Monday, January 28, 2008

Event - Jan 31st 2008 Offshore Weather

Bruce and Karl coming to walter's to discuss Laptop requirements, electronic charts, weather products, and Laptop GPS.

Event - Jan 28th, 2008 meeting with Erik re: web site

On Eric's suggestion, we are going to look at drupal as the engine behind the site.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Breakout Discussion

I just created a Breakout Discussion for the routing decision to handle the overwhelming amount of dialogue that has been created on this hot topic ;-) It is under Offshore Crew at the upper right.

Chart View of both routes

I thought you might enjoy this, it give an idea of scale, and distance from shore.

Norfolk Route

Here is the Norfolk route. Almost 15 days overall. Longest leg is 249 hours.

Bermuda Route

Here is a route plan for Buzzard's Bay - Bermuda - Tortola at 5 kts Rhumb line. It takes 13 days without stopping in Bermuda.

SSCA Discussion Thread: Caribbean via Bermuda or Outer Banks?

Here is a transcript of a thread I started on to determine the plusses and minuses of going via Bermuda instead of via the outer banks.

SeawaterJoined: 26 Nov 2007Posts: 21Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:44 pm Post subject: New Engand to BVIs via BURMUDA or Norfolk?

In planning my trip next fall, I have tended toward taking the boat down to Norfolk and heading south to Tortola from there. This was based primarily on the Caribbean 1500, and the logic that you cross the stream in the first ~36 hours and therefore will have predictable weather. The more I read and think about it, the more I am thinking that I should head down via Bermuda. Since many boats pass fairly near Bermuda on the way from Norfolk, it seems to add several days to the passage. I would like to stop at the outer banks to go kiteboarding, but I have never been to Bermuda either, and would enjoy a stop there. (And my wife will be happy, because she wants to go to Bermuda, and I refuse to arrive in Bermuda in an conveyance other than private boat) Any thoughts or comments? Has anyone done both_________________Walter S/V Madness Pearson 424 Hull#1

mlc101Joined: 25 Jun 2006Posts: 667Location: PanamaPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:29 am Post subject: IMHO, Bermuda, from either Norfolk or Chesapeake, is a fair ways offshore. If you are not really into cruising yet, its a pretty aggressive run. Certainly lots of folks do it in the 1500. But running down to Florida, then the Bahamas, then the thorny path doesn't have any long offshore passages. Thoughts?_________________Life is a journey. Enjoy it. You only get one. Peace and fair winds.

Mark Cain sv "Magic Dragon"Back to top ');//--> SeawaterJoined: 26 Nov 2007Posts: 21Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:46 pm Post subject: I agree, mic101, it is a stretch - The most I have done offshore is Cape May to Block Island, and Buzzard's Bay to Maine. Neither took us that far offshore. I have been sailing on my own boats about 12 years, and my normal cruising grounds are Buzzard's Bay, the Cape (Cod) and the Islands. Lots of wind, current, hazards, and fog. I have been fortunate never to have encountered severe weather, just a few passing fronts and an unpredicted day of short handed sailing in up to 38 kts. The Cape May - BI trip gave us some experience; we were hard on the wind in a Pearson P30 in winds over 15kts in the rain overnight. In the morning, the wind began to freshen as we arrived BI. The run from BI to Martha's Vineyard the day after was in 10-12 foot seas and 25+, but on the quarter. The Maine trip barely counts, other than watchkeeping. We motored the ENTIRE way north, and most of the way back south. I will have one or two experienced crew on board (several Bermuda races each), so that would be a plus... It did not seem to me that either trip (via Bermuda or Norfolk)represented a significantly more dangerous trip that the other, both are beyond assured rescue. I put it to the membership - given that level of experience and assuming a sound 42' boat (it is a Pearson 424), does either trip represent a significant difference in risk? And are they both too agressive given the experience onboard? Thanks in advance for your thoughts._________________Walter S/V Madness Pearson 424 Hull#1

);//--> AuspiciousJoined: 29 Jun 2006Posts: 196Location: Chesapeake BayPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:41 pm Post subject: Based on your description I would think that a route from Buzzard's Bay to Bermuda to Tortola is very reasonable and achievable. It will also give you significantly more time to actually be in the islands. On the way back you could come up the US East Coast to visit the Outer Banks. From a risk point of view, going offshore means watching for other traffic and keeping an eye on the weather. Inshore/coastal you also have to watch for rocks, shoals, and other assorted nastiness. I prefer offshore. Some time has to be your first time, and you might want to consider taking advantage of having experienced crew. In St Georges there is a medium-sized grocery a couple of blocks from the Customs House. The officers can direct you to it. Their wasn't a sign when I was there, but apparently they will deliver to the docks for provisioning yachts._________________dave S/V Auspicious

