Blue Heron

Vessel Name: Blue Heron
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 43
Hailing Port: Delaware City, DE
Crew: Bob & Eric Frantz
About: Bob retired in January, 2011 from a career as an environmental attorney and manager, and Eric earned his Bachelor's Degree from The George Washington University in Washington, DC in December, 2010. They began their circumnavigation February 6, 2011.
Extra: In the words of that great American author, Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
19 June 2012
13 June 2012 | Fishing Bay Harbor Marina, Deltaville, VA
12 June 2012
09 June 2012
05 June 2012 | Cannonsport Marina, Palm Beach Shores, Florida
01 June 2012 | in passage to Bahamas
25 May 2012 | Sapodilla Bay
21 May 2012 | Jost van Dyke
18 May 2012
17 May 2012 | BVI
14 May 2012
07 May 2012 | Simpson Bay
03 May 2012 | Charlestown Harbour
01 May 2012
15 April 2012 | St. Lucia
13 April 2012
11 April 2012
06 April 2012
Recent Blog Posts
19 June 2012

The Blue Heron did it!

Today is the 500th day since we began our adventure around the world. We did it! We've completed our circumnavigation! We have not only crossed our wake but have passed the point from which we originally set sail on February 6, 2011. All that remains is to get us and the Blue Heron home. She has [...]

13 June 2012 | Fishing Bay Harbor Marina, Deltaville, VA

Waiting to get back on our way

We passed Little Creek Marina in Norfolk, VA during the middle of the night last night -- that's where our dream voyage began 16 months ago. We then made our way to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay where we were greeted with a howling hello in the form of 30+ knot winds on the nose. Making any headway was almost impossible so, we have diverted for safe harbor once more to wait for this weather system to pass. If anything, the North Atlantic lives up to it's reputation as being predictably unpredictable. Now, we wait (impatiently) for another weather window so that we can make our way home.

12 June 2012

Big Fish - take a look

Our steady progress and, generally, uneventful passage thusfar was punctuated with excitement yesterday afternoon when Eric called out, "I've got one!" He caught a White Marlin in the late afternoon. The fish fought hard and we had quite a time getting the fish on board. The fish measured 6'4" and [...]

09 June 2012

on our way north

This morning we left West Palm Beach at 8:15AM and are making our way north. We're hopeful that weather will be in our favor the entire final passage home -- we'll see. We've started with the benefit of both the gulf stream and favorable winds and are moving along at about 9 knots.

05 June 2012 | Cannonsport Marina, Palm Beach Shores, Florida

weather detour

We're stopping in Palm Beach for a day or so to wait out some weather due to come offshore from the Carolinas. Then we'll continue our northbound journey for home.

Arrived in Durban---Update!

04 December 2011
We're getting settled in and finally had enough time to write a proper post. Here's the story.

When we left Port Louis in Mauritius on November 17, we knew that we would be spending Thanksgiving on passage to Durban. We planned to do a scaled down Thanksgiving dinner, with some of the trimmings, canned cranberries, stove top stuffing, and Chicken Picatta. The trip started out uneventful, with a mixed bag of weather, with some light winds during which we motored, some good winds, when we sailed, and some medium light winds, when we motor sailed. As we moved on, the winds and seas began to build, and we could see that the Indian Ocean was likely to live up to its reputation for providing rough crossings.
And then it happened: one minute we were sailing along with the wind on our beam, and the next the autopilot had turned the boat into the wind. After grabbing the wheel to get us back on course, I looked at the pilot and it was clear it wasn't working properly. I tried rebooting. On start-up, the unit goes through a self-diagnostic test series, and I knew I was in trouble when the screen read "Call your nearest Furuno dealer". Given that we were thousands of miles from anywhere, and 6 days sail from Durban, that was out of the question. But, no worries, we have a back-up autopilot. After connecting the drive unit, we turned it on, expecting everything to work. But it didn't. After much troubleshooting, including a Satellite phone call and emails back to the US, it became clear we weren't going to have an autopilot for the rest of the way. So, with just two of us, we started hand steering, 2 hours on and off during the day, 3 hours on and off during the night. While previous passages had been about not having enough to do to fill the time, this one was about having enough time to sleep, eat and to just maintain oneself.
We counted the miles down while trying to make sure we got enough sleep. We tried to do the Thanksgiving dinner, but it was difficult with one person consumed with steering. When it was finally prepared, we had to eat in shifts, because one person was always at the wheel. We made the best of it though, but both agreed that this wasn't a Thanksgiving we'd remember for how good it was.
As the days wore on, we were getting more tired. We knew the weather report predicted we would be going through a front--never fun, but given our tired state it would be even more challenging. By Friday though, we thought we were getting within striking distance of Durban; it looked like we could make it by Sunday night or Monday morning. Then, the wind died, and it started to pour--a deluge. We motored along for a while, and I went below for a nap in the late afternoon. When I came back up, the wind was in the 30's, with gusts in the 40's. Here was the front we were waiting for.
Our course to Durban had the wind directly on the beam--with winds this high and seas building, we couldn't maintain that. We shortened sail and headed downwind, keeping the seas and wind on our stern starboard quarter. We were going to have to head north for a while. By the end of the next few hours, however, the wind began to subside a little and we were gradually able to resume our course toward Durban.
By Saturday night it was beginning to look possible. If we had good winds and could ride the Agulhas current south, that we might just be able to get into Durban late Sunday afternoon. The current was always a risk, because if the wind came around out of the south or southwest, the strong southwest current can generate tremendously large waves. The wind was out of the northeast then, which was ideal, so we made our plan to ride the current south. As Sunday wore on, the wind began to build. While still out of the northeast, it rose into the mid-30 knot range, with gusts into the 40's. Although running with the current, the wind still started to build very large waves. Blue Heron handled them well though, and we continued on with just part of the genoa out. We were surfing down waves sometimes in excess of 10 knots. With the three knots of current in our favor, we were sometimes making 13 knots over ground! Around 5 PM, the good news was that we could make out the skyline of Durban. The bad news was that we could see lightning and thunderstorms moving across the City.
We raced on toward the entrance to the harbor, where the seas got quite large and confused. It was a challenge to keep the boat headed toward the space between the breakwaters. As we entered the harbor, there was a lull in the thunderstorms, and the calm of the harbor waters was a welcome contrast to the rough ocean we had just left. We made our way to the International Jetty at Durban Marina, and tied up just before a new band of thunderstorms descended upon the City.
Blue Heron's Photos - Main
COP17, TOPtoTOP, and Essenwood Market
9 Photos
Created 15 December 2011
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 7 June 2011

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