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Commotion on Comocean

It's Sunday, November 4th, when they were supposed to leave. I haven't heard from Toby again. Look at the Atlantic Cup Locater right after the SPOT locator icon to the right of this blog, and click on it. It's more fun than SPOT to watch, because you can see all the boats. Then just place your arrow on any boat and it will identify that boat. Comocean is a light green boat closer to the back as this time. The Atlantic Cup locater only checks their location every 6 hours, and not all the boats locaters are received at that time, so several boats may not make that update. Frustrating!
Anyway, all seems OK. As long as Comocean is moving in the right direction, I'm happy!

11/04/2012 | Craig W.

I was tracking Toby's cruise last night as he was passing our home off the coast of Corolla, N.C.. Right on time, midnight, a light of a small boat off shore a few miles, slowly traveling south. I hope that was Toby and his friends. Good travels!
11/04/2012 | Lee
I will attempt to post a screen shot I took this morning around 10 am showing Comocean's location in the pack. They are doing great! Hope the crew posts an update soon!

I just wrote a blog, but it hasn't posted, so I hope this isn't a repeat of what I just said!

I just spoke to Toby on probably the last regular cell phone communication we'll have. Now he'll use the sat phone when needed. Especially to call Seth about his weather forecast.
They're all happy and excited. The mood around the Hampton Marinas was electric the past 24 yours. The Caribbean 1500 organizers decided to leave a day early, to try to avoid a new storm that will come across land to reach them by Wednesday. That could have delayed them almost a whole week, so it was a good decision. They need to get south of 32 degrees longitude by Wednesday, which they should be able to do, to avoid that storm.
Toby said they were planning on crossing the Gulf Stream tomorrow night. Right now they're going 6 knots and haven't used the motor since they left the bay. Good! Needless to say, they're happy.
The crew wanted to know where the spinnaker was, since they're almost on a dead run. Ha! After hauling that huge, heavy, cumbersome sail alllll last year from Cape Cod to the Virgin Islands and back again, and never using it, Toby (with a little encouragement from me) decided to leave it at home!
Toby, Norm Weill, John Hoffman and Tony Green are all feeling well. In the past, it seems this sail has cursed several seasoned sailors with seasickness. John is grilling several pork tenderloins tonight. Toby is making rice, butter beans and french bread to round out the menu. Enjoy it while you can, guys. Toby tells me they usually eat out of bowls instead of dishes because it's so rough!
Don't forget to check out SPOT to see their progress. Click on the "Current SPOT Location" entry to the right of this blog.
Bon Voyage guys!


Comocean is at dock in the Chesapeake Bay! They made record time, actually. They left on Sunday morning, and arrived last night, Tuesday, just after dark. Toby had decided ahead of time that if they arrived after dark, he would anchor outside the bay, and move in the next morning, and that is what he did. So! I haven't heard from them yet, but they are safely at dock. 2 1/2 days to get from Osterville to Norfolk! Not bad!

10/10/2012 | pat
congratulations. super time.
10/16/2012 | Capt'n Jack
Good news, good time! New table where? at the helm?
10/30/2012 | Cheryl
Glad to hear you're okay and safe from Hurricane Sandy. Be safe going across.
11/03/2012 | Craig Wasserman
Toby, we're on the coast in Corolla,'ll be passing us in the next few hours! Have a great voyage!
Craig and Kathleen
10/07/2012, Osterville, Massachusetts

They're off! At 8:55 AM this morning Comocean left the dock in Osterville for the first leg of their journey down to the caribbean! Toby, with first mate Norm Weill, and Jim Reynolds and Mark Peters all had smiles on their faces as they glided through the bridge and headed out to sea.

They will sail for about 3 1/2 to 4 days to get to Hampton, Virginia. Then on November 4th, weather permitting, Toby and Norm and two other crew will leave for Tortola. It's amazing how much they have learned in the past year. The fact that they have done this once before makes this sail so much easier!

Comocean never looked so good. With a brand new one day old bimini and dodger, new table (at last) and more electronics, I think and hope we're finally through BUYING more stuff for the boat! (I know. I'll eat those words.....)

I'm sorry there is no picture to supply with this blog. I still have to learn how to do that. But SPOT is on and working, so if you like, watch their progress as they head south. More later, as I hear from the guys on our sat phone.

Bon Voyage!

10/09/2012 | Lee
Having checked the SPOT locator Sun/Mon, looks like good progress! JoAnne shares that you will anchor outside the harbor tonight and head to port in the am! Look forward to stories of your three day adventure!
The Crew

Pic: The "second leg crew" on the dock in Osterville, MA after arriving. From left to right, Norm, Bob, Toby, John and Comocean.

05/22/2012 | Jack
Toby, Congrats again. You've managed to rack up a number of miles (nautical!) with Comocean so far. Happy for ya.
06/01/2012 | Field Trip
Great job Toby and crew. It was great to meet u guys. We hope to see u and family in cape cod
Made It!!!

