Shameless Plug

 

Infini a Westsail 43

A sweet WS 43 in pristine shape

I don’t often do this. There is an excellent deal out there for someone looking to jump into cruising. Friends of mine have finished their dream, their circumnavigation and are selling their boat. It is a sistership to ours. While we were upgrading and refurbishing Elysium I always looked to their boat as the gold standard.

And yet that is not the good news for someone looking to “jump”. IMHO this boat price is where you would get the best bang for the dollar. Yes, as in any boat nothing is perfect and there will be issues needing to be addressed. You would find the same needs in a brand new million dollar boat. At one boat show I put my hand in a dorade and removed it with a cut. There was an errant piece of cured fiberglass that wasn’t trimmed off. And this was on a $1.2 million vessel.

However with Infini’s owners I can tell you they were and are meticulous yachties. The pictures on their page are accurate. The boat looks as the pictures show. It sails well; I know because I have the same hull and rig setup. It is sea kindly. Again I know cause we’ve several thousand miles of off shore work on ours. It is easily managed by a couple… again I know! 🙂 Best of all; dollars / lb  you could begin cruising with most everything you need much sooner than you think. Good Luck in pursuing your dreams.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Elysium’s Hip

Hip tied in Fiji

Hip tied in Fiji

Most evenings you will see Elysium’s  dinghy tied securely to her hip.  The only times she is sleek and trim is for passage making; offshore. That is when our dinghy (car) is packed and flipped upside down on the aft cabin top.

We use a Wichard Dinghy lift strap that attaches to two points on the stern and one on the bow. The strap is adjustable.  If we lift the dinghy with the 15 hp vs the 2 hp verses sans engine the angle sets are all different. The nylon strapping does tend to stretch. We want her to hang a little bow high allowing any rains to wash and drain. We’ve had the dinghy hanging safely in over 30 kts of wind.

Some boats haul their dinghy up higher than we do and set them against their stanchions. We avoid the stanchions feeling that they do not provide a solid continuous support for the tubes. We also don’t see any reason to bring it up higher out of the water. Other cruisers hold the dinghy off the boat with a whisker pole. The farther off the beam you hang the more heal to the boat you have.
We find storing our dinghy about midship, securing the transom on to our boat ladder mount and the bow to a mooring cleat up forward ensures that it is stable. Further, with the dinghy out of the water over a meter it becomes it a bit more difficult for anyone to board the boat.  Swimmers are not able to “grab and go”.  Without the dinghy in the water to climb on the deck it is too high for an easy reach or step up.

Hip tie Stern

Our Hip Tied Dinghy on the stern.

We hang it not just for our security but the security of the dinghy. As far out of the water as it is makes the easy removal of the dinghy more problematic.  I don’t say impossible because thieves that really want something will find a way. With the dinghy out of the water, tied fore and aft it would take an individual a few minutes climbing around on our boat to free the dinghy or engine and they first must get on the boat. If a thief wanted only the outboard it too is difficult.  Lifting and moving 100 lbs over your head while standing on another boat in the water is a feat for Superman.

We tried trailing the dinghy for a year or so behind our boat at night. Most nights we could hear the water slapping up against the dinghy hull. If something wakes me up and I don’t hear the dinghy water slap  the dinghy may well be missing.  This necesitates getting up and checking on it. On super calm nights I would be checking more than sleeping!  Too, hanging off the stern invites an easy theft.  Chains don’t ensure safety either. Another cruiser lost theirs at night while they slept. The dinghy and motor had been chained to the boat. The thief cut the boat chain, floated away and then stole the engine. The dinghy was recovered early that am. The motor was gone forever. Earlier on we lost our dinghy in the Bahamas (fortunately we recovered it and the thief was arrested). The dinghy was trailed astern for the evening. If the weather isn’t optimal the line(s) you have cleated may come free. Tension cycling might well loosen the lines from the cleat. Attachment points could well chafe through.

Hip tying eliminates all these issues. For us this method of protecting the dinghy is the smartest move we can make.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Spring Break Pt 3

We left Tikal in a Public Van. We started off with about 10 people in a 15 seat (counting the jump seats) van. At one point we ended up with; I counted,  32 people!  Yep, that’s right. There were people sitting on laps, 4 people in the front and some were hanging on behind the last seat. The door was closed; barely. When the van stopped  one Guatemalteca actually refused to enter. One doesn’t see that too often here.

We made it from Tikal to Flores; again, and there waited in a new, old bus station. The station looked to be about 30 years old but from the dedication placard it was new in 2000 ish. I don’t know if the wear and tear is from the climate, the maintenance, or the abuse a place like this takes.  But the building was definitely older then it looked.

From my perspective; culturally, the Latin philosophy is to build it as nice as possible and use it till there is no more life in whatever it is they built. At that point mother nature will have destroyed it, the people worn it out or just that no one cares anymore, then  they’ll build something new the way they want it now.

In Flores we boarded a large comfortable bus and had seats that denied me the choice of which knee to nibble on.

