Monday, July 17, 2017

Bringing the Cuba Adventure to a Close

Time Flies!  its mid July and time to start planning for the next trip!.  First a brief closure on the Cuba trip.

Cayo Levisa

After visiting the south side of the island, it was time to pack up, say our goodbye's and get ready for the trip home.  But first, we would sneak in a trip to Cayo Levisa by boat.  We had visited the barrier island of Cayo Levisa on our last cruise (2016), and really loved it.
Beaches - Cayo Levisa

We had talked it up to the rest of the crew - and the 6 musketeers were in!  We would have liked to clear out of Cuba (customs, immigration) from Cayo Levisa and head straight to Florida.  However, this is not possible as it is not a Port of Entry.  So we were required to return via Hemingway.  For more details on Cayo Levisa, please take a look at our posts in June 2016.  but hers are a few pics of this year's visit.
We had a wonderful return trip from Cuba - perhaps the highlight was seeing whales in the Straits of Florida.  I have some video - so look out for the posting of the 2017 Cuba Video.  Such an amazing sight. We always love to see dolphins - but talk about dolphins on steroids!









Night sky at Anchor - Cayo Levisa

Our favorite abandoned Bar - still there!

Going Yacht Clubbing!

I am going to keep this to a brief post as we have now traveled north up the west side of Florida several times and there are a number of posts on this site about the trips we have made.  our route this time was as follows:

  • Havana to Naples
  • Naples to Sarasota Yacht Club
  • Sarasota YC to St. Petersburg YC
  • St. Petersburg YC to Pensacola


Naples YC

Yes, this was a YC-crawl!  why you may ask?

Tampa Bay and the Skyway Bridge
Well that's very simple.  As members of Pensacola YC, we are members of the Florida Counsel of Yacht Clubs.  This provides the benefit of reciprocity.  And each club allows fellow members to stay one night free on thier transient dock.  So - given dock prices in south Florida, this equates to a savings of $100-200 per night.  A great benefit that not enough folks take advantage of.  And in addition, most are extremely nice places to hang out with nice pools, bars, and restaurants.  Incidentally, restaurant charges are also directly billed to your home YC account.  So it feels like you are staying for free.........well until the monthly statement comes!

So, there you go.  Here's my little ad for YC membership.  Some clubs are hurting, so support your local Yacht Club!

All of the legs on the return trip were "daysails"except Havana to Naples (one overnight) and St. Pete's to Pensacola (2-nights).

Sarasota YC

Lobby - Sarasota YC


















The sailing was good - no storms.  We did motor for several stretches to keep up the speed, but it was a great trip home, and by the time we got to Pensacola we were about ready to be home. - But definitely in that nice "Home-Sweet-Home" way.  This had truly been a spectacular trip.  Looking back over everything - the race was fun and had some highs and lows (largely weather-related); the time in Cuba was amazing!  We really enjoyed visiting the south side of the island as well as once again visiting the barrier island of Cayo Levisa.  And the return legs were a great opportunity to just wind down a little.

Night Sky Arrives Home - Bray Marina!




And I have to say this - what an amazing crew.  Its quite a feat to put 6 people on a boat for close to 3 weeks and never have a ruffled feather.  I just don't think  we could have got along together any better.  as a crew, we worked together extremely well.  Ron and Julie are amazing hosts, and insist on preparing all meals.  Not just meals - spectacular meals.  Thank you guys for allowing us to join you on Night Sky.  I know that Larry and Tracy also share that same sentiment.  We became the 6-musketeers!.....and had a wonderful adventure together.

And how better to end a trip!

Oh but wait......there's more!  one more party at PYC to celebrate the winners and safe return of the race participants.

Capt. Bob Kriegel and crew of Arcadia - winning boat!



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Touring Cuba

Well we made it to Havana and since this was out third visit, we had decided not to make Havana the focus of this trip, but to explore some other areas.  Of course, we could not completely omit Havana and there were indeed still plenty of sights to see in the Havana area.

