Tuesday, November 11, 2008

October 103-104 Cruise

Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship
Cruise Report

ASA 103 – 104 Basic and Intermediate Cruising/Bareboat Chartering Class, October 4 – 11, 2008

Student Crew:
Robert deGroof
Ellen deGroof
Kevin Daylor
Charles Davis

David Appleton

This turned out to be an example of our typical 103-104 class preparing novice sailors for the demands of bare boat chartering. We spent the first 3 days fulfilling the requirements and learning the skills outlined in the ASA 103 Basic Coastal Cruising course before embarking on a 5 day cruise mastering skills of the 104 Bareboat Chartering Course. This seemed to be a very satisfying experience for the crew and instructor alike. For the full report, see the Coastal Cruising reports on our website: http://www.mdschool.com/Reports-2008/Chesapeake/index08.htm

Capt. David Appleton, Instructor
Lankford Bay Marina, Rock Hall

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Norfolk to St. Thomas USVI, November 2008

CELESTIAL, our IP 440 will depart Taylor's Landing Marina today, November 6, 2008 after several days of preparation. The crewmembers are: Captain Jochen Hoffmann, First Mate Louise Orion, and student crewmembers Paul Kidd, Matt Carlson, Tom Kopcik, and Larry Weld. CELESTIAL will make the passage to St. Thomas via a planned non-stop ocean route. The cruise has an estimated distance of 1500 miles, and will take approximately 11 days, sailing both day and night. Please read the COMMENTS to this post which will discuss the planned route, weather and actual progress.

Monday, October 20, 2008

CELESTIAL IP440 Deployment

CELESTIAL, our IP440 ocean sailing yacht is in final stages of preparation for a ten month deployment starting October 20th from Rock Hall, MD to St Thomas, Bermuda and New England covering 12,000 miles and hosting 140 different crew members during 25 training cruises.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DELMARVA Cruise, September 2008

CELESTIAL, our IP440 sailing yacht departed Lankford Bay Marina, Rock Hall, MD on Sunday, September 7 for a circumnavigation of the DELMARVA peninsula with five student crewmembers headed by Captain Jochen Hoffmann. The following email was received from them at 1800 on Monday:

Summit N Marina. Arrived 1740 yesterday after good training day motor sailing in moderate NW winds. Established deviation table. Departing 0630 to catch falling tide at Reedy Point, Del. River. All are in good spirits, looking forward to ocean leg. Jochen

At 2100 on Tuesday, Captain Jochen reported by telephone that they were approaching the entrance to Chesapeake Bay at Norfolk and expected to dock at Taylors Landing Marina, Little Creek by 0100 on Wednesday. There, they planned to rest from the ocean passage and depart on on Thursday for the northbound cruise up the Bay.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


CELESTIAL, our IP-440 sailing yacht departed Lankford Bay Marina near Rock Hall on Saturday morning, June 12th and made the trip to the C&D Canal at the north end of Chesapeake Bay by evening and overnighted at Summit North Marina. Captain Eric Petterson reported by phone at 1100 on June 13th that they were preparing to depart for the non-stop cruise leg down Delaware Bay and the coastal Atlantic and into Norfolk. The crew consists of Captain Eric Petterson, students Lee Wenk, Tim Hall, Bill Marshal and Peter Odell.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Norfolk to Rock Hall Cruise

HALIMEDA, our IP45 sailing yacht departed Norfolk on the morning of July 10th for a 140 mile intermediate coastal training cruise (ASA104) to Rock Hall with three student crew onboard under the charge of Captain Lee Tucker. After a good day's sail, the spent a peaceful night anchored in Fishing Bay on the Piankatank River for a little rest and relaxation and review of the day's activities.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bermuda to Norfolk; Cruise #4

HALIMEDA departed Bermuda at 1800 EDT on June 29th bound for Norfolk with a crew of six onboard headed by Captain Jack Morton.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Norfolk to Bermuda; Cruise #3

HALIMEDA departed Norfolk at 1700 on June 18th, but had to return to port in the wee hours of June 19th to repair a headstay problem. After repairs, she again departed Norfolk at 1500 on June 19th bound for Bermuda with a crew of six headed by Captain Jack Morton

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bermuda to Norfolk; Cruise #2

HALIMEDA departed Bermuda in the afternoon of June 7th bound for Norfolk with a crew of six onboard headed by Captain Jochen Hoffman. As of 2230 EDT on June 7th, they were located at 3232N and 6438W or about 20 miles north of Bermuda.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Norfolk to Bermuda Cruise #1

HALIMEDA, our Island Packet IP45 sailing yacht departed Norfolk this morning on an ocean training cruise bound for Bermuda, a distance of 650 nautical miles, with a crew of six sailors headed by Captain Jochen Hoffmann. We'll periodically post her position based on reports from the onboard Skymate satellite tracking system.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Halimeda; St Thomas to Norfolk Ocean Training Cruise

Halimeda departed St Thomas, USVI on Wednesday, May 7 at 0800 for a 1500 mile training cruise to Norfolk by direct ocean route. We expect to receive once daily position reports from her Skymate automatic tracking system and voice reports at three or four day intervals. As of 2200 EDT on May 7th she was located about 40 miles NNW of St Thomas on a track towards Cape Hatteras and Norfolk. On board are Captain Jack Morton, First Mate Jim Bortnem, and student crew Bob Mains, James Turner, Mike Robinson and Eric Mendelsohn. Click on comments below for further updates as the cruise progresses.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Bahamas to Norfolk Ocean Passage, May 2-10, 2008

After a valuable two days of preparation, which included ship's checks, man up the mast, sea anchor deployment, emergencies procedure, engineer briefings, and navigation briefings, the crew of CELESTIAL prepared to shove off at 1600hrs on Saturday May 3rd.

