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The Westerlies

Today brings change. It started with a change in my watch to sunrise. It is just crazy how quick the sun comes up on the ocean. It probably takes 60 seconds from when it peaks above the sea until it's full. Laundry and water making took up an hour then I spent some time cleaning up my navigation station. When Stosh got up we found there was a coolant leak on the starboard engine. We repaired that and checked the coolant levels. Afterwards we decided to do an oil change on the generator. It had been over 200 hours since its last oil and fuel filter change. This took up about 2 hours as we did a very thorough job.

During this, the wind changed. We have now made the Westerlies. Yahoo!!! The wind is from the Northwest blowing about 12 knots. We are under sail power alone and making 6 to 7 knots. Our course is very close to the rhum line to the Azores and our chart plotter says we have 9.5 days to go.

05/04/2012 | Catherine
So, exactly how many days since you've seen land? Is it starting to grate on you yet?
Horse Latitudes

Today the wind has died to a dead calm. The area we are in is called the "horse latitudes" because sailing ships that where becalmed where sometimes forced to kill the animals on board due to the lack of drinking water. Fortunately our water maker is working perfectly so Stosh gets to live another day J. We don't have any sails up and are motoring at 7 knots on a course of 60 degrees magnetic. This area is not just lacking wind, there don't appear to be any fish here either.

The weather patterns for the next 5 days look optimal for us to catch the Westerlies and make awesome time to the Azores. About 24 hours from now the wind will start to pick up from the West, build over the next day to 15 to 20 knots, and keep going. We have spent the day preparing for reaching and running with the wind when it arrives. The water here is a beautiful deep blue. Beyond water and Sargasso seaweed there isn't much else. We had one freighter come within our AIS range yesterday.

Tonight we are cooking up a feast of steak and chicken breasts since we can use the grill for the first time. Then it's movie time and the watch schedule starts again. The three of us have fallen into a nice rhythm and work well together.

Mahi Hits

Wow, I called that one right. I no longer sent off yesterday's post and said hi to Stosh and a Mahi hit. Stosh brought him to the stern of the boat but one last jerk of its head and the line snapped. Bummer.

Dave cooked scallops, new potatoes, and made a salad for dinner last night. It was very good eatin for three guys floating in a small boat mid-Atlantic. We did a pretty thorough cleaning of the cabin before our watches started. Watch rotation goes from 21:00 to 1:00, 1:00 to 4:00, and 4:00 until we all get up. Right now I'm on the first watch, Dave is second, and Stosh gets the morning. After 5 nights we will rotate so everyone gets to see sunrise, which is pretty special out here. My watch last night was the best I've ever had. There was a perfectly consistent wind so the sails didn't need to be adjusted at all. I kicked back and had an Enya Fest. I can't understand a word she sings but the sound and tempo goes great for midnight sailing (imo).

Today we are motor sailing. The wind is still coming from the North East. If we sailed alone we would have to make a stop in Bermuda and the crossing would be about 21 days. . One nice thing we have is the ability to get long range weather forecasts via NOAA grib files. I've been downloading them at noon every day and then we plan a course. It looks like we will have about 2 or 3 days of motor sailing before the wind turns from the west. This is normal and we anticipated it hence the large amount of diesel we are carrying.

Our bearing right now is 62 degrees true. Wind speed is 14 knots. Waves are minimal. Weather clear.

05/02/2012 | Doug Stull
Trust me Stosch will catch a fish!
05/07/2012 | Scamdaddy
You are NOT a fisherman..... Sail safe, and I will stay in touch Hi to Stoch...
First Day at Sea

Steve and I arrived into St. Maarten on Wednesday, April 25th without any travel problems. Dave had moved onto the boat a week earlier and was there to greet us. Thursday we reviewed the boat and safety equipment, did a rigging check, changed a few things, and then went for a sail/motor. Friday we were scheduled to have some metal fabrication done by a company FKG. As is typical for the Caribbean we arrived and they were not expecting us, even after 3 e-mails verifying our arrival date and time. The workers never arrived until 2:00pm and where not able to finish the job completely. Dave and Stosh bought provisions while we waited and I cleared us out to go fishing that evening. Because FKG was so late to start, we missed the bridge opening and had to spend the night in the lagoon. It worked out as we were able to get a great meal and party with a whole group of yacht crew who were leaving for the Mediterranean.

Saturday Gordy from St. Maarten Diesel did the final check on the new motors. They were in perfect shape. He started to replace one of the Racor fuel filters and two of the bolts broke from corrosion. It was fortunate that it happened in a harbor and the spare parts were on board. We fueled up at Simpson Bay Marina which is where Palarran was docked by her old owner. 1300 liters of fuel when in the 3 main tanks and 24 jerry can's. We have figured 420 gallons of diesel, 200 gallons of water, and provisions for a month weigh about 7000 pounds. Palarran is riding pretty low and sluggish.

After some final checks we were ready to leave Oyster Pond on Sunday for the last time. Twenty six months was long enough to be there but I will miss Mario, Kurt, Scott, and many of the Sunsail dock workers. At noon we made our toast to Neptune and departed. I must have missed some detail in the toast because Neptune decided to make our first night out pretty rough. The wind ranged from 20 to 30 knots and the sea's where running very steep. Our destination, the Azores, is North East from St. Maarten. The wind and waves were also coming straight from that direction. We had a double reefed main out with a sliver of jib and had to use one motor to keep us pointing close to the wind.

