Fm: O.M.N.I. NJ/USA 1800Z 06 JUN 2004
- Leading edge of weather frontal boundary lays between Div 1 & 2, presently expected to remain near 35N in your longitude thru Monday, then move north again. Most of the very active weather, rain, showers, and some thunderstorms, are confined to the latitudes between 37N-40N.
- New low pressure still expected to develop off southern New England Monday/07th, and drive eastward to waters just north of the Azores by Thu/10th. It will be this low pressure system that will freshen SW-W winds and build sea/swell to 10ft, with possible higher sets, by Wed/PM, as the low passes north.
- Overall picture continues to indicate a SW to NW wind stream across the remainder of the Rally route to Horta, a bit easier than earlier expected, although forecast data still indicates some rough quartering to following sea/swell conditions during the coming days.
Except for some some local weather conditions, most of the wind and sea forecasts appear to be nearly coincident for both Groups remainder to the Azores, assuming both Groups will remain nearby.
For the Slow and Fast Groups, along the rhumb line remainder to Horta: Sun/06: W-NW 10-20kt. Swell WNW 4-6ft. Mon/07: WNW-NW freshen 15-25kt. Swell NW build 6-8ft AM, and to 8-9ft PM for the Fast Group. Tue/08: NW-WNW 10-18kt, backs WNW-SW 10-20kt by eve. NW-WNW subside AM 5-7ft. Wed/09: SW'ly freshen 14-24kt, occ 30kt. Sea/swell Build 7-10ft by eve. Rain and thunderstorms. Thu/10: SW-W 12-22kt + gusts. SW-W 7-10ft swells. Rain and thunderstorms. Fri/11: W-NW 12-22kt. W-NW 6-9ft. Rainshowers, some rain.
SATURDAY JUNE 5 1700
Lat 34 29.2 North Long 46 16.2 West, Speed 6.6 knots, Course 92, Wind 10 knots from West, gentle 3-to-5-foot swells, Distance remaining to Horta 886 nm
Hey, that was a fun afternoon! To mark the halfway point between Bermuda and the Azores, most of the boats in the fleet gathered in a cluster, put transmissions in neutral, blew their horns, and launched swimmers into three-mile deep ocean.
Scott and Jon swam over the Four Across, and then swam back with Doug Seaver and Jen Alloway. Terri had prepared hors d'oevres to offer our guests: pan-fried medallions of freshly caught dorado and mahi mahi resting in a pool of creamed horseradish, presented on sesame thins.
Our libation of the day is Passagemaker Tea, an excellent cocktail with no relation to any magazine. As prescribed by Bob Beebe, father of the modern-day trawler-yacht movement, Passagemaker Tea is tea sweetened with Tang and laced with good rum.
I drank mine wearing my Friends of Passagemaker cap. Friends of Passagemaker is a growing group of people interested in preserving Bob Beebe's original Passagemaker and promoting voyaging under power. For more info, go
During the roll call this morning, we learned that the big-boat fleet now is about 160 nm behind us, hauling transoms at 8+ knots.
Sea Fox reported that Naiad has promised to send a technician to Horta to meet the Krogen 58 and fix the stabilizers, once and for all. During this leg, Sea Fox has been running with one fin locked in place. On the last leg, Sea Fox lost both fins for a while.
Sea Fox also said the fuel all boats picked up in Bermuda was the cleanest Sea Fox had ever consumed.
Although Skymate is finally working for some, others in the fleet are still having problems with it, and have started calling the service Playmate, ie, you can look at it but that's about all. For more info, go
Forgot to mention yesterday that Jim Leishman offered fuel to Uno Mas, the smallest boat in the fleet, saying, "I know you don't need additional fuel, but it would be good to get you about 100 gallons of additional reserve, just in case bad weather develops and we need to go around it, or if you simply want to speed up."
John Spencer of Uno Mas accepted the offer, and the transfer went fairly smoothly, good practice for everyone. John did manage to spritz himself with diesel fuel well and good.
