Monday, May 28, 2018

Norfolk Virginia to Bermuda Ocean Training Cruise, May 26-June 3, 2018

S/V NAVIGATOR, our Island Packet 40  departed Norfolk Virginia at 0950 on May 28, 2018 after two preparation days. The crew members are: Captain Tom Tursi of Pennsylvania (Skipper), Captain Jerry Nigro of New York  (First Mate), and student crew members Alan Kronish (Florida), Doug Smith (Virginia), John Hall (California) and Naomi Emmerson (Nevada). NAVIGATOR will make the passage to Bermuda via a non-stop ocean route. The cruise has an estimated distance of 670 nautical miles, and will take approximately 6 days, sailing both day and night.  We will discuss the route, weather and actual progress here on our blog as it happens, so please join us! To follow the discussion, see the COMMENTS to this blog post. To follow their actual progress on via SPOT, click HERE

26 comments:

Rita Hanson said...

Hello all! Be sure to click on the spot link above to follow the progress of NAVIGATOR and her crew. One note on the SPOT transmissions… The SPOT is far from infallible and a loss of signal is quite common. There have been times where we had no position update for more than a day. Reasons can range from a weak satellite signal, a sail bag inadvertently shifted and blocking a clear "view" of the sky, or SPOT batteries getting weak. The crew checks in with me electronically at intervals, and we will address such issues. Also, sailboat tracks are affected by wind direction, current, etc. and rarely result in a straight-line course. I’ll post updates here which will include position reports from the crew. ~ Rita

Rita Hanson said...

Bradley Mabe, a Maryland School graduate and weather expert is providing weather guidance to the crew. I'll include his reports to the crew here on the blog, beginning with those relayed just prior to departure:

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/27 - 5/29
Date: May 27, 2018 at 8:32:48 AM EDT
To: S/V NAVIGATOR

5/27 - Winds SW 10 - 15 increasing 15 - 20 afternoon and evening.
Increased chance of showers & T-storms off coastal carolina
5/28 - Winds S 10 - 15 becoming light and variable in the afternoon and evening
5/29 - Winds continue light and variable - mainly S to SW 5 to 10
Increased chance of showers & T-storms as outflow from TS Alberto adds moisture to the weather pattern

TS Alberto expected to make landfall around 2 PM Monday on the Florida panhandle. Forecast track still suggests track N and no issues on your course.

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/28 - 5/30
Date: May 28, 2018 at 12:06:02 PM EDT
To: S/V NAVIGATOR

5/28 - Winds SW 15 to 20 becoming S 20 to 22 South of NC/VA line
5/29 - Winds Variable due to short wave passage SW to NW 10 to 15
5/30 - Winds W 15 to 20 continuing NW to W 10 to 15
Increased chance of showers and T-storms due to outflow moisture from TS Alberto

TS Alberto continues a N track with landfall near Pensacola and continued N track into Alabama.

Rita Hanson said...

At 12:45 PM today, before NAVIGATOR was out of cellphone range, Captain Tursi sent the following message by text:

"We left marina at 0950. All is well. We are approaching Cape Henry. Just completed lunch. Watches are 12 to 4 John and Allen. 4 to 8 Tom and Naomi. 8 to 12 Jerry and Doug. Allen is serving as student skipper for today. Light rain and mist has started."

Paul Brana said...

Hi Captain Tursi, how far along the coast do you sail before heading across the Gulf stream and what is your current distance from the coast.

Hayden said...

Tom Tursi is the best of the best teachers and captain. I was honored to sail with him several times to and from Bermuda.

Rita Hanson said...

Paul, Captain Tursi will not see these comments until he returns, however, if you click on the link for SPOT in the main blog post above, I think your questions will be answered!

Rita

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/29 - 5/31
Date: May 29, 2018 at 2:14:17 PM EDT
To: S/V NAVIGATOR

5/29 afternoon - winds SW 12 - 15 Increased chance of showers and thunderstorms
5/30 winds becoming W 10 to 12 becoming 5 to 10 in the afternoon and evening
5/31 winds variable 5 to 10 in a line from NC / VA line SE toward Bermuda due to shortwave trough. High pressure building to the South of your position

Paul Brana said...

