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Adventure

Bermuda-Newport
"Summer Skis"
4312 - Jim and Marge Fuller
"Bluewater" 4732 - Milt & Judy Baker

June 24, 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

Trip Wrap-Up

Current position 1200
--.--.-- N
--.--.-- W
Wind: Calm, Rain, overcast.
Swell: Calm
Distance made good since departure from Bermuda 654 Kn
Distance made good since departure from Vero Beach, FL 1619 Kn
Avg Speed Bermuda/Newport 6.9
Avg Speed Vero Beach/Bermuda 7.1
ETA Newport 1000
Actual arrival in Tiverton 1005
As last reported we were saying our good byes to Milt and Judy and we
reported on the deterioration and improvement of the weather.

After crossing the Nantucket lanes we started to see a marked difference in the water temperature. The Gulf Stream was running in the low 80's. Now it is starting to drop. At about the Continental shelf (Hudson's Canyon) the temp is in the low 60's. As we were watching the temp go down we were aware that fog was about to develop. IT DID!!! We doubled up on the watch system to have the extra set of eyes on the radar and too look outside.

Visibility had dropped to less than 1/8 of a mile and luckily we had crossed the Nantucket shipping lanes. We are now seeing shipping coming from the Buzzaards Bay area as well as from the Newport shipping lanes. We are also seeing fishing boats on the radar. They do not have AIS. ARPA would be helpful. We have experienced a few showers but not enough to wash off all the salt that we accumulated yesterday.

I turned in at 0300 after Charlee came on and asked to be awakened when the MOA buoy came in sight off Block Island. Around 0500 Charlee woke me up and Lo & Be hold there was the mark in clear visibility. About an hour later Block Island appeared and we knew we were home. Around 0630 we called the Homeland Security 800# in Holton Maine and we advised the agent in charge of our intended landfall and time. We asked to be cleared in at Tiverton. If that was the case then we needed to hear from the local agent within the hour. He called us back in about 30 min. and asked where we wanted him to meet us. This was amazing. We asked if Tiverton was possible and his comment was, "It is closer than Newport". So we altered course to Tiverton. We arrived at our dock at 1005 and the agent appeared at 1015. He asked a couple of questions, looked at our passports and said "have a nice day" and left. No inspection or anything.

So ended our trip. Very low key. Marge, Peggy LaFlame and Charlie Smith were waiting on the dock with Champagne and we celebrated our safe return. We spent the balance of the day cleaning, Marge made a wonderful welcome home meal and on Thursday we finished cleaning and the crew departed for their own home "waters."

That is about it; other than thanks to my crew for their support and constant vigil during their watches and to Marge for her support and her numerous hours of food preparations so we could be well fed during the trip. These efforts made for a happy and well fed crew for which we are indebted.

June 22, 2006
From Milt Baker on board Bluewater

Judy and I are happy to report that Bluewater arrived safely in Portland, ME, at 0030 Thursday, June 22.

After taking a mooring for the night, we cleared U.S. Customs and Immigration at 0700 at a berth at the Maine State Pier, moved a few hundred yards away to take on fuel ($2.25/gal. including tax) at Vessel Services, and we're now berthed on the face dock at Portland Yacht Services just a few feet from Lion's Whelp, a custom schooner built in this yard for yacht owner Phineas Sprague. Lion's Whelp was our neighbor at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the owner is a fellow CCA member.

It's great to be back in the USA after an absence of seven months in the Caribbean and Bermuda. We plan to spend a few days here then move on towards Southwest Harbor.

Box score on the trip is as follows:

Miles from Bermuda: 745 NM
Time underway: 111 hrs.
Average RPMs: 1800
Average speed: 6.71 kts
Main engine fuel burn: 555 gals.
Genset fuel burn: 22 gals.
Main engine mileage: 1.3 NMPG
Total mileage: 1.2 NMPG

Taking a look at the larger trip, from departure from Beaufort, North Carolina, in November, Bluewater has covered 5,300 nautical miles or an average of about 750 NM a month. That's certainly been enough to give the yacht and her systems a good workout, and we're returning with a lot more boat and system knowledge than we departed with. And we've had a really great time doing it!

We're looking forward to summer in Maine--and to a lot more miles aboard this Nordhavn 47.

June 21, 2006
From Milt Baker on board Bluewater

Underway in the Gulf of Maine, 82 NM S of Portland, ME
Noon EST position: 42-23.8 N 69-35.5 W
Course: 359 deg. M
Average speed: 6.6 kts.
Distance made good since departure: 663 NM
Distance made good noon to noon: 155 NM
ETA Portland, ME: 2359, Wednesday, June 21
Conditions: nearly perfect: wind 240 deg. M at 12 kts., seas SW 1-3 ft.
overnight and in AM, air temp. 67 deg. F, sea temp. 54 deg. F, barometer
1030.6 and rising

With Bluewater moving comfortably inshore along the coast of Massachusetts in easy going, this passage from Bermuda is all over but the shouting. Our foggy welcome to U.S. waters yesterday afternoon and evening saw visibility down to 1/8 mile for about six hours as we proceeded in the Great South Channel, dodging unseen dredgers and draggers harvesting scallops in the rain. We carefully picked our way through the fleet of working watermen, fog horn on "auto", listening carefully to the VHF, and watching the radar and Nobeltec screens intently . . . these guys move so slowly they don’t consider it a problem until they’re about a quarter mile away from another vessel even in zero visibility, but we prefer a wider safety margin. Again, we were very pleased to have our Furuno ARPA and Nobeltec displays—how would we do without them!

Judy reminded me that on our last Bermuda-to-the-U.S. passage in our own boat back in 1984, we didn't even have radar. But we did have foggy weather on the approach, and the pucker factor was several degrees higher. KNOWING what's out there helps keep the blood pressure down.

Frontal passage late yesterday brought heavy rain--enough, in fact, to wash away the salt of the passage. But the forecasted wind never materialized. We enjoyed Judy’s easy offshore dinner—quiche and salad—in the pilothouse, and, happily, saw light SWly winds overnight as the seas diminshed to nearly nothing. Under this morning's bright sunshine Judy chamoised the exterior and I scrubbed the diesel soot of the passage from the transom, and once more we have Bluewater looking like she usually does—if not pristine, pretty darned close.

