Log # 11a We’re Off!

May 20, 1999 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 11 Atlantic Crossing, The Logs

Log #11a

St George’s, Bermuda

May 20, 1999

Hi Folks,

We made it! Here we are in Bermuda after an 8 day passage of 958 nautical miles from Fort Lauderdale. We arrived on May 19. I want to get this off tomorrow, and may be able to send the remainder of our passage logs before we leave next week for the Azores. It was a heavy passage, but we survived O.K. and are prepared for the next one to the Azores which will be of about two weeks duration.

Bermuda is a lovely place from what we have seen so far. I will put my impressions in later logs. We have contacted some family friends as well as a Seven Seas member who lives here in St George’s. We made good use of the Seven Seas headquarters when we were in Lauderdale and thank Celyne and the other staff members who were so helpful.

I hope to have several E‑mails from you folks when I send this out tomorrow. If you haven’t sent me one lately, please do so and I will get it when I get to the Azores. Two way communication is greatly appreciated.

Hopefully this will be out to you May 21.

Take care,

Log # 11a We’re Off!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
May 10, 1999

Covers the period of departure  to Day 6 (May 16)

May 10/99

We are at anchor in Lake Silvia having made what we think are the final preparations for our first major ocean voyage to Bermuda, about 900 nautical miles. We returned to Veleda on May 1 hoping to be off in about 4 days to a week. It will actually be 10 days from our return from Toronto before we actually set off. We have done much since returning. We stayed in our private dock for six days, then went to Summerfield Boatyard for the next four days, leaving shortly after noon today to anchor here in Lake Silvia, where we anchored our first night in Fort Lauderdale on April 4. It is a convenient location, in a small bay surrounded by private homes and with several canals radiating off it, a few hundred yards south of Bahia Mar Marina, with only one bridge to go through before getting out of Fort Lauderdale into the Gulf Stream on our way to Bermuda.

I wanted to start this tonight as this will be our last time at anchor or in sight of land until we reach Bermuda, hopefully in eight days or less. It is good to be on the water again and not tied up alongside. We worked our “buns” off the last ten days making the final purchases and getting Veleda ready for ocean sailing. We have been “hemorraging” money since we returned with our purchases of a 406 EPIRB, a liferaft, a single side band short wave receiver, a new unit for our heads, a special finish for our oxidized hull, a sleeve for our spinnaker as well as a special fitting which allows the spinnaker to be flown as a drifter, plus several days car rental, boat yard fees, and a $37.50 pump out, provisions for up to six weeks passage from Lauderdale to Bermuda, the Azores and to Falmouth, England. We are not sure what supplies we can get in Bermuda or the Azores, so we got our major provisions here.

We mounted the liferaft on special slats anchored on deck. Rather than just through bolting them, we through bolted them to two sets of hand rails in the main cabin, giving us extra holding points when the weather gets rough. Oh yes, Judy finally finished our Jordan series drogue, sewing about 110 small parachutes on 185 feet of heavy line. We have been working on this heavy weather drogue since last May when we first bought the materials and started sewing the parachutes.

Putting on the special Poli-Glow finish was a heavy two day job, but it looks good. I hope it lasts as well as advertised. The weather has been hot, 35 C. or 85 plus F., and of course (Murphy’s Law) the only rain we have had in the last two months happened on the two days I was putting on the Poli-Glow.  I spotted a short in another boat’s shore power cord that spurted into an electrical fire on the dock across from Veleda. I shouted “Fire! Fire!”, and by the time I got to it, another boater next to the fire heard me and was able to put it out rapidly. Kiss goodbye to one electrical cable and shore connection. We purchased a Radio Shack short wave receiver before we left for Toronto, but on our return, found it would not pick up much. When we took it back it was just after the 30 day limit, and we did not have our receipt, but they gave us an in-store credit for equivalent cost (of course it was now on sale and we only got the sale price for it, not our original paid price). So we got over $200.00 of miscellaneous Radio Shack items including a set of voice activated headphones that we can use when anchoring or coming alongside. I have difficulty hearing and these should help the communications in situations when Judy is at one end of Veleda and I am at the other.

In Toronto we bought a couple of collapsible bikes from Ted Martin at our Toronto Hydroplane and Sailing Club. Unfortunately, Judy never learned to ride a bicycle, and after a few tenuous tries, we decided a potentially broken or sprained ankle or leg was not worth it, so left one of them behind. We had no trouble bringing the bike on the plane or through customs. I rode the bike all over Fort Lauderdale, to West Marine, the Seven Seas Headquarters, to car rental agencies and grocery stores. It was the first I have ridden a bike since I was in Japan four years ago. I enjoyed it, although I was hot and exhausted after each ride (5 to 10 miles each time). We have lashed the bike on the foredeck in a bike bag from West Marine with our spinnaker on top of it. The dinghy is lashed just ahead of the companionway forward of the traveller. The outboard motor is on the stern rail, our fenders tied on our forward lifelines, and five extra fuel tanks are lashed between our shrouds port and starboard. We don’t quite look like a Chinese junk, but we are getting close. This is the problem with live aboard and long distance cruising on a small 32 foot boat, – SPACE!

We anchored early this afternoon and had an early supper. We are thinking each meal will be our last in such quiet conditions until we reach Bermuda. After supper we made secure our final lashings of all our gear. I inspected and lubricated all our pulleys, shackles, running and standing rigging. I feel a comfortable sense of tension getting ready for this first major ocean passage. I am glad we decided to spend tonight at anchor rather than heading right out to sea after leaving the boatyard. We needed the rest and the chance to slow things down and to make a final check of everything. We will be off first thing in the morning, after a final good breakfast.

May 11, 1999

First day out

After a leisurely breakfast of ham and eggs, etc. we weighed anchor at 0910, cleared the 17th Street bridge with little waiting, and by 0945 had cleared the entrance channel marker to Fort Lauderdale, and we were on our way up the Gulf Stream on our ocean passage to Bermuda. The winds were light and we decided to replace our #3  (110%) genoa for our older, original (1978) #1 (150%) genoa. We still wound up motor sailing for 6 hours this first day to avoid thunder heads and to stop flogging in becalmed conditions with a following sloppy sea.

We spotted a refrigerator sized box floating at 1845 and reported it to the Coast Guard as a navigational hazard. They in turn put out the location of the hazard on their notices to mariners broadcasts. We saw threatening lightning flashes on the horizon, a disconcerting event we were to see every night we were at sea en route to Bermuda.

We had only two emergencies this first day out. The first occurred at the not uncivilized  hour of 2115 (9:15 pm for you landlubbers) in which the engine died because of air in the fuel line. In checking it out we found a fuel squeeze bulb had a split in its line. A bit of electrical tape and a hose clamp restored it and the engine worked well to Bermuda. The second was more serious as the self steering mechanism quit responding at 0100. We hand steered for the next hour and a half while tracking down the problem, an important lug linking the drive motor to the chain steering drive linkage which came out and fell into the bilge. Thank heaven it was magnetic and we were able to retrieve it with a magnetic extension stick, and re-install it. It fell out once more before we reached Bermuda, and is one of the details we will have to have fixed at a machine shop here in St George’s.