Pic: Comocean safely docked at Crosby Boat Yard in Osterville MA and ready for another summer in Cape Cod!

...although something tells me that it will be a few days before Comocean leaves the safety of the harbor after her 11 day Atlantic voyage (but I've been known to be wrong).

05/16/2012 | Helen Hutchings
05/16/2012 | Joe
I am so happy for you guys and your successful completion of your great trip. If you had half of the fun that I had on the first leg to Bermuda, it was no less than an EPIC experience. Tying up safely at your home dock is something to be welcomed and appreciated. Give most of the credit to Toby, who really takes everyone's safety and comfort to heart and worked very hard to make it all what it was (wonderful).
05/17/2012 | JoAnne Hynes
Seth! Thank you again for all the effort to making our blog so fun to see while Dad was "out there" sailing. You always do such an incredible job. How DO you get all those great images???
05/18/2012 | Mike Ester
just found out that you both did this trip. going to go through your blog to see the adventure. looks like you had fun though!
Day 11: Getting Close!

Pic: Comocean's current SPOT location as of 11am EST today. Click on the link to the right to see where they are now...

Day 10: Turning toward the barn

Author: Toby

We are just entering our fourth day on the second crossing. Last evening, ahead of our expected entry point to the Gulf Stream, we saw a cargo ship adrift (similar to anchored), saw the water temperature jump to 80 degrees, and realized we were in the stream. With a south, south west wind, the chop was reasonable, the fishing lines were set and the sun was rising. This was spectacular.

Earlier, Bob and I had set the Genoa and then later the Main. I decided on a double reef as the wind speed was gusting close to 20. I failed to start with the first reef line as Bob had an issue to manage downstairs, and we got everything locked together. With the reefing lines at the rear of the sail fouled, Bob and I struggled to get the reefs straight. Bob fiddled with the first line, cleared it and we were double reefed for the day and in business. We were also sailing along at 7 plus knots, turning further north toward our target and using the Gulf Stream to add a few extra knots.

A call to Seth in the morning gave us another weather update and more importantly a number showing we had activated our float plan. A call later today to officer Enos, will helpfully allow us to continue our course to Osterville, hopefully ahead of some predicted 20-25 knot weather. Fortunately we will be on a run, which should reduce the effect of those winds.

Today was momentous. We moved the spare 5 gallon water cans out of the shower stall. We brought out the towels, and had our first showers (most of us that is, but I won't tell who didn't). Now, with fresh clothes, we are on a run to the finish line. Although pitching back and forth from the waves, we are generally flat. We feel a bit like the proverbial nag, headed back to the barn.

Arrival estimate, depending on Officer Enos, noon tomorrow!

Day 9: Groundhog Day

Author: Toby

We awoke this morning to another glorious sunrise. We went to sleep to a glorious Sunset. Ed shot some Sights (stars) in the evening and attempted Sun in the morning. Ed Made Coffee. Bob had Oatmeal. Toby made sandwiches for lunch. Toby made a seafood stir fry for dinner (think out of a bag... but he did add some shrimp and Veggies from Tortola). Norm did the SSB call at 6:30... Toby chirped in with Seth's weather information). Ed plotted our course and did a log entry. Toby entered a log entry 15 minutes after Ed's. Norm slept through dinner (on the prescribed crew schedule). Toby put a dinner for Norm in the microwave for when he would awake. Norm passed on the dinner and ate a Snickers Bar (Lee, I forced it on him).

We motored along for the second day at 6.3 knots toward the same Rhum Line (Bob says it's the same as Lake Ontario). We had Porpoise join us for a show. We pass from the Head, to the cockpit, to the Lee Cloths. We all seem to be enjoying ourselves. MEN, what can you make of them!

This morning I called New Bedford customs. There is a new program call: Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS). In Bermuda, the night before I left, I filed a Float Plan, and passenger manifest. When I reached Officer McQuade and reported our position... HALF WAY... he got excited, saying "this is our first one"! He had someone with him so asked me to call back later and speak to himself, or Supervisor Enos. I called back in two hours and they had all done the research. But, my SVRS number did not show an "Activated" Float Plan. She was very helpful, suggested I have it done from home. I have asked Seth to rescue us, as he is used to dealing with these computer related inputs better then I, or Joanne. We will see???

While the winds are light, being more than halfway is a great thing. We anticipate the Gulf Stream and I've heard us recalculate how long it will be before we enter from each crew member. We discuss the front coming through on Wednesday, and seem to believe we "can get in before it". If not, should we duck in somewhere, or just take the southern winds expected, north to Osterville. We discuss which side of Martha's Vineyard to enter Nantucket Sound on, we talk about which conditions to enter the Osterville cut on. Men, what can you make of them. A lot like Ground Hogs. Up every spring to check things out and just do what we want.

