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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nov. 28, 2010-Racing Back to Port Louis

pascal mamet photography

Sailing again

I thought the La Bourdonnais Challenge was just a fun race to a bar in Port Louis, not too much competition, just some fun, like the old days when we raced to Chung Chow Island for lunch with the Discovery Bay Yacht Club in Hong Kong. Perfect for just Judy & I to sail.

So we entered.

But this event was a pretty big deal for the Grand Bay Yacht Club, nearly everyone turned out including the media and the party at the LaBourdonnais Hotel was fantastic. So, by joining, we stumbled into a good thing.

However, on the morning of the race it was soon clear that the racing was going to be very competitive. Aboard each of the race boats crews were switching kevlar for dacon and scrubbing the bottoms. We also found out that the start was going to be tricky being in close quarters inside Grand Bay and also inside the reef where the channel depths only allow us to clear at certain times. At the time of the start we'd have about 6" under our keel.

So we skipped the start, motored out early, then hoisted the sails and joined the fleet at the first mark, and sailed along just for the fun of it; not offically part of the race.

We took it easy, real easy, no spinnaker, no big jib. We didn't need more sail area to get there with the fleet; it was windy, quite gusty actually, and we sailed fast. And even with just a #4 and a main we were busy the whole way. I had my camera on deck but took no photos until we got to the finish and rafted up with the other boats.

For other photos from the photographer, click here to go to pascal mamet photography.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

Rafted with the racing fleet

Nice party on the lawn, nice awards giving like all yacht clubs awards givings, a very nice dinner, and through it all, lots of sailing talk. And even though we didn't get scored with the racers we got some recognition as the "Fred & Judy, on the boat from the US, who were joining today" and a big applause. We enjoyed ourselves.

And it got us back to Port Louis where we will stay for a few weeks.

Until we sail somewhere else.

Click here for more photos from the raft-up

Click here to see the log book pages of our sailing trips in November 2010

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nov. 25, 2010-Thanksgiving Day Scenes From Home

kimberly stacy roswold
Mt. Si, Washington State

Sometimes it is hard for us to decide where home is; is it here on our boat which has been our home for 24 years where ever it has been located or is it back in Washington State, where we haven't lived since 1996, or is it where our family lives? Well not the last since we have family all over the USA.

Right now I tend to think of Washington State as "Home". Yes, when we are out and about in Mauritius or any place where we have travelled, when we say, "it will be good to get home", we are talking about being back aboard Wings.

But when we feel a bit lonely and are missing our family we realize that "home" is still in the US, in Washington State.

We have had some wonderful visits back home, most recently earlier this year when we traveled around the US and visited all of our family.

My brother Tom and his wife live in North bend Washington and This photo was taken by Kim looking out the window of their North Bend House after the big snowfall this week and she posted it on here facebook page.

It makes me a little homesick, but boy, I'll bet it is cold there.

Thanks, Kim, for a wonderful shot.

For another view of Washinton State, my daughter Kathy sent the following Mount Rainier photo:
katherine tucker
Mt. Rainier, Washington State

and this one of her daughter in the snow:
katherine tucker
Granddaughter Rose Marie Tucker

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nov. 18, 2010-One Month In Mauritius

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Wings anchored in Mauritius

I wake up at 05:30 each day when the sun rises and as I lie in my bunk I can see blue sky out the port over my head.

It makes me want to get up, get a cup of coffee, and go on deck to see the world, which I will do as Judy continues to sleep in.

There is coffee from yesterday already in the pot and I heat it. I’ll make another pot later with the beans we brought from Sumatra, to be fresh and hot for Judy when she gets up, but for now this is fine.

On deck with my Starbucks cup I look around at the anchored boats and watch the fishermen heading out to sea.

Other than the rumble of the fishing boat engines its quiet at 5:30 in Grand Bay, Mauritius and the weather is gorgeous. The sky is blue, the air is clean and the sun is bright. The morning is really nice.

Day after day.

Judy says the wind blows too much, but I even like that.

Later the buses start moving along the shoreline highway and the town wakes up. Someone ashore starts a jack hammer at a construction site. The peace is broken.

By then I’ve gone back below and turned on the computer.

We’ve been a month in Mauritius and I’ve come to love the weather and the beauty of the country.

In that month we spent some time in the marina at Port Louis and we’ll go back there in a week or so. Other than that we’ve been anchored in Grand Bay. Both locations are good for living on a boat, within walking distance to markets, super markets, and many shops and restaurants nearby. Bus service is frequent and cheap, rental cars are affordable. The country offers much to see. We’ve met a few people, not made any close friends yet except with cruisers who have already sailed onward.

On many afternoons we go into the yacht club and have a drink and watch the sun go down before returning to Wings for dinner on board. We like it here at Grand Bay.

Later, after we return to Port Louis, we might sail to Black River, further down the coast. We hear there is a good anchorage and a quiet village there. Or we might even sail around the Island to Grand Port, on the SE side.

