Sunday, May 31, 2009

Settling In

Cartegena Colombia - 10 24.5N 075 32.6W
Yesterday we played Tourist with our delivery crew, shopping for Emeralds, touring the old city, museums, & churches, and being hounded by pedlers of everything. Pictures will be added to the previous few weeks posts soon, so stay tuned, and don't forget to look back at our delivery posts. I also fixed the date issue we had so we are no longer predicting the future and there are two additional posts that got archived back to 2003. This morning Chuck, Jake, and Pete left early for the airport to head home to their wives, lawnmowers, and jobs and Bill and I tackled the work list. I basically now have the security system squared away. I still some finishing details to add like the inside motion detector and the dingy sensor, but he main parts are wired though I couldn't test the outside motion detector because the ambient tempurature was around 92 degrees by the time I couldn't take it anymore at 11:30 and I don't think there was enough difference between my body temp and the background. I will test tonight when it cools off and see if it works.
In the afternoon I set the hammock up under the boom awning and relaxed for a few hours, checking e-mail, restoring lost data, and some general web browsing. I have decided that this will be my primary location from 11:30 to 15:00 most days.

Luckily the wind has picked up and the sun has dipped lower, and it is now a much more reasonable 86 degrees.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cartegena Colombia

Cartegena Colombia - 10 24.5N 075 32.6W
We got into port yesterday afternoon around 1600, launched the dingy and sent Bill on his way to clear customs. 20 minutes later we had just about finished putting up the boom awning (my new favorite thing in the world) and Bill was back, having left our passports and papers with our Agent David who will take care of everything (we hope) this morning. After some much deserved showers and changes into clean dry clothes we headed off to shore. A short walk later via the Club de Pesce Marina we arrived at a wonderful resturaunt De Oliva with a very friendly owner who was very patient with our stupid questions in broken spanish and french.

Today our goal is to find a slip in a marina. Club de Pesce looks very nice, but apparently is full. We met the "Heffe" yesterday who is going to see what she can do, but we don't have a ton of hope.

John, who runs Club Nautico [pictured], was off yesterday, so we are hoping that one of the "two reservations" the workers talked about was for us.

Today we have a few boat projects to do and will continue to put the boat away and clean off the salt this morning, then probably head to the old city in the afternoon to play tourista.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Newport to Cartegena Day 12

Western Carribean Sea - 13 30.6N 75 19.8W

Today was rather rough in the western Carribean. Apparently a small tropical depression added to the trades quite a bit so we saw 20+ kt winds and very steep seas. Things are finally settling down and thankfully there was some cloud cover today or else it would have been unbarably hot. As is, it was 95 degrees in the pilothouse this afternoon and noone slept well last night. I think most have caught up today, so hopefully we will be in fine shape tonight with the seas subsiding a bit. We only have 185 miles to go so we should be in to Cartegena tomorrow afternoon.

I will try to post after we get in, but if I don't it probably just means it took us a while to settle in to port and I needed some sleep.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Newport to Cartegena Day 11-2

Middle of Carribean Sea - 16 46.5N 74 52.5W

Water Temp: 84 deg
Air Temp: 90 deg
Cabin Temp: 92 deg

Hot got a new definition this afternoon when I went down for my afternoon siesta. It was the most unrestful 2+ hour nap in my life and I woke up sweatier than a fat southerner at an august picknick. The sea state and high speed while close reaching had precluded opening any deck hatches until about 30 minutes ago, so my aft cabin with waterheaters under the bed quickly got up to extreme temperatures even with all three fans going full bore. The rest of the cabin was nearly as hot and the cockpit was basically unbarable in the direct sunlight. The pilothouse on the other hand was somewhat reasonable (relatively speaking).

Evening hours has brought reduced temps, backing winds, reduced spray, cold showers, and a much better overall feeling. Why can't all day be like 18:00. We have just 385 miles left to reach Cartegena which at the current rate puts us in before noon on thursday. We are guessing we will slow down at some point, but we should be able to get in before dark at least. The issue now will be managing to get into the marina before Bill leaves. Work is Cartegena is very popular right now with at least 50 boats in the anchorage.

