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Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

OCC Report from the Bahamas

by Grace Arison and Bill Heaton 26 May 16:39 UTC
Bill putting the mainsail away after a cold transit. © Ocean Cruising Club

Ahoy OCC'ers, this is Grace and I's first Roving Rear Commodore Report and boy what a time it is to be out cruising. We hope everyone is staying safe during the Covid-19 outbreak.

After a blissful summer cruising Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, we arrived in Annapolis just before the Sailboat Show kicked off. It was a busy long weekend catching up with old friends, making new ones and working at the OCC booth.

Once the show ended we got down to work on some serious boat maintenance and upgrades. A bad chainplate seal on our previous trans-Atlantic caused the knee for the aft lower shroud to rot. We underestimated how involved replacement would be. We removed the entire knee and ground it down to the bare hull. What a mess we created with fibreglass dust covering every surface of our cabin. It took us five days to clean the dust and finally get to the rebuilding phase.

In between fiberglassing the knee we installed a windlass, bowsprit for our code zero, and an inner forestay attachment point on deck. Fast forward to December 15th and we were finally under way from Annapolis in a blisteringly cold "polar vortex". We made our way down the ICW to Hampstead, North Carolina where we hauled the boat for new bottom paint and to chase gnarly vibrations in our running gear. It turned out that we had a bent prop shaft and a worn cutlass bearing. In the end, we replaced all of the running gear from the transmission back.

With the major boat projects now behind us, we departed Masonboro inlet for Eleuthera, Bahamas on a "sporty" twenty-five knot downwind forecast. We motored clear of the Gulf Stream before the northerly filled in and we were able to set sail. The wind continued to build up to force eight. It was a rough, but fast, trip making landfall four days later.

We are currently in a remote corner of the Bahamas called the Ragged Islands. We arrived here prior to the outbreak of Covid in North America. We haven't been to town (Duncan Town, population 35) in over a month. We will stay down here in self-isolation as long as possible and likely try to sail straight to Maine from the Bahamas.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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