The Two Happiest Days

It is oftens said that the two happiest days of a boatowner’s life are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell a boat.  The photo below shows a celebration of both!

IMG_4010[1]Four very happy sailors are celebrating the sale of Moonshadow to her new owners  Deb and John Rogers on Tuesday March 27 in Jacksonville Florida.

John grew up in San Diego in a sailing family that includes the likes of Dennis Conner.  Deb started her sailing career on her first date with John aboard a sail boat in Coronado Bay.  For 39 years they have owned various yachts and dreamed about spending their retirement living aboard and cruising.  We are all delighted that they chose Moonshadow to be their new home.

We couldn’t be more pleased that Deb and John will be looking after Moonshadow and continuing the adventures which she is so well suited for.  They invite you to follow their advenures on

As for us, we are definitely not hanging up our sailing gloves and have plans for some different types of boating and travel.  Watch this space!

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Good News for Older B & G Electronics

Brooks and Gatehouse, B & G or “Broken Gauges.” Whatever you may think of them, they still rate pretty high with cruising and racing sailors alike. We still have most of the original set installed on Moonshadow in 1986 and they continue to serve us well.

Caribbean 2010-11 133
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St. Lucia to Fort Lauderdale

We survived ten gruelling days of post ARC Rally celebrations in St. Lucia and finally started heading north on the last leg of our season’s journey.   With nice trade wind conditions forecast, we were hoping to island hop through the Leeward Isles and make it to the Virgin islands in time for Christmas.  The first day’s hop, in perfect sailing conditions, was a short sail over to a lovely little bay called Grande Anse on the neighboring Island of Matinique-just enough to get our sea legs.



Caribbean 2010-11 008


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Flash Update: George (finally!) Completes His Circumnavigation

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Mooshadow heads through the 17th St. Bridge in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

At 1030 hours yesterday, Moonshadow passed under the 17th St. Bridge in Ft. Lauderdale closing the loop on the circumnavigation I started here in November of 1994.  Since then I have covered approximately 70,000 nautical miles and visited around 40 countries on our (mostly) westabout course.  The destination has always been the journey and I am happy but sad that this part of the journey has come to an end.

I owe the accomplishment of this acheievement to my best friend and fiancee, Merima “the Admiral”, who joined me on this odyssy in Australia in 2005 and herself has logged more than 25,000 nautical miles (more than a circumnavigation).  Without her strength, determination, companionship, skills and hard work, I would never have made it this far.

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The cake Merima made for our quiet little celebration last evening.

As difficult as it may be after all the miles and memories, we plan to put Moonshadow up for sale.   While we fully intend to continue cruising and racing, our cruising profile will change a bit from the long-distance blue water stuff we’ve been doing to more localised cruising around New Zealand and perhaps a few other parts of the world that we’ve really enjoyed over the years.  We hope to find someone who will continue to love and care for and enjoy her as much as we have for the past 16-1/2 years.

We had a rather fast trip up from St. Lucia to the States, so we’ll fill you in on that after we put Moonshadow away for the winter and get a bit more time.

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ARC Rally Photos

Here are some photos of the ARC Rally.


Moonshadow romps across Rodney Bay to be the 19th yacht to finish the ARC Trans-Atlantic Rally out of 233 starters.

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ARC Rally, Day 18


Hi All!

Moonshadow finished the ARC Rally today at 1251 St. Lucia time today and is safely in the marina.  She was the 19th yacht to cross the finish line out of 233 yachts that started the rally in Las Palmas.  More on our last day at sea tomorrow, but for now we’re resting up for the party tonight.


With the trade winds shifting north and south of the rhumb line all day and evening, we were gybing our way down the line to stay on course to St. Lucia.  The squalls that usually haunted us in the evening and early morning hours continued throughout the day. The good news is that they were usually nothing more than a spit of rain and an elevation of wind speed, so we didn’t bother taking down the kite as they approached.  The winds were up to 25 knot and down to 9 knots all day.
In the evening we were on a long port gybe, and had one squall with winds in the mid to high 20 knot range.  Smoking along at 11-15 knots, the bioluminescence from our wake lit up the very dark night.
By 0400 hours we were well south of the rhumb line and could see the glow of lights from the island of Barbados.  We gybed on to starboard and decided to go down to white sails as the wind was up and the sea state getting rougher as we approached the Lesser Antilleds chain.  By late morning we had gusts up to 35 knots and the seas were tossing us about like dice in a cup.
At 1050 land ho was called.  Charles was able to make out one of the mountains on St. Lucia through the clouds.  We celebrated the spotting of land with a wee dram of rum.
The long reach up the coast of St. Lucia in rough seas seemed like the longest stretch of the passage for us.  Now that we had made landfall, we couldn’t wait to get to the finish line.
We reached the north end of St. Lucia and gybed into the passage between it and Martinique, heading for Pigeon Island.   The ARC finish line people were called on the VHF so they could be ready for our arrival.
As we rounded Pigeon island into Rodney Bay on the leeward side of the island, the seas calmed, but we were hard on the 20+ knot winds.  Moonshadow heeled right over as we sheeted the sails on hard and bore down on the finish line.  A photographer in a RIB arrived to take photos of us-one hand on the outboard tiller and a big camera in the other.
We crossed the finish line at 1251 hours local time; 18 days, 3 hours and 51 minutes after we left Las Palmas, some 2800 miles to the northeast.
We arrived at our berth in the Rodney Bay Marina to the sound of a steel drum, big welcomes, pina coladas and beers, along with a basket of fresh fruit with a bottle of St. Lucian rum. The ARC rally staffer told us we were the 19th or 20th yacht to arrive (out of 240 entrants).
After things had settled a bit we enjoyed a lunch of fresh salad (lettuce bought 20 days ago) with champagne to celebrate.
The MooCrew were looking forward to a much deserved drink and dinner ashore this evening and an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