Streets on the town by the Rio Dulce

Streets on the town by the Rio Dulce

About 4 hours later we arrived at the Rio Dulce where IB and Becca’s boat Passport is. They had to change slips at the marina they were at and prepare the boat for a 6 month stay without their attendance. But first:  lunch.  I had a Conch Ceviche which was quite good and more like I’m use to with a great deal of lime, tomatoes, peppers and onions.  Sweet,  or best said bitter sweet.  I think the only ingredient they’re missing was Sour Orange. IB then called the Tijax for transport across the bay to their

A Hotel Room of Tijax

A Hotel Room of Tijax

marina where we took a room at their inn. They’re good enough friends that they said there was no need to get a room but W/ knows better. We took one of the last rooms the hotel had as we were traveling on a holiday week. W/’s  my social conscience and so now we all had our own space… for a bit.

We help IB and Becca in the next couple of days take the sails down, tie off the sheets and halyards, stow and cover the dinghy and most importantly remove the gooseneck fitting so IB could make a new one in the states. While Becca is choosing what to bring back to Antigua  and the states unbeknownst to me she’s also suggesting stuff to W/ to buy so we end up getting more stuff for the boat that W/ said we need. I’m not so sure. We also move their  boat to a slip that was much

Livingston, Guatemala

Livingston, Guatemala

more secure and protected from boat traffic.  Once most of the tasks were accomplished IB secured transport to Livingstone where we would have a chance to see the canyons of the Rio, visit the port and they could complete the paper work for their boat to hang longer in Guatemala. What a fascinating town but one in which sailors are advised to not stay overnight. Sometimes information is out of date but in the interest of safety we and most other cruisers follow advise from other cruisers and a place called Noonsite. With their paper work completed and  food in our stomachs we departed for the trip back up the river, through the canyons and back to the marina.

Next to their marina  I ran across a sailor we had met 5 years ago in Tarpon Springs;  Mike McCoy and his Westsail 32 Hallai. When he was beginning his adventure we met him at the Tarpon City Marina and chatted up Westsails, drove him and his crew around for supplies and gathered some food for our daily bread.  Now years later I see him here, doing some work on his boat and enjoying his time in the Rio.  We chat up others we know, changes in the boats, what we have to maintain and not, then part ways to continue with our own adventures.  The cruising community is rather small. I wouldn’t bet my boat on it but I had read that at any one time there are about 3,000 boats out cruising the world. We keep running into those we’ve met along the way and during those times we always feel like we’re home in small town USA; spread out over the globe.

We spend the majority of time hanging with IB and Becca, helping with the boat, checking out the many restaurants, walking the streets and enjoying this small, busy town. They seem to have most things that boaters would need for repair or maintenance and I can see why so many want to spend hurricane season here, supplies as well as the area being safely inland from hurricanes. Mike and Sue sat aboard s/v Infini, a Westsail 43 (sister ship in the hull to our Westsail 42) through one hurricane that went right over them. By the time the storm reached as far inland as they were it didn’t even have tropical storm winds and I remember talking to Mike and he told me they had a good bit of rain and a nice breeze out.  Maybe on our return trip through the Carib we’ll stop there. Who knows. Plans change and with sailors they can change daily.

Finished with their tasks we practiced some Spanish; IB mostly as the sauce had struck him funny, had a nice meal at the Hotel and hit the sack ready for another bus ride in the am to home, Antigua, Guatemala.  The following am W/ finished packing and we took the launch back to town, there we waited for the next bus to Guatemala City. No buses ran to Antigua on Sunday. 🙁  Finally, Finally, after standing shoulder to shoulder  with a hundred people our bus arrived and we boarded. Five hours later we arrived in Guatemala City and luckily received all our gear. There, Becca secured us a Taxi to Antigua.  Here is where we really  know we

A Stuffed Taxi

A Stuffed Taxi

are not in America. The smallish taxi barely held our stuff (we met a 5th person on the bus going to Antigua and invited her along) so with 5 people – 6 counting the driver and all our bags we squeezed into the taxi and took off. Becca ended up sitting on IB’s lap for the hour ride to Antigua.  What a ride it was.

Exiting the taxi at Central Park, Antigua was akin to inhaling from a long dive. We stretched, breathed, paid the driver, gathered our gear for our 2 block walk home. Now we can rest and relax, our vacation was nearly exhausting. We spent approx 35 hours traveling in a bus covering a good part of the Eastern and Northern area of Guatemala. It is time to do nothing.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

The Land Beyond

Westsail is going through a site change and they’ve located, or rather Bud has located two old promotional videos that the corporation had made in the ’70’s . I found them such a hoot to watch, stepping back 30 years to see the boats, the places, and to hear the ideas narrated by the designer of the Westsail 42 and 43 – Bill Crealock.

For those interested, here are the two videos from whence my dream and consequently W/s dream found sustenance .

If you’ve watched them you found the title of this blog in the second video. There too was a comment that resonated with me: “while our living space has shrunk to 40 feet our horizons have expanded to the world”.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long