Monday, November 29, 2010

Fall Deliveries

(Our stow-away on the "Marinette" delivery this year)

Every fall I am fortunate enough to deliver a few boats. My two favorite are S/V “Changin’ Tags” and S/V Marinette. Both are center cockpit Island Packets so they are beautiful boats. “Changin’ Tags” is the 46 foot version and “Marinette” is 44 feet. They are so similar in the interior that I am constantly looking for something on one boat that is on the other or expecting to find something that I KNOW should be in a certain spot only to realize after a fruitless search that it’s actually on the other boat.

                        (S/V Marinette at her berth in Aventura, FL)

“Marinette” moves back and forth from Aventura, Florida to Mamaronac, New York. I have done the trip six times now, two times with the owner Dr. K and his son Mark on board for portions of the trip and the rest of the time with a variety of crew. My son Jimmy crewed for me for three of the trips and I have also had, Richard, Blaine, Mike, and Ross come along. Mike and I just finished the trip from NY to FL right before Thanksgiving. It was a great trip but the weather in the Fall is always a little rough. We had to wait out a gale warning off Cape Hatteras and then beat to windward for about 36 hours off of Charleston in 30+ knots of wind. Island Packets are big, beefy, tough, offshore sailboats but they are not really known for their ability to sail to windward in the best of conditions. In 30 knots of wind and 16 to 20 foot seas… well it’s a stop sign. We made it only a day late though which makes me happy, as a delivery captain I like to be as accurate as possible with my estimates.

                 (S/V "Changin' Tags" at her berth in St Thomas, USVI)

“Changin’ Tags” moves back and forth from Norfolk, VA to St Thomas, USVI. This is a true bluewater trip and is almost guaranteed to have some sort of excitement. Let me see… we have filled up the fuel tanks 900 miles from land with the help of a Container Ship, the “Desert Serenity;” we have battled gale force winds for the better part of a week; we have turned and run from 3 nasty storms in one trip and been forced to turn tail and scoot away from Norfolk once when we were only 200 miles away. I have wrestled six gallon jugs of fuel back onto the boat which had been washed off the deck in monster seas and were still atatched to the lifelines. The wind blowing so hard I could hardly keep my eyes open. Through it all the owner, Dick Shirley, battled along beside Jimmy and I. He held the boat steady at 6 knots alongside a huge containership while fuel was passed down to the deck on a line, he laughed and joked as we watched the wind guage climb to 67 knots and has always proven to be a great sailor and a great Captain as well. Jimmy came along on most of the “Changin’ Tags” deliveries and I am happy to say that the time he spent out there facing the ocean’s wrath as well as her calm and beauty, and the time he spent with men like Dick have made him into a man and son I can be proud of. We will be leaving Norfolk on December 2nd and we will miss Jimmy but we will be bringing along another young man, 15-year-old Dylan Milton will be crewing in Jimmy’s place. He and his family live aboard a Cat called “Ubunto.” I am sure the trip will be a great experience for Dylan as well.

We love to get messages on the Iridium phone offshore.  They are free for you to send and free for us to read.  We cannot send you back a reply but pop us off a message every now and then and share the trip with us.  All you have to do is go to:  and leave the 8816 that is already there and add our number to it 32521786.  In the email line just put your name because we can't email you anyway but then add your message below.  There is a counter and each message can only be 160 characters but you can send as many as you want.  If you are sending multiple messages just put 1/2 or 1/3 or what ever at the beginning so we know which message of how many because they do not always arrive in order.  Also if your message is for a specific crewmember just put it in the email line for example....  Rebecca to Tofer 1/3...

Remember you can follow us on SPOT by clicking on the little word SPOT on the upper left side of the blog where it says "Where we are now".  The SPOT shows you exactly where we are every 6 hours or so.

Oh and for Blake on Slow Motion... BREAK OUT THE HARD RIDDLES FOR THIS TRIP!!!

Thanks For Reading!
Captain Tofer

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