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2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) #151657
01/08/2018 11:26 AM
01/08/2018 11:26 AM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 83
Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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BreckSailor Offline OP
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BreckSailor  Offline OP
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In May-June 2017, I took my family of 3 on a sailing trip through the Leeward Islands - BVIs to Guadeloupe and back. We visited 10 countries, 40 islands and travelled 1k miles. I'm a charterer like many here but I had the flexibility (and sailing background) to take a longer trip aboard a 40' charter catamaran in a unique partnership. We were fortunate to take this trip just a few months before significant hurricane devastation of many of the islands/countries we visited.

For Christmas as a "gift" to my family, I created a Youtube movie of our trip in order to somehow capture the essence of the trip in a slideshow/video format. We had taken hundreds of pictures and hours of video and had many stories to tell and I simply wanted some way to collect this and to keep a story of our trip. Its intention was simply for my family (wife and son), but many friends and family followed our trip so we have made that YouTube video public with some very positive feedback.

Also, as part of the planning for the trip, I'd asked several questions here and multiple other online and offline sites and people with great input. So with that in mind, I've decided to post the link here to the YouTube video for any that might be interested in a similar trip in the future. Maybe it will be helpful or interesting to others or just a great way to beat the midwinter blues?!? Keep in mind that I'm in no way a blogger or video editor/creator - in fact, I had to learn some basic video editing skills in order to make the video and I recognize those skills were pretty basic.

Still, others have enjoyed the video and I'm posting the link here for those that might be interested.

Happy Sailing!

Kevin

Lontz "Odyssea" Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands May/June 2017)

(I'm not sure above link worked - so here's the direct link: https://youtu.be/171WKy10NE4)

Last edited by BreckSailor; 01/08/2018 11:28 AM. Reason: (Uncertain whether URL linking worked...)
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Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #151679
01/08/2018 01:08 PM
01/08/2018 01:08 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 106
RickBlaine Offline
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RickBlaine  Offline
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Where did you rent the boat?

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #151680
01/08/2018 01:12 PM
01/08/2018 01:12 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5,381
An island state of mind
tradewinds Offline
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tradewinds  Offline
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An island state of mind
Great video!

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: RickBlaine] #151772
01/08/2018 10:40 PM
01/08/2018 10:40 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 83
Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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BreckSailor Offline OP
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BreckSailor  Offline OP
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The boat is a Dream Yacht Charter boat though I developed a unique partnership with the boat’s independent owner so it was an agreement between the 3 parties.

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #151773
01/08/2018 10:41 PM
01/08/2018 10:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,267
New Jersey, USA
DanS Online content
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DanS  Online Content
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Wow, what a trip! Nice job on the video!

Also, nice job going up the mast and untwisting the halyard. I'm no rigging expert, but it looks (at 39:10) like that twist could happen only because the block attached to the head of the sail had a swivel that allowed it to rotate. Seems to me that a different type of block should have been installed there.

Dan cheers

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #151796
01/09/2018 10:26 AM
01/09/2018 10:26 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,518
Worcester, U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Jeannius  Offline
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Nice video. Took me back to my trips down island. Particularly enjoyed the shots of Deshaies and Isles des Saintes to the soundtrack of Southern Cross, a song that means a lot to me. I'm guessing you may see the trip described in the song in your future grin

The problems with the halyard are pretty common on charter boats. The riggers just pick up the first block that comes to hand without checking if they have a swivel. If they swivel then once that halyards been round the winch a few hundred times it is guaranteed to be a mess, just like yours.

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: Jeannius] #151799
01/09/2018 11:10 AM
01/09/2018 11:10 AM
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Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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Thanks for the several nice thoughts re the video.

