2001 Bermuda Reports

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Course:      Offshore Passage Making, Norfolk to Bermuda
Date:          June 28-July 5, 2001
Vessel:        IP45 HALIMEDA
Students:     William Mellen, David Smith, Jeff Rondinone, Mike Ziaylek
First Mate: Jerry Nigro
Captain:      Jack Morton

Crew arrived on Thursday, June 28, with several having enjoyed a few days of Bermuda's hospitality on their own or with family. They turned to with a
will, and despite calm and heat, learned the rig, sail handling, and the heavy
weather gear of Halimeda. With sails and sea anchor finally stowed, we
retreated to the shade of the cockpit to talk of safety procedures, storm
tactics, and emergency drills. Friday included pre-departure checks of all
systems, and what proved to be our final lunch ashore, as we pored over the
weather maps Bermuda Customs provides cruising sailors before their

Based on what we saw on the weather maps, and the current weather, we made the decision to leave that day, taking advantage of what looked like it might be the last of the favorable wind for a while. We spent the early afternoon topping up fuel and water, clearing customs, and making last minute purchases, before using the last of the light northwest wind to ghost down the southeast side of Bermuda, finally taking navigational departure as the last of the island slipped astern the starboard quarter in late evening. 

By Saturday, we were motoring in calm glassy seas. As we went to prepare breakfast, we found that the propane stove had a problem, and after some discussion of the food we had aboard, and our alternatives, we elected to push on, secure in the expectation that we could safely manage. As it developed, we lashed the microwave on the top of the gimbaled stove, and managed very well. I have to report that while microwaved pancakes have an unusual appearance and texture, they taste just fine. This experience highlighted the importance of having both resources and resourcefulness when you venture to sea. Successful cruising is not so much trouble free cruising, which rarely happens, but being prepared and able to deal successfully with the troubles you encounter. Further illustration of that later the same day, as the main engine for the first time failed to start when the key was turned. We thought through the problem, investigated some dead ends, and finally hit on the neutral cutout switch, inside the steering pedestal. After we dismantled the pedestal far enough to be able to clean the contacts in that switch, the engine again came to life. Underway.

A fine spanking breeze came up from the southwest on Sunday, giving us some rollicking good sailing on a beam reach for Norfolk, that ate up many miles. As dusk fell, we again had the opportunity to fix the stern light, which may not be sufficiently sealed against stern seas, and corrosion. By Monday it
was clear that fine southwest breeze was the precursor to a strong front, and
we reviewed the squall procedures we had talked about at the dock, and got to put them to good use as we passed through the front that afternoon. After
bashing about for many hours in the high winds that preceded and accompanied the front, we hove to for dinner, which gave a welcome calm that some had never before experienced in the midst of heavy weather. Gradually, following the passage of the cold front, high pressure and light air returned.  By Tuesday, light conditions and motorsailing. Demonstration of SSB as we called in status, position and ETA. Calm crossing of the Gulf Stream.

By Wednesday, (Fourth of July - Happy Birthday America!) breeze picked up again, and we once again had fine sailing as we made the approach to the
Chesapeake, and sailed up to the Bay Bridge.  Wind and tide were foul at that point, and we let the ‘iron staysail' carry us the last few miles to the
dock. Secure at 1545.

Captain Jack Morton
Norfolk, VA
July 5, 2001

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