- Well folks, here it is. "How I Spent My Summer Vacatiion". Just delete it
if it gets too boring
The spirited crew consisted of myself, Dave Matt (art director of
"Premiere" magazine and sailor) and Jamie Baldwin (sailor extrondinare).
We left Milford about 1700 on Sunday 6/21 to time the current at the Race.
As it was totally calm we would have to moter all the way. Other than
dense fog there was little to report until about 0400 when Dave shook me
from my sleep and informed me that we had caught something on the prop. I
sumbled above decks and listened as the two explained how that had avoided
a couple of these large line buoys but caught the last one in the dark.
They had not stopped the boat but had immediately slowed to idle in gear.
The pennant was wacking on the transom and I could see the line taught
Now you may know that I installed an anti-lobster pot line between the keel
and the skeg with a tang to cover the space between the skeg and the
rudder. According to my design, there should be nothing to catch on the
shaft or prop. Figuring that now was a good a time to test my design, I
grabbed the buoy, pulled like hell, pushed down like hell and let her go.
She floated free and the crew bowed in honor.
Great Salt Pond on Block Island appeared from the mist and we entered,
anchored and slept. We spent the day futsing about on the boat and Dave
met with some relatives while we re-fueled and topped off the water. We
had dinner aboard and made ready to Bermuda as the sun set. Jamie took the
helm while Dave and I readied the boat for offshore (Anchor off rollers and
in well, Dennis-designed chain pipe closer in place, inner forstay in
place, lifeline gates taped, EPIRB, strobe etc in place).
By now it was about 2100 and dark as hell (no moon, overcast). The
afterguard convened at the helm and made the discovery that we were not
sure where the channel out was. To put it bluntly, we were lost INSIDE the
harbor!!!! Being the boss, I made an executive decision. Motor back the
the brightly light fuel dock and start again. In retrospect, this was a
good mistake in the it humbled us and made us more careful.
Upon leaving the hazrbor we went to a 3 on, 6 off watch system, set the GPS
for Northeast Breakers (616NM) and motored into the night. We continued to
motor at 1800rpm and about 5knts in no wind until about the afternoon of
6/28. With much fanfare, the engine was switched off and our glorious sail
would begin. A mere 10 hours later we started touching the edges of the
Gulf Stream (79 degrees F) and the wind died. Not wanting to be set by the
current, we motored the next 36 hours until through the fastest part and
then had swim/shower break.
Diving off into flat calm 80+ water in the middle of nowhere was a gas.The
intense blue color of the water was a shock as was the depth to which the
lightbeams were able to penetrate. I did a complete swim under and saw no
damage from our encounter with the line.
The motoring contined as I kept computing out usage (.5 gal/hr) and
deciding when we would run out. Here is my math. Fuel tank 40-42 gal.
Lets say 40 to be safe. That's 80 hours plus the 10m hours in the 5 gal
jerry can on the rail. As we were thru the stream, I felt safe if we had a
10 hour reserve for approching and entering Bermuda. That meant we would
have to kill the engine by Friday night and let the chips fall where they
Friday morning, of course, the wind picks up and begins blowing 25-30. We
go to a double reefed main but with my humongus hobiecat main that is still
a lot of sail. I furl in the genny and we hank on the staysail to the
inner forstay. We had some problems but when we are done we are blowing
toward Bermuda at 7 to 8 knots.
Sunday morning Northeast Breakers appears as scheduled and after a nice
chat with Bermuda harbor radio we sail to the mouth of Town Cut; drop the
sails and motor in. 6 gal of diesel remaining.
My engine burned only 1/2 quart in almost 80 hours even though the oil
pressure remaind at 90psi. The temp never got over 90 degrees C. I still
think I need to repitch the prop a little to get more bite.
I need a deeper second reef in the main or else i will have to go to the
trysail sooner.The inner forstay is a must for offshore sailing. The
runnning backstays gave me a feeling of security that more than offet their
The only design flaw in the CN35 is the side decks are too narrow. In
particular, that first step out of the cockpit around the dodger is more
dangereous than you think.
Three is the perfect size crew for this boat and this cruise. Jaimie and I
came back alone and it was safe, but a bit tiring.
More on the return trip in my next epistle.
S/V Dark Lady