So rather than explore old Havana as we had done on several occasions (see Oct/Nov 2015 and June 2016), we decided that we would limit time in Havana to hearing some traditional music and also taking a look around the Mosaic district which is within walking distance of Marina Hemingway.

On our visit to the Mosaic district (an area where the homes and streets are decorated with mosaic-type art), we met up with friends and a person that I had been in touch with by email to set up some other side trips.  In fact - two brothers - Adonis and Jonny.  These guys were fantastic and really looked after us in terms of transportation to anywhere we needed to go.

Adonis had arranged for his brother to set us up with transportation for an overnight  trip to the south side of the island.  But first, we took a day and a night off in Havana.  We took a leisurely stroll in the Mosaic district, had a great lunch with local music and that night we visited the Bueno Vista Social Club in Havana.  This is a local "night club" where they play the traditional "big band" music of Havana from the 50s.  We had heard reports that this place was a "tourist trap" but did not really see any evidence of it.  Many of the people in the club seemed to be fairly wealthy Cubans and some european tourists.  The band and singers were very good - some excellent musicians.  The drinks were "tourist reasonable" and the food was basic - definately a place to visit for music and not dining.

To me the highlight of this trip was the road trip we made to the south side of Cuba.  As stated, we had arranged this in advance - well sort of, through our new friends Adonis and Jonny.  We were a bit skeptical about how this would go, but it was fantastic.  We expected a rental car and a hotel reservation, but what we got was a mini-van with driver, tour guide (Jonny) and overnight accommodations in a cuban home - in fact it was Jonny's in-laws.

Main Street - Cienfuegos
We had a great time and visited Cienfuegos, Trinidad, the Bay of Pigs, and Zapata National Park - an "eco-park"located near Giron.

El Palatino Bar - Cienfuegos











On the outward trip we stopped in Cienfuegos for a little sight-seeing and for an excellent lunch.  We visited the downtown area and also the water front.


We then continued on to the small town of Trinidad,located slightly inland from the coast this an old historic town on the south side of Cuba.  Trinidad is a town in central Cuba, known for its colonial old town and cobblestone streets. Its neo-baroque main square, Plaza Mayor, is surrounded by grand colonial buildings. Museo Romántico, in the restored Palacio Brunet mansion, and Museo de Arquitectura Colonial display relics from the town’s sugar-producing era. Iglesia de la Santísima is a 19th-century cathedral with a vaulted ceiling and carved altars.

Typical cobbled street - Trinidad

Accommodation in a Cuban home

The accomodation was basic.  THe home we stayed in opened onto a cobbled street.  It was basic, but very clean and the owners were extremely nice, providing us with drinks, snacks, and breakfast the following morning.  We learned that many homes are now opening their own "business" as pensions.  And to me, this is the way to experience Cuba!

We learned that Trinidad never closes with many establishments open 24/7!  There were many quaint bars, most with music and dancing.  We ate a great dinner at Taberna Botisa.  This was probably the busiest restaurant we saw - and for good reason!  The food was top notch and the prices very cheap.  We thought we were in for a long wait. But our guide, Jonny of course knew the Owner and we were seated in minutes.
View from the Church Belltower


The next day we did more sightseeing and on the return trip to
Havana visited the Bay of Pigs and Zapata National Park - an eco-park with wild crocodiles...or "cocodrillos"...This became one of our favorite words!

By the time we got back to Havana, we were exhausted....but one funny thing..we asked our driver to take us for a traditional "Cuban Sandwich".  Well that was interesting.  From what we were told the cuban sandwich we know if a south Florida invention.  Cubans eat sandwiches when they are poor.....so, reluctantly we were taken for a Cuban sandwich.....to a gas station....and it was a slice of ham, cheese, on a bread roll.  Not something I would hold my breath for!....but it made for a good laugh!  Anyway - if you happen to be in Havana and need a great tour guide, please consider contacting Jonny or Adonis!  They were great!


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pensacola to Havana Race 2017....The Race Scoop!

