Roving Rear Commodores' Reports - Atlantic & Caribbean

 Roving Rear Commodores' Reports  - Atlantic & Caribbean

The latest news and whereabouts [October 2017] of our Club’s RoRCs

By Roving Rear Commodores - 11/11/2017

David Bridges in BLUE YONDER – Sept 2016 – 2019

Where did summer go!!?? So much for plans to go sailing north to New England & Maine. Life has a way of redirecting us in the most unexpected ways. As a long time seasoned citizen cruiser I'm slowly learning to "go with the flow". Through a wonderful turn of events it appears my "solo sailor looking for crew" status & internet postings may have run their course for now. I have had the good fortune to connect with Marilyn Doughty, a water loving neighbor living on land about 400 yards from the boat in Norfolk. She's been a power boater through life therefore the conversion to sail is in process. We sailed to Annapolis so she could get an immersion course in sailing at J World for a solid week learning the lingo of sails & rigging, etc not found on a sport fishing boat. This was bracketed by some wonderful days sailing up and down the Chesapeake seeing friends, new & old. Fortunately my new shanghaied crew seems quite adaptable to slower speeds on a heel and for those that know me well you'll be glad to learn she actually knows how to use a galley as opposed to me. I know I'm thrilled about it among other attributes.

The remainder of the summer was spent enjoying growing grandkids and my daughters & son-in-laws here in Virginia and Oregon.

I write this just having returned from another superb OCC gathering at the Annapolis Boat Show put on by Bill & Lydia Strickland. It was wonderful to see many friends, again old & new, in addition to just having a lovely evening & boat show.

Now to adventures on BLUE YONDER! We're working to get ready to head South within the next couple of weeks for the winter. It's hard to get more specific other than chasing the sun & the warm clear water and tropical breezes, hopefully somewhere south of Ft Lauderdale or the Abacos. We'll all find out, myself included, where that is/was in the next chapter of this wonderful experience we call ocean cruising! Meanwhile I wish you safe sailing wherever you end up in this amazing watery world this season.

Bill and Laurie Balm in TOODLE-OO – Sept 2016 – 2019

Attending to family matters has meant that Toodle-oo! has been rather static this summer – and enjoying the use of Jil Westcott and John Bell’s sturdy mooring in Bristol, RI, however we’ve been keeping in touch with the cruising life through the active OCC SSB net every morning – 6227MHz at 7:00am and 4036MHz at 7:15am.

With the family thing now sorted and numerous boat projects completed, we’re on our way south again – via New York – and are currently in the Chesapeake attending boat shows and OCC gatherings! We’re headed towards Norfolk where we will once again join the Salty Dawg Rally to Antigua, and will make our way quickly to Dominica where we hope to bring some much-needed supplies and any assistance we can lend, following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
We’re looking forward to meeting many more OCC members on our travels – and to recruiting more new members to the ranks!

You can follow Toodle-oo!’s travels at
Photo of Perigee in New York Harbour courtesy David Vogel

Simon and Hilda Julien in BRISA – Sept 2016 – 2019

Simon and Hilda Julien report that they have been enjoying a summer back home in the south west of England, sailing locally on the more pleasant days and enjoying the company of visiting children and grandchildren. Now with some trepidaton they are looking forward to returning to their boat in Antigua in December but not able to believe that Hurricane Irma and Maria which passed so close really did not cause any damage. Anything that might have happened is of course trivial in comparison to the shocking & devastating effects especilly on nearby Barbuda and Dominica which have effectively been totally destroyed. The implications of this havoc and destruction for cruisers throughout the Leewards islands can presently only be guessed at. The complete loss of the farming output from Dominica will, for example, be felt throughout much of the island chain. We are sure there will be many opportunities for cruisers to assist even if only by continuing to bring their custom when conditions allow. This season more than ever the OCC Caribbean Net which will start on 1 Dec should prove a vital means of providing updates and exchange of information.

Julian Berney in HOUDALINQUA 11 – May 2017 – 2020

At short notice, our Port Officer, Melanie Symes, was able to arrange an impromptu lunch at Puerto Calero with the Port Officer for Gran Canaria, Augustín Martín and Sonja, together with the French mini-transat yachtsman, Yann Claverie. It was a most enjoyable lunch rounded off with some photos, especially with Yann and “his hero” Augustín. The race rules allow only 60 hours of technical support. Yann had to put into Gran Canaria; without Augustin’s support to get back to sea in time, several years of planning and training would have been wasted. A marvelous example of the support from POs (and determination of single-handers in small boats!).

Houdalinqua then set off for a planned one month cruise. Sheena and I had a surprisingly windy two-handed journey of some 250nm via Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), San Miguel (Tenerife) and Los Gigantes (Tenerife), after an aborted attempt to reach La Gomera, before reaching Santa Cruz, La Palma. Once again we often saw 35-40 knots across the deck in the acceleration zones; on this voyage especially at the NW corner of Gran Canaria and approaching both Tenerife and La Gomera. Los Gigantes is a useful, if awkward, starting point for La Palma as it gives a better lay line; however it is tidal as the entrance is silted.

We based ourselves at Marina La Palma which lies through the commercial dock but sadly suffers from swell and, almost worse, a noisy night time ferry engine (the passenger cruise ships are surprisingly quiet). The Calero group is in the process of building a raising wall at the narrow entrance to the marina and fitting alternative power for the inter-island ferry. When done this will be an excellent marina in walking distance of an attractive town with easy access to the incredible countryside.

We subsequently had a mini circuit to include El Heiro (the farthest SW corner of Europe), La Gomera, and back to La Palma; this time to Puerto Tazacorte in the wind shadow of the island. This harbour has massive sea walls to protect against winter southerly gales and provide a new shipping terminal, sadly unused. As a result it is very quiet combining excellent yacht facilities – both afloat and ashore – and a working fishing fleet. Augustín and Sonya joined us on board having also sailed their boat Caballito de Mar IX to La Palma. Thank you for driving across the mountains to reach us!

La Palma – 'islabonita' (beautiful island) is one of the steepest islands in the world; only 25km long its highest peaks rise to 2426m high (8000ft). We put a week aside for some fantastic hill walking with stunning views from high mountain passes, along the volcano rims, old pilgrim paths, and other ancient tracks. The aging legs are now tired!

We were lucky enough to meet and compare some notes with two associate OCC members, North Star from Copenhagen en route to sail with the ARC via the Cape Verde and Krabat (UK) and the German Yacht Jajapami both joining the Jimmy Cornell Odyssey. Their start is postponed due to a seemingly late hurricane season; interestingly no boat has mentioned any change from their insurers but are wondering how things will be in the Caribbean. We wish them all well on the long voyages ahead as this is but the first stage for many.

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