Heading East on North Star

This is planned to document our sailing the Atlantic to England, Western Europe and return to US via the Caribbean

04 December 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
01 December 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
28 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
27 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
24 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
23 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
22 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
21 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
20 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
18 November 2017 | Still in Port
10 November 2017 | Las Palmas Marina, Gran Canaria
06 November 2017 | Las Palmas Marina Gran Canaria
30 October 2017 | Las Palmas Marina
26 October 2017 | Las Palmas on pontoon G
23 October 2017 | Rolnautic Boatyard, Las Palmas
22 October 2017 | Las Palmas marina
21 October 2017 | Las Palmas marina
20 October 2017 | Las Palmas marina, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
19 October 2017 | Pontoon G-50, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
18 October 2017 | Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

In the Grouve

04 December 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
Time has a way of getting away from you when you are busy doing something you love. We are finally sailing the Trade winds the way they have been sailed for hundreds of years. The winds is from the east and sails are rigged out as far as they can go. We are rolling along and I mean rolling. You sort of get used to the rolls and learn not to expect the boat to roll a certain way -- the only thing certain in this case is that the boat will fool you -- and you will crash into something hard.

The cook must master the rolling and not trust it one bit. You can put food in the sink or on non-slip mats and even on the gimbal- mounted stove top if you aren't cooking anything. Eggs or soups are especially fun because they seem to know no bounds. A round bottomed bowl is great for permitting the eggs to accelerate and launch themselves with each roll .

My crew has been working on me since we got underway. They want me to slowdown and enjoy the trip. Especially to stop worrying about every little thing and trying to fix things. For instance, the water pump was running and I thought it was because the water tank was empty. I thought we had drained the all the water out of two of our three water tanks. It turned out that wasn't the problem at all. It was just to suction fitting on the water pump had failed and made the run but stop pumping. I spent days fixing pump pressure switch, suction fitting, cross connecting tanks, filling tanks with special rigs, etc when all I had to do was fix the pump suction. But, all this work managed to fill days of time. Today's fix job was the water generator which didn't work when we deployed it last week. I managed to disassemble it and find that the permanent magnets inside were broken. It could not be fixed. Nothing more to do, I stopped and sat in the cockpit a while and felt the motion of the boat. It was magically relaxing,

Heading West Finally

01 December 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
Everything OK. Working on ways to economize with fuel. Ran the Honda yesterday and today. Small charger took long time, but can help with water making and refrig loads. Second loaf of bread. Really rose, stuck to the damp towel over pan, a mess but survived. Next loaf will be better. French toast tomorrow. Got the message from the water generator people and will tear the water generator apart tomorrow. ARC Rally control got our message about the bad handicap numbers and is investigating. I don't thing better handicap numbers with get us there sooner.

We are definitely in the rolly part of the cruise. As soon as we turned right to head for St. Lucia they started. We had to modify the port salon bunk as it was creaking too much with every roll. We have eaten down to Janet's mac and cheese. Plenty of food. Now that bread is available we can make a meat loaf.

Chicken of the Sea

28 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
Everything going OK. NE winds 15-18 kts steady although seas a bit bouncy last night. Henry noted that the water jug actually jumped out of the sink and went airborne across the galley. The cabin sole is now very clean! No one really slept very well but we managed. A big 60-footer ARC boat passed us during the evening and they had rigged their jib on pole and didn't want to take it down, so were stuck having to sail almost DDW when they didn't want to. We were doing pretty well staying ahead of them with long runs of 7.0-7.5 kts until we reefed the genoa. We are doing well with voice communications with Chris Parker for weather. He is in Florida and we hear and talk with him clear as a bell.

We are doing well with power management and able to get the battery drain down to 4.8 amps. The new alternator packs a wallop charging at almost 100 amps initially which minimizes the time we need to run the engine. Since we have almost full water tanks, we aren't making water although we have the capability. If I can get the water-powered generator working we can be energy neutral...a big if!

We finally moved past the western most island of the Cape Verdes. We have the chart plotter set up so we can see the islands but it is on the 300 nm scale, on which the picture changes very, very slowly. A little demoralizing but we made good progress last night during the high speed gusts. Rick walked past me a few minutes ago saying he was going to look for the chicken. I took his statement out of context and had this vision of a chicken somewhere aboard. To my relief he was talking about the frozen chicken breasts for dinner.