Their intended course from North Man O War cut is 12 degrees true to Diamond Shoal, before heading for the Chesapeake Bay. Their ETA at Taylor's Landing Marina in Norfolk is noon on Saturday, May 11th.

Both ship and crew are in fine shape for this ocean passage. On board are Captain Andy Prescott, First Mate Billy Psimas, and crew members David Gifford, Roque Reis, Bob Roe, and Bob Hickey.

Monday, April 21, 2008

News from ASA# 106 Punta Gorda Florida - Marsh Harbor Bahamas

After a day of preparation, the crew of CELESTIAL departed Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda Florida at 1:45 PM on Monday April 21, 2008. The first leg of their passage will be a non-stop cruise to Key West. Captain Andy Prescott expects this leg to take 24 hours and so the crew will reach Key West by early afternoon on Tuesday April 22, 2008.

Pictured here are crew members Manny Rosa, Richard Dixon, Wolfgang Linke, Bill Magness, and Jim Spilbor with Captain Joe Kliment and Captain Andy Prescott. Captain Joe Kliment, who lent his vast expertise in the preparation of the crew for the journey, reports that "these guys will be a GOOD crew! They were a pleasure to work with!"

Further details on the voyage will be posted here as comments to this original post. Thanks, as always, to Ruth Kliment for the crew picture!

Dry Tortugas Cruise #2 Report by Captain Joe Kliment

The crew members for the second Dry Tortugas Cruise March 22-29 are pictured here: Patrick Paul, Karl Engkvist, Tom Caulkins, Mustafa Dosemeci, Peter Brubaker and Captain Joe Kliment. Below is Captain Joe's report:

The second Dry Tortugas ASA 106 cruise was as challenging and enjoyable as the first. The crew provisioned on Saturday, March 22, then prepared the boat for departure. No one felt threatened by the heavy rainstorm with serious thunder and lightening overnight, since CELESTIAL was still at the dock.

We departed at 8:30 March 23, Easter Sunday morning, with good winds and beautiful weather, sailing on a great broad reach down the Gulf toward the Dry Tortugas. The students practiced dead reckoning and learned to use the ship's radar, observing traffic along the way. We had previously divided into 3 teams, with a watch schedule of 3 hrs on and 6 hrs off. It was a pleasant overnight sail with a swallow coming aboard the boat for much the night.

We arrived at the Dry Tortugas, after carefully running the course to Ft. Jefferson, where we anchored at 11:30 AM Monday, March 24. The crew toured the Fort and rested after the long sail. Unexpected excitement arose on the dingy trip back to CELESTIAL, when the engine of the dink failed this crew - leaving us adrift without paddles. With wind gusting to 30 knots, one crew member quipped “We're on our way to Cuba!”.

The National Park came to our rescue, when Ranger Jason Olds arrived in a large inflatable patrol boat and towed us back to CELESTIAL. (The dink engine was later found to need a tune up and carburetor adjustment.) The heavy gusting winds caused other boats to drag anchor through the night, but our properly set anchor, with plenty of chain rode held firm.

On Tuesday, March 25, we prepared our main meal at noon and departed the Dry Tortugas at 3 pm for our second overnight sail. With 25 knot east winds on the nose, we motor sailed through 8-10 ft seas. This rough ride, in the blue water south of the barrier reef, was the biggest challenge for this crew thus far. Like true seasoned sailors, this crew took care of each other!

Arriving at the outer mark for Key West at 7:30 AM Wednesday, March 26, we were surprised to see a nuclear submarine and it's tender nearby. Proceeding up the channel we were indeed fortunate to get the last slip available in Conch Harbor Marina. The challenge of docking this large vessel in such a narrow lagoon brought (well deserved) applause from the bystanders. The crew toured Key West and thoroughly enjoyed a meal ashore. Luckily the weather was kind and sleeping conditions comfortable, since the air conditioner on the vessel failed (this was later found to be a cooling water problem)

On Thursday, March 27, we ate an early breakfast before departing Key West via the North West Channel. Setting the genoa, staysail and full main while beating into a 15-20 knot NE wind, the crew was exhilarated to be speeding along at 8 knots. Some time later, we found the autohelm was non-functional, so we manned the wheel for the next 24 hrs. By evening the winds had diminished and we motorsailed through the night. Shortly after sunset, a large osprey circled CELESTIAL, landing on the bow pulpit to accompany us for a 6 hr ride.

