Saturday, June 9, 2018

Bermuda to Norfolk Virginia Ocean Training Cruise, June 7-15, 2018

S/V NAVIGATOR, our Island Packet 40 departed Bermuda bound Norfolk Virginia at 10:45 AM EDT on June 9th.  The student crew arrived on the evening of June 6th, and June 7th and 8th were spent in preparation for the voyage.  The crew members are: Captain Tom Tursi of Pennsylvania (Skipper), Captain Jerry Nigro of New York (First Mate), and student crew members Chase Miller (Massachusetts), John Leighton (South Carolina), Mike Crombie (Ontario) and Paul Brana (Vermont). NAVIGATOR will make the passage to Norfolk 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.


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 this one relayed just prior to departure:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/10 - 6/13
Date: June 9, 2018 at 9:57:39 AM EDT

6/9 winds light and variable
6/10 winds light & variable becoming WSW 5 - 10 increased chance of showers & T-storms - winds become SW 10 to 12 in the evening
6/11 winds SW 10 - 15 becoming 20 - 25 evening and overnight chance of showers and T-storms
6/12 winds SW 15 - 20 becoming W 10 - 15

Rita Hanson said...

Subject: 6/9 Status
Date: June 9, 2018 at 8:36:00 PM EDT

We departed BDA 1045 EDT in sunny skies and very little wind from WSW. Motoring. Position at 1500 N3232.8 W6450.9

Daniela Monaldi said...

Hello Rita,
this is Mike Crombie's wife from Toronto. I will be following your blog and the Navigator's progress at the spot link. Thank you for posting!

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/11 6/14
Date: June 10, 2018 at 8:34:10 AM EDT

6/10 morning winds light and variable mostly S becoming SW 10 - 15 in the afternoon chance of showers and T-storms in the afternoon
6/11 winds SW 10 -15 becoming 15 - 20 in the afternoon
6/12 winds SW 15 - 20 gusts to 25 becoming light & variable in the afternoon due to a short wave frontal boundary chance of rain increases
6/13 winds still light and variable becoming S 5 - 10 and then SW 10 - 15 as frontal boundary passes
6/14 winds SW 10 - 15 slight chance of showers and T-storms

Rita Hanson said...

Transcribed conversation by SAT phone this evening, Sunday June 10, 2018, with Captain Tom Tursi:

Thing are going fine. We've had a squally, rainy day today. Sails up, sails down, engine on, engine off, a lot of wind, no wind, some rain, some sun. It's been a mixture of everything today. But we're chugging along. We're making about 5-1/2 knots or so, on course towards our waypoint. And things are good. We had chicken soup tonight for dinner and last night we had spaghetti and meatballs. There is a little bit of Mal de mer but not too much. The only time it's rough is when the wind dies and we can't sail but the seas are still choppy from the earlier wind. But right now we're sailing so things are smoothed out pretty nicely. We have about 10-12 knots right now.

The watch schedule is 12-4: Mike and Chase, 4-8: Paul and myself, 8-12: Don and Jerry.

We've done a bit of celestial work. John has taken a few shots and is getting some good accuracy. Mike took a shot and had good accuracy. Chase and Paul are going to work on it tomorrow hopefully.

That's about it for now.

Gerry Leighton said...

I don't see John's name on the watch schedule - is that an error? Sorry, just a concerned wife :-)

Rita Hanson said...

Gerry, My apologies! It should be John, not Don above. So John is on watch with Jerry Nigro, our First Mate. There is no Don on board!

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/12 6/15
Date: June 11, 2018 at 7:45:07 AM EDT

6/11 winds SW 20 - 25 becoming W 10 - 15 increased chance of showers & T-storms
6/12 winds W 10 - 15 shifting N 5 - 10 and becoming light and variable then becoming E 5 - 10 overnight
6/13 winds SE 10 - 12 becoming SW 10 - 15 in the afternoon and evening
6/14 winds SW 15 - 20 increased chance of showers & T-storms

Rita Hanson said...

Subject: 6/11 status
Date: June 11, 2018 at 11:31:00 PM EDT

Forgot to call. All ok. rain and wind

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/13 - 6/15
Date: June 12, 2018 at 7:56:18 AM EDT

It looks as though the stationary front that was to your N became un-stationary -
6/12 winds E 10 - 15 shifting S into the afternoon and into Wednesday (6/13)
6/13 morning winds S 15 - 18 becoming SW in the afternoon and evening
6/14 winds SW 15 - 18 becoming light and variable in the afternoon and evening and closer to the coast
6/15 winds light and variable mainly N 10 - 12 near the NC / VA coastal region. chance of showers and T-storms increases.

The Desert Sailor said...

Woah! What was going on between 43 and 44 on the SPOT? Actually, even 38 to 43! Looks like they wanted to head back to Bermuda! I wouldn't blame them. It's a beautiful Island.

Rita Hanson said...

Transcribed conversation by SAT phone this evening, Tuesday June 12, 2018, with Captain Tom Tursi:

Overnight last night it was pretty squally and rainy, similar to what has been going on for a couple of days. By this morning it started clearing up and we decided to reset our waypoint directly towards Norfolk rather than going off to an intermediate waypoint. Overnight we were on a broad reach with a reefed mainsail and the staysail and then the winds continued to declined and this morning we put out the genoa. It's been a great day. Sunny, puffy clouds, blue skies.

