Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Time so far

Sorry everybody for not posting in a long time. The internet has not been good, and the satellite email system has not been working.

I am currently working on the steel hulled boat, aswell on Elusive.
The engine on Elusive had the piston rings fail, and now the motor has to be taken out, and taken apart- huge project.

The odyssey is currently hard at work on the boats, trying to get back to the sea soon.

Live Your Dream!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saving A Boat

The saving of the Steel Ketch

When one hears a call on the radio “A boat is dragging!” one must assist if at all possible,
That is what I did.I had heard that the boat was drifting on the northern side of the causeway, but the wind felt like it was blowing from the south, so I figured the boat would be drifting away from the rocks. when I arrived at the Las brisas I could just make out a white hulled ketch slowly drifting towards the break water. Looking out for a few minutes I sized up the situation. The wind was blowing the boat on the rocks. Waves from the same direction where not helping the boats cause either. I could not see any dinghies going over to help. That is when I made up my decision to try and save the boat.
Flaging down a taxi took only seconds, and with the look of determination set in my eye, the taxi knew exactly where I needed to go, and set off with a clip at once. Without asking for a dime he dropped me out infront of the grounding vessel. I said my thanks,a nd gave him the few cents I had in my pocket as appreciation. He asked if I needed any help, I told him it might be nice.
I could see the situation was not improving. The boat had obviously grounded itself on some rocks just off of the causeway. The wind was still blowing, and the waves had increased in size.I took off the weather jacket, a red one, from the 2008 round the world race; took off my shoes, and wedged them under a small palm tree, In the nook between a rock. Descending the rocks to the breaking wave’s edge took only a few seconds. I stared at the waves waiting for my chance to dive, without hitting anything. When that moment arrived I pounced on it like a cat after a ball of yarn. Swimming out to the grounded boat was not hard, nor far; in a minutes time I had closed the gap between us, and the battle had commenced.
I could feel in my feet and body the grinding and banging of the boat against the hard rocks undernieth the water, and knew that the boat was on the rocks. I had to decide what to do. Without a dinghy and outboard I could not just tie a line and try to pull. No, no, this was something new. If this boat was to be saved it would require a lot more then that simple procedure to save it.I began to asses the boat, and see what I had to work with. No sails on the fore stays and no halyards in good working order to hoist the mainsail. Moving back across the wet, rolling, grinding, the slamming deck, I made for the cockpit. The steering seemed to be working, and engine controls where there. But, was there and engine? Could it be used? How would I start it? These and more question where racking my brain; It seemed as though all things led to the cabin, I must get inside. For from inside the boat I would be able to see if she was holed, and sinking. If so, how much time I would have to transfer valuables to the shore. Maybe there would be and engine, I would then need to try and start it.
Looking at the companion way I saw a bad sight, a padlock… a quick look at the construction showed that with a little force this hatch could be opened quite quickly.after three trys pushing against it, the old screws let go of their hold on the wood, and allowed me passage into the depths of the slamming hull.
The mess within the boat was like none that I have ever seen before! It was as though the mighty hands of some great god of havoc and chaos had swooped inside, and up heaved ever last item and scattered them around into every orifices of the boat. Not only items, but also oils, and water, and many other liquids that I don’t even wish to know what they are.
I saw battery cables going under a floor board, and decide that this one would be a good start for the search.
Imidiatly some of my questions where answered.
Yes, there was an engine.would it run? It did not look good. The engine was half underwater, and by the tools sitting on top of the enigine, it probly wasn’t going to work. I wrote the engine off.
The water, where was this water coming from? Sea water, or rain?I could not tell. I left the cabin, and went back on deck.No engine, no dinghy, no tow. This was going to be a challenge to get off.the slamming was now getting worse. I could feel the boat being picked up by the swell, then thrown against the stones with a violant crash; followed by the rest of the wave pouring itself over the deck.any items that where not dislodge by the slam, and sudden angle; where washed form the places by the waves. Did I mention the this “Havoc God” did not only reside within the cabin, but also ruled the decks too… the decks littered with anything you could think of looked more the ground floor of some neglected storage room in a marine salvage yard. Nuts, bolts, even broken glass could be found jammed in a crack, or being washed around. For all the dangers that nature over looked, man took good care of making sure they were not left out of the picture.
