Monday, November 7, 2011

Southbound Norfolk to St Thomas, November 2011

CELESTIAL, our IP 440 departed Vinings Landing Marina in Norfolk Virginia bound for Crown Bay Marina, St Thomas USVI this afternoon, Monday November 7th, 2011. The crew members are: Captain Jack Morton (Florida), First Mate Jim Bortnem (Minnesota), and student crew members Richard Sloan (Pennsylvania), Jacques Levesque (Ontario), Lisa Powell (Oklahoma) and Roland Heinrich (Massachusetts). 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.

UPDATE:  After departure from Norfolk, the crew made southbound progress, staying on the west side of the Gulf Stream, while keeping a close eye on a storm brewing in the Atlantic, which developed into Tropical Storm SEAN.  The crew made the prudent decision to find safe harbor in Beaufort, North Carolina, arriving Wednesday night, November 9th.  They then departed Beaufort on Friday afternoon to cross the Gulf Stream some 60 miles distant.  Though initially faced with frustrating SE to SSE winds that prevented them from getting any southing for the first few days, they are now making progress southeasterly toward their destination in St. Thomas.  See the COMMENTS to this blog post below for the full report.

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.

More discussion on this soon, as well as weather updates, communication from the crew, and actual progress (see comments below), so please join us! To follow their actual progress on Google Earth, click here. For more information on The Maryland School, please visit our website.

31 comments:

Rita Hanson said...

Hello sailors and followers!

CELESTIAL departed today for St Thomas. Captain Jack Morton is in charge of the vessel for this cruise, and Captain Tom Tursi will be communicating with the crew for the duration of the cruise via Skymate, primarily regarding weather and position.

We can also track their position via the Skymate satellite receiver/transmitter installed on the boat and will post their position on a google map for all to see. Use the red link on the main blog post to see the google map.

The first two position points are posted and I'll post a new position usually once a day. Just keep clicking on the same link and it will bring you to the updated map. Zoom out using the control on the top left of the map to see more of the overall picture.

If anyone has trouble with the google map link in the main post, e-mail me at office@mdschool.com and I will send the full address. I can't post the full address here because it's too long and gets truncated.

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Monday, November 07, 2011 8:37 PM

At long last, after a false start occasioned by engine troubles, now resolved, we got underway about one this afternoon. Currently motorsailing under a beautiful moon, with very light wind. Watching weather carefully. Crew have been super - resourceful, energetic and cheerful, and are looking forward to the adventures to come.

CapnJack

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 4:52 PM
Subject: change plan

Based on your information, and point forecasts I got from Skymate, and consult w/ crew, I decided to cross stream soonest, and ride west edge of storm down around. Actual weather is exceeding forecast, and Herb foretells further increase. Have gybed around to get back out of stream, and maybe seek refuge. Or maybe work Southwest on west side of stream until storm passes. Crew in good shape and spirits.

CapnJack

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
To: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 5:17 PM
Subject: Wx 11-8b

TROPICAL STORM SEAN 27.8N 69.8W 2100UTC TUE; 27.9N 70.2W 0600UTC WED; 28.4N 70.4W 1800UTC WED; 29.9N 69.7W 1800UTC THU; 34N 64W 1800UTC FRI. WEATHER BUOYS SHOW NE15 NEAR HATTERAS. COLD FRONT WILL MOVE OFFSHORE THU. EXPECT NE15-25 TO WED; NW20-30 THU. CONCUR STAY WEST OF GULF STREAM & SAFE HARBOR IF FEASIBLE.

Rita Hanson said...

Captain Morton and crew have made the prudent decision and have put in at Beaufort North Carolina to await the passage of the Tropical Storm Sean, which all have been watching. The low has been causing some severe weather conditions at sea, but it is expected that after tomorrow it will not be an issue for the crew of CELESTIAL. Brisk winds of 20-30 knots are expected tomorrow, but they will be favorable winds. Stay tuned!

Rita Hanson said...

CELESTIAL is in port in Beaufort NC awaiting the passage of tropical storm Sean so that they can make a safe and comfortable Gulf Stream crossing. Current estimate is that they will depart Beaufort Friday afternoon.

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
Subject: Wx 11-10a
Date: November 10, 2011 10:26:37 AM EST
To: S/V CELESTIAL


In port Beaufort


TS Sean moving out NE; no other tropicals. CF later today. Expect NW 15-25 tonite & Fri; NW 10-15 Fri nite; SW 10-15 Sat; S 10-15 Sun-Mon. Atlantic Hi Sat-Wed

Rita Hanson said...

CELESTIAL departed Friday afternoon from Beaufort NC. We received this communication today, Saturday November 12, 2011:

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2011 6:02 PM
Subject: Update


After leaving Beaufort, glorious sailing for 12 hours; then dying wind for another 12. By evening, filling in light and variable, with clear high pressure skies. Perseverence rewarded earlier today with a 25 lb mahi mahi that Lisa and Fred turned into a feast. Spirits high, and life is good.

CapnJack
S/V CELESTIAL
11/12/2011
22:54:01 GMT
33° 40.81' N
74° 34.40' W

Rita Hanson said...

----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Tursi
To: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2011 10:41 AM
Subject: Wx 11-12

High Pressure ridge established. Cold Front Tue followed by High Pressure. Expect E-SE 5-10 Sat-Mon; S-SW 15-25 Tue-Wed shifting NE. No tropical storms.

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
To: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 9:38 AM
Subject: Wx 11-13

High pressure persists & center NE of Bermuda. Trades forecast S of 30N after Tue. CF Wed. Expect SW 10-15 Mon; SW 10-20 Tue; SW 20-30 Wed. No Tropical storms.

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
To: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 3:35 PM
Subject: Wx 11-14

High pressure system persists; ridge from Jacksonville to Bermuda. Low over Maryland Wed moving northeast to New Eng Thu will drag cold front offshore. Expect SW winds 10-15 Tue; SW 20-30 Wed-Thu; possible NE 20 Thu-Fri. No tropical storms.

Rita Hanson said...

----- Original Message -----
From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 4:10 PM
Subject: Update

Have made slow easting with frustrating SE to SSE winds that prevented getting any southing last days. Maybe easing to SSW winds about mid afternoon Monday? We'll see if it lasts. Great banana nut bread this morning from Lisa, who doesn't even do breakfast. Spirits good.

CapnJack
11/14/2011
21:08:17 GMT
33° 50.24' N
70° 13.06' W

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
Subject: Celestial Position
Date: November 14, 2011 7:30:14 PM EST
To: Blog Followers

"As you saw in Jack's recent status, they've had opposing winds from SE so needed to sail off to the E which isn't all that bad since they need to make easting anyway. Forecast is for a favorable shift to SW and plenty of wind for a couple of days then to NE which is also good. With patience, the wheel of fortune eventually comes around to your number... Most times."

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
To: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 8:06 AM
Subject: Wx 11-16

Cold front to overtake you Thursday. Low to develop on CF at 26N52W and move out to NE. Expect SE 10-15 Wed-Thu & NE 20-25 behind CF. No tropical storms.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Rita and Tom for providing the great information about the 2011 adventure. It looks like Capn Jack could finally set course to South this morning. Good luck to the crew and a fast ride South on the I 65. Life will be good.
Wolfgang Linke
SV Celestial Crew 2010

Rita Hanson said...

Hi Wolfgang, Nice to see you here! Thanks for following along!

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
To: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:57 AM
Subject: Wx 11-17

No significant change. Cold front may pass you Saturday. Expect NE 20 Fri-Sat

Rita Hanson said...

I know the question everyone is asking... "Will they be home for Thanksgiving?" While we don't know for sure, our best guess is that they have another 5-6 days from today which would put them in STT near Thanksgiving. They should be getting strong NE winds followed by trade winds, which should help their progress greatly. Stay tuned. I will post everything I know, as soon as I know it!

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 12:56 PM
Subject: Update

Tom - lost Skymate e-mail - took two days to get it reinstalled and working again.

In meantime - engine overheated a couple times. Charging systems for both engine and genset kicked into high gear, and all batteries healthy.

Have been motorsailing a lot, as wind has not given us the speed all want to see - just now entering trades, where we may be able to give Yanmar a rest.

Will give best estimate of ETA to give Rita and families for ticket rebooking tomorrow, as trades should kick in in earnest. J

Rita Hanson said...

----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Tursi
To: CELESTIAL
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 9:17 PM
Subject: Wx 11-18

No significant Weather change. Cold front may pass you Sat and stall along 28N65W to FL. Expect NE winds 15-25 knots Sat-Tue. Rec'd your reconnect. Repeated engine overheat a puzzle. Glad batteries are happy. Hope crew is happy.

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 10:33 PM
Subject: crew

Crew excited to be in this. High spirits, and glad to have the engine off.

CapnJack
11/19/2011
03:33:16 GMT
27° 57.92' N
68° 22.69' W

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:10 PM
Subject: Update

Thrilling sailing last night in 25 - 30 kts NE, giving way today to 15 - 25 ESE, which puts us hard on the wind trying to get our easting back. Need that promised NE wind again. Herb talking about some, but also about more ESE. So our best guess ETA wobbles around sometime Wed probably late unless we get a bunch more from the NE. Will refine ETA as we can. Spirits high.

CapnJack
11/19/2011
20:10:26 GMT
26° 13.22' N
68° 24.00' W

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 5:23 PM
Subject: Update

NE wind arrived and we are making good time in the right direction. Small sail plan because of winds piping to 25 - occasionally 30 in showers, so between showers, running at 4 - 5 kts, esp at nite. ETA Thur? Prospects for continued NE, and eventually reaching rather than beating could move that back to Wed.

Spirits continue high - this is a great crew.

CapnJack
11/20/2011
22:02:37 GMT
24° 28.49' N
67° 16.71' W

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
To: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 6:48 PM
Subject: Wx 11-20

Expect NE 15-25 Mon; NE-E 15-20 Tue; NE-E 10-15 Wed; NE 10-15 Thu. Low at 26N54W moving out NE Tue. No other tropical storms.

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 2:18 PM
Subject: ETA

Current ETA very late Wed nite @ 5 kts - Thur PM @ 4. Losing some ground to current.

CapnJack
11/21/2011
19:15:54 GMT
23° 10N 66 37 W
66° 39.62' W

Anonymous said...

Captain Jack: Its Tom from MAJJIK III. We crossed when you were coming out of Beaufort and us in. Our boss got sick so ended up back in Chesapeake. We had tickets back from STT on 21st. From your experience sounds like we would have missed them.

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 1:38 PM
Subject: travel

ETA @ 6 SOG - Thur 0000, @ 5 SOG - Thur 0700, @4 SOG Thur 1700. My guess Thur AM most likely. Jim B - already set up, Lisa & Fred - Thur after 1600 or Fri, Roland has 2:05 res Thur, Dick asked wife to make Thur res - pls find out what she has set up. Rita agreed to take care of Jack change, same as was set up for 17th. Prob best to wait til tomorrow to pick Thur or Fri. J

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V CELESTIAL
To: Tom Tursi
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 12:09 AM
Subject: travel

ETA likely early Thursday, so late afternoon flight Thur should work. J

Rita Hanson said...

From: Tom Tursi
To: S/V CELESTIAL
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 9:51 PM
Subject: Wx 11-22

HP continues. Expect NE 10-15 Wed; NE 15-20 Thu. No tropicals

Rita Hanson said...

CELESTIAL arrived at Crown Bay Marina at 0330 this morning! Congratulations crew on a job well done!

TomK said...

Congrats! You certainly got your moneys worth; or maybe you should go on the the MSS payroll after 14 days :-)

Tom Kopcik
Crew Norfolk - STT 11/08