Copyright 2017 - Woods Designs, Foss Quay, Millbrook, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL10 1EN, UK
  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

We tried to work for 4-5 days a week and then sail for a couple of days. Although most people cruise to "get away from it all" and to relax, we felt that if we didn't force ourselves to work on the boat then the refitting would never be done.

By mid February we could at last say the 2008 job list was complete. But of course then it was time to start thinking about sailing back to the USA and leaving the boat for the summer.

Accordingly we stocked up on food and bought some fuel and water. We have a 2hp dinghy outboard and a 9.9hp main engine while solar panels power the fridge and our other electrics. So we don't need to run a generator daily and we try to sail as much as we can. Thus we only bought 10 gallons (50L) of fuel in the 3 months we were in the Bahamas.

We timed our sail back to the USA so that we'd have a 15-20 knot easterly. The US government is naturally very concerned about drug smuggling across its borders and so we weren't that surprised to be boarded by a US Coastguard team. What did surprise us was that we were still 50 miles from the US coast; however the boarding team was very friendly and we could see that the RIB driver enjoyed showing off his skill when coming alongside (we were doing 8-11 knots sailing downwind in quite a large following sea)

I always worry about entering the USA as the Immigration officials can sometimes be very unpleasant, but, apart from a USD30 taxi ride, the entry procedure at Fort Pierce, S Florida, was as painless as we have had anywhere.

From Ft Pierce we had a 4 day sail/motor back north up the ICW to Jacksonville and the St Johns river. After a few days spent packing up the boat and setting 4 large anchors we flew back to San Francisco and then drove north to Canada for the summer.

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The following photos show Romany as we left it, quite a change from six months earlier. Next winter the job list will be much shorter so we will be able to sail further afield, certainly to the outer Bahamian islands (there are still a few we haven't visited, including San Salvador, acknowledged as Columbus' landfall in the New World) and maybe further still. We'd like to go back to Cuba and sail its southern shore, then maybe go onto the Dominican Republic and the Spanish Virgins.