Sept. 21 - Things are moving along

Well, there... Hello, again! We trust all of you are well, rested, and have enjoyed yourselves in our absence. It's been a very busy summer for us as well, visiting lots of family and friends, and taking care of a ton of stuff, mostly expected, but you know how that goes. Plane reservations have now been made to return to Trinidad late October, where we'll get Infini ready for next season's cruising in the eastern Caribbean. We're really excited about that! Meanwhile, just a note to say we attended this past weekend's SSCA gam in St. Petersburg, Fl. For those who don't know, a "gam" means a social visit or friendly interchange, especially between whalers or other seafarers. (Yes, I had to look that definition up...) We didn't spot any whalers, but the event was quite well attended, and we enjoyed seeing old friends and making some new ones. If you're not a member, consider the benefits of joining; the website is We'll be starting to make more regular blog entries in the very near future and, as always, look forward to your comments and suggestions.

June 1 - The official start of hurricane season

As we're not aboard, this will be our last blog entry until we return to Infini later in the year. We can be contacted at the email address found on the side bar and look forward to keeping in touch with many folks during our land travels. Have a great summer (or winter, for many of our friends in the other hemisphere)!

May 13 - Back in the USA

We arrived just after midnight to New Port Richey, and still wanted to unpack a bit before hitting the sack. There's a lot to catch up on, but having fast, unlimited internet is a huge help, and Sue's already planning on photo album updates and adding pictures to our blog entries.
Pic: Where Infini departed from 8 years ago.

May 12 - Preparation

As we head out by Maxi-taxi to the airport, I was thinking that some folks might find it useful to see a partial list of what we've done before departure. Here goes: 1. Spray Corrosion-X on electrical contacts and tools 2. Shut sea cocks except for cockpit drains 3. Disconnect SSB antennae at the tuner 4. Disconnect the VHF antennae 5. Shut the windlass breaker 6. Lock the lazarette 7. Shut the propane tank valve 8. Shut house battery switch and all breakers 9. Remove batteries from flashlights, head lamps, and any other items not needed during our absence. 10. Give boat key to marina office 11. Ensure inverter is off 12. Set solar panel array; we shut off our forward pair and leave the aft pair on, drawing current to trickle charge the batteries thru the solar charge controller 13. Lock up gas cans with bicycle chain 14. Fill FW tanks 15. Fill diesel tanks 16. Stuff deck openings to prevent bug entry 17. Wash down interior cabin walls, Formica, and teak with vinegar solution 18. Place Saran Wrap over toilet; this should prevent drying of internal seals 19. Winterize outboard engine 20. Put out moth balls and various bug deterrents. 21.Store all we can below; including fenders, cockpit cushions; anything that could 'walk'. Remember, this is a partial list; some folks do more; a few just lock their boats and head out! We've got four bags, each weighing 50 pounds, plus one carry-on, as well as two backpacks and one camera bag. Infini looks lighter already, even up on boat stands!

May 7 - Haul-out

We were hauled at Power Boats. Typical screw-up. At first, I was told, "Come in bow first. You won't have to drop the head stay." Not...we scrambled to take off the Profurl. Of course, the Allen screws refused to budge. We're in the slings; Michael, the travel-lift driver, is a laid back guy. "No problem, Captain. Take all the time you need." Yah, I could have been there until next month trying to back out the screws and taking off that Profurl..."Go ahead and call the rigger,I said, figuring it was way easier to have him worry about it. Gary, the rigger, showed up about 5 minutes later, took a few minutes to assess the situation, and proceeded to do what I should have done to begin with; he removed the clevis pin holding the Profurl up (after loosening the back stay. I had already removed the cotter pins...). Voila...let the haul-out continue. The rest went smooth as. Later, Brent, the yard manager came by and said "why didn't you back in? You wouldn't have had to remove the head stay." Thanks, buddy...a bit late for that. Next time, maybe say something beforehand? Well, it's all good. We've put up the full boat canvas we had made in Guatemala...we don't use it too much :). We then had a visit from Cold Keate, a guy who works on refrigeration and A/C systems, as well as watches peoples' boats when they're gone for the rainy season. We contracted with him at a fair price to make regular visits to the boat, and rented an A/C unit from him. He fabricated a ply enclosure to surround the unit in the companionway and allow us to lock up, and we now are way ahead in the prevention of mold which regularly occurs aboard stored boats here, especially during rainy season. So, the organization and clean-up continues. We fly out the 12th, so that deadline is coming up. Stay tuned!