Trades Arrive

27 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
The trades have arrived in all their glory, 15-20 kts from NE. We are downwind running under 2nd reefed main and genoa making way generally to the SW at 6 kts using the wind vane 100%. Things are starting to sink in that we have a long way to go, a little over 2100 miles. The Raymarine jokingly says we will be there on 13 December but who really knows. We are letting the cooler and freezer drift in temperature turning them on for an hour in the AM and PM. We only communicate twice per day but reception is still OK, even at 2600 miles from Winlink stations. The object is to conserve fuel. I am a little frustrated that the water generator did not work when we deployed it as it would extend our time between charges significantly. We were lucky to retrieve it successfully. I will tear it apart to replace brushes and bearings. This time test it before it goes into the water.

Life on board is starting to settle into a routine with coffee in AM followed by the ARC HF net at noon, lunch, nap, dollup, dinner, and night followed by day. The HF net is sometimes interesting some times jesting about a virtual cocktail or dinner party. Inviting everyone on the net to join them. They have little to fear about their liquor supply being drained. Although one boat broke a bottle of Red wine on their beige carpet. Discussion sessions are interesting. Everyone seems to be getting enough sleep. I was given a day off today and had to promise not to fix anything. A difficult thing to do for me.

Smoke Signals

24 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
It's not too busy out here, running around looking for wind "...in all the wrong places." A few years ago there was a Native American movie called "Smoke Signals". The scene is the local radio announcer says, "And now a traffic report from Joe out on Highway 101." The scene cuts to Joe sitting on the roof of a house trailer, "Joe, out on Highway 101 with your rush hour traffic report. A truck passed here about three hours ago, Back to you, Bob." Like Joe we saw a sail to the south east late in the afternoon, when we called there was no response. That is about it for our "traffic" report.

My stepson Matt and I were discussing going sailing sometime when we are Stateside. He asked me what do you do to pass the time. If you have never had the opportunity to sail offshore, it is difficult to imagine being cooped up on a 38 foot boat with two other guys for three or more weeks. A comment like, "Well. I think I'll go for a walk" is met with two simultaneous volleys of "Don't go farther than 38 feet." I am looking forward to taking Matt offshore and showing him all the things we do or have to do on a daily basis.

Back to you, Bob

Searching for Wind on Thanksgiving

23 November 2017 | Southern North Atlantic
As with most boats at sea, mealtimes are the highlight of the day. This is true aboard North Star. Today was Thanksgiving, which we celebrated appropriately with a grand turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We had to make a couple of substitutions since we didn't have any turkey. With grand meals which involve multiple cooks and a galley big enough for only one, the meal preparation is somewhat of a dance. At the right moment one cook steps aside and the other takes over, like a symphony everything builds to the finale with a crescendo as the meal is served. Rick and Henry's performance was brilliant! The "turkey" dinner was perfect!

Just as we sat down to dine we were visited by a huge pod of dolphins. They always are welcome but seem to appear only when you least expect them and by the time you've found your camera, they are gone. Today we looked out and saw them for only a moment, then they had disappeared, I guess they went off in search of their own dinner.

The past couple of days we have been searching for wind. Some of the weather forecasts paint a rosy picture with plenty of wind. For the last couple of days we've found ourselves languishing in what must be the center of a "no wind allowed" zone. Two boats passed astern of us going south this afternoon. We wish them luck!
Vessel Name: North Star
Vessel Make/Model: Shannon 38 Pilothouse Cutter
Hailing Port: Westerly, Rhode Island, USA
Crew: Shan and Ted Rice
About: Shan and Ted make their permanent home in Westerly and live aboard during summer months. North Star is currently in Galicia, Spain. They will be continuing their cruise in June.
Boat: Our Shannon Pilothouse 38 Cutter was built in 1982 by Schultz Boat Company in Bristol, RI. We are the third owner of North Star. She was taken to the Mediterranean in 1999 by the previous owners and spent most of her history split among Chesapeake Bay, Mediterranean, and Westerly, RI areas. [...]
North Star's Photos - Main
These are pictures included in the blog taken by both of us.
7 Photos
Created 17 April 2015
1 Photo
Created 17 April 2015
The process of outfitting for a North Atlantic crossing in June 2014.
2 Photos
Created 23 March 2014