Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Southbound Norfolk to St Thomas; November 2009

CELESTIAL, our IP 440 will depart Vinings Landing Marina in Norfolk Virginia bound for Crown Bay Marina, St Thomas USVI tomorrow morning, Wednesday, November 4, 2009. The crew members are: Captain David Appleton (Pennsylvania), First Mate Ron Smith (Texas), and student crew members Peter Schloss (Missouri), Harvey Triplett (Florida), Curtis Smith (North Dakota) and Nelson Kennedy (Virginia). CELESTIAL will make the passage to St Thomas via a 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.

Captain Appleton has reported that crew had arrived on Sunday afternoon, and by Monday evening they had completed their orientation of CELESTIAL both above and below decks, and reviewed emergency procedures in thorough detail. They are on target for their departure on Wednesday morning. Captain Appleton had high praise for his fine crew, saying they were enthusiastic and well prepared.

Student crew-member Peter Schloss is aboard for his 4th ocean passage with the Maryland School from Norfolk to St Thomas. Peter had this to say to his fellow crew members prior to the cruise: "Even though this is my fourth passage to the USVI with the School, I have the same excited (and nervous) anticipation that I experienced prior to my first departure in November 2000. Every passage has been a different experience with different challenges and each crew a unique blend of sailing skills and life-experiences. I have spent the last week assembling my duffle… and then removing as many things that I can reject as “non-essential”. No matter what, it seems that we tend to bring “too much”… which is fine if it is enthusiasm, but not if it is “stuff!""

Captain Tom Tursi reports the following on weather expectations for the trip: "For the next 4-5 days the weather will be benign with moderate winds from the west. A cold front will be coming through by the end of the week which will give the crew north-westerly winds of 20-30 knots which will be good for progress." Captain Tursi will be monitoring progress of the cruise and will be in contact with CELESTIAL's crew via a Skymate satellite system. We'll receive reports from the crew approximately every other day and Captain Tursi will supply the crew with detailed weather analysis.

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. You can also follow CELESTIAL'S progress on our google map by clicking here.

30 comments:

TomK said...

Looks like you will have a good departure window tomorrow. Best wishes for a great trip.

Anyone checking in with Maritime Mobile Net? If so what is your sched?

Tom Kopcik
AC2AH
Celestial Crew
Norfolk to St Thomas 11/08

Anonymous said...

Curt Smith KA3FWR on Celestial will try daily on Maritime Mobile Net 14300 at 0800hrs EST.

Rita Hanson said...

Good Morning CELESTIAL Followers! Yesterday the crew departed as scheduled in the morning but at 14:00 hrs turned back to Norfolk to have a minor medical situation taken care. A quick trip to the outpatient care and back to sea they went. They departed at 21:00 hours Wednesday night. I spoke with Captain Appleton via cell phone as they were leaving Chesapeake Bay. The crew was in great spirits and were looking forward to the challenge of a "chilly" first night at sea. Their plan is to cross the Gulf Stream by the time heavy weather arrives. You can see their progress by clicking on the link on the main blog entry.

Rita Hanson said...

A word about the time stamp on the google map ...

Skymate reports CELESTIAL's position to us in Coordinated Universal Time, abbreviated UTC. Other terms used to refer to UTC include "Greenwich mean time (GMT)", "Zulu time" and "world time."

Eastern Standard Time (EST) is 5 hours behind UTC. UTC is also on a 24 hour clock. So if the time stamp is 08:20:00 UTC then the EST is 03:20:00 or 3:20 AM. If the timestamp is 20:40:00 UTC, then the EST is 15:40:00 or 3:40 PM.

Barbara said...

Good luck to the crew and thanks Rita for the time explaination. Looking forward to seeing Celestial and staying on board later this year!

Rita Hanson said...

At 2:13 PM EST Thursday November 5th, Captain Tom Tursi sent the following communication regarding weather to CELESTIAL via Skymate:

"Tropical Storm IDA over Nicaragua, moving to Alabama by Thurs; max 65 knot winds. Track and strength unclear after that. Cold front to cross you Fri with 20-30 knot winds."

TomK said...

Listened for and called KA3FWR (directly & via multiple relays) on 14.300 from 0800 - 0930 EST last two days - no contact but propagation is poor (not to worry). Will continue to monitor @ 0800
Tom
AC2AH

Richard Schroeder said...

S/V Celestial

Distanced sailed in 12-hours based on the last two position reports:

1) Reported 5 Nov - 20:40 UTC
2) Reported 6 Nov - 08:41 UTC

65.53 Naut. Miles / 12 Hrs =
5.46 knots (avg)

Heading 135 degrees (southeast)

Richard Schroeder
N5VYQ

Rita Hanson said...

At 6:01 AM EST Saturday November 7th, Captain Tom Tursi sent the following communication regarding weather to CELESTIAL via Skymate:

"Thunderstorm IDA moving north slowly into the Gulf; not an issue for you. A strong cold front should cross you Wed-Thur with northerly 35 knot winds. A high pressure system will follow."

Richard Schroeder said...

S/V Celestial

Distanced sailed in last 24-hours based on position reports:

145.25 Naut. Miles / 24-Hrs =
6.05 knots

Heading 125 degrees (southeast)

Richard Schroeder
N5VYQ

Rita Hanson said...

Hello CELESTIAL Followers!

By now, the cool November weather should be giving way to some warmer conditions for our CELESTIAL crew as they enter tropical waters. With 3 days now at sea, they have had a chance to get into a sea-going rhythm, and to savor the varieties of ocean conditions.

With six crew members aboard, each crew member will be on watch with their watch-mate for four hours then "off" for eight. While they are on watch their sole responsibility is to keep the vessel moving in the right direction and to not run into anything. When they are off watch, they might be maintaining the vessel, cooking, navigating, receiving instruction, or sleeping.

CELESTIAL has been sailing southeast toward approximately 27N-65W, marked by a red "pushpin" on the google map. Once they reach this point, they will then sail south toward the Virgin Islands. This will put them on longitude 65W, which ocean mariners commonly refer to as "Interstate 65" since they will be on a beam reach if the trade winds fill in, as is commonly the case.

By now they are using offshore navigation which consists of keeping a proper navigational logbook, dead reckoning plotting, celestial shots and lines of position. They will be rigorously maintaining a dead reckoning plot of their course and applying celestial lines of position as crew members practice the skills of using a sextant aboard an ocean sailing yacht in blue water ocean conditions.

Rita Hanson said...

Received this message from Captain Appleton at 8:25 AM EST, Monday November 9th:

"Aok ! crew well. Xd GS in N Gale. Much wind. pres. pos. wnd E 9 - 35. Approch 1/2 pt. tday. ETA STT Sat.
11/09/2009
13:24:15 GMT
30° 00.02' N
68° 15.97' W"

Translation: "All is A-OK! Crossed Gulf Stream in northern gale. Much wind. At present position, winds are from the east, 9-35 knots. Approaching 1/2 way point today. Estimated time of arrival in St Thomas is Saturday."

Richard Schroeder said...

S/V Celestial

Distanced sailed in last 12-hours based on position reports:

85.97 Naut. Miles / 12-Hrs =
7.16 knots

Heading 155 degrees (southeast)

Richard Schroeder
N5VYQ

Rita Hanson said...

At 9:41 AM EST Monday November 9th, Captain Tom Tursi sent the following communication regarding weather to CELESTIAL via Skymate:

"Received your message today... Tropical storm IDA will make landfall on the Gulf Coast Tuesday; not an issue for you. High pressure continues in your area until Wednesday. Bermuda forecasts Easterly 25 knot winds on Tuesday; waves 9-15. Low over Bermuda Friday will drag cold front across your area."

JOB Maryville said...

Sounds like great fun!!

Rita Hanson said...

Received this message from Captain Appleton at 9:03 AM EST, Wednesday November 11th:

"Low formed S of us last night. Passd thru eye 02 to 07. Wnd S 25. our crs135 m. expct w to clck to SW. this will delay ETA . still Sat but later. Crew all well. MdM cases past."

Translation: "Low pressure system formed south of us last night. We passed through the eye between 0200 and 0700 hours. Winds are from the south at 25 knots. Our course is 135 degrees magnetic. We expect winds to clock to the southwest. This will delay our estimated time of arrival... still Saturday, but later. Crew are all well. Mal de Mer cases have past."

Rita Hanson said...

The image posted on the main blog entry represents the low pressure system that Captain David referred to in his communication on November 11th, just above. Click on the image to see it in more detail.

Rita Hanson said...

At 5:58 AM EST, Captain Tom Tursi sent the following communication regarding weather to CELESTIAL via Skymate:

"A Low off Hatteras is moving southeast slowly behind a north-south cold front. This is combined with a high east of you to give SSW winds. The low will overtake the cold front by Sunday and reach your area."

Captain Tursi also notes that with this wind direction, the crew may take a couple of more days to reach St. Thomas.

Richard Schroeder said...

S/V Celestial

Distanced sailed in last 13-hours based on position reports:

26.90 Naut. Miles / 13-Hrs =
2.06 knots

Heading 187 degrees (south)

Richard Schroeder
N5VYQ

Rita Hanson said...

We received this communication from Captain Appleton via Skymate today November 13, 2010 at 8:07 AM EST:

"Low disrupted trades our area. Curnt wnd 12 S. Has bn SW. Sailing 240M. Prgrss twrd STT minimal. Now ETA Tue at bst. Crew fine. Enjoying a plsnt sail after some rugged wx. "

Translation: "The low pressure system disrupted the trade winds in our area. The current wind is 12 knots from the south. Has been from the southwest. Currently sailing 240 degrees Magnetic. Progress towards St Thomas is minimal. Now estimated time of arrival is Tuesday at best. The crew is fine. Enjoying a pleasant sail after some rugged weather."

christine said...

Rita:
I am on St. John awaiting the arrival of Celestial. Sorry to hear they will be delayed. Also just heard about the weather on the mainland. Are you doing okay in your area? I turned on the news for the first time in a few days and was surprised to see the havoc that Ida has caused. Hope you are well.

Christine Schloss

Anonymous said...

Christine S.
I'm Curt's wife Marilyn Schroder, I will be coming in to Charlotte Amalie Sunday night and will be staying at Best Western Carib Beach Resort,70-C Lindberg Bay leaving at noon on Monday for our charter at Tortola, would love to get together with you Mon. am, leave a message for me. I will check the blog tonight before I leave or look for a message at the hotel. Marilyn

Rita Hanson said...

Christine and Marilyn,

Enjoy your time....it's not such a bad place to have to wait! That would be fun if you are able to get together. I talked to all families today, and all are following the blog. We're fine here!

christine said...

Rita: Thanks for the note. Glaed to hear you are well and that you checked in with the families. This is a great place to wait! I love having to "sacrifice" aboat trip to fly down early and wait!!! Marilyn: I would ;loke to get together. I am bringing a friend over to the airport Monday for her trip home. I will leave my contact information at your hotel. Hopefully we can connect if not before your tour, then at least later on. Travel safely!
Chris

Rita Hanson said...

Received this message from Captain Appleton at 2:24 PM EST, Saturday November 14th:

"who won world series?"

:-)

Rita Hanson said...

At 6:40 AM EST Monday, November 16. 2009, Captain Tom Tursi sent the following communication regarding weather to CELESTIAL via Skymate:


"That nasty Low to hang around few more days and move south toward Virgins. Hope you can remain ahead of it to catch the westerlies."

Rita Hanson said...

Received from Captain Appleton at 8:18 AM EST November 16, 2009:

"Approaching Jost Van Dyke,entering VI.

11/16/2009
13:18:08 GMT
18° 11.17' N
64° 22.69' W"

Rita Hanson said...

Just received a call by cell phone from Captain Appleton at 11:00 AM EST today, Monday November 16, 2009. They are on the south side of St Thomas and should be to Crown Bay Marina within the hour. The crew is fine, and Captain David noted that "they seem to have all their extremities attached." It was a wet passage with some rough weather but all challenges were met and conquered.

Rita Hanson said...

As you can see by the Google map, CELESTIAL arrived at Crown Bay Marina on Monday November 16, 2009. All hands in good shape, though tired and happy to have found land!

TomK said...

congrats to all - sounds like you had a 'lively' trip. I unsucessfully tried several times to contact you via the Maritime Mobile Net at 0800 on 14.300 MHz - maybe next trip

Tom Kopcik
AC2AH