Newport to Cartagena Day 11 - Captains Log

Exiting Windward Passage
17 36.0N, 74 43.3W

It's a bit of roller coaster today as we blast through the Windward Passage into the Caribbean. We are passing Jamaica to our west, and enjoyed beautiful vistas of Haiti through the early morning today. We have a steady easterly to ESE wind at about 10-12 knots. Seas are moderate, but fairly close as there is some element of wind against current. We had some significant (that means 1.5 knots)f current against us overnight, and steererd east through the passage to avoid the strongest parts of the stream. This brought us to within 15 miles of the Haitian coast. We continued to stay east of the rhumb line out of the WW passage into the Jamaica Channel, and the strategy seemed to work as we roughly halved the speed of the adverse current. We now are back to rumb line, more or less.

Last night was filled with lights on the water and AIS targets on our course plotter (radio broadcast of ship posiitons via Automatic Identification System, for all you landlubbers out there). We saw more ships traversing the Windward Passage than we encountered on the entire trip. This stretch of water is busy! Now, 50 miles south of Haiti, traffic is once again getting scarce.

The course back to rumb line allows us to sail a close reach in this buliding breeze, and this is much more comfortable than the nearly close hauled sailing we did in our slide to the east. I also have the engine ticking over to power us through the occasional large swell, but I suspect we will be able to sail with engine off by evening if the wind backs to north of east, as predicted. In any event, the predicted wind over the next 48 hrs. mitigates concerns about fuel supply.

We did about 214 nm yesterday, and continue today to blast along at 10 kn through the water, and 9 kn over ground. If the situation remains stable (which it may or may not), I can anticipate a 2 PM Thursday arrival at our waypoint outside Cartagena, and anchor down, or dockage if possible, around 4 PM!

How likey is that? Well, let me tell you some stories about boats...



Monday, May 25, 2009

Newport to Cartegena Day 10-2

20 Miles East of Cuba - 19 51.4N 73 59.9W

The clouds cleared just enough for us to get a glimpse of Cuba this afternoon as we made our way into the Windward Passage. It put the finnishing touches on a georgeous, but brutally hot and humid day with fresh dorado al fresco in the cockpit for dinner. The winds are ligh,t meaning that we have to motor, but the advantage is we get to keep the deck hatches open keeping it reasonably comfortable in the cabin.

We are currently heading southwest to clear the tip of Haiti before turning back south to Cartegena. We have done our fuel calculations and are in good shape so long as we either get some helpful wind, or not too much adverse current along the way, but the 30 extra gallons from the Bahamas will be a big help (keep in mind this is all with a 50gal reserve for emergency use).

We got a bit lax with our reports while on land, but I can assure you we will get back on schedule now that we have little else to do. Still, keep in mind, just because we haven't updated doesn't mean there is any trouble. It probably means we are too busy catching fish or having fun.

Newport to Cartegena Day 10

En Route 8 miles South 0f Great Inagua Island, Southern Bahamas
20 49.6N, 73 42.7W

Well, we know we in de Islands, mon, when we jerry jug fuel to the boat.

Yesterday was a pleasant layover day anchored off Great Inagua Island; the new boom awning does a masterfull job of keeping the sun out and allowing the breeze in. After the requisite boatwork in the morn, we all went ashore to explore. We learned that Hurricane Ike blasted the Island last year, and left much damage in his wake. It is sad to see that the island remains in disrepair, with much work left to do. Many of the large trees were uprooted, and as "Williams" (the man we met who became our agent) said, "Ike was mad at the roofs, mon". 90% of the structures lost some part of their roofs, and patches of blue tarps are still occasionally visible.

