Fiona Network News- Latest Updates On Captain Forsyth & Fiona


 December 3rd, 2017  Tim signed off the crew list and flew back to the US on Sunday.  I will fly to NY on Tuesday.

December 1st, 2017 Tim and myself took the bus to Sintra on Wednesday, sunny but chilly day.   Thursday I picked up the repaired sextant, works fine now after its immersion.   The Raymarine technician reports that the radar dome is OK, so the fault is in the cable connecting the dome to the display.  That looks like a problem for when I return in January.   Tim is signing off tomorrow and flying to Miami.    

 November 27th, 2017 A machinist has finished the refurbishment of the Aries self-steerer; two stripped threads were repaired with helicoils and two bushings were replaced.  A few days ago I noticed that the VHF antenna at the masthead had disappeared, after some searching I found an auto  parts store and picked up a car radio antenna.    The machinist made me an adapter to match the metric thread on the antenna to the SAE thread at the masthead, but I have yet to get Tim to winch me to the masthead to fit it.  Tim just spent three days in Lisbon touring the cultural high spots with a special discount ticket he bought.  Here in Cascais  I went to see a movie; Murder on the Orient Express.  The steam locomotive and décor of the Wagon-Lits coaches were depicted wonderfully but Kenneth Branaugh isn’t David Suchet

 November 15th, 2017 Neil signed off on Tuesday.   Tim is staying with the boat for the time being.   A yacht service company here at the marina has taken the Aries self steering for some machine shop work.  Namely, installing helicoils in stripped threads and tightening bushings.   ‘Victor’ is wearing out!  A Raymarine technician will visit Monday to check out the radar.  Tomorrow I will take the sextant for an overhaul to a firm in Lisbon.

November 13, 2017 Fiona now has a confirmed slip at Cascais Marina until 31 January, 2018.   Slip is B10, Eric will be on board until 5 December, should anyone wish to visit.

November 11th, 2017 Fiona arrived Cascais on Saturday afternoon.   The marina is crowded and it will take some time to find out if I can leave Fiona here while I fly to New York in early December.   The weather is sunny but a little chilly compared to previous visits; 60F.  All is well on board.

November 10th, 2017   A weather window has opened up and we plan to sail the 50 mile leg to Cascais on Saturday.

October 31st, 2017  Fiona is tied up in Lagos.  This is our last port on the Algarve coast.   Probably on Thursday, if there is a fair wind, we will head for Sines. 

Eric with Barbara  and Frank Fitzgibbon on their boat ‘Tango III’ at Vilamoura.  I first met them on the 1995-97 circumnavigation in Thailand. 

November 5th, 2017 It looks like we will be stuck in Sines for a few days, strong northerly have developed for the moment.    We need a window to get to Cascais about 50 miles to the north.  

November 3rd, 2017 Fiona arrived Sines after an overnight passage. All is well.

October 24th, 2017 Fiona left the Vilamoura marina on Tuesday morning bound for Portimao, just a morning’s sail to the west.   We stayed a week in Vilamoura  and had the pleasure of meeting up with Barbara and Frank Fitzgibbon on Tango III.    We first met them in Thailand in 1996 during the circumnavigation.  

October 15th, 2017 Fiona is now about 170 nm WSW of Vilamauro on the Algarve coast.   Our ETA is Tuesday afternoon.  All well on board.

 October 13, 2017 Fiona left Porto Sanos on Friday, ETA at Vilmoura , Portugal is Tuesday.

October 11th, 2017 We did not leave Porto Santo, today, Wednesday, as originally planned.   Being on a mooring we had to get the inflatable dinghy rigged.  When we hauled it up using the staysail halyard the sheave in the mast block broke and this, in turn, broke some wire strands.  So today we installed a new block, cut a new halyard, crimped on a snap shackle, etc, etc.   We will probably leave on Friday for Villa Moura  on the Portuguese Algarve coast.   All well on board.

October 9th, 2017 Fiona left for Madeira early Monday.  Fiona arrived Porto do Santo Monday afternoon.  The marina was full and at present we are on a mooring.  All well on board.  We will probably spend a day or two at Porto Santos, which lies about 40 miles to the northeast.  Our ETA at Villa Moura on the Algarve coast of southern Portugal is Friday


 October 2nd, 2017 We are thoroughly enjoying Madeira.  Last I lucked out and got the last ticket to a classical music concert.  The hall was based on La Scalla, Milan.   Four tiers of boxes in a horse-shoe surrounded the auditorium.   I sat in the lower tier next to the stage.  A very talented young lady played Chopin for 30 minutes, after the interval a 30 piece orchestra lit into Elgar, finishing with “Pomp and Circumstance’.  Today Neil and I toured the island in a van, Tim hiked.    Weather is perfect

September 30th, 2017 Fiona arrived Funchal, Madeira island late Friday afternoon.  We are moored Med style in the yacht harbor.  We plan to stay about a week and then head for Porto Santo, and then to the Algarve.

September 27th, 2017 Fiona departed St Maria early on Tuesday en route to Madeira.  Fiona is en route to Madeira, now about 270 nm ahead. ETA Friday.  AS forecast, the wind died this morning and we are under power. All well on board.

