2006 Bermuda Reports

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Course:      Offshore Passage Making, Bermuda to Norfolk
Date:          June 28-July 5, 2006
Vessel:       IP45 HALIMEDA
Students:    Sara and Ken Aiken, and John Ruge, Paul Shabaz
First Mate: Ken Widener 
Captain:      Jack Morton

As with the outbound trip, we've met most of the new crew before the course really starts in earnest, and had a very pleasant meal ashore with them with some of the dolphin left from the catch of the outbound trip. 

6/28/06 All students aboard by 0830, after a little confusion about starting time - ordinarily 0800. As on the outbound trip, Ken Widener is First Mate, becoming more valuable by the day as he learns more of the ship, routine, and we develop our working relationship. Sara and Ken Aiken, and John Ruge each own not one, but two sailboats, making Paul Shabaz, Ken and I realize that at a sailboat apiece we're pikers. All are looking forward to the confidence and security that comes from this experience as they contemplate going offshore in their own boats at sometime in the future. 

As on the outbound leg, the first day is dockside, becoming more familiar with the setting, reefing, and striking of all plain and storm sail. We also review the living systems aboard, as well as heavy weather strategies - sea anchor, drogues, and such. We continue discussions and planning at the White Horse Tavern for dinner.  

6/29/06 More shoreside training, masthead and rig inspection for all takers, and the completion of pre-departure checklists for the bosun, engineer, safety officer and stewards. And all of us prepare as navigators. As the weather is auspicious, and the things we need to do ashore are done, by 1530 we shift to the fuel dock to top diesel and water, and by 1730 we shift to the Customs dock, clear out, and are underway for Norfolk. We still have some problems with the battery combiner, but can charge in the manual mode and we, and we also have the genset and solar panels as well. We have a SE wind as we depart, and leave under a reefed main and full genoa.  

6/30/06 By midnight we're on a close reach with a second reef in the mainsail and wind from the WSW as we get away from the blanketing of the island, and are making a steady 5 to 6 knots.   Wind holds till about sunset, then we motorsail for a while. Among the auspicious signs are sightings of Bermuda longtails - the tropicbirds with the gloriously long tail streamers that nest at Bermuda each summer.  

7/1/06  By midnight we're motoring through calm seas, though by 0400, a breath of wind lets us add sail. The wind stays fair, but light throughout the day, and we continue to motorsail while reaching.   

7/2/06  More of the same until noon, when a bit more wind lets us give the engine a rest. Feeling experimental, we douse the genoa and put up the genaker. A nice exercise, but the wind doesn't really favor it, and we take it down in early afternoon. By late evening, a bit more wind lets us again kill the engine.  

7/3/06  At midnight, we're sailing nicely, close hauled under all plain sail, though it's light again by morning. The adventure for the day is troubleshooting the head, which has developed a clog in the lines beneath the cabin sole, where they can't be accessed. Dismantling the head and ensuring that all of its lines and valves are clear doesn't fix the problem, and for the remainder of the trip we use the forward head, which is ordinarily secured at sea since it's a place to be more careful in a seaway. Inexplicably, the engine voltage regulator has decided to behave better, and the engine is again efficiently charging the batteries... For the moment... We'll see. We close the day sailing well, close hauled in SSW winds.  

7/4/06 Happy Birthday, America. Not quite close enough to see the fireworks along the Virginia shores, which have been spectacular in some previous cruises. Crossing the Gulf Stream we encounter more wind, and trade the genoa for the staysail, but it's otherwise uneventful.  

7/5/06 The approach to Chesapeake Bay is routine, and although the wind is light, we cheat sometimes and just sail because it feels so good. So we'll arrive a few hours later. And we do, about 1030, at Little Creek Marina, where the Customs, Immigration and Agriculture authorities are on hand to clear us in.  

Captain jack Morton
Little Creek Harbor, Virginia
July 5, 2006

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