April 2002 Bahamas to Bermuda
 
We arrived in Bermuda on the 22nd of April after a lovely 6 day sail from the Abacos in the Bahamas. We were accompanied by Jim Eaton and Amy Heberger from Hampton, and enjoyed their company and help immensely. Of note during the sail: hundreds upon hundreds of Portuguese men-of-war -- for days, there were always 2 or 3 in sight; a sleeping whale as big as Akka we passed within 20 feet; a day and a half of zero winds where the ocean reflected the clouds perfectly and Rob and Jim could have shaved in the reflection; night skies with the Milky Way bright enough so that, even without a moon, the deck hardware was clearly visible; an ISS sighting; a final 16 hour spinnaker reach into St. George, including 6 hours after dark, sailing under a brilliant 1/2 moon.

One of our top priority to-do's upon arrival was for Rob to have his 3 month post-surgical follow-up PSA test. As he now has no prostate, the results should be zero. We are overjoyed to report that that is exactly what the test result was!!!!

With that concern behind us, we are now free to concentrate on preparing for crossing the "Pond". Preparations include the usual maintenance and repairs, plus a few unexpected ones. On our way here, the thrust bearing on the prop shaft began making awful noises and got red-hot. We were reduced to sailing in almost no breeze and, later, motoring at very low speeds. We've ordered and received a replacement and are in the process of removing the old one (a MAJOR headache since it's old and rusted), then installing the new.

Our autopilot had also been giving us troubles, so we had all of its electronics checked out while we were in L.A. Re-installation has not solved the problem, so we've now ordered a new motor and hydraulic unit, which Ken Signorello, our crew member for the Azores leg, will be bringing next week. We believe that the removal of old and installation of new routine will be easier for this, since we've removed the autopilot motor and hydraulic unit before. Time will tell.

We are obtaining a new insurance policy to cover the boat for the crossing and in the UK. This required an inspection of our rig. Since Rob had been up the mast just before we left the Bahamas, we figured this to be a routine, cursory inspection. To our surprise, the riggers found a shroud which was beginning to fray (fortunately at the end so that it could be shortened); wear at both the top and bottom of our staysail attachment points, which could have been a real problem if they wore through; and a fitting on the backstay which was improperly attached and could have given way at any time! We are having the riggers fix all of these problems, and are very glad we had this "routine" inspection!

Between the repairs, we are thoroughly enjoying beautiful Bermuda, charming St. George and the incredibly friendly and polite Bermudians. Everyone greets us in the street with a cheerful "good morning" or "good afternoon" or whatever, and the school kids each say "thank you" to the bus driver as they get off the bus every day!

Here in St. George, we've met a Dutch boat and a Swedish boat (with a crew member we had met last Feb. in Trinidad!) which will also be making the passage to the Azores when we are, so we all plan to stay in touch by SSB.