Antares

Vessel Name: Antares
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 40
Hailing Port: WhiteHall Bay
About: My crue are my son Juan David and my friend Richard Hinz (ex Bank)....
Extra: During the last 14 year I have been sailing the Chesapeake Bay and the West Coast, from San Francisco to San Diego -- plus some excursions in the Seychelles, BVI, and the Aeolian Islands. The time has come to start a longer trip...
06 April 2014 | WhiteHall Bay
03 April 2014 | Cape May
02 April 2014 | Atlantic Highlands
01 April 2014 | City Island
20 January 2014 | Washington - DC
Recent Blog Posts
06 April 2014 | WhiteHall Bay

We made it

It was difficult to write after Cape May. I thought that after the off-shore passage things would be much easier but both the Delaware Bay and the north part of the Chesapeake Bay offered gusty winds, choppy seas, and temperatures below 40.

03 April 2014 | Cape May

Down the New Jersey Coast

We arrived to Cape May this morning at around 7:30. The trip from Atlantic Highlands took 21 hours more or less. We didn't have much wind and the Atlantic was breading slowly in very long and deep swells. To keep the speed at 6Kt we had to motor-sailed most of the time. Antares, did great; an amazing [...]

02 April 2014 | Atlantic Highlands

Getting ready for overnight leg

Yesterday we had an uneventful trip along the East River with spectacular views of New York. Crossing the famous Hell Gate was a bit nerves racking (we had a current of 5 Kt) and there was a lot traffic in New York harbor, but other than that it was a nice day.

01 April 2014 | City Island

Completed first leg

I hadn't had a chance to update this since Saturday. Sunday was a nasty day; it rained all day and night. The main project for the day was to fill the tank with water. Something that is usually simple took several hours because at this time of the year the Marina shuts down the water pipes (so that [...]

29 March 2014

We made it to Brandford...

After weeks of planning the trip is becoming a reality. Yesterday, Friday afternoon, we arrived to Brandford. The town is gray and cold -- still below 40. Antares was waiting, all ready. She is beautiful. We did a sea trial and spent the rest of the day loading and cleaning the boat. Richard wanted [...]

20 January 2014 | Washington - DC

From the Chesapeake to the Galápagos Islands

This is my first posting on this Blog, which I m starting to document a trip I m planning to the Galápagos Islands.

We made it

06 April 2014 | WhiteHall Bay
Warmer now
It was difficult to write after Cape May. I thought that after the off-shore passage things would be much easier but both the Delaware Bay and the north part of the Chesapeake Bay offered gusty winds, choppy seas, and temperatures below 40.

We departed Cape May 2 hours after schedule (10am instead of 8am) waiting for the staff at the Marin to open the diesel pumps. I was concerned because the plan was to take the Cape May channel to enter the Delaware bay and there are two bridges that we had to clear -- only 55 feet high during high tide, while the mast of the boat is 56 feet. We had to cross the bridges before high tide and we barely made it.

When we entered the Delaware bay we had winds between 20 and 30 Kts and 5-6 foot seas. They were blowing from the East though so we were able to sail up the bay at 8 Kts. Originally we had planned to spend the night at anchor a few miles before the entrance of the Chesapeake-Delaware Channel (behind a small piece of land called Reedy Island) but since conditions were not nice, it was still daylight, and we had the right tide entering the CDC, we decided to continue. We entered the channel at around 5:30 pm and spent the night docked outside a very empty Marina 7 miles west of the entrance. We had a quick dinner and went to bed pleasantly tired.

