"Flat Earth" N50-25 - Phil Eslinger

ed note: Yet another Nordhavn is making the long passage from Southern California to Hawaii. "Flat Earth" left Long Beach, CA on June 14 bound for Oahu.

June 26, 2006

Good Morning All

Land Ho! At 0900 hst, we sighted the Island of Molokai at approximately 17 nm off our port fwd quarter. Now we are able to see Maui's Haleakala at something around 14000 feet high, and the Big Island of Hawaii's Mauna Kea 13796 feet and Mauna Loa 13685 feet. Koko Head on Oahu is not in sight just yet, but we are still 60 miles out. Flat Earth should arrive Ala Wai Harbor at 1700 hst +/-.

Flat Earth numbers: With land in sight they don't seem quite as important! Last night at the Seafarers position report we had made 171 nm the past 24 hours. Today will be much better. Capt Phil has turned up the rpm to 1500 and we are making an SOG of 8.3 or so.

Position: 21-24N, 156-48W
Cus/Spd: 260T/8.3kts
W/V,Seas: Wind ESE/15kts, Seas ESE 4-5', Sea water temp 78F WX: Clear at our position with clouds in the distance, over land and sea. ETA: This depends on the seas but probably around 1700-1800hst at the Ala Wai Harbor. The harbor is just west of the major downtown Honolulu area and east of the airport.

Life Aboard:
We are ready for a little solid land. After two weeks of rolling around out here it will be a change! No one got sea sick or hurt in any way. Steaks for dinner last night with potatoes and carrots. The fishing has slowed only because of the boat speed and lack of lines in the water. However, Jay our Fish Meister saw some diving birds and put out a line a quickly hooked, landed, and released a small bonita, a tuna family fish.

When the arrival time is more certain we will start cleaning up Flat Earth, so she is presentable for her first visit to Hawaii. Of course the Crew will be standing tall in our white slacks and blue blazers!! Must look sharp, right.

Jay and I are not sure when we will depart for the mainland, but it will be soon after our arrival either tonight or tomorrow.

Nordhavn and Phil have done a wonderful job of building and commissioning this vessel and we have enjoyed a great passage. Of all the vessels checking in each night on the Pacific Seafarers Net we have been the only M/V ( motor vessel) out here on the net. It is hard to not say go Nordhavn, if you intend to make serious "Passages Under Power". Captain Robert Bebee coined that phrase and said a 40-50 foot vessel would be the smallest power boat that could complete this type of passage considering fuel and other issues. He built Passage Maker and proved the 50 foot version and Jim Leishman and Nordhavn validated the 40 foot end of the spectrum in 2001 and 2002.

Most of you know that Nancy and I own a Nordhavn 40, and Jim was a major factor in that purchase, thanks Jim. I have had the good fortune to spend a great deal of time aboard both the N50 and N40, great boats!!

I hear Adm Nancy saying ENOUGH!! It is not too hard to say nice things about boats that have taken me from Alaska to Panama, and on to Florida and now Califorina to Hawaii.

Well it is time to get back to running Flat Earth This may be the last email, so thanks for following along on our adventure.

June 25, 2006

Flat Earth is now on Hawaii Time: So at 0900hst or 1200 pdt, we are 243 nm
from Diamond Head. With an eta of 1830hst/26th.

Flat Earth numbers:

Pos: @ 0900hst, 22-03N, 153-24W
Cus/Spd: 259T/7.0kts
Wind and Seas: ESE/13kts, Sea ESE at 4 feet

Life Aboard Flat Earth:
Yesterday was another Hawaiian fine day, light winds nice seas and plenty of
fishing and catching!! Jay and I caught 6 Mahi Mahi, two doubles and two singles. In fact the Capt and First Engineer finally said enough or we would be walking the plank!! Each time we hook one the boat is slowed to idle speed while we land the fish. We do offer the rods to Phil and Rick but they dont't always accept. Someone must exercise these fish, right!! The Mahi Mahi that we have been landing are still in the 24-35" range. No large fish - yet maybe today.