This morning we passed by Cape Cod, but not close enough for our cell phones to work. As I write this just after noon, Boston is about 65 miles off our port beam. We’re on track to reach Portland in 12 hours, and we’ve made arrangements via the Iridium phone for a mooring at Portland Yacht Services. In the morning we’ll take a slip either there or at DeMillo’s Marina to clear customs.

For me, using a weather router and waiting for the right passage weather is a no-brainer, and this passage again bears that out. I once more salute Bob Jones at OMNI for his on-target forecasting and astute weather assessments. As I told Bob in a separate e-mail today, we compared his reports to those from three other weather routers at times in connection with our passages from the Virgin Islands and Bermuda and saw nothing that would make us want to change weather routers. To be fair, for the most part the other reports we saw were also quite accurate, but there were some service issues and other routers occasionally missed something important; neither has ever happened to us in many days of service from OMNI.

We close this passage on our "new" Nordhavn 47 with about 6,400 NM in her wake and and 970 engine hours during the 10 months since we took delivery. She has served us well so far and we're looking forward to many more comfortable miles! We're also looking forward to our summer in Maine.

All’s well that ends well, and this passage is on track to end on a high note. I will close the loop with a short wrapup tomorrow.

All is well.

June 20 , 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

Current position: 1200
39.276.82 N
69.58.99 W

Wind: SW 10-20 kts
Swell:4-6' With an occasional 8'

Distance made good since departure: 501 nm
Distance made good since Noon June 19 150 nm
Distance to Newport: 137 nm - Castle Hill Light
Avg Speed: 6 Kn
ETA Newport 1045 21 June 2006

Late yesterday as were saying our goodbyes we had a radio call from Cabot Lyman on Chewink. He left Bermuda about 2 hours after us and his current position when he called us was 20 miles ahead of us as headed for New Bedford. We will again have talked to him at 1900 last night. Hopefully we will all be back in the main flow of the Gulf Stream.

We never got a chance to talk to Cabot last night as the weather determinate to the point that we had to slow down in order to make it more comfortable. We were experiencing 20-30 Kt winds and swells to 7-8' mostly on our stern quarter but an occasional one would hit us on the beam and really roll us. We did hear from the Bakers and they in turn passed a message from Cabot indicating that he had slowed his boat down as well and the motion was similar to the wash cycle in your washing machine. I think we are in the rinse cycle. We left the Gulf Stream around 0500 this AM and are making better time and on a more direct rhumb line to Newport. The wind and waves are starting to moderate and for our arrival tomorrow the seas should be in the 1-2' range and wind less than 10. We are beginning to pick up the NOAA weather broadcasts but that is not saying much. They usually report yesterday's weather and seldom look out the window to see what is actually going on. In other words we listen and if their information is correct we consider ourselves lucky. Based on the moderating sea and wind conditions we have added back the speed we reduced yesterday. We are now back to 7 Kts over the bottom. Our plotter is showing an 0540 arrival at the outer "RACON" mark a few miles east of Block Island. When we take a 0000 position tonight we will recalculate our ETA to Castle Hill Light based on the new speed. Sometime today we will make an effort to contact the Coast Guard to give us some guidance on the "clearing in" process. Hopefully all we have to give them is our decal number and then we can proceed direct to Tiverton.That would be great. We also anticipate to again be in cell phone range sometime around midnight.

This has been a very memorable trip. We have enjoyed ourselves and my crew has done and excellent job of copping with living in a small space for an extended period of time. Charlee is still not coming over to the Dark Side. She will continue to be a sailor but if given the chance to do a trip of this type again I am sure she would give it consideration. I think her next major sailing goal will be to take "My Way" to Bermuda given the chance that she can get the proper crew.

Charlee's galley prowess was greatly appreciated and was an invaluable asset. I doubt that she would want to be considered on future trips as a fulltime galley person. Her skills with the plotters and watch standing duties were done professionally and in all conditions. She is welcome on Summer Skis at any time.
Joe on the other hand is a powerboater. His aspirations are to do trips on the inland waterways and lakes of the eastern U.S. on his current 25' trailerable Albin trawler. His goal is to get a larger coastal cruiser. His future long distance cruising will be confined to chartering. Joe's skills as a navigator and meticulous recorder of our positions were greatly appreciated.

Between all three of us we must have done something right as we did find Bermuda and have gotten ourselves within 137 miles of Newport.

Engine room checks by all were done regularly and without complaint.

My aspirations are to use Summer Skis with Marge and continue to do similar cruising that we have done in the past. We would like to stretch our wings a little and consider more distant destinations but with the limit of the longest passage for the two of us to be only 48 hours. Given that parameter there are lot of places yet to be considered. We are also considering some "sweet water" cruising that would include the lakes and rivers of the U.S. and Canada. We also are looking forward to sharing these adventures with like-minded friends and family.

The boat has done wonders for building our confidence as a "first year" powerboater. I have been on powerboats before both with my parents and others but this is the first one that we have personally owned. PAE/NORDHAVN builds a great boat that far exceeds the demands of the average cruiser. Yet it fills the need for those who want to venture off shore with confidence knowing that the builder has tested and built a boat that is capable to do what it was designed for and used the boat in the "real world" of offshore cruising. Milt & Judy Baker have been using Bluewater for nearly a year now and after spending the winter in Venezuela and doing this Bermuda trip will be leaving for the Med. next spring for 2 years. There were only 3 Nordhavns in Bermuda this year; Adventure, Bluewater & Summer Skis. Based on the reports that Milt & Jen at Nordhavn have been posting It would not surprise me that there would be an informal rendezvous in Bermuda within the next few years. This is a very reasonable goal for many well "found" cruising powerboats.

I will post a final report tomorrow most likely after we arrive in Tiverton or as we approach. I hope to post a post trip report detailing certain items such as engine hours, fuel, etc. We will have been gone from Vero Beach, FL a total of 37 days, at sea underway 12 days, in Bermuda 25 days, Marge with me 11 days, at Royal Bermuda Y.C. 12 days, at anchor 13 days. During the entire trip there have only been 3 days of rain and only 2 1/2 days of really uncomfortable cruising.
Yes, I would do the trip again. What would I do differently? Right now I don't know. There are a number of things that need analyzing before I can answer that one.