The next day we started at 7am to catch the tide in the channel. We prepared coffee and sandwiches for lunch underway. By 9 or so we were out in the Chesapeake Bay and set sails. The forecast was for gale conditions with winds of 35 Kts from the west. It was not that bad but we had to work the sails hard setting and taking off reefs. The first few ours we had the wind in our nose and had to tack to the clear the land. Also, when I tried to turn on the engine to charge the batteries it did not cranked! Nothing. While Juan David and Richard sailed the boat I went down to see if there was something wrong with the solenoid (the switch that allows electricity to reach the starting motor). It took me a while to fix the problem with the boat moving up and down but eventually we had the engine running again (I have to change that solenoid). At around 12 am we also changed the course southward and we had a nice reach at 7-8Kts until the Bay Bridge (see pic) that we crossed at 4:00. We rolled the genoa and motored to the entrance of Whitehall Bay and then to Whitehall Marina, Antare's new home. We arrived before 5pm exhausted but very happy.

This part of the trip is thus over. We made the passage from Branford to Whitehall bay in 7 days; a great sailing experience and in very good company. We can also not complain about the food and wine.

The next part of the trip will take us to the Bahamas...



Down the New Jersey Coast

03 April 2014 | Cape May
Still cold
We arrived to Cape May this morning at around 7:30. The trip from Atlantic Highlands took 21 hours more or less. We didn't have much wind and the Atlantic was breading slowly in very long and deep swells. To keep the speed at 6Kt we had to motor-sailed most of the time. Antares, did great; an amazing boat.

Except for a couple of scary encounters with boats that were anchored 5 miles from the coast, things went well. We kept a "2h hours" out & "1h in" watch (Antares does not have yet a reliable auto pilot device and somebody has to be always at the wheel). At night the temperature dropped to 38 degrees so the two hours outside (one of them at the helm) were not very pleasant (caffeine and nicotine helped). The person inside was supposed to sleep for one hour but it never really happened. We probably had 2 hours of sleep each, so after brunch this morning we took a long nap.

We are now enjoying cocktails and relaxing in the cabin. It seems that tonight nobody has the energy to cook so we plan to order take-out. Tomorrow we have to start early. By 8:30am we need to be out of the marina (after having had filled the diesel tanks) to go under the bridge over the Cape May - Delaware Channel during low tide (at high tide the boat won't be able to clear the bridge).

I hope the next post will be from the entrance to the Chesapeake-Delaware Channel where we plan to spend the night tomorrow...



Getting ready for overnight leg

02 April 2014 | Atlantic Highlands
Calm; cold
Yesterday we had an uneventful trip along the East River with spectacular views of New York. Crossing the famous Hell Gate was a bit nerves racking (we had a current of 5 Kt) and there was a lot traffic in New York harbor, but other than that it was a nice day.

We departed City Island at 11 and arrived at Atlantic Highlands marina at 4:30. After hot showers Richard and I went for a short walk in town -- one street really with shops, cafes, and restaurants. But we decided to have dinner in the boat (bolognese sauce, pasta, and a bottle of red wine). By 11pm we were in our berths.

We are now enjoying our coffees and Juan David is fixing breakfast. We have a long journey ahead of us; 120 miles to Cape May. We plan to be underway at 9:30 and still have to do a couple of things like preparing sandwiches for lunch, extra coffee to put in the thermos, and filling the diesel tanks.

We would be arriving to Cape May at 9:30 tomorrow morning, with the right tide (and hopefully wind) to go through the inlet. I ll try to connect at night to report how the passage goes. All for now...





Completed first leg

01 April 2014 | City Island
Cold but sunny
I hadn't had a chance to update this since Saturday. Sunday was a nasty day; it rained all day and night. The main project for the day was to fill the tank with water. Something that is usually simple took several hours because at this time of the year the Marina shuts down the water pipes (so that they don't explode). So no water in the slip. We had to move the boat (with 20 Knots of wind and 2 Kt current) to the launching platform, flush the tanks, fill them in, and come back. We had a nice lunch at the same place we went the first night though.

Back to the boat late afternoon the question was whether we should depart Monday, as originally planned. The weather forecast was not good -- a low system was passing through and on top of strong winds we were going to have a snow storm. We would have stayed but one day lost implied less favorable conditions for the leg down the New Jersey Coast. So we had a bottle of wine and went to bed early planning to get up at 5:30am to get going.