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ARC Rally, Day 17

With St. Lucia just over the horizon, the MooCrew swear they can smell the pina coladas and hear the faint sounds of steel drums. These delusions are typical of sailors who have been at sea for too long.

After all the challenges of the first half of the passage, we thought that when we found the trade winds, we would have a nice easy starboard gybe the rest of the way to St. Lucia.  Once again this passage is not like it was advertised in the brochure.  The “northeast trade winds” have been oscillating between east-northeast and east-southeast for the last couple of days.  We’ve now gybed three times in an attempt to stay near the course line, with not much joy.  The sea state has been confused with three or four wave/swell patterns to toss us about and make steering (and just plain moving about) a constant challenge.

We had settled into a nice groove last evening, sailing a bit high of the course on starboard gybe.  Merima baked the little mahi-mahi we caught yesterday in a teriyaki sauce and served it with rice and a fresh vegetable stir fry.  Yes, thanks to green bags and her fastidious food management, we still have fresh fruits, vegetables and lettuce after 17 days at sea.  And we managed to find another bottle of dry white Spanish wine in the medicine locker to go with the meal.
At about 0300 this morning, a few small squalls appeared on the radar screen.  They looked more like local showers, so we just carried on with the spinnaker, sailing deep when the breeze got up a bit with no dramas.  Winds in the mid to high 20’s and large waves gave us some nice surfs, with the fastest being around 15 knots.
At 1000 hours a rather gnarly looking squall appeared on our stern quarter and we decided to get rid of the kite (before God did it for us) and let it pass by.  Winds got up to nearly 30 knots and we made excellent progress reaching with white sails for a few hours until winds abated and we could reset the kite.
Another gybe onto port and we were on course-for awhile.  The winds oscillated back to east-northeast and we were once again low on the course line. More squalls are appearing on the horizon.  Looks like there will be not much rest for us until we get to Rodney Bay Marina.
Our position at noon today was 14° 51′ north by 57° 21′ west.  Our noon to noon run was 212 miles.
By the time we finished lunch today we had less than 200 miles to run to our waypoint on the north end of St. Lucia.  We anticipate having real pina coladas in hand and actually hearing the steel band sometime tomorrow afternoon (Thursday) St. Lucia time (GMT -4).
Cheers, George, Merima, Graham, Charles, and Kurt

ARC 2010 - 8 Dec, 2010. IRC, Racing, Invitation Cruising, Oysters Only

ARC 2010 – 8 Dec, 2010. IRC, Racing, Invitation Cruising, Oysters Only


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ARC Rally, Day 16

We’re happy to be in the trade winds, but they are not giving us much of a break. The winds are generally less than forecast, but up and down between 14 and 22 knots. They are also quite shifty, and with a quartering sea, staying on course is a challenge. The autopilot course correct function died a couple days ago so we have to power steer to (what we hope to be) the course and then reset the pilot. It is a less than perfect situation and it’s challenging for whoever is the duty watch person on the box. All this, and the breeze has been slowly clocking to the east, pushing us to the north of our course line. And it’s HOT and HUMID.As the winds eased a bit yesterday afternoon, we changed up to the big kite.  A few hours later, just before sundown we changed back down in case we ran into squalls in the evening.  Our kite “peels” are taking about 1-1/2 minutes, according to the Admiral.