Well that about does it for today. We must be getting close to home and we are feeling better now that we had some good naps. Charlee is doing laundry, Joe took a shower, and I am next. We are back to our normal cruising routine only this is the last day. The boat also had a shower today. Actually, 4 rain squalls have washed off most of the salt that was accumulated over the last two and 1/2 days.

Jim and the Crew of Summer Skis sends their best and we hope you have enjoyed our reports.

At Sea 94 miles to Block Island
Position: 39.46. 86 N
70.15.23 W


Monday June 19, 2006
From Milt Baker on board Bluewater

At sea 239 NM S of Portland, ME
Noon EST position: 39-50.9 N 68-46.9 W
Course: 001 deg. M
Average speed: 6.6 kts.
Distance made good since departure: 505 NM
Distance made good noon to noon: 159 NM
ETA Portland, ME: 0700, Thursday, June 22
Conditions: Wind 260 deg. M at 10 kts after steady 20 kts. overnight, seas
6-8 ft. overnight and in AM, declining to 5-7 as wind drops, clear with some
haze, air temp. 75 deg. F, sea temp. 61 deg. F, barometer 1029.7 and falling

Bluewater said goodbye to N43 Summer Skis as we departed the cold eddy at mid-afternoon yesterday, and we entered the Gulf Stream about 2130. We’d crossed the cold eddy with a one-knot current on the nose early yesterday and hoped the Gulf Stream would give us a push, but it was not to be. We had head currents all the way as we crossed the 55-mile girth of the Stream overnight. Winds and seas increased in late afternoon yesterday, with SW to W winds in the high teens peaking at a steady 20 knots and seas a steady 6-8 feet on the port quarter all night. Much to our surprise, Cabot Lyman aboard Chewink heard us on VHF yesterday afternoon and hailed us. He left Bermuda four hours after us aboard his Hood-designed sailing yacht and here he was about 30 miles ahead of us; savvy navigator that he is, Cabot reported that he had hit the cold eddy just right and rode a 4- to 5-knot current all the way across. But he paid for it: the whole trip across was like a washing machine, he reported, with wind against current. Maybe we didn’t do so badly after all!

Forecasts from Bob Jones at OMNI, Commanders Weather, and Chris Parker are consistent: all call for our afternoon winds today to be the worst of the trip: SSW-SW 17-25 knots, occasionally 27-30. While the barometer continues to fall steadily, probably foretelling the approach of the forecast cold front, our winds and seas actually have been decreasing since early morning and we’re having a comfortable day so far. Hedging our bets, we took our showers early and have taken care of a few boat chores while the motion is minimal. That reminds me to mention that the Naiad stabilizers are doing a terrific job of keeping us stable. At nine square feet, the fins are a bit oversized for this boat so we normally keep them dialed back, but with the 6-8 foot seas overnight we increased the gain with noticeable effect.

I have changed our ETA to 0700 Thursday morning. If we continued on at our normal speed, we’d arrive in Portland sometime after midnight. While we’ve taken boats into and out of Portland perhaps a half dozen times and it’s a big-ship harbor, we’re still not all that familiar with it so a daylight arrival makes better sense to me. We’ll slow down as necessary on the final approach to time the arrival for 0700.

Our next major waypoint is the entry to the Great South Channel about 50 NM SE of Nantucket, and we should be there about 2100 tonight. From there, we have another 170 miles to go, leaving Cape Cod and Boston well off to port as we head NNW up to the entry channel into Portland. With the light winds and seas on the port quarter forecast, we’re hoping the final day in will be a comfortable one.

With just the two of us standing watches, our three-on-three-off overnight schedule—something we’ve used many times—is working very well. We’re both well rested, the ship’s jobs get taken care of, and there’s time left over to read or take a nap. Once we left the Bermuda Race boats behind, traffic has been very light—just an occasional ship which we normally see first on AIS. Bluewater’s crew, including Katy, have found our sea legs once again and a longer passage with a short-handed crew is certainly conceivable. However, as our good friend Bruce Kessler likes to point out, what happens if one of a small crew is injured or gets ill; not a pretty prospect!

All is well.

Monday June 19, 2006
From Milt Baker on board Bluewater

At sea 397 NM SE of Portland, ME
Noon EST position: 37-16.9 N 68-07.4 W
Course: 344 deg. M
Average speed: 6.2 kts.
Distance made good since departure: 347 NM
Distance made good noon to noon: 155 NM
ETA Portland, ME: 2000, Wednesday, June 21
Conditions: Wind 250 deg. M at 10 kts, seas 4-6. ft. swells with light chop
on top, partly cloudy, air temp. 72 deg. F, sea temp. 69 deg. F, barometer
1035.8 and rising

Bluewater passes the halfway point in this passage later today. Yesterday afternoon was idyllic—one of those lovely days at sea you’re always hoping for: sunny weather, flat seas, excellent boat speed, and good progress. Then the day began to dissolve into one that we’ll long remember but don’t care to repeat: strong head currents slowing our progress at times to less than 5 knots, and meeting a sizeable part of the Newport Bermuda Race fleet head-on in squally conditions. We spotted our first three racing yachts shortly before 1800 and in the next 12 hours passed an estimated 50 Bermuda racers, changing course dozens of times. We’re advised that the fleet split into two parts, one going east to ride the meander and the other west to ride the cold eddy; it’s our guess that the racers who went east are out front because those we met overnight were having slow going—one of them saying he was down to 2 knots and having a hard time steering.

