ONWARDS TO PANAMA CITY – Across the Caribbean from Bonaire
Many will know Robin (former club Treasurer) and Chris Upton, regular Clubhouse Friday nighters (until Covid-19 struck)
Their son Tim, his wife, Gisela , and two small children Chloe 4, and Finley 2 bought a Discovery 55 and sailed it from Gran Canaria to St Maartin, they originally set off on the 9th March arriving in Antigua 18 days later.
They are now heading for Panama City, their blog from Salty Finch follows:
Just a quick update on the trip so far…
We left Bonaire Wednesday at 11:00, a little bit later than planned as a few of the crew were a bit hungover. We won’t mention any names, but let’s just say the last braai on Bonaire was a memorable one.
For this trip west, we have the trade winds behind us the whole way again, as well as some current helping us along. We should manage to get there in 5 days. The only unfortunate thing is that per the forecast the wind will die down for the last two days so we might have to motor.
At the moment we are making excellent progress. With our keen student Nico, we poled out the headsails this morning and are sitting comfortably at 8 knots with 18 knots of wind and about 2 knots of current.
It has made such a change having Inga and Nico with us. Everyone has a bit more free time and can get more sleep, the kids have Nico to entertain them 🤪 and most of all we enjoy the company! Unfortunately Inga is not on top form, she started with a cold and on top of that is feeling a bit seasick at times. Tim and I are also feeling some cold symptoms, but not too badly yet. We think it is the three weeks of over indulging that is now catching up with us. So a bit of a detox while at sea will be good for us all.
We have been very keen to catch a fish and are trawling with two lines. Our first “catch” of the trip was a Brown Booby. Now for those that aren’t familiar with the wildlife here, that is a bird. The silly thing grabbed our lure and we cut it free after dragging it through the water for a minute. We think it survived 🙏
Chloe and Finley have been catching up on sleep today, they were both in bed before noon and slept for three hours. They are very excited about the animals they might see when we get there – red frogs, howler monkeys, crocodiles and sloths 🦥. Finley thinks we are out for a day sail and keeps asking if we are almost in Panama? And will he get a new bike once we are there? The poor boy was not happy to give up his first set of wheels.
Sending lots of love to you all, will send another update once we catch a real fish!
The Salty Finches xxxSecond Blog
We are currently 84 nm from Bocas and looking to arrive around midday local time on Tuesday. We have been making slow progress (4.8kts) the last two days due to a very strong current against us, hence the added day to our journey. The wind has almost completely died down so we have been motoring for two days, apart from an odd squall where we had a great sail and a free rinse. Spirits are high again, but a few days ago they were below average…
On Friday we received a weather update and it alerted us to an increase of winds and swell the following day. The options were to stay on course or sail south to a more protected area. As we were running with the wind and already had 2m swell behind us, turning south would have been very uncomfortable with the swell beam on for hours. We decided to keep going, brought some sail in and waited. We had both headsails poled out at this point and the boat was sailing beautifully, doing 10 kts surfing down the waves. We also had the current with us.
With less sail out we slowed down a bit and the boat was super steady. I handed my watch over to Nico at midnight and the wind had not picked up. During his watched it started to increase and the seas as well. All was well up to 30 kts, but then the wind over powered the sails and the autopilot lost control. The boat rounded up into the wind and both sails backed, poles and all. Tim immediately came to help as we had all been woken by the sudden, severe change in motion and the loud bang of the poles and sails flinging around. It was a wonder no one fell out of bed.
They managed to bring the sails in and by some miracle nothing was broken.
We then motored through the night in a force 7 with huge 4m swells behind us. It was hellishly uncomfortable down below and pretty scary for the newcomers to see such big waves. I would have been frightened too, but after our first day of the Atlantic crossing, this didn’t feel nearly as bad. The worst was trying to sleep with the rolling which was basically impossible. The boat was in a real state, latches had broken off drawers and there was literally stuff everywhere. Plants fallen over, waves wetting the cockpit and even inside. What a mess! The bad weather continued for about 15 hours, the wind died down earlier but the swell stayed big for hours.
At this point I have to mention the children. Apart from perhaps not sleeping as well as normal, they did not have a care in the world. They kept on playing and being cheerful throughout, which was an improvement from the last rough weather we had. They well and truly have their sea legs now. Poor Inga was not so fortunate as she was already feeling ill before the rough weather. Now there was even less chance of her keeping liquid down and we were starting to get worried about dehydration as it was now three days of barely any water. Tim got in contact with the off shore support doctor and they immediately let us know what to give her from the medical kits. So we started with Operation Rehydration: within 15 minutes of taking two tablets, she could take sips of rehydration fluid and within 8 hours had drunk 4 litres of fluid. She was sitting up and even ate a grapefruit. What a relief for everyone, most of all her as she was feeling very low. Now she is just about back to her normal self again 💪
Still no fish, although we have hooked two really nice mahi mahi. They gave us a show with their leaps in the air to try to free the hook and managed to get away both times.
