Sunday, January 25, 2015

BVI Charter Booked!


While spending the Christmas holiday with Brenda's sister Karen and her husband Peter, they told us they really wanted to charter a sailboat this year in the British Virgin Islands. They have crewed on previous charters and are now enrolled in a series of ASA classes to become certified for bareboat chartering. Doesn't that sound like a fun vacation? Lucky them!

As we discussed their trip the conversation quickly evolved into, "Hey, why don't the four of us do this charter together?" One month later and the Beneteau 43/3 is reserved for 20 (yes 20) days and all four of us have booked our flights for late spring/early summer. Yippee! The charter company we are working with starts their off-season rates just before our charter begins and is also running a 10 days for the price of 7 days special. So we can book for two weeks and enjoy the wonderful sailing, snorkeling, beaches and food for 20 days.

This will be a great way for Brenda and I to gauge our future boat size requirements. We may find that our current target boat length of 31 to 37 feet is fine for us or way too small. The same is true of the RIB that will be supplied with the sailboat. After using this dinghy for twenty days we should have a pretty good idea of what size and horsepower we would want later.

Foxy's, Soggy Dollar Bar, Tortola Full Moon Festival, local music, fresh fish, sailing, snorkeling, The Baths, Painkillers,................. We're in!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chicago Strictly Sail Show 2015


This year they moved the show from Navy Pier to the McCormick Center. They also combined the show with power boats and RV's to make it a mega-show. The facilities are top notch and massive which made it much easier to navigate the aisles between all the exhibitors. We stayed in the attached Hyatt, so we were really spoiled being able to just walk a few hundred steps indoors to go from our room to the show floor.


We love being at the show all day Friday as the crowds don't really show up until Saturday. We got to walk right onto any boat without waiting in a long line. The boats ranging from dinghies to 45 footers were interesting to check out, but our checkbooks stayed firmly in our pockets. We see the price tags on these brand new dock queens and shudder at the thought of spending that much on a boat. It is amazing to see the sold signs getting placed on these hulls during the show. Spending $250,000 on a boat that you haven't even sailed yet seems crazy to us.

We missed having the Navy Pier restaurants just steps away for lunch, but we found a pretty good substitute. One of the vendor carts was serving really tasty (all those calories and fat may have helped the flavor) polled pork or chicken nachos. A couple of ice cold Modelo beers along with Frankendread playing steel drums and a mean guitar to reggae music made for a couple of awesome lunches. Having two days at the show makes it much more enjoyable for us. We can tour the boats on Friday and catch a few seminars. Then on Saturday we check out all the vendor's booths in between the seminars we want to attend.

We attended several free seminars which are the main reason we attend this show each year. All but one seminar proved to be informative and interesting. There was one on Coastal Navigation which was a real waste of time. We unfortunately sat up front to get a good view of the slide show. Several people simply got up and walked out during the presentation. Brenda counted five people sound asleep. (I wonder if she was counting me?).

I did find a new motor for our next dinghy. That should get us on plane!


Friday, January 9, 2015


So what does a Midwest sailor do when the ice fishermen are sitting on his sailing lake? I guess he could join them and take up ice fishing. Let's see; put on enough clothes to make motion nearly impossible, sit on an empty Home Depot bucket (this is the designer bucket of choice by discerning ice fishermen) and if you are lucky take home a fish or two with only a mild case of frostbite in your fingers. Hmmm, does anybody manufacture an icebreaker sailboat?

Instead Brenda and I sail in our heads while sitting in our faithful old two person comfy chair. A big heavy blanket, mugs of something warm and let the sailing begin. We read endlessly about other people's sailing adventures as well as informational texts on sailing. We plan our annual trip to the Chicago Strictly Sail Show. This year we have lots of exciting planning to do for an 18-20 day charter in the BVI. We will be chartering a large monohull out of Tortola along with Brenda's sister and her husband. Now that is exciting armchair sailing!

We recently signed up for the NauticEd online courses. If you haven't heard of them, check them out.

They offer lots of informative modules designed to give sailors the basics (and a bit more) of skippering a charter boat. We signed up for the Bareboat Charter Master Rank courses and have enjoyed working our way through them. They include an online logbook to document your sailing resume which is pretty neat. We spent an hour or so typing in the 200 or so days of sailing (Brenda has kept a file of nearly every sail we have done) into the logbook which can then be sent to charter companies. It documents sailing days, course work, days at anchor, days in a marina, etc..

Check them out. If you use this promo code, "wrinklescode" (all lower case and no spaces), and you get $15.00 off any class you sign up for.

Now isn't that better than a bucket chair on ice?