September 23rd, 2017 Fiona sailed overnight from St. Miguel to St. Maria. We will probably stay 3 or 4 days and then head for Madeira.

September 18th, 2017 Fiona is now tied up in St. Miguel.   We had a great sail from Terceira overnight Saturday night.    Good thing we had a fair wind so that Victor the Vane could steer, George, our electronic autopilot has died.   Unfortunately the only technician able to fix it at St Miguel has temporarily left the island.  I have checked the obvious causes of failure, but the fault is buried somewhere inside a large chip, which will have to be replaced.  The weather is perfect, mid 70s.    We will stay here until the weekend.  

At Angra on Terceira they have a bronze statue of Vasco da Gama, attached is a pic of me and Vasco.  


September 15th, 2017  Fiona is now tied up at Angra do Heroisma on Terceira Island.   We plan to sail to St. Miguel on Saturday.  

September 4th, 2017 At Sea Fiona arrived in  Horta.

September 1st, 2017 At Sea Fiona tied up at Lajes, Flores at 09:30, Thursday.  A rather slow trip, mostly calm weather and gentle winds.  We will stay three nights and then sail to Horta.

August 30th, 2017 At Sea The forecast winds arrived and this morning Fiona was tearing along at over 7 knots. Ironically we had to slow her down so that we would arrive in daylight on Thursday morning. We have furled the jib for the time being. If the wind dies during the night we fill try it again, aiming to arrive at Lajes about 9 am local time when the marina is functioning, it lies 73 nm ahead.

 August 29th, 2017 At Sea We have experienced fair winds all day ; 10 kts from the south.   This gives us a beam reach, making good 5 to 6 kts.  We have 167 nm to Flores, looks like an arrival late Wednesday or early Thursday.  The radar is not working, so would be nice to arrive in daylight.  Weather is perfect, mid-seventies with sun.

August 28th, 2017 At Sea Fiona is slowly sailing through the high pressure area west of the Azores.  At times the wind is so light it does not register on the anemometer, but somehow the boat still makes good a couple of knots on the GPS.   However, the forecast for today is a wind of 10 knots, that will be great if it materializes. We are all good spirits.  Flores lies 330 nm ahead.

August 26th, 2017  At Sea We are still ghosting along in the high pressure cell that is blocking our passage to Flores. The light wind barely nudges the anemometer needle off the peg but we have been making good 2 to 3 knots.   Flores lies about 450 nm ahead,so we are looking at a few more days before landfall.  The weather is sunny and warm so who’s complaining?  Much of the day we have guitar music.  Tim is doing well with celestial navigation, today his line of position fell right on the GPS position.  We have about 25 gallons of fuel on board,but that will be saved until we get much closer to Flores.  All well on board.

 August 20th, 2017 At Sea Happy eclipse day, we didn’t try to see it.   The damp , foggy weather of yesterday has turned into a pleasant sunny day, but with no wind.   Perhaps we are entering the infamous Azores Bermuda High. We started the engine last night and it is still running.   At Happy hour we watched episode 1 of ‘Shackleton’, always a favorite with the crew. We now have less than a 1000nm to Flores, 935 to be precise.  It is a week since we left Block Is.

 August 17th, 2017  At Sea We are enjoying good sailing with strong winds left over from Hurricane Gert. Now on a dead run with jib poled to port.   An hour ago we tied a reef in the mainsail.   Noon to noon run was 171 nm made good towards Flores, which now lies 1399 nm ahead.   All well on board.

August 14th, 2017  At Sea Fiona left Block Island at 10:30 am Monday bound for Flores, in the Azores.  We are powering in very light wind to clear Nantucket Shoal.  Our ETA is Tuesday, 29 August.

August 12th, 2017 At Sea Fiona arrived at Block Island at 1:00 pm on Saturday.  We sailed from the Inlet to abeam of Shinnecock and then the wind died.  We powered the rest of the way  in rain.  Block Is Is  very crowded , the two CCA moorings were occupied and we couldn’t sell the idea of a raft so we picked up a town mooring.   We were delayed as the engine badly overheated near the Robert Moses Bridge. We anchored and found the intake was plugged by sea grass.  Once we got that cleared the engine ran fine.  We has dinner at Ballards, which was very noisy with a crowd of young people celebrating something.  We will leave Monday or Tuesday  and may make a detour to Saunderstown RI. 

August 9th, 2017  Yesterday was a red letter day, we had a successful two hour cruise on the bay. The engine and all systems ran smoothly. I am planning on a departure about 2 pm on Friday. Our first stop will be Block Island. Fair Winds Fiona and Crew!!

Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, outdoor, water and nature

August 5th, 2017 The gang at Weeks Yacht  yard gently dropped the engine into the engine room and replaced the cockpit deck. Neil and I spent most of Friday bolting back gear that had been removed to permit the engine to be removed. There is a good chance we will be able to leave in less than a week. The plan is a straight shot to the Azores with a stop at Block Island. We will cruise the five Azorean Islands before heading for Portugal, probably via Madeira. We will cruise the Portuguese coast, especially the Algarve, which I have never visited. I will probably fly home for a brief interlude before Christmas. Winter will be spent in the Caribbean.