The race was scheduled for a start on April 30.  Participants were assembled at Pensacola Yacht Club.  We were very fortunate in that Commodore Escrich of the Hemingway International Yacht Club was in the area visiting several Gulf yacht clubs.  We were able to have him join us for a pre-race celebration.
Commodore Escrich visits PYC


We held the Skipper's Meeting at 16:00 with a cold front and thunderstorms approaching. Our Weather Consultants, WRI were advising of strong thunderstorms in the area as the cold front passed through.  Our race committee made the decision to postpone until Monday at 2pm.  In my mind a very wise decision even though a few of the racers and modern cruisers wanted to go.  The night proved the point.  We heard reports of cleats pulling out in Palafox Marina and 6 boats breaking free at Barber Marina under 50+ kt winds.  Why anyone would put to sea voluntarily in these conditions beats me - but I'm a cruiser and know that schedule can be a killer!  As a post-race note, I spoke to WRI a few days later and they commented "thank God you postponed...." ironically, it was also the anniversary of the very tragic Dauphin Island Race which was also postponed and re-scheduled. 

Anyway....fast forward to the race.  We were crew on Night Sky, A beautiful Tartan 4400.  So, I prepared a log of the race, and decided that the best things to do is to publish that with no edits - so apologies for typos and bad grammar, as this was prepared largely underway when the weather conditions permitted.
Crew of Night Sky  - Leaving Pensacola

Log of the Race

Monday - May 1

After a postponed start, the race commenced at 2pm Monday, May 1.   It was a beautiful day in Pensacola Bay with light winds.  PYC staff had done an amazing job of entertaining participants during the delay.  The postponed start was a good decision after the previous night, where 60 mph winds were measured in the Pensacola area.   With reports of boats breaking from their moorings in Barber Marina, and dock cleats breaking in Palafox marina, most sailors were relieved about the postponement.  Of course there were a few die-hards and blow-hards (every pun intended) that wanted to go despite the known storm.  I personally believe our race committee, headed by PRO Dr. Richard Brent made an excellent call.  I see no reason to go out there knowing that you are going to be in storm conditions.  Dealing with it appropriately after the start is completely appropriate in my mind. 

With separate starts about 5 minutes apart for the three divisions of Racers, Modern Cruisers, and Classic Cruisers, the fleet left the start line and headed up Pensacola Bay and out to sea on a light breeze. 
We soon saw the racers disappear ahead of us together some of the faster Modern Cruisers. Conditions were excellent and as the winds built, we had a wonderful sail. In the evening and night hours the winds died, but the seas were still lumpy form the previous day storms. We resisted the urge to motor and persevered sometimes at speeds of less than 2 kts.  Before nightfall we raised the spinnaker to improve speed, but doused it as we lost light.  

Tuesday - May 2

By morning we suspected we had lost some ground on the fleet as we suspected that other boats likely motored. This was confirmed at radio check-in when the boats we could hear reported their positions. We had not motored. We had another great sail during daylight hours and selected a strategy of getting to the east of the rhumb line. We felt this was the place to be to minimize our time in dead wind, and for best position when the winds would return from the NE. 

With nightfall came the expected lull in winds.  We again tried the spinnaker, but that wasn't helping, so we made the decision to motor until winds returned. During the night, we chatted with a few other participants, and learned that Acadia was having engine issues.  We offered some suggestions as did other boats and we understand that the issues was late resolved. We motored through the night until the winds returned. 

Wednesday- May 3

Seas were flat with no wind to speak of during the night. At sunrise, the wind returned from the NE to E.  it was right at sunrise - 6am. We quickly stopped the motor, recorded information on our motoring log, and trimmed  the sails. With wind close to the beam, and winds popping up to the mid teens, we were sailing at a very respectable 6.5-7 kts. 

No other vessels were in sight. Who motored? Who persevered and sailed last night?  We will not know until motoring logs are submitted.  We just had a fine hearty breakfast of sausage, grits, eggs and veggies, fruit and a light beer.  Breakfast of Kings, prepared by Captains Ron and Julie!  
Wednesday night, we had building winds and the direction shifted SE on our nose. We tacked back and forth through the night and while we made distance, we made little progress towards the mark. We had some equipment issues with the whisker pole breaking loose. The sea state was not good, everyone was up most of the night. Maybe we should have motored?  

