|Course: Offshore Passage Making,
Norfolk to Bermuda
26-June 4, 2006
Vessel: IP45 HALIMEDA
Students: John & Mary Ann Cogan, Tom
Dickson, John O’Neal
First Mate: David Griffith
1100- Capt. David Appleton and Mate David Gifford arrive and survey vessel. We
spend the day orienting Mate to Captain’s procedures and preparing a voyage
plan; purchased equipment needed for voyage, like fenders for the dock bulkhead
in St. Georges Harbour and some navigation gear. Also note some discrepancies on
that need to be addressed.
Crew arrivals and vessel orientation:
0800- Mate and Captain continue preparing voyage plan and vessel clean up in
preparation for crew arrival.
1300- Captain goes on provisioning scouting run.
1400- John and Mary Ann Cogan from California arrive and immediately help with
provisioning, joining Captain at store.
1530- John O’Neal and Tom Dickson arrive and we begin our crew orientation,
assigning berths and stowage spaces.
1600- All gear and luggage stowed. Captain conducts a below-decks orientation,
identifying spaces and special considerations related to of HALIMEDA’s
design and stowage patterns.
1730- We break for dinner together at the Surf Rider restaurant right next to
our berth. During dinner we get
acquainted and share our objectives for the voyage. John and Mary Ann have
elected to stay ashore, as has Tom so we break for the evening after dinner.
Seminar, Voyage Plan & Topside Orientation
0700- We meet and discuss voyage plan to meet the Gulf Stream at about 35°45' N
x 75°10' W, cross it's NE setting current as quickly as possible, then head for
a meander at about 35° N x 74°30' W, then on a cold eddy at about 33°30' N x
72°30'W. This will give us lots of boost from favorable currents if we hit them
0830- We convene topside for orientation. Beginning at the bow and working to
the stern we note all equipment, rigging and procedures related to each. During
the morning we cover all sails and use of whisker pole, storm tri sail and other
1330- After lunch we discuss storm tactics and uses of various sail
configurations and the equipment used for them. We finish the afternoon with a
rigging and mock deployment of the sea anchor, using it in conjunction with the
storm trysail to heave to keeping the vessel at a 30° to 60° attitude to the
wind, thus minimizing vulnerability to breaking seas. Also review storm tactics
and situations in which this configuration would be most appropriate.
1630- We break for the day, taking advantage of the marina's pool to wash away
the heat of the day and relax in
Saturday, May 27
Seminar, Crew Assignments & Specialty Inspections.
0700- Crew reports aboard and Captain makes the following duty assignments:
Watch 3 Captain
Mary Ann Cogan
Watch 1 Mate
Watch 3 Mate
Watch 2 Mate
Watch 2 Captain
Watch 1 Captain
0800- With duty
assignments made crew sets about inspecting areas in their charge. Captain gets
equipment for a couple of repairs to the starboard anchor roller and the main
0930- Engineer John C. leads crew through inspection of his areas of
responsibility including all engine and electric equipment and damage control.
1100- Mate and Bosuns repair traveler and starboard anchor roller, and secure
all topside gear.
1300- We continue inspections and preparations finishing repairs, and rigging
1600- Break for dinner, and last meal ashore. We meet at a restaurant where we
hope for internet access, thus marine weather forecasts, but fail to connect. We
have a good dinner anyway.
Sunday; May 28
Embark; out of the bay and into the Atlantic
0500- One final run for provisions and supplies. Captain scores a bargain on a
30 Lb. box of ripe bananas for $2.00... Crew proves less than enthusiastic and
issues faint praise.
0700- All crew is aboard and we commence final pre-sail checks.
0800- Captain gets final weather fax from internet via marina internet
0900- Away; we clear the dock and Little Creek Harbor and head for Thimble
Shoals Tunnel Channel and on to Cape Henry to begin our dead reckoning
navigational plot at 1200 DR a t a point just off buoy "CH."
We enjoy watching military and commercial traffic passing to our port.
1230- Winds pick up and we are finally able to shut down the engine and sail.
1250- We begin drills with MOB executing the quick stop
maneuver for a quick
recovery. We follow this with practice in reefing and heaving too. Crew quickly
mastered HALIMEDA's sailing rig.
1400- Mary Ann conducts safety equipment briefing and outlines emergency
procedures and abandon ship assignments.
1700- Dinner... Captain's Famous Skid Row Stroganoff meets with approval. We
then practice water conservation measures, washing dishes in a bucket of sea
water on deck followed with a rinsing
in hot fresh water in the galley.
1915- Fog rolls in, probably related to GS proximity, giving us the opportunity
to review use of radar for collision avoidance and plotting of CPAs for
contacts. We also put one reef in the main for the night as easterly winds
enable us to sail with good speed toward to our waypoint.
