65′ Cat Dragonfly For Sale as well


We’d heard Dragonfly would also be on the market soon and just today found her listed at this Multihull Company site.  We’ve probably spent more time on Dragonfly than on Deja Vu, so we know this boat very well.  Our last trip with Dragonfly was in the winter of 2012-13 from Florida thru the Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica and on to Puerto Rico.

She’s a great boat, especially with a group of friends on board.  Plenty of room for all parties, be it in the spacious galley, around the large salon or entertaining the anchorage in the cockpit.

Pass this info on to anyone interested in a well travelled, spacious catamaran.  Currently located in the South Pacific doing medical support.

BTW – DejaVu is already under contract

A Great 43′ Cruising Cat For Sale [Sold]

DejaVu Bahamas

Deja Vu is for sale. Update: Sold  We can’t say enough about how much we like Helen & Joe’s 43′ Kurt Hughes designed catamaran, Deja Vu.  We’ve cruised with her, on her, made several passages with her, and spent many months being around her.  She extremely well built, is well maintained, has the two Yanmar engines that I planned to put on Paradox, is comfortable, very livable and has the cruising track record that would inspire confidence in anyone wanting a cruising boat.  Especially a cat, which is the only way we’d ever cruise again.

dejaVu Nav StationShe can be viewed online at dejavu link with the standard broker photos and descriptions. DejaVu itself has a new For Sale blog site that will give you just about anything you want to know and see about this catamaran. Helen and Joe have a personal blog at Helen & Joe’s Blog which will let you see a little more about their most recent Bahama cruising life with Deja Vu.

Deja Vu salonPlease pass this info and these links on.

Dragonfly has posted information on Facebook already, but anything that might help would be appreciated.

We’d love to visit you on your new catamaran named Deja Vu.

Deja Vu in Vinyl


No one in Georgetown will recognize Deja Vu when it arrives this December for the season.  In fact many will comment that “Joe will be pissed to see another Deja Vu in the anchorage,” until they realize that it’s Joe & Helen’s boatDejaVu with an entirely new look they’re seeing.  Their green swoop on a cream colored hull has been replaced with a matte white vinyl wrap and new graphics.  Deja Vu’s cream-colored topsides of Awl-Grip paint has been wrapped with white VViVid Vinyl.

Joe’s always experimented with innovative construction and design techniques, and many of those idea’s are still in service on his 43′ catamaran.  After watching numerous YouTube videos on wrapping boats with vinyl he thought he’d give it a try.  This is where I fit into this post.


IMG_3978The online video’s show a crew wrapping various boats, but Joe figured he only needed a senior citizen with long arms to help, and his wife Helen thought of me rather than herself.

Stanna always quotes that  “The problem with learning by experience is that the exam comes first,” and we tested ourselves all around these 43′ hulls.  Just when we thought we’d learned how to handle a surface, the curves and panels changed, forcing us to re-train after every break.  Spray water before or only after, depending on time of day, humidity, size of the roll or some unknown variable.  Work the roll perpendicularly or in a convex arc depending on roll size and location.


Starting from the middle of a 43′ side or from one end depended on if you could align the roll angle so you didn’t miss the mark at the end.  Fortunately you could always pull back the vinyl’s adhesive grip to stretch out the waves, bubbles and creases.  It definitely took teamwork and lots of bantering to keep the vinyl flat and smooth.

IMG_4002It was surprising how malleable and stretchy the vinyl was with a little heat from a heat gun.  Joe had done his homework learning just what he could do to trim out the windows and thru-IMG_4008hulls.  They even sell a Kevlar string to place down before applying the vinyl to insure clean straight cuts.

IMG_4011Edges were a concern, but the manufacturer provides and number of solutions like seam tape and seam sealer. Lot’s of questions remain on the durability and quality, in Joe’s mind, that will only be answered after several seasons in the Bahamas.  It’s too soon to ask, “Would you do it again?” but he did get a lot of inquiries in the boat yard.

One of the most fascinating things about this Jacksonville boat yard, Reynolds Park, is that they have a surplus Navy travel lift that can walk a cat right on by another cat and park it parallel.


Fast warm week in Florida, where it only rained when we splashed.  Thanks Helen & Joe.

