This blog chronicles the adventures of the sailing vessel Moonraker. We just finished the second year of our cruising life. We explored the US East Coast from Maine to Florida, the Bahamas, Haiti, PR, and the Virgin Islands.

19 May 2016 | Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis, MD
06 April 2016 | Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis, MD
13 February 2016 | Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis, MD
21 January 2016 | Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis, MD
09 December 2015 | Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis, MD
05 November 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
22 October 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
01 October 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
14 August 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
15 July 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
08 June 2015 | Hillsmere Shores Marina, Annapolis, Maryland
26 May 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
14 May 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
09 March 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
17 February 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
08 January 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
08 December 2014 | Annapolis, Maryland
31 October 2014 | Annapolis, Maryland
20 October 2014 | Annapolis, Maryland
04 October 2014 | Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis, Maryland

Chesapeake Bound - Day 11

26 May 2014 | 21 miles southeast of Nags Head, NC
We're almost there! We should be going over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel sometime around midnight tonight. Yesterday was a beautiful day but pretty uneventful. We motor sailed all day and all last night. The wind is from the southwest now and starting to pick up. We should be able to turn off the motor soon and sail most of the rest of the way to Hampton.

The big event last night was crossing the Gulf Stream. As I said before, the Gulf Stream can be challenging and, at times, very dangerous. The Gulf Stream is a huge river of water in the ocean moving north along the US coast at up to 5 knots. You never want to cross it if the wind direction has the word "North" in it unless the wind is very light. The reason is that when the wind is against the current it can build up very big waves and, even worse, short steep waves. These can be deadly. Last November when the Salty Dawg Rally was heading south, they got caught in strong north winds in the Gulf Stream. Although most of the over 100 boats participating made it through with just a miserable experience, two boats were so damaged that they had to be abandoned and their crews rescued by US Coast Guard helicopter. Two other boats were dismasted. It's also important where you cross the Gulf Stream. After it gets north of Cape Hatteras, the stream turns to the east and creates eddies, meanders, and whirlpools. There aren't the kind of whirlpools that can suck you down but the currents can go in unexpected directions and cause the kind of dangerous waves I mentioned even when the wind is not from the north. Chris Parker guided us up to a straight section just south of Cape Hatteras. The winds were mostly from the north but only at 3-4 knots. We crossed the 60 mile wide stream in the early morning hours today with no issues at all. The waves were small and the water calm. It's amazing to think how bad it can be in the same spot with different winds. A few of the rally boats just ahead of us had to stop and wait for 10 hours for the wind to subside before crossing at the same place we did. Sometimes it pays to be the slow boat bringing up the rear.

The practices of navigation are steeped in history and go back for hundreds of years. We just made a course change for reasons that really aren't part of that tradition. We adjusted our course to take us within eight miles of Nags Head, NC so we can get cell service to reactivate our phone. Of course, those hearty sailors never updated their blogs by email either!

We are now 21 miles southeast of Nags Head, NC and about 100 miles from the Chesapeake Bay.
Vessel Name: Moonraker
Vessel Make/Model: Bayfield 40
Hailing Port: Annapolis, MD
Crew: Bill & Donna Shuman
This blog will record our adventures as we continue our new cruising life. This summer (2013) we plan to head north and explore the coasts of Maine and Nova Scotia. We will return to Annapolis in the fall for the SSCA GAM and then head south on the ICW to Florida. [...]
Moonraker was built in 1986 and had two owners before we bought her in 2005. After spending nearly two years on the hard making all the repairs and improvements that I had promised Donna we wouldn’t have to do if we bought her, we were finally ready to go sailing. For the next several years we [...]
Moonraker's Photos - Main
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Who: Bill & Donna Shuman
Port: Annapolis, MD

Where in the World is Moonraker

Our Boat

Moonraker is a 1986 Bayfield 40 designed by the famous Ted Gozzard and built in Ontario, Canada. The rig is a cutter/ketch. Here are some of her specs:

LOA: 45 ft. 6 in.
LWL: 30 ft. 6 in.
Beam: 12 ft.
Draft: 4 ft. 11 in.
Displacement: 21,000 lbs.
Ballast: 8,200 lbs.
Sail Area: 1,009 sq. ft.

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