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(Above) Capt. Eric Forsyth and the Fiona

What's It Like To Sail Aboard Fiona?
here for Helena and John's BLOG from 2013
here for Crew Member David's experiences

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AUGUST 30, 2014

Friday was a busy day: Grace and I removed 250 feet of rusty anchor chain and replaced it with 300 feet of new chain. I discovered the drainage from the chain locker (called the limber hole) was completely blocked by hardened mud and rust chips. It took a lot of work to clear, but now the new chain will not be lying in a pool of seawater.

Grace is pulling the old chain off the boat.

Volunteers spray marks at 50-foot intervals on the new chain.


AUGUST 28, 2014

Grace signed the crew roster on Wednesday; she is planning on sailing the whole to Maine, and back. Peter, the refrigeration expert, evacuated the freezer and then filled it with R134A. We had to lose the gas when we moved the refrigerator/freezer to get to the main water tank. We are concentrating upon dealing with minor problems and cleaning the interior and topsides. On Thursday, we loaded bedding; next will be food.

Grace dons rubber gloves to clean the galley with bleach.

AUGUST 25, 2014

On Sunday, Walter and his seven-year-old son, Walter Jr., came to the boat for a couple of hours. Walter circumnavigated aboard Fiona in 1995-1997. We bent on the jib and mainsail; later I bent on the staysail which is a one-man job. Thus, Fiona is almost ready for sea. Monday, I discovered the main boom topping lift was not working properly due to years of chafe of the line that run inside the boom. Eventually, I replaced the Dacron line with a stainless-steel wire.

Fiona is beginning to look like she is going somewhere.


AUGUST 22, 2014

Captain Forsyth's account of the disastrous storm that overtook Fiona in November, 2013, has been published in the September, 2014, issue of Ocean Navigator magazine. Today, a professional exterminator fumigated the boat to remove a few pests that got on board in Cape Town. The first of the Maine crew, Grace, is expected to sign-on next Tuesday.


AUGUST 20, 2014

Fiona was launched Wednesday, on schedulde; no problems. On Monday, I decided to start the engine I preparation for the splash--lots of smoke from the starter motor. Tuesday, I removed it and within a few hours L&L Autoelectric had it completely overhauled--one advantage of living on Long Island, as technical help is never far away. Now the boat is in the water, I can deal with a few problems, like getting the freezer refilled with 134A Freon. I hope to leave on the Maine cruise on 2 September.

Fiona splashes into the familiar slip at Weeks Yachtyard.

The starter low on the port side of the engine; batteries and the battery box had to be removed to get at it.


AUGUST 17, 2014

It has been a week of tidying up on the boat, prior to a launch in the coming week. Also, a case of one step forward and two back--I accidently knocked-over a can with old paintbrushes and turpentine in it. I didn't notice until the next day, the stain when the mess had hardened on the new cabin sole. It took me half a day to clean it off and re-varnish.

The stain on the new sole.


AUGUST 12, 2014

Rob came over for a few hours to help get Fiona ready for the splash next week. He is going to crew for some of the cruise in Maine. The sole is finished; the teak and ash were supplied by Weeks Yard. Now there are innumerable small jobs to clear-up and a good deal of elbow grease needed to get the boat clean and tidy.

The new sole covering the main water tank. I hope it never has to be removed again!


AUGUST 7, 2014

A sad week in some ways: I sold the '28 Bentley to a buyer in England, so it is going home. I had owned it for 37 years. On the bright side, the carpentry to replace the cabin sole is finished; I have got two coats of varnish down. I also replaced the cabin stereo/CD player. The one I installed in Cape Town was okay, but it didn't like the frequencies used for FM in the USA.

The old Bentley starts its journey to England via Newark Docks.


JULY 30, 2014

I placed the last piece of teak on the new cabin sole, so the devastation caused by removing the leaking water tank is largely repaired. It still has to be sanded and varnished. The boat should be ready for the traditional Fall cruise in Maine, which is planned to start Labor Day weekend. In a complete change of pace, I went flying with Christina, seen here piloting from the left-hand seat. We flew to Montauk from Brookhaven and back: a two hour trip in Cessna 152.


JULY 19, 2014

Since Colin came up for a few weeks, we have made good progress: The water tank is installed and doesn't leak! Bob finished machining the steering components and we installed them. The basic system is working; autopilot drive is yet to be connected. Other tasks we completed include installing a new exhaust hose on the heater, repairing a leak in the inflatable dinghy, and installing a new mast-step on the Rhodes 19.

View of the new shaft and sprocket before installation of the roller chain and wheel brake.


JULY 15, 2014

The tank was welded by Dan the Welder, and leak-checked using pressurized air. When we got the tank back to the yard we filled it with water--overnight the level did not change. We drained it and put it back in the well in the main cabin using the mainsail halyard to swing it on board. We are now fabricating cleats to securely hold the tank in place.

Colin guides the tank through the companionway.