Good Ship Sisyphus

Not wanting to prejudice Dragonfly with the sobriquet of SS Sisyphus I’ve casually glided over many and most of her travails.  All things on or near the sea suffer a corrosive deterioration that will infect even the most stalwart and healthy systems.  Dragonfly, now in her 14th year, can suffer multiple system failure, especially in those systems sensitive to the salt water environment, that on terra firma should last a lifetime if not generations.  Fortunately not all things happen at once, more like a slow motion cascade of occurrences that keep the crew and mostly it’s captain in the steady pose of that mythological character, Sisyphus, crouched below a mass pushing uphill against overwhelming and daunting obstacles, and in Dragonfly’s metaphor, across the seas.

The windlass motor is a good example.  We probably changed that out at least six times after various fixes both on board and at a local motor repair shop.  Each time something else seemed to be the culprit.  It didn’t help that the replacement parts that Dragonfly recently purchased apparently lacked quality control in manufacture.  Even with an unlimited warranty and free replacement, that doesn’t help when you are far from phone and FedEx.

Humor, luck and un-ending ingenuity keep the captain smiling at the toil that would easily thwart lesser mortals.  As on all cruising boats, the captain has to be the engineer and crew as well as decider of routes and watches.  Off-watches aren’t always off, as there are problems to solve, crew to help and answers to provide.

The main sail is another example:  After paying double the quote for sail repair and seam reinforcement at a sail loft in Sarasota this Fall, Dragonfly’s main parted exactly on one of the seams they’d paid to have reinforced.  Go figure.  It took four of us two days to hand stitch the 12′ rip and the luft and leech damage.

In the case of Dragonfly, it’s a matter of chasing the jinx rabbit from hatch to hatch, engine to motor, panel to rigging all the time prioritizing what can be done when.  And, of course, what resources remain in the stores that can be fashioned to the occasion. She’s a large vessel, with more than most lockers, spares and parts, but it’s easy to deplete the normal supplies and materials, her demands so great and continual. Pattern recognition becomes a Darwinian trait most desirable when trying to associate a fix with some part languishing in an obscure locker.

Alas, the triumph of one solution is quickly occluded by those further issues needing attention in the serpentine line running along rigging, cables, systems and bulbs.  Note the propeller shaft coupling parting from the transmission.




Fueled by the challenge, or caffeine, the captain steams on with nary a breath or concern for waiting prospects. When I finally had the courage to mention the word Sisyphus in regards to Dragonfly, Al’s instant response was “Sisyphus was a pussy”.

Truth be sewn

Truth is more unbelievable than fiction I’m sure someone has written.

Fortunately Jill has been chronicling all the travails of Dragonfly’s passage south to the Virgins but we don’t generally see the copy as we’re too involved in the making of the story.

Sewing the Sail should be the title of this missive as we’ve just spent two whole days remedying a rent ripped clear across 12’ of main sail near the top, about 60’ in the air above deck.  As happens on Dragonfly, many of these challenges seem unwarranted.  We had just left Samana harbor in the Domician Republic to stage ourselves for a pending weather window to move south to the western coast of Puerto Rico.  We had just cleared the basin, when shortly after having hoisted the main while heading into the wind and setting for a starboard tack the sail simply “popped” and parted leaving a clean horizontal opening on a seam from the leech line to luff bolt rope.

In the air it looked like a 6 or maybe 8’ tear, but once down on the cabin top it proved to be almost 12’ and simply the parting of two panels once held by triple stitching and most recently paid to have re-enforced.  On inspection it seems that the sailmaker concentrated his 40 hours billable time elsewhere even though the invoice states “all seams” were re-enforced.

