Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Arrival in Castletownshend, Ireland, County Cork

Anchor down at 0900 this morning after a serene overnight passage. We had the calmest of seas and sufficient wind to sail more than 2/3 of the time, quietly hissing through calm ocean waters with a full moon and a gentle 5-8 degree heel. Castletownshend was a good choice for landfall, easy entry, very enclosed and wonderfully protected. A former fishing town, it is now a holiday village - a very small village with a tiny store and two pubs, one with a renowned restaurant that we have reservations at tonight. There are also several hotels and B&B's galore. After arrival we had a nice 6 mile coast walk and will spend another day here (we think) before going all of six nautical miles to the not quite as small village of Glandore,

More soon, Bill and Johanna

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Bound for Republic of Ireland

Decision is to leave today for Ireland. There is at least one more island to visit/experience here...Bryher is supposed to be quite pretty and laconic...but it is a cloudy day and Castletownshend beckons. No significant weather concerns either way as winds are very light today and only a bit better tomorrow.

Plan is to up anchor in less than an hour bound for Castle Haven Harbour, town of Castletownshend, County Cork, Ireland.Track us on Garmin mapshare: https://share.garmin.com/. Password is SVJOJO.

A 22 hour passage is expected and we will be in touch from the other side of the Celtic Sea.

Bill and Johanna

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Hello from the Isles of Scilly. We had a great passage from Ilse D'Ouessant to St. Mary's, Scilly Isles. We motored for two hours against a light headwind and then as predicted, winds clocked and built to a nice moderate NE to easterly and we had five or six great hours of sailing averaging 9 knots for two of the hours before the wind died. We motored the last 3 hours or so making water, charging batteries, etc. Nice sailing, fine weather.

Our landfall was the south facing harbour of Porth Cressa, 13 hours sailing port to port. Unfortunately, even though swells offshore were not large, a major roll was coming into Porth Cressa and the 8 boats anchored there had masts swinging like asymmetric metronomes. It did not look comfortable and as two boats were electing to weigh anchor and leave we also chose to go around to St. Mary's Pool on the north side where we anchored for the night.

St. Mary's harbour is busy with ferry's, passenger inter-island boats, fishing boats - all zooming by. The harbour-master gave a knock the next morning and offered us a mooring which we gratefully accepted as we were at their size limit. Our stern was also apparently edging to the channel so they were happy too.

We spent 2 1/2 days exploring St. Mary's. Great coastal walks around the island with bird song and wild flowers everywhere. And some history. The Cornish coast but especially Isles of Scilly are a traditional home of rowing gigs. Scilly is the seat of gig rowing and racing as traditionally gigs were used for island transport, ship rescue, and of course, bringing contraband from Brittany. There is racing here several times per week and the Rowing Gig world championships were recently held here. A Belfast (Maine) rowing team participated this year and our first day on the island included lunch out at Juliettes Farm, a restaurant recommended by a rower from the women's team We then did a long walk 3/4 of the way around St. Mary's, hiking past ancient village sites and burial resting places that dated back 6000 years to the Bronze age. We walked past Port Hellick where one of the greatest British naval disasters ever occurred; a captain of a British naval fleet ca. 1640 was sailing by and stopped to record "soundings". Much of the fleet was lost on the "western rocks" of Port Hellick and 1670 sailors perished. Times were different then...

More walking and exploring on our second day. We invited the local OCC Port Officer to join us for wine and appetizers and had a nice evening with him. He came aboard the next day (Saturday) for the short sail to Tresco, where we are right now.

I have posted some pictures from Ile D'Ouessant on our blog site: vofj.blogspot.com. Take a look! We will likely depart later today for the Republic of Ireland and will keep you posted.

Smooth sailing,

Bill and Johanna
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

From Visions of Johanna

Hello to all. A fine day today on Ile d'Ouessant. Croissants at the boulangerie began the day followed by a walk and Crepes for lunch (Johanna ticked two more Brittany items off her list). Good thing as this was her last chance!! We then hiked for the afternoon. Tres jolie. Hopefully some pictures will follow. (Edit: see below!)

Which reminds me of a few things...

You can go to our blog at vofj.blogspot.com to read our mails but also hopefully to see photos (soon). We need good wifi to upload.
You can follow our travels at the Garmin mapshare sight: https://share.garmin.com/. Password is SVJOJO.

And a small editorial comment. There was an error yesterday in the spelling of the island name Ile D'Ouessant which is corrected in today's mail. See, this is not fake news.

And another small editorial comment. I despise the term fake news and pledge never to use it again!!

We will be up early tomorrow to raise anchor at 0600 hours with a 12-14 hour day planned to cross to St. Mary's in the Isles of Scilly (pronounced "Silly"). Go to our mapshare sight to follow along!

Great to be in touch with all you special people.

Warmly, Bill and Johanna

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Hi to all from the city of Brest, in Brittany, France. Johanna arrived yesterday and all is well. We got into the theme baguettes and Camembert cheese for lunch and a dinner of oysters and fresh fish. Then a good nights sleep and we did our final shop this morning, leaving early afternoon for a short motorsail to Ile d' Oussant (pronounced "wassant"). A beautiful somewhat remote island (but 2 ferries), it is something of a cross between Isle au Haut and Monhegan.

We hope for a nice hiking day there on Tuesday and then a loooong day motor-sail to Isles of Scilly on Wednesday...90 nm. or so. The Scillys are a renowned destination but exposed at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and English Channel. One always has a weather eye out when anchored. We hope for 5 days more or less at the Scillys and then an overnight trip to the SW coast of Ireland.

We will try to send updates. Importantly, if your imbox/mailbox is too full and busy already, please feel free to unapologetically opt out with a quick reply. Otherwise you will remain subjected to our musings.