And that is what we did. When I went out on deck in the morning the boat was covered with sleet and it was raining. There was no wind though and after preparing and drinking our coffee we took the boat out of thee slip and motored downriver to the diesel station. It was 7 am and, no surprising, nobody was there. But there was a sign with a phone number that we called to ask for help. When help came, two guys who were quite surprised to see a boat leaving at this time of the year, it started to snow. While the tanks were filled Juan David and I installed the "jack lines" (lines that go from the bow to the stern so that people working on deck can hook to them and don't go over board). It was 8:30 when we left the dock on our way to City Island.

The forecast was 100 percent accurate. The snowstorm increased in intensity and the wind picked up. Visibility was less than one mile. At first we were motoring and using the autopilot but as the seas increased it couldn't handle anymore. So we took turns steering the boat 1h each (the picture is Juan David) in his first shift. It kept getting worse until around noon. Then the sky started to open up until we could see the land and far to the west the lines of New York City. We put two reefs on the main and one in the genoa and under 25Kt of wind from the North we were sailing at 6 to 7 Knots under a sunny afternoon. It was 5:30 when we docked in City Island, very happy to have left Branford and made it safe. After cocktails we had dinner and went to bed early.

We had a good night sleep although it was windy and a bit rocky. Today, there is little wind though and it is still sunny. I just finished my coffee and will soon start preparing for the second leg. The plan is to motor down the East River to New York Harbor and then to Atlantic Highlands where we will spend the night. Departing time, 11:30....







We made it to Brandford...

29 March 2014
Cold and rainy
After weeks of planning the trip is becoming a reality. Yesterday, Friday afternoon, we arrived to Brandford. The town is gray and cold -- still below 40. Antares was waiting, all ready. She is beautiful. We did a sea trial and spent the rest of the day loading and cleaning the boat. Richard wanted to go out for dinner, so we hit a sea food place near by and started the night with oysters. The surroundings are not great though and we re looking forward to the start of the trip down Long Island Sound. But will have to wait a couple of days to finish preparing the boat.

This morning was quite cold and wet, but it was a delight to prepare and drink our coffee. We made a lot of progress setting up the sails and other gear (when I say we, I mean Richard and I, Juan David got up at 11am; he is still recovering from a rough week at University). We also got an electric heater so the evening has been quite pleasant. I cooked our first dinner on board and opened our first bottle of red wine. It s raining outside and probably it won't stop until tomorrow afternoon. We are quite cozy and comfortable inside. The picture is the view from the navigation table where I m writing. Will report more tomorrow.

From the Chesapeake to the Galápagos Islands

20 January 2014 | Washington - DC
David Robalino (on a plane)
This is my first posting on this Blog, which I m starting to document a trip I m planning to the Galápagos Islands.

My current boat is a C&C 27 that, very sadly, will soon go to the market. Late last year I bought a beautiful Bristol 40 that I have renamed Antares (see picture). She is the one who will do the trip to the Galapagos. But for now Antares is on-the-hard in Brandford Connecticut. So the first leg of the trip to the islands will be from Brandford to Whitehall bay in the Chesapeake.

It will be a 5 days trip + 2 or 3 days in Brandford to prepare the boat and get the crew (my son Juan David and my friend Richard Hinz) familiarized with her and various maneuvers (e.g., riffing). I plan to be there on March 28 to put her in the water and do a sea trial. The trip down the Long Island Sound should start on Monday the 31st -- whether permiting . The itinerary is as follows:

March 31: Brandford - City Island
April 1: City Island - Atlantic Highlands
April 2: Atlantic Highlands - Cape May (offshore arrive on the morning of the 3rd)
April 4: Cape May - Entrance to the Chesapeake Delaware Channel (CDC)
April 5: CDC - Whitehall bay

During the last few weeks I have been planning this trip, including making a list of the work that needs to be done on Antares and safety-equipment/gear that I need to purchase. I will continue to do so and report in this blog.




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