Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bermuda 2009; Training Cruise #1 Departs

CELESTIAL, our IP 440 departed Taylors Landing Marina, Norfolk VA before dusk last evening May 27, 2009 after two days of preparation. Aboard CELESTIAL are: Captain Jochen Hoffmann (Arlington, VA), First Mate Jim Bortnem (Hawley, MN), and student crewmembers Jim Wallace (Miramar Beach, FL), Richard Zell (Milford, CT), Allan Zell (Easton, CT) and Mike Mika (Katy, TX). CELESTIAL will make the passage to Bermuda via a planned non-stop ocean route. The cruise has an estimated distance of 670 miles, and will take approximately 6 days, sailing both day and night. Please read the COMMENTS to this post where we will follow their ocean cruise with reports from the crew, discussions on weather and reports on actual progress.

This is the first of four back to back ocean passages, between the east coast of the United States and Bermuda. A second student crew will board CELESTIAL in Bermuda for the return trip to Norfolk. Student Jim Wallace from this first cruise will stay aboard for the round trip! It may interest those aspiring ocean sailors to read Jim's post to our blog following his 2007 101 class with The Maryland School, prior to which he had only dreamed of sailing. Since then, Jim has earned his certifications through ASA 107, and has done a significant amount of independent sailing. It gives us great satisfaction to know Jim is living his dream!

37 comments:

Allstate said...

Happy Sailing! Can't wait to hear about the adventure.

Virginia

Anonymous said...

Rich, have a safe trip. If you guys get into trouble and need rescue from someone with a reliable vessel, give me a call with accurate coordinates. Best wishes, Lou

Rita Hanson said...

We'll be tracking CELESTIAL's progress by Skymate and will post their progress here.

Enjoy!

Rita Hanson said...

This weather communication was sent by Captain Tom Tursi here at the school via Skymate to CELESTIAL at 12:44 EST today:

"Wx Day 2: Low pressure 3718-7100 today; Storm (over 48 knots) by Fri; moving North East. Another Low off the Great Lakes moving North East will drag cold front to you by Sat... T"

Wandering Wallaces said...

Well, they are asea..and I am sure all are lovin' it! Have a fantastic six days, Crew....we'll be with you all the way

The Marlows said...

I couldn't be more excited that my dad is living his dream too!! Sailing - what an adventure! Here's to a safe and fun learning experience! I can't wait to follow the blog with the updates - thanks Rita!

Anonymous said...

yep, my dad IS totally living his dream...and i don't think anyone could be more proud or more excited for him than his family! we love you, dad! here's to the start of another great adventure at sea! we can't wait to live vicariously through your blog while aboard the ship & your pictures and stories once you return home.
xoxo, kimberly

JAXI said...

Rich, Sounds like a fun ride to Bermuda. You are seeing some great wind!! It will give you more time for "Dark and Stormys" in Bermuda. I bet you know where the name of that drink came from now!!!! Enjoy!!
Jaxi

Rita Hanson said...

Received from Captain Hoffmann Thursday 3:45 PM EST via Skymate:

"Good piloting training. Wx [weather] cleared at noon. Wind light on nose. Motoring. Two crew with Mal de Mer... show great attitude; standing watches. J @ 35.38N 75.00W

Rita Hanson said...

Received from Captain Hoffmann at Friday May 29, 2009 via Skymate:

"Steady winds SW 15-20 knots and sunny. One MalDeMer gone; one improving. Took 1st sun shots. Spirits high. J
05/29/2009
13:22:53 GMT
35° 09.76' N
72° 52.45' W

Rita Hanson said...

This weather communication was sent by Captain Tom Tursi here at the school via Skymate to CELESTIAL at 12:29 EDT today Friday May 29:

"Tropical depression gone. Cold Front Sat; another Sun-Mon. Weak Low developing on front Sun & moving NE. Forecast winds SW 20 or less. High Pressure developing Sun to Wed."