We say goodbye to Summer Skis in an hour or so as we make our turn to the north for Maine and they remain on the rhumb line into Newport. We all agree that it’s been enjoyable to share the passage. We all appreciated having a buddy boat last night to help one another find our way through the Bermuda fleet in squally conditions that made picking radar targets a lot like trying to separate out individual snowflakes in a blizzard. Fortunately, picking the racers up on radar was far easier than getting an eyeball on their dim running lights—though the squalls didn’t help either chore. And there was the usual confusion: we’d make a radio call to the yacht four miles from us by latitude and longitude, only to have another answer thinking we were calling him—then it would take several minutes to sort that out and get back to trying to contact the nearest one; many yachts simply didn’t answer the calls leaving us to guess their intentions, not always easy in the slow-going for them—many had difficulty maintaining steerage so we’d see sometimes see a racing yacht’s red light, then his green, then nothing. The potential for danger was definitely there, but common sense, good humor and courtesy prevailed and it all sorted itself out. We were reminded that AIS is a wonderful tool for avoiding large ships, but last night it was useless in dodging the sailing yachts. We crowned our Furuno ARPA radar as king for a night for the great job it did for us sorting out the threats from the also-rans and squalls.

Last night offered a good tutorial for us on navigation lights. Coast Guard requirements say navigation lights (other than white “masthead lights”)—even for vessels up to 65 feet—need only 2 NM visibility. For us, two miles is too close at night! Almost invariably, the lights on these racing boats seemed designed to meet the minimum legal requirements rather than to be seen at sea at night. The tricolor lights at the top of the mast were visible for a much greater distance than the low-down side lights—often twice as far—yet only one boat in five had a tricolor burning at the mast top. Moreover, by Sunday night the racing yachts had been underway for over 24 hours and many of their batteries were no doubt low, further reducing light visibility. One skipper pleaded no engine and turned on his lights only after we called by radio! If the name of the game is being seen at sea offshore in the darkness, most of the Newport Bermuda Race yachts we passed barely scraped by.

About 9 this morning we spotted what appeared to be a great white sail on the horizon. As we approached, it became apparent that what we were seeing was a large white square rigger. Then we noticed that it had a bright orange stripe across the bow; it was the Coast Guard’s training ship Eagle, under full sail—what a sight!. Jim spoke with them, and we took a few pictures. Even with all sails drawing in 12 knots of wind, Eagle was making good only five knots!

Because of our reduced speed overnight, our ETA Portland is suspect; we may bite the bullet and slow down to arrive Thursday morning. We continue to be comfortable and boat speed is on the increase again, currently just above 7 knots. We may even get a push when we cross the Gulf Stream later today.

All is well.

Monday June 19, 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

Current position: 1200
37.17.76 N
68.10.24 W
Wind: WNW @ 12
Swell: Westerly 3- 5' 7 Sec.

Distance made good since departure: 347
Distance to Newport: 291- Castle Hill Light
Avg. Speed: 6.4
ETA Newport: 21 June 1100

WHAT A NIGHT !!!!!!!

We thought we were back in Annapolis on a Sunday afternoon in midsummer.

We saw our first race boat around 1600 and we had about 4 others within a 3-mile radius. Then things quieted down until around 2100. Then they came at us like locusts. Between 2100 and 0300 we had to have seen over 100 contacts on the radar and had visual sightings of over 50 boats and had to adjust course for 10 or 12 of them and we had radio contact with about 60. It was a major traffic jam. This was far from the "empty ocean" last night. This whole experience was topped off this morning around 0630 when we spotted a large sailing vessel on the horizon ahead of us. Lo & behold the Tall Ship Eagle is directly in our path with full sail and looking very impressive. I woke up the crew to take advantage of this "Kodak Moment." We called him on the radio and the skipper said "come on over and take all the pictures you want." That is just what we did. Another interesting side note is that we asked why he was not displaying as an AIS target he replied that his AIS was fully functional. We told him he was not sending any AIS information he said he would wake up the technician and have it looked into. 20 minuets later he came up on our screen but without any vessel information. When asked about this he indicated that they do not normally display details for security reasons.

All in all, it has been an exciting 24 hours. Between floating containers, race boats and the Eagle we are all very tired and today will be a day to catch up on our sleep and start the process to get out our U.S. charts as we will be approaching the mainland tomorrow. In fact we can start using "Chart Kit Region 3 (page 1) today if we choose to. We have to check in with U.S. Customs tomorrow in order to determine the clearing process. They require 24 hour notice. Also tomorrow and tomorrow night we will be crossing the shipping lanes between Nantucket & New York. So it could be a busy night again Tuesday. In addition Milt & Judy leave us today as they continue to Maine and we to Newport. We will miss having them with us, in particular that friendly voice in the middle of the night. It also helps to have a second set of eyes when the traffic is heavy. We have enjoyed there company both on the trip as well as in Bermuda and in Stuart last year. I am sure we will be seeing them in the future.

We are starting to see "trans Atlantic" traffic. We have encountered 3 large commercial vessels so far today. One bound for England, one to Baltimore and one to Bermuda. As we close on the coast this will increase.

We might even begin to get television tonight. If so we will try to get the show "24". The TV service we have is supposed to be available up to 250 miles off shore. We will see. It would be useful for the local weather in Newport. In addition we can get some news. Not that we really missed getting the news for the last month.

We have said a sad farewell to Milt & Judy. Their course is beginning to veer off to the Starboard as we continue on to Newport. Will lose sight of them shortly. At this time tomorrow we will know doubt be out of the influence of the Gulf Stream and the water temps will be considerably cooler than the 74 Degreess we are currently seeing.


Sunday, June 18, 2006
From Milt Baker on board Bluewater

At sea 552 NM SE of Portland, ME

Noon AST position: 33-03.1 N 66-37.7 W
Course: 344 deg. M
Average speed: 7.0 kts.
Distance made good since departure: 191 NM
Distance made good noon to noon: 168 NM
ETA Portland, ME: 2000 Wednesday, June 21
Conditions: Wind 030 deg. M at 5 kts, seas 1-3. ft., partly cloudy, air temp. 72 deg. F, sea temp. 78deg. F, barometer 1038.0 – steady

Passage conditions have been precisely what weather router Bob Jones at OMNI has called for and we’re delighted. Winds increased slightly to about 15 knots yesterday afternoon and both wind and sea remained ahead of the beam, the seas averaging 4-6 feet and declining to 3-5 overnight. At the moment we have perfect water skiing weather! The generators are off, doors and windows open, there’s no spray, and Bluewater and Summer Skis are moving along nicely at 7+ knots.