Thursday - May 4

We got a report on our DeLorme of our position in the fleet. It was depressing as we were close to the back. This served to confirm that others must be motoring through the unfavorable winds. We pressed on sailing on Thursday with winds again from the SE. We were making a little better progress but not enough. We were getting reports of boats in our division being 50-100 miles ahead.......they must be motoring. 
Mid afternoon Thursday we were expecting rain and a cold front coming through. And it did. Although we were expecting it, the front came early and with vengeance. Very sudden, with little warning we had winds from the NW at 37 kts. We were flying but broke some things. Some stitching in the Bimini dodger gave way, and a car on the  reefing system came loose. 
Havana in our Sights
That night we had a small craft advisory with expected 25-45 kt winds and thunderstorms. We needed daylight and calmer seas to make repairs so with high, rolling seas, we elected to motor and make progress on the mark. We came through an apparent gap in the thunder storms. We had some big seas, lightening, and winds in the 20s. Looks like we missed the worst of it. 
We heard via DeLorme and vhf that 4 boats had abandoned the race - Free Spirit, Navigo, Valentine, and Radio Flyer. All headed to Charlotte harbor. 

Friday - May 5

Cinco de Mayo!  We will surely drink to celebrate. We are still motoring. We could sail but  it would not be comfortable and we need to make progress. Big seas and an awesome dolphin display this morning. Of course, while I was sleeping. The excitement builds as we have Havana in our sights. We just passed west of Rebecca Shoals, and have the Straights of Florida to cross. We have passed some commercial ships and expect more on this final leg. We also heard that Valentine is back in the race. Not sure of the circumstances, but I'm sure it will be a good bar story!  We believe we are ahead of Valentine, Pliedes, and Reverie. But again, motoring records will shift all positions. We are hearing that boats have arrived or are arriving in Havana. 

Friday night was a rough night for our crew. We discovered we were out of diesel. The gauge was not reading accurately and for unknown reasons our fuel consumption about twice what we expected. Either way we had no fuel to get in Marina Hemingway. We crossed the finish line at around 1:30am. Recorded our time. It was very rough with breaking seas in the marina entrance. The coast guard had closed the marina entrance. We had to hold off, offshore in very rough conditions with no engine. What an awful night!  We were there...but we were not.  Sitting, rolling around in the sea just a 1/2 mile offshore and in 2,000 ft of water.  The next morning, with help from PYC members and particularly volunteer, Margo Partain,  we were able to convince the Cubans to bring us fuel so we could enter the still treacherous pass. 

Awards and Parties

Chairman Neil Davies and Commodore Escrich
Things would not be possible without out RC Volunteers, Margo, Jeff Hunt and Hillary (friend of Margo). They did an amazing job of greeting the boats and scoring!

Boats were scored with adjustments to time for motoring. Results were transmitted to PYC as a final check.  We had an excellent party at HIYC with comments by Commodore Escrich and Neil Davies. Awards were made and we then had a meal and dancing with traditional Cuban band. The party went on till late night and a great time was had by all. 


Capt. Bob Kriegel and Crew - Acadia

Race Results

Pace Trophy for Overall Best Finish:

1. Acadia 72.34 Hrs
2. Parlay 72.91 Hrs
3. Southern 75.13 Hrs


Racer Division:     

1. Southern
2. Akoya
3. Coquette


Capt.. Jim Oyler and Crew - Parley

Modern Cruiser Division:

Modern Cruiser Division, Class A: 

1. Parlay 2. Night Sky 3. Voices in the Sky
Capt. Julie Denton and Crew - Night Sky




Modern Cruiser Division Class B: 

1. La Gazelle 2. Kala Kai


Classic Cruiser Division

Classic Cruiser Division Class A:  

1. Acadia 
2. Loophole 
3. Libra


Classic CruiserClassic Division Class B:  

1. Reverie 
2. On Call

First to Finish:  Voices In The Sky (but with significant motoring penalty)
Did not finish (DNF) Free Spirit, Navigo I, Pleiades, Radio Flyer, Valentine – Pleiades finished but did not turn in motoring log prior to awards ceremony.  A crew member fell and broke leg in 2 places while leaving boat at the marina.  Crew was able to attend awards ceremony.  Plaque awarded to Pleiades. 