I realized this morning that we had not had eggs since departing Bermuda, so into the galley I went. Teri expressed interest in a hearty breakfast. but without eggs. Thus, she enjoyed a plate of sausage with fried onions, and I added scrambled eggs to my share.
When on watch, I almost always stand, moving periodically from one open door to the other. Got to burn off calories somehow.
FRIDAY JUNE 4 2300
What a night! The moon is just past full and lighting up the ocean in a way folks on land would not believe. Every star in the heavens is sparkling down on us. When the moon broke free of the horizon, it revealed a flat sea with a gentle breeze barely causing a ripple. A light swell is the only sign we are on the big water.
We are 998 miles from the Azores and all is well aboard the good ship Strickly For Fun.
For a change, there are 13 targets showing on the radar rather than the usual 12. The addition is Iris, a German sailboat with a crew of four, also bound for the Azores. Because of the light wind, Iris is barely ghosting along, being overtaken by the rally fleet.
The Nordhavn 46 World Odd@Sea has spoken with another sailboat, Keltic Silver, which is 12 miles ahead of us and two miles to the north. Keltic Star has an auxiliary engine as it is moving along at 5 knots. As our fleet is steaming at 6-7 knots, we'll reel in the sailboat in a few hours.
FRIDAY JUNE 4 1730
Lat 33 49.5 North Long 49 10.2 West, Speed 7.1 knots, Course 92, Wind 5 knots from South, gentle 3-to-5-foot swells
It's been another gorgeous day out here, albeit a busy one.
Scott and I started cleaning the bilge--sort of the basement of the boat--with a vacuum and wet rags. It seems that Brad Smith of Pacific Asian Enterprises mentioned to Scott back in Hamilton that the bilges, on a boat that is only eight months old, were not up to Scott Strickland standards of boat-keeping. Brad suggested the sawdust from construction of the boat in China could plug bilge-pump filters.
Well, there was not even a handful of boat-building detritus in the forward third of the boat, which is all we managed to work through this afternoon. But it was interesting to poke through the underbelly of the Nordhavn, one compartment at a time.
Meanwhile, Jon Ehly was up on the flying bridge, mopping up a cleaning solution that had spilled under the settee.
In the galley, Teri is preparing a shrimp carbonera dish for tonight. We've already had our appetizers of cheese with pears, preceded by dreamsicle cocktails (ice cream in orange soda pop.)
FRIDAY JUNE 4 1930
Forget the shrimp! We have fresh wahoo aboard Strickly For Fun!
As I was writing the preceding paragraph, we hooked up--for the first time since leaving Fort Lauderdale. Jon Ehly battled the beast for about 20 minutes. We figure it is about four feet long, weighing maybe 45 pounds.
Minutes before the wahoo struck, we suffered our first injury when Teri dropped the covered glass dish with the shrimp on her toes. Nothing was broken but one major blood blister was created. When the fish struck, she forgot her hurt and was the first to reach the cockpit with her cameras.
Now, we are waiting for Jon to finish filleting the wahoo so the feast can begin. Ironically, Jon told us earlier today that we had a chance of catching tuna but that wahoo, which likes to strike at up to 60 mph, would not hit until we were closer to Horta.
To: NAR-2004 Fm: O.M.N.I. NJ/USA 1600Z 04 JUN 2004
- High pressure cell 400nm to the NE of the Slow-Group will continue to move ESE'ward and re-form the sub-trop high pressure ridge along 30N into the W/Atlantic, to south of the Azores in the E/Atlantic during the coming 4-5 days.
- Still expecting secondary lows to track across the lower 40's latitudes from south of Newfoundland to north of the Azores before they turn NE-N to waters west of the UK. It will be these secondary low pressure disturbances that will freshen the wind/sea condition along the Groups' tracks.
- Frontal boundary 300nm to the NW of the Slow-Group will eventually approach the track and bring some weather to the route for several days, commencing Sat/05th-PM or Sun/06th-AM, including showers, rain, and thunderstorms. Locally gusty winds to 30+kt are possible Sun/06-Mon/07.
