2019 Bermuda Reports

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Course: Offshore Passage Making; Bermuda to Norfolk
Date May 26-June 3, 2019
Students: Sarah Grainger, Jonathan Karpfen, Susan & Christopher Quinn, 
First Mate: Captain David Gifford
Captain Captain Tom Tursi

May 25, 2019
From: Rita Hanson
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

May 27, 2019
From: Rita Hanson
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 prior to departure:

May 27, 2019
From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/27 - 5/31
5/27 afternoon - winds light and variable mostly NE at 5-10. Possibility of showers and T-storms. winds becoming more E at night.
5/28 winds S 5-10 chance of showers, becoming S 10-15 in the evening.
5/29 winds SSW 15-20 becoming W to WNW in the afternoon and evening
5/30 winds shift WSW 10-15 as low pressure moves off the Delmarva penn. winds shift SW overnight.
5/31 winds WSW 15-20 chance of showers increase.

May 27, 2019
From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/28 - 6/1
5/28 winds SW 7 - 15 some gusts to 20. becoming SW 5 - 10 in the afternoon possibility of a passing shower late morning. Winds shifting W overnight
5/29 winds W 10 - 15 becoming SW 10 - 15 late evening
5/30 a small shortwave trough tracks N of your anticipated position brings increased possibility of shower winds become W to WNW at 15 - 20 early morning then SW 15 - 20 for the remainder of the day.
5/31 winds SW 15 - 20 shortwave trough to your N continues to produce gusty and variable winds N of your anticipated coarse. winds more from the NW, light and variable north of Cape Hatteras.
6/1 increased chance of rain and showers. winds W to SW 10 - 15 becoming SSW late in the day.
The tropics are quiet.

May 28, 2019
From: Rita Hanson
NAVIGATOR departed Little Creek in Norfolk Virginia at 11:30 AM today, May 28, 2019.

May 29, 2019
From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/29 - 6/2
5/29 winds from the W 10 - 15 becoming WSW in the afternoon and overnight. Hot and sunny, clear overnight.
5/30 winds W to WSW 10 - 15
5/31 winds SW 20 - 25 diminishing to 10 - 15 in the afternoon. Overnight low pressure and associated front forms off the lower Carolina coast bringing an increased chance of showers and T-storms W and N of your projected course.
6/1 winds SSW 15 - 20 increased chance of showers and T-storms
6/2 front continues to push SE toward BDA, showers and T-storm chance more widespread. Winds SW 20 - 22

May 29, 2019
Verbal report from Captain Tom Tursi via SAT phone:
We're crossing the Gulf Stream right now and are about half way through it. We've had beautiful sunny weather the whole time so far with moderate winds yesterday. Today was nice sailing - very hot. This evening the winds have come up as forecast. We are on a heading of about 130 degrees on the compass, straight towards Bermuda. We came south and then made our turn east earlier today. The wind has come up to about 18-20 knots or so. We just finished reefing down for the night and we're sailing along nicely. Everyone is doing fine with no sea sickness. Tonight we had a creative meal of beans and hot dogs and veggies and yesterday we had spaghetti and meatballs, so we are eating well. 

Everyone is getting along fine and the crew is performing well and getting into their routines and learning the finer details of what we are doing. The watch schedule is: 

12-4 is Yoni and Chris
4-8 is Sue and Tom
8-4 is David and Sarah

So that means that Yoni and Chris are the dinner cooks. Yoni is very creative with the cooking so that is working out well.

We did some celestial work today. Both Sarah and Yoni took some shots and have been learning the technique. We're working now on improving the accuracy of their shots and there is more work to be done there yet. And of course we are keeping the normal dead reckoning plot and the logbook as needed to support that. 

As we were crossing the Gulf Stream and charging along under sail, we heard a radio call from one of the Navy Warships. He said they were conducting live fire exercises and gave his position. He said that all vessels are requested to stay away from the area and to not come within 12 miles of him. Well we were already within 8 miles of him. So we called him and told him our situation. We were a little bit locked in by the direction of the Gulf Stream and the direction of the wind, so I explained all of that to him. He asked us to head North for awhile, so we did that. He said his exercise should be complete in about 20 minutes but it ended up being about 40 minutes. When they finished he called us back "Sailing Vessel NAVIGATOR, we are done our exercise and you may proceed". I thanked him deeply for his consideration! 

May 29, 2019
From: Captain Jerry Nigro
Sounds like Captain Tom and Navigator are doing just great! I am sure that having a good crew is helping Navigator along her way. I wish all onboard Navigator a fun, educational and safe voyage!