As the sun was setting on the western horizon last evening, a sliver of a new moon appeared a few degrees above it.  Otherwise, it was a clear night lit only by the type of bright starlight one sees out where there are no ambient lights to wash them out.
Merima made sea breezes for happy hour to cool down the crew before serving up a fill of fettuccini carbonara accompanied by a dry Spanish rosé.  An occasional scoop of lemon sorbet coming up from the galley also helps to cool us off every now and then.
After dinner we laughed to the humorous cruising songs of Eileen Quinn on the stereo.
Other than being warm and muggy, it was an uneventful night and the only thing that appeared on the radar screen was a lit weather buoy that we left about four miles to starboard early this morning.
As the fleet converges on a single point at the northern tip of St. Lucia, we half expect to see another ARC boat here and there, but the standings show that about 220 of the 240 boat fleet are actually astern of us.  It looks as if we’ll miss the Early Arrivals party on Wednesday evening by less than a day, but based on the fleet’s distances to run to the finish, so will about 95% of the ARCers.
We received an email from a friend of Kurt’s who is a teacher back in Auckland and whose class of 10 year olds is following our progress.  In a recent homework assignment, the class was asked to write a poem.  One boy submitted the following with Kurt’s flying fish incident in mind: “Glide glide through the air, plop splat on the deck, shrieking screaming like a girl – Kurt on night watch.”
We’ve made good progress towards St. Lucia since noon yesterday, covering 217 nautical miles.  Our noon position today was 14° 40′ north by 54° 01′ west and we had approximately 400 miles to run to St. Lucia.
Oh, and did I mention, its HOT!
Cheers, the MooCrew


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ARC Rally, Day 15

Cowabunga!  Surf’s up and we’re moving along nicely.  The northwest swell we were climbing over has slowly clocked around to the north-northeast and we’re starting to get some nice surfs when the winds freshen up.  With winds in the low 20’s this morning we were surfing at 14.5 knots.

Sailing conditions have been a bit lumpy but generally pretty fast since early yesterday morning when we re-set a spinnaker.
We had a delightful happy hour last evening.  For sundowners we had a refreshing gin and tonic (with lemon).  Charles gave Merima a much deserved break from galley duty last night and cooked up an excellent Indian curry.
It looked to be another uneventful night of sailing until a line of squalls appeared on the radar screen at about 0430 hours this morning.   We     quickly took the spinnaker off and went down to white sails.  The breeze increased to the low to mid 20’s and went forward so we didn’t give up any speed as we powered through the disturbances.
By sunrise the squalls had evaporated and we were able to set the kite again. The wind continued to blow strong and we were getting in plenty of surfs in the 11 to 14 knot range all morning.
We caught a small trevally on the meat hook, but decided to let it go in hopes of getting something a bit larger.
Graham and Kurt continue to entertain us with their sick jokes.
Ship’s clocks were retarded one hour to GMT-3 hours.
Everyone is a bit tired today due to sleep interruption.
Our noon to noon run was the best so far on this passage at 217 nautical miles.  Our noon position was 14° 02′ north by 50° 12′ west.
The distance to run to St. Lucia is now less than 600 miles and we anticipate landfall some time on Thursday.
Cheers, George, Merima, Charles, Graham and Kurt


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ARC Rally, Day 14

For the first time in our Atlantic Crossing, we have spent the entire day sailing directly toward St. Lucia.  With 15-17 knots on our beam, we spent yesterday afternoon reaching with the shy kite at speeds between 8 and 10 knots.  A 3-4 meter swell from the north made the ride a bit rolly, but we were enjoying the fast ride and watching the range number click below 1000 miles to go and the time to go occasionally pop below 100 hours when the speed got up.

By sunset the roll would occasionally pitch us over till the clew of the spinnaker and the boom would touch the water.  We decided to play it a bit conservative for the evening and changed down to the jib and staysail.  The weather forecast and some lightning flashes to the south had us a bit concerned that we might experience a squall.
At happy hour just before sundown, we celebrated the distance to run dropping down to three digits.  After, Merima served up an excellent fish chowder made from the fresh caught mahi-mahi and some other goodies from the galley, along with some fresh baked French rolls.  It went well with a bottle of dry El Coto Rioja white wine.
We carried on the celebration after dinner by singing along to some Jimmy Buffett music.
Even after changing down to white sails, which slowed Moonshadow by .5 to 1 knot, we managed to overtake another ARC boat during the evening.  We’re not sure who she was, but it must have been one of the larger cruising or race boats in the fleet.
As it turned out, it was another beautiful and uneventful night at sea.  With no moon and mostly clear skies, it was bright star light all night.
Winds went fairly soft in the early hours of the morning, and at first light we hoisted the shy kite and got the boat moving a bit better.  The breeze clocked and eased a bit so around 1000 we changed up to the big kite, brought the pole aft and got her moving into 8’s and 9’s.
An hour later, the winds were up to 20 knots, gusting to 23, so it was time to change back down.  I have to say, the guys have the routine down so we can now get from white sails to kite, kite to white sails, or change kites within a couple minutes.  And we are NO race boat.
Our day’s run of 196 nautical miles reduced our distance to run to St. Lucia by the same amount.  Our noon position was 13° 58′ north by 46° 40′ west.
The crew are about to declare a beverage mayday.  We’ve been out of beer for two days and are almost out of coke (only to be used to mix with rum).  The level of intensity in making the boat go faster is increasing as happy hour drink options are reduced and the boys are sussing out local rum distilleries in the islands.
Cheers, the MooCrew


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