Jeannius you are exactly correct on all counts regarding the halyard. What made the process particularly interesting - and which I didn't detail in the video - is that there was only a single halyard (charter boat). With that jammed, I needed a way to get up the mast. So, I disconnected the topping lift to use as a spare to haul me up the mast. However, with the main successfully released, the boom would fall to deck and damage bimini, rails, etc. without the topping lift. So, I had to first run up the mast to a spar in order to secure the boom by rigging a spring line down to the boom as a makeshift topping lift prior to releasing the main. Only then could I use the topping lift to run up the mast. So, the whole exercise was a bit lengthy. But that's what you get with a charter-oriented boat! Frankly, that's why I spent over 2 days on the front of the trip (and really, weeks in advance) preparing for the trip knowing that I would have to handle any issues that came along. (And there were several other issues that I had to fix or figure along the way.)

BTW, people have asked what our favorite destination was - while a tough decision with so many great destinations, it would have to be Guadeloupe including Deshaies and the Saintes...

As for Southern Cross - I can only hope...we'll see whether that's in my future...

Best,

Kevin

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #151809
01/09/2018 01:11 PM
01/09/2018 01:11 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,939
Buffalo, NY
lauraandrex Offline
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lauraandrex  Offline
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oh wow Kevin! probably one of THE best trip videos I have ever seen and I'm only half way through!! I was lucky enough to travel basically that exact path with Mike, Malcolm and the Jeannius crew 10 years ago (god we're old) so as Mike said definitely took me down memory lane! Even to the point where we were also standing in someone's vacated but still somewhat intact house on Montserrat! ( I saw you met Clover as well) What a special trip for you and your family thank you so much for sharing, it's very moving and your music selections are on point!!

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: lauraandrex] #151837
01/09/2018 07:56 PM
01/09/2018 07:56 PM
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Posts: 83
Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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BreckSailor Offline OP
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Thanks Laura! So interesting that you also met Clover - such a nice person with an interesting background. You clearly watched the video as that's just a single quick photo - but I loved that photo in front of the wall at her shop/studio/bakery.

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #151906
01/10/2018 12:05 PM
01/10/2018 12:05 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,939
Buffalo, NY
lauraandrex Offline
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Yes! Malcolm had done some film work previously with her husband David who was key in monitoring the activity and then filming and documenting the big blow so thanks to him, we all got to meet the whole family at their lovely home where he showed us a bunch of footage and then took us on a tour into the Exclusion Zone. Such a humbling experience as that area will never be habitable again, hard to make a comparison but I guess it would be like Roadtown/CGB/and the whole West End area becoming a buried wasteland never to be "in play" again. We went into a deserted home as well and a hotel where cows were living!

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #151984
01/10/2018 09:53 PM
01/10/2018 09:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 461
Apex, NC
agrimsrud Offline
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agrimsrud  Offline
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That looks like an awesome trip! I'm going to have to start training my better half to get comfortable with blue water sailing so we can take a trip like that. You've inspired me - thanks!


Life's short - sail more!
Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: agrimsrud] #151989
01/11/2018 03:34 AM
01/11/2018 03:34 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,518
Worcester, U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Originally Posted by agrimsrud
That looks like an awesome trip! I'm going to have to start training my better half to get comfortable with blue water sailing so we can take a trip like that. You've inspired me - thanks!


My wife wouldn't consider going out of sight of land for years and wouldn't do the delivery trip from France to St Lucia with me. However, she did do the onward trip from St Lucia to BVI and absolutely loved it. Eventually she got to the state where, like me, she was happier far away from land in deep water where there are fewer things to hit.

The BVI to St Martin or Saba is probably not the run to introduce your better half to blue water though as that can be a truly horrible upwind trip. You are much more likely to have a successful introduction to blue water if you do a downwind trip from say Antigua or St Martin to the BVI. Looks as though Kevin either got lucky with the upwind bit or edited out the bad bits grin

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #152020
01/11/2018 11:27 AM
01/11/2018 11:27 AM
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Posts: 83
Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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BreckSailor Offline OP
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Mike:

I'd generally agree with your comments about the trip to Saba and not being the best to start a crew on...it was a necessary evil for us unfortunately.

The Tortola > Saba leg was our first lengthy run overnight (19 hours/85 NM) on this trip. Sitting in the BVIs and anxious to get down island, we had hoped for a more northerly (really, NE or even ENE) wind in mid May but no luck - it was nearly straight upwind (SE) and against the current. However, the swell was pretty easy - averaging just 3-5' as I recall. It was the first overnight run ever for all on board except me (my 82 yo father, my wife, and my son).