Rita Hanson said...

CELESTIAL has crossed the Gulf Stream and is making good progress. See position here.

The Marlows said...

Ok, so for all you non-sailors (such as myself)...never fear...I googled MalDeMer - it's French for seasickness...So here's hoping the crew members are a little less green today...especially with the tropical depression gone and the weather clearing up! Of course if it was Papa Doc that got a little green, I sure hope he did a little Kim/Gramercy "HEAVE HO! HEAVE HO!" in their seasickness honor! Rita thanks for the google map showing their progress - it is so neat to see where my dad is!! Here's to another day for an adventure! HAVE FUN!

The Marlows said...

Also, I just decided I'm a little curious as to the weather report...What do you think a "cold front" that close to Bermuda means? mid/high 70s??? I think I've got more research to do!! Very exciting how I'm learning from my Dad's trip too!

Anonymous said...

papa doc, we just looked at the map of the ocean to see where you are right now. we are going to the lake the same day you get to your island. we are bringing drew, abby and bennett with us to the lake. have you seen any dolphins? or whales? or great white sharks?
love, logan

Anonymous said...

hello?!?! when did sailing go off and get so french and fancy on us? dad...i soooo hope you're not the one with mal de mer but if you are at least you've been able to learn how to handle it from a seasoned mal de mer pro. (ahem...ME!) Heave ho! Heave ho! :)
kimberly

Anonymous said...

Rich...
Happy sailing...can't wait for you to teach Samantha to sail! Our little anchor is waiting, lol

Rich, Adriana and Samantha

Allstate said...

I hope everyone is feeling better. I did the gorge today, Rich. It was beautiful... The Bimblers send their best to everyone! I hope you are learning lots and enjoying the seas. I'm sure the stars are amazing at night. Take lots of pictures!

Love, Virginia

Rita Hanson said...

Enjoying the comments! You guys are too funny. All is well on CELESTIAL. The crew member with Mal de Mer is improving (I don't know who it is!). No significant change in weather. See CELESTIAL's progress here.

Wandering Wallaces said...

Geeze...they are sailing surely and quickly towards the "B" of the Atlantic...sure hope it wasn't you, Honey, spending days/nights "expressing yourself" with seasickness...that would be a bummer for anyone! I cannot imagine looking for land and seeing "sea" day in and out! I love sailing, but need a little of the land-lubbering too! I was beginning to think C'ville would flat away too with all the rain here. Read you guys were challenged by "the first tropical depression of teh hurricane season"...just the concerned words a caring wife loves to hear! Know all is great...onward crew!

Rita Hanson said...

This weather communication was sent by Captain Tom Tursi here at the school via Skymate to CELESTIAL at 8:45 AM EDT today Sunday May 31st:

"Trough today west of Bermuda along SW-NE line with 30+ westerlies moderating tonight."As of 11 pm last night they were 450 miles from Norfolk and 170 miles to Bermuda. See their position here,

Anonymous said...

Hi Dad (a.k.a. Captain Hoffmann), It may not feel like it, especially after the weather it sounds like you had, but from the map it looks like you've come a long way and are almost to Bermuda! Things well here, and if it makes you feel any better we've had our share of downpours here, too. Currently attempting to curb an ant invasion. --Charlotte

Allstate said...

Hi Rich and Alan!
I hope you are continuing to enjoy your sail. Remember, according to Mr. Bimble, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing... I hope you brought your foul weather gear! Hopefully you'll be in shorts and t-shirts soon. You're getting there... Enjoying watching your progress. So exciting!
Virginia

Jaxi said...

Hi Rich

Watching weather and tracking your progress. Looks like you are having a great trip. If you wait a few weeks in Bermuda, you can skip your flight and sail back with us!!! Take it all in, there is nothing like it.
Jaxi

Rita Hanson said...