Yesterday happened to be a Sunday, and when we went ashore, the town was quiet. We ended up being very lucky when Williams drove by and asked us if we needed any help, fuel, or information. We explained that we were here for 24 hrs, and would like to buy some diesel, some foodstuffs, and supplies. He drove me to the home of a customs officer and then several conversations ensued between Williams and Mr. Customs, Mr. Customs and Boss of Mr. Customs, and thankfully not immigration. In the end, we were trying to avoid the cost of a $300 Bahamas cruising permit plus additional immigration fees, as we only needed 24 hrs on the island or in the Bahamas, and not 3 months. This is where the luck came in. It was agreed that we could buy some fuel from Williams, and that he would take us to the grocery 0730 Monday morning, but not later, as we needed to be off the island and back on the boat before customs opened.

Noon: Brief interlude as I gaff our second Dorado (aka Mahi Mahi). The hook was in the water for only 7 miles this time before a fish struck! Whoo Hoo. Good eating tonight.

Back to the island story. Williams also wanted us to fuel up yesterday, so as not to be around too much Monday AM. We jerry jugged 6 five gallon containers on board via our dinghy, and segregated these "comfort factor" 30 gallons into our otherwise empty aft tank. One never can be too carefull about the fuel we take aboard and I will transfer it and scrub it with our filters before we use it. We had already calculated that even accounting for a 50 gallon emergency reserve, we could motor sail all the way to Cartagena in light winds. Motoring into a stronger breeze on our bow would have left us short however, and this additional 30 gallons gives us 10-18 additional hours of engine time...just in case.

Finally, after a much anticipated 40 minute run and a few more afternoon chores yesterday (such as hanging hooks in the lazzerette for the scuba gear), we had cocktails and dined al fresco. After movie night, a good sleep was had by all.

This morning Chuck and Gram went on the early excursion for food and drink. Fortunately they were mostly successful, and did buy several gallons of that most desirable elixir, amongst other liquids. They struck out on bread and produce, but we have mucho tortillas (which have lasted amazingly well), a few heads of lettuce, and broccoli remaining, before we go on to the slaw.

After a good check and clean of the engine room this morning, we weighed anchor at 0933. We will pass between Cuba and Haiti, and then Jamaica and Haiti, before a 487 nm run to Cartagena. Conditions look good, with light tomoderate SE winds for the first 24 hours, with winds building out of the east over the next 3-4 days. Swells should be moderate. I do not wish to jinx us, but this has the potential to be an 80 hr leg to Cartagena. I hear the restaurants are quite exceptional there.

We'll let you know how exceptional soon enough!



Friday, May 22, 2009

Newport to Cartegena Day 7

Mayaguana Island - Bahamas -- 22 19.6N 73 02.4W

It took us 151 hours to travel the 1350 nautical miles from Newport Rhode Island to Mayaguana Island in the southern Bahamas. This works out to an average of 8.6kts or 206 miles per day, an impressive average for non race boats. Last night ended up being a very spirited blast reach at about 9-10 kts with spray pummeling the cockpit. Luckily for us we can hide in or behind the pilothouse, with behind being chosen more often than not as it was getting VERY hot and sticky inside the boat.

On our approach to the islands we landed a nice sized Dorado (video to come when high speed internet is available for upload). The pork loin that had come out of the freezer 30 minutes earlier was quickly returned and the Dorado was butchered and marinated for dinner tonight. We pulled inside the reef at Mayaguana around 2:00 this afternoon, took a quick swim, and went about some boat chores making sure we are back to as close to 100% as possible. It is amazing the difference being able to open the hatches and get some air flowing will do for a boat full of guys.

I grilled up the fish loins on the George Forman grill, steamed some broccoli and cooked up some pine nut cous cous. The fish was AMAZINGLY moist and the spices came out very well if I must say so myself.

The plan right now (subject to change of course) is to sail tomorrow to Great Inagua which will take most of the day (10 hours). We will relax in Mathew Town on Sunday and Sunday night, go grocery shopping for a few items monday morning, then depart by noon for Cartegena. It will be nice to have a few nights sleep with hatches open and a level, relatively motion free bed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Newport to Cartagena Day 6, Captains Log

Southwest North Atlantic 25 50N 70 34W
21 May, 2009

We passed south of Boca Raton, FL middle of last night (allow me a moment to say good morning to my parents, Arnold and Trudy who miraculously have figured ot how to read our blog), and we continue southbound 528 miles east of Miami, course 217 mag, now 247 nm from our waypoint at Caicos Pasage.