Undaunted, our captain continued under jib alone, across the Samana Bay and we found refuge in the lee of a spit across from this region’s famous caves.  The following two days were divided into first gluing the sections of material back into alignment and then the 2nd day the four of us stitched from one side to the other in pairs.  It’s possible to pass a needle thru two (and in the case of re-enforced patch areas four to six) layers only after drilling the fabric with a needle-sized drill bit.  Experience told us that you must run the drill bit in reverse, so as not to unravel the fabric, and essentially burn your way thru. Fortunately the trauma to the sail was swift and minimal so it was mostly a matter of arranging work-space on the cabin top and effecting a material-stretching mechanism.  Using contact cement, including the 30-minute curing times, we crept across the seam using bodies, slings and water jugs to keep the wind from prematurely separating our efforts.  In addition to just gluing the seams back we fashioned a number of semicircular patches to bind the fore and aft sections of the rent so that our next day’s stitching would suffice until a proper sailmakers zig-zag sewing machine could finish the job.  And as is always the case once you start looking for weak spots we found several more in the area that got similar treatment.

Day two we once again cozied up to the shoreline to cut the wind and began about six hours of stitching for the four of us.  Two drills, four sets of pliers, two needles and waxed thread enabled teams to work from each end to the middle and back again leaving a double row of stitching 12’ long.


Samana is tropical anchorage on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic just about a long day’s passage from the Turks and Caicos’.  Of course any passage duration depends on weather and sea conditions, and although not uncomfortable , the time was almost 8 hours longer than expected.  As we’ve experienced in our smaller Tobago 35, winds are often on the nose or so close that it’s difficult to make headway toward your destination.  Even Dragonfly goes slow when the winds are less than 35 degrees, however when we put the “iron genny” in gear, Dragonfly still manages 5 knots in the worst of conditions.  On this last passage we experienced everything from no wind to 37.8 knots of wind, so we had ample opportunity to try various sail configurations.  What was interesting was that we’d go off watch and 3 hours later start a new watch and find that our elusive destination was still 19 hours off.  We’d chosen to head further down the Dominican coast ahead of the front so that we’d have a more idyllic anchorage to layover in.  It just took us so long we missed the local New Years celebration and even the Time Square celebration an hour later via Sirius radio.

Never having visited the Dominican Republic it’s been interesting to study up on the history of Hispaniola since Columbus retired here.  Once a major sugar source for the western world they now import sugar from Venezuela.  They had been an early producer of gold before the Spanish overran Central America, but we learned that the Canadians have just started mining gold again after 500 years employing 20,000 locals.  Their only major exports now are tropical fruits and any fish they catch only gets consumed domestically.  Without an Almanac or Wikipedia it’s not totally clear many of the facts we like to learn like literacy or GDP.

The DR feels, and looks not unlike Guatemala or Honduras at it’s coast lines where there are mountains such as traveling up the Rio Dulce.  The street scapes of the single town we’ve visited are so similar in their cinder block facades and the wares and merchandise all similar to any central american town.  Lacking a supermarket they have dozens of “mini-marts” or stalls in the Mercado that sell the dry goods of daily life and produce is sold from roving pick-up truck beds or in the two dozen stalls in the central mercado.

Above is a photo of ice for a fishing boat that would be hand (or bucket) loaded from a shoreline to the fishing boats 20′ out in the water.  And next is a home-brew dive compress better known as a hookah they almost all the fishermen use to walk the bottom picking up conch or spearfishing.  It was particularly interesting to see how the local celebrated the new years day by having a street party with large speakers atop various cars blaring their choice of the most popular dance tunes.  What was most  funny was they were directly across the road from the dozen of side by side outdoor 20×40 combination beer stands with cement slab dance floors.  Speaking of dancing the entire country has a latin salsa hip swing that seems to come as often a an american teenager says “like”.  And BTW our captian Al has that same virus any time he gets within wavelength of those rhythmic beats.




The cure for anything is salt water:

Sweat, Tears, or the Sea

Karen Blixen

For Dragonfly you’ve got to add luck.



For those of you who’ve been wondering how it’s been going on Dragonfly since the last repair log and report, let’s just say there’s been normal cruising-boat mechanical problems.  Nuts and bolts do fall off a boat and that’s why we use cotter pins, lock rings, seizing wire, double bolting and ny-lok nuts.  We’ve been fortunate enough to see, find and hear quite a number of those little items when they hit the deck or make those unusual sounds. Gives the crew an audible or visual reminder to keep looking for the harpoons that Neptune is throwing at all sailors.