It always seems to take us about 24 hours underway to get into the rhythm of a passage and gain our sea legs. The article Judy was just reading in Passagemaker says Steve and Linda Dashew find it takes them four days. On our passsage up from the Virgin Islands to Bermuda we certainly hit our stride at about four days out and I remember thinking, "We could easily go on for another week or so!" At any rate, we's established a good rhythm now after our first 24 hours, and we very much look forward to the rest of the trip.

As usual, the current gods seem to toying with us. Having a buddy boat along experiencing the same makes us confident this is not some boat gremlin; it’s really varying currents as we track our course. Using the same RPMs we’ve had over-the-bottom speeds in the last 24 hours varying from 6.1 to 8.2 knots. Overnight we dropped to an average of 6.5 knots prompting both boats to increase RPMs to keep the speed up. Now we’re back to 1800 RPMs and running 7.8 knots over the bottom and 7.0 through the water. We’re approaching the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream and there’s a cold eddy very near our track. Plotting our position on Gulf Stream charts which we received from several sources confirms that we're definitely being influenced by the cold eddy. We should also get a nice push to the NE when we enter the Stream tonight.

After about nine months, 888 engine hours and nearly 6,000 NM, Judy and I continue to be extremely pleased with this Nordhavn 47. Offshore passages like this show us once more that PAE has designed, planned, managed, built and commissioned us one terrific offshore cruising machine. Like all boats, it has its strengths and its weaknesses but for a couple seeking a safe and comfortable offshore live-aboard passagemaker with room for occasional guests, it’s one terrific boat. On the plus side we continue to be impressed with the robust systems and the systems integrity and PAE's desire to fix what's wrong under warranty. If we could make one wish for the boat, it would be for a little more speed. Yeah, yeah, I know—it’s a full displacement boat and more speed comes at a serious cost of burning more fuel, something not compatible with an ocean-crossing boat of this size. In short, PAE got it right! Looking at the N43 nicely keeping pace with us, I have the impression that the comfort level is very much the same over there.

This is our first passage aboard our N47 in company with another boat, but we’ve done it on other boats and always enjoy a friendly voice on the radio on a night watch or someone to compare notes with. Looking out the window and seeing another Nordhavn reminds us very much of the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally. Summer Skis is a good buddy boat and I believe Jim Fuller and crew Charlee Poindexter, and Joe Ashley are enjoying the company as much as we are. They did the trip from Vero Beach to Bermuda alone. While an offshore passagemaking boat does indeed need to be self-sufficient, the safety of another boat nearby cannot be denied. We will be with Summer Skis until mid-day tomorrow, when we turn off to the north to Portland and they continue on the rhumb line to Newport.

We've spoken twice in the last 24 hours with Cabot Lyman making the passage from Bermuda to New England aboard his sailing yacht; he is not a happy camper because the wind is too light and it's from the wrong direction. This has shown us once more that our Icom M802 single sideband installation needs some work! One of several problems is that transmitting on 4045 temporarily knocks out the compass for the Furuno NavNet which supplies several other electronic devices. Getting it back requires recycling the NavNet system which causes more havoc. On our morning call Cabot was about 100 miles away and our ground wave signals--send and receive--were very strong. Better grounding for the SSB installation is one more for the "to do" list!

For those of you wondering, Katy is her usual happy self. Judy and I stand three-hour watches night starting at 2100, and Katy generally sleeps with the off-watch crew. That means that Judy and I each get six hours of sleep overnight and Katy gets 12--a dog's life. When the last of us arose this morning, Katy was ready to romp and stomp! She told Judy in no uncertain terms that she wanted to go to her island, Whites Island off RBYC in Bermuda. Each day in Bermuda Katy got two trips to the island and, of course, it quickly became an entitlement. Katy's probably quite certain that we could launch the dinghy and have her on the island in five or ten minutes and no doubt wonders why in the world we don't do so! Anyone looking for a great live-aboard boat dog would do well to consider a Schipperke and, as we did, introduce the dog to the boat as a puppy. Katy's home is a Nordhavn 47; if she could talk she'd tell you it's just about the only home she's ever known and it works just fine, thank you.

Andy Cox of RBYC e-mailed us from Bermuda this morning that at 0530 today the front-running Newport Bermuda Race boat was 271 miles from Bermuda, so yesterday’s seat-of-the-pants calculations on when we might see the first race boat was not too far off base. We’re now estimating mid-afternoon today. But I expect most of the race boats are not following the rhumb line (otherewise they'll be sharing our mill pond) so it won’t surprise me to never see a one.

At noon today we moved our clocks back so we are now on Eastern Daylight
Time.

All is well.

Sunday 18, June 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

Current Position; 1200
35.01.87 N
66.36.81 W

Wind: NE 5 Kts
Swell: NE 2'

Distance made good since departure: 186 nm
Distance to Newport: 450 nm
Avg. Speed: 6.6 kts
ETA Newport: 21 June

The night passed with out incident and the seas calmed down and the wind was light. On this course the sun is rising on our starboard side not on the bow as was the case on the trip from Florida. We are truly heading north. The first indication that the race boats are approaching was an e-mail from Andy Cox, Commodore of RBYC, that the first boat was reported to be 250 miles North of Bermuda at 0530. IF he is on a reciprocal course we should see him sometime around 1400. This is a BIG ocean and we doubt that we will see him. Tonight might put us into some traffic that we must be aware of. Today has been spectacular: clear, sunny, very manageable seas and no wind to speak of. If we had a faster boat we could be waterskiing.

We talked to friends by SSB (Single Side Band) who we met in Bermuda, Cabot & Heidi Lyman, on board Chewink a Hood 50. They left the same time as we did and were trying to sail. Unfortunately they made great speed over the bottom but they could not make the rhumb line. They are currently 5 miles ahead of us but 22 miles west of us. They will be turning on the engine today to get some "easting" to get closer to the rhumb line. The Gulf Stream will help us all it just depends on where we enter it. Their destination is New Bedford.

We have turned our clocks back one hour to Eastern Daylight Time.

Our weather routers are right on the money for today's forecast. Lets hope they will continue to be this accurate.

Tomorrow at about this time Milt & Judy will be heading easterly to the Great South Channel and then into Maine waters. We will continue nearly due north into Newport.