Phil handed off the galley duties to Cal last night so I did up the last of the Ahi (tuna), but I still have a few things to learn about cooking tuna. All and all we had a great dinner and no one went away hungry. Tonight we may have some Mahi Mahi on the grill if the sea remaing good.

Changing to Hawaii time really made for a very long day and today we should be better adjusted. It was a 3 hr change.

Laura Davis, Cal's daughter, emailed the tracking sight: http://www.pangolin.co.nz/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=KD7ZMG

For my Ham radio friends 75 Meters is not doing too well, but 20 Meters is usually open especially in the evenings.The weekend contest is a challenge to work around.

All is fine aboard Flat Earth and the crew is doing great. We did consider a swim at the halfway point but better judgement prevailed and we stayed with our vessel. I read an article about someone doing a swim and forgot to put down the ladder and they had a major issue!! Being the chicken that I am or maybe just very safety minded, would have offered to remain on board in case Flat Earth floated away too far!! The real reason, HALFWAY was in the very early morning hours and the seas were 8-10' and the water was not too warm.

We are starting to consider our arrival options and when and where to clear into Hawaii. Even though we are a US vessel, US crew, and arriving from a US port we will be required to get an Ag Insp upon arrival. Flights home are looking mostly OK for Jay and I as we travel on Delta passes. Everyone on board has either worked for Delta and retired or is associtated with the company. So you could say we are a Delta Crew.


June 23, 2006
Flat Earth Numbers:
164 nm Yesterday at the 2015 pdt report to Pacific Seafarers Net. So each day we have been getting about 160 nm +/-.  Currently 604 nm from Diamond Head.
Pos: 23-14N, 147-00W
Cus/Spd: 254T/6.6 kts, 1200 rpm, since the crew is still sleeping I have fallen off on the westerly heading to soften the ride.  I took the morning watch from Capt Phil at 0800 pdt.
W/V, Seas: 105T/15kts and the sea has layed down slightly to 4-6 feet.  It appears that we have lost the North Sub Tropical Current that we had yesterday afternoon and early evening.  At those times we were doing more like 7.5 SOG
WX: Yesterday we had great wx, lots of sun and winds in the mid teens.  This morning we have Honolulu wx, partly cloudy at 4500 feet and wind out of the East at 15 kts.
Fuel: Enough,  yesterday the engineering crew, Phil and Rick transferred the aft two tanks of fuel to the mains so they could read the amts on the sight guages.  They think we should arrive with 300-400 gals.
Life Aboard:  The fishing was slow, only one very small Mahi Mahi landed and something larger did a number on the lure big time, smashed it to pieces.  That is a pretty good trick when the boat is moving at 6.5 kts STW (spd thru water).  Today we hope to change that record and do a little better.  Sea Water Temp is 77 F and increasing about 2F each day. 
The flying fish are still hitchhiking . We found several 8-10 inchers this AM.  Some mornings we also have a few squid aboard. Yesterday we saw several schools of very small flying fish trying out their  wings. They were only 3 inches or so in length. 
Dinner was great last evening. We had a Harris Ranch  pot roast, pasta and an Italian Roma tomato salad with balsamic dressing, Yum!!
The Ham Radio operator, KD7ZMG, Cal, made contacts on 20 meters with Belgium, Norway, UK and of course checked into the Pacific Seafarers Net with our position report. The nets are manned by volunteers and they do a great job of keeping the  vessel records and reporting the WX to NOAA and passing messages.  Thanks, N6HGG, Bob and all the Net Controllers.  I also made my nightly contact with W7AHE, Burt of Salt City, UT. For those who do not know Phil and Cal live in Park City, UT just the the hill from Salt Lake City. 
Life is great aboard Flat Earth. We will are enjoying this wonderful cruise and looking for Hawaii!