August 4th, 2017   I picked up a Borg Warner transmission unit late Wednesday.   The technician felt it would take too long to repair my original tranny and so I bought a rebuilt unit.   It was installed on the engine today.   While the engine was hoisted up we complete painting the hard to reach spots.   A refrigeration technician got the refrigerator to function today.   It was a victim of the flood , which eroded the 12 volt wire through a nick in the insulation, this caused a voltage drop which did not stop the fan from running but would not support the compressor, a subtle fault.    The third crew member, Tim, is scheduled to arrive Monday and we hope to leave sometime during the week of August 6th.

The clean and painted engine space awaits the engine. 

Neil celebrates adding the last touch of paint to the engine.  


July 28, 2017    During the last two days Neil painted the engine, first with ‘Rust Bullet ‘ and then with blue paint.   I fixed a few remaining electrical problems.   Pic of engine below.

July 24th, 2017   Sunday was very productive and much cooler.  Neil, John and my self cleaned up the engine space, replaced some wiring, rigged the radar reflector, and got the new shoreside battery charger working.    The charger is a combination of parts of a the old charger that survived the sinking and a modern West Marine charger.  Monday I took the Borg Warner transmission to a service center- estimated repair time is 1 & 1/2 weeks. The technician did not think the seal failure was related to the bath the bath the tranny took. Also I discovered that the port starboard engine mount had broken, probably in time past. I think Fiona is telling me she is fed up of sailing!   

Photo shows the union of the old charger with the new.



Friday, July 21st Weeks Yard removed the engine today, Friday.   The yard mechanic , Pat, disconnected the transmission, but then we found out the service center will not be open until Monday.   A heat wave is still gripping the NE. 

The travel is equipped with boom to lift the engine

Pat attaches a chain to the engine.

The engine emerges.

Clear of the boat the engine heads for the barn.

 Thursday, July 20th  On Tuesday it was decided to remove the engine in order to repair the leaking seal in the Borg Warner transmission.   Neil and I with help from John immediately started to prepare for the removal, for example; disconnect the prop shaft, disconnect  steering system , remove carriage bolts holding the cockpit sole, unship boom , shut thru hull valve and disconnect seawater intake, disconnect  alternator and instrumentation wiring, etc, etc.  Apart from removing  the engine mounts the we are ready to lift the engine on Thursday.  Thursday the major step forward was to remove the cockpit sole along with the wheel.  This open access to the engine.   It has been very hot, temp in the 90s.

July 17th, 2017  I should be careful about stating ‘repairs are going well.’  Today we noticed a leak of hydraulic fluid, the yard guru, Pat, diagnosed failure of the forward seal oh the Borg Warner transmission.   So, we are preparing to lift the engine and transmission out of the boat.   Delay on departure estimated to be 10 days. 

July 16th, 2017 On a gorgeous Sunday, Walter, John and Neil bent on the Storm Mainsail, Yankee job and Staysail.  Walter is a veteran of the 1995/97 Round the World cruise and had to leave early to take care of his growing family.  John is a neighbor who has given unstinted time to help repair the ravages of the sinking.  Neil is crew for the July to November leg.  I managed to get the new Balmar alternator and regulator to function on Saturday.    

 John and Neil with partially raised mainsail.   Note the furled jib.

July 15th, 2017 The empty berth for the July to November cruise has been filled.   Many thanks to the numerous correspondents that got in touch with me.  Repairs are coming along nicely.    Sunday is planned for sail bending.

July 9th, 2017 Neil, a veteran of two Fiona cruises, flew into Islip and signed up for the 2017 cruise.  Repairs are proceeding rapidly.   Recent photos below.

 Terminal re-built.

Fiona is launched again, didn’t sink this time.

Typical corrosion of a  high current 12volt  terminal caused by about 12 hours of salt water immersion.

Dixie band at the bon voyage party

July 7th, 2017 Fiona sank overnight after launching on Monday, 26 June.  The cause was a loose hose in the forward head which I did not detect.   On Tuesday morning Weeks yard pumped the boat out and hauled her out ,back to her cradle.  Since then Colin and myself have been very busy trying to save as much as possible.    On the advice of Walter Martins we changed the engine oil , fitted a new starter and briefly ran the engine.  Most electrical equipment has damaged beyond repair, including the Balmar alternator.  I got a gang of young men to scrub the oil and grease off the interior, the water rose about 18 inches above the cabin sole and left a greasy ring. All the live 12 volt terminals were destroyed by electrolytic corrosion and had to be replaced.  Sadly the old battery charger, which keeps the 12 volt system alive in port was destroyed.    Virtually all the electric hand tools were ruined as were many 12 volt pumps.   Most have been replaced.   Jennifer in the Weeks Yard office was very helpful in placing orders for replacement equipment.  Fiona was relaunched on Friday afternoon, 7 July.    With cooling water available the engine was run again.  Much more work remains to be done.   With luck I will be able to start he 2017 cruise in 7 to 10 days.   Some pictures will follow.

June 30th, 2017 The boat was launched late Monday but didn’t quite go as planned-  by Tuesday morning she had sunk due to an undetected leak in the forward head.   There was about 4 ft of water in the boat – over the engine.    The boat was put back in the cradle and drying out began.  Colin has been very helpful repairing the damage, today, Friday we got the engine running again.   The engine starter, alternator and much 12 v wiring are history.   I estimate the cruise has been delayed by 2 to 4 weeks.   But the Bon Voyage  Party and Book Signing will go on as planned.  