Day 8: New Shades of Green

Pic: Current Position (Comocean highlighted up top)
Author: Toby

Our auspicious start from Bermuda left Norm at the helm and Toby reviewing Comocean safety procedures. The major storm front, having just crossed St. George's Club, had created seas coming out of the harbor and on the Atlantic, that looked a lot like the view I had last seen looking at the upright washer in the hotels laundry. That, combined with looking at the laminated cards I use for my briefing, had some of the crew looking about the shade of the last Mahi Mahi we caught headed to the BVI's. It's a beautiful green, not made for humans. I must admit, the combination of Joanne's electronic watches (which no one believed really worked), a seasickness patch, and sleep, has the crew in great form.

This morning, Ed has worked diligently to to help me learn to operate the sextant I had purchased to qualify for the Caribbean 1500 ("alternative means of navigation required." In as much as I already have two boat GPS, two handheld GPS, a VHF with GPS coordinates, a full set of charts, and the knowledge that almost every guest or crew brings their own handheld, the sextant seemed a little overkill. As it was required, I will admit I bought the second cheapest West Marine offered. Ed, who teaches sextant operation, is a USCG graduate and seems too actually enjoy taking sights, was less than complimentary of my plastic, fantastic, cheap, Chinese sextant. That said, he looked at me and boldly told me, "I can make it work". My first readings of a noon sun left us 10degrees latitude south of where we really are, but I understand the concept. All I now need is a current Almanac, computer program and a better sextant and, when the crew and I jump into the the life raft, we will be all set.

Last night we rock and rolled enough to make dinner, noodles and pasta (Ragu). This had been prepared back at the hotel by Sue and Joanne. What a treat, actually unworthy of a jar of Ragu. HAPPY MOTHERS day ladies. I love you Joanne!... While it went down slowly in the extreme chop, it was really appreciated!

We have been holding nightly SSB calls with Surprise, our buddy ship for this leg. They have information they receive nightly from Commanders on weather and best places to enter and exit the Gulf Stream. With that, and the information I received on weather from Seth last night, we modified our rumb line and anticipated course. We are now sailing, and occasionally motoring, through wonderfully calm seas at about seven knots. Thanks to Dennis on Trillium, who also has a Gori prop, I have learned how to engage overdrive on the folding prop, making 7 knots under motor sail even possible.

My first, in transit opportunity to test my learnings came last night during my shift when the winds dropped to 3 knots. I incredible darkness, I slowed the boat, reversed the engine and used the sea to force open the blades from 35 degrees to 50 degrees (more power), and then shifted into forward with reasonably high speed. Coming out of reverse, I realized I had no earthly idea where I was as far as a heading. I quickly started chasing my GPS readings on the wall of the cabin entrance. Let me inform you, THIS DOES NOT WORK. It's like chasing your tail. The GPS is a delayed reading. as you chase the lower number, you keep going in a circle. While, after two Gibes, two, tacks and a little luck, I was back on course.

05/13/2012 | Jacky
I finally got the emails and your blog updated. I was so busy with my mother I didn't realize I hadn't read my mail. Glad to hear you are all well. Hope you are enjoying the sail!
Day 7: Goodbye Bermuda

Pic: Comocean headed out to sea (shot by JoAnne from shore)
Author: Toby Hynes

Comocean left the St. George's Dingy and Sports Club at 7:40 A.M. after three-four great days in Bermuda. Yesterday, we bus and boat toured the island in 35 knot breezes and occasional downpours (squalls), we thanked ourselves for pushing our start back one day.

While in Bermuda we all got to know Ed and Mary Roland, staying at Aunt Neas Bed and Breakfast, and Bob Fields, who arrived a day later at the Grotto. We all shared great meals together including a lunch in Hamilton, a dinner at Wahoo's in St. George's, and dinner at Griffins. There were plenty of trips to Dingy Club to party with the other Atlantic Cup boats, and get two skippers meetings to discuss weather and routing through the Gulf Stream. Both have great sailing backgrounds: Ed, USCG, sailing on the USCG training bark Eagle and doing the Newport to Bermuda race. Bob has a Sabre 42, races on the great lakes extensively and with his wife Jacky, even honeymooned on a Tartan 28. (think about that Joanne!).

We got to know the Dingy club folks very well. They served us lunches, a fish fry dinner, plenty of beers, hosted a Gosling Rum Tasting. We met their Commodore Frank, Vice Commodore Chris and Heidi, the Rear Commodore. We went for coffee at the ESSO station below the St. Georges Club we stayed at, and their's Frank, pumping gas. It's his wife station. They were GREAT people to get to know.

We have arranged to sail back with S/V Surprise, a 44 Little Harbor. Their destination, the north tip of Connecticut. Norm will conduct a daily SSB communication with them at 8:00 A.M. and 6:30 PM nightly. Charles and Cathy Hodge are a really great couple we have gotten to know. Cathy was a nurse, but has moved her practice to the engine room. We last saw her when we went on board yesterday, elbows into the engine, replacing the water pump. She proudly showed us the old pump and her diagnosis of the problem. WHAT A WOMAN! Charles skippers and manages the SSB Radio calls. Tony, their crew, teaches sailing and is an Annapolis Nuclear Sub program graduate.