During the night our starboard trapoline must have caught a breaking wave because it was completely blown out and dragging. The spinnaker pole also came loose. Dave and I repaired those items this morning which was actually fun. There was an element of danger having to go to the nose of the boat 200 miles off shore and make functional repairs in still large waves. As the day has progressed the sea has laid down quite a bit. We are now motor sailing at 50 degrees with a speed of 8 knots. We should be on track to make Horta in 14 days.

One last note - Dave Sharpe has been an awesome addition to the crew. He cooks fantastic meals, picks up, and pretty much is there to do any tasks at hand. He and I are working very well together. Stosh is fishing right now. I'd guess he will catch something pretty quickly judging from the number of flying fish zipping by us.

04/30/2012 | steve signorile
It's Time To Go....

Twenty years of dreaming and planning, two years of preparation work, and 5 days until we depart for St. Maarten. It is an odd feeling to be so close to this adventure starting. I've had many people ask me if I'm nervous and my reply is that there is a fine line between nervous and anxious. 70% anxious, 20% nervous, and I can't lie, 10% scared.
The destination is the Western Mediterranean. The route will take us to the Azores then to the Straits of Gibraltar. From there we will sail to the Balearic Islands. Joining me on the first leg to the Azores is my old friend Steve Nemethy (Stosh). We were 15 years old when we met in driver's education and have been close friends since. Stosh, simply said, is different. He marches to his own beat and goes where the wind blows. He has been an accomplished hunter and fisherman from childhood. While he doesn't know how to sail and has never crossed an ocean, Stosh will be a comforting crew for me. I trust him completely.
Dave Sharpe will be co-skippering with me on the whole passage. Dave is a Scot, behaves like a Scot, and drinks like a Scot. Just my kind of guy for landfall fun. He has made six Atlantic crossings. Five were on mega-yachts and one was on a 40' monohull sailboat. He has a Royal Yachtmaster Offshore Certification and has been working as a charter boat captain for the past year in St. Maarten. Dave will be going from St. Maarten to Ibiza.
When we arrive in the Azores Stosh will be leaving to head to Alaska for his annual summer job of fishing the Cook Inlet for Salmon. Kerry Smith from Los Angeles, California will be joining Dave and me for the rest of the voyage to Ibiza. Kerry is an old friend of my cousin Joe Lambright's. He also doesn't have sailing or passage making experience, but has spent hundreds of days on the ocean scuba diving. My cousin Joe will be meeting us in Ibiza with his two son's Matt and Adam and Kerry will stay with us for this segment. I've never met Kerry and am now going to spend 3 weeks straight with the guy, I hope he's ok given Joe's reputation for character judgment (actually judgment in general);)
Stosh and I arrive in St. Maarten on April 25th. The crew will review safety equipment and do a complete inspection of the boat including the standing and running rigging the next day. Afterwards we are going to motor sail for 12 hours in order to break in Palarran's new engines. On Friday the 27th I'll have the motors serviced, fuel up all the diesel tanks, and provision the boat. Saturday is our fun day. We are going scuba diving and then heading to Captain Oliver's for a cookout with our dock friends. Sunday we will ask Neptune for a safe voyage, offer him a drink and then cast off.

04/25/2012 | STEVE SIGNORILE
Hey Dave I wish you a safe and adventurous voyage.....Wish I had the time ( and balls) to join you. I will follow your journey. By the way what do you call 2 mexicans playing basketball....juan on Juan.... CHEERS!
04/27/2012 | Catherine
Bon Voyage David, Stosh and Dave. Can't wait to keep up with the adventure on this blog.
04/28/2012 | Catherine
Hey, my first comment apparently didn't show up. Just wanted to say that I'm glad to have found your blog. Can't wait to keep up with you on it so make sure to post often. Bon Voyage, Bro.
04/28/2012 | Charlene
Hi Dave: Just logged on to follow your journey. I'm so excited for you!! Safe travels!!
04/29/2012 | Daniel Tushaus
God's speed. Can't wait for an up-date.

Love Dan & Colleen
Palarran Features

Palarran is a Fountaine Pajot Marquises 56' catamaran built in 2001 and commissioned the next year. It was built in La Rochelle, France and then sailed to Fort Lauderdale for final fit out. The previous owner was in the shipping business and spared no expense in customizing the boat. He then used the boat very lightly in the Caribbean, but mostly it sat in a slip waiting to be sailed.

Most Marquises' that where built where used as crewed charter boats designed for four couples plus two crew. There are two cabins with queen sized beds and two forward cabins with double beds plus a drop down single bed. All cabins have their own bathrooms (called heads on boats).

There is a good sized kitchen (galley) in the starboard (right) hull. In the port (left) hull there is a super large refrigerator and freezer and a laundry room.
Aft Bedroom
Forward Bedroom

The center area that connects the two hulls is called a bridge deck. Palarran has a very large one which has a bar and food prep area, a nice navigation station, a dining table, and small sitting area. Outside there is a table that seats 10 under a hard top bimini.
Dining Table
Christophe at the Bar

Some other features that make Palarran nice is two generators, a dive compressor and all the dive equipment, 1000 gallon per day watermaker, and air conditioning. I built a nice grilling station on the back of the boat which is used quite often. We have a 13' dingy that works well to get us back and forth to shore.
The Dingy

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The Wanderers
Who: David, Jeanne, Nick, and Elaina Lambright
Port: Portage, Michigan
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Aldarion was the Heir to the King of NĂºmenor. He was a great captain and adventurer, to the dismay of his father, who wished his son to spend his youth on the island he would one day rule. Aldarion, though, felt the call of the sea, and he built himself a vast ship, larger than any that had been seen at that time. He called it PALARRAN, an Elvish name meaning 'Far-Wanderer', and in it he journeyed the Great Sea to Middle-Earth. JRR Tolkien, The Silmarillion