//--> John StevensonJoined: 19 Jun 2006Posts: 174Location: Patuxent River, MDPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:45 pm Post subject: Walter, I agree with Dave that if you want to go cruising you have to do a long off-shore passage sometime so you might as well start out with a well beaten path like that from NE to Bermuda. It will give you a solid 650 nm passage. Long enough to test your preparations, but short enough not to be an endurance test should things not go as well as you expected. You will likely have a lot of windward sailing on that first leg to Bermuda, so you will have a good measure of how efficiently you will be able to sail the much longer leg to the VI. Bermuda doesn't have the nice steady sea breezes of the outer banks, so kite boarding may not be an option there. However I think you will find it a very interesting and pleasant stopover. As Dave points out there is no problem re-provisioning in Bermuda (other than $$$). In addition to the Somers Market in St. Georges, which Dave described, there is White's Supermarket on St. Davids. It is possible to arrange for duty-free fuel for your departure. John John

//--> DefJefJoined: 24 Jun 2006Posts: 186Location: NYCPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:04 pm Post subject: I've done the NE to Carib via Bermuda perhaps 10 or more times and it is a nice passage and stopping in Bermuda makes for a nice respite if you have has a tough going on the first leg. Bermuda is welcoming and expensive. Enter her at daylight and mind the reefs which extend way offshore. BHR monitors everything floating around Bermuda so you need to hail them when you are approaching. Set aside 5+ days to get there from NE. Plan your stream crossing with a weather router such as SouthBoundII as you don't want to sail against the wrong side of a huge eddy or hit the stream with the winds from the northern quadrant (steep and icky waves). Usually as you sail south of Bermuda it get better and better (sailing) and you can reach your destination in about a week.

;//--> spencersmithJoined: 15 Jul 2007Posts: 23Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:21 pm Post subject: I think the NE-Bermuda trip is one of the most difficult (midlattitude) passages there is. Chesapeake-Bermuda is somewhat easier as you're farther off the wind and not going from the cold NE water to very warm water south of Gulf Stream. If we're talking about a first ocean passage make sure the boat and crew are ready. Think about six days close reaching in 20+ knots apparent and dealing with Gulf Stream squalls . . . but it's all worth it to get to Bermuda.

First Offshore Team Update

First of all, introductions of those who have expressed interest in the offshore passage so far:

Soon-to-be-USCG Captain Walter Piescik. Late 40s, but still immature. In and
around boats since I was 8 years old, I started sailing my own keel boats
about 12 years ago, first a Pearson 30 and now Madness the Pearson 424. Only
three overnight sails to my name. I talk too much.

Ken Emory. Late 50s, but still young. I know Ken from Kiteboarding and a
weekend sailing Madness on Buzzard's Bay. We haven't known each other that
long, but I am hoping that Ken will crew for an extended time. Ken is
retired and lives near Grand Isle on Lake Champlain. He used to own a Contessa (26?) sailboat, and has some sailing experience. He is a cool dude. Ken, please send me Kris’ email, hotmail is not working.

Kris Emory. I am guessing 30s. Ken's Son. We haven't met yet. I know of
Kris' interest through Ken. As I recall, he is a nurse or PA (I get stories
of Ken's sons confused, as I have not met either yet) Both of Ken's sons are
always up for adventures; both kite, one has sailed Cape Horn and one
jumps his kite to the lower stratosphere.

Martin Sinozich. Mid 40s, but he has always been pretty mature. Martin and I
have been good friends since college. He used to be a type "A" plus, but he
is mellower now. He lives in Greensboro NC, where he owns a couple of
health clubs. I think Martin's sailing resume is mostly trips on Madness. He
is an Ops guy, which I intend to use to our advantage. Martin, please send me Noel’s email address.

Noel Sinozich. Mid teens. Noel has had a few sailing experiences on Madness,
including a pretty good blow. He is smart and funny and keeps good company
with adults. He is very popular with young ladies; I wish we had a use for

Jack. We have never met. Jack is Martin's Landlord for one of the clubs. I
think Jack has some offshore experience, but I am not sure. Jack is building
a place in the US Virgins, which could influence our chosen landfall.

USCG Captain Walter Sidor. Late 50s. Walter is my cousin's husband. He is a
lifelong offshore sailor, love boats, and can walk the docks looking and talking about boats till you cry. Walter has sailed on Madness, and helped me deliver my old boat Miss Adventure to New England from the Cheasapeake. Walter looks most comfortable wedged in a corner of a cockpit in rain and spray, shelling and eating peanuts. He leaves a trail of shells so we can find our way back.

Bruce Fortier. Canadian. Need I say more?

Karl Bardel. 40s. We don't really need to go to the islands if we have Karl
along. Karl brings the islands to us. He is the original low-stress guy. His cooking was not half bad either.