I went forward to the anchor winch, and rode. With handle in one hand, and rode in the other I made to get the boat off the rocks. Inch, by hard inch I took in the line. The boat rolling, and slamming as it was gave a moment of movent in my direction, and I had to make sure not to waste that precious second by not hauling in its fair amount of slack.
After afew hard minutes I had the boat at a slight angle to the rocks, and with the one great wave the nearly made me lose my firm footing, and that drove the dinghy with a great force to the end of its rope. The boat rode up on the wave and I could feel my chance for success as though it were standing next to me, and all I had to do was grab it. I pulled hard and that line, and winched with all my might. With a groan, and a grunt the heavy yacht lurched off her perch on the underwater hazard and moved up and over the first wave of freedom from certain doom.
But all was not over, I had gotten the boat off the rocks, and pulled in sufficient rode to keep her that way for the time being. I still had to get the boat to safety, and with wind, and waves increasing, time was running out.I ran back down into the cabin, and looked at the water in the bilge, still having not change a noticeable amount from the last time I looked I shrugged it off for now.
I grabbed a knife and went on deck to see about the sails.the mizzen boom seemed to be broke, so it was off the list form the start. I could not see a headsail anywhere, so they were out too. That left the mainsail, with its cover, and confused lines.I cut the small lines holding the awning to save time, and by the looks of the lines holding it, they were bound to go soon anyway.with the awning out of the way, and no longer trying to be a sail driving the boat back against the rocks, I could open the sail covers, and hoist the mainsail.the mainsail looked like it was in good shape, and functional, however, the halyards where clearly tangled up.I found that there was a halyard for the foresail which was not caught up in the mess of the others. I flipped this halyard aft, around the spreaders so it could be used temporally to hoist the main. I fastened the halyard to the sail, and got the other end, wrapped around a working winch on the mast. The glass scattered on the deck made for careful walking as to not get cut up.I went forward and brought in some more anchor rode, to get the boat a bit farther off the rocks so I might have a better chance with the first tack. The anchor winch had a problem, when the strain on the line would get past a certain point the winch would no longer hold fast, but begin to rotate the wrong way – easing the line.
With the boat off the rocks a safe distance to attempt to sail back to the anchorage with out hitting the rocks again, I went back to the helm, to make sure it was centered.I then went to the halyard and began to haul on it. This is when I noticed out of the corner of my eye, two boats coming towards me, fast.Releasing the halyard from my grip I brought down the small section of sail which had risen up the mast, and awaited the fast boats approach.
As the boats came over the waves I could that one boat, the larger one, was the AMP. The other, Mar viva.When they got close they offered to tow the boat back to the anchorage, so I would not have to sail there. I accepted their tow, and secured the nice line.Mar viva tried first, but without success. The AMP took the line next, and we started the tow.
Because of the waves, and the broken windlass I had to cut the anchor line. If I wasn’t being towed I would have had the time to pull it in, but now I had to just let it go, with a red buoy.
Once the AMP had pulled the boat quite some distance off the rocks they began to hook up the tow rope to the stern of the boat. While doing so the got the line under one of the outboard motors.
This caused some delay, and sence there boat was rolling and getting pretty wet in the waves it wasn’t to easy to get the rope dislodged.when the line was finaly safe from the propeller of the outboard the tow continued.The AMP guys must have really been enjoying towing the boat, and they felt no shame in really laying on the throttle. With this big old heavy steel ketch getting pulled up and over the waves we must have be doing 7 knots at least. The deck covered in spray from the boat cutting threw the oncoming swells.
We got back up the anchorage in no time at all, and pursued a place to re-anchor the boat.While I got together a new anchoring system for the boat, the AMP pulled me slowly through the anchorage to a spot that I pointed out, just back from a small break water where it was good and protected.
When we reached the spot, I tossed over the side, the first anchor, and chain. I paid out the chain as the anchor sank to the bottom. When the first chain reached its end, I passed over the rail the second anchor which had fifteen feet of chain on it. The second anchor started its decent as I paid out the finally long piece of chain. I tied the bitter end to the deck cleat, and passed the anchor chain over the anchor roller. The boat was now anchored safely, and off the rocks, saved from further harm.
AMP dropped me off on a friends boat, and after giving my name, and afew details for their report, I went back over to the steel boat, and put away the sail, closed the cabin, and bettered the anchor system.
The boat is now still lying safe at anchor three days later, no holes, and not in pieces.