June 24th, 2017  Colin and Gabriella arrived Thursday. I put Colin to work on the boat.  The snap shows him standing beside the newly painted bottom.   Launching will take place on Monday.   My book was favorably reviewed by the Long Island Advance.  

June 14th, 2017 The steering system is now back together.   It seems to be operating very smoothly, but I will really find out the first time we hit some heavy weather.   The boat now is functionally ready to launch, the yard will take care of painting the bottom just before the launch, originally scheduled for 20 June.  My son , Colin, and grand-daughter , Gabriella, will arrive from Tennessee about the same date.   Colin will help all the heavy lifting once Fiona is floating.   This includes rigging the boom, bending sails, starting the engine, rewatering, etc, etc.

June 5th, 2017 Cruise preparation continues at a good pace although launching may be delayed by a few days.  It has been a wet spring on Long Island and the yard is now running about a week behind schedule.   The yard has started to prepare the boat for bottom painting, however.    I managed to put some sealer/stain on the teak during a rare dry spell.   I am now assembling the packets of charts for the trip, this is a tedious task, I have hundreds of charts that must be sorted through.   Fair winds, Eric

May 22nd, 2017  I spent the last week  antique car rallying, totally unrelated to boats.    I drove on a rainy Saturday to Lake Placid via the Pt Jefferson to Bridgeport ferry.   We toured the scenic northern NY area with stops at car museums and natural wonders.   I met my daughter Brenda and her friend Laura.  The weather got increasingly warm as the week wore on , maxing at 90F.  The old Bentley was not designed for this and required infusions of fresh cool water. On night I presented the movie of the latest Fiona cruise ‘ Fiona tackles Four Canals and Two Ocean crossings’.   While I was away Bob Berg finished all the machining of the steering system components. All that remains is to put it back together. 

1937 Bentley with riders
Brenda and Laura at Ausable Chasm.
3891  Eric at the antique car museum.


3895  The ski jump at Lake Placid, used in both winter and summer.






May 2nd, 2017 Current maintenance tasks include recaulking the main hatch and cover, sanding and varnishing the cabin sole.   Walter stopped by on Monday to help with some four-handed jobs.  Main problem was disassembling the steering system ( yes, again)  because one of the wire ropes had broken strands.   Once apart we discovered the sheaves under the aft cabin sole were very worn, this will need some machining  by Bob Berg.’  

April 19th, 2017 I am busy on the boat painting lockers, painting the 50 ft marks on the anchor chain and re-installing the electronics.   A print order has been placed for my book, I expect copies will be available in the next week.  I went to an interesting public meeting to hear a presentation by PSEG and Deep Water Wind about the plan to erect 15 very large wind generators off the coast near the south fork of Long Island.   In general I am skeptical about the benefit of wind generation, I suspect the money could be better spent on developing alternatives for fossil fuel plants.   Wind and solar are not alternatives unless energy is available all the time.   Click HERE to read a short article entitled “Just Where Are We Heading” where I have described some of my concerns. 

April 13th, 2017 Work on the boat is mostly low-level maintenance,  Walter stopped by and we accomplished a few four-handed jobs such as replacing the ground plates which have spent winter soaked in vinegar.   The forward head door which had been repaired and varnished was re-hung.  I rebuilt the tie-down for the holding tank.   Last minute editing of the book continues.   The weather is much improved.’   A few details have been added to the Crew Call for 2017/18.     

April 3rd, 2017– The weather has improved and I am getting a number of useful jobs out of the way on the boat.   I installed a new stereo/radio in the main cabin.    This is basically a car  radio and they don’t last long on average- perhaps a year.  This time I installed a marine version, we will see if it last a little longer.  I painted and varnished a few fittings.    The new stove needs a  part, which apparently died over winter.   I have drawn up the rough outline of the 2017/2018 cruise.  Plan is to leave about 5 July and head for Newfoundland , then cross the Atlantic to Portugal via the Azores.  The first part of the cruise will probably terminate in the Canaries about Christmas.   Neil and Tom, veterans of the 2015/2016 cruise have signed for the whole leg as far as the Canaries.  So there was no need for a crew call, sorry to disappoint all those who expressed interest.   I may need crew when the cruise resumes in January, when we will head for the Cape Verdes and the Caribbean.  I am hoping an order for the printing of  a 100 copies of my book will be placed within ten days or so.  Fair Winds, Eric

New stereo in the main cabin

March, 2017The three awardees of  the Edith M. Forsyth scholarship have finished their first year of medical school – read their updates HERE.  The scholarship has been of great benefit to myself, without which I don’t think I would’ve been able to go to university. I am extremely humbled and thankful for the opportunity I have been given and after passing my first year of the medical degree would like to say a massive thank you both to yourself and Dr Edith Forsyth.”-  Katie Nightingale

March 16th, 2017-We had a couple of snow storms here on Long Island since I returned from UK.   The first one produced the most snow, a shot from the sun room in my house shows the view.   However this is good weather for completing the repair of the old Seagull outboard.   Bob Berg made special tools to get the corroded components apart , new parts from John of ‘Save our Seagulls’ enabled me to put the engine back together.   When I stripped the power head I was surprised to find a broken piston ring.   Over the years I have pulled lots of engines to pieces but a broken ring was a first for me.   Fortunately I had a new set of rings from John.  I fired the engine up today briefly ( no water cooling) and it ran enthusiastically.   Peg, Jay and myself have been working on the book and after another editorial meeting decided to order another proof copy before committing to a print run.  Spring is round the corner.  