May 30, 2019
From: Alan Kronisch
I take great pleasure in following Navigator's voyage and remembering the great experience I had on the trip last year with Tom, Jerry, Doug, Naomi, and John.

May 30, 2019
From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/30 - 6/3
5/30 winds W to WSW 10 - 15
5/31 winds becoming SW 15 -20
6/1 winds SW 15 - 20 frontal passage from your NW brings increased chance of rain and T-storms
6/2 winds continue SW increasing 20 - 22 increased shower and T-storm chance with gusty winds in and around T-storms. Chance of storms decrease in the evening.
6/3 winds SSW 18 - 20 chance of showers and T-storms.

May 30, 2019
From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 5/31 - 6/4
5/31 winds WSW 15 - 20 becoming SW late in the day
6/1 winds SW 15 - 20 becoming SSW 20 - 22 in the afternoon frontal passage from your NW increases chance of showers and T-storms
6/2 winds SSW 20 - 25 gusts to 30 continued increased chance of showers and T-storms
6/3 winds SW 15 - 20 chance of showers and T-storms
6/4 winds SW 15 - 20 widespread showers in the morning, clearing in the afternoon

May 31, 2019
Verbal report from Captain Tom Tursi via SAT phone:
Everything has been good and we've had some good sailing. Coming down the Virginia coast we had moderate winds and we motored some and we sailed some. Thursday around 1:00 PM or so we made the turn east towards Bermuda and then we had southwest winds 18-22 knots, so mostly behind us. So we rigged the whisker pole and we sailed all day and overnight with the whisker pole. It was beautiful sailing but it was rather rough because we were getting the quartering seas and it was rocking and rolling the boat. With those conditions we could not have sailed that area without the whisker pole. The whisker pole made all the difference in the world. 

This morning, Friday, about 9:00 we decided to make some southing because the forecast for tomorrow, Saturday, is for winds to go to the south which will be a problem for us so we decided to get more south now at this point. We're 270 miles or thereabouts from Bermuda and there's a low coming off the coast tonight at about our latitude. It's coming pretty much straight east towards our direction, so we are expecting some winds and some rain out of it. Other than that we've had great sailing the whole time and we're making good progress. 

Everyone is doing fine. No one is seasick and everyone is getting along pretty well. Tonight for dinner Yoni cooked veggies and rice and chili. Last night Chris cooked chicken stew. So we are eating well. 

May 31, 2019
From: Paul Oppenheimer
Following your progress with great interest. Very much looking forward to joining Captains Tursi and Gifford in just a few days in St. Georges, Bermuda for the return trip. Wishing you calm seas and a following wind on the last leg of your journey!

May 31, 2019
From: Kelly Hanson
Hi Mom and Dad! Love tracking your voyage- thank you for the updates Captain Tursi! All is well at home. Love you! Kelly

June 1, 2019
From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/1 - 6/5
Position 33.4N 68.6W
6/1 winds SSW 18 - 22 becoming SW 20 - 25 Gusts to 30 late afternoon. Showers and T-storms likely. The frontal system associated with this weather has moved faster than anticipated. It should move through overnight and Sunday morning
6/2 morning: winds SSW 20 - 25 with showers and T-storms. Afternoon: winds SW 15 - 20 chance of rain decreases but still possible.
6/3 winds SW 10 - 15 slight chance of showers and T-storms
6/4 winds SW 15 - 20 becoming NW 10 - 15 in the afternoon increased chance of showers and T-storms as high-pressure forms off Carolina coast.
6/5 winds NE 7 - 12 becoming E 10 - 15 as high-pressure moves E

June 1, 2019
Verbal report from Captain Tom Tursi via Sat phone:
Saturday morning. Winds continued SW18-22 overnight. Clouds rolled in; very humid this morning. I expect we are getting the advance effects of the Low coming off the coast. We’re sailing with double reefed mainsail, deep reefed Genoa and staysail; making 6 plus knots on course of 130M working to get south before winds back to south as expected. Sarah on watch; Sue and I just came off watch; others sleeping. Sun is in and out behind the clouds; may be able to do some celestial. 200 miles to Bermuda

June 1, 2019
From: Rob & Betsey
So good to read of your progress and that all is well! All is well here too! Wishing you smooth sailing with the wind at your back and clear weather.