For the Slow-Group, along the rhumb line to Horta expect: Fri/04: S-SW freshen 11-21kt. NW-W 4-6ft. Sat/05: WSW-W 15-25kt. NW 5-7ft with occ 8-9ft sets. Sun/06: WNW-NW 15-25kt and gusty. NW 6-8ft occ higher sets. Mon/07: NW-WSW ease 10-18kt by noon. NW 5-7ft. Tue/08: WSW 20-30kt. West 7-9ft 8sec periods. Wed/09: WSW-W 20-30kt. West 7-10ft occ 11-12ft sets.
For the Fast-Group, basis posns today along the 'apparent' rhumb line to Horta, expect: Fri/04: SW-W 15-25kt. West 6-7ft. Sat/05: W-WNW 10-20kt. NW 6-8ft. 7-8sec. Sun/06: Freshen NW 15-25kt. NW 7-9ft. Mon/07: NW-W 10-20kt. NW 7-9ft. Tue/08: W'ly 20-30kt. NW-W 7-10ft. Wed/09: WSW 20-30kt. West 7-10ft occ 11-12ft sets..
THURSDAY JUNE 3 1930
What a meal! Meatballs made by Teri with ground beef and Italian sausage, a hearty tomato sauce, string spaghetti, and a baby spinach salad with goat cheese, whole wheat garlic bread, and a Wolf Blass President's Selection 2000 shiraz.
A refreshing breeze, a sun starting to think about setting, and the sea, the everlasting sea, its bosom heaving in leisurely swells.
Passagemaking doesn't get much better than this.
And, in the 21st century, I can look forward to calling home on the Iridium satellite telephone later tonight.
THURSDAY JUNE 3 0730
Lat 32 52.1 North Long 53 13.6 West, Speed 6.4 knots, Course 92, Wind 10 knots from North, gentle 3-to-5-foot seas
During my morning watch, I caught up with reading messages from other vessels in the rally. I suspect that Dan Streech, president of Pacific Asian Enterprises, enjoys being at sea as much and even more than his customers. Here is what he wrote on the approach to Bermuda on May 21 while on board the Nordhavn 62 Sans Souci:
"It was another magic night aboard Sans Souci.
"After we enjoyed the delicious dinner of chicken cordon bleu prepared by chef Phil, we conducted the evening roll call. These roll calls are becoming ever more fun as the jokes, pranks and outrageous fishing stories seem to grow. Goleen now claims to have caught the 4-foot fish that Sea Fox told us about and (would not you know it) it got away again with a lure. Crosser was boarded by a giant squid which they fought and killed with dental floss. They are now enjoying calamari. While discussing the rather tricky routing in the final approach to the Bermuda Yacht Club, Grey Pearl wanted the Lat/Lon of the nearest bar. And much more . . . Emeritus has finally come within radio range and will join the roll call tonight.
"My watch last night was 9:00 to midnight. The moonless sky was breathtaking with stars from horizon to horizon. The running lights of our faithful fleet blended with the stars as we floated along on the surreal Lake Atlantic.
"I spent much of my watch standing at the Portuguese bridge enjoying the balmy air and counting shooting stars. It was so beautiful, that several people who did not want to waste the experience by sleeping stayed up. We chatted about nothing and everything in a way that just does not seem to happen in real life.
"The pleasant melodic and reassuring purr of the dry exhaust was a backdrop to the above scene. Our faithful Lugger engine located two flights below us has of course run non-stop since we left Ft Lauderdale without a hiccup. These magnificent engines are designed to run 20,000 hours or more and are superb pieces of machinery. Our trip around the world on the Nordhavn 40 in 2001/2002 put 3,500 hours on the Lugger engine, so you can see that most of us will not live long enough to see our Luggers wear out.
"This morning has dawned with an imperceptible shift in mood and weather. As predicted by weather router Walt Hack, we now have light winds and seas from the west which means from astern. Following seas and winds are of course the delight of sailors, but the glossy, oily-looking seas which so captivated us yesterday and now gone. The radio chat and activities on board have now turned to preparation for arrival tomorrow morning. Reality has intruded on the special bond that has formed among the six vessels of NAR group 1 over the last four days.
"It may sound strange to some of you readers, but I almost wish that Bermuda were farther away than the 147 miles now showing on the GPS.
"Love being at sea."
WEDNESDAY JUNE 2 1600
Lat 32 25.5 North Long 55 04.1 West, Speed 6.4 knots, Course 92, Light wind 5 to 10 knots out of SSW, gentle 2-to-3-foot seas
Just short of our 55 00 West waypoint, we have turned for the Azores 1,351 nm distant. Coincidentally, Autumn Wind reached Goleen in the larger-boat fleet behind us. The four Nordhavns, one Northern Marine/Seaton, and one Monk/McQueen are 313 nm behind us, running on the rhumb line to the Azores at 8.5 knots. That means they could catch us in six days, that is, Tuesday.
The larger boats had better weather right from the start, thus, they have been on the shortest course for Horta right since departing Horta.
It has been an eventful day, eventful for the middle of the Atlantic at displacement speed.
World Odd@Sea reported catching and releasing a 90-lb marlin. Someone else reported sighting a whale.
We have fish, too, for dinner, sent over to Strickly For Fun by the Spencers on Uno Mas. We exchanged gifts while running about 30 yards apart and tossing a line from one boat to the other. We sent them a best-selling book on CD, Number One Lady Detective Agency, which Teri wanted to share with Sue Spencer. In return, we received yellowfin tuna, caught and frozen on the Pacific side of Panama.
As I write this in the saloon, Teri is in the galley preparing a mango salsa with cilantro to go with the tuna which Jon will medallion and lightly pan fry. My mouth waters as I type.
Earlier in the day, under the ruse of wanting to photograph Jim Leishman and the crew aboard Atlantic Escort for Power Cruising, I asked Escort to run along side Strictly For Fun, getting as close as they felt comfortable. They took the bait, and for their trouble were bombarded with water balloons by Scott, Teri and Jon on our flying bridge. As Escort pulled away, threats of revenge rang in the air.
At 1400, Sue Spencer on the Nordhavn 40 Uno Mas convened the first rally chick chat, a get-together on VHF 69 for the women of our fleet.
At 1200, I resurrected the daily coffee klatch that Scott started a few days ago on the radio, calling it NAR Net. Today we chatted about fishing and what lures were working. Tomorrow the theme will be filters.
This morning we heard that the larger boats had departed Hamilton on schedule. Crosser had an encounter of the unwanted kind with the dock on departure. More recently, Grey Pearl lost an alternator belt. Otherwise, all goes well with the big boys.
Must go now as it is time for an engine-room check.
EMAIL JUNE 1 0700
Note to readers: I have given up on attempts to post to my weblog via Skymate. Henceforth, using SailMail and the single-sideband radio aboard Stricky For Fun, I will send reports to Ken Wiilliams aboard Sans Souci and Fred Wunderlich back in Fort Lauderdale for posting to their sites, and to Significant Other for keeping family and friends informed.
TUESDAY JUNE 1 0700
Lat 32 22.6 North Long 59 30.7, Speed 6.4 knots, Course 107, Light wind, gentle 3-to-4-foot seas
We are experimenting with a new watch system as the one we started with didn't suit everyone.
I am now on from 9 p.m. to midnight and from 6 to 9 a.m. In effect, I get my share of watch-standing--6 hours out of the 24 hours the four of us deal with--done in one half of the day, thus, I should be able to look after my others chores, devote several hours to my work, as well as get a couple hours of sleep to augment the 5.5 hours I can get in between watches.
The other three crew stand two-hour watches between midnight and 6 a.m., in rotation from one night to the next.
At the roll call last night, our smallest boat, the Nordhavn 40 Uno Mas that is setting pace for us all, reported it had increased speed to 6 knots, so the entire fleet was able to bump rpm up 50 or 100. At 6 knots, Uno Mas reported burning 2.1 gallons per hour, meaning it had a healthy reserve in hand. (Aboard Strickly For Fun, we burn more, but our fuel tankage, at 1,400 gallons, is such that 1,800 nm is not a challenge, at least not from the point of view of fuel consumption.)