View of the snow from my sun room

Repairing the old seagull outboard

March 7th, 2017  Eric is back in the New World.  A few comments on the trip; The weather was surprisingly warm, in Manchester I saw people eating and drinking at sidewalk cafes.  The train ride from London to Manchester was the best I have ever experienced; the ride was smooth as silk although the train travelled at over 100 mph.  It arrived and departed within seconds of the scheduled time, 2 hrs 10 minutes for the 200 mile journey, with 3 stops. It was surprisingly affordable, First Class with a reserved seat, free drinks and snacks, the ticket was $43, one way.  I greatly enjoyed the museums and art galleries.  In London I caught a classic car meet in a huge exhibition center built by Arabs.  The majority of tourists in London seemed to be Chinese.  See pictures below. 

Rigging of the revitalized Cutty Sark

 Underneath the Cutty Sark, suspended in space above restaurant.

 Preserved timbers of the Mary Rose, 16th century warship

Functioning replica of the Globe Theatre

Engine room panel of a mothballed cruiser, HMS Belfast.

First practical steam locomotive, ‘Puffing Billy’. It ran for 50 years in a colliery.

Functioning replica of the first computer built at Manchester University in 1948.

With friends Pauline and Bernard in the alcove used by Marx and Engels at Chetham library, built  in Manchester early 1400s.  

February 24th, 2017  Update on Eric’s peregrinations in London with a nautical bias. The day after i arrived I took the Dockland light Railway to Greenwich. First a tour of ‘Cutty Sark’, which has been thoroughly refurbished since the fire. They have done a great job on the deck, masts and
and rigging. Below the hold has been converted to a museum on the tea trade, with a childish emphasis. Then off to the Maritime Museum, there I found a great exhibition on the life of Emma Hamilton.  She was very talented, married Sir William Hamilton and became Nelson’s mistress.  At one time she was very rich and the toast of London society and she died penniless at age 49.   A story Hogarth would have loved.  I squeezed in the National Gallery. At the London museum I discovered they had a Docklands annex, which was more interesting than the main museum if you are a sailor. I spent a day at the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert, which is next door.
The was so mild one afternoon I walked along the Thames Embankment. I took the train to Barnham on the South Downs to see some old buddies I knew well for years in Bermuda. Another day I took a complicated route to the center of Essex County to find the shop of a guy who sold Seagull engine parts. He must have had hundreds in his collection. I got a few parts for the unit I am overhauling at home. Today I spent the day in Portsmouth at the site holding the Mary Rose, an Elizabethan ship that capsized in 1545 and was salvaged about 30 years ago. They have done a wonderful job displaying
the hull and the thousands of artifacts, They found 139 human remains, but nearly 500 sailors were drowned when the ship went down.  Tomorrow I am off to Oxford to meet two friends who had guest appointments at Brookhaven Lab in the ’80s.

February 13th, 2017  The saga of the Seagull outboard continues, the lower end is now back together and runs freely.   A slight mystery about how the oil is sealed was solved by an expert in UK, John of Save Our Seagulls.   The lower gear box is only filled with oil up to the level of the propeller shaft.   Now my attention is turned to the upper unit, the power head.   It has a serious lack of compression.   I fly to London on Monday and will pick up new rings and head gasket from John while I am in London.  I will be in London for two weeks before travelling to Manchester, any old crew and friends who would like to link up while I am in the UK should drop me an e-mail. Fair winds, Eric.

January 25th, 2017 Here is an update on some of the winter work on boat hardware.    The Espar D4 heater, installed in December, is working well and has fired up on the first try each time I have turned it on.   The design seems much improved compared to the D3.   Unfortunately the overhaul of the Seagull outboard engine is not going well.  Parts of that engine have not been apart since it was made in 1965.  Now they are corroded together very firmly.  At present I m trying to get the lower end gear box disassembled, Bob Berg is making a special tool to press out a bushing, that I spent several hours over a couple of days trying to budge.  However, it is one to pass the dreary winter days.

January 12th, 2017 I recently received an email from Misha, who crewed in 2015 from NY to Scotland.   Last summer he crewed on a 57 ft boat from Cambridge Bay in the Arctic to Ireland.   He reports they saw NO ice.   This is amazing , Fiona made a cruise  through the Northwest Passage in 2009, on the way to Cambridge Bay we were trapped by ice near Resolute and again, for three days, near the Tasmania islands, only about 100 miles from Cambridge Bay.  Global Warming deniers, take note.

January 4th, 2017 A Happy New Year to all my friends and fans! I spent Christmas at my daughter’s house in Delray Beach. Florida.   Major nautical activities included editing the video with my friend Lew of the 2015 to 2016 cruise. I spent a good deal of time checking the proof copy of my book.  Back home I decided to refurbish the old Seagull engine.  I think most of it had never been apart since it was built in 1965.  It was reluctant to come to bits.   For example when I tried to remove the flywheel from the shaft using a 3-arm wheel puller the rim came off but the hub stayed on the shaft.   I got the broken hub off by tapping in two bolts, see the photo.   I am still struggling to get the lower unit gear box apart.  