Well, it's 1:30m on this first day as I write this. Ed is learning the finer points of ballet, as he tries to manage his way from the cockpit to the head. Bob, who started his patch a half day too late is showing better signs of life. I plugged him into one of our miracle, electric sea sickness watches. It shoots a small current through your wrist, and distracts you from thinking about seasickness. That, or the patch he put on at 9:00 worked. By the time he had turned the watch up to the 5 scale, he cried uncle and gave the watch up.

As we departed the fuel dock this morning, Joanne, Sue, John, Mary and Joel waved goodbye. Jacky, we are sorry you weren't able to enjoy Bermuda with us. We all pledged to come back in May of next year.

05/13/2012 | Klaus
So nice to share your adventure with you. Keep the news coming. Happy sailing!
Day 6: Arrival!

Picture: Comocean's current location as reported via SPOT transceiver.

Author: Toby

Comocean was truly moving quickly. While some boats were able to motor by us with either larger engines or less fear of running out of diesel, we seem really fast in certain points of sail. These Sabre yachts handle beautifully. The balance is great and the helm minimal. Also exciting is the way John Hoffman can trim a set of sails. He gets that extra ten per cent out of the rig. Norm is really catching on and played the gusts in the NNE winds to pull us up above the lay line. This has become really important. The full team seems into it as we now sail in the plus sevens on every different wind pattern. Winds at 11 knots are getting us near seven knots of speed.

As we screamed through the night, the winds slowly moved to the west, making the last hours of this first leg smoother and more comfortable for everyone. This was needed as we are tiring of the 25 degree tilt and bucking of the waves. Dinner proved a challenge. Everyone opted for sandwiches....but no bread. I cooked Joel's previously prepared and frozen noodles, threw in some shrimp and added pasta from Ragu, and everyone seemed to get it down. God bless Parmesan Cheese...and lots of it!

Now, the report out on showering from the fantail. First, never unclip at sea...unless 100 per cent of the canvas enclosure is up. Then, position yourself on the very low corner of the boat, with salt water soap, then add the rear fresh water shower fixture and spray and lather away. It works. Somehow it also seems to clear the rear cockpit of all crew except the helmsman. Sorry Norm!

Getting close to land causes great excitement. John Hoffman stayed up well into the night saying that "this is what he came for". At 2:00, the beginning of my shift, I heard John calling Bermuda Radio informing them we were 25 miles out. When I got to the helm, I saw that we were closing in on Field Trip, a 44 Antares Catamaran owned by Mark and Sara Silverstein, blog buddies of Seth and Elizabeth (Honeymoon), our son and daughter-in-law. They are cruising with their seven year old daughter and four year old son. More excitement. Then lights from land, followed by Norm driving us to the close at Spit Buoy. Bermuda is surrounded by reefs...big reefs. Getting in went well, as we passed through a very tight wall that the entry to St. George's has been cut through. I would never try it in the dark the first time. Now, I think I could do it if there is some moon and light winds. Bermuda Radio sent us to the Customs Dock where Brian from the Dingy Club met us. When they arrived at eight am, it was a quick and professional entry into the country. Then over to the Dingy Club, where the Vice Commodore Chris met us and helped us into our dock. What a great bunch of people. They scrounged up extra electric lines and helped us to a breakfast inside the club. My compliments and thanks to them as well as the great FwCC team!

We were met dockside by Joanne and Sue. I really loved seeing them at the dock as we pulled in! Then future crew and his wife, Ed and Mary Roland joined us. Now we get ready for leg 2, and enjoy Bermuda together.

05/09/2012 | Klaus
A great adventure ! Congrats for a great sailing performance !
05/10/2012 | Jack
Congrat to Skipper and Crew. Track shows a fairly straight shot, although Im sure there was some taking going on.. Cheryl and I have been in Colorado Springs all week for a Hyundai Field meeting, so we werent able to do our nightly Comocean check. Anyhow, glad you made it safely. Get a shower.
05/11/2012 | Helen
So glad you made it! Love!
Day 5: Beating to Bermuda

Author: Toby Hynes

Since our last report out, we have entered an enormous pressure system. We moved as we entered it into serious clouds and squalls. Initial winds were 10-15 knots but shifted as we approached the system to 17-19. John and Norm decided a reef was important, so we threw in a first reef on the main. We decided to leave the genoa fully out. The boat began to race at close to eight knots as the genoa drove us, bow down, through some serious weather. From that moment on we have been hauling at a 25 degree tilt. As the winds picked up, the sea was confused, and water over the transom became normal. One wave, as Norm had just begun the :30 P.M. SSB call, found Norm at the helm table with about a half a gallon of fresh salt water, We have moved to now sailing with the hatch cover closed. Norm is also more sympathetic to Joel, who while sleeping the first day took one gallon into the salon couch (lee Bed).