June 22, 2006

Another nice morning aboard Flat Earth!!

As of last night at 2015 pdt/21Jun, we had made 161 nm in the last 24 hrs for an avg speed of 6.7 kts at 1200 rpm. I call in a position report to the Seafarers Net on the HF/SSB radio and they keep an internet plot of us. I do not remember the site but if you go to Winlink or Sailmail and look for vessel or ship tracking I think you will find the URL and the site. We are also being tracked by W7AHE, Burt of West Valley City, UT. Burt and I have made contact almost everynight for the entire trip. Thanks Burt. This is just a little thing that hams do for each other. The wx data reported to the Seafarers net is forwarded to NOAA, the wx people. Last night I think the Net checked in 18 vessels going in all directions in the Pacific.

Flat Earth Numbers as of 0830 pdt/22Jun:

Pos: 24-00N, 143-56W or 778 NM from Diamond Head. Very close to 1/3 remaining. We are using a total trip mileage of 2264 nm from Long Beach, CA.
By the way if any others are planning a trip and space in Dana Point is not available try the Harbor at Long Beach. Everything is within walking distance and it is a very nice area.

Cus/ Spd: At 1200 rpm we are currently making a SOG (speed over Ground) of 6.8-7.1 kts. This varies with the following seas and wind. Cus is 242T Wind: The sea temp is 76 F, and the wind is 065T/17kts, So as most will see the wind and swells are on our stern. The ocean swells layed down some yesterday but are still a consistent 6 feet and sometimes higher. The ride has improved and so has the fishing and CATCHING!!

We are still tracking more south than necessary for wx avoidance. Later this afternoon we should make our final adjustment for Diamond Head. Yea!!

Now for the fun stuff!! Yesterday our Fish Meister, Jay kept changing lures until he found some that the Mahi Mahi really liked. We hooked up two singles and then, a double and another single. Capt Phil near dinner time said enough of that guys, as he was in the galley whipping up some of the Mahi Mahi from yesterday. Capt Cal has heard that statement more than once from past trips. Since Phil and Rick were napping I was at the helm and giving a position report to one of the nets that I check into each day. Jay was watching the lines and recovering from the last fish that he and I had just released, when he hooked up again. I said goodbye to the Net, set the engine to idle in gear and with the boat still on the autopilot, ran to the stern to put on my life jacket. What a fire drill! Jay landed and I released the Mahi Mahi and I returned to the helm and brought the power back up and continued on track. That is about how it goes, but most of the time we have the whole crew to help and take pictures. The Mahi Mahi are probably the most colorful fish I have ever landed. They are all shades of neon blue, yellow, green while in the water and instantly change when out of the water. Since we do not have a scale, I quess the fish are in the 8-10 pound range and around 36 inches long. Not big fish by big water standards but they ring the fun meter!! So the long and short is don't pass on an offer to come this way if some Nordhavn needs some help going to Hawaii. We are using gear that was purchased in Long Beach at the local stores like West Marine.

Today we will try our luck again at the fishing and catching. We still have some tuna and Mahi Mahi so we will probably not keep any fish today, just exercise them. By the way the barbs on the hooks are crushed for easy release. One thing I will say about fishing gear is get good equipment and a large roll of 50-80 test running line and at least 100 pound leader material, extra hooks and etc. We are using a Penn 6/0 114 H reel and a 6"-6" boat rod. The boat does not stop just slows to idle speed of about 4 kts or so. As long as I am on this subject I will cover something else, Safety.

Last summer on Hale Kai, our N40, we had two incidents while fishing and both occurred to very experienced fishermen and crew members. Cut hands while dressing fish, so please do not handle a knife with out suitable gloves. We are using a Rapala Fillet glove that is made of some kind of metal cloth combination and another pair that you find in fishing supply stores. No accidents so far. I am lucky because my youngest daughter, Karen, is a PA and she gave Dad a very good brief on cuts, etc. before leaving. We also have phone numbers for medical help if needed.