The latest weather report from Walt Hack indicates the light winds and gentle seas are likely to end in 48 hours, being succeeded by wind up to 22 knots and seas up to 8 feet. Some of the new weather may come from the east--right on the nose--but by the weekend, we could be enjoying blue skies and sunshine and mild conditions again.
Last night, I took a turn in the galley and served up the almost-famous Kolesnikovs Klops, a dish from my Latvian motherland made with ground beef, bacon, mushrooms, onions and plenty of sour cream, presented on a base of a creamed and buttered potato mash with green onions, with a side of dill pickles. So satiated were we that dessert of chocolate mousse with whipped cream has been postponed until later. If that sounds like a repeat of what I wrote from Autumn Wind, that is because it was.
Autumn Wind was a dry boat while under way. Aboard Strickly For Fun, we uncorked a Hawk Crest Cabernet Sauvignon to wash down the meal. Lest that leaves the wrong impression, I should note the bottle was not emptied.
Yesterday, I neglected to mention that Teri Strickland has named herself fleet DJ. At the beginning of the morning roll call, we broadcast Bad To The Bone by George Thoroughgood to the fleet on VHF 17.
Naiad stabilizer problems continue to pop up. The latest to be afflicted is Sea Fox, the Krogen 58, which has been running on only one fin for the last 24 hours or so. Yesterday being Memorial Day in the U.S., no sat phone calls were made to Naiad, but starting this morning, sat phone charges have been mounting, with no solution yet.
Also yesterday, Scott Strickland initiated a 12 noon coffee klatch on VHF 17 with a half-dozen vessels participating. Today, we plain forgot to get on the air.
Everyone aboard Strickly for Fun is anxiously awaiting the first shout of "Hook up!" from Jon Ehly who has two fishing lines out. Jon is quite a fisherman and he cannot believe how bereft of fish we have been since leaving Hamilton. That, despite the fact he invested $500 in new lures.
To: NAR-2004 Fm: O.M.N.I. NJ/USA 1500Z 01 JUN 2004
-- Surface pressure pattern still evolving as discussed yesterday with some minor adjustments to weather systems' movement speeds.. Low pressure moved off the US Northeast has moved Eastward last night into this morning, now will move ENE then NE. Low center 999mb above 400nm to the NW-NNW of the Slow-Group this morning will clear to the north tonite and allow the fresh SW'ly winds along the track to ease again.
-- High pressure will fill-in to the west of the migrating low pressure center, and will re-form across about 37N-38N midocean with a residual frontal boundary remaining nearly stationary across 34N-36N.
-- THUS, THE RECOMMENDED ROUTE ALONG THE RHUMB LINE FROM 55W STILL REMAIN VALID FOR THE SLOW-GROUP. Will need to watch final positioning of the high pressure ridge to determine if a slightly more northerly track from 55W-50W will minimize head-to-beam wind/sea a bit more (although not expected to be significantly adverse along the present route).
-- FOR THE FAST-GROUP DEPARTING BERMUDA TODAY TUE/01ST, STILL SUGGEST CONSIDERATION OF THE EASTERLY COURSE FROM DEPARTURE TO ABOUT 57W, THEN THE RHUMB LINE TO APPROACHES HORTA. Basis the positioning of the sub-trop high pressure ridge, will watch for possible better wind/sea conditions along a slightly more northerly route after 57W.
MONDAY MAY 31 0230 during my night watch
Lat 32 22.3 North Long 62 53.2 West 403 nm from our waypoint at 55 00 West, Speed 4.8 knots because of an adverse current, Course 106, Light wind, gentle 3-5-ft seas
In the night sky, there are dim flashes of lightning so distant I cannot hear thunder.