We have had a surprising amount of birds coming to roost for the night. One big bird of prey (juvenile eagle or falcon) slept in the tender for a night and now we have swallows arriving every evening. Some have not made it through the night – we had one in the cockpit and the kids tried to feed it, after a while they checked on it and Chloe said he was sleeping on his back 😬 They are very tame and will sit on your hand and one even landed on Chloe’s head!
We will let you know of our arrival, we are all looking forward to some beers that’s for sure!
Lots of love from everyone xxx
Visit to a Chocolate Farm
New RCC ‘WhatsApp’ group for offshore cruiser club sailors (with link)Whatsapp group set up for cruising in company.Here is a link so members can join
With the news that HM Government are planning to lift the Covid-19 restrictions from the 19th of July we are at last able to make some more positive plans.
This means that the planned return to the clubhouse and the Regatta weekend can definitely go ahead.
Picnic and Barbeque 24th July
We told you about the plans for the Regatta Picnic and Barbeque in the June Newsletter, we are now able to confirm more of the detail.
Further details for the BBQ on the Saturday afternoon/evening at the dock: –
- We will be based on the grass area at the dock, making use of the ‘beach bar’.
- It is open to all club members as well as guests sailing on the day in the regatta.
- It will commence following sailing on the Saturday, but the formal start will be at 4.00pm
- Please bring a picnic.
- The club BBQ will be lit for you to use, although reasonably large, space will still be limited.
- Drinks and light snacks will also be available.
- Chairs and space on the BBQ will be limited so feel free to bring your own.
If you haven’t got a key fob to access the dock ring one of these numbers 07793839305, 07793839306 to let you in
If the weather is really, really bad we will move to the clubhouse and post a note on the gate and keep your eye on the Facebook group.
Don’t forget that the ‘Grand Re-opening’ of the club bar is on Friday evening the 23rd of July.
Looking forward to later in the year, we are pleased to be able to announce that the planned ‘Laying-up’ Supper will go ahead this year. The date for your diaries, as noted in the handbook, is Saturday evening the 16th of October at Fairhaven Golf Club. Further details regarding how to obtain tickets will be released nearer the time, places will be limited once the tickets are released so, please keep an eye out in the newsletters, Facebook and on posters in the clubhouse and at the dock.
On Saturday the 10th of July we are running the first tidal training session of the season. Martin Knott is offering on-the-water coaching to those who are keen to improve their dinghy racing skills. Please let Martin know, if you haven’t already done so, if you’re going to join in his session. Otherwise, there will be an additional safety boat on the water for those who might just want to potter.
As previously advised, there are races on the Regatta weekend, 24th and 25th of July (see poster) for both cruisers and dinghies. The Regatta is really an opportunity for everyone to get out sailing in company. We are keen to see as many boats as possible, of all sizes on the start line, even if you’re not intending to race.
To paraphrase Martin Knott on the Facebook Group; “RCC Club racing, is not at all serious, but is really sailing with a bit more purpose in ‘going somewhere’”.
Fylde Borough Council’s works at Fairhaven are still ongoing. Again, as previously advised additional works and the works to the café have meant a significant delay to the contract. The completion of the new boat storage compound which we had hoped to be using by now doesn’t look as though it will complete until August. However, in the meantime we plan to make a start on the water on Wednesday the 21st of July, at 6.00pm, for member’s own boats. Please let us know if you are intending to sail.
Optimistically we now hope to have some youth sailing back in early August and are targeting Wednesday evening the 4th of August as a start. Places will be restricted (8) until we can get the full complement of club boats to the new boat compound at the lake and so it will be important for parents to book the Wednesday evening slots for their children well in advance.
As noted above we are keen to re-introduce dinghy racing, but its success will depend greatly on a commitment from club members, of all ages and abilities, to both join the racing and help organise it by undertaking some of the supporting tasks. The racing can be as expansive or local as the experience of the competitors requires, it is possible on the one hand to have short races, out of the tide, in the vicinity of the clubhouse, using mobile race marks. On the other hand, for the faster handicap dinghies, we can use the vast expanse of water seen at high tide. Members of the training team are keen to offer on-the-water coaching before and during the races to help novice sailors improve.
But we need to know what you want and hear from the sailing members. A simple reply to this email will do.
The team have been out at the bottom of the river repairing the race marks.
Tidal training will continue in the autumn as per the handbook dates.
Cruising in Company
A number of cruisers have ventured out of the dock on longer trips recently. If there is a wish to sail in company to some of the local destinations, such as Piel Island and perhaps towards the North Wales Coast please let us know.
Ribble Cruising Club
- Captain Barnacle
June Newsletter (Sailing update and supplement)
- Captain Barnacle
- Captain Barnacle
- Captain Barnacle