2001 Bermuda Reports

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Bermuda Longtail



Course:      Offshore Passage Making, Norfolk to Bermuda
Date:          June 17-24, 2001
Vessel:        IP45 HALIMEDA
Students:     Bruce Taylor, Monty Recoulley, Sid Mitchell, Andrew Duncan
First Mate: Jerry Nigro
Captain:      Jack Morton

Student crew arrived at Taylors Landing, in Little Creek, Norfolk, VA on a day of much rain, high water, and damp spirits.  Next day (6/17) saw building high pressure, followed by building high spirits as we began the shoreside seminar, and got into raising, reefing and striking sail. 

meeting.jpg (41560 bytes)

When the weather dockside got too fierce for our reefed sails, down they came, and out with the storm sails, and finally the sea anchor. Who'd have thought such conditions could strike right there in Little Creek. We weathered the storm and went on to learn about electronics and the rest of the boat. Monday (6/18) saw more training at dockside, with pre departure checks of electrical and mechanical systems, checks of all the safety gear, and provisioning with lots of interest in eating well. Tuesday dawned fair, and with all systems go, we departed for sea to Bermuda. Along the way, as Norfolk and Cape Henry slid astern, we had a seminar on arrival and departure legalities, with Customs, Immigration, and Health authorities; what they want, and why. As we made our navigational departure (where we switched from pilotage to dead reckoning and offshore navigation) settled into roles and watches. Light wind that let us sail, but not very fast, or direct. Omen of things to come.

The high point of the next day's sailing was the recovery of yet another "Tuna Ball", those big red plastic balls that make such good fenders. Easy to recover, because we were under engine, with air too light to make any progress.  More instruction on offshore cruising, and current diagrams. Thursday brought more light air, on the bow. Conditions were ideal for people practicing their celestial navigation, however. Minor repairs on the stern light, which needed it's contacts cleaned. We saw the first Bermuda longtail of the trip on Friday - always a welcome sign that we were going in the right direction. Demonstration of SSB as we called in with our location, ETA, and confirmation of our well being. Continuing light airs seeming to come directly from Bermuda made for very fair weather but not very good sailing, leading to weather discussions of the Bermuda/Azores High, and year round cruising strategies worldwide. We have begun to watch the fuel gauge more closely.  

More light air on the nose Saturday finally gave way to heavier air Sunday, which let us do some rail down sailing as we beat our way to the approach and landfall to Bermuda. As the air got lighter toward late afternoon we motorsailed the last few miles and secured at the customs dock about sunset. A good shore dinner and debrief and the cruise came to a successful conclusion, with sailors agreeing that they had learned a good deal, and had fun despite mostly boring weather.

Captain Jack Morton
St Georges Harbour, Bermuda
June 26, 2001

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