If you have read earlier entries to Comocean's blog, you might remember a guest entry by John Hoffman (current crew member). These might be good reading now for Ed Roland and Bob Fields who will join Norm and me for the second leg to Cape Cod. The one most appropriate point he made about preparing for a trip on Comocean in the Caribbean 1500 was, "to stand in the shower, with one women's 6 inch high heel on, and have your wife throw a bucket of cold water at you".

Preparing dinner was a bit complex. While the team was willingly ready to go for a second round of turkey or baloney sandwiches, the skipper felt a heartier meal in order. However, it would be a nuclear event. We turned the engine on to get sufficient amps to use the inverter and microwave. Chicken Parmesan and String Beans were served. At that time it was DARK! We had heavy cloud cover and no moon working for us. It was the same feeling we had the first six hours of the 1500 every night.
With the size of the pressure system, a report from Brizo, an Oyster 55 about to enter Bermuda this morning, that they also have our 9-11 knot NNE winds right on our bow, and a little info last night from Seth, I believe we will make a landing early on the 9th... everyone could live with this given the no wind first three days.

We have done a little pick up around the boat this morning. Stowed trash picked up the food dropped last night, the coffee grounds just spilled, and the debris that went flying as we entered this tack. The Skipper has suggested a team shower on the fantail, which was met with lukewarm results. The skipper shall show leadership, however, and appear ready with towel and soap in the cockpit at noon. Joanne will confirm this is not a pretty sight. The skipper will not report out at a later date on whether there were any other takers. Comocean adheres to the famed what happens in Vegas adage.

Day 4: By George, We're Sailing!

Author: Toby Hynes

This fourth day on the way to Bermuda is shaping up to be a great one. While we motored relentlessly into the night, at about 11:00 we hit the WRI (Weather Reporting Company used by the World Cruising Club) and their GRIB predicted West Winds. The winds are constant at about 14 knots through most of the morning. We have been holding fairly constant 7.5 plus knots at a 15 degree tilt. About 10:00, John Hoffman tapped my sleeping shoulder to suggest we throw in a reef. The West winds had grown to about 20 knots and the tilt closer to 25 degrees. We accomplished a very quick reefing with all participating in the exercise.

Dinner last night was excellent. Joel had pre-cooked angel hair spaghetti and ground beef to be added to a marinara sauce. He spiced it all up on the stove and served a very tasty dinner. Norm completed the evening call with the other vessels. We then got into our evening shift pattern with all participating.

Morning saw another simultaneous Moon set and Sun rise. There were great reflections on the water that was then really starting to get chopped up. Joel referred to it as "Willy Waws", a word we presumed to be of some Northwest U.S. Origin, as he is from Spokane Washington. He may also, just be messing with us!

This morning's call from Seth told us we had a full day of these great sailing waters. However, as we approached Bermuda, we should expect winds shifting back to the NNE. Not great as that is the general direction we are heading. As a result, we are moving east from the rumb line, trying to get an easier final day of sailing, and giving us a better pointing motion coming into Bermuda. Time will tell! Expected arrival will be daylight, probably by noon on the 9th, one day longer than hoped for, but well within reason for the trip.

We look forward to sighting land, but are enjoying a chance to really sail. The second reef flattened us slightly but we continue to hold 7.5 plus knots. Everyone is enjoying the ride.

Day 3: Halfway

Author: Toby Hynes

Its 11:30 A.M. and closing in on the completion of our third day at sea, and exactly half way between our start and our Bermuda entry Way Point. It remains very interesting and beautiful... but, loud. We continue to sail along ... correct that ... motor along, virtually head into the light North wind at 5.5 knots within a few miles of our rumb line. I arrived at this observation while making a log entry and looking for the closest "bail out" point in the event of an emergency. I guess it would be a tossup (sorry Joel) between the Bermuda Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard, should there be an emergency; as Hampton Virginia, our next closest point of land, and where this all started, is 941 nautical miles away. Cheery thought. For the record, I believe the U.S. Coast Guard actually has a Bermuda station. As the Bermuda currency is more costly than ours, I am opting for the U.S.A.

Reflecting on this I asked myself what the difference is between sailings on Lake St. Clair and where I am at this moment. Why St. Clair Lake (think Detroit)? It's because of the wonderful years Joanne and I spent with Seth and Adam spending long weekends aboard "Piccadilly Circus," a leased Beneteau 35 we enjoyed for three years, and its trips to Canada. While the seas are identical with 1-2 foot swells, the answer is, on Lake St. Clair you can always see land.

A recent call to Seth indicates a period of 10 to 15 knot West winds about 124 nautical miles north of us. Then, interestingly, a shift another 124 miles north to NNE winds at 10-15. While a close observer would suggest that if it took three days to go half way, it will take three days to get to Bermuda and meet our arrival committee (our wives and next stage crew members)... and the WCC welcome party at St. George's Sail and Dingy Club. However, Comocean loves flat seas and 10-15 knot winds. She sails happily at 7.5+ knots. So, we look for an arrival the night of the 8th, god willing! (I should never have written this...knock on wood).