A beautiful sunrise off of Captiva Island found us motoring, with no wind for an uneventful return to Burnt Store Marina at 11 AM Friday March 28. We refueled and pumped out, then docked and cleaned Celestial. Since there were no students testing for ASA 106, this cruise was now completed and the crew began to depart. The 5 student crew members had become good friends though this challenging experience and we plan to stay in touch in the future. It was truly a cruise to remember for all of us!

Capt Joe Kliment, March 30, 2008

March 30, 2008 6:31 PM

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

News from CELESTIAL and Dry Tortugas Crew #1

After a day of preparation, the crew of CELESTIAL set sail Sunday morning March 9th at 07:30. It was a chilly 41 degrees when this photo was taken by Ruth Kliment. Pictured are Captain Joe Kliment and crew: Jeff Scott, Frank Crumb, Ken Stevens, Mike Coyne and Jeff Harper. Captain Joe has been posting positions using his HAM radio, and at last report on Monday March 10th at 13:08 he says "In GULF. Crew and vessel OK." You can follow the ship's progress by going to http://shiptrak.org/� and typing in the call sign W3HZM and selecting "Last 30 days" from the drop down menu. Zoom in and hover over each point, or look at the bottom of the screen for comments associated with the position. I enjoy the "Hybrid" view myself, where you can make out the Dry Tortugas. Further details on the voyage and post cruise input from the crew can be found as comments to this original post. Pictured here is the crew returning to Punta Gorda.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bilge Vigilance!

In reponse to Charles Doane's (a well known and respected delivery skipper) article in ON about how bilge flooding fried all his electronics, I sent this letter to the editor, Tim Queeny. Some of our offshore students wonder at our hourly checks. They are important.

This letter was included in the September 07 issue of ON.

April 19, 2006

Tim Queeney, Editor
PO Box 569
58 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101

Dear Tim:

Charles J. Doane's account of his bilge water plight during s/v AVOCATION's "Wrong Way to the West Indies" voyage in your May/June issue reinforced the importance of Rules with which I indoctrinate my crew before every passage, on my own deliveries and on the training voyages I skipper for The Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship.

Rule #1 is KEEP THE BOAT AFLOAT! Maintain watertight integrity and be vigilant about it. We have practices outlined in our Standard Operating Procedure manuals to insure we keep our vessels on the surface where they are designed to sail best, and avoid shipping water into compartments where critical gear, like batteries and electronic equipment, is stowed. Procedures are:

1. Shut down electric bilge pump when going off shore. Use visual and manual checks to monitor bilge, or, if so equipped, a bilge pump cycle counter.
2. Make hourly visual checks of the bilge.
3. If any water is found in the bilge, pump with manual bilge pump, count the strokes and log them in the hourly Ship's Log entries. Each watch is responsible for this as part of our routine hourly boat checks.
4. Each oncoming watch checks the Log for bilge entries and condition. Usually there may be a few strokes each hour, especially in heavy conditions or heavy precipitation. This is "normal."
5. Any increase in "normal" bilge pumping routine MUST be investigated immediately. Just getting the water out is problem enough, but the most important thing, FIND THE LEAK AND STOP IT, is near impossible if the leak is already submerged!

This routine has saved me from serious difficulty on several occasions. Failure to follow it got me into a couple of frightening situations. Don't ask!

This last March I skippered delivery of a sailing vessel from Grenada to Florida. She had neither an "off" option on the electric bilge pump, nor a bilge cycle counter. I advised the owner of the potential danger. I even considered cutting the wires and making a jury rig switch, but didn't. So the electric bilge pump whirred merrily along every so often, clearing the bilge. We watched the bilge as if our lives depended on it. They did... or at least could have.

With this setup the electric pump could be overwhelmed by a leak and fail before we realized we were taking on water. If not vigilant we wouldn't notice anything until the cabin sole boards started floating. At that point we would be in deep trouble indeed (headed deeper!!) with only the manual bilge pump in operation, and the leak probably well submerged and disguised. If this pump should fail.... !! I have seen this happen!

So a further requirement we have for vessels in our charge venturing off shore, or even near shore, is to have some robust back up pump aboard, beyond the built in manual and electric bilge pumps, one not dependent on the vessel's electrical system. Several good ones are available on the market. This mobile pump and can be used to clear isolated compartments that do not drain into the bilge.

And for sure all boats in all waters should have at least two stout buckets aboard and handy. As we all know, nothing clears a watery bilge more effectively and efficiently than a scared sailor with a bucket!

I don't know if our bilge monitoring regime would have worked with Captain Doane's shallow bilge issues, but it might have.

By the way, RULE #2 is STAY ON THE BOAT!

Hope you find this useful.

Fair Winds,

David Appleton, Head Instructor
Maryland School of Sailing & Seamanship

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Yacht Charters for Graduates

As a new offering to our graduates, we have added a Continuing Education Program consisting of Captained Charters and Bareboat Charters on our Island Packet sailing yachts to assist graduates in practicing and reinforcing skills learned in our regular training courses. This offer is not available to graduates from other schools or to the boating public in general. Refer to http://www.mdschool.com/Charter.htm for details.