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Monday, May 28, 2012

May 26, 2012-TTSA Race 9 (Our First)

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The local club, Trinidad & Tobago Sailing Association, has a pretty active racing program and we decided to give it a try.

With pick-up crew (quite good, actually) and basically no other preparation whatsoever, we went out for a Saturday race in the Racer/Cruiser Class. It was a nice day, there was a good breeze, the race was in a great sailing area, and the committee gave us an interesting course (one mark was a wrecked ship). So when we got a good start, (not too aggressive), and were soon catching up on the racing class boats, we were feeling pretty good.

But the start was an hour later than we thought it was going to be, the race, at 17 miles, was going to take all afternoon, and two of our crew, Andrew and Susan, had appointments in the afternoon. We had to withdraw in order to get them back in time.

No problem. We called the race committee, told them we had to quit, and we turned down wind, set the kite, and got them back in time to catch the bus.

And everyone had a great day.

Next time we will try a little harder.

Click here for a couple of more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 23, 2012-Fantastic Voyage of Anasazi Girl

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Fantastic Voyage, Fantastic Crew

Congratulations to the crew of Anasazi Girl on the completion of a fantastic voyage!

Ever since our old friend Jim Burwick told us of he and Somira's plans to sail west to Australia on their 40 foot ultra race boat with their family on board we have been a little worried.

To most people's eyes Anasazi Girl is a bit extreme for cruising with a family, let alone with two small children, and LET ALONE sailing 4800 miles across the Indian Ocean through the roaring forties, LET ALONE late in the year!

But these folks are great sailors with many ocean miles and thier boat is strong and seaworthy. Jim's abilites and resourcefullness has been well demonstrated by his already completed around the world voyage on this boat.

So, if anybody could do it, they could.

But still, we were worried.

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Somira, Jim, & Tormentino on Anasazi Girl

Tormentino & Raivo

Now they have just completed their voyage from South Africa to Freemantle Australia and we are thrilled to get this report: Captain's Report from Jim and this report from Somira

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Anasazi Girl, Not your Grandfather's Cruising Boat

Click Here, the Captain's Report for Jim's account
and Here, for Somira's

Click here to go to for all thier stories, and be sure to check out Somira's photo web site she is terrific.

Again, Congratulations!

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

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Monday, May 21, 2012

May 20, 2012-Steel Pan Bands

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Steel Pan Band

The people of Trinidad & Tobago have been making music with whatever they could get their hands on for a couple hundred years, maybe longer. They used bamboo poles, gin bottles, brake drums, and anything else which would make a sound. By the 40’s they had developed the oil drum as a musical instrument. They sunk the tops into a pan shape, figured out how to make a chromatic scale, and began seriously beating on them.

Bands formed and their rivalry led to street fighting as well as music.

The street fighting passed, we think, but the music competition just got more intense and the music better and better.

By 2012 Trinidad & Tobago’s Steel Pan Bands have long since become world famous.

We had to see and hear them for ourselves and on Saturday night we went to a concert.

It still had a bit of a gang flavor; the neighborhood was a bad one, but inside the concert venue it was all fun and music, wonderful music.

Our driver suggested we leave early to avoid the traffic jam. He said, “This was not a place to be stuck in traffic”, so we missed the last two bands but we saw seven of them and they were great.

I think we’ll go back.

Click here for more photos of Trinidad & Tobago's Steel Pan Bands

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad.

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May 20, 2012-Long Time BC Racer in Trinidad

The old man in the bar with the white shirt and rumpled captain’s hat looked slightly familiar as he chatted with the couple from Toronto and the burgee on his shirt pocket rang a bell too, but which bell I couldn’t say.

So when he moved off to another table I stood up and intercepted him.

“Hi, I’m Fred Roswold. I know that burgee but I can’t place it. What club is it from?”


He shook my hand and said, “Royal Vancouver. I’m Vern.”

Royal Van, of course. I’d seen that burgee a thousand times back in the days when we sailed in RVYC events in the Pacific Northwest. And Vern?

“Vern who?”, I asked.

“Vern Ruskin”

Now I had it. Jolly Olly. This man, Vern Ruskin and his boat Jolly Olly, had at one time, in fact for many, many, years, been a familiar sight to us in races all over Puget Sound and British Columbia. Vern Ruskin and his Jolly Olliy was a fixture in NW sailing for as long as I can remember. Too many times I had found myself looking at the transom of his 35 foot, blue and white, Petersen and swearing to myself, “How did this old guy get ahead of us again?”

Now we find him here in Trinidad, he must be 100 years old because I thought he was he was old when I first encountered him in the late seventies.

I joined him at his table and talked with him for a while.

Still Winning in 2011

Yes, he still has Jolly Olly, he still keeps it and still races it in Vancouver. Last year he got first place in the Easter Seals Cup in Jolly Olly. He said they won by finding a wind shift which the rest of the fleet didn’t see.

He has another boat, Jolly Friends, here in Trinidad. He splits his time between the places.

He’s 87. I just hope I am half as good as he is when I am 87.

We shook hands and took a photo.

The next day Judy and I joined Vern for lunch at a local restaurant. Vern had an agenda.

You see, Vern Ruskin, though he is 87 and maintains two boats, travels between Canada and the Caribbean every year continuing to race and cruise, also has a mission and he was recruiting.

Vern Ruskin is trying to get politicians and environmentalists in Washington State and British Columbia, (and Washington DC and Ottawa) to reconsider hydro-electric power. He believes, knows actually as he was the original engineer who came up with the studies which resulted in the Columbia River Treaty of 1964 between Canada and the USA, which in turn resulted in the building of several dams and power stations in the upper Columbia River, that there is still a huge amount of untapped hydro-power in BC. He thinks that developing it would be more environmentally sound than building gas fired generating plants.