Night Sky was second in Class...we . were thrilled!  The Crew of Parley were an extremely close second overall and were similarly thrilled to receive their award

Other Remarks

This was indeed a tough race with challenging weather. The winners and leaders must have made some great strategic decisions and it's a testament to their sailing skills. 

Unfortunately we know of 2 injuries. A crew member on Pliedes stepped off the boat at the customs dock and missed the dock resulting in a fracture to his leg. He is currently in hospital in Havana. We heard of another injury - a dislocated shoulder and broken collar bone. We think this was on Akoya, but not confirmed. We understand the person involved may have been flown back to the US, but not yet confirmed. 
End of log


So- -that was the race~. we were tired but happy to be in Cuba.  The awards parties were great, and we had trips planned to Cienfuegos and Trinidad (by road) and a cruise to Cayo Levisa.  I will catch up on those on my next posts!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pensacola to Havana Race 2017 - Start Approaches

The start of the Havana race is rapidly approaching.  Its been a hectic time as I became the Chairman of the Race.  Having never done anything quite like this before, I can only say its been somewhat daunting!  Communications with the Coast Guard, Havana, Marina Hemingway, travel agents that have come and gone several times, Spanish language with a Cuban twist, race participants, volunteers, club officials, sponsors, weather consultants, trackers........I am sure you get the picture!  But thank good ness  for some great volunteers - our webmaster "Bob", communications specialists, "Murt and John" and terrific support from our sponsors and the Satori Foundation.

But the start is now hours away and geez - look at the weather!

The picture shows a screenshot of predictions for the Gulf of Mexico at the currently planned start time.  Race Committee has already postponed the start until 2pm Sunday, but further postponement is likely.  Our weather consultant has told us to expect strong winds from the SE (on our nose), and squalls Sunday morning.  Monday should be better - lets see.

Meanwhile we are expecting over 100 competitors at PYC, 40 invited sponsors/guests.....it will be a crazy weekend!

So this may well be my last update before the race - please wish us well....we need fair winds and following seas - yeah right!!

Please follow our progress.  go to www.pensacolahavanarace.com and click on "YB TRacker".  We will not be on Midnight sun this race - we will be on S/V Night Sky.
Please visit the above link often - our sponsors will love that....but really, you can get updates there!

You can also see us through DeLorme at https://share.garmin.com/Midnightsunii

I will try to update when I can.
S/V night Sky
Night Sky is a beautiful 2011 Tartan 4400.  Thank you Julie for inviting us as crew!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Havana Race, SailLoot Podcast Interview, and Local Sailing....

Havana Race

Things have been busy with the planning activities for the upcoming Pensacola to Havana Race.  The Race leaves Pensacola on April 30.  So far we have 22 boats participating.  Yikes!....its getting close!

Old Havana
We are hoping we may pick up one of two last minute entries - but time is running out in terms of getting the paperwork together.  

I have somehow found myself as the Chair of the race - what was I thinking!....its been a real eye-opener to me in terms of the effort needed to do this.  Despite an awesome group of volunteers on our Race Committee - the phone rings and the emails come in with questions on the rules, entry to Cuba, equipment, travel, logisitcs........the list goes on.  But somehow we will get there and hopefully everyone will have a good time.  I know I have posted about this before, but if anyone is interested in the race, the best way to get current information is to go to the Race website at Pensacolahavanarace.com  From there, you can find links to online registration etc., and during the race there will be links to the race tracking site.  

Every boat will have a yellowbrick tracker that will be provided by one of our sponsors visitpensacola.com  So - if you haven't signed up yet, well its still not too late.  Mid April will be pushing it, so get your skates on.  and if you don't have a boat, or don't want to take your boat, come and support us - we have a large group of people flying in to Cuba to support the race.  Finally, if you still want to sail there - why not sign up for a trip on SailLibra?  Check out trips on Libra at SailLibra.  She is a 60ft Bill Trip-designed Ketch operating out of Orange Beach and she is already signed up for the Cuba Race.