Last night was once again beautiful. Chef Hoffman kept himself VERY busy. First learning that grilling at 5.5 knots and then baking because the grill never gets hot enough. Second, preparing a fabulous meal of Turkey Bratwurst boiled in beer and water with baked mixed potatoes and vegetables in a special mustard sauce. Norm and I had seconds!

For some of the evening we were accompanied by Trillium, which is comforting. She is a 49 Hallberg Rassey which started 4 nautical miles behind us, but motored past at 7.7 knots, ending us 8 miles behind by morning. We have been holding about 2300 RPM to ensure plenty of Diesel fuel at the end. We are carrying 60 gallons in our tank; however we have 50 gallons in jerry cans, so we are not motoring at our best fuel speed of 1800 RPM.

Norm, our communications officer, led the SSB call among all boats this morning. A summary of the call would be that we are all in this together; that catamarans, with their two engines and low displacement hull are fast: and that hull length is very important. The only disappointment, we learned that Escapade seems to be competing with us for the coveted BP Award fuel use trophy.

Day 2: The BP Award

Author: Toby
Pic: The fleet on night two (Comocean highlighted)

As day two progressed, Comocean has seen every form of relatively peaceful Atlantic weather. At this moment, a true wind speed greater than 6 knots has been hard to come by for about 14 hours. We had some pretty good winds on day one from the East for quite a few hours, then the winds transitioned more southerly. For a moment, the words "wing-on-wing" came out of John Hoffman's mouth. Not good for a vessel with only human whisker poles... and Norm refused the assignment.

We also had a few hours of ENE breezes that have allowed for some good sailing. In the Atlantic Cup, there is a challenge for best boat performance. This allows for corrected times for each boat and deductions for hours spent motoring.

So, the teams' conundrum: Do we go for bragging rights and whisk along at 2.9 knots in 6 Knot breezes that are all over the place, or try to lay on the Rum Line to shorten the trip and use the engine whenever below 5 knots? Do we have enough fuel to complete the race? Hard questions to answer! A need for consensus helps as both choices have some misery in the form of rocking along going nowhere, or beating along with 77 decibels of engine noise for hours on end, and risking a fuel shortage. Although not a long meeting, as none of us are ever together at one time except for dinner thanks to the need for sleep and maintaining a watch, we seem to have gone with "just getting there," and meeting the wives in Bermuda sometime close to when they arrive on the 8th... So, motor on. As a team, we confirmed our desire to lead in the famed award for most hours motored and diesel used... the coveted "BP Credit Card Miles Award." I hear diesel is a bit expensive in Bermuda, but the World Cruising Club has arranged for us to get it duty free.

Last night was beautiful. Flat seas surrounded us with a gentle motion. A full moon and partially cloudy skies added plenty of light to sail by and great reflections off the water. Moderate temperatures made sleeping for those off watch easier, despite the drone of the engine. We were once again surrounded by fellow vessels Trillium and Surprise, as well as a 177 foot sailboat also headed to Bermuda at about our speed. Dinner, compliments of our vessel chef Stouffer was excellent and only 230 calories. Although accompanied by the last bottle of red wine, there still seemed to be room for snickers. We note that Joel is nearly fully recovered as his appetite seems to have significantly improved.

Watching for the westerly's that our team on shore tactician Seth has confirmed from his GRIB analysis, we have filled the sails the best we could during this motor sailing period and wait to use the initial NNW breeze and following West breeze to bring us back on course.

Official Report on ARC Website (Click Here)

Day 1: Noon Report

Author Toby Hynes
Pic: Photo of the start

As I report out during my noon watch I can describe a great, but interesting, first 24 hours. We estimate we made good about 124 Nautical Miles. Pretty good for a 4 knot wind at the start. I might add, we believe that Comocean was the first to cross the start line (although another boat might debate this fact) in this very tentative breeze condition.

The first few hours required some serious motoring to round the west end of Tortola and Jost Van Dyke. We had made a promise to ourselves to hold at least 5 knots at all times as we meet Joanne, Sue Hoffman and our second shift crew in Bermuda. Before John's delicious chicken stir fry dinner, we had finally found winds out of the East and were setting a great beam reach to Bermuda. Better than the periods of no wind, we had south winds, and better than our period that evening where it was all on the nose.

John and Norm, during their shift, created a little excitement, with a full main and full Genoa as they entered a storm cell. Winds gusted heavily to plus 20 knots. I was downstairs in the bathroom closing windows, and can report it sounded similar to the proverbial freight train. Up above, John was dousing the sails to a more comfortable level, as Joe, in the lee cloths in the salon, took about a gallon in the left ear. As he is recovering from a tough and uneasy feeling start, we found him to be very generous in his comments on our sailing abilities.

