Thursday, April 25, 2013


Arrived Cienfugeos, Cuba yesterday evening. Check-in was overwhelming--I think there were ten men and one dog on Twister at one time. I plan to set sail for Havana in a day or two.  May stop along the way to have a rest and a look. Rum is cheap and plentiful in Cuba. Internet is not. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's Thursday

and I'm still in Tobago. Taking a bus or car to Scarborough shortly to check out with customs and immigration. Almost definitely setting sail for Cuba Friday (Saturday morning at the latest). 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


is the contraction used for Trinidad and Tobago. For example, T&T Dollar (the local currency), T&T Express (one of the fast ferries that goes between Trinidad and Tobago). Tobago is the smaller, less populated, lower crime-rate, more laid-back of the two islands that make up the nation of T&T. Here are a few unremarkable photos.

After two days in Scarborough, the biggest town in Tobago, I sailed around to Store Bay on the western end of the island, where I will probably remain until setting sail for Cuba. As I sailed into the anchorage, Fran and John on the trimaran Ninth Charm (whom I met the next day) took some video and were kind enough to give me a copy (they are one of three boats here that just completed a circumnavigation in Tobago). As you can see I was only using the jib. Most of the short sail from Scarborough was downwind so I only used the jib and it wasn't worth the bother to raise the main for the beat into the anchorage.

The last few days have been dedicated to R&R--surfing, swimming, having a few malty beverages. In Mount Irvine Bay I found maybe the best surf-from-your-boat setup I have encountered on this trip (Second perhaps only to St. Pierre in Reunion Island, but that was a marina). Had I known about this gem I might've sailed directly there. Now I am too lazy to move the boat again before sailing for Cuba. It's not a long trip overland anyway to the surf. There were two sailboats anchored in Mount Irvine Bay the first day I surfed there--both Swedish. One was a solo-sailor who had been anchored there for several months enjoying the surf. The other one was a familiar-looking Albin Vega that turned out to be my friends Maria and Mark on Mare Liberum (they also completed a circumnavigation when arriving Tobago) whom I last saw in Durban, South Africa.

Tuesday the 9th, Jerry, Nina, and Hillary on the boat Arctracer (another circumnavigation completed in Tobago) kindly let me ride along to turtle beach where we were lucky enough to see a leatherback turtle digging a hole, laying her eggs, and covering it up before heading back to sea.

I think I will set sail for Cuba around Thursday. From here it's a little under 1400 miles to Cienfuegos on the south coast of Cuba. If I average 5.0 knots, that will mean 11.7 days for the passage. If I can manage 5.5, it will be a day shorter. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Twister arrived Scarborough, Tobago around midnight March 31/April 1st.

At this point I am more than a little tempted to take a hard left and head for The Panama Canal.  From here to San Diego is around 4000 miles by sea—not much more than a hop, skip, and a jump (if it were possible to sail the direct route;  Panama to San Diego is likely to be mostly upwind, so the total distance sailed would be more)—and would complete a circumnavigation.  

From Fernando De Noronha I decided to head north of the direct course to Tobago because I wanted to have a better wind angle (more on the beam as opposed to downwind) while still in the last of the southeast trades and to avoid being close-hauled on the northeast trades. The doldrums, by the way, could be said to have been nonexistent. I was never becalmed, and had only one sub-100 mile day (93 miles).  
In the end, my plan was not a good one.  I think the direct route would’ve been considerably faster--definitely shorter, and the current more favorable. I did not enjoy much favorable current, and the winds on the N side of the doldrums were too far astern to use the mainsail for most of the way. I guess old Joshua Slocum knew what he was doing (he sailed this way about 118 years ago) when he sailed (from Ascension) south of Fernando De Noronha and hugged the South American coast on his way to The Caribbean. 
passage time:  16 days
Distance:  Ca 1900 nm (great circle route)
Average daily run: 119 nm (ave speed, 4.94 knots)

Lots of flying fish—I think I could’ve subsisted on only the flying fish I cleared off the deck every morning. Aside from that, a nighttime visit from some dolphins amongst various luminescent creatures was one of the highlights. Very little shipping.

Around 2355 GMT on Monday March 18 Twister returned to the Northern Hemisphere after an absence of almost two years. I was awake for this crossing (I slept as we sailed into the Southern Hemisphere two years ago), but it was getting late to have a party. Ca 23 hours earlier, we passed the sun on its northward journey to The Tropic Of Cancer.