December 21st, 2016  Eric is holding printer’s proof copy of his new book “An Inexplicable Attraction:  My Fifty Years of Ocean Sailing” .   Book should be available in about  month.

December 18th, 2016  I was the guest speaker at the Circumnavigator’s Club in Palm Beach which was hosted at the Sailfish Club. 

From Left to Right:  Eric Forsyth, Lew Schatzer, Bob Crippen (astronaut) & Erick Reichert at Sailfish Club of Palm Beach.

Eric answering questions during the Q&A after the video presentation



December 14th, 2016   I installed the new Espar D4 heater and today it fired up and produced heat.   Thursday I head to Larchmont for the annual CCA Christmas dinner.   Saturday I head for Florida, I will stay with my daughter Brenda.    I am scheduled to show a video and give a talk to the Circumnavigator’s Club in Palm Beach.    Then I will look up Lew and we will put together the video of the 2015/16 cruise.  I wish all my friends and fans a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

December 3rd, 2016  The new heater is not installed yet, instead of a simple printed guide the company now provides a CD, which is incomprehensible.    I am working with the distributor to sort this out.   Lewis, who crewed on the 2015-16 cruise is staying at the house to rebuild an upstairs bathroom.     We hope to order a proof copy of my new book this week.  The Rhodes is covered up in the back garden and ready for winter.

November 20th, 2016 With the continuing gorgeous Fall weather  I was able to attend to a score of small jobs on the boat.   I replaced a small plywood bulkhead in the navigation area.  The bad news was that the Espar heater sent for repair was deemed to old to fix, spare parts for it are no longer available. I ought a new one, the fourth since I started building the boat.    Apart from an electric fan the first unit was entirely mechanical, it was very reliable and served to heat the boat during building and about seven years of sailing.   It failed during the rounding of Cape Horn in 1991, the cam operating the fuel pump had worn away.   The next two units had electronic controls of increasing complexity and were not very reliable.   Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers.  

November 10th, 2016  Walter had a slack time at work and he dropped by the boat for a couple of days to help with maintenance that required four hands.  We pulled in a couple of new wires for the 12 volt system.   I’m afraid the original wiring is now over 40 years old and is showing signs of old age.    Walter is a veteran of Fiona’s first circumnavigation of the world. 

November 3rd, 2016 Fiona is now winterized.   The alternator and anchor winch motor were returned  from the service shop and installed.    I rewired the heavy current leads  to the anchor winch.   Located forward this winch takes a beating when green water washes over the bow.   Editing my book continues with weekly meetings, we hope to have it to a printer before the end of the year.  Lew produced a shortened version of the video we made of Fiona’s eastabout circumnavigation around the big capes.   I will show at a meeting of the Circumnavigators Club in December.

October 26th, 2016 One of the Weeks’ yard gang, Pat , has removed the transmission heat exchanger and replaced it with a new one.   The old one leaked.   He is having difficulty removing a hydraulic fluid hose, which is hard to reach and has rusted in place.  Today I will take down the Espar heater, which died on the last cruise to Europe, I will have it serviced this winter.    Myself, Peg and Jay are having an editorial meeting today to discuss draft 7 of my book ‘ An Inexplicable Attraction, My Fifty Years of Ocean Sailing’.   It will be an ebook, hopefully ready by Christmas.


October 11th, 2016 Fiona was hauled on Monday afternoon.   The damage from grounding on a ledge in Rockland harbor was evident at the  lower forward  end of the keel. it should be fairly simple for the yard to repair.  In the meanwhile I  removed the motor of the anchor winch and the main alternator.   Both need some TLC.   The boat is pretty  well stripped of food, bedding and clothes.   Yesterday I took the Rhodes out with a friend  on Bellport Bay.   The wind was NNW, 15 kts, we flew to Howell’s  Point closed  hauled and back on a reach.  We tacked up the river in conclusion a wonderful afternoon sail.

Fiona  home for the winter,   Staining on the hull occurred during the sail from LI to Block Is. 


Ding on Fiona’s keel



October 2nd, 2016 Fiona arrived at Weeks yard about 12:30 pm Sunday.    Sailed  most of the way from Block Is until the wind conked out about  4am.   We logged about 873 nm for the Maine cruise.   It was so calm after we arrived Neil and I were able to drop and bag mainsail  and jib

October 1st, 2016 Fiona left Provincetown, early on Friday and arrived at Block Island fifteen hours later driven by strong NE winds.  We averaged 6.2 kts, aided , no doubt, by the strong current in the Cape Cod Canal.   The weather on arrival at Block was foul; winds 20 ts with frequent gusts to 30 kts and heavy rain.  It was pitch black, due to the new moon.   That we negotiated the narrow entrance to Great Salt Pond was a minor miracle due entirely to the amazingly accurate chart plotter.   The strong wind was on our beam , the dredged channel is quite narrow with shallow sand banks on either side.   Inside the harbor we tried for nearly an hour to find and pick up a CCA mooring, without success.  Finally we latched onto a sturdy-looking mooring for the night.   We plan to leave Block in mid-afternoon Saturday and transit Fire Island Inlet early Sunday.  Wind is till NE but down a bit.