Toby and Norm had visitors during their watch. Two extremely large porpoise crossed our bow. To ease Joel's entry into long distance sailing, we moved to a 3\3\3 shift for Norm, John and Toby. Throughout the night we found ourselves watching radar that general suggested we were keeping pace with the majority of the fleet. We could also see mast lights in the horizon east of us all night long. I found that very comforting. Dawn brought us almost parallel to Field Trip, a 44 Antares Catamaran. With today's ESE winds, they are now probably way ahead of us.

Morning has brought better winds, generally easy seas, and scrambled egg with cheese, sausage and toast. Another morning at the "Four Seas Hotel."

05/05/2012 | Joanne Hynes
Any one reading this: If you haven't already, log on to to watch the race! It shows all the boats and their comparative location to each other and the map location. Very fun!
Coomocean enters WCC Atlantic Cup
Toby Hynes
05/03/2012, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI

Comocean is off to Bermuda!
The crew pictured has just prepared Comocean for its trip north as part of the World Cruising Club Atlantic Cup. Veterans John Hoffman, and Norm Weill, from the Caribbean 1500 Rally in November, have returned and helped prepare Joel Stavana, Joanne's twin brother, for the trip north. All have worked diligently to prepare Comocean for the trip.
We all attended safety classes two days ago. This included flare lighting, raft deployment and raft exit and entry from boats and water. We have enjoyed meeting the members of the other boats, skipper and crew, and eaten way to many hamburgers and fries (sorry ladies, it's men out of control). We have enjoyed the great showers of Nanny Cay knowing that short showers at 25% heel lay ahead.
Toby did the initial shopping for crew meals just before the crew arrived on the 3oth. Chicken Tetrazzini, Roast Chicken, Turkey Tetrazzini, etc., thanks to our new crew member, Chef Stouffer. Joel completed the final shopping spree today, filling in the needs for fresh produce, fresh meats, beer (limited quantity as per skippers instructions), and most importantly Lamb, Meat and Chicken for the fine recipes he brought with him. As I type, he is madly cooking away the Lamb for a Curry meal he has planned. He boiled the pastas, which are now lightly coated in olive oil, for entry into the freezer. He cooked the Ground Beef to freeze it for mixing with the Ragu Pasta mix.
John and Joel did a masterful job tying down the dingy we all, equally masterfully, hoisted to Comocean's foredeck. We have locked the dingy motor to the rear, prepared all the lines and rigging and are ready to go tomorrow at noon.
Today's skippers meeting has laid out the route Sunday, given us entry information for Bermuda and weather for five days out. Norm learned he will lead the SSB Radio Net on Sunday. Winds look light out of the East until Sunday, when, a persistent low will rotate to a North wind direction at 25 knots...RIGHT ON THE NOSE!
Wish us luck...we are off tomorrow.

05/03/2012 | Jack
Glad to hear you're well prepared. Best of luck, and fair winds.
05/03/2012 | Barbara
Smooth sailing! Good Luck
05/03/2012 | Barbara Cunningham
Enjoy your trip! In case you don't recognize the name, we met at Nanny Cay - we had the slip next to you, our S/V is Kalani. We dined together at Peg Legs! Such fun! Kalani left this morning from St. Thomas headed for NY. Hope to see you all again on the high seas!!
05/03/2012 | Helen Hutchings
Love to you all!
05/04/2012 | Pam
Best of luck. look forward to hearing new stories of this trek
05/05/2012 | Klaus
Congrats on secon on corrected time. See you are beating into a nice breeze now. Good luck!
Tripp's Tortola Circumnavigation
Toby Hynes

