(Above) Capt. Eric Forsyth and the Fiona
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I have now been aboard Kimberlite for six days. We are tied-up at Simpson Bay Marina on the Dutch side of St. Martin. We found the boat wasn't quite ready for sailing when we arrived. We have been bending sails, fixing the outboard engine, cleaning the dinghy, etc--typical of the dozens of jobs that always need doing on a boat. We hope to sail to the French side in a day or two. My old friend, Kay Pope, came over for a visit; she has lived in Marigot for many years. She brought me a copy of a book she published recently, Cabo Trafalgar In The Moonlight. It is a bio of her life with Dudley Pope, a well-known naval historian and novelist. Edith and I first met them when we lived in the Caribbean in the 1960s, aboard Iona. How time flies!
I am now back on Long Island, after a routine flight from London. But only temporarily: tomorrow, I leave for St Maarten (by air) to spend a couple of weeks aboard Kimberlite, with my friend Eric. I finished-off my European trip in Bolton, UK, where I grew-up. Bolton School had a solemn service to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the death of the first former student in the Great War. This occurred on 13 March, 1915. In all, 81 former students or teachers were killed in the war; a ceramic poppy for each one was planted in a grassy bank on the school grounds. Afterwards, there was a dinner at which former and currently-serving members of the British armed forces were asked to wear their uniform. I squeezed into my 60-year-old RAF best dress. Amazingly it had been spared by the moths!
I am now staying with my cousin in, Culcheth, near Manchester. I travel to Bolton tomorrow for the highlight of this European jaunt: the Uniformed Dinner at Bolton School. I will try to post a pic as soon as I get home to NY on Sunday.
Unfortunately my FNN update have been delayed by the failure of my new Tablet, brought specifically for this trip. I developed a horrendous cold--bronchitis, Ebola?--whatever, towards the end of my stay in Kiel; it worsened in London. I have been spending my evenings in bed, rather than taking in a West End Show. I visiting a couple of marinas on the Thames, to look into the possibility of keeping Fiona in London next winter. I looked at the Turners in the National Gallery, seeing that I had viewed Mr Turner, a biopic just before I left NY. I spent a day at Bletchley Park, toured the Nautical Museum at Greenwhich, and spent half a day at the Imperial War museum. I returned to the north side using the foot-tunnel under the Thames. Time's up on the rental computer, more later.
Spent the day at Bletchley Park, a one-hour train ride from London. Bletchley was the center of British code-breaking in WWII. The museum and exhibits continue to improve, possibly due to the success of movies like Enigma and the recent The Imitation Game. The weather was sunny, with a high of 50F. My cold is not cured, but I am feeling a lot better.
I am now ensconced at a fairly dingy hotel near Paddington, in London. Weather is quite mild. Checked out two marinas today on the Thames as possible lay-over points for a Baltic cruise this summer. London is much noisier and dirtier than Kiel.
From Capt. Forsyth's Friend in Germany -- Eric is in Munich, Germany, visiting very old friends Maryana and Crt. Weather is not bad: 40F at lunchtime. He is learning to use the U-Bahn, the clean, silent underground. Quite a contrast to the NYC subway. Friday, he flies to Hamburg and then to Kiel to visit Christina.
Via Capt. Forsyth comes this amazing news from Bolton, UK:
A new scholarship to study Medicine to be available for a Bolton School girl
A new scholarship to study Medicine at university is being offered to Year 13 students in Bolton Schools Girls Division.
The Dr Edith Forsyth Scholarship Award will provide financial support for five years of university medical training for a student who wants to start her degree in September 2015 and otherwise might be deterred from studying Medicine because of financial hardship.
The award will cover five years of training at £15,000 per annum and has been generously donated by an Old Boy of the School, Eric Forsyth, in memory of his late wife, Edith. Eric wishes to provide the same opportunity for a young woman, that he and Edith enjoyed when they went to Manchester University in 1950; namely a free education under the 1944 Education Act.
Eric and Edith subsequently moved to Canada and later to the United States, where Edith was a highly respected physician on Long Island. She was beloved by all her patients and has been sorely missed since her passing in 1991.
Captain Forsyth will present his latst video, Fiona Battles to Reach Antarctica, at 2 pm on 14 February, 2015, at the West Islip library on Higbie Lane. This is under the auspices of the South Bay Cruising Club, anyone interested in ocean sailing or thinking of joining the club may attend free.
Suffolk County, on Long Island, received a good snowfall from a blizzard on Tuesday and Wednesday. Just before the snow got deep, UPS delivered the Espar heater, which had been overhauled by Oceans Options on Rhode Island. I continue to work with Lew by electronic communication to put together the next video.
The boating season is effectively over until spring. I will post occasional notes on my whereabouts, which are planned to include Germany, England and the Caribbean. When I have the 2015 cruise organized, I will post a crew call if I don't have enough volunteers.
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.
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).
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.
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.
More photos have been added to Capt. Forsyth's recent Newsletter, here.
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.
Capt. Forsyth's latest Newsletter has been posted here.
Here are the vital statistics of Fiona's journey: