CELESTIAL, our IP 440 departed Crown Bay Marina, St Thomas USVI today, May 6, 2009 after two days of preparation. The crewmembers are: Captain David Appleton (New Hope, PA), First Mate Bruce Kachline (Franklin, LA), and student crewmembers Dan Stephenson (Minot, ND), John Peterson (Louisville, KY), Andrei Gasheyev (Philadelphia, PA) and Calvin Stewart (Novi, MI). CELESTIAL will make the passage to Norfolk via a planned non-stop ocean route. The cruise has an estimated distance of 1500 miles, and will take approximately 11-13 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. Today, Wednesday May 6th, we received this verbal message from Captain Appleton:
"This is David...it's 1648 hours... almost 10 minutes before 5:00 PM. We left Crown Bay Marina at 3:30. We're currently leaving the Virgin Islands at 5:00... we're out of the Caribbean and entering the open Atlantic Ocean. Everybody is just fine so far! We're off a little bit early but we wanted to take advantage of some fairly favorable winds, although the conditions are going to be sloppy. We expect to have winds 16-25 knots, gusting to 40 in squalls. We'll be in 5-10 foot seas. The wind will be out of the E/SE so it will be on our quarter and ought to give us a pretty good boost for the next couple of days, and then things are supposed to lighten up as we get further north. We'll put in a report by Skymate in a couple of days when we can get at it. Right now we're pretty busy with a lot of stuff! We'll talk to you later!"