Friday, August 27, 2010

June Passages

Our plan right now is to do what it takes to get Enee Marie ready for a passage from Antigua to Bermuda first week in June. I know. . . June is the official start of the hurricane season. Look at the data from the national hurricane center though. . . Be sure to scroll down at this site. They have tons of data displayed in a variety of ways. Below is just one of their graphs.

As you can see there are very, very few storms in June or even July. Add to this the lead time you tend to get for big storms coming across from Africa and I feel that it is ok with proper planning to make a passage to Bermuda in June. I'm open to other thoughts from the wide, wide world of " the internet" though!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

HSM Bounty

What a treat! Due to a crewman who happened to read The Why Book of Sailing (buy my book!) on the tall ship HMS Bounty, which is in Chicago right now, we got an extra special tour from the Captain!

Bounty was built in 1960 or so for the film Mutiny on same staring Marlon Brando. The plan was to burn the boat at the end of the film. Brando said if they burned this beautiful wooden boat he'd not finish the movie.

At some point Ted Turner bought all the MGM movie rights. To his surprise he also got a mooring bill from a yard in Florida for the Bounty which came with the movies as a prop!

She's been used in the Johnny Depp Pirate movies and other sailing movies. The wheel has been in every Mutiny on the Bounty film. Every time hollywood needed a wooden sailing helm they picked the same one so many famous actors have stood watch at that very wheel.

We got to see the galley and the work room. MANY spare parts as you might imagine. Capt. Robin is taking her to Milwaukee next and then to Erie Pennsylvania (Enee Marie was there in '05). Sometime after that they are sailing her to Europe. Interestingly, Capt. Robin has bent to some modern conveniencies for safety but when they are underway on a longish passage gps, radar, etc are off and they use celestial navigation and ded reckoning. Why not? The ship can only be sailed via brute effort by the crew of 20. No electric winches or similar.

The pier was packed with people to view and get aboard these fine old ships. Sailboats have been and looks like always will be quite a draw to people. Why not? The whole damn planet was explored via wooden sailboats!

Sailing Routes

Playing with Google Earth. Here's what the two voyages we have in mind look like from way up high! (click on pic to embigify)

Run from Antigua to Bermuda is about 930 nm and from Bermuda to Hailifax is about 730 nm. Let's see. . . .

930 nm/5 knots = 186 hours or 7.75 days.
730 nm/5 knots = 146 hours or 6 days.

Can we maintain or average 5 knots? How much motoring will there be. Fuel? We can't lollygag out there forever as there is the occasional hurricane. (Don't say hurricane!)

PIlot Charts

Pilot charts are very interesting and useful tools for planning a long passage. Below is a piece of the one for June around Bermuda. You can get a whole book of these (they're big) and there's a page for each month. The chart represents averages of data taken over many, many seasons.

The blue circles are the most interesting. Each one show for that location for that month the average wind direction and strength. For example, the one above with the 5 in the middle: The longest arrow shows wind from the south east. The length of the arrow shaft is proportional to the percentage of time the wind blows from that direction. The number of feathers on the arrows show the wind speed on the Beaufort scale. So for the one above the most persistant wind for that location for June is SE force 3. The 5 in the middle indicates 5% of the time calms.

The green lines indicate ocean currents and the direction and velocity in knots is given. When you look at the bigger picture from Antigua to Bermuda for June you see a general picture of fair winds for a northerly passage.

You'll note that if the percentage for a particular wind direction gets too high (above 29%) they don't make the arrow longer but just put the percentage withing the shaft.

Anyway, looks like E and SE winds most of the way and then switching to S - SW as we approach Bermuda. In between there are surely going to be some doldrums. Take more fuel! Another thing to notice is that when the wind switches to the north there's plenty of it. Those probably represent norther's coming down.

There's lots more info on the charts regarding temperatures, wave heights and general description of the persistent weather for that month. You can buy these charts at the usual chandleries or download them! Here's the link.

I'm visiting the captain of the Bounty today as the Tall Ships are in Chicago. Apparently my book, The Why Book of Sailing has been a popular volume on board. Who knew! A full report and pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sail Away Again?

Sort of. I guess it's time to re-charge the old blog. After a year in Chicago enjoying the monumental duties (and low pay!) of being grandparents we have hit upon a new plan for the upcoming year and perhaps years.

1. We can't NOT have a boat (forgive the double negative!). Our boat is our ultimate security blanket. Right now we are enjoying living and working in Chicago (we're both teaching at Columbia College) but if that were to go south we'd be living in a cardboard box on lower Wacker Drive!

2. We want a bigger adventure than yo-yoing up and down the Caribbean. . . as nice as that is!

3. So we have a multi-part plan:

a. Scott returns to Grenada Dec 14 or so and begins to whip Enee back in to shape. The biggest (and most expensive project) will be the installation of Hydrovane self steering. We like this one as it has it's own rudder, has great reviews and that rudder can also serve as an emergency rudder if we lose the big one. It's been installed on our very boat before with fine results. Other jobs include modifying the anchor locker so that I can undo the castling chain from the bow, purchasing a new foresail, general clean up, selling the dingy davits, bottom paint, etc. More on modifications as we proceed.

b. If I finish the jobs in time (I have to be back in Chicago Jan 23) I'll try to move the boat north to Antigua either by myself or with crew. If not Enee will just have to stay in the yard at SIMS in Grenada a little longer...

c. Sue and I return to Enee when school gets out June 1. At that time Enee HAS to be ready to go as we plan to then sail her to Bermuda (1 week +) and then after a rest on to NE United States or maybe even Nova Scotia. We'll put the boat up for the winter where ever we land and return to Chicago in August for teaching and grand parenting.

Now we can live and work in Chicago, be close to family and friends, and still visit Enee on the East coast in the summers. Could work!

Here's Lucy the grand daughter

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug See why we're tending toward staying?

We look forward to any and all comments for advice, good boat yards, etc. Sue and I are VERY excited about the upcoming year. The planning and preparation are half the fun!