Jill is particularly adept at sounds, especially those that are out of the ordinary from the normal squeaks, rumbles and chatters of Dragonfly.  She’s always the first to know when the autopilot has kicked out, or when the invertor isn’t charging correctly.  We all heard when the starboard drive train sounded like an agricultural combine running thru a neighbor’s laundry line of drying Indian rugs.  The flogging banging thumps reverberated thru both the 65-foot hulls when I put Dragonfly in gear when pulling back the starboard engine while Al, in the water at the anchor, watched to see it set further.  Much louder than when we hit the second of two crab pot lines backing to anchor near where Polecat was spawned in the Keys.

As always with every lemoney sticket that Dragonfly suffers, the charms keep falling on her as well.  Several sailors have already guessed correctly that the coupler and shaft came loose from the transmission coupler and were swinging around on the sole of the engine room.  The lucky charm Dragonfly gets to add to her weighty collection was that not a single bolt was lost or suffered thread damage.  It was only a 45-minute fix, time mostly spent getting access to the errant bolts.

Most of the other “sounds” telegraphing needed repair attention have been far less noisy, like the tang plate corner that thoughtfully hit the windscreen before sliding on to the cabin top.  However, as many of us can report, one of the loudest sounds is when a wind generator blade or even the generator itself hits the deck. It’s always much more fearful-sounding than it is, and in Dragonfly’s case the port wind generator’s blade flew loose at least a minute after Al had finished closing the hatch of the engine room just below the retiring blade.  Why is it that blades always fly down and not off into the sea?  Another charm for Dragonfly, or two charms because Al had a spare set of blades ready to install.  (Note for wind generator owners: It appears that non-stainless bolts will rust, expand and crack the plastic out from their holes, allowing the blades to “disengage.”)

And since I’m trying to recall mostly from the last several weeks, we found a main sheet block nut on the cockpit arch, that the inner jib clew shackle lost it’s pin, and Al discovered that the compression beam seats at the aft point on the beam needed larger pads as they were cutting into the fiberglass of the main bridgedeck beam.  There’ve also  been a few more electrical quandaries but none as significant as the “great electrical panel re-work.”

About Dragonfly

For those who’ve not seen Dragonfly I thought I’d post a few photos of her interior so you can see for yourself that she’s as big as our condo.  The Kurt Hughes designed 60’ by 32’ catamaran is so commodious with it’s various spaces that using the land based term “great room” most aptly applies to the bridge deck salon or saloon as the British and French call it.  The Galley is large enough for standard appliances and has almost 20’ of countertop.  The Nav Station is they same dimension as the Galley just not as deep and provides 14’ of counter with office, mechanical and small tool storage beneath.




A couple could do yoga on the floor in the open space between the companionway door and the 8 person booth for dining (or three person sleeping while underway – in fact it’s probably possible to sleep 4 in the salon alone).







There are four queens-sized berths, two on each side of the catamaran along with 3 separate heads with showers.  The two forward cabins have two additional stacked single berths.  As you can see from the photos each cabin has a sink with ample counter space.


We’ve been slowly working our way down the Jumentos chain of islands in the Southern Bahamas, with short 3 to 4-hour hops.  Almost all these islands and anchorages are totally uninhabited due to their remoteness, lack of vegetation and water, and primarily exposure.  They are only in the 10’s of feet high, some with nary a bush.

This whole region of the Bahamas is very shallow with the average depth somewhere less than 20 feet so the water is very clear and turquoise when the bottom is sand.  We’ve spent most afternoons fishing for edible fish.  Al’s has been the most successful with hog fish, lion fish, lobster and conch.  Joe “caught” , cleaned and prepared 9 conch for dinner the first night.  The photo with Al’s handful of Lobster was a gift from the departing fishermen in the background.

We did get an invitation from a Conch fisherman from Spanish Wells to come watch him and his son clean conch on his boat.  This guy is well known on the Chris Parker weather net so we accepted the invite and were amazed at his operation.  They pick and clean about 600 conch a day, all by hand.  They encouraged us to take photos, so I shot a little video to show how fast they extract the meat and then skin the conch for packaging.

DejaVu has committed to coming with us so we’ve been sharing meals and camaraderie with them this entire time.  Joe’s boat is very competitive with Dragonfly, often besting her in some of the legs.  As in most passages the winds are very close to the nose, but these captains do quite well close hauled.

