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We received the following in an email from Mary-Ann & John Cogan who sailed with Captain David Appleton aboard HALIMEDA from Norfolk to Bermuda in June 2006.

Thanks for a great trip and experience. We were on the May 26th trip from Norfolk to Bermuda this year. It was fabulous. We do mostly coastal cruising off  Southern California on our boat and bareboat charters in the Caribbean or south pacific but are waiting on the delivery of our new boat and have the desire to go cruising within the next 2 years. We took this course to have a better idea of what an ocean passage feels like and the preparation
you need to do. The trip really delivered on both of these goals and so much more.

We had a terrific captain in David Appleton - energetic, broadly knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The crew was equally terrific - Tom, Tex and first mate David - expert navigator and seemingly always with a sextant in his hands. The 2 days of preparation were incredibly informative giving hands-on experience with deploying a sea anchor, a storm trisail, collision mat, a barber haul and lots more. When we got underway, I was eagerly anticipating the Gulf Stream crossing and it didn't disappoint. Suddenly the water temperature increases dramatically, the cobalt blue gives way to a turquoise, Portuguese men of war drifting by with their tiny sails, clumps of yellow Sargasso grass and we were lucky to get opposing northeast winds
that kicked seas up a bit maybe 8-10' or so. Tom and I were on watch and had 4 fabulous hours of carving up the face of these, riding the crest before surfing down the backside. Now that was fun. Not so much for the folks below as Cap'n Dave pointed out to us. Mea culpa.

We motored quite a bit but we were never at a loss for things to do - Cap'n Dave of the thousand knots or safety drills. It was amazing to be 500 miles off the coast and the ocean flat as small pond or lake on a calm day, clouds
of all kinds building through the day before dissipating during the night and giving way to the stars. Watching the moon grow from a sliver to something far more substantial.

Having served as the engineer and having to catalogue what's in all the lazarettes and lockers, I have a much better idea of equipment we should have on our boat. I want your emergency bilge pump. I checked it out when I
got home...very expensive but a must have. Though we took the course as a trip more than a course we couldn't help learning a lot.

What also is really cool is that as I read articles in Bluewater Sailing about crossing the Gulf Stream or about Herb's Bermuda Weather net for cruisers, it brings back vivid memories of our trip and listening to Herb and his custom weather forecasts for each boat and also the thought...we've been there and done that.

Thanks for an incredible experience. 

Best regards,
Mary-Ann & John Cogan


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