Saturday June 17, 2006
From Milt Baker on board Bluewater

At sea 23 miles nouth of Bermuda.

Position: 32-41.9 N 64-46.3 W
Course: 344 deg. M
Average speed: 7.2 kts..
Distance made good since departure: 23 NM
ETA Portland, ME: 2000 Wednesday, June 21
Conditions: Wind 005 deg. M at 12 kts, seas 3-5. ft. and declining, mostly overcast, air temp. 76 deg. F, sea temp. 76 deg. F, barometer 1033.6 mb – rising slowly

After nearly a month in Bermuda, we're underway again! It was a terrific month, thanks to the friendliness and hospitality that seems to be bred into every Bermudian. Thanks especially to Andy and Sonia Cox, whose friendship and hospitalty set the standard, and to the ever-popular Royal Bermuda Yacht Club which is at the top of its game under Andy's leadership as commodore.

N47 Bluewater and N43 Summer Skis departed St. Georges, at 0845, in light northerly winds with only gentle ground swells keeping the Town Cut Channel from being absolutely flat. The word’s out that a good crossing window has opened, and the early morning hours saw a steady parade of sailing yachts leaving the anchorage, with Bluewater and Summer Skis the only two power boats. We deployed Bluewater's paravane poles before departure; they give us the salty look of a commercial fishing boat, but we’ll use them only in the event the Naiad stabilizers cease to function.

Our plan is to travel in company with Summer Skis along the rhumb line to Newport for about two days, splitting off at mid-day Monday to pick up a course for the Great South Channel east of Nantucket and Cape Cod, while Summer Skis continues on in to Newport. The two boats make compatible partners, both handling the easy conditions so far with aplomb and easily keeping pace with one another. We’re running at 1800 RPMs and Summer Skis at 1900 and staying even with one another. We’re monitoring VHF 16 and using VHF 17 as our private chat channel.

The Newport Bermuda Race started yesterday with a record 263 yachts heading right at us. The thinking in Newport is that this will be a slow race because of weather, but the fastest of the boats can be expected to cover up to 350 miles a day, maybe more, and we expect to cover about 170 miles a day. This is like one of those dreaded math questions on the SAT: “If a sailing yacht traveling to Bermuda at an average speed of 9 knots leaves Newport at 1 pm Friday, and two trawlers traveling in the opposite direction leave Bermuda at 9 am Saturda averaging 7 knots, accounting for the one hour later time in Bermuda, what time can they be expected to meet?” My seat-of-the-pants calculations tell me that we could conceivably start seeing the fastest race boats about mid-day tomorrow. If you’re interested, you can check the progress of the race at: www.bermudarace.com . . . wish we could do that but we don’t have Internet at sea, only e-mail.

Bob at OMNI calls for is calling for us to have head winds and seas to start: NNE winds to 18 knots and seas declining from 4-6 ft for the first couple of days before going around to the south and then SW. He says to expect winds up to 25 knots as we pass through a front Tuesday, but for most of the trip winds and seas should be aft of the beam, which puts a smile on our faces. The forecast from Chris Parker, weather router for Summer Skis, is much the same. Jim and I agreed that if we cannot handle a forecast like this, we shouldn’t own Nordhavns.

Our friends Pam and Andy Wall, salty circumnavigators, are reportedly enroute to Bermuda in rough going about 500 miles away in their vintage 37-foot sailing yacht. We wish them a safe, fast trip! Cabot Lyman just called on VHF to say that he has cleared Bermuda's Town Cut Channel aboard his Hood 51 sailing yacht Chewink, bound for (he’s not sure) New Bedford, MA, or his home in Maplejuice Cove at Thomaston, ME. We’ll try to talk with him at 1900 and 0800 daily on SSB 4145. We got to know Cabot and his wife Heidi in Bermuda.

All is well.


Saturday 17, June 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

Current Position: 1200
32.40.45 N
64.45.53 W

Wind NE @ 7 kts
Swell 5' SE @ 7 Sec.

Distance made good since departure: 20 nm
Distance to Newport: 615 nm
Avg. Speed: 7.2 Kts
ETA Newport: 21 June 1300 Hrs.
We left Bermuda this morning in company with Milt & Judy Baker as well as 6 other boats all headed for Newport or other New England ports. We have lost track of everyone that left with us as they were sailboats and there is not that much wind as of the moment. Other boats are leaving later today in anticipation of better wind. The latest Gulf Stream forecast indicates that we might encounter an adverse current on our current rhumb line but we are still a full day away from that position. We will know better with tonight's forecast or early am on Sunday.

We were sorry to leave Bermuda as we had a great time and met some really interesting people and renewed some old acquaintances.

The first day is usually the most difficult as we are not used to the continued motion and the anticipation of being out here for 4 days. I am sure by tomorrow morning we will be into a routine that will allow for some serious sleep and we will have our "sea legs" by then. Also we have been cautioned by numerous sources to be on the look out for the Bermuda race boats. Starting tonight we will have two people in the pilot house so if there is a sighting or numerous radar targets we will have an extra set of eyes. Historically the race boats have made it a point to hide their positions by not having radar reflectors and never giving their positions over the radio. We will also be broadcasting a "Security" call giving our speed and position as we get closer to the fleet. We think we should start to see them tomorrow or even tonight for some of the faster boats. We will be past most of them by Tuesday night.

That is it from Summer Skis en-route to Newport, RI.

Wednesday June 14, 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

Very quiet day today.
The suspense is very trying. Can we leave or not ????? Every one from St. George's to Hamilton is looking at weather charts on the internet, Ocens, NOAA and any other source. We are listening to Herb, Chris, Bermuda Harbour Radio, Bob at OMNI and Commanders, as well as various nets to get the most recent up dates on weather. The consensus is that Friday looks good but Saturday is better. Stay tuned for tomorrow's chapter. As mentioned it is a very anxious group that wants to leave but we all understand that to leave with ANY risk is not prudent. So that is why we are holding off until the last minuet to make the decision. We will send an up date again. Good Night and dream of calm seas and fair winds for our passage.