Another day, another 200 miles. Well, make that 234 nm. Visions of Johanna contiues to steam along at a great pace, making 24 hr totals of 206 nm the 19th and 234 nm on the 20th. I am most pleased with her performance, and a well known designer has opined "this boat is wicked fast". Can you tell he is from Maine?

Over night,the wind has picked up and we are finally beginning to see some seas. Yestrday, the wind actually eased a bit from mid morning to midnight, usually less than 15 kn T from just north of east. Wind direction currently unchanged, but wind speed has increased to 19-22 kn. Seas, which were surprisingly docile yesterday, are making their presence known, now 6-9 ft. Our boat speed remains an awesome 9.8 kn @ 17 kn wind, and 11 kn @ 22 kn wind - in other words, we are TRUCKIN'. While a bit rolly, Visions of Johanna is handling these conditions with aplomb, and never has felt unsafe, nor have we felt insecure. She continues to exhibit a lovely balance of speed and seaworthness.

We are closing in on our waypoint, and I, and the rest of the crew, are beginning to sense that this first leg of our trip has begun it's end game. I expect another 12 hrs. of wind and seas, but then anticipate some rather fast easing over the last 18 hours of this leg to the Bahamas. With all the weather action around us, I am greatful that we have managed to thread the needle and insinuate ourselves between fronts and low pressure systems. To that end, I would be amiss if I did not acknowledge our weather guru, Ken McKinley, from Locus Weather in Camden, ME. Through daily e-mail contact, Ken has always routed us where the storms ain't,which has not been an easy task this week.

Thanks, Ken.

That's all for now,


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Newport to Cartegena Day 5 - 3

340 Miles NE of Bahamas 27 15.5N 69 44.1W

Do-do-do-do do-do -- to the tune of "Sleigh Ride"

Outside the fish are flying and crew are calling Whoo-hoo
Come on lets get to gether for a sleigh ride together with you.
Giddy up, Giddy up, Giddy up, Giddy Up lets Go.......

Early evening conditions are a blast. We are holding a steady 9+ kts, with peaks above 11kts as we surf down the waves. It isn't the most comfortable motion, but it isn't too bad and the miles are really ticking off. We are currently looking at making landfall in Mayaguana (or your iguanna, if your not careful) friday morning as we most likely won't get to Great Inagua before dark if we were to continue on. As I write this we just had a 12" long flying fish land on the side deck and start thrashing around. Luckily Peter was able to send him back into the water.

Newport to Cartegena Day 5 - 3

340 Miles NE of Bahamas 27 15.5N 69 44.1W

Do-do-do-do do-do -- to the tune of "Sleigh Ride"

Outside the fish are flying and crew are calling Whoo-hoo
Come on lets get to gether for a sleigh ride together with you.
Giddy up, Giddy up, Giddy up, Giddy Up lets Go.......

Early evening conditions are a blast. We are holding a steady 9+ kts, with peaks above 11kts as we surf down the waves. It isn't the most comfortable motion, but it isn't too bad and the miles are really ticking off. We are currently looking at making landfall in Mayaguana (or your iguanna, if your not careful) friday morning as we most likely won't get to Great Inagua before dark if we were to continue on. As I write this we just had a 12" long flying fish land on the side deck and start thrashing around. Luckily Peter was able to send him back into the water.

Newport to Cartegena Day 5 - Part 2

380 miles NE of Bahamas - 27 48.6N 69 22.1W

The building winds have taken an afternoon siesta bringing our boatspeed down to 8-9 kts, but making for a rather pleasant afternoon, especially when the sun pokes out from behind the clouds. We had a wonderful lunch of Pizza (thank you Digeorno's) and Cappy's Clam Chowder (thank you other Johanna). Everyone is loving the quite speed of Visions without her engine running and the motion is pretty reasonalbe with just the occasional hard roll when the two wave directions meet at just the right spot. Unfortunately this is usally occompanied by a bit of spray across the deck, so we have had to close our hatches (except for two in the galley that are protected by the pilothouse. Offshore passages in moderate to bad conditions may be the one time we regret not having air conditioning.

