Category Archives: Sailing

Wind Power

A nice 10 knot wind in Pelican Bay keeping our batteries charged. A solar panel charges the batteries when the sun is shining, and the wind generator charges all night as long as the wind is blowing.

Update March 19

We finally got away from the dock yesterday and motored 20 miles South to Pelican Bay, a great little anchorage next to Cayo Costa State Park, one of the barrier islands along the Gulf.  We plan to head further South during the next 4 weeks and hopefully make it to the Keys.   We’ll keep you posted.

It’s about time!

Morning anchored in Pelican Bay

Update March 17, 2018

New helm seat

Awesome chart plotter

We started our 6 week Spring sailing adventure about a week ago and spent the last week at Fisherman’s Village Marina.  I finished a bunch of upgrades that have been ongoing on Terrapin since I bought her last May.  The most important is the modernizing of the electronics and navigation systems. This includes a new chartplotter mounted at the helm.  It is a so-called multifunction display which means it can process and display data from any device connected to it; wind direction, wind speed, AIS, compass heading, rudder angle, autopilot control, GPS position, and of course the chart showing where we are.  This is all made possible by a new industry standard connectivity called NMEA 2000.  There is a single cable (backbone) running down the mast from the wind speed/direction sensor all the way to the stern of the boat. Each device is then connected to the backbone with a T connector and a short “drop cable”.  The result is that every device has access to all the data in the system.  Laura calls it the spinal cord, a good analogy!  Well, I spent about 5 days hooking it all up and surprise, surprise, it all worked! I also installed a new helm seat raised up about 5 inches so we have a better view, a new toilet pump, and a bunch of other minor items.  We also had a visit from Mack Sails to adjust the rigging.  The original head stay was supposed to be adjustable and somewhere along the line, a fixed length stay was installed.  This meant you could not adjust the tension, and thus the angle of the mast.  Mack Sails, who installed our new sails last November, came out and added a turnbuckle to the head stay and helped get the rigging adjusted properly.  I can’t wait to sail her, there should be a big improvement.

Hurricane Irma

In early September, 2017, hurricane Irma cut a swath across the Atlantic and Caribbean as a cat 5 hurricane causing extensive destruction in the Leeward Islands, the BVI, USVI, Cuba and the Florida Keys before it turned North up the West  coast of Florida.  We watched in horror from our home in Lexington as Irma carved a direct path up the West coast of Florida toward Terrapin.  However, I knew I had done everything I could to  protect Terrapin from this eventuality.  In May I had put Terrapin in a storage yard called Safe Cove Boat Storage.  Safe Cove is within a canal system well inland from the Gulf and so was pretty protected from storm surge.  I also paid extra to have Terrapin tied down to concrete blocks with straps.  I had also removed all sails, most of the running rigging, and all canvas.

Hurricane Irma

Luckily, Irma weakened to a cat 3 as it  made landfall in Florida.  It moved slightly to the East of Punta Gorda and ended up causing minimal damage to that area.  There was no damage to speak of in Safe Cove in spite  of high winds.   Even if Irma had  hit Safe Cove with more force, I feel that Terrapin would have had a fighting chance.  The last time a hurricane hit the Punta Gorda area was 2004.  Hurricane Charlie did extensive damage to Punta Gorda and areas surrounding Port Charlotte.  So, i will continue to tie down Terrapin in Safe Cove and hope for the best.  She is insured.


Location, location, location

Terrapin in Fisherman’s Village Marina (this is before we changed her name)

Christmas in Fishville Marina

We looked at boats on line all over the country.  I had pretty much narrowed down the boat I wanted to the PDQ 32 (more about that in another post).  But where to locate the boat?  As commuter cruisers, we plan to maintain our home in Lexington Ky, and I will continue to work at the University.  We considered buying a boat in the Caribbean and keeping it in a marina there, moving it to  Grenada for hurricane season.  However, the logistics of getting back and forth to Lexington were formidable.  After spending some time in Sarasota and checking out the West Coast of Florida, we realized that we  have beautiful sailing grounds right in our own backyard, so to speak. The “aha moment” came when we realized that Allegiant Air flies non-stop from Lexington to Punta Gorda 5 days a week with really cheap fares.  So, it made perfect sense to locate the boat in Punta Gorda.  This narrowed our search to the East Coast of the US and the Gulf Coast.  If I found a boat in this area, I could easily sail it to Punta Gorda, although sailing from the Northeast would take some time.  As it happened, a boat came up for sale in Sarasota, and the sellers were happy to move it to Punta Gorda for us to inspect.  After going through the inspection, purchase, registration, identifying a marina, storage, etc, it was invaluable to be able to easily travel from Lexington to Punta Gorda in 2 hrs.  With respect  to a marina and boat storage, I think we were extremely lucky.  Punta Gorda has a fantastic marina called Fisherman’s Village Marina.  We were lucky enough to secure a slip for the season (November through May).  Then we located a great boat storage yard called Safe Cove, which is a 2hr sail across Charlotte Harbor in a freshwater canal system.  I can’t imagine trying to do all this in the Caribbean in a foreign country.  I know a lot of people  do  it, but I’m not sure everyone thinks it through.  Location matters!

In the beginning…….

We are landlocked in Lexington KY counting the days until we drive down to Punta Gorda and get Terrapin ready to splash.  We will then spend November and December making upgrades and getting familiar with the boat.

A little background…..

Laura and I (Jerry) have been bareboat chartering in the Caribbean, a total of 7 trips in the past 6 years.  The last four charters were on catamarans: once on a Lagoon 380 and three times on Mahe 36s. In all of these charters, I was captain and Laura was crew, just the two of us.  On two trips we also included our best friends Charlie and Julia. Together we logged about 1,500 miles including two overnight passages of 100 miles between St Martin and Tortola.  The distance logged is not particularly great by cruising sailor standards, but it was certainly enough for Laura and I to realize that we absolutely loved cruising and that we were comfortable living on a catamaran for extended periods of time (well, 3 weeks at least).  So, we decided it was time to get our own boat and start cruising. We weren’t ready to stop working so we formulated a plan to spend a few months each year on the boat and continue to work the remaining time.  We both love our jobs, so this was like “having our cake and eating it too”.  The final piece of the puzzle was to locate the boat in Punta Gorda (see Location, Location, Location) which is an easy flight from Lexington and a 2hr drive from Wellington where Laura works the Winter Equestrian circuit in the winter.