June 1, 2019
Verbal report from Captain Tom Tursi via Sat phone:
We had a really nice day today. As you recall we had put up the whisker pole and sailed all day and all night and that was a great experience for everybody. We had the mainsail reefed down and the jib reefed and out on the whisker. Wind was from astern, blowing from the southwest pretty consistently 18-22 knots. The seas were lumpy and the boat was rocking and rolling. Then we started getting a shift in the wind from southwest to south. We got to the point where we took the pole down and just started sailing on a beam reach. Then we decided we needed to make more headway to the south. So we trimmed in all of the sails. We had the staysail flying and the reefed main and reefed jib, so we had three small sails up. We went along that way close hauled and we were able to make good progress towards Bermuda. We're still doing that. It's a fairly smooth ride. We had to rig on the staysail a  4-part tackle to pull down the clew and flatten the sail and it worked out very nice. What it does is pull down on the clew in order to stop the staysail from fluttering. 

Chris cooked dinner tonight and made a very difficult recipe. It was Dinty Moore stew and frozen vegetables. We are doing pretty good on water. The last two nights we have let the dishwashers wash the dishes in fresh water instead of salt water. We're doing fine on fuel as well. Since the first day we haven't used the engine much except for charging. It's been nice sailing too with brisk winds. No one is seasick and everyone is doing fine. We had a beautiful sunset tonight. It was very impressive and Yoni has been taking a lot of photos and videos. 

We have about 135 miles to go and we expect to get into Bermuda on Monday morning. 

June 1, 2019
From: Bradley Mabe
Subject: WX 6/2 - 6/4
Position: 32.7N 66.5W
6/2 winds S 20 - 22 in the morning becoming SW 18 - 20 in the afternoon showers and T-storms likely.
6/3 winds WSW 10 - 15 in the morning then SW 10 - 15 for the rest of the day. Decreased chance of showers, possible showers as you near BDA. winds become S 15 - 20 overnight with increased rain chance toward moning.
6/4 winds SW 15 - 20. Showers and T-storms likely.

June 2, 2019
Verbal report from Captain Tom Tursi via Sat phone:
We've had a squally, rainy, gusty, lightningy, humid and wet day today. Brad's last forecast said that this weather will continue through the night into tomorrow. We're almost to Bermuda but I am hesitant to go in during these squally conditions in the dark. We don't want to end up with a squall right as we are picking our way through the channel, trying to see buoys. So unless something changes, we'll take the conservative route and wait to go in after daybreak. We'll just slowly tack back and forth. We tried heaving to but the seas are so wavy and lumpy that we were just banging the rudder back and forth, so I decided that we would just jog along slowly. We have the engine on because with all of this lumpy water it's very hard to control the boat. So we are just jogging with our reefed sails up and the engine running slowly. We'll maintain our regular watches through the night. There are no other boats out here now. There was one ahead of us but it sounded like they got in before nightfall. We will call Bermuda radio in a few hours and let them know we are on our way. Right now we are still a bit too far out. 

Everyone is fine. We were lucky because we didn't have much rain for the entire cruise but today made up for it. Everyone got to use their rain gear. 

We've eaten most of our food and had all of our planned dinners. We are looking forward to going to a restaurant tomorrow! We'll be drying out for a couple of days I think! 

June 2, 2019
Verbal report from Captain Tom Tursi via Sat phone:
We got to St George's Bermuda this morning about 10:30 or so. We went through customs, everyone got their gear off the boat then we had a diploma presentation ceremony and got lots of pictures. Three of the students went to their destinations and Yoni, David and I are right now sitting in the courtyard in the center of St George's having lunch. 

This trip was a like a football game at the end, going into the red zone. The first 5 days were great, with very nice sailing but the last 24 hours were tough, really tough. We ended up having to go south right into the teeth of that 20 knot wind for about 10 miles. We were somewhat in the lee of Bermuda island towards the end but for the first 5 miles or so we were getting 20 knot winds directly at us and blowing in big seas that we had to fight against. We had the engine up to maybe 2500 RPM, which is high rev, and we were only making 1-2 knots. So we changed our heading to get more in the lee of the island and it was better. 

When we got here and were met by a very bright woman, a customs official, who took care of the paperwork, so that all went well. NAVIGATOR is at the town dock tied up on the main dock, across from Ordnance Island. The town of St George's is pretty crowded and noisy today with lots going on. We even got to see the traditional dunking of the wench. 

This cruise was on the high end for the amount of sailing we were able to do compared to other years. We got to use the whisker pole and were able to use all different points of sail. Everyone did great and they had a little more swagger to their step when they left the boat. 

We are all exhausted and now that we have had a good meal we are going to get some sleep! 

Captain Tom Tursi
St George's, Bermuda

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