Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Winter in sunny Blighty

Some pictures don't need captions and i'm sure these fall into that category. The tale that would go untold here is that these two strapping lad's fitted this engine while I went to work to bring home the bread. Good friends aye?

The extent that people have helped out really amazes me. For example, Linda spent a whole weekend sewing me new cushion covers - they look fantastic and I never would have had the time or money to do it. My poor neighbours had to slave away polishing, sanding and antifouling her while she was out of the water. I hardly paid for anything in the yard - I was given antifoul, a new battery, crane time etc all for at the most a few beers. Through it all Smarty's been there and involved in just about every job on the list.

Although far from finished (is a boat ever?) the Double Bruyn is day by day becoming dryer and tidier, but more importantly stronger and more reliable. The big jobs we sorted this winter were replacing the engine and mainsail, strengthening the rudder and fixing the standing rigging. I also spontaneously bought a fridge at the London boatshow. How ironic, after 2 years of warm beer on board i buy a fridge when beer would freeze if i left it outside?!

It certainly was a harsh UK winter. It has been bloody cold on board, one day is was -6deg. I don't have great heating but always seemed to get by with lots of layers and blankies. I'm going to wait till July to buy a heater ;-)

Anyways, lots to look forward to now. At easter we're planning a trip to Guernsey, have a race to France called the 'Royal Escape' lined up for June and am also hoping to bring the boat to London and tie up to Tower Bridge. Life is gooood!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Back in the US

We called it the 'Sailing Reunion Tour' - Two years after I set sail on the DB with partners in crime Dan and Laura on Barely Twisted we managed to organise a rendevous weekend in the Rocky Mountains.

Shortly after arriving in Denver the 3 of us got settled in on the 5 hour drive out to Crusted Butte for a weekend riding. Actually, we were treated like royalty. Laura's good friend Kristen was a wonderful host - half price lift tickets, free food and drink on the mountain, and a beautiful condo on the hill. Crested Butte is a fantastic resort with a down to earth town, it is no wonder so many visitors find themselves still there 4 years later. So much fun loads of laughs, just shows nothing changes amongst old friends. On the Monday Dan and Laura gave me a cycle tour of Denver before sending me on my way to Florida to help Jas find a boat.

Here's a video Dan put together of the weekend

I flew to Fort Lauderdale and met up with Jas. He had been looking for a boat ultimately capable of sailing back to NZ, and my job was to secretly make sure that he bought one that was slower than mine ;-)

I managed to talk Jas out of this one

We left Lauderdale and headed up to Cape Canaveral with a few boats to look at along the way. There were certainly a few contenders but nothing really grabbed us. Once at the Cape we caught up and spent a few nights with a good friend Capt Ran. The old pirate, bless him, is falling to bits following some major heart surgury (Jas and I were worried he was going to keel over with all the Milwaukies Best we drank together). While he is still as thoughtful, funny and passionate about the sea as ever, he is struggling to do much physically. However, the man is stuborn and doesn't like to be beaten, so i have no doubt he'll be back to his usual self in due course.

Captain Ran

By chance, as we were leaving the Cape we stopped to look at an Ebay boat Herby tipped us onto. While not quite love at first sight (this was quite an ugly tub) it wasn't long before Jas and I realised her potential. When buying a boat you have 3 things to consider - Live ability, sailing performance and value for money. As poor young cruisers, one can imagine its difficult to tick all the boxes however, as we quickly discovered over a beer in a nearby pub this one did. Excited we called the owner over to join us and shortly afterwards Jas had a contract in place. What made it even more special was it was Jason's birthday and NZ day.

Jas's new vessel, 41ft Gulf-Star 1974

Sealing the deal with Alan
We quickly became friends with some fantastic people in the marina and settled in to party. From here the rest of the night is somewhat a blur. Too many shots and stiff drinks saw Jas and I in bed far too early with little recollection of the nights events. It was funny the following day when we returned to the bar's how many comments unknown people passed about our state the night before. In our defence it was his birthday ;-)

We went sailing the next day and enjoyed another night out with the marina lads. Big thanks to Alan, Alan and Pete for showing us such a fun time, it was really a struggle for me to leave.
Sunday saw me on a red-eye flight back to Heathrow from Miami. To be honest I really found it hard to leave, Jas has a fantastic boat and is about to embark on a great sailing trip. And although his boat will be just slightly slower than the DB, i'd sure love to stow away in the bilges for a while.