We’ve still managed lots of boat projects.  Jill has been purging all the lockers and Al’s been trashing “some” of the treasures.  We’ve even be caught on camera reading the manuel to “tune” Dragonfly’s TriMetric digital Amp Meter.

Our last stop in the Bahamas is at Hog Cay in the Raggeds.  TheNext cay has the only settlement in the area and the town boasts a cell tower, power generation and water desalination.  Evidently Bahamain law requires any settlement greater than 50 must be provided these amenities so Duncan Town population 65 has all this and a school of 15.

Fortunately our BaTelCo SIM card is still working and we can just barely receive and send email from my iPad.  My hopes for this Blog are slim, we’ll see.  Especially for photos.

Anchored still – Georgetown

We’ve been taking advantage of the adverse winds on our course further south, by laying over in Georgetown and doing projects on Dragonfly.  The shake-down, mentioned earlier, continues and a number of things have demanded attention over the normal chores and remaining projects.  But Al has managed to finish installing a second set of shrouds to a point about 60’ up the mast.  BTW Dragonfly’s mast stands 81’ above the water and he looks like a dwarf from the deck when he’s at the top of the mast.

One advantage we have here in Georgetown is that we’ve purchased a BaTelCo SIM card for the iPad like we did last winter in Thailand.  Price was exactly the same at $15 for the card and $30 a month for unlimited 3G access (pity we can’t get that in the States).  I also learned that the latest iOS allows for tethering (creating a local hotspot from one device so others can access the internet), so we are all able to get online from the boat.

That being said, in theory technically it works super, in practicality it bogs down and even goes down at certain times of the day.  Downloads are the biggest slowdown, but web sites, email (without attachments), and text messages work great.  McKenney has tried numerous times to Skype and Facetime but the system can’t handle voice let alone video.

As we move down the chain of islands that comprise the Bahamas we may have continued internet access but nothing is guaranteed.  We’re taking photos daily but getting them uploaded seems to take too much time, so we won’t be including as many from these locales.

Joe has gotten all his projects done and is ready to go.  Both Dragonfly and DejaVu have a complete new suit of battens, giving their sails a fresh look and hopefully more drive.

Regarding the instrument panel fire:  we are slowly working our way thru the entire board, checking each connection, replacing connectors, running down wires and organizing, trying to determine the cause of the glowing ground.

Looking at our Condo webcam the Animas River appears to be super low and not a hint of winter weather.

To Georgetown

The fire was extinguished with one new ABC extinguisher which fortunately only leaves a white powdery residue once the fire is instantly extinguished. Now tracing the cause is another story.
Leaving Northwest Channel Cut after an almost flat sea day, we turned south into the Tongue of the Ocean for a second overnight down past the south side of Nassau to the Exumas. Easy night, especially with the full moon for Stanna’s and my midnight to 2AM watch. One navigational addition on Dragonfly, and new to us, is AIS (Automated Identification System) where all commercial ships must use a transponder with Name, Bearing, and Speed sent on a VHF frequency that radios with that receiver can read. Really great for freighters whose well-lit decks mask out the red and green running lights, where you often can’t tell if they are coming or going.

We arrived at an anchorage just north of Staniel Cay called Big Major Spot just before noon. We knocked off a few more chores and had an early dinner, a round of Kings in the Corners (a card game new to me, which demonstrated my lack of experience with Solitaire, following simple procedural rules and bad luck – I out-scored everyone in a game where the lowest points wins).

Chris Parker’s morning weather net foretold of rough seas and high winds for the next five days for anyone leaving later than that morning, so we battened down Dragonfly and bashed our way thru the cut and into 8 to 10 foot seas with occasional 13 ft’ers (we know cuz the captain says when the horizon is blocked when he’s at the helm the wave is greater than 13′). What was best about this leg, was that during the daytime we could see exactly where all the salt water was coming thru into the salon, cabins and shower. Actually we knew about the shower as the solar vent on the port deck slid down toward the helm and Joe snatched it. This photo show Al screwing it back down in heavy seas.