Another thing that would be a good idea to have on a boat on a long cruise or anytime for that matter is an Automatic Defib unit. Something like the ones the airliners carry.

Well so far I have covered our position, wx, fishing and a short essay on safety. Better stop now or I will not have much say later or maybe that is a good idea! Life aboard is really tough. Come out and try it!!

June 21

Flat Earth Numbers: 0945pdt/21June or 1645 Z
Pos:25-04N, 141-20W, 950 nm from Diamond Head
Cus and Spd: 237 deg mag @ 6.8 kts avg last 24 hrs, dist made good 162 NM
Wx: W/V (true) ENE/15 kts, currently 065T/10kts. The cloud cover has been
broken to 100% overcast with rain showers. Sea water temp is 74F
Fuel and range: plenty according to the Capt

The last 24 hrs has seen an improvement in the wx and that should continue however our weather person advised us this AM to turn more SSW because Satellite pics show wx and TS across our route. We should pass to the south of this wx and not be affected too much.

We are looking at a late arrival on the 26th or early 27th.

Our vessel is working very well and our crew has adjusted also. With the water temp rising the fishing has improved. When we hit a water temp of 72F yesterday we started catching Dorado. Four were hooked, one in the boat and the others released. Today we hope to hook a few more and look for continued improvements in the weather.

The SSB continues to amaze me as last night I was either in contact with or listening to stations from Europe to Australia. One contact was with OZ1ADL, of Denmark! So the bottom line is that an ICOM M802, marine radio works great if it is installed correctly and tested. I have been very happy with this one but there are a few things that would help the radio. We do not have the HF email system because Phil did not get the software and codes before our departure. The Sail Mail people did not get the info to us in a timely manner. Thanks to the Iridium I am able to use this very good system.

The seas are laying down as I write this. Maybe this is a good sign.

We send our regards to our family and friends and hope all is well at home or where ever this finds you. This is a wonderful adventure and thanks to Nordhavn for building and supporting their boats and crews. Our equipment suppliers are also to be commended for guiding us as both Phil and I commissioned our boats several years ago.

Ok I will get off the kudo's soap boax and move on!! It is about time to get the catching of Dorado going!

June 18, 2006
Report from Cal on Flat Earth

Today Flat Earths's numbers are:
Time: 0945 pdt,
Pos: 27-25N 132-47W or 1423 NM from Diamond Head or 843 NM from Long Beach, CA
WX: wind is NNE/20kts and the seas or 8-9', broken clouds and sea temp 70F
Range: ?? enough fuel for Hawaii plus reserves 20+%

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads.

All is well aboard Flat Earth a Nordhavn 50, Hull #25. At the last report we were having a watermaker problem but that was resolved with a back flush of the sediment filters and a restart. The low pressure switch did its job when the pressure got too low. The unit is working well. Yesterday we adjusted the pressure on the Naiad stabilization system to 500 psi from 400 and the fins are working better. This is a trick that Brad Smith at PAE taught me on our delivery trip in 2002. Thanks Brad. All systems and crew are fine. This is a great vessel and we should arrive Hawaii on June 27th or early AM on the 26th. Currently the engine is set at 1200 rpm and will go to 1300 rpm at the 1/3 TOGO range of about 750 nm.

Yesterday we had the fishing gear in the water and hooked up several bonita but no Mahi Mahi/ Dorado. Maybe the water needs to be warmer.

If anyone is interested how we operate the boat, I will try to explain. The official watches start at 2000 pdt and are 4 hrs each until 0800 each day. I have the 2000-2400, Rick Eslinger 2400-0400, and Capt Phil 0400-0800. The daytime watches are very loose as who ever whats to play "Captain on watch" gets to sit in the big very nice Stidd captain's chair. It is the best seat in the boat. Jay Polk, our 4th, fills in where needed on the watches and gives the others a break now and then. He is also the fishmeister. I am the backup fishmeister.