Tuesday June 13, 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

Today was our day to do battle with the Bermuda Immigration Department. Really not much of a battle. Our cruising permit will expire on Wednesday and in order to stay beyond the original 21 days allowed ALL of us have to go to Immigration with our papers, passports, and in person have to tell them why we are staying. In addition we have to fill out the usual government paper work and present same to the proper people. Had we gotten there early, 0900, we could have been out in about 30 minuets. We got there at 1100 and were there nearly 2 hours. We had no problems and we are now good to June 23. Looking at the weather we will be long gone by then. We stayed in town for lunch again and Charlee & Joe wanted to do some last minuet shopping as well as we needed some groceries as some of the fresh stuff needed to be replenished. As well as soda and some cheese for tonight's party. The party was a success. Everyone had a great time and each boat brought something so there was plenty to eat and drink. Everyone was back on there own boat by 1900. We grilled steaks and Charlee did the veggies and potatoes. A very good time. The primary topic was the weather and whether a window will open this week. The consensus is that we will be leaving on Friday but no later that Saturday. We all start getting detailed reports on Wednesday and move to St. George's on Thursday. Adventure and Brown Eyed Girl will stay in Hamilton. Brown Eyed Girl is coming to Newport as the owner's son is getting married there later in the month. We might see them again.

Monday June 12, 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

Today is the ceremonial celebration of the Queens Birthday. Very impressive parade with a display of Bermuda's Military might, all 120 men & women strong. That does not count the police force, the firefighters, or the 12 sail training cadets. There were more people in the band than the military parade. Lots of Pomp & Ceremony. Raising of various flags, the Queen's flag, the Governors flag, the Mayors flag and of course the Bermuda flag. A 21-gun salute and lots of anthems and marches. Needless to say we were there with all the passengers from the cruise ships and a large turnout of Bermudians. We had lunch on shore and then back to the boat because everything else was closed. Our book supply is getting quite limited. Tonight was dinner on board Adventure. A great time was had by all. A total of 7 of us. We each brought something. We contributed the salad, Adventure the entrée, Milt & Judy scalloped potatoes and a great strawberry cheese cake Judy made. We did not get home until nearly 11:00. We had a new boat come into the anchorage, Brown Eyed Girl came in from Tortolla. The owner is flying out on Tuesday to participate in the Newport Race and his wife Sally will be staying on the boat alone so we have all been assigned the task of making sure she is ok. Their boat is anchored between us and Adventure. We are having a cocktail party tomorrow for everyone and Sally will be coming. Another stessless day in Bermuda. We are all getting anxious about leaving but not so that we will put ourselves in harms way.


Sunday June 11, 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

What a great time on Bluewater. Thanks Milt & Judy.Dinner was at Portofino a nearby Italian restaurant. The steamed mussels were excellent. Due to our relationship with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club we can tie up our dinghy there and have signing privileges as well. This makes getting into town much easier and a much shorter ride. We are well across the harbour from town and based on conversations with both Milt & Dave the water here is ok for water making. So it looks like today will be laundry day, for me at least. In addition we will be changing the oil in the generator. We thought we could make it home before this had to be done but no luck. For those interested we have 927 hours on the generator and 795 on the main engine. The disparity is the fact that when we brought the boat north last summer we ran the generator 24/7 for nearly 2 weeks. Due to the excessive heat we ran the air conditioners nearly constantly for that time. Also now that we have been at anchor for over a week in Bermuda we are using the generator more than the main. Once we leave, the main engine hours will start to catch up to the generator hours somewhat.


Saturday June 10, 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

PLEASE WEATHER GODS ---
Smile on Summer Skis. We made the decision to abort our departure early this morning based on the
development of Tropical Depression #1 (TD-1). That will be named Alberto if it develops into a hurricane. Currently the weather gurus don't think so. Regardless it did not appear to be a prudent decision to leave today. Right now it looks like a window will open later in the week, Thursday/Friday. So, we moved back to Hamilton to visit with Milt, Judy, Dave & Karen. As soon as we arrived we were invited for drinks at 1800 (6:00PM) on Bluewater (Milt & Judy's 47' Nordhavn). We had decided to go out to dinner anyway so this was a good way to start the evening. We had a great time. This was Joe & Charlee's first opportunity to spend time on a 47 and meet Milt & Judy, also Katie, the dog as well as Karen & Dave on Adventure a Nordhavn 62. We had a great time and this led to an invite from Dave & Karen for a "pot luck" tomorrow on their boat. We get to bring the salad.

I will be sending this tonight (Saturday) as I want everyone to know that we are NOT in harm's way if you are hearing about TD-1. We are safe in Hamilton and will NOT proceed until we have at least a 6 day window. We need 4 days to make the transit.

This is a long weekend in Bermuda due to the Queens Birthday on Monday. In addition the whole Island is glued to the TV for the World Cup. England won their first match 1-Nil. (That means 1-0.)

Friday June 9, 2006
From Jim Fuller on Summer Skis

No, we are not a victim of the Bermuda Triangle. Just a victim of unsettled weather between the east coast and Bermuda. Since our last message the weather locally has been very unsettled and in turn there has been some nasty stuff in the New England area.

So, now it looks like we will leave sometime on Saturday between two low pressure systems that, given our speed and course, will allow us to get to Newport before the weather deteriorates later in the week. The first 12 - 18 hours could be similar to what we experienced when leaving Florida, 15-25 Kt winds and 6-8' seas subsiding as we approach the Gulf Stream. Once we cross the Stream things should improve even more. The Stream is about 1&1/2 days out of Bermuda. We will not put in our exact waypoints until we have departed as there are a couple of eddies & meanders that we are keeping track of. If everything works out it looks like an arrival in Newport on Wednesday. Again this is ALL predicated on the weather gods smiling upon us.

