||Offshore Passage Making; Bermuda to Norfolk
|| June 6-13, 2011
Delisky, Richard Dixon, Vincent Ferrer, Tom
|| Billy Psimas
Saturday 04 Jun:
It was a quick turnaround prior to our return sail to Norfolk
from Bermuda. Mate Billy Psimas and
I set to readying the S/V CELESTIAL for
the return voyage to Norfolk. VA. Billy
did an engine oil change while I re-crimped an alternator control wire.
Chafe guards were placed on our dock lines while we enjoyed the beautiful
Bermuda weather. At home in Louisiana it was 104˚F in the shade. I went
over the side and scrubbed the portside of the hull and inspected the running
gear. Richard Dixon arrived.
Sunday 05 Jun:
I defrosted the refrigerator / freezer while Billy did a food
stores inventory. We
repaired a light switch and I checked with Bermuda Customs concerning our
status. Research Vessel ATLANTIC EXPLORER was doing work near our intended
route, so I plotted a boundary around their work zone and placed it in our ECDIS
unit. We welcomed Vince Ferrer on
board at noon.
Monday 06 Jun:
Billy Psimas taught the first day of deck procedures while I
tended to the ships laundry, a new log book and communications with the Maryland
School via email and Skype.
Billy completed the onboard training and after the duty
roster was posted, the crew began inventories of their respective duties. Rich
and Tom were engineers, Jason and Vince were bosuns, Tom and Jason were assigned
communications and safety, while Vince and Rich were responsible for
provisioning. The watch assignments were:
12 to 4
Billy and Jason
Rich and Bruce
Tom and Vince
The entire crew
participated in grocery shopping. We
came within a few dollars of our grocery budget and were pleasantly surprised
when Somers Market volunteered their shopping carts for us to transport our food
purchase to the boat. We had dinner at a local restaurant and cleared customs
late in the evening for our early morning departure on Wednesday.
Wednesday 08 Jun:
Around 01:00, after warming the engine we untied our dock
lines and stowed them away. We were
cleared for departure on VHF with Bermuda Harbor Radio and motored out of Town
Cut and into the Atlantic Ocean using RADAR, ECDIS, Compass, Depth Sounder and
of course six pairs of eyes and ears. At
06:00 I logged our GPS position and started the Walker Knotmaster Mk III
mechanical log at zero miles. Two
hours later Jason and Vince took a sun shot.
At 16:00 we hove to and checked the lube oil in the engine; an hour later
we put the engine back into service. Vega,
Spica and Pollux were the evening stars we obtained from the HO 249 volume I.
Thursday 09 Jun:
At 05:00 our Walker log showed 108.4 miles;not bad for a
day’s work at sea. We sighted a dolphin in the early afternoon and at 15:00
Jason shot a sun/moon quadrature. The
crossing angles were not to our liking but the exercise was a good one. At 16:00
we hove to and checked fluid levels in the engine.
Billy conjured up porcupine balls for dinner.
Friday 10 Jun:
Today we set the ship’s clock to Eastern Standard time.
This helps the arithmetic involved in the daily pages of the Nautical
Almanac; Ken and I got an extra hour of sail time on this watch. The next watch
got an extra hour of sleep. We saw several Bermuda Longtails and had a few
flying fish on deck. Hemmingway mentions flying fish in his book The
Old Man and the Sea; I’ve got a recipe, and someday I’ll try it.
Meanwhile, you just can’t surpass Billy’s meatloaf for dinner.
Jason shot quadrature again and agrees with me that the moon is readily
identifiable but it moves too fast though the scope of a sextant. At 16:00 we hove to and added two cups of oil to the engine
while we emptied the holding tank. Near sunset we encountered the Gulf Stream or
an eddy of it; the sea temperature rose to 80.4˚F.
Saturday 11 Jun:
At 04:00 ship’s time we reached the halfway point to Cape
Hatteras. Using a GPS, I confirmed
the students’ calculations of a position of 34.35 degrees N and 070.5 degrees
W. At 07:00 I spotted another
Bermuda Longtail. At 18:00
the knot log showed that we maintained 5.3 knots for the past ten hours.
Sunday 12 Jun:
At 04:00 we sighted ODAS “41001”
off our Starboard beam. If it’s still on station, we’re in good shape
heading to Hatteras. The liquid propane indicator light near the galley was
extinguished, so the crew was extra vigilant when operating the stove.
At 09:00, while the off watch crew was awake and about, I heard a
clattering noise on the coach roof. I
knew in a moment that it wasn’t a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
I issued the nautical version of Uh-Oooh and sent the crew topsides.
They met the on watch crew midway up the companionway ladder.
The shackle to the main sheet had come undone. Billy and the crew rectified the matter by replacing the
shackle with one that had a hole in the pin.
We seized the pin with stainless steel wire to ensure that won’t happen
again. Later in the day we hove to,
emptied the holding tank and checked the engine oil level.
Monday 13 Jun:
The night watch had reefed the main to keep it from slatting.
We sighted the strobe of a fast moving submarine which disappeared.
In the early daylight I informed the crew that we were out of potable
water. Out came the secret stashes
of bottled water as well as those Mate Billy Psimas had frozen in the freezer
compartment. We were not to use the
emergency water until we actually had an emergency.
We were near Bodie light and had enough water to make it to Norfolk.
The big issue was that our Vacu-Flush toilet in the head could not
operate without water pumped into it. We
began “Bucket & Chuckit” operations.
Later on, we were beam to beam a few miles off of a U.S. Navy warship; an
Tuesday 14 Jun:
We tied alongside the fuel dock at Vinings Landing and waited for U.S.Customs.
Once the formalities were completed the crew disembarked. Billy and I set to making the boat ready for her next sail to
Rock Hall, MD with Captain Steve Runnels in command. Billy got the water situation resolved while I set to
readying the boat for Captain Steve’s arrival on the 16th of Jun.
It was an interesting voyage without
any major incident. We had ample
time to practice our celestial navigation and learn from each other. As in the previous trip two weeks earlier, Mate Billy Psimas
was tireless in his enthusiasm and support of the cruise. My thanks go to him and the crew for an enjoyable and
Fair Winds and Good Holding Ground…
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