We are currently chugging along at a VERY comfortable 9 kts and have averaged better than 200 miles/day for the trip, so it looks like we will arrive in the Bahamas late morning in two days. We still aren't sure which island we are going to stop in as it depends on the time of our arrival (we don't want to come into harbor in the dark).

To pass the time I have started reading "Spanish for Cruisers" as I figure I will need as much spanish as possible when haning out in Cartegena for two weeks by myself. It makes me realize both how much I did learn in two years of High School Spanish and just how much I forgot. I have also been playing around with some minor (completely non-critical) bugs in the interface of our Nav software and our instrument systems and have a bunch of questions for the developers ready once I have a real internet connection. -- Gram

Newport to Cartagena Day 5 - Captains Log

Southwest North Atlantic 29 06N 68 39W

Like a horse coming home to the barn, Visions of Johanna is steaming towards the Caicos Passage, our entry gate into the Bahamas. While the wind is blowing fairly hard, it is from the east off our stern quarter, and can be mitigated and contained by carefully choosing the amount of sail we are flying. The wind has increased from 14-15 knots through the night to 18 knots steady right now. We brought down our lighter weight reaching sail (meant for down wind sailing, but with lesser winds) and now fly the 103% jib - with no change in boat speed, but on a more tamed animal. The sail change occurred at change of watch, as six hands are better than two.

Right now we are 475 nm from our waypoint at Caicos Passage, making 9-10 knots with our east wind of 18-20 knots. This is pretty much what I will expect throughout the day,and pretty much what I will expect over the next 36 hours. We started last night with a reef in the main, but then shook it out as we were a tad underpowered with winds in the 15 kn range. Our next move, if wind and seas build, will be to put back that reef.

The seas are slowly building with the consistent winds. They are 3-6 feet and we are rolling a bit with the wind on the quarter, but they are also regular and pleasantly shaped. In general they are smooth and rounded, and are not developing the squared off charactor that creates a jarring motion. I do think they will continue to build some, though.

The crew has settled in to a nice routine. There is plenty of conversation, good books being read, and enjoyment of being out here, so intimately connected to the elements. It is fair to say that everyone has enjoyed themselves to this point.

I can see one problem brewing however, in that I am running low on the crew's favorite libation. This vessel was stocked with the finest of victuals and elixers, acknowleging that satisfying food and drink make for a happy and well behaved crew. Well, I underestimated their nearly insatiable demand for this mother of all liquids and I am beginning to sense an uncomfortable undercurent of side talk and conversations about how much is left and "where is it stored?". Mind you, before we departed Newport, I made sure that we were well stocked with gallons upon gallons of this most desirable drink, but I never thought that a crew of grown men would choose milk as there beverage of choice - party animals that they are. So here stand I, watching our dwindling supply, with concern about the possibility of "the milk mutiny". Well, to that I say "let them drink water!

Note to self: Purchase milk, anchovies, and pickles at our next stop.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Newport to Cartegena Day 4

175 Miles SW of Bermuda - 31 03.7N 67 56.6W

Last night and today have been near perfect sailing days. This morning around 8:00 we were able to shut the engine down and still mainain our speed. Thus far we have traveled just short of 700nm, keeping a better than 200 mile/day average and keeping us on schedule. We have managed to empty the cooler and relocate that fod to the freezer and fridge before all the ice melted so once again the fridge and freezer are stuffed to the gills. Speaking of gills, we had the fishing tackle out again today, but as of yet no nibbles. The good news is I have no idea where we would put the fish if we caught one.

Right now we have about 12kts of wind on our port quarter making for a very comfortable day of sailing. It looks like by tomorrow morning the wind will increase quite a bit toping off at 25kts or so (nothing to be worried about, just not quite as comfortable). We will have stronger winds for about 36 hours before it calmes down for our approach to the Bahamas.