Thanks Rita, 1936 course changed awards the rhumb line - I should be charting the movment of NAVIGATOR. Looking forward to doing so on the return trip! Exciting to see the course change away from the coast twards open ocean.

Paul Brana said...

Please excuse my spelling!

TheTeloop said...

Good luck everyone!!! I am enjoying watching your progress and BLOG. I have hopes of sailing my boat to Bermuda soon.

Ben Solomon
S/V Dawn
Rock Hall, MD

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/30 - 6/1
Date: May 30, 2018 at 7:09:35 AM EDT
To: S/V NAVIGATOR

5/30 winds W 10 to 12 becoming more variable during the day. evening and overnight, winds NW 5 to 10. Increased chance of showers & T-storms
5/31 winds returning from S and light becoming SW 10 to 12 as chance of showers and T-storms decrease
6/1 High pressure to your E and S re-asserts as wind pattern becomes SW 10 to 15 becoming SW 15 to 20 later in the day.

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V NAVIGATOR
Subject: 5/29 Tuesday AM
Date: May 30, 2018 at 7:53:00 PM EDT
To: MD School

Monday SW winds 20+ knots in afternoon and evening. Lots of rain overnight Monday into Tuesday. Winds SW to SE, 5 to 8 knots today; overcast with sun trying to peek through. Motoring toward our waypoint E of Diamond Shoal near Hatteras. All doing well with some mal de mer (seasickness). Dinner last night was chicken stew.

Tom

Rita Hanson said...

From: S/V NAVIGATOR
Subject: 6/30 Status
Date: May 30, 2018 at 7:53:00 PM EDT
To: MD School

Position at 1200: 3506, 7314. Raining now. Semi-sunny yesterday. Hit our waypoint 10 miles E of Diamond Shoal last evening and turned East toward Bermuda. Winds filled in from SW and we had a very nice reaching sail overnight in flat waters, but with lightening squalls threatening. By this morning, winds abated and we returned to motor-sailing. We then entered the Gulf Stream, which seems unusual as compared with most years past. It seem to lay offshore about 50 miles from Diamond Shoal, and the max current we saw was in the one knot range as compared with two knots or more normally. Max temperature was about 82F versus 84F and higher. I think we're through it now.

All are well with the bouts of MDM passing. Last night dinner beef stew à la Dinty Moore. Lots of wet foulies and smelly socks hanging around the boat awaiting sunshine to dry out.

Tom

Rita Hanson said...

Transcribed conversation by SAT phone this evening, Wednesday May 30th, with Captain Tom Tursi:

"Basically overall, we’ve had rain, rain, rain. A lot of rain. Right now we are motor-sailing in light winds of 8-12 knots. We have gotten past our waypoint at Diamond Shoal and we’re now heading southeast straight towards Bermuda. We have about 440 miles to go and we’re now making 5-1/2 knots. For the first 2 days we were heading south and had 12 hours of nice sailing and the rest of the time was rain and motoring with winds directly from the south, and so we were heading right into it. Once we turned toward the south east last night we had 12 hours of nice sailing also, and then that disappeared.

Everybody is doing fine. The first day or two is always rough because everyone is getting acclimated and accustomed the routine on board and the boat motion. There was some Mal de mer the first day or so but it looks like everyone is pretty much over it. On Monday afternoon we were heading straight into a 15-20 knot wind and we had very, very choppy conditions and there were crew not feeling very well with that, but everyone now has their sea legs and the boat motion is better because we are not pounding into wave action.

We have not been able to do anything with celestial navigation because we’ve had cloudy weather, but of course we are keeping a DR plot and that will come into play much more when we can get some celestial shots.

Tonight we had beans and hotdogs and sauerkraut. All of our meals so far have been real “boy” food. We got a lot of sleep today and we’re all doing fine."

