We actually enjoy our life ashore and on the boat and probably will always be commuter cruisers. Glad you are reading our blog. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is😁

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