May 1 - Update

We've had a busy week. Matt left for Florida a few days ago, leaving a void as well as an empty V-berth. He's on to new adventures of the land work kind, after 6 months and about 7000 miles of the boat work kind; an adjustment for everybody. We've been straightening up, getting ready for our haul-out May 7th. The engine's been cleansed with degreaser, and the deck and cockpit have been washed down, as well as the stainless polished; more halyards have been removed and replaced with runners, our sails are ready for inspection at the sailmaker, and the newly upholstered cockpit cushions look great. We've found time to have dinner aboard with Marion & Dave of sv Kilkea II, who are celebrating the completion of their circumnavigation, along with Gordon & Helen of sv Mantra. We've also been to the weekly Thursday night cruisers BBQ at Power Boats, doing our best to eat and share our food stores before we depart for the States. Since we have about a month's worth of food in the freezer and about two weeks to go before our flight, many folks are enjoying the fish Matt caught and the meats we bought in South Africa. I bought a used 6000 BTU A/C unit the other day, but the power post on the dock isn't wired properly, so we're unable to use our extension cord and A/C until that's addressed. More boats are arriving here daily, and we see our sister-ship, Native Dancer, just pulled in. We haven't met those folks, but it's not very often you see two Westsail 43's in one place!

April 21 - Still busy....

OK, then....Just what have we been doing? The woodworker, Carlton, has shown up every day, is quite talented, and I work alongside him. The galley sink access panel is complete, was mounted a few minutes ago, and looks great. The dodger eyebrow, which lifts the studs that the dodger attaches to from the fiberglass deck to a canted area on the teak, is just about finished. Carlton can be reached at Busy Bee Woodworking, 472-2490. The Yamaha outboard works fine; we used Jonathan's Outboard Shop at 727-9293. Our cockpit cushions are being recovered by Mervyn at Mervyn's Canvas & Cushions 463-7099. The FW pump pulley had a new, machined insert pressed onto the old bearing surface as well as a keyway slotted into the material. This approach saved a lot of money rather than starting from scratch, was installed back on the Perkins today, and we'll test everything out tomorrow. We used Wazied at Twin Line Boring & machine Shop (at Tardieu Marine) at 322-2600 for several projects now, and he knows his stuff. What a haircut at Carla's across from us (75TT), near Crew's Inn; the sails were taken to Ullman Sails; Matt's booked his ticket back to the States (this coming Monday) and is busy with last minute stuff, as well as running substitute line for halyards, cleaning, and painting. We've been to a few cruisers BBQ's (braai's in SA!), had dinner with friends, and are trying to eat all the food we have aboard before we depart as well (no tickets yet). Whew...time is flying by!

April 11 - Busy times

Well, we started to tackle our punch list of projects. So far, we've removed the Yankee and main sails; they and the staysail will go to Ullman Sails for inspection and stitching repairs where needed. The wood worker stopped by and I discussed a few teak projects with him. I went to the machine shop to drop off the FW pump pulley for insert fabrication. He smiled when he saw my keyway modification. But, worked, didn't it! I called about the liferaft repack but didn't get a good feeling from that outfit; we'll have to wait and see. We visited the YSATT office and talked to Catherine there. Next door to the Coral Cove Marina is Tropical Marine, where Jesse James hangs out. He wasn't in, but we did stop for a beer at the Wheelhouse Cafe there. The foredeck's been washed; the cockpit still needs it. The Yamaha went into the shop for a modification. The starter pull cord wouldn't work; something new and different. I was afraid the cylinder was locked up, but that's not the case. The mechanic explained that on the two stroke, 15 HP Enduro models, the one we have, the shaft goes up into the head and is, basically too long, therefore susceptible to salt encrosion which eventually just packs so tightly that the engine can't turn over. The solution is to remove the upper part of the motor and literally cut off about an inch or so of the shaft; newer Yamaha models already come with that mod; more specifics will be forthcoming. This morning I took the gooseneck off the boom for R/R as its bearing surface was eating into the forward end of the boom and caused the boom to tilt as well. Fortunately, the welder is next door to the machine shop. What had happened was that over the years, salt water, again, caused corrosion behind the bearing surface and pitted the bearing surface of the gooseneck where it inserts into the boom. The welder filled it in where needed with material (aluminum); the machine shop took off the extra metal, and I had a larger SS bearing surface (think of a large SS washer) fabricated to distribute the load a bit more on the most forward vertical surface of the boom. More fun and games. But, seeing that we've only been here two days...hey, we've made a start on it! Sue's done a few loads of hand laundry, which is now hanging from the lifelines (yes, we do look like a laundry scow...), and has arranged pick up of another few loads (sheets and towels, mostly) to the laundromat next door at Tropical Marine. She's also posted a few more photo albums; enjoy!