The guys are currently down below watching "Eyes Wide Shut", getting out of the sun for a bit with some mindless entertainment. Tonight we are having chicken enchiladas (thanks mom), probably with some salad. Oddly enough, the only things I am worried about running out of are Pickles and Milk (not together I promise). Usually I am the only one drinking milk regularly, but both Jake and Chuck are also milk drinkers so we will have to pick up more in Mathewtown. Pickles weren't really a provisioned item, but there was a jar left over from my winter onboard. Luckily we have plenty of other food to eat.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tracking Updates

Sargasso Sea 33 47.3N 67 32.8W

As Bill stated this morning, it was a beautiful day to be on the Ocean. Energy levels and appetites were up so we had three excellent sqares today. I was made aware last night that our position reports were not shoping up. It must be a bug in the X-gate email progam that we were using to send the reports and we have reverted to send in reports directly. There should be new position reports for the rest of the trip. Unfortunately, it appears that the map to the right isn't working for us so you can either click the "enlarge map" key or use the link to YotReps Position Reports down the page. Once I get onto the real internet I will find another plugin that will actually work.

Conditions have continued to ease this afternoon and early evening. Right now we are motoring along with about 4 kts of breeze on our port quarter. No idea if we tacked or jibed this afternoon as the velocity was so low it didn't really mater.

We almost cought a fish within an hour of putting out the new fishing rod, but one of the crimps on my leader let go (I crimped the replacement much tighter). It may have been for the better as we saw a HUGE splash as the fish jumped out of the water and I am not sure I want a monster to be the first fish we board on the rod.

The evening is extremely plesant and I hear rumors of a movie night.

Newport to Cartagena Day 3 - Captains Log

Sargasso Sea 34 50N 67 44W

Noon: Blissfully pleasant is a phrase I would use to describe far. The wind abated and seas diminished after 2AM last night, and we awakened to a dawn with lighter winds and flattening seas. We can walk around the boat without holding on for our lives, the sun is out, and right now things feel good. Gram cooked up a great brunch of eggs, sausage, and hash browns, and the fishing gear is out as we await our dinner.

The decks were well washed with sea water over the past 36 hours and are now caked with salt, as is all the gear. Our bodies and our baby need a fresh water wash, and the call is for outside showers today. The ocean is quite beautiful; technically, we are in the Sargasso Sea, and the water is an amazing aquamarine blue with 3-5 foot seas and 6-8 knot SW winds. We are motorsailing on a course of 180 m located 500 nm east of Wilmington, NC and Cape Fear, far east of the series of Lows moving up the coasts of the Carolinas and Florida.

In terms of news, I didn't realize that we are sailing with royalty, but I have learned that we are accompanied by the "king of anchovies". While truly an old salt himself, it is rumoured that Chuck even enjoys anchovies on his breakfast cereal in the morning. We shall see.

That's all for now. Feel free to check in with us.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Newport to Cartegena Day 2

Gulf Stream 37 26.0N 69 19.0 W

It has been a pretty rucous day motorsailing close hauled through the stream at 9+ kts, but at least it is warm outside and we only have a few more hours till we are out of the current and hopefully the seas will subside a bit. Still, all is well and everyone is doing great. We had an odd occurance this morning of a phone ringing in the middle of the ocean as weather-router Jo called to warn about a gale developing off Cape Hatteras. Luckinly we should be well south of it before it moves east enough to be a problem.

The AIS system is proving to be worth its weight in gold as we get 25miles of early warning about any crossing situation with a ship and if we do want to call them, we can do it by name....much more effective than "calling the ship off my port bow" that we so often hear on Ch 16.

Anyway, I hear that some are havig trouble viewing the positions reports on the right hand side of the page. My suggestion is to make sure your browser is up to date with java and flash plugins and click the "enlarge Map" button for a link to the full page tracking reports.