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/31 - 6/2
Date: May 31, 2018 at 8:44:54 AM EDT
To: S/V NAVIGATOR

5/31 - Winds WSW 10 to 15 showers and T-storm possibility continues
6/1 - Winds W to SW at 10 to 15 increasing to 15 to 20 in the evening and becoming SW overnight shower and T-storm threat diminishes
6/2 - Winds WSW 10 to 15 becoming SW 15 to 20
High pressure to your S is the main WX feature, expect SW winds for the duration. Showers and T-storms threat continues to diminish through the period.

Rita Hanson said...

Transcribed conversation by SAT phone this evening, Thursday May 31st, with Captain Tom Tursi:

Everybody is doing great. We've had no wind so we've been motoring. There was no rain today. Clear skies allowed us to do some celestial work and everyone participated. Alan has gotten some beautiful shots with some high accuracy of close to one mile. He got three consecutive shots like that. So we've kept busy with that kind of stuff. We had spaghetti and meatballs for supper. Right now there are some black clouds behind us and a few spits of rain. Hopefully some wind will come with it.

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/1 - 6/3
Date: June 1, 2018 at 7:42:21 AM EDT
To: S/V NAVIGATOR

6/1 winds light and variable this morning mainly W to NW 5 - 8 high pressure to your SSW and another to your E make winds light. You're kinda caught between their influences. Later today, high pressure to your E moves S bringing winds back SW 10 - 12
6/2 winds WSW at 10 becoming 15 to 20 in the afternoon
6/3 winds W 10 - 15
There is a slight chance of scattered showers and T-storms throughout the period.

Rita Hanson said...

Transcribed conversation by SAT phone this evening, Friday June 1, 2018, with Captain Tom Tursi:

We've received Brad's forecast and we're getting the predicted winds now. The next couple of days sound great. We're glad to hear it. But no matter what we have with the winds we won't get in until late Sunday at the best and it may even be Monday morning. We're monitoring the fuel situation because we've had to do so much motoring. Right now we're pretty good because we're sailing and if we keep sailing for at least 24 hours we'll be perfectly fine. And from the weather forecast, that sounds like that will be the case.

We're all doing fine. We're eating; we're happy. We had a beautiful sunny day today and were able to get more celestial shots and do some running fixes. Naomi also had some pretty good celestial shots. John took some more too.

With motoring for 5 days we were all going a little stir crazy but we all have our sanity back, now that we can sail! That whole time it was wet and muggy and motor, motor, motor so it was pretty uncomfortable. It was just boring and hot and sticky. Yesterday it started clearing up and we're all in good spirits and enjoying the sailing.

Rita Hanson said...


Begin forwarded message:

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/2 - 6/4
Date: June 2, 2018 at 7:16:38 AM EDT
To: S/V NAVIGATOR

6/2 winds SW 10 - 15 becoming W in the afternoon evening increasing chance of showers and T-storms
6/3 winds W 15 to 20 diminishing to 10 - 12 late morning
6/4 winds SW 10 - 15 becoming 15 to 20 in the afternoon showers and T-storms possible.

Rita Hanson said...

Transcribed conversation by SAT phone this evening, Saturday June 2, 2018, with Captain Tom Tursi:

We've had weather as forecast by Brad. We've been sailing since last night and we've made great progress. We've had 10-20 knots today and we've been storming along at a good clip. We've been sailing a straight line, almost downwind. So the wind is from a favorable direction and the perfect wind strength. We expect to get in to Bermuda by the afternoon tomorrow, Sunday. We will talk to you when we get to Bermuda!

[Families, Please note that arrival should be on time.]

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/3 - 6/5
Date: June 3, 2018 at 7:17:37 AM EDT
To: S/V NAVIGATOR

6/3 winds W 15 to 20 diminishing to 10 to 12 later in the day showers and T-Storms possible
6/4 winds SW 15 to 20 becoming SW 20 to 25 in the evening showers and T-storms possible.
6/5 winds SW 15 to 20
6/6 winds become light and variable primarily from NW due to a frontal passage.