Since I am the only HAM Operator, I have been able to contact many of my contacts on the beach and have made some new contacts. For route following I have been checking into the Pacific Seafarers Net each evening with position and wx reports. Phil was kind enough to assign me the 2000-2400 watch as that is when I am on the radio the most. The stations on the beach have been giving us updates from the internet and making phone patches to family. We still have the Iridium and that is what we use for the emails and any calls for service help. So far we have not had much need for service help from the beach.

The meals are "get what you want when you want to eat" and the evening meal is usually something that we do together.

This is a great experience for all of us. Phil and his wife Jean will keep Flat Earth in Hawaiian waters for a year or two and then plan to head to the South Pacific.

Each morning we do a flying fish and squid patrol around the outside area as we have been collecting a few each night.

Before I am again accused of telling a long story, (and I never do that, Ha Ha) I will close and say Aloha.
Thanks for riding along with Flat Earth and her crew.

June 17, 2006

Today at 1600 pdt were are at 31-12N,126-00W or 425 NM SW of Long Beach CA. Our speed is about 6 kts and the CUS to HNL is 238 Mag. The wind has layed down a bit and we have less wind chop and our eta HNL is very early 28 June or late .June 27th. We will probably increase our speed when we get further west The Pacific High pressure is just NW of us now.

For all my Ham contacts, Thanks, sure makes this a much more interesting trip. Thanks for all the encouragement. It has only been two years since I started this wonderful learning process and I appreciate all the help. Today I checked into the Manana Net 14.340 mhz at 1200 pdt and Kevin, K7ZS, from Portland was one of the net controls. I will continue to try 3.970 mhz in the evenings for the cousin nets. Also The Pacific Seafarers Net between 0200Z-0400Z (1900pdt-2100pdt). Their roll call of vessels starts at 0325Z (2025 pdt), Flat Earth is #13 on the list.

Life aboard today is better than yesterday. We are just resting, reading and checking the wx faxes for ideas on course and etc. So far we have not put any lines in the water - a little too rolling if we hook up. This is a wonderful trip and great experience.

June 15, 2006

We are under way and about 200 nm sw of LAX on the way to Honolulu and should arrive on June 26th if our speed and current conditions continue. Our Crew: Captain Phil, his brother Rick, friend Jay, and Capt Cal, KD7ZMG, along with M/V Flat Earth departed Long Beach,CA at 1345 pdt on Monday 12 June. The rhumb line distance is 2260 nm and should take 1200 gals of diesel fuel of the 1440 gals on board.

The wx has been good with a wind out of the NW at 10-15 kts and beam seas of 3-5 feet. No one has been sick and at this point I don't see that happening, I hope!!!

A few notes about mgs to the boat. Please don't reply to a msg, send a new w/o the old msg. Takes too much air time and no pic's or other things except data and plain text.

We will send out msg's and updates as time and wx permit. I am currently up on my 2000-2400 watch and trying to compose this as we bounce around.

Rob Follett and Mike, send me some contact times and freqs. The SSB seems to be working fine except for QSB and QRN. For those that are not hams that is "fading" and "static". I have been checking into the SeaFarer's net 14.300 mHz at around 0300 UTC. Night Train Express on 3.900 mHz at 2100 pdt. and last but not least Western Counbtry Cousins each night at 2100 pdt on 3.970 mHz.

A day time contact on 20 meters may be possible maybe 14.300 at 1200 pdt???

Today we caught two small tuna 8-10 pounds one did a SDR (short distant release) and the other went to the dinner table. Sheared Ahi, goooood!!! Jay and I got these out of a big group.

Our data is a follows: Pos at 2400 pst/13 june 32-24n, 122-02 w or about 210 nm sw of Lax. Heading for Honolulu is 240 deg Mag. speed is 6.8 kts +/- .2 kts.

As I once said on the big jets "so long for now and more news in Cruise".

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