Newport to Cartagena Day 2

Captains log voyage date 2
38 30N, 70 23W

All is well this morning. Wind shifted to SW as expected just before midnite last nite, but was kind enough to remain in the 10-12 kn range through the nite. Now, if it does build to 15-20, it willl build in daylight and will be less onerous. Comfort level remains good with minimal pounding as we motor sail upwind under mainsail @1550 RPM burning 3 gals. per hour. As an example, I spent my off watch sleeping in the forward cabin, a rarity for me offshore.

Our current posiition is further south with less Easting than expected, and we shoud be able to enter the GS at 37 56N, 70 02W - about 40 miles South and West of the anticipated entry waypoint. GS entry ETA is 1100 hrs. As of now, sky is partly sunny and winds remain steady at 10-12 knots SW with 3-5 ft seas and this is the wind I anticipate for the crossing. Ken Mckinley will provide a weather update later this morning.

That's all for now,

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Newport to Cartegena Day 1

Hudson Canyon 40 11.4N 71 13.9W

We got off the dock at 6:00 this morning and have been motoring with the main up into anywhere from 0 kts this morning to about 12 kts true this afternoon. We had a minor issue with the engine room blowers tripping the circuit breaker, but I figured out it was just one of the fans so we disconnected it and are running more item for the list in Cartegena. My guess is it needs new brushes. The fog has generally been thick, but the Pilothouse is great for this weather and the seas aren't too big yet. We should hit the gulf-stream around 8:00 tomorrow morning. Hopefully in a few more hours the wind will clock, we can tack over onto starboard and crack off a bit towards our gulf stream entrance waypoint.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Goodbye Newport

41 29.3N 71 19.1W -- Newport RI

It is our final night in Newport and after living here for just short of 7 years I sure will miss it. Today we put the finishing touches on most of the boat prep, went for a short shakedown sail, and then finished the last few items on my list like inspecting the rig and putting "Great Stuff" foam in the wire chases through watertight bulkheads to finally make them watertight. Tonight the project is final computer prep, so I hope to be in bed by 11:30 to get 5 hours sleep before we shove off at O'Dark 30 in the morning (~5:00). The blog will be updated daily and you can track us via YotReps. I am not sure if the map to the right is going to work, but if you hit the "Enlarge" key, I know that it will track our position reports which we will try to send at least once a day. Please don't freak out if we miss a report, it probably just means that I am dealing with a minor computer problem. Nothing a few hours in front of the screen can't fix, but my stomach may not allow me to.

Thanks to all the support from my friends here in Newport. Jeremiah dropped off the last of my sewing projects today (4 beautiful scuba gear bags). Thanks to Dani & Damon for an awesome going away gift bag, thanks to Geoff and David for all the support from the office, and thanks to many others for the good wishes. Finally thanks to my Dad, who is celebrating his birthday for about 60 more minutes. I will miss you immensely. Please send updates on the Sox. Finally, I won't be checking my normal e-mail on passage, so please send any important messages (or just good wishes) to YachtVisions at gmail dot com. Please keep messages to text only and no attachments unless necessary.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Trip Preparations

Well it has been WAY too long, but I have been WAY too busy to keep the blog updated.

Since you last heard from me I sprained my ankle, went to France for a wonderful vacation, and then got hard to work getting the boat ready for the trip. 3 weeks of 12 hour days later and my long list is coming to a close. The short version is we got the bottom painted, running gear serviced, and the rig painted. While that was being done by the yard I tore down, cleaned inspected and re-assembled the rigging, added a masthead antenna for AIS (see more below) installed the Iridium Openport system on a custom spreader mount and installed a matching mount for a future Fleet Broadband system we will be testing when it is released. Onboard many items were installed, repaired, or tinkered with including a nice new Dive Compressor and this week I have been putting the finishing touches on things such as foredeck locks and equipment stowage. More on all that in coming weeks, but today I will talk a bit further about AIS.

The system is now fully installed with the masthead antenna and I am very pleased with the results. Even in a "noisy" environment like Newport I can pick up ships 30 to 40 miles out and can also see that I am broadcasting well using's AIS viewer.

Below is a screen grab from the delivery from Cove Haven Marina in Barrington back to our the Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina.

Pretty cool I think, and very nice to know you are transmitting and being seen by the big boys.