|Course: Ocean Training Cruise, Norfolk,
VA to St Thomas, USVI
Vessel: IP45 HALIMEDA
Hoffman, Bill Reed, Jerry Morris and Bob Frost.
First Mate: Bill Batchelor
Saturday, 15 November
I've been onboard since Thursday going over the yacht and preparing for
arrival of my ocean crew. Today they arrived including First Mate Bill Batchelor
and student crew Jochen Hoffman, Bill Reed, Jerry Morris and Bob Frost.
Sunday, 16 November
Today we began pre-departure training and inspections, navigation prep,
departure weather analysis, crew inspection assignments, watchkeeping procedures
and assignments, food provisioning and more.
Today we continued training, preparation, and provisioning and departed Little
Creek VA at 1600 hrs. Scheduled departure was for early AM on the 18
November, but weather of an approaching low dictates a 30 hour window to cross
the gulf stream before the front. Piloting
navigation techniques are used to exit the harbor, including radar training and
triangulation with land points. We time arrival at the Chesapeake Bay
junction buoy to enjoy an ebb tide providing 1.3 knots on the stern.
Infrared downloads from the internet prior to departure indicate a cold eddy
pushing south so we sail a tight course of 155 T down the coast, DR to a
narrow section of the gulf stream neck 10nm above Diamond Shoals Light.
Watches are set at 4 hours on 8 off.
Winds are E10-15; seas 2-4 feet. The Low has stalled and is forecast
approach our area by 2200 hours. Progress during the past 24 hours: 132 NM with
an average speed of 5.5 knots. Position 36.30N 074.40 W Sea water temperature
before entering Gulf Stream is 68F.
Winds S15-20; seas 4-6 feet and confused. Clocking winds and developing
cloud patterns confirm approaching Low. Progress during the past 24 hours: 156
NM with an average speed of 6.5 knots. Position 35.4N-75.0W. Course 130T making
Easting across Gulf Stream. Water Temp increased to 72F.
Sail Set: Main #1
reef; 110% jib and Staysail. We're using the staysail for bow pressure to help
drive the boat through the seas. Normal parameters for staysail use on
Halimeda are 65-85 Apparent Wind Angle (AWA) with wind speeds of 12 to 22 knots.
Now sailing at 45 degrees AWA at 6.0 to 6.5 knots. At 1400 hours crossing the
middle of the stream; water temperature 75F.
Winds S25-30 knots; gusting higher; seas 6-9 feet. Sail Set: Main #1 reef and
staysail. Position 35.30N-071.25W. Water temperature 69F indicates we've crossed
the Gulf Stream. Continue to make Easting; Course 120T.
At 0300 hours wind
builds to 40 knots; using feathering techniques with traveler all the way down
and tight staysail. At 0400 hove to waiting for the forecast wind shift to West.
During wind lull at 0500 hours, 110% jib is rolled out; wind returns to 30
knots. Boat speed 7.5 knots; Halimeda
ski jumps a wave putting sleeping crew on the ceiling a gust blows out top
two panels of the jib. At 0830 hours wind shifts West; set new Rhumb course
to St. Thomas of 173T and 1100 NM. Two crewmembers down DOA; change to rotating
shifts with 4 crew; 4 hours on and 4 hours off.
Winds NNE 20-30 knots; gusty; seas 6-8 feet; driving wave trains. Position
33.20N-069.20W. 24 hr. Progress
during past 24 hours: 175nm made good on course. 1530
hours: Caught a blue fin tuna; great dinner. First great star night; shoot
evening star sights in addition to daily sun lines. Meteor showers late.
Wind NNE 20-25; seas 15-18 feet. Low has moved off to 40N-55W and has met
another Low to our NE sending large swells south. Sail set: Main #1 Reef and
Stay Sail. Position 3150N-067.10W; course 160T; average speed 6.8 knots. We have
hooked into a High pressure trough 150 NM wide; making easterly course to stay
in the trough; "gravy train" sailing. All crewmembers back; return to
4 on 8 off watch schedule.
Winds NNW 25-30 knots; seas 20 -25 feet; large racing swells with breaking green
tops. Position 29.50N-066.40W; course 160T. 0830
hours: Shackle on Main Traveler fails. Temporarily rigged boom with dock
line; replaced shackle and sail on. 1000
hours: Boat speed is exceeding hull speed; rigged and trail warps 100 yards back
with one figure eight loop for drag. Boat speed reduced to 7 knots;
steering much easier.
Winds NNW 15 knots; seas down to 4-6 feet. Early am showers; popcorn
squalls; rain helps reduce wave height. Expect fair weather to continue for
balance of trip. Working to east of 65W to get Trade Flow.
Position27.35N-064.40W. Course 153T. Conduct
Man Overboard Drills. Catch a Mahi Mahi; 20 pounds; great dinner. Venus up early
in the west; Mars up all night. Rising Moon fools the helm that a vessel is
Winds N 15 knots; seas 2-4 feet. High pressure has taken over; beautiful day.
Position 25.00N-065.30W. Conduct Man Overboard Drills. Caught another Mahi
Mahi... delicious!! Tired of fish... Sailors need meat. Many shooting stars with
long sparkler burning tails. Night Star plotting used to check Compass Deviation .
Winds SE; light and variable; waves less than 2 ft. Distance to St. Thomas 300
NM. Motor sailing. Position 23.05N-065.30W. SE Trade Winds building in
afternoon; put on full sail. 2300
hours: Freighter passes within 3 mile CPA; first ship in 4 days.
Winds ESE 10-15 knots; seas 3-4 feet. Course 180T. Position 22.00N-064.38W.
Sailing on beam reach with full sail and 130% jib. Caught 30 lb Mahi Mahi;
another dinner; the big one got away. 2200
hours: Sight the lights of Tortola and St. Thomas.
Winds E 20 knots; seas4-5 feet. At 0500 sight Jost Van Dyke in BVI. Sail between
Jost and Tobago keys around east end of St. Thomas. At 1100 hours arrive at
Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas. Vessel and crew are all well.
Captains Comments: This
trip was a perfect ASA108 ocean passagemaking classroom. It offered enough
weather change for the crew to accommodate tactics and sail plan. Routing
was the key to fast passage using the Low and High Pressure Trough relationships
to provide a groove in which we made good easting. As with all long
passages, crew teamwork and accommodation is key to success and great memories. Fishing
was outstanding and celestial sights were taken every day with additional old
world navigation techniques. Follow Orion's sword to the islands in
November. On this trip, Interstate Highway 65 did deliver the Trade Winds,
but during trips in the past the rhumb line has been the better path. Mid course
rhumbline sailing leaves the door open for choice when going to the islands. As
the crew departed we just said "see you soon" for sailors never say
goodbye. To the 2003 St. Thomas crew of Halimeda, Thank you...
S/V HALIMEDA, IP45
Crown Bay Marina, St Thomas, USVI
November 29, 2003
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