Sail Loot Podcast Interview

.......And all of this led to a recent Podcast interview with Teddy J of the Sail Loot podcast - see SailLoot.  
I spent about an hour or so talking to Teddy about our first trip to Cuba in 2015 when we were dismasted on Midnight Sun II, but continued the race on S/V TraSea.....If you know us, you will have heard the story, but we talk about that trip, the upcoming race, and the sailing community in PensacolaDoing the Podcast interview was a lot of fun. There's also an account of this trip on this blog - just go back to October of 2015. 

Teddy J - Editor, Creator, Captain - Sail Loot Podcast
Take a moment to check out the podcast at Sail Loot - Neil Davies.  The hour passed so quickly!  Teddy has a great way of making his podcasts very entertaining but also informative.  If you have not listened to any of his podcasts, check out the selection of almost 50 interviews with Cruisers and people planning to Cruise on their boats.  The emphasis of his podcasts is on inspiring people to turn their dreams into reality.  Most people that want to go cruising are held back by jobs, money, family and other ties.  but let's face it, money is typically the biggest obstacle.  As the name of his podcast suggests, Teddy explores ways that people have solved the "money issue" by finding ways to generate some level of income while cruising, or by topping up the "cruising kitty" in innovative ways.  As you can imagine, he has some fascinating interviews - perfect for a long car drive or even the commute in to work.  But be careful - his interviews are often thought-provoking and you may find yourself wishing you were on the water and exploring ways that you can do it.  Come to think of it, that's about how we got started.  Listening to podcasts from the Sailing podcast, and watching YouTube videos from Drake Paragon and SV Delos

I personally became a Sail Loot fan about a year ago when I discovered Teddy's website in search of more podcasts - I had become addicted!

Timeout for Local Sailing!

Time passes so quickly when you are busy!  Is it also true that time speeds up when you get older - remember when the summer seemed like eons and now its gone in an instant.....it must be getting older that does it!  
Crossing Big Lagoon - Pensacola
But there's no doubt that a day sail on a beautiful Spring day is a great way to put everything back into perspective.  

So that's exactly what we did this week - take a little time to go sailing.  Its takes about 3 hours or so to sail from home to Pensacola, crossing Perdido Bay, the IWC, Big Lagoon, and Pensacola Bay.  But what a wonderful way to spend a half day.  Then tie up at PYC and enjoy the club facilities and marina for the night before returning home the next day!  on this occasion, we had perfect weather for Midnight Sun II, with winds of 12-15 from the south enabling us to sail both ways - even in the ICW portion of the trip
.


Friday, January 27, 2017

SV Midnight Sun II on YouTube

Greetings - BLOG and VLOG Fans!

Please let me know your opinion - are "Blogs" old hat and out of date?...Well I know some of my kids think so!  and here I am thinking that I am keeping up with the times!

So, in inquiring as to what I should be doing, I was told "VLOGS" or video blogs.  Hmm, well maybe someone might get inspired watching our stories about the adventures of Midnight Sun II, or maybe they are just boring holiday videos.  Anyone care to comment?  Do you remember the days of being dragged to your parent's friend's house to see their latest "Super 8 Movie" of their trip to Majorca?  Well I do, but perhaps I am just showing my age.  I doubt that my son knows what a Super 8 Movie is....I do remember him asking me "What's a record?"

I have been dabbling with videos for several years now.  Taking the footage is one thing, but editing into something that you would care to watch again is a whole other ball of very time-consuming wax.  I decided to start making movies when we did our 2014 trip on S/V Midnight Sun II.  This trip took us down the FL East Coast to the Bahamas, the Keys, FL West Coast and up to Pensacola.  This trip was also the motivation for starting this blog.  My real motivation for starting this blog was to try to capture something, relatively "real time" where friends and family could follow along with our trip, but as it has developed, I find that it has motivated a few people to think about getting out there on the water. 