We’ve been here a month and we have another five months before we sail away ourselves.

I think we’ll like our stay here.

Click here for a few more images from Grand Bay and our dingy trip today.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Nov. 9, 2010-Sailing to Grand Bay

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
La Caudan Marina, Port Louis, Mauritius

Being there was too comfortable.

We’d been securely tied to the wall since the day three weeks ago when we arrived in Mauritius. It was close to the market, had water and power (free), and it was a good base for touring the island by car; and we’d been there and done that three times already.

We met some people from other cruising yachts and they quickly became friends but like all sailor friends we’d lose them soon; they were due to leave for Africa.

It was time to get out of the marina.

Inertia was setting in. The longer you sit the harder it is to move. And then there is the rut you can get into and maybe you start feeling sorry for yourselves about new friends who seem to be abandoning you when they set sail and you’re staying. Plus, who knows who might be hanging out at Grand Bay Yacht Club if you go there.

So you overcome the inertia.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Yachts in Grand Bay

On Monday we sailed out of Port Louis and went up the coast 13 miles to Grand Bay. The forecast said “mild” but it was pretty windy (up to 30) and at times rough during that two hour trip. We lost a fender overboard and had to retrieve it. The spray drenched the boat and kept us huddled behind the dodger (and again coated Wings with salt). We felt our way over the shallow banks into the harbor thanks to some local knowledge we’d obtained. They said we needed a high tide and we had it and they said to go from the outer mark straight to the point where the yacht club lies. We did and we nudged our 2.4 meter keel over the charted 2 meter patch with .5 meter to spare.

And nothing bad happened; we can still sail and still navigate. Was there any doubt?

We are now anchored near the Grand Bay Yacht Club listening to the wind howl outside and the anchor make those rumbling sounds it does when the chain is dragging over some rock or coral. Fun! But at least we got moving. Now we just need to get the dingy launched and start exploring this place.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Grand Bay Action

We’ll let you know what we find.

Click here to see more images from Grand Bay

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Mauritius skykine from Grand Bay

Click here to see the log book pages of our sailing trips in November 2010

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius

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Nov. 8, 2010-Impressions of Mauritius

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Port Louis Rice seller

It’s the Creole I guess which makes Mauritius feel like a Caribbean Island, the creole along with the French and African cultures here. The streets are filled with Africans speaking that French based slang dialog called Creole.

And the age of the place: In Port Louis, the capital, old buildings abound, decrepit but still in use even in their falling down state next to modern banking centers; Mauritius is big in old buildings and financial services. And street markets, but somehow different than those Thailand. Here they put a tarp or a table on the street and cover it with clothing or used hardware and hawk it to every passerby. Maybe it is all the black skin that makes it look different from Asia.

Click here to see more of Port Louis

Click here to see more of Mauritius

Then there is the sugar cane and the Indian people brought here by the French to work it. You drive in Mauritius and you find yourself on country roads surrounded by cane fields. When you reach the outlying towns they are all Indian. That part reminds us of Fiji and it should, both are sugar growing islands populated years ago by an imperial power with Indian workers. The imperial power has left but the Indian population remains, so curry and roti are ubiquitous.

But it is hard to imagine an Island in the middle of the Indian Ocean being anything else.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Mauritian Farming

Until you see a local farm (above) or the town of Phoenix; it looks like Bellevue, or the M2 freeway, which looks like it should be somewhere in Britain, or the yacht club fleet, which looks like it belongs on the coast of France.

There is the old central market filled with locally grown produce just down the street from the modern shopping malls with the hyper-market stores, and there are the worlds’ most modern telecom services sold out of 1850’s falling down buildings by men in dreadlock hair-dos.

We found a windy beach filled with kite surfers.

We found china town, they came all the way here to work the sugar fields too, and now have the small stores and restaurants.

We went for a tour of the Indian neighborhoods on Diwali (festival of light) and saw streets filled with Indians dressed in their best sari’s carrying cakes and other sweets to the homes of their friends.

Click here to see images of Diwali lights and surfing kites.

And we’ve just started.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius

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Nov. 5, 2010-Repair Status

wingssail images-judy jensen
Paul & Fred finish the refer repair

For those who are paying attention to such details you will be happy to know that repair projects are progressing nicely, if slowly. The new ColdMachine cooling unit for the refrigerator arrived and is installed and finally, thanks to the help and creativity (and R134a and gauges) of ace local repairman Paul Sungalle, seems to be leak free and working after some drama with the new pipe connections which didn’t match the existing evaporator. The new inverter from Everett based Magnum Energy fired off immediately and is apparently working flawlessly. The AIS problem is still under investigation by West Marine but Cliff Mull says they will send us a new GPS antenna for it if needed. A new screen for the Dell laptop is on order from the local authorized Dell Service Center (which Dell Customer Support seems to know nothing about, we had to discover it for ourselves).

Of course we still have a list with new items every day.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius

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