In the mean time we have enjoyed our time in St. George's. Have done a lot of walking and have made contact with a number of other cruisers. One in particular is "Shirley" from South Africa on her 22', yes, 22 FOOT sailboat with a Lateen Rig. She has been out there for 3 years crossing to South America, Caribbean, and working her way to Newport. She left this morning. Her average cruising speed is 3 knots. I doubt that we will see her on our trip but we will definetely beat her to Newport. The sailboat "Aanoosh" (Armenian for sweet thing?) is out of Jamestown, RI with a single guy on board named Kip (age 30?). He bought the boat in Naples FL. two years ago and is on his way to New England to either sell it or keep cruising. He does not know. As he said, he might even start another company and when he feels like it sell it like he as done in the past. He is not alone on the boat he has two Border Collies and a cat to keep him company. We were invited for dinner the other night but we had all ready taken something out of the freezer. There is a "cruisers get together" at the Whitehorse Tavern tonight. If it is not raining or blowing to hard we might go. In talking to a few of the other cruisers it appears that there will be a number of us leaving tomorrow. Some to Nova Scotia and the balance to Newport & New England/Maine or the Cape.

Wednesday June 7, 2006
From Milt Baker on board Bluewater

It looks like we're sentenced to awhile longer in Bermuda--not a bad sentence at all! OMNI weather router Bob Jones says we may have to wait here another 7-9 days, and there are no guarantees even then. On the other hand, a "window" could open unexpectedly on very short notice to give us the
96 hours we need to get to Newport. We'll let you know when the good news comes.

Given the delay, we are now considering proceeding directly to Maine from Bermuda rather than stopping in Newport. Our plan would be to proceed in company much of the way with our buddy boat, Summer Skis, then break off and head up to Portland or Boothbay. The trip direct to Maine is only about 100 miles or so.

Though we're enjoying Bermuda tremendously and are very comfortable in our snug anchorage across from Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, we're having some squally weather as a low passes us by. Norwegian Crown, a cruise ship, grounded this morning about 2 1/2 miles from us on her way into Bermuda and
operations are underway to get her off. From where she shows on the chart our AIS, it's going to be a tough job. Yet just to show that life goes on, two tiny International Optimists from one of the youth sailing programs just skittered by.

Tuesday June 6, 2006
From Jim Fuller on board Summer Skis

Oops; so much for a Thursday departure. The weather gods are not smiling on us. Apparently there are some low pressure systems that are rather slow moving and of a certain nature that makes a Thursday departure not very comfortable for crossing the Gulf Stream. Right now it looks like a
significant high pressure system will move into the area late Saturday/Sunday. This would allow us to leave either Sunday or Monday. The by-word on this trip is safety & comfort first and foremost. If we have to spend a few extra days, what better place than Bermuda? With this new high pressure system forming later on in the weekend it will give us a longer period of good weather when we do leave.

I will send this off today (Tuesday) with further installments later in the week.

Monday June 5, 2006
From Jim Fuller on board Summer Skis

Greetings from St. George's Harbour.

We moved today from Hamilton to St. George's in anticipation of a departure on Thursday and for a change of scenery. We are at anchor among nearly 30 sailboats. As they say, "the rose among the thorns." I am sure the sailboaters are saying the opposite. St. George's is a very protected
anchorage - a little larger than Great Salt Pond. Instead of Champalin's dock there is a cruise ship dock with the Empress of the Seas currently berthed. We were thinking of going to the St. George's Dinghy Club but they only had "Med. Mooring" available and it is a long walk into town. St. George's is also the port of departure for all boats leaving Bermuda. They have our "Ditch Bag" that has all of our flares and abandon ship materials. They will not release this to us until we have filed our papers to depart
Bermuda. We will "clear immigration" sometime on Wednesday if we get a good
weather report from both of our weather routers. If we leave on Thursday AM
we will calculate our exact mileage based on waypoints that will get us
across the Gulf Stream in the most comfortable manner.

Sunday June 4, 2006
From Jim Fuller on board Summer Skis

We are still waiting for the weather to moderate between Bermuda and the East coast. It appears that we will have more definitive information early next week, with the remote possibility of a departure mid to late next week.

Marge left yesterday (Saturday) and I attended a party for Eddie Johnson, his 70th, and had a great time. Met some more interesting people and spent some time with people we have met in the past. We will be putting the dinghy down today and going exploring around the harbour. We have heard of a great anchorage that we should be able to get into with the big boat but will try first with the dinghy. If it looks good for the big boat we might move there tomorrow.

I am sending this off on Sunday as I have had couple of e-mails wondering if we had been accosted by the Bermuda Triangle. We are still safe in Hamilton and enjoying beautiful weather.


Friday June 2, 2006
From Jim Fuller on board Summer Skis

The wind has clocked around to the South and it is a gorgeous day. Unfortunately this is not the case for a trip to Newport. We are now comparing a number of weather routers and everyone is in agreement that the weather window is still not open enough for a comfortable passage to Newport. Maybe sometime later in the week. We did leave the dock at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club to go to The Dockyard for duty free fuel. The prices were comparable to the U.S. on a $ per gallon basis.The only difference is the fuel is not red as it is in the states. We are currently anchored in Hamilton Harbour with about 6 other boats. One is a big one from England headed to Newport for the race and to follow the race to Bermuda. There are also a number of Bermuda sailboats getting ready to depart for Newport to race back. We have a beautiful view of the Hamilton waterfront.

Tomorrow is a sad day on Summer Skis. Marge will be leaving to return to Tiverton, RI. We have had a great time seeing the island and visiting friends and making new ones both on the island and within the boating community. Marge has outdone herself with her cooking and meals that we have had both by ourselves as well as with friends. My crew also returns tomorrow also. I have a birthday party to go to tomorrow evening. We will most likely move to St Georges on Sunday and wait for the weather window to open. We will anxiously be watching for a favorable opportunity.


Thursday June 1, 2006
From Jim Fuller on board Summer Skis

Today the wind stayed in the East and we have had rain on and off all day. A good day to read and relax. We changed the oil on the main engine so we are now set in that area. Marge went shopping with Charlee and showed her some of the shops in Hamilton. She & Joe have been staying on the North Shore. They both got bikes for a couple of days and admitted that it was the only way to see Bermuda. Our neighbor on Adventure has moved to the anchorage for a few days. We will be doing the same tomorrow either here in Hamilton or St. Georges. We will be putting on fuel in anticipation of a departure next week sometime. The weather will be the deciding factor. We will hear more tomorrow from the weather routers. It looks like the weather will moderate here but the offshore forecast is what we are interested in.

 

 

 

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