Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sailing Shell Belle to Fresh Water!

Dan leaves in one week to start to bring Shell Belle up North.  How far he gets and where it ends up until warmer weather depends on a lot of factors.  Crew, weather, repairs, etc.  The kids and I will be land based back here Ottawa awaiting the return of our Captain.  The boat, once North of the Chesapeake, will be docked in Oswego for the summer. Hopefully after the sale of our house we will be heading south!

A few photos to recap our two months on board Shell Belle in the BVIs.  We will return here and onward one day.

Happy boys fishing

Red beetle love

Deck baths, lots of giggles

Girl time

We called her 'the baby turtle' 

The 'Foxy Photo' doesn't everyone have one

Finding our sun shade, happy day

Shell Belle aka home

Will keep you posted on her journey North...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Leaving the dock! Boat repairs and new-to-us sails!

Well its been two weeks since we had Shell Belle launched and one thing or another has kept us at the dock.  We did anticipate this, we didn't fool ourselves into thinking a 38 year old new to us boat would be sea ready at launch.

Meshing half up, it will only last about 6 months in this sun.  Lesson learned, next one will be darker, thicker material and the clamps will be black.

We spent the first two days baby proofing and cleaning and still cleaning...As I am borderline OCD.  Then things started to happen as they do on a boat, especially an older boat.  The previous owners did a lot of work however in the last five years they only were on her for three to four months out of the year.  

Captain spent a good part of the first week replacing corroded wiring for the stove, lights and a few outlets.  Thinking we were good to go we started up the 220 hp John Deere engine to give it a while to warm up and our bilge alarm goes off. Several clamps on hoses to the raw water pump were completely loose and water spayed everywhere! So Captain goes back to work checking hoses and clamps and yet again water is still spaying out. The engine only has 660 hrs on it so we decided to leave it to the professionals and waited for the mechanic to come over the next morning.  After repacing the water seal in the raw water pump things seemed to be good, seemed, I'll explain a little later.

The work that we had the WorkBench do at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour was impecable, Island Time slow, but impecable.

New Bobstay

New Bow Pulpit with duel anchor rollers

After a late departure from the dock (which is never good in BVI busy season) we headed out toward Mosquito Island and then the bilge alarm sounds again.  I take the helm and Captain goes to check the engine room once again.  No leaky hose, how about a hole in the hose from all the pressure! Pressure build up from a 2" down to the size of a pinhole with calcium build up!  Okay so your thinking, your a sailboat so just put up the sails and give the engine a break...ha ha ha.  To ready our boat I was in charge of the mizzen because its old school and that is how I learned to sail.  The Captain and our friend Geoff from the WorkBench readied the Genoa and Captain was in charge of his in-boom Main, you think he would of threaded the sail in the bloody mast! Oh no, so now we have top of our Main sail flopping all over the place and we cannot roll her back in because a batten was stuck in the boom.  Oh boy, good times! After windy, overcast weather, bilge alarms going off, baby screaming the whole way (later found out it was a poopy diaper), main flopping in the wind, we arrive at North Sound to find every single mooring ball occupied in jam packed anchorage. Now this is our first go with our new boat and anchoring in a mine field of boats, well lets just say in wasn't pretty.  A few boats around us were highly entertained some might of even pulled anchor and moved further away from us.

Now I'm leaving the kicker in this wonderful first adventure...a picture is worth a thousand words.

What is wrong with this dingy picture??? Bottom just popped right out while we were underway! Now luckily the Captain tied off the gas tank really really well and we were able to save it and the brand new outboard.  Dear West Marine and the previous owners if you do not cover and protect your dingy within 5 years the seals will wither away! Thank The Lord the kids were not in it.

So anchor up the next and back down to Tortola to purchase a new dingy.  We spent a couple of days provisioning with boat parts, hose (lots of hose) and stock then onto our next adventure.

Great cockpit moments...the Captain and I laughing as hard as we could at our first adventure.  Sebastien with the biggest smile I've ever seen on him watching for fish,  pointing out other boats and waking up and cuddling in the cockpit.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Losing the D-day or Travel Day Battle!

Losing my two day travel request and heading to Virgin Gorda in a 14 hour day with our two beautiful, well behaved children... The end result two months on our boat! Now can I survive the 14 hours???

I would hope to think I am better prepared this time around.  The first resulted in many lessons! About chair kicking, sitting in your seat, patience (from me), the need for constant stimulation and less is better when it comes to carry-ons because you already are carry two children on and checking a stroller at the gate.

Our beautiful daughter can hit some pretty high pitches when she is not happy so I decided to extend a little courtesy to our fellow flyers with ear plugs!

I did get a little crafty with making Alex an activity blanket filled with small toys and shapes that I will pull out during our long flight from Phili to St-Thomas.

