2022 Bermuda Reports

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Course: Offshore Passage Making; Norfolk to Bermuda
Date May 26 to June 3, 2022
Students: Michael Acker, Chris Daly, Jamey Kabisch, Laura Olsen
First Mate: Captain Tim Cook
Captain Captain Tom Tursi

NAVIGATOR, our Island Packet IP40 ocean sailing yacht was berthed at Morningstar Marina in Little Creek Harbor, Norfolk, VA in preparation for this Norfolk to Bermuda to Norfolk training cruise. I have been onboard since bringing her down Chesapeake Bay from Rock Hall last week, and First Mate Captain Tim Cook arrived onboard on Tuesday, May 24th. Together we inspected the boat and reviewed plans for the cruise. 

Student crewmembers arrived onboard on Wednesday; they stowed their personal gear and we conducted a thorough inspection of all below deck equipment and electronics then went to dinner at a local restaurant where we could chat and get to know each other before the hard work of cruise preparations beginning tomorrow. 

Thursday we inspected all deck equipment and electronics, deployed all sails at dock per our book Navigator Sail Handling Procedures, and reviewed the safety and emergency procedures as described in our Offshore Training Cruises Preparation Guide (Blue Book). 

Friday we completed the pre-departure inspections prescribed in the Blue Book and prepared the departure navigation plan for our exit route from Little Creek to the offshore departure point east of Cape Henry. 

On Saturday, 5/28 we did a final weather check, and, finding favorable conditions, completed the departure checklist, topped up the fuel tank and fresh water tank and were underway by 1030. Weather forecast for the next three days is for light winds below 10 knots from the West and veering around to the north and then east by Monday.  

Sunday, 5/29: We are currently motorsailing in light winds as are forecast for the next few days. All four student crewmembers spent time practicing with the sextant this afternoon. They made very good progress but have a lot more to learn. The watch schedule is as follows:

Midnight - 0400: Jamie and Chris

0400 - 0800: Michael and Tom

0800 - 1200: Tim and Laura

Jamie and Chris started our Dead Reckoning (DR) plot this afternoon and we have, of course, been keeping our navigation logbook on a regular basis. 

Monday, 5/30: Position 3459.7N/7320.7W at 0645.
Winds continue light at 5 kt from east. Last evening we had a heart thumping 8 knots from the NE so we put out all sail and motorsailed overnight on a course of 150M, which was about 30 degrees south of our bearing to BDA so it reduced our VMG to BDA by half. Not very efficient sailing, but it was good for the spirits to be sailing for a while. This morning we admitted to the frivolity, struck sails and headed toward BDA under engine power alone. Still hoping for some favorable winds. But it looks like another beautiful sunny day, good for celestial shots. 

Tuesday, 6/1: Last night we had a pleasant overnight sail in 10 to 15 knot winds. Fuel is a concern since we expect to be motoring all day based on the light wind forecast. Contacted CG by SatPhone to alert them to our fuel situation and position. Crew buoyant with lots of joking and camaraderie. More celestial shot practice with improving results. 

Weather forecasts for next few days:

6/2 SW 10 to 20, overnight SW 15 to 25

6/3 E 15 becoming SE 15

6/4 E 15 

June 1, 2022 at 12:20 PM: We had a little bit of wind last night and this morning, but it wasn't very productive. We have not had much wind at all for the entire trip. With 250 miles to go we are plugging away under engine power at 4 knots. I'm concerned about fuel consumption. NOAA wind prediction and Jochen's information agree but it's not happening yet. We're supposed to get 10-20 knots SW tonight and then tomorrow predicted to be 20-30 from the southwest, and both of those would be very good so we're hoping for some of that to push us past the hump. 

The entire crew has been doing a lot of celestial work. Jamie got a beautiful shot within 2/10s of a mile and Laura has taken a lot of shots and is getting some reasonable accuracy as well. We've been eating and sleeping, taking celestial shots and driving the boat! Everyone is getting along well and having a great time with each other, and the crew is blending very well as a team. At 9:00 pm we have 15 knots of breeze and a bright crescent moon shining down! Weather forecast shows a possible tropical cyclone developing near Florida Panhandle. 

June 2, 2022 at 7:34 PM: The wind filled in last night about 8:00 pm and was coming from the west, blowing about 10 to 13 knots; we tested the direction out with just the genoa and it held pretty well. So we took the genoa in, put up the mainsail double reefed for nighttime sailing, put the genoa back out and had a very nice sail broad off the wind. We sailed that way all night. This morning, we put the whisker pole out and went wing on wing and had a very nice sail all day like that. We're having beautiful weather, beautiful sunny skies, warm but not hot, actually a little cool and comfortable. Having a very good time! By 8:00 pm the wind moderated a bit. Took the pole down and are now sailing on a broad reach. About 125 miles to Bermuda. Made 6 to 7 knot boat speed overnight, and moved along very smartly, so this is good progress. ETA in Bermuda is Friday, 6/3 early morning. 

Later this evening the winds again dropped below 5 knots and we returned to motoring for the remainder of the cruise to Bermuda in clear nights and bright sun shiny days. Night passage into Town Cut Channel was an all-hands evolution with Mike at the chart plotter; Jamey spotting the NavAids with assist from Chris and Laura; Tim at the helm keeping the boat on track; and Tom as interlocutor between cockpit and navigation station. This nighttime entry into Town Cut was a challenge in view of the narrow entry and poorly maintained buoys (worn out reflective tape) that were hard to spot. We arrived at the Customs Dock about 3 AM local time, and checked in, but we could not complete entry requirements until we showed hard evidence of negative Covid PCR tests before leaving Norfolk for the cruise, and this we could not complete until the Covid offices opened in the morning. Also we were told to get off the Customs Dock until morning. So we proceeded to a nearby anchorage and all fell fast asleep in our tracks until 8 am when we contacted the Covid office and got that squared away. Then all of our student crew departed for home and we docked at Hunters Wharf.

Captain Tom Tursi
Little Creek, VA

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