Frankly, it was pretty mundane and (really) easy though as always, it was a long passage to jam away under motor (we started under sail after clearing Virgin Gorda but wind was shifting southerly and I took the sails down once they started flogging) - so it was pretty much a motor the entire way. However, the general weather was good - we'd not have left BVIs without good weather other than a passing squall. We left VG at 1330 and arrived Saba at 0830 - perfect timing.

What wasn't apparent in the video is that Saba is NO place for the beginner sailor to stop. However, that's very clearly outlined in every cruising guide you'll read (and as you certainly know). What was interesting is that during the passage to Saba we crossed another sailing couple on their way back from SXM. They were Caribbean live-aboards and we told them on VHF that we were heading to Saba. They wished us luck and said they'd never been as they'd tried to get there at least 3 other times and they could never get off their boat and onto the island given the conditions. That made me more wary of Saba but I was prepared to continue all the way to Statia (another 20 NM), if necessary. In the end, we did make Saba and found a small patch of sand to anchor in the single anchorage on the island - very close to a $48M superyacht that had been recently washed ashore ("Elsa") about a month earlier due to a broken mooring amid rough conditions. (Several pictures of Elsa in the video: https://www.superyachttimes.com/yacht-news/48m-superyacht-elsa-runs-aground-in-saba)

While its an awesome place to visit, its a potentially treacherous anchorage and can be very tough getting on/off the island. There's a whole story about that but it wasn't documented in our video as I had no photos/video. We actually had to leave my father on the island one night after a dinner ashore because we had a very significant issue re-boarding our boat. We had to call a taxi driver around 9 pm from our boat and have him picked up and taken to a local inn - the only place with a room available - for the night. My father had given me his phone and wallet to put in my dry bag for the dinghy trip to the boat - the swell was so large that everything was going to get soaked and I was going to make a couple of trips to get everyone back to our boat. After one trip (with his phone/wallet), there was no way I was going to make that trip again - it was too dangerous and I had other issues to deal with on the boat with my wife and young son.

Its a great story now, but it could have been a very different ending. It was really the only time on our trip where I was very worried about my crew's safety. I've been in a couple of harrowing sailing situations in my life and this was the most serious. In the end, it all worked out fine.

Other than that issue, Saba is a just fantastic place - and I can't wait to get back there one day under better circumstances!

Kevin

Re: 2017 Odyssea Sailing Trip (Leeward Islands) [Re: BreckSailor] #152041
01/11/2018 02:47 PM
01/11/2018 02:47 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 354
Pacific NW
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Just watched the part of the video where the halyard got twisted and jammed. We had the same exact thing happen to us (twice) on a Lagoon 450 a few years ago while sailing out of Fajardo. First time I called the charter base to get their advice. They found some riggers who met us at Great Cruz Bay in St John where we were able to grab a ball (fortunately the winds were on the light side). They went up the mast using the topping lift just like you did and unclipped the block to let the sale drop. Our charter company advised us to sail the rest of the time with a reef or two in the main so the halyard would be less likely to jam - which was fine with us since the winds were going to be pretty heavy for the rest of the charter. Even at that the halyard got jammed again. This time I used one of the reefing lines and threw it over the highest car on the sail I could get to and then used a winch to muscle it down. It did not come down easy, but eventually we succeeded. It was a bit of an ordeal though. Now I always bring a few very large zip ties with us and check the block to make sure it doesn't rotate more than it should. If it does I loosely connect a couple of the zip ties to it - though I haven't had that issue since then.

I'll also add that we did a charter on a Lagoon 400S2 from DYC through the Leewards and saw many of the same areas you were in. My favorite charter to date - and Barbuda is probably my favorite anchorage that I've even been to. At least you had a great backdrop for the part of the video that chronicles the halyard issue. Really too bad the damage that Irma brought to those islands. Can't wait to watch your video in it's entirety.

Matt


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