Getting to Virgin Gorda and to our boat Shell Belle will be worth this long painful day.  I will not think about the return just yet.  Would rather be sailing her back! I will keep the blog and fb page updated when I can.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Island Time!

Crew 'The Beauchamps'

To update...about us.

Well we've come a long way in planning this 'little' adventure but here we are finally getting started!  Skipper Dan finally put his papers in and retired ending a 31 year career in Policing.  He enjoyed over 17 years on the Marine and Dive team and added a list of certificates to aid in our journey. He had planned a solo adventure until I came along:)  With our dreams combined we added our little sailor Sebastien now 3 years old and Alexandra at 1 year old.  I have graciously ended my short career as a Paramedic and added myself, Shelley, to this wonderful adventure as a family! I just completed my Basic Cruising Standard and fell instantly in love with sailing! Our adventure will start with cruising around Virgin Gorda, BVI's where we purchased our s/v this December/January.  Dan will bring the boat over to the US this spring and up to Canada in the summer 2014.  From there we will move onto the boat full-time and cruise the east coast and Caribbean until the kids are a bit older and venture out from there. 

We are not writers by any means but feel it is necessary to blog our journey so that friends and family can follow along.

Proud Skipper Dan

It was a great visit to our 'new to us' s/v "Shell Belle" located in Virgin Gorda, BVI's at the Yacht Harbor this past August 2013.  She was up on the hard when we arrived and stayed there during our visit.  We were hoping the work we needed done to sail her would be complete prior to our arrival however things were moving slowly as slow as 'Island Time'.

One of our biggest challenges was adjusting ourselves to 'Island Time' and the HEAT!  The Caribbean in the summer heat and humidity can pose some challenges for the kids and ourselves along with the relentless mosquitoes! It did not help that our youngest was teething for the first two weeks.

Alex and Mommy
Sailor Seb

It was exciting to explore the boat and discover all the amazing things about her. We are still in the process of putting her full history together starting from her build in 1975 at the Cheoy Lee Shipyard in Hong Kong.  She was built for either an American or English Second WW Veteran.  She has cruised the Med extensively and has 4 Atlantic crossings to her credit...most notably the America 500 Rally Circa 1992 celebrating Christopher Columbus's crossing. She still has the full array of charts for both the Med and Caribbean.

She was named 'Rangoon Lady', as we are told, after the woman who helped him escape from a POW camp near Rangoon.  Since he never got to know her name he named the vessel in her honor.

The previous owners had the vessel for over 20 years and named her "Seminole Wind".  They took excellent care of her and other than a few issues identified during the Survey she is good to go.  We are left with mostly cosmetic work to do and are looking forward to that.

New hand rail installed.  Workbench did a great job!

Good to know our kids make friends easy!
It seems overwhelming to me.  However I cannot wait to sail her!

Master his and her bunks, love it!
Nav Station looking aft. Check out the chart drawers.

Old charts,

Oh yes my friend 'the bow thruster'!

12KW Genie

Fully protected Prop

6068 John Deer

Lots of storage space, Hanging locker in master stateroom.

There is cork inlay in both heads.  I'm not sure I'm a fan yet.

Blurry picture, hubby's shot sorry, looking forward to Seb's room from the galley.  Seb as has already claimed it!

Master shower, lots of room for kids tub.
Good size fridge and freezer.
Our Princess Electric Stove.

The second Head also has a walk in shower.  Its located between the bow stateroom and double bunk stateroom.

Settee in Seb's room, not sure if I'm a fan of the leather, it's on the galley settee too.

Looking forward in Seb's room to chain locker.

Storage under Pilot Berth, Engine room adjacent.

Alex's room or guest room if anyone would want to join us for a visit:)
As you can see we have a lot of organizing to do to make it ours!  Now to the work we anticipate to be completed as 'Island Time' allows it.  Bow pulpit was taken off and shipped to Tortola for redesign and fabrication.  The redesign is to close more of it off so that the kids cannot fall through.  Great idea from Geoff at the Workbench! 4 tangs were also taken off to be replaced.  We are also having the cockpit completely enclosed with canvas, as it is now it is only covering half.  At the same time we are having a large piece of canvas made to fit over all the teak for when she's on the hard.

A nice 'to do' list for the Workbench at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor along with fixing one of the AC units, installing an inverter and wind turbine.  Not counting on it all being done seeing they only have 4 months! 

During our next visit we've picked a few small jobs, lol, along with all the organizing to do.  The previous owners actually left spreadsheets for tools, spare parts, etc. The galley is fully stock with utensils, cooking ware, dish sets, etc. We are hoping to paint the inside cabinets and do a wee bit of sanding and varnishing, when babes are asleep of course!

Miscellaneous shots...


It almost looks like we are out there from the hard!

PS: Facing your fears, throughout this adventure, step one climb a 12' ladder with your baby strapped to you!