2015- Watch Captain John and Tom alert Captain that a large vessel is
approaching from astern. Captain contacts m/v HAKAMA
and she agrees to alter course to port to avoid us; she does so and pass safely
by 3/4 mile. But I would prefer at least a mile for any CPA out here. I advise
the crew that here, in the vicinity of Cape Hatteras, we will probably encounter
traffic all night so we need to be sharp, especially on this our first night
Encountering Gulf Stream
0000- Sailing with E winds 10 to 15 knots and making good SE progress toward our
planned Gulf Stream entry point jut to the NE of Cape Hatteras.
0200- Winds lighten and we shake out the first reef in mainsail.
0230- With multiple contacts astern we monitor radar at 20 minute intervals,
sweeping for 2 or 3 minutes, then returning to standby mode to conserve
batteries. No contacts.
0255- Moran tug & tow appear to be heading toward a close approach. We
contact them on VHF 16 and make agreement that she will pass well astern of us.
No problem, but it's always good to make sure. Tugs are notoriously cooperative
in making contact in such close approach situations. I've found Moran to be
0600- Swells and water temperature on the rise a couple of degrees each hour. We
are approaching the NW wall of the Gulf Stream.
0800- High swells and water temperature at 81° indicate we are in the Stream.
0940- After breakfast and cleanup we convene for a class session
discussing the Gulf Stream, our voyage plan, and reviewing watch keeping and
ship board procedures as practiced so far. Seas remain moderately rough to 8'
in Easterly winds through the day, giving us a good feel for what the GS
is and could be like.
1600- Winds die and we reluctantly start the engine. We note irregularities in
the battery charging and try to diagnose problem but cannot figure it out.
1720 -- Batteries seem to be charging normally.
After dinner and clean up Engineer John C. checks the packing gland,
which had been tightened during last maintenance in Norfolk. It is cool to the
touch and dripping at about 1 drip every 3 seconds, a decent rate.
2300- Watch John C. and Tom note adverse Northerly current at about 0.3 knots.
Our Meander is not working for us! Or we're not there yet.
Through the Stream and on to the Meander!
Today we hope to encounter that Meander we noted on the Gulf Stream Report as
its current should assist us. Unfortunately this does not work out as we had
hoped and the current boost is minimal.
0000- Motorsailing on full main and no headsails. Skies clear and winds light.
Current seems about neutral.
0930- After a rather uneventful night motorsailing, we have breakfast and ship
clean up followed by class with a general discussion of Watchkeeping experiences
over the last couple of days and a discussion of Celestial Navigation. Captain
and First Mate conduct the orientation to celestial nav at sea and general
sextant use and practices in making sights from a rolling, pitching vessel. We
followed this with a session of practice sights with the 4 sextants aboard.
1310- Thar she BLOWS!! We sight a
pod of whales about 2 miles off starboard.
Perhaps 6 or 7 small whales soon disappear.
1430- After lunch and ensuing naps for the off watch, we return to discussions
and practice of celestial navigation. We also spent some time on marlinspike
seamanship. Bosuns Tom and John
seemed especially interested in mastering a number of knots, bends and hitches;
that is, I promised to teach them the trucker's hitch if they mastered the 8 or
10 basic knots that they should
know cold at this level. They demonstrated proficiency in all in very little
time. An eager bunch!
1700- Mary Ann stunned us with a Chicken South West dinner marinated in orange
sauce and served over a rice and corn mix with black beans and onions over rice
on the side. This was a nautical culinary triumph!
The crew applauded long and hard!
1940- I contacted Bermuda Radio on the 4 meg safety frequency, 4.125 MHz. My
friend and mate Danny Little was on watch and had anticipated this prearranged
contact. After switching to a working frequency, we discussed weather between us
and Bermuda which was not good for the next few days. Winds would be mostly
easterly though Saturday.
2015- Navigator David and his cohorts, mainly his watch mate John, were
able to get evening stars and make some good sight reductions to plot on the DMA
plotting sheet on which we keep our DR course track.
Meander to Cold "Fast" Eddy...we hope!
0000- Motorsailing on the bottom side of the Cold Eddy, we think. Winds back to
ESE so we have to head 090°M for a while; continue to fight SE winds through
the night. We have to commit to motorsailing with mainsail to make reasonable
progress toward Bermuda.
0800- Light seas. Breakfast of bacon and egg omelets courtesy of John C.
0900- Cleanup followed by surprise MOB drill. John C. at helm with watch mate
Tom. Quickstop maneuver failed at
first due to reaction time, but recovery ensued and we finally got
"Oscar" aboard in just under 3 minutes...
Not too bad.
1000- Continued discussion of a variety of topics including the Trucker's
Hitch... The Bosuns master this quickly
and expressed interest in passing this newfound wisdom on to shipmates, which
they do with enthusiasm.
1235- Copy Bermuda Radio weather from SSB radio; it's more of what Danny
had told us last night, easterly
light to moderate winds to persist.
1300- We try motorsailing on both port and starboard tacks to find the most
efficient course, finally settling on 130° PSC.
1430- Continue celestial exercises and instruction under Mate David's guidance.