Live Your Dream!
S/V Elusive

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Hello, everyone.
WOW, what a job it was taking out all the meldue, and cleaning the whole boat down to the bilges. but now I have a good clean boat (dispite the mess). Once the meldue was all removed, and the wood good and dry, I painted most all the the boards under the beds, and sette. so hopefully next time there will not quite such a mess to clean. the boat looks better to, with all the painted white. aswell the wood is protected form water and moister.

well, beside lightening the load, that is about all that is new.
I will keep you pòsted.
S/V Elusive
Live Your Dream!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dont we just Hate the Tropics?

I have just gotten back to my boat this morning, and instead of stepping down into the nice clean boat that I left; I walk into a place that has had a ful on invasion of fungy!!
I have never seen such a mess, it was really bad. the hatches must have never been opened once sence I left the boat.
the heat and humdity was so bad inside that the pictures I had on my wall ran, and are now not recognisable!
so my day has consisited of ALOT of cleaning, airing out, and moving back in. It will still take a little time, but this gives me a better reason for a very deep cleanign of the boat.
I am tired and have a headache,
I will update probably tomorow with more of waht is going on with this adventure.
I am sure that some of you think I am not moving sufficiantly, I am waiting for the propper time to cross the pacific, having missed it almost a year ago. so you will be seeing alot more action when the crusing season starts up again. for now it is alot of work, and preperation.
S/V Elusive
Live Your Dream!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Long time no post.

Hello everyone.
I am sorry for not having put up a new post in so long.
I have been incredably busy down here in Panama.
I have been doing a ton of work on my fathers boat, replacing some of the deck, and alot of the interior flooring and such. that is just a couple of the big projects.
I have to move my boat form the place she is currently in bond with, to somewhere else in costa rica. so that will be another adventure in paper work.
I am also trying to buy a steel hulled sailboat, so if any one is interested in buying a really "ready to go" sailboat cheap, let me know soon.
so that is all the time I have to write at the moment.
so til next time.
S/V Elusive
Live Your Dream!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The boot, Inpound, or in Bond.

I am now in Panama, having just taken the buss. I am visiting some amily, and friends whoa re here, and getting afew essentials for the boat.

The boat, after the fiasco at the customs office, and the new laws they laid down, is sitting in Bond at Banana Bay Marina.
After hours and hours of trying to get a extention on my boat papers form the customs offcials it was just not going to happen. The are being really hard on all forgien boats, and it does not look like it is going to end soon. I was left with the options of leaving the country, or bonding the boat. If i could not do either, they would inpound the boat, and if i wanted it back I would have to pay two thirds thier assesed value to get it back. for my case that would be $20,000 more or less to get my boat back. I asked her if they would really do that, and kick me off the boat to start living on the side walk outside the customs office, her answer was ¨Yes¨. so no matter how desperate you are, do not count on gettng a break, not even if the boat is broke. I tried that one too, but would only be granted a fifteen day extention - not a day more.
I had to put the boat into Bond, but got a very clear understanding that if anything happend to my boat while she is in bond, that it would be fully made up to me with new items. In other words, if my boat sinks, or somehting is stolen - I get a new boat, or a new piece. with that I have a feeling of complete ease while traveling away form the boat.

when I return, and remove the boat from bond, I will have to sail away imidatly, and not return for a minimum of six moths, if my memory serves me right.

so thats the way of the Banana Republic as of late- real friendly.

Live Your Dream!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Has Costa Rica Gone MAD?

Has Costa Rica gone MAD? that is the question!
I have now arrived at Golfito. The trip here was nothing like the blissful sailing that it was while going up north. sense leaving herradura I had the wind on the nose, and had to tack to get here.
I managed to do it in about two tacks. the first day I did 65 miles made good. and arrived at golfito late at night on the tenth. but not after getting hit with one of these fierce winds that swoop out of now where.

over all the trip went well, longer then I would have liked, but well.

Now I have a new problem. Like I said in the last post, my papers need to be extended so I can have time to get my electronics working, and then sail to Ecuador.
while I was blissfully cruising the coast, some costa rican politians got to getheer and started to talk. well, as can be expected the conclusion was not good. It resulted in costa rica no longer giving any forien vessle more then three months in the country. They will no longer allow people to extend their crusing permits to six months, something that every one has always done, or at least counted on being able to do. so here i sit with this new news in my lap, and papers the expire tomorow. I have one day to come up with something to do about this problem.
there are three options that one can do.
option one, go to one of the expensive marinas and pay a fee ( I hear it is a large one) to bond the boat, and keep it at the marina. I dont know aswell how much it costa to take the boat out of the bond. more over, while the boat is bonded, you can not move it.

option two, Leave the country. They are literally throwing cruisers out of costa rica, and into the hurrican season. If you do not leave, they will inpound the boat, and make you pay an astronomical percntage of the boats value (they determine the boats value, so saying it is worth two grand won´t fly).

now that I look at it, there are only two options.
I am going to try and persuade the customs to give me a extension, hopefully it will work.
if not, it looks like I will be sailing south soonner then I thought, like day after tomorow!

so there is the current update from the Banana Republic.
A quote from a man who is trying to make a living here running a cruisers facility says " Costa Rica is being harder on sailors then murders, and rapests!"
I would have to agree.

Live Your Dream!