05/23/2009, 38 06.7'N:61 43.6'W, 38N
As I picked away at the guitar I looked out over the starboard rail and watched a dolphin jump! I grabbed the video camera and jumped too! As I captured a couple more of the small dolphin’s jumps I saw a few other dolphins in the distance. Our little dolphin friend raced up to the bow as did I and I video’d him racing around the bow. Every now and then he would race off about 200 feet back toward the group of dolphins and then come racing back. Almost as if he was a little kid yelling “Mommy Daddy come look at this!!” He stayed with us for about 2 minutes before heading back to the group but it sure was nice to have a guest!
Last night we saw stars on the water. It was a very dark night with clear skies and the shooting stars were out in force. As we made our way along a quiet black sea, every roll of water that came off the bow carried with it a starry sky-like illumination of phosphoresce. The brightest I’ve ever seen. Like each one was in fact a star on the water… Beautiful.
The winds kicked up in the night and we shut the motor off for a few hours and ghosted along at 12 kts in peace and quiet, but this morning we are back to our motoring ways waiting for a weather update from our routing service. We are trying to make a rhumb line course, but it is lots of motoring and very little wind on the stern, so it looks like we may have to head north some more to find decent pressure. The forecast looks very light all the way along, which sounds like pleasant sailing, but really means lots of sails slapping around as the boat pitches and rolls in the waves. Stay tuned!
05/22/2009, 35 44.6'N:64 19.4'W, 200 miles NE of Bermuda, 500 miles E of Annapolis
The good news is… you’re not going to die! The bad news is… you’re not going to die! Yes that is the joke I use when trying to lighten the mood regarding seasickness. Yesterday morning we left Bermuda and began a 20 hour beat into 6-8 foot seas and 20kts of wind True. Beating…so named for what you take while doing it. Yes I was the first to fall to seasickness taking to the rail shortly after a trip below to change my clothes after taking a full wave soaking while helping the aft cockpit, but I should start at the beginning…
We had a nice sendoff from other boats on the dock nearby. We set a double reefed main and double reefed genoa and began our trip north to find wind… FIND WIND?… it was blowing 25 apparent! Ok well we would REALLY like wind from the right direction… so northbound we are and are on track to find some nice westerly breeze within the next 24 hours.
So about the beating…. Let’s set the stage: The boat is in great shape and we are heavily loaded with fuel and water. Unfortunately much of this weight is carried in bladders on-deck forward of midship so we are nose heavy. Combine this with our point of sail (beating), wave direction (just off the nose), and wind-speed (more than enough) we continuously taking massive waves all the way to the aft cockpit! Ok maybe not massive, but certainly big enough to give a good WHAP to the dodger and bimini.
On one occasion I went to the aft cockpit to assist with sail trim and assessment of our speed and angle and of course this was the moment we took the biggest wave of our trip over the bow! (sidebar) Normally we motor-sail at 1500-1800 RPM’s as that is usually all that is necessary to keep us moving in the right direction at at consistent speed. Our engine is designed to run at a minimum 2400RPM so we will run the engine at 2800RPM’s for 5minutes of every hour we motor at low RPM to keep the turbo and intercooler free of oil buildup (end sidebar) So back to this wave, we are cooking along at 9kts at 1500RPM’s and I feel the wind increase a bit. So I take a quick jump into the aft cockpit to assess and as I am doing this, our faithful and diligent crew rev’s to 2800RPM on schedule for the prescribed 5-minute stint. With this new burst of engine speed and wind velocity we are rather suddenly doing 11kts! Now picture watching a BIG wave square to the bow approach too fast to even utter the words “throttle back!” but as if in slow motion…we sail off the top of the wave and completely bury the bow in the trough of the next wave. The resulting wall of water that comes over the boat covers us in a foot deep of water on the decks and spray so huge that it actually sprays the entire boat and even beyond the boat – 64feet of spray! …. Oh yes did I mention my foul weather gear is in the forward cockpit? …. Of course it is, why would I not be standing the aft cock pit at 8PM drenched from head to toe!? So in true ‘close the gate after the horses are out’ fashion I return to the forward cockpit to get my foul weather gear and find it AND one and only fleece on the floor drenched…CRAP! So back to the good news/bad news thing above – trying to get dressed down below is what frequently sends even the most hardened sailors into a green state, and so it was I went below to get dry clothes and returned topside to don my wet foulies and take my place o n the rail and review my breakfast…. Well this was gentle reminder of being prepared and cautious and not underestimating the sea for a second! And I have recovered from my bout with seasickness and my foulies are dry and my fleece almost, the sun is out and we continue our motor-sail north in light air and light seas. Other happenings in day 1… we had a glorious 5 hour stint of night sailing last night with the motor off after the wind had veered about 20degrees, Ernie broke out his first aid training this morning and properly cleaned Kates ‘scooter accident ravaged big toe’ (it’s been a daily update thing for us here on the boat), the smell of some homemade banana bread is wafting throughout the boat as Kate continues to fatten us up for the colder days ahead, we had our first dolphin sighting this morning, Bette doesn’t seem to be able to stop smiling, and Todd is obviously thrilled to be back at sea. I am a fortunate captain with this crew and so the journey continues…
Here's a quick reminder on how to get in touch with us if you would like to send a note!
While we are in port - please use your normal contact methods to get in touch with crew, including their personal email, text or whatever you have worked out with them.
Underway - if you would like to contact a crew member please do so via text to the satellite phone. This can be done by visiting:
It will be exactly as if you are sending a text message to a cell phone. You will be restricted to 160 character maximum similar to a cell phone text. You will need to enter the sat phone number which is: 881631649761 .... and IT'S FREE for both you and us!
Emergency - in case of emergency you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. this email address is for EMERGENCY ONLY.
I will be posting blog entries and progress reports at least once a day, BUT we are restricted by satellite coverage, and while it has been very solid so far, please do not panic if we miss a day.
So that's it! Next post from the high seas!