Bill and Joanna

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Pre-departure Penarth...filed for completion, Jnauary 16th and 17th

January 16, 2017

Hello to all. Progress has (finally) been made, multiple projects accomplished, and all is looking good on this end. I have been sorrowfully out of touch since I have been here...and for that I apologize, but I have spent my time attending to boat projects since my arrival. Tony Truin and Steve McWatters joined me on Thursday and have pitched in 100% as well - the "Calvary" has been a great help. Since my arrival I/we have accomplished:

Trouble shoot and then exchanged out our speed sensor (re-ran entire unit)
Trouble shot and fixed the Windex (ended up as poor connecting terminals at the mast junction)
Replaced the forward shower sump pump
Trouble-shot and fixed the aft head sump pump
Removed the boom vang fitting, repaired and painted the track, and had riggers reinstall the new part
Replaced the boom vang and remade the stopper line
Decanted propane from UK bottle into our USA bottles
Removed and cleaned battery cables and replaced all replaceable battery terminal connectors
Trouble sot and had the heater/boiler system repaired
Had repaired (twice) the fluid core of a fan-box in the heating circuit
Changed the heater fluid because of piping failure
Changed autopilot motor brushes
and a few other things

People think that yachting is so exotic!!!

Our plan is to leave Monday morning (sadly sans Steve) for an overnight sail from Penarth, Wales to Falmouth, England. We have postponed departure to let some weather pass, and should have relatively benign conditions on our 26-30 hour trip, expecting a mid day arrival in Falmouth. I have a few OCC contacts in Falmouth, and should be able to gather some good insights to make our stay enjoyable. We will then plan for a 10-14 day passage to London, which will allow sufficient time to choose the days we want to be out sailing. 

With most projects checked off, we are a bit more relaxed and will have a pleasant weekend before we head off. We will stay in touch,

Best regards,

Bill and the crew of SY Visions of Johanna

January 17, 2017 - safe and sound in Dartmouth

Hello all: A 7:30 AM departure yesterday and a reasonably uneventful
pass through the 2 sets of locks (ie. no damage) was followed by a
very satisfactory passage to Falmouth. We motored 2/3 of the
time...expected, found some lumpy seas...expected, had a bit of nice
winds...expected, and Tony and I did just fine. We were very happy to
have Alethea's beef stew on board for dinner (or is that Tea???) We
dined delightfully well and barely missed the nice Red we didn't share
with dinner!

We will explore Falmouth this afternoon and at this point plan a
predawn departure tomorrow (Wednesday) to Dartmouth, sailing back to
back days to make some miles before a predicted easterly arrives on

Best regards,
Bill and the crew of SY Visions of Johanna

Week 2 in London

Monday, February 6th was the Queen's sapphire Jubilee - 65 years as queen, and was marked with cannon salutes and parades. There was a 65 gun artillery salute nearby at The Tower of London, but we traveled by the tube to Buckingham Palace to see the music and parades that accompanied their cannons. Pomp and Circumstance it was. And very, very, British I might add!

Riding on the London Tube:

New Cars

Selections of Shoes on the Tube

We stopped at Chinatown on our walk home.

On Tuesday, we walked about and later went to the Royal Ocean Racing Club to meet friend and crew, Steve McWatters. Steve treated us to a great evening at the RORC, and a fine dinner that we shared with Cheese (aka David Cheeseman - another blimey great sailor, of course).

On Wednesday we visited the Museum of London which displays a fantastic history of London from paleolithic times and beyond.  Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and medieval rule to the great fire in 1666, and through to modern times is all depicted. The breadth of history is remarkable and we need to go back to see more and the special exhibit on the 1666 Fire of London, a devastating event.

At the Museum of London
We ended our Wednesday with an evening at the theatre, and went to see Jersey Boys.

Pre-theatre Dinner
London at Night

There is construction everywhere in London, even at night
Thursday evening we went out with friends to the nearby Wilton Music Hall for dinner and a Cole Porter songbook performance. We were a group of yanks, including Gus and Helen, and David, all friends from the Dockyard. Gus, the London OCC host remains an absolute fountain of information.

Wilton’s Music Hall bills itself as the oldest grand music hall in the world. It recently completed a 4 year renovation project and apparently has won multiple awards including Building Of The Year 2016.The music was quite fine and styled a bit differently than the norm, as the London pianist and performer invited friends, an opera singer and a cabaret singer from France, to join him in London for the performance.

The Tate Modern was Friday - a fantastic modern art museum about 1/2 mile up the Thames. It was a nice riverside walk, and like many of the British museums in London, admission is free and you purchase tickets to special exhibitions as desired; we did a simple walk-about this first time. The entire history of modern art seems to be represented, and there were many groups of art students lurking and drawing, and an art group studying with Sotheby's, where we overheard erudite and informative discussions of the finer points and quantified analysis of grey blocks of paintings. Actually, it was really neat as I learned how each emerging artistic movement might represent a departure form the previous norms, would tend to happen every 20 or 40 years, and would generally make it's originators famous.

Jo at the Tate, seeing young ballerina,thinking of Emma

Finally this week we visited the Victoria and Albert Museum (for the first of many times) on Sunday the 12th. The V&A is a stunning museum, and possibly the most amazing collection of artifacts we have ever seen. It was also cool that we were watching the series Victoria, and just saw their romance evolve. Fun. We saw an exhibit on clothing and dress over centuries,  an exhibit on Lockwood Kipling (Rudyard's father), and an exhibit involving history with India...which segued of course exceptionally well with the Kipling exhibit.

V&A Lower Halls

Dining Room

That's it for now. I'm already behind by a week so hopefully more soon!