in Life at Sea / Sailing the World / Sailing with Cats
hideaway sailboat provisioning

We checked the weather gribs, consulted with other cruisers, loaded up the boat with food and 12 Bota Boxes (the equivalent of 48 bottles of wine), took Hideaway out for a pre-Bahamas shakedown, gave the cats their motion-sickness pills, bungee-corded the bikes down, filled up with diesel and water and, finally, settled in for what was going to be a brief, restless nap before departing.

Looking over our provisions, I couldn’t tell if we had too much or not enough, since I kept thinking there were still things we needed more of. For example, I wanted to pick up a few more containers of cat litter and maybe another 5 boxes of wine, since Total Wine delivers and, hell, you can never have too much wine, right?

But Ryan had nightmares of water reaching our foredeck because of the added 1000+ pounds on Hideaway and was waving his hands, exclaiming, “No more! We’re going to sink the boat!”

And so I had to be content with 12 Bota Boxes and a crap-ton of stuff I wasn’t even sure we knew how to cook with. (What does one do with tomato paste anyway?) Either that, or Ryan was going to start insisting that I had too many shoes onboard. And I didn’t want him getting any ideas about off-loading my accessories.

The plan was to depart our anchorage in Fort Lauderdale at 1 am and head across to Bimini in South-Easterly winds, hopefully arriving in no more than 11 hours. We wanted to get to Bimini in early daylight hours so we could navigate the tricky channel entrance with good visibility. And to do that, we needed rest. Except it was impossible for me to sleep with an acid brick churning in my stomach, causing me to run to the head every 10 minutes.

When the alarm went off at 12:30 am, Ryan leaped out of bed like a kid on Christmas, shouting “We’re going to the Bahamas!!!” While I grumbled an unenthused response and rubbed my bloodshot eyes. I was still exhausted from our day of last-minute boat chores. But we didn’t have the luxury of resting, so we made strong coffees and tried to adjust our eyes to the dark as we made our way out to sea.

Someone once told us that the wind forecast for a Bahamas crossing is more realistic if you add the two numbers together. For example, if 5-10 knots is forecasted, really 15 knots is the more likely scenario.

And, sure enough, the NOAA weather reports forecasted 5-10 knot winds and some waves. But when we got out of the inlet, we were confronted with 15-20 knot winds on the nose and a washing machine of waves bouncing us from side to side. Both cats threw up in the first hour and Ryan and I turned somewhat green, but at no point did we think the seas were the worst we’d ever seen. So we braced ourselves for the ride and carried on.

Then, a few hours into the trip, I went down below to check on the cats, and stepped in a puddle of hot water on the floor. Which, incidentally, was the only time I’ve ever thought to myself, “Man, I really hope that’s cat piss.”

turf to surf Hideaway engine check

Ryan, examining the engine while at sea

Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t cat piss. It was sea water coming from the engine compartment. Which meant we’d only gotten 3.5 miles out to sea when we made the decision to turn around and go back to Fort Lauderdale.

There’s a funny scene in a Terry Pratchett novel, the name of which now escapes me, in which a hired assassin spends hours preparing himself for a job by loading himself up with the gadgets and weapons he needs to make the kill. And when he’s finally ready and gets up to leave, he promptly falls over because of the weight of all his weapons.

turf to surf hideaway v-berth provisions

The V-berth, after schlepping all our provisions to the front of the boat

We’re not sure, but we think that’s what happened to Hideaway. We loaded the boat’s rear end up with so many goodies that when we finally got her out to sea, she couldn’t function properly. Our theory is she was weighed down so heavily in the back that her exhaust pipe got pushed under water, causing the hot sea water from the engine’s heat exchanger to get pushed back up the exhaust pipe and into the boat. Hence the piss-warm water on the floor.

So now we’re redistributing the weight of our provisioning madness more evenly throughout the boat. Which, as you can see, means we’ve taken over most of the boat, making for some temporarily uncomfortable living. But, hey, if it will get us to Bimini, then we can live with it for a few days.

I’m not quite willing to admit my 48 bottles of wine might have tipped the scales to prevent our Gulf Stream crossing this time, but I’d be willing to venture that we maybe possibly bought too much. But if it comes down to it, I’d be happy to throw those 10 cans of tomato paste overboard to lighten our load. Or maybe the vegetable oil.

Just don’t touch my wine or my shoes.

hideaway sailing with cats

Charlie and Celia may need to put up with chaos for a few days

0 Comments... Be the first to comment
  • Chris witzgall January 20, 2013, 9:43 am

    Chris Witzgall9:42 AM – +1’d on – Limited
    Ryan, I have to admit, when we were aboard your boat, I searched for all of Tasha’s shoes while you two were not looking. I had to compare the # to what Gretchen brought aboard, for, um , reasons. She has 47 pairs aboard Hideaway!!! Dude, this is the cause of your engine issues, not the food!!! (Although you do know that the Bahamians eat too??) Find all of those shoes, and chuck them overboard, it is your only hope!!!

    • Tasha January 20, 2013, 10:48 pm

      Delete. Delete. Delete. Sshhhhh!!!

