| "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
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.
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
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
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
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:
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
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,
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
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,
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
Life aboard is really tough. Come out and try it!!
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
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
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
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 +/-
As I once said on the big jets "so long for now and more news in Cruise".