JULY 9, 2014

The tank is out--three days hard-labor to remove it. We filled it with water and the leak was immediately obvious: a welded seam on the edge. Next stop--a good welder.

Colin stands on deck the 100 gallon tank. It is connected to the main halyard, to drop it to ground.


JULY 8, 2014

This is the week we hope to remove the leaking water tank. It apparently cracked during the storm Fiona experienced south of the Falklands in late November, 2013. Monday, we got most of the cabin sole above the tank removed. Tuesday, we shifted the refrigerator/freezer which lies over corner of the tanks. Both these activities took hours of effort. Wednesday we hope to lift the tank out.

Colin, with sole removed.

Refrig/freezer shifted a few inches to starboard.

View of the 100 gallon tank from the companion way.


JULY 1, 2014

The major activity with Fiona in the past few days has been to install a new 'MultiData' readout.This is a fancy name for a single-panel meter that shows depth, speed, water temp, log distance, etc. The old one became very erratic. The new unit is a Raymarine type ST60. It took me several hours to remove the old transducers as the caulking had set like cement. The new unit seems to be working (not so easy to test out of the water) except it won't talk electronically to the Raymarine Radar GPS and Chart plotter. Peg, an old Fiona crew member, and myself took the Rhodes for quiet sail on Bellport Bay. I got an e-mail from Kieron to say the surgeon had discharged him--his finger is going to be fine. I wrote a shortened version of the storm we encountered in Nov/Dec 2013 which has been accepted by Ocean Navigator for publication in a few months.


JUNE 26, 2014

The major activity in the past week has been to organize rebuilding the steering system. I got a new sprocket, roller chain and links from the Edson Company because the original supplier of the system is out of business. All the parts need modification to match what is there; Bob Berg is the machinist in charge of that.

Bob Berg in his machine shop.

The parts to be machined: the shaft will be made from a billet of bronze. The sprocket assembly needs to be cut-down so that the sprocket itself remains located in the correct position.


JUNE 20, 2014

The Rhodes took her first sail yesterday with Christina, a visiting scientist from Germany, as crew. The steering system on Fiona is now disassembled. New chain and wheel sprocket are on order. I found another broken link in the old chain, it did not actually fracture. This must have occurred on the way from Cape Town.

Christina pilots the Rhodes out of Carmans River.


JUNE 17, 2014

With Fiona out, the Rhodes 19 splashed-in at Carmens River. I used an old Seagull engine to get the boat from Tookers yard to the slip on the river. This is the only time I use an engine with the Rhodes. It had not been used for two years and goodness knows how old the gas is. It started on the second pull. Back at Weeks Yard, I could not get the shore power to work because the GFI breaker kept tripping. It turned out an outlet in the forward head was leaking to ground. Probably a legacy of the soaking we got in the Southern Ocean. With that fixed, I started to strip the steering system. The steering wheel shaft in the pedestal had not been out and took a little persuasion. (Read a large hammer).


JUNE 12, 2014

Fiona was finally hauled out on June 11. The bottom and zincs looked good after one year. There did not appear to be any damage to the rudder an the rudder post bushings. My first priority will be to change the steering chain and maybe the pedestal sprocket.


JUNE 2, 2014

Fiona is still in the water at Weeks Yachtyard. Most of the gear has been removed such as sails, food, bedding, clothing, books, etc. She will probably be hauled within a few days to a week. In the meanwhile, Captain Forsyth took the cover off his 50-year-old Rhodes 19 in preparation for a summer's sailing on Great South Bay.


MAY 29, 2014

More photos have been added to Capt. Forsyth's recent Newsletter, here.


MAY 25, 2014

"From Boat Bum to Bentley Baron!"


MAY 20, 2014

Captain Forsyth is now in Bar Harbor, Maine. Not as usual aboard Fiona but instead piloting his 1928 Bentley with daughter Brenda as co-driver. The forecast today for the ride from Rockland was rain with possible hail. As he drives the car with the top down thee xperience was not unlike sailing in the Southern Ocean.


MAY 15, 2014

Capt. Forsyth's latest Newsletter has been posted here.


MAY 14, 2014

Here are the vital statistics of Fiona's journey:




DISTANCE, Naut. Miles
Patchogue, Long Island, NY Horta, Azores


Horta La Gomera, Canaries


La Gomera Mindelo, Cape Verdes


Mindelo Salvador, Brazil


Salvador Santos, Brazil


Santos Punta del Este, Uruguay


Punta del Este Port Stanley, Falkland Islands


Port Stanley Storm Site


Storm Site Tristan da Cunha


Tristan da Cunha Cape Town, South Africa


Cape Town Saint Helena


Saint Helena Ascension Is


Ascension Is Saint Martin Is


Saint Martin Is Fajardo, Puerto Rico


Fajardo, Puerto Rico Bermuda


Bermuda Patchogue, Long Island, NY







Fiona off the coast of Maine. Photo by L Schatzer

For the latest newsletters, click HERE