So Vern was recruiting me to help him promote his idea. He actually wondered if I knew Patty Murray; maybe she was a member of my yacht club?

Well, I was non-committal on this idea, and anyhow, as far as I knew, Senator Murray isn’t a member of any yacht club we belong to, but I really enjoyed seeing Vern again and talking to him.

And it gave us new hope that we have a few years of sailing left in us.

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Fred & Vern Ruskin

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

May 9, 2012-Children of the Dune

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Children of the Dune

In April we posted a story from a place called Ilha Dos Lencois.

Ilha Dos Lencois is an Island in the state of Maranhao, Brazil. It is on the Rio Macuripana. The people there are of Portugese descent.

We could only stay for a few days but we fell in love with the place and the people.

Now we have posted the photos from that stunningly enchanting island.

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Wings at Dos Lencois

Click here to see the photos from Ilha Dos Lencois

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

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May 6, 2012-Arrived In Trinidad

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We arrived in Chaguarmas Bay, Trinidad, early on May 6, 2012 and were checked in, assigned a berth, and tied up all in about 2 hours.

This place is set up to deal with yachts, and it seems like the main business here is parking boats for people who need a place to leave them during hurricane season. Apparently about 1000 boats a year come here, get hauled out, and get parked in one of the many huge boat parking lots. In fact we seem to be the only people who are planning to stay here, in the water, on the boat. It is a little weird.

But with this many boats coming here each year there are a lot of services available so if you want work done, this is the place. And if you want to buy stuff for your boat, this is also the place. There are several HUGE marine stores. We will have no trouble spending money here as we replace broken things and replenish our spares locker.

The first task will be to buy new batteries.

That’s tomorrow.

At the moment we are resting up, secure and settled in at Crew’s Inn Marina, which, like Fortaleza, is actually, or also, a hotel. It has a pool, restaurants, Wi-Fi, all the amenities. We'll probably like it here.

We’ll write more later.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

Click here to see photos of our sail from Brazil.

Click here to see the first photos from Trinidad

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Saturday, May 05, 2012

May 4, 2012-Magic Nights

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Magic Nights

I am on deck and I stand with my back to the trade wind with my arms outstretched.

Over head is a full moon that lights our boat and the sea around us and its brilliance makes the stars harder to pick out, but still I can see the Southern Cross to my left and the Big Dipper to my right.

Plus a million more, there are no clouds.

Our sails are spread wide, like my arms. We have twenty knots blowing from directly behind pressing us forward.

We are flying.

Our speeds are sevens and eights, but below deck the GPS tells a better story; we are making tens or higher, a hundred and ninety five miles a day and more.

There is a current helping us.

But it is silent flying. There is almost no sound on this night, only the low thrush of the bow wave sounding like a mountain stream. There is very little motion other than the gentle lifting of the stern as the swell passes beneath us then an easy slide down the front of the next. Down below it feels like we are stopped. The soft trade wind flows down through the cabin where it caresses the off-watch like a lover's breath.

It is a magic night as we seem to be suspended over the sea and under the sky while they are both streaming silently past.

Two days later there is magic of another kind.

We had a day of rain with no wind. We motored, waiting all day for the wind to arrive so we could set sail. When it did, this time it came from the NE. Now, we're sailing, again with hardly a movement, just gliding along, close hauled, wind vane steering, jib pulling, under a bright moon. It is glorious. I hang my foot on the railing and watch the water flow past my toes.

I watch the wind speed; to see if it holds or drops off and we have to put the motor on again. First I see wind speeds in the lower sevens and then a six. They are dropping.

But the numbers are like the breathing of an animal, they are increasing, then decreasing, then increasing again.

A rhythm is developing. I see some low sixes, but a few sevens still.

Will it go down into the fives or up to the eights?

I see five one time, but I feel strangely confident. I think this will turn out to be a good night for sailing.

I see eight and the waves glide by, and I have no doubt, the trend is up.

Soon eights are steady. Later, a nine appears; it is magic.

Tomorrow we will be in Trinidad.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, On Passage

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

May 1, 2012-Leaving Dos Lencois

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Fishing Boat off Rio Macuripana

Wings left Ilha Dos Lencois on 28 April and, beating out of the mouth of Rio Macuripana against the wind and the tide driven chop, stood out to sea.

Seventeen miles and five tacks later the shallow banks and breakers of the delta were behind us and we cracked off for Trinidad, 1200 miles to the NW, making good time in a fresh breeze.

In the early morning hours of the next day the Equator was crossed (without ceremony as this was only the latest crossing of many) and for the first time in two years Wings returned to the Northern Hemisphere.

One day more, hundred and thirty miles to seaward but still on soundings, and we sailed past the mouth of the Amazon on a fast but wet close reach, with, at times, nearly two knots of favorable current, and carried on towards the Guyanas and the Caribbean and closer to home.

Reoccurring battery problems make it imperative that we get to Trinidad where new ones might be purchased and therefore we will skip stops in Cayenne and Surinam.

Meanwhile we are making over 190 miles a day, with easy sailing, and should be in Trinidad this weekend or soon after.

Other than the battery concerns we have a happy ship.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, On Passage off Guyanas

Note to the Volvo boys, whose paths we've crossed before during this iteration of their race (they passed us going opposite directions at Cape Agulhas in December) and are now again sailing the same stretch of ocean as we are, going, this time, the same way:

You've probably passed us in the last 24 hours and we didn't get a chance to say hello, but if you haven't, here's a tip, there is steady breeze along the coast here and very good, positive, current.

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