Jim Gravelle said...

Rita--Really enjoyed the blog and Spot, especially from my warm, dry house. But, I would rather have been on the trip. I'm interested in finding out why they laid off Bermuda for the night. Was it to avoid finding the way through the extensive shoals at night? Did they heave to?

Rita Hanson said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your comment. I know everyone had the same question! The SPOT stopped transmitting at that point just off Bermuda Island for an unknown reason. The crew did not know since it was still flashing on their end. In any case, we executed a manual check which finished off the route the following day. I am just about to add the last entry to this blog, so that will appear in the next comment shortly.


Rita Hanson said...

Transcribed conversation by phone Monday June 4, 2018, with Captain Tom Tursi:

After days of motoring, on Friday afternoon (June 1) the winds came up and started building. We had about 10-12 knots of wind from the southwest and we could start sailing, which we did at that point. The winds built overnight to about 15-18 knots by morning, still from the southwest. During the overnight period we were on a broad reach sailing a course of about 120 degrees, that is, we were sailing east, towards Bermuda, on a starboard tack, and we continued all that day making very nice progress. The skies began to clear and we got some celestial shots. And then the wind clocked, that is, it went to the right as were were sailing, and it made us go further south than we wanted. So we jibed the boat very nicely in strong winds of 20-25 knots. Once we jibed the boat we were sailing on a port tack and we continued that way for quite awhile. Then we got to a point where the wind was almost straight in back of us and it didn't work at all with our sail combination. So we put up a whisker pole which is always a really exciting procedure to go through. Once we had the whisker pole up we were able to sail wing on wing on starboard tack…. the whisker pole genoa was out on starboard and the mainsail was out on port side. We had a terrific sail with the sails poled out in this manner. We got to a point where we were able to see the first mark at Bermuda; we had a visual on North Rock. As you come in from the sea there are three markers. The one furthest west is North Rock, the one in the middle is North East Breaker and then the one furthest east is called Kitchen Shoal. Once past North Rock, we continued on a heading towards North East Breaker Beacon. It was around North East Breaker that we took down the pole, because our new heading would be more towards the southeast. We put out the genoa and main on a conventional starboard tack. Then we had a beautiful sail for the last 10-15 miles with boat speeds up to 10 knots. It was blowing 18-22 knots and we were really chugging along. It was a nice finish to the cruise.

It was about this time that we spoke to Bermuda Radio and they said, "Oh yes, NAVIGATOR, how is your fuel situation?" When were were motoring for days on end, we had made the prudent decision to alert the US Coast Guard to a possible fuel shortage situation. It was really interesting how the Coast Guard handled the situation. They very helpful and they asked us to contact them every 12 hours. So we would call by SAT phone every 12 hours and they would say, "Oh yes, NAVIGATOR, how is your fuel situation?" We would have to give them our position, and they would ask how was everyone, did we have enough food, did we have enough water? We went through this daily so we became good friends. They said they were going to pass our information along to the Bermuda RCC and so when we contacted Bermuda we were able to close that out and continue on.

Rita Hanson said...

(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE...)

Bermuda radio told us to go to the Sea Buoy which is just a mile out of the harbor entrance and at that time we took our sails down and motored in. We got to the customs dock, as we normally do, and we pulled up to dock in front of a french boat and there was a guy on dock. He grabbed lines for us and it turns out it was Naomi's husband Jake who had arrived the day before.

We checked in through customs and everybody cleared their stuff off the boat and went to their respective hotels. We got together with everyone for dinner at the Wahoo Bistro last night and then proceeded to get 12 hours sleep!

Overall the cruise was nice because we had all conditions. In the very beginning we had rough seas and we had sick people which is not unusual. After two days they got over it and conditions settled down. It got very calm, we did a lot of motoring, we had rain at various time, sun at various times, no wind, some wind, and lots of wind. So a bit of everything. The crew meshed very well and got along well. Right now it's a beautiful day in Bermuda with bright sun and cumulus clouds.