We made the northern Georgetown cut by mid-afternoon so Joe and Helen had time to go check out Deja Vu before dinner time. For those who hadn’t heard, a tropical storm named Sandy hit Cuba first then passed over Georgetown at a reported 112 MPH before heading north to mess with New England. They’d heard via email that Deja Vu was fine but until you see her for yourself there is still a tad bit of doubt. She sat high and bright in her hurricane hole when we dinghy’ed in to her. From looking at the outside she looked like someone had just painted or waxed her. And because the crew had left her super clean inside she looked like they left her yesterday. They “love” the Kevalli Marina and hurricane hole now and see that as her berthing for next several years, if they don’t need to go back to Florida Dredge and Dock in Tarpon.

As you can see from the photos we rafted the two cats while we transferred all the booty scored in Florida. Amazing how much smaller a 45‘ cat is next to a 64‘ cat. BTW Paradox was just as diminutive when rafted to Deja Vu.

Keys to Bahamas

We arrived in Key West about 10:30 at night and thanks to a previous track in the navigation system were able to find our way to a place Dragonfly has safely anchored in the past, just north of the crowded cruiser and liveaboard anchorage.

Jill surprised us in the morning announcing it was a Dragonfly tradition to have Egg McMuffins following an overnight passage into a calm anchorage. Quite a Welcome treat.

Shopping in Key West was limited to marine parts stores and the hardware store. We came back to town after lunch, but this time just to the fuel dock, where we put on the 18 gallons of diesel we’d used coming south from Tarpon and topped off the water tanks. Joe realized that his discounted Port Supply anchor he’d purchased in Tarpon was $70 cheaper at the local Key West marine store, so he hoofed it down the fuel dock with his new 40# to West Marine, returned the more expensive anchor, took the refund, and bought a larger 50 pound Delta for less than the price of the 40-lb he’d originally purchased.

We’ve easily managed an hour a day on our boat chores. In fact some days we’ve  done a fortnight’s worth. But one needs to remember we are still in shake-down mode, from laying up in the yard for five months, and there are countless systems to check out that can’t be done on the hard.

Here’s a list of a few things we did in the first days:

Al was up the up mast a couple of times, but not while we were underway.
Windlass repair
Fuel filter on starboard engine
Flash the generator
Reworked main electrical on panel
Reef line on main
Traced wires
Added carb cleaner to Yamaha

Only one nut fallen to the deck

Oh and one night at anchor Stanna was cleaning up the dinner dishes, going down the transom steps in the dark, missed the last step and tumbled pot, spoon and all into the water. Nothing was hurt, the pot was held onto (and rinsed clean), but the spoon was lost. (Al rescued the spoon the next morning in the daylight.)  Once we helped her back on the swim deck she shook like a dog and only then realized her iTouch was in her pocket. Bummer.

That afternoon we motored up the chain of Keys to shorten the distance to our departure point if a weather window presented itself. We called Don Pole just before we dropped anchor just outside of his previous home port of New Found Harbour. Holding wasn’t good on the first drop and as we kept backing down we caught not one but two crab pots. One came loose easily but the port prop wound a deep snarl that Al couldn’t slice thru in the waning daylight and dive light illumination. Plus it was pretty damn cold to judge from the shivers he had out of the water.  Next morning at first light Al was back in the water and spent 20 minutes more sawing thru the polypropylene line with a serrated knife.

Tuesday we motored (wind on the nose) all day to Alligator Reef where we decided to stage our late evening departure across the Gulf Sream. GRIB forecast said we’d have the least wind and favorable conditions for about 75% of the distance before a more northerly wind shift and high velocity.

Our watches have been favorable because we got to sleep much of the way across and only had about 90 minutes to South Riding Rock when we came back on. Just as we could see the marker for the cut onto the Banks the wind rose up as expected, but midway across the 54-mile stretch winds died down again and we had to motor all the way to Northwest Channel Cut.

Without crab pots to deal with while on watch we had Quesadeas for dinner. Most of us were in our bunks about 8 pm when Jill, who was in the salon waiting out the last of a battery charge from the generator, smelt smoke and discovered a  fire on a 4′ #10 glowing bright orange ground supply cable in the nav panels.