September 29th, 2016 We left Portland at 6:30 am Wednesday with strong NE winds.    We had a sleigh ride south under storm mainsail and reefed jib.  We arrived at Cape Cod at 09:00 pm, 108 nm logged at an average speed of 7 kts.  We are anchored in Provincetown harbor at present and will move to the marina later in the day.   Tomorrow we head for the Cape Cod Canal and Block Island.  ETA Patchogue is Early afternoon on Sunday.

September 28th, 2016 Fiona left Portland  6:30 am Wednesday bound for Provincetown. Good NE wind, should get us there early Thursday.  ETA Patchogue is Sunday

September 26th, 2016 Fiona is moored at Portland.  We had a lovely sail from Sebasco, 15 to knots of NW wind, sea calm in the lee if islands in Casco Bay.  Today I visited Ocean Navigator Magazine and the great Portland Museum of Art.  Here are few recent pics;

Fiona listing to 37 degrees on a ledge in Rockland, note buoy on left
Schooner off Owl’s Head.


Fog in Casco Bay.    


Owl’s Head Light House



September 24th, 2016 Fiona is now at Sebasco on Casco Bay.  We spent two days at Boothbay.  I looked up my old friend Barbara and Neil and I had supper at her cozy house.  She breeds show dogs and two Poodles greeted us boisterously.   Tomorrow we head for Portland,  yesterday was wet but today is clear and colder, 46 F in the cockpit this morning.  Fair winds, Eric

September 23rd, 2016    Fiona is now on a mooring at Boothbay.   We will leave on Saturday for Sebasco and then Portland.  Last night went for a dinner to a modest restaurant near the landing.   When we came to pay the waitress said our meals had been paid for by an anonymous donor and she was forbidden to identify our benefactor.   We knew nobody, so it is very mysterious.   

September 21st, 2016  In Rockland Chris and I decided we were perhaps not compatible shipmates and when Amy left Neil and I double-handed for the return to Long Island.   We sailed to Port Clyde in very thick fog, thank goodness for GPS and chart plotters.   As I write Neil has taken a day trip on the ferry to Monhegan Is.  Our next stop is planned to be Boothbay.

September 19th, 2016 The arrival in Rockland was somewhat of a disaster, Chris had organized a slip for the night in a part of the harbor that was unfamiliar to me.   He attempted to guide me in by telephone but Fiona hit a ledge about two hours before low tide, the harbor is very tricky and shallow.   It took four hours for the tide to rise so the boat could float off.  She settled into a 37 degree list to port much of the time.  I don’t think there was any serious damage but it will be interesting when Weeks haul her out.

September 18th, 2016 Fiona arrived Belfast on Saturday, great sail, lovely weather.  We are now en route from Belfast to Rockland to meet our next crew: Chris.  Our departure was delayed when I noticed the rudder was not responding properly to the wheel, the problem was caused by the shearing of the half-inch thick bolt holding the quadrant to the rudder post.   With help from Cathy, the dockmaster, I was able to by a new six-inch long stainless bolt from Belfast Variety and hardware despite it being a Sunday morning! Last night Neil and I viewed ‘Sully’ at the local cinema, a very good film.

September 17th, 2016 Fiona arrived Castine at mid-afternoon on Friday,   We romped in with 20 knots the starboard quarter.  This contrast to yesterday, when the wind never exceeded 5 to 8 knots.   Yesterday we anchored for lunch at Harbor, which Amy and Neil explored after I dinghied them to shore.   We spent the night at anchor in Stonington.   The local restaurant, the Harbor Café, horrified me by charging $18 for a bowl of clam chowder. Our cruising plans have been complicated by failure of the anchor winch: we have to raise the anchor by hand, or to be honest, Neil; does.   WE plan to tie up at Belfast on Saturday and sail to Rockland on Sunday. 

Fiona at Harbor Island



September 14th, 2016 Fiona arrived at Bar Harbor at 8:30 pm on Tuesday.   A windless passage from P-Town in a big high pressure cell.  We will leave for Stonington on Thursday

September 12th, 2016   Fiona arrived Provincetown on Sunday afternoon.   We plan to  leave Monday for leg to Bar Harbor.   Conditions have been mostly windless.

September 9th, 2016 We left Weeks at 1:15 pm and had no problems at the Inlet.     We found a fair wind off shore until it died about 10 pm when we were abeam of Moriches.   We powered to Block Island, arriving about 10: 30 am.   Next is the Cape Cod Canal.   All is well on board.

 September 7th, 2016 Tropical storm Hermine seems to be slowly fading away.    We will try for a shot to Block Island tomorrow, Thursday.    The tides in the Bay are not too favorable but a departure from Weeks about 1 pm will get us through the inlet before dark on a rising tide.  The wind during the night is forecast to be northerly, which will suit us fine. 
September 6th, 2016 Tropical Storm Hermine just wont go away.   It is stalled about 120 miles SE of Montauk Point, the winds have backed to Northerly, which we could live with but the surf at Fire Island Inlet is very high.   Forecast is that the center will start to move on Wednesday, so a departure on Thursday may be possible
September 1st, 2016 Tropical Storm Hermine may be a problem for our planned labor day departure.  The mast is up, Amy has cleaned up the boat interior , we are getting there.  
 Eric makes the electrical connections before the mast is lowered into the final position.