CELESTIAL is making great progress under favorable sailing conditions. Received from Captain Hoffmann Thursday 12:01 PM EST via Skymate:

"Sun out long enough to take celestial shots. Estimated arrival in Bermuda is noon Monday. J"

Tom J said...

Al & Rich,

Curious who the crew were with Mal de Mer. I'm sure it was not either of you. Are you ready for some real sailing in Milford as yet

Tom W

The Marlows said...

Oh my goodness...NOON today and they will be in Bermuda! I can't believe it! Time flies doesn't it? It might not have been the best weather, but at least they got to practice sailing in the rough seas - it can't always be beautiful out there can it? Dad I hope you enjoy your time to "chill" in Bermuda before heading back on the Celestial, in hopefully more fair seas! I can't wait to hear and see pictures from both adventures!

Rita Hanson said...

Look here!

For students arriving in Bermuda for the return trip, we'll be posting exact location here shortly.

Anonymous said...

YAY! you made it to bermuda, huh? and just in time to celebrate my birthday - YIPPEE! enjoy an umbrella drink (or three!) on the beach at sunset for me! :)
kimberly

Wandering Wallaces said...

Glad Celestial made the voyage without problems..even tho some of the crew seemed to have some for a while. Hoper the experience was an A-1 class and Five Stars! Know one Papa Doc that had a great voyage no matter what! Now, on to the return....

Captain Tom Tursi said...

I thought I'd offer a few comments on the weather conditions for this cruise as follows:

The ideal conditions for departure from Norfolk occurs on the heels of a low pressure storm system traveling up the east coast of the US since the cold front trailing a Low will usually produce strong winds from the northwest. This allows the yacht to sail off the wind and make good progress to the southeast for expeditiously rounding Cape Hatteras and crossing the Gulf Stream.

Weather conditions on Wednesday, May 27th included a strong Low passing offshore of Hatteras, intensifying to Storm strength and was expected to move northeast and out to sea by Friday. Another Low over the Carolinas was forecast to move out to sea and merge with the first Low. Captain Hoffmann elected to accelerate departure by 12 hours to Wednesday evening to catch the tail end of the first Low before the second one arrived. As a result, they threaded the needle between the two lows and rounded Hatteras in fine shape. On Friday a third Low crossed the Great Lakes and moved east into the Canadian Maritimes dragging a Cold Front that reached our sailors by Saturday and provided freshening conditions. After this, high pressure settled in and weather conditions stabilized until a low pressure trough developed just west of Bermuda giving a short period of squally conditions before arrival in Bermuda on June 1st.

In speaking with Captain Hoffmann upon arrival in Bermuda, he said that they had winds from the southwest for most on the trip and sailed fast with partly reefed sails most of the time... Overall, conditions were about average for this cruise and all crewmembers seemed to enjoy the challenge of a serious ocean passage.

Rita Hanson said...

I've just posted the weather map from May 28th, 2009 to the main blog post. This map corresponds to Captain Tursi's discussion in the third paragraph of his post above.

Rita Hanson said...

CELESTIAL arrived in Bermuda at 11:30 AM local time (10:30 AM EDT). She is located at Hunter's Wharf near the Dowling Shell station, right on the water.

The Marlows said...

Glad to see that they have arrived safely in Bermuda...but after reading about the weather (thanks for the information Captain Tursi)...who wouldn't have gotten MaldeMar or as we say in my family "Heave Ho" - (right Kim and Mom)....seriously though, glad everyone is safe, and I'm sure that they all the sailors enjoyed their time on the high (apparently very high) seas! Enjoy Bermuda until you set sail again Dad! Love you!

TomK said...

Congrats to Captain Hoffman and the crew of Celestial upon your safe arrival in Bermuda.

Tom Kopcik
Celestial Crew Norfolk - St Thomas 11/08

lanedesign said...

Hi Rick,
I hope you're enjoying every sea sprayed moment. Only nice things and good news here. I love you.

Mary

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