Second ocean passage with our President /CEO

In this Article

November 1, 2005


37 13N

70 13"W

Myself and Pat.

0100 Wind has backed and is now on the nose, with passage of a front. Rolled in headsl. My last fix indicates a strong North Easterly set as we enter the Gulf Stream. Came to course 155M to exit eddy. Wind SE at 6knts.

Denis saved dinner for me after an early sack time. What a shipmate. I spend most of my time trying to sleep, when not at my charts or on watch. I learned many years ago that it is imperative that everyone aboard is always well rested. It is a guarantee in my view that sea will turn nasty and without a well rested crew disaster of one sort or another is inevitable.

0200 Altered course to 194Magnetic/180T to offset Gulf Stream set.

0300 Altered course to 204 Magnetic. Large degree of set and drift is commensurate with little forward momentum and considerable sideways push with an intense current.

Intermediate course way point via GPS is just West of High pressure trough and serious gale line at 68degreesWest per "Southbound Two"

0400-0800 Denis and Johnny


36 degrs 35" N

69 degrs 45" W

Woken by Johnny for the morning watch who advised that Denis had spoken to "Commander " the weather routing people in New Hampshire. Thank God for his forsight. I would have probably kept going per "Southbound Two" . I gathered from Johnny that the trouble at 68degrees West was considerably further West, than what we had been advised of by " Southbound Two" I surmised that we were standing into a meteorological arse kicking competition and we aboard "Windancer" would be playing the role of the one legged sailor. I contacted " Commander" in New Hampshire. The man on the other end of the sat phone asked for our position. When I gave it to him he responded with five words " Get the hell behind 70 "

He advised that we were heading into a deep low at 69degrees with max sustained winds over 50kts with higher gusts, and advised of a second faster moving low moving up the coast of the US at approximately 73 degreesWest. He advised that we head due South and run the slot between the two low pressure systems.

God technology is amazing. Reversed course and headed back towards Longitude 70. Denis up and appraisedhim of the situation. He concurred and headed off to a well earned rest.

1200-1600 Denis and Johnny. Denis made a fantastic lunch. Much appreciated by his shipmates. Denis has worked like a maniac getting all electrical systems to 100% , assisted by Pat. In anticipation of the blow thisevening , all systems gone over. Our plan is to run on one engine to maintain charging while conserving fuel. Fuel levels checked.

Course 187degrees magnetic


36degrees 13"N.

70 degrees 02" W

Myself and Pat. Having gathered what our potential wind strengths could be this evening , decided on 3rd reef, with the full headsl . Denis and Johnny reefed down while still some light. What a crew AKA the "terrors of the foredeck." With a mainsl as big as "Windancer's" it better to deal with this kind of evolution in a reasonably controlledenvoirment and with some light. We will loose a little speed in the short term but unless we get Hurricane force the rig will be up in the morning. Wind continues to back and gradually pickup.

1730 Came to course 253 Magnetic and head toward the Lightship aproximately 300 miles off Cape Hatteras. Engines off close hauled.

Wind SE at 20kts.

The further West ,we are from 70 W and Heading at an acute angle between the meridians( 70 and 71) , we should be relatively unbruised by morning. The plan is to gradually follow the wind as it backs to the NE and be heading back across 70W. onto course, with passage of the two lows.

1800-2000 Denis and Johnny.


36. 10"N

70. 10"W

Course 250T. Still sailing and sailing to the wind. Wind is now clocking

( going clockwise vs. backing going counter clockwise.) between two low pressure systems.

2000-2400 Myself and Pat.

2200 I go below for a quick nap. We have 3 reefs in but full 135% headsl out speed is 8ks.

2300 Wind is up 25Kts-35kts. We still have the full headsl out. I have failed to clearly enunciate to Pat that I should be woken if the wind is up over 25kts. Denis wakes me .We roll in to 1/2down on the headsl. No harm done, however I have again relearned another valuable lesson. CLEARLY ADVISE THE WATCH WHEN TO GET THE SKIPPER UP. I am fortunate once again. Far too many years away from actively running yachts , and more spent in my business as a sail/canvas maker, has left me careless and complacent: a grand recipe for death or disaster at sea.