  • Lorraine Dolsen January 20, 2013, 11:11 am

    Tasha, I know what you means about keeping the shoes. My husband is trying tomget me to get rid of mine too. ;). Too bad didn’t work out on the first attempt, but if the weather was that bad starting out, sounds like it was a good idea to try when the water is calmer. The wine is expensive in the Bahamas so that was a good purchase in the states.. I’ll be curious if you can still get Nassau Royale Liquor. Heard it wasn’t being made anymore and really hope you can get it there.
    Fair winds and Following sea!
    Lorraine. S/V Changes

    • Tasha January 20, 2013, 11:12 pm

      Hey Lorraine,
      I’ve found that if you smuggle your shoes on when your husband isn’t looking, you can stash pairs all over the place! 🙂
      I’ll let you know if we find any Nassau Royale Liquor!

  • Mid-Life Cruising! January 21, 2013, 9:22 am

    I’ve often wondered about weight distribution on our Catalina 30. Not only the food, but the tools and spare parts. I have a feeling our quarter berth will be our garage. At least the salon is a good place to sleep! Like you said … if it gets you to the Bahamas, it’s worth it!

    • Tasha January 21, 2013, 9:19 pm

      We made the crossing, so spreading out the weight seemed to do the trick! Hey, we may have bought too much…but on the bright side, look how much wine I have to drink! Starting….NOW!



  • bobtaylor380272126 January 21, 2013, 9:33 am

    Throw on more wine… pitch the shoes, sparing the flip-flops. You won’t need them anymore.
    These are the best days of your lives aboard… maybe ever.
    Hope you’re already in Bimini.

    • Tasha January 21, 2013, 9:18 pm

      Ha ha! I’m so excited I could easily throw my shoes like confetti. Look, you gotta give a New Yorker her baby steps… We’re in Bimineeeeeeeeee!!!!


      • bobtaylor380272126 January 22, 2013, 1:49 pm


        A little weather coming…
        Send me an Email address and I’ll forward Chris Parker’s Bahamas weather forecasts.

        TOMORROW NIGHT-WED23…FrontalTROF gradually presses into N Parts of C
        Bahamas, introducing building NNE wind…while spillover allows light
        N-NE wind in SE half of Bahamas.

        THU24…FrontalTROF presses farther S&E…but models differ on how far
        S&E, and how strong winds are S&E of FrontalTROF…with 00zGFS
        maintaining strong FrontalTROF near G’twn with NE-ENE near 10k in SE
        Bahamas / 00zEURO moves FrontalTROF to Acklins and predicts tighter
        gradient, with 15-20k SE of FrontalTROF. Models have wind 5k higher
        N&W of FrontalTROF throughout C Bahamas…but RIDGE settles to 29N,
        allowing N-NE wind to settle some N Bahamas.

        FRI25…Models continue with some differences…there’s agreement
        RIDGE settles toward N Bahamas, where light winds clock SE<S…but
        strong E winds persist S half of Bahamas…disagreement involves
        strength & speed of next LO/ColdFRONT, with 00zGFS weaker/slower than
        00zEURO which moves FRONT off US E Coast late Fri25, versus 12hrs
        later for 00zGFS.

        • Tasha January 22, 2013, 2:46 pm

          Thank you! That would be great! Maybe you can also give me a tutorial on how to get Chris Parker on my short wave radio… I can’t figure it out!

          The weather is definitely whipping up here something fierce… had to tie extra lines to the boat. We have to do a little work on our engine, so we’re going to sit here for a few days until this blows over.

          Thanks again!


  • svoctopussy January 22, 2013, 11:32 am

    Awesome! Glad to hear you made it! Now the important part: did you make it with all of the wine AND shoes?!?!
    I am all about the wine. My husband and I were just asked to be the first customer co-hosts of a wine tasting at Mills Fine Wines in downtown Annapolis. Don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing that we were the first ones the entire staff thought of when the new owners said they wanted to do something like that!

    We’ll have a glass of something bubbly tonight, to celebrate you making it… we’ll let you know when you can return the favor!


    • Tasha January 22, 2013, 2:47 pm

      We DID make it with the wine AND shoes…but we had to stack all our supplies in the salon and V-Berth to keep from weighing down the back too much. I’d be glad to return the favor when you get going next year, Kim!



  • MJ Sailing January 22, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Seriously, how many pairs do you have? I need to compare. I added 2, ditched 1, so now I’m somewhere around 9?

    • Tasha January 22, 2013, 2:49 pm

      I’m not totally sure…when we pulled everything out of the back berth to load it in the V-berth I discovered a few more pairs…it’s probably better if I don’t count them 🙂

      • Steve Bean March 11, 2013, 11:00 am

        I’m puzzled about exactly how seawater from engine cooling got loose in the boat.

        • Tasha March 11, 2013, 11:05 am

          Hi Steve,
          When the heat exchanger walls broke down from corrosion, raw water mixed with coolant and the excess water was released from the overflow on the engine, dumping it onto the floor. We replaced the heat exchanger and the problem was solved 🙂

  • Tasha February 2, 2013, 4:31 pm

    Hi Delila,
    I tried emailing you but my message got bounced back. I've checked my site in IE and the site appears as normal there. Are you sure you've updated your browser? Perhaps if you describe the trouble you've having with viewing the site, I can help.
    Thanks for reading!

Leave a Comment