By Tom and Agnes Westran

Tom and Agnes Westran recently provided us an update on BRIGHTLINGSEA II’s progress:

"We spent the winter waiting out Northers in Ft. Pierce and can report that a tornado does sound like a freight train, as one passed about mile from us, which was quite close enough. After two months in Ft. Pierce, and a further six weeks in Lake Worth waiting for weather, we made a great crossing to the Bahamas in Mid-May. We did not think water could be so clear or so blue.

Our short stay in the Bahamas was all we expected it to be, warm and clear and blue, which applied to the water and air equally. Socially it was also a very active time. Regatta Tim in Abaco (RTIA) was great fun. Five races, three lay days and eight parties, followed by a week of rest. This is an annual event run around the July holidays, starting with Canada Day, July 1 and extending to the Bahamas Independence Day, July 10. BRIGHTLINGSEA II did not compete but her skipper did. I hope the Albergers will forgive me for crewing on a Moorings 463 (Beneateau). We had one 1st, a 2nd, a 5th, and two 8th places in our Mother Tub (cruising fleet).

I have to get in a plug for one piece of gear that performed admirably in the Bahamas. Our E-Z Cold refrigeration system maintained below freezing temperatures in the freezer section in 90+F temperatures. The boat also stayed remarkably comfortable in the high temperatures. The combination of the 11(?) opening ports, two hatches and an awning kept things comfortable. I would advise anyone with a MK-I A-37 to install a hatch in the main salon, if this modification has not already been done.

BRIGHTLINGSEA II finally got to show her true colours in mid July on a 76 hr (anchor up to docked) trip from Green Turtle Cay to Charleston. It was a super sail in a wide range of conditions and the boat and crew performed perfectly. The Captain did have a bit of mal de mer, being a bit macho, he did not think it necessary to continue with the GRAVOL as did the crew. The trip started off in light 8-10 knots and 6-8 foot seas and finished off in light air and an ebbing tide as we motor sailed into Charleston. One expected feature was discovered on the trip, there are SOUTH flowing currents near the Gulf Stream. I was surprised to find the Speed Over Ground (SOG) drop to under 3 knots when the boat speed was over 4.5 knots, as I expected to be getting a boost with the current. A check of the Pilot Charts, which I should have consulted earlier, showed a rather strong counter current flowing on the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream, northwest of the islands.

After another pleasant stay in Charleston, it was time for more adventures, hurricanes and tropical storms this time. We rod out Bonnie in Cricket Cove Marina in Little River, SC. The management and staff took great care of us. The boat came through unscathed and I learned some more about the importance of chaffing gear. Three of the 18 lines securing BRIGHTLINGSEA II showed signs of melting where they passed through the chocks. These were the few lines I did not protect from chafe. The friction melted and fused the nylon into a solid mass. A 50+ foot power yacht next to us had the same problem and had a couple of lines snap. He had even more lines securing his boat so everything stayed put. The remnants of Tropical Storm Earl put our Delta anchor to the test. By the time I decided to set a second anchor, it was a bit late to get out in the dingy. In 18+ hours of 30-35 knot winds with regular gusts in the 40’s the single Delta on 3/8 inch chain held her in one place.

Much of the fall was spent on engine repairs. Despite having spent a great deal of money having our Westerbeke 40 rebuilt, including all the gaskets and seals, it had proven to be very incontinent. It finally reached the point that something just had to be done, and be done by someone who cared about the outcome, yours truly. Despite being told by a Westerbeke dealer that my oil cooler was not leaking and the source of my problems were elsewhere, I rechecked the cooler, found a hairline crack where the bracket was fastened, replaced the cooler and now for the first time since the rebuild can go between oil changes without adding over a quart.

We are now back in Charleston where I expect we will stay for the winter. It’s one of our favorite cities and this time we want to stay long enough to do it justice.

We also are considering making another major change in our life style. The cruising/live aboard life has been nothing but a positive experience but there are many other things we want to do. A boat is a very demanding mistress and precludes us from doing some of the other things we want to do while we still can. We would be willing to sell BRIGHTLINGSEA II to someone who would give her a good home and who recognizes the value of the boat. We will be asking significantly less than we have invested in her. If a fair deal cannot be made, we will likely find a place to store her during the summers and sail her during the Southern Winters.

We will be spending most or all of the winter in Charleston at the City Marina, and would be glad to show off our pride and joy. Just give us a few days notice by leaving a message at (613) 769-4034.


Tom and Agnes Westran