We picked up friends Steve and Denise Tripp at about 4:00 at Trellis Bay. Joanne and I had planned dinner on board Comocean. However, seemingly destined to review all the available palapas of the Caribbean, we ventured over to the Last Resort to test the local rum before dinner. During our discussion with the owner, we learned that the Singing Chef, who we had previously heard with the Weill's, was performing that night at 9:00. We went back for dinner on the boat, with a planned return at 9:00. The singing chef did not let us down. His performance, with dubbing sound tracks and live mixing, was equally as awesome as our first time hearing him. He did coerce Denise into a Tequila Shot as part of the act, but did not coerce her into becoming part of the track.
The next day, with unfortunately 70% chance of rain, saw us departing in no wind for a 14 mile run to Jost Van Dyke. We arrived with rain following us and picked up the mooring in blinding rain. After drying off, the weather improved, we went ashore, picked up a taxi and went over to the Soggy Dollar Bar for lunch. We returned following lunch to Grand Harbor where Steve met Foxy, was told a generally ribald story, and we proceeded to the bar to test their signature drink, the Dread Fox, while the girls shopped. We returned to the boat, napped and read, and then had a sundowner on the boat, followed by a WILD and CRAZY dinner at Foxy's (photo). At about 9:00 it got really wild...lots of people dancing and entertainment by a pair of vacationing and, drunk to the gills, college girls. Their mothers would not have been proud! It is amazing how a 4x4 post can be used like a bar pole, or what you can do with a beer funnel.
The next morning we woke to sunshine, soon to be tarnished by the second cloudy and rainy day since Joanne and I have been in the Caribbean. We left for Norman Island, passing through Soapers Hole, with 16-22 knot winds. One reef in and then reducing the Genoa to 30%, we were able to sail at 8 plus knots! As we entered the Bight, Joanne guided us effortlessly to one of the closer in moorings, resulting in a lot less impact from the Northerly swell that hit us at JVD. We went ashore to Pirates Bight Restaurant, made reservations with Jesse and walked the beaches. Denise's watchful eye found a small stash of shells and beach remnants for her trip home, as well as a few pictures for future sketches. Dinner was great, followed by Domino's on the boat. Denise took the night's trophy, right after lamenting that she never wins.....
The following morning, we found occasional sun AND ENOUGH WARMTH TO FINALLY TRY SNORKELING! We repositioned the boat near Treasure Point, took the dingy to a mooring near the dive sight, and had a spectacular snorkel with lots of fish and great coral. JoAnne thought it was the best snorkeling she had ever seen! We then had breakfast on the boat before heading for a strong sail up toward Virgin Gorda. Joanne perfectly docked us at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor and we then prepared for dinner that night at Chez Bamboo. We started with a sunset drink at Mermaids. There, the Tarpon were not visiting, being our first letdown on the trip. At Chez Bamboo, we met Leonard the bar tender of many years, and low and behold, found a bottle of 40 year old Mount Gay. Steve ordered Rum Gimlets which led to a great start to the evening. Rose's dinner was outstanding and we then headed back to the boat to complete the evening.
The next morning Joanne got the troops moving early, and we were one of the first to take the path to the bottom of the Baths. The baths are always special. But, when you have the rocks and the beach to yourself, it is very special. We had breakfast at the "Top of the Baths" Restaurant. Then off to Trellis Bay and Beef Island to prepare for the Tripp's departure the next morning. Dinner on the boat, left time for another round of Domino's.
We hated to see them go. We had the best time with them, as expected.

04/12/2012 | Capt'n Jack
I think you have the rhytm down now: Sail, Sail, Sail, Moor, Drink.....Sail, Sail, Sail, Moor, Drink......Sail, ...
04/12/2012 | Capt'n Jack
Speaking of Rum..... Cheryl wants to know if you're drinking Her Drink (Dark Rum, Tonic, and a squeeze of Lime)? I hope so....
04/13/2012 | JoAnne Hynes
Cheryl! Not only are we drinking your rum and tonic drink, but it is now my favorite drink of choice in the islands! Captain Morgan's dark spiced rum, tonic and lime. Mmmmmm.
04/15/2012 | Capt'n Jack
Cheryl says "yea!!"
Hey, Jake and Shaunna are down in Barbados for a week, with her family.... A bit too far to see you, even if you were in Nanny Cay..!
Move Day
Toby Hynes
03/17/2012, Marina Cay

Today was "move Day". Joanne and I have pretty much left the forward berth to our guests. With Helen gone and a few days to experiment before our friends the Tripps arrive, it must have just felt like the moment to change for Joanne. Once she finds purpose, and she does think it through very thoroughly, it's time to get out of the way.
You would think this is not such a big thing. There are pros and cons for both decisions. In the Sabre 426, most would think the forward berth was the "master" berth. More head room, a private door and a closer access with a second door to the head. We have updated both berths with new mattresses (a must for living aboard) so, the sleeping is basically equal. However, there are differences.
The forward berth has a very convenient hatch in the nightly squalls. It's easy to reach. However, the skipper is always up, closing the other hatches, checking the mooring or anchor, or just being the skipper. At this age there is also the twice a night trip to the john! Back to why the forward berth is better? There appears to be more head room. Having now perfected the rear berth over these last few months my bruised elbows and head can vouch for more head room. The space appears to be about equal for storing things... although different. The forward berth has lots of drawers. The rear berth has counter space. Counter space for a small roller suitcase...that's a big deal. Also, counter space for all of Toby's s--t.
The rear berth also has some promise. More room (larger bedding area). There is more visible storage area .Also, a private sink for make up in the morning. It's close to the helm table to check instruments at night. There is also a small hatch, screened and, more importantly, protected by the Bimini. It's also the place with the least sound in the middle of the occasional neighborhood "drink, chug-a-lug" nights.
By 4:00 the Joanne whirlwind, and it is amazing, was complete. Everything is in a place...for now...and ready for the supreme test. Fortunately, a catamaran here in Marina Cay is up for our challenge. Clearly a party building and one particular woman with a laugh that travels well over water. All we need are a few rain squalls to test things out!

03/19/2012 | Helen Hutchings
Good for you! Glad you are taking control of the prime space. It was great for me Survived the first day back to the real world. SXSW was in full rock n'roll in Austin charging $30 for a parking spot. More than a mooring! Have fun!

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