Bruce and Karl crewed on the trip to Maine last year, they kept watch so I
could get some sleep in. Very little real sailing experience, but they have
done an overnight in calm conditions. I know them both from Fidelity.

There almost certainly be others. Madness has room for 6 at the most, so if there are more interested by this spring, I will have to select the crew and hope the others will act as alternates.

All together, we have what it takes to have a successful and safe offshore passage. I found a FAQ on the Caribbean 1500 site that speaks to the desirable qualifications:

If you are interested in reading more, take a look at or
c24b5& . They are forums for cruisers and offshore sailors that I have joined and have been using to vet ideas. You can submit questions and start threads as a non-paying member if you wish.

Also, I have started to ask questions on the route, and whether it is worth the extra ~500 miles it takes to go via the Outer Banks instead of just going straight via Bermuda. I will include the the next Blog entry.

Please share thoughts and comments with the whole group as much as practical; it should be a good way of getting to know each other.


News Flash: Spare Engine

I will be sending a more organized description of the trip preparation and discussion points, but for the moment, this news flash –

Last night I secured a spare engine for Madness.

For the offshore team, this means a source of spare parts to bring. This will make offshore travel safer by helping to ensure the time at sea is not extended unduly, or that we run out of power for lights, radar, autopilot, fridge etc.

For the extended stay crew, it is insurance against wasting our valuable time in the tropics trying to find parts or repower should the existing engine fail.

More later


2nd Invitation (Sent around Jan 23rd)

For a few folks, this may be the first you hear about the trip (bad email addresses, typos, etc). For you, I have included the original invite at the bottom.

For everyone else: I am happy to report that I have had a good deal of interest in the Caribbean trip, with more than enough crew for the offshore passage and many potential visitors along the way..

I have not heard from several of you one way or the other. I don’t want to leave anyone out who may be interested, so if you have any interest in being involved, please get back to me. No commitment, I just want to know who to include in periodic email updates. If I don’t hear from you I will send one future reminder, then I will stop bothering you.

Now, for those who have not seen it, the original invitation

1st invitation (Sent Jan 1 2008)

Madness is going south!

I have decided to take some time off from work and sail Madness to the Caribbean, and you are invited.

The trip will be a sailing and kiteboarding adventure, inspired in part by the Best Kiteboarding Odyssey ( ), but there will be lots relaxed sailing, exploring and relaxing for non-sailor/kiteboarders. Our trip will be a bit more rugged; While I expect to have refrigeration, good hot food, and hot fresh-water showers, we will not have air conditioning, dishwasher, onboard laundry, coil-spring mattresses, or other such comforts.

As currently envisioned, the trip would be a 5-6 month trip to the Caribbean and back. The Madness would start in Nantucket in September, moving to the outer banks of North Carolina by October, Sail to Tortola, British Virgin Islands in November. From there we explore the islands for a while, until it is time to start heading back. The return trip would be via the Leeward islands (including Cabarete), up through the Bahamas, and back up along the east coast. Dana is going to skip the passages, but fly in for the destinations.

I am not looking for any level of commitment at this point, but to help me gauge the level of interest and start getting relevant information to those interested - please reply to this message indicating your interest in as many of the following as you wish:

1) I want to go for the whole trip! (I would love to have crew for the duration)
2) I am interested in an extended term as crew, less than 6 months, and greater than 1 month
3) I want to sail offshore from North Carolina to the islands (this is not for the faint of heart or the inflexible – I will take 9 – 12 days at sea if everything goes well, and will likely include squalls or worse)
4) I want to be delivery crew on the return trip up the east coast and the Intracoastal Waterway, and can provide my own shore-side transportation.
5) I would like to visit the boat for a week or more when in ___________ (Nantucket, North Carolina, Windward Islands, Leeward Islands, Bahamas, Return trip on ICW)
6) I am not really a boat person, but please come visit me at my luxury hotel/home/vacation home when you pass by ______________

Also, please let me know if you are interested in helping with any of the following preparation and support activities:
a) Trip planning – places to visit, places to kite, maintaining the calendar, etc.
b) Provisioning and menu – researching what to bring and what to buy
c) Onboard and Onshore Entertainment – Movies, music, games – Reggae bands to see, etc.
d) Boat Systems – Procedures, refrigeration, radio, satellite comms, wifi antennas, safety, etc.
e) Web Site photography, videography, design, hosting, updating, paid advertising
f) Arranging sponsorships (Second Best Odyssey? Old Guys Rule? Marine suppliers?
Smuggling, Piracy and looting
g) Cultural Interaction and Humanitarian efforts – should we be bringing gifts of vitamins, supplies, or volunteering while we are down there? – How do we leave the cleanest wake?