We try a few more sites with some success. Practice makes bringing down the Sun
Slow progress and..... A Magnetic Anomaly!!
0650- Stopped engine for daily checks. Engineer John C. finds all well but notes
some water dripped on the clean engine diaper. We find evidence of a minor
coolant leak at the thermostat, which seems to have fixed itself.
0900- In today's class we review damage control assignments and procedures, as
well as abandon ship assignments. This is followed by review of radio operation
and procedures related to emergencies and general operation and frequencies used
on SSB radio.
1045- Contact Tom Tursi via the WLO Marine Operator over SSB radio, making a
radio telephone connection. We report our position and that ETA in Bermuda is
Saturday afternoon, not Friday as originally estimated. We are beset with
easterly winds and persistent foul current, about 0.3 to 0.5 knots out of the
East. These persist through the day making for frustratingly slow progress
toward Bermuda but providing Mate David with ample opportunities to share his
celestial navigation skills with the crew.
2100- Mate David and I are below preparing to turn in and note the boat behaving
erratically. I bolt to the cockpit and find Bosun Dickson at the helm exclaiming
how the wind has suddenly changed directions. Then he notes the compass seems to
be spinning and he can't follow it or keep on course. I take over the helm
(wondering what he's been smoking) and find the compass to be spinning around,
literally; we've encountered some sort of magnetic anomaly!
We note our position as 32°24.2'
69°19.1' W and shortly after this event we note a small contact off our
starboard bow on radar, about 1 mile out, but see no light in the area. After
about 3 minutes it disappears.
2130- I call Bermuda Radio on 4 meg safety frequency and report the incident and
our position. Very poor propagation makes discussion of the event impossible,
but we resolve to follow up later.
2210- It dawns on me as I hit the sack again.... Submarine!
We've been passed under then scoped (the radar contact!)
At least that's my best guess.
Anticipated arrival date - not to be!
0000- Light easterly winds persist so we continue to mortorsail through the
night under full main and furled headsails. We crank up engine to 2400 rpms to
make over 5.5 knots. We need to be
sure to make Bermuda by early evening Saturday at the latest as customs closes
at 2200. We plot our position, which is well south of the rhumb line.
This is the result of our voyage plan strategy to follow the meander SSE
and then head for the south side of the cold eddy. So we decide it best to make
our approach to Bermuda from the south; this is actually less dangerous and more
scenic than the Northern approach we customarily use. We had that consolation,
but our strategy proved a big bust! We
did not find the favorable currents we expected, instead we traveled an extra
100 nm or so to find easterly winds and westerly setting currents, an up hill
battle! But the crew remained in good spirits in anticipation of making landfall
Arrival in St. Georges Harbour, Bermuda; Crew disembarks.
0000- Light easterly winds, motorsailing under a beautiful canopy of stars in
clear skies. Continue to motorsail at
2500 rpm to make St. Georges harbor at a good time.
0403- Venus rising and good shot of her on the horizon at 095° psc from our
position of 32°02.0'N x 65°41.7'W. This
enabled Navigator/Mate David to determine that ship's compass has very little
deviation on this course of 310°M.
0650- Winds veer to SE enabling us to unfurl the genoa for even more boat speed
motorsailing at 2500 rpm.
0955- LAND HO!!! After breakfast, boat clean up and some exercises, Mary Ann
looks to the port bow and sees Bermuda bearing about 080°M. We then see Gibbs
Hill light bearing 065° and begin our approach navigation with Tom and Tex (
John O'N.) taking on the challenge. Through the day we have a leisurely
motorsail along the southeast coast of Bermuda.
1400- Heave to for engine shut down and final checks and to ensure transmission
to shaft couplings are tight and secure. John C. checks all out and Captain
verifies we are mechanically ready to enter the port.
1500- Round Spit buoy and get clearance from Bermuda Harbour Radio to enter
through Town Cut. Crew snap photos enthusiastically as we arrive.
1530- At Customs dock on Ordinance Island we find Sandy O'Neal, John's wife
("Tex") ready to greet us and handle lines. After we clear Customs she
joins us for the brief ride over to a vacant spot on the bulkhead near Dowling's
where we finally berth HALIMEDA with
the help of a couple of Norwegians from a trim sailing craft berthed nearby. We
adjourn to the dockside restaurant and enjoy some liquid refreshment and shore
side chow. All seem to agree that despite the miscue on our voyage plan and the
adverse winds and currents, it has been a very successful voyage.
And so the crew departed for their shore side
lodgings and further adventures to follow as they explored this lovely island.
Norfolk: 5/28/05 @ 0900
Arrived Bermuda: 6/3/05 @ 1600
Elapsed Time: 6 days 7 hours = 151 hours
Rhumb line Distance: 635 NM
Distance Sailed: 849 NM through
Engine Use: 112 hours
Generator Use: 6 hours
Diesel Fuel Used: 60 gallons
aboard S/V HALIMEDA
St. Georges Harbour, Bermuda
June 3, 2006
to Ocean Reports
Return to Home