August 29th, 2016 Fiona is launched.   Neil and Amy flew in to sail to Maine.   I hope the mast will be stepped tomorrow.   
 The forward head on the starboard is finished.
Neil and Amy pose on Fiona, sans mast.
August 24th, 2016The three awardees of  the Edith M. Forsyth scholarship have finished their first year of medical school – read their updates HERE.

The scholarship has been of great benefit to myself, without which I don’t think I would’ve been able to go to university. I am extremely humbled and thankful for the opportunity I have been given and after passing my first year of the medical degree would like to say a massive thank you both to yourself and Dr Edith Forsyth.”-  Katie Nightingale


August 15th, 2016 The crew roster for the Maine cruise is complete; Neil will crew for the whole trip, Amy will crew from Patchogue to Rockland and Chris will crew from Rockland back to Patchogue.  Chris is a member of the South Bay Cruising Club.    He stopped by the boat Sunday to help finish the rigging of the mast spreaders and paint the forward bilge.   Fiona will be splashed on 29 August.

 August 10th, 2016  Lewis has moved to spend a week with his daughter in CT.   He was very helpful during his stay, he did a lot of painting and built a cabinet under the new stove.  The cabinets have been re-installed in  the forward head.  The plumbing and wiring under the starboard counter is finished, see photos.
Lewis stands by the new stove
 The forward head is coming together.


August 9th, 2016 Update on crew call;  Neil, who sailed in the spring from Puerto Rico to NY , has signed  for the complete cruise in Maine- Long Island to Long Island.   Amy has signed for the first fortnight, NY to Rockland, ME.  Tom, who crossed the Atlantic in March is very interested in joining the boat at Rockland but has not been able to make a definite commitment yet. 

August 5th, 2016  Lewis, who crewed last spring in the Caribbean, has flown up from Florida to help with Fiona repairs.    Things are moving along nicely.  

Lewis is applying sealer to the rubrail.

August 1st, 2016  I have now turned my attention to the mast, two circuits were re-wired because of wire breakage caused by the wiring tube inside the mast working loose.  This tube is pop riveted and has given problems in the past when the rivets fail.  Both circuits now check out OK but the rivets must be replaced,  I also repaired the VHF antenna , which was damaged by the masthead burgee.   I  need a new strut which is longer than the old one.   This week we are expecting some rain so I will turn my attention to rewiring under the new counter in the forward head.   Several sailors have expressed  interest in the Maine cruise, so I hope to have a firm commitment for the berths soon.

July 26th, 2016 Work is still proceeding in the forward head.    Deck hatches were changed, fore and aft.   Work started on the wiring problems in the mast.   Crew call modify to permit a sign -up for two weeks, see ‘Crew Call’ above.  


July 14th, 2016– Major accomplishment today- the counter in the forward head is finished, apart from trim.     All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, in the afternoon we sailed the Rhodes.

 Captain Eric, Helmswoman Anna and Gabby on the Rhodes.


Colin pounds the contact cement bonding the Formica.



July 8th, 2016 Helped by my son Colin things are moving along in the forward head.  All the fiberglass/resin work has been completed.  Next step is to install the counter and glue on the Formica.  I plan to post a crew call soon for my trip to Maine in September. 

Colin poses with the newly glassed bulkhead.   

June 28th, 2016  The first bulkhead to be ‘sistered ‘ is shown, this still requires to be fiberglassed to the hull. a procedure known as ‘tabbing’.   Also shown is the counter in the forward head, just ‘roughed  in’- it still requires lockers, sink, etc to be mounted before being tabbed to the hull.  I find as I pull the forward head apart that much of the original tabbing installed by Westsail back in 1975 has lost its adhesion  to the hull.  This is confirmed by Chris, who is the lead hand at Weeks in this area, he says this is quite common in older fiberglass boats.   My son Colin, and his daughter Gabriella, plan to visit for a couple of weeks starting this weekend.  His help should greatly speed up the pace of repairs on Fiona.   My Rhodes 19 was launched this week and is ready for her first sail of the year.    

IMG_3694 IMG_3695


June 15th, 2016- Brookhaven, NY  The major job on the boat at the moment is to rebuild the forward head.   I have disassembled the starboard side, which was damaged by the passage in Biscay in November, 2015.
June 8th, 2016- Brookhaven, NY Fiona was hauled out on Monday, the mast was removed at the same time.    Capt Forsyth’s article entitled ‘A Rough Crossing of Biscay’ has been published in the current issue (July /Aug) of Ocean Navigator  Magazine.   

 May 29th, 2016- Brookhaven, NY – Now that Fiona is tied up at weeks the usual after-cruise chores must be done such as removing food, bedding etc. The mast has been stripped of stays, except one on each side, and is ready to be lifted. Several electrical problems in the mast must be fixed. Colin and Eric drove to New Hampshire and participated in a Bentley Rally centered around Hancock from May 22 to 26.




For updates on the Edith M. Forsyth scholarship awardees click HERE.