After completing the first significant sailing  trip on Midnight Sun II, it took me a long time to find the time and also the motivation to put a video together.  Organizing video clips, finding the photos, picking music.  Even to make a half-ass attempt at 30 minutes can easily take a day! And longer to do it half-right. With interruptions and daily life.....a week or more!

But again, my motivation and intended audience was, and still is, "friends and family".  Having said that, I have discovered largely through this blog that there is a whole other set of "unseen friends" that vicariously follow our travels and experiences through our blog posts and more recently through some of our videos.  Frankly, I am flattered and humbled that anyone would give up their time to watch the videos and read my posts.  But it is very motivating to hear feedback from people, and to hear about your experiences and adventures on the water!

Until recently, I have had the videos on a private Google drive but have been happy to share the link with anyone interested.  A couple of years ago, I tried posting short videos to YouTube....but the YouTube gods or administrators didn't like me and stripped my creations of any copyrighted music, or simply blocked the video from being played in the US and UK.  Well that's silly!  I can listen to anyone's music on the radio, Pandora, etc.and I am not making any money from the videos.  Anyway, something seems to have changed with YouTube's policy.  They now seem to tell me that I have some copyrighted content, but seemingly are not blocking me.  I also tried to get around this by either: (i) finding non-copyrighted music online or (ii) simply playing/creating music myself on keyboards to use as background music.  While this sounds like simple solution........it again adds to the time it takes to produce something that is even slightly interesting and watchable!

But anyway, I am giving it a try and for anyone interested, please visit the SV Midnight Sun II YouTube channel at:

SV Midnight Sun II on YouTube

I know the videos are a bit long....but it is what it is! I am personally a big fan of YouTube Sailing videos, adn have been personally motivated by many of the excellent choices listed below.  So here are some of my personal favorites - check them out by searching YouTube:

  • SV Delos (of course everyone knows this one)
  • Drake Paragon
  • Trio Travels
  • Monday Never
  • LaVagabonde
  • Rick Moore
  • Distant Shores.......etc
I think most of these successful video makers target 15-30 minutes, whereas mine are typically more like 45 minutes.  Why? because this is about the limit of a DVD and that was how I started making them!  .....and please don't get me wrong - I am not claiming to have a video product that is as good as any of the above.  They are my heroes!

I also see that many if not all of the above (except Distant Shores) have now jumped on the Patreon or GoFundme bandwagon.  Yes, I have mixed feelings about that - even though I do support a couple on a very modest level.  It is not my plan to try to make money or fund my adventures in such a way......errr..well I do reserve the right to change my mind on this when my funding starts to deplete!

Anyway, please take a look at the videos if you are interested.  Again the link to the YouTube Channel is  

SV Midnight Sun II on YouTube


.....and one last thing.  if you would like to watch a really well made and touching sailing video, please take a look at this one (not one of mine).  An excellent job by Monday Never!  - Really great job guys - I hope you guys have ditched the motorcycle and bought another boat by now!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Come Join us for a Race to Cuba!

Calling all sailors! Especially for those in the Gulf Area.

 I have been really busy in recent weeks as I have taken over as the Chair for the 2017 Pensacola a la Habana Race, organized by the Pensacola Yacht Club and the Satori Foundation.

To this end,  we have recently posted an updated Notice of Race, Safety Appendix etc.  Below are some useful links for more information about the race, registration, etc.:

Race website:  Pensacola to Havana Race 2017
Race sign-up: Yachtscoring

We hope you will sign up and join us!  But wait - if you don't have a boat, you can still be included.   We understand that S/V Libra is planning to sign up and will be offering bunks for the trip:
SailLibra  So please contact SailLibra directly if you are interested.

We also have a crew sign-up board posted on the yachtscoring website, so no excuses!  Come to Cuba in 2017!


In addition to great sailing and camaraderie, I am hoping that we will be able to add some interesting and fun social activities while we are in Cuba.  These will of course include parties, and hopefully an overnight trip to the south side of Cuba, plus a raft-up for anyone interested in making an overnight stop on the way back!