Yesterday we had quite a bit of rain and squall all day so we were drenched most of the time. There has been a stationary front running east and west near our position both on the trip out and the trip back and it has made for rather indecisive weather. These two fronts have been battling each other. The cold front will advance south and the warm front will advance north. They have been going back and forth.

We've got in quite a bit of sailing on this trip and some of it was pretty strenuous from the standpoint of storms and squalls. We've used all sorts of sail combinations from full sail with the main and genoa down to a reefed main and staysail and all combinations in between. It's been an enlightening sail for those on board to see what goes on during a trip like this. We have had very large waves that were probably 12 - 20 feet high. We were clearly looking up at these waves, but they are smooth, not breaking. We've seen very few breaking waves. We were getting quite a bit of pounding on the boat from the big waves. When a wave catches us just in the right orientation it slams the boat and you get a big bang and it shudders the boat. We were getting a lot of that yesterday and some overnight. Some were breaking into the cockpit, but not too often. During some of the squalls we were seeing wind strengths of 35-40 Knots. So it was challenging sailing for a few days.

The crew is doing well. There was a little bit of MDM for a couple of days but that had pretty much passed. We had a nice chili and rice dinner tonight of which everyone partook. Last night we had hotdogs and beans. So we've been eating well.

Rita Hanson said...


We've been making good progress. We've been mostly on a straight line course. We've had some deviations on that course, but not a great deal. Last night during the wee hours, the wind clocked to the north and then to the northeast and we were sailing almost straight north for awhile. So we decided to come off of that and pointed our bow straight toward Norfolk.

We still have wave action here even though the wind is virtually gone now, down under 10 knots. We are still looking at waves that are 10-12 feet high but they are very smooth. The boat just comfortably rides up one side and down the other side. All the student crew are old salts now and it's no big deal. The waves were generated by a storm up north and those waves travel a distance and become swells. The waves we are getting now were generated a day ago and they are just reaching us now. There is an interesting picture on the NOAA website of a storm just off Hatteras and it generated waves and those waves traveled all of the way across the ocean from the western edge of the Atlantic to the eastern edge.

John has been getting quite a few celestial shots and has put some lines on paper. He's getting an estimated position and is working on getting a running fix. We have been keeping the DR plot. That's where John plotted his LOPs. Chase has gotten a number of shots today and is working to improve his accuracy which you do by repetitive shots to improve your technique.

As things stand right now we have about 300 miles to go to the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, but it's really too early to forecast an arrival time. We expect favorable winds tonight and tomorrow, but based on the forecast that Brad sent, we are expecting the wind to clock around to the northwest by Thursday and that's then going to be opposed to our heading.

Right now we are just motoring because the wind has died... we're motoring on a very lumpy sea.

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/14 - 6/16
Date: June 13, 2018 at 5:43:19 AM EDT

6/13 winds S 10 - 15 becoming SW
6/14 winds SW 18 - 25 shifting W 12 - 18 mid day then becoming becoming light and variable near NC / VA coast.
6/15 winds light and variable with a predominant shift N at 5 - 8 during the morning hours and strengthening N 10 - 15 in the afternoon
6/16 winds continue to shift clockwise E 5 - 8 near coastal VA as center of surface high moves over your anticipated position winds become light and variable eventually becoming SE - S

Rita Hanson said...

Transcribed conversation by SAT phone, Thursday morning June 14, 2018, with Captain Tom Tursi:

Yesterday we had a really challenging day, 30-35 knot winds with lots of heavy waves, but it was good. The boat handled it fine, the crew handled it fine, everybody is over MDM, eating meals and telling jokes. It was rough going but it was fun actually! About 7:00 PM we got through the gulf stream and crosses it in about 5-6 hours. We came out of it about midnight to 1:00 AM, then things smoothed out and we've had a beautiful sail since then. We're on a straight line course to the entrance to the Chesapeake. Right now we're having about 15-18 knots and 6 foot waves. We have about 100 miles to go. Pretty soon we'll be able to get soundings and read depth. We expect to get in sometime Friday morning.

Rita Hanson said...

From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/15 - 6/16
Date: June 14, 2018 at 7:56:02 AM EDT

6/14 winds SW 10 - 12 becoming W 5 - 10 then becoming ligh and variable in the evening
6/15 winds still light and variable predominantly from W then becoming NNW 10 - 15 in the afternoon
6/16 winds N 8 - 12 except light and variable near Chesapeake entrance

Rita Hanson said...

NAVIGATOR arrived in good order this morning, Friday June 19th, at 0930. All is well!

Captain Tom Tursi said...

NAVIGATOR is back in Norfolk at Vinings Landing Marina and prepped for her next cruise with Captain Steve Runals. All crew have returned home, and I too am home to recuperate from an enjoyable cruise. I want to thank all who made this cruise a success: Rita for organizing everything to a T. Jerry Nigro a great Sailor and First Mate. And our student crew who were all great crewmates and fine sailors, and who worked hard to make this a successful cruise.

Thanks to all

Captain Tom Tursi said...

And Brad Mabe who provided timely and valuable weather forecasts

Thanks Brad