I'm alone on the 0200-0400 watch. With a four-person crew on Strickly For Fun, watches are stood solo--just the way I like it. Scott, I and Jon Ehly look after the three two-hour watches between midnight and 0600, with Teri standing the evening watch from 2100 to midnight. Between 6 a.m. and midnight, watch-standing is not a fixed schedule. Whoever feels like, he or she has the con. There is an informal attempt made to ensure no one stuck on the bridge for hours without a break.
This is my first experience with free-form watch-standing during the day. It is ironic to find such an unstructured system on a boat as well and tightly organized as the Stricklands run Strickly For Fun. When I signed on, Scott emailed me a PDF file detailing the routine of the ship and what was expected of guests and crew. See preceding post.
Those who haven't been at sea at night will be surprised to hear how bright it is out here as a result of the moon being a few days from full. Despite overcast skies, there is the appearance of a silver dawn.
On the Furuno Navnet display, Scott has set the radar for night running: Black background. Red rings one-half mile apart emanating from the center where our vessel is. Bearing and course in green lines. Eleven red blips shows where the fleet steams eastward around us.
We are now 12 vessels in this division of smaller/slower boats. The Krogen 58 Sea Fox has joined us, preferring to run a long passage such as this one at 6 knots plus or minus rather than 8 plus with the larger/faster vessels. That division of six vessels still is in port, in Hamilton, scheduled to depart Tuesday at 0800. They should catch us up on the final approach to Horta where we are due to arrive on June 11.
Introduction for the 17-page document Scott and Teri have prepared for guests and crew aboard Strickly For Fun:
Pre-Trip Information 1. Purpose. The purpose of this document is to help you understand what to expect while traveling on the Strickland Motor Yacht. Reading this manual is very important. · It will help you determine if the trip is right for you! · It will let you know what to expect the trip to be like. · Give you important safety information. This manual will describe: 1. Purpose of the Crew Manual. 2. What to expect on the trip. 3. Our Route. 4. Safety Concerns. 5. Food. 6. Weather. 7. Sea Communications. 8. Harbor Communications. 9. Work Effort.10. Watch Standing. 11. Entertainment. 12. Comforts. 13. Seasickness.14. What to Bring. 15. Clothing and Personal Gear Checklist. 16. Rules. 17. Conclusion. A general understanding of the trip, equipment, and responsibilities will make the trip more enjoyable for everyone. This document is one of four documents you should read. Crew Manual Emergency Manual Watch Standing manuals We also have: Departure manual Underway Arrival Manual Shoreside (managing the boat at a dock without us!) Systems manual
Conclusion of the 17-page document Scott and Teri have prepared for guests and crew aboard Strickly For Fun:
17. Conclusion. This trip is not for everyone. The trip is not a common activity. No one else you know will ever do this. This trip is designed to be an adventure of a lifetime. It will not be perfect! If you don't want new experiences, take a plane. Since you will be involved with actually operating the vessel you will need to do your share of the work. If you are not willing to help, please stay home. This trip is for people who want to grow. You must be willing to learn new skills. We do not expect people to know these skills before they come on the boat. Part of the fun is teaching and learning new skills. Due to weather our times have to be somewhat flexible. If we plan on a two-week trip, plan for a couple of extra days. If you want to follow a rigid time schedule, take a tour. For everyone to have fun we all need to get along. If just one person is cranky the trip will be miserable for everyone! We have a gang plank are we are willing to use it! In short: this trip is not for the boring, lazy, stupid, inflexible or grumpy people!
SUNDAY MAY 30 1520
Lat 32 22 North Long 63 51 West Speed 6 knots Course 106
We've had our excitement for the day: Teri spotted a a round fender in the water ahead of us and Scott decided to call a man-overboard drill. The fender looked fairly new and Scott was determined to retrieve it. Thus, with the boat in neutral and alongside, he dove into 15,000 feet of ocean to get the thing.
SUNDAY MAY 30 1030
We're at Five Fathom Hole off St. George and turning east for the Azores. Actually, we're first heading to 55 degrees 00 minutes west longitude on a heading of 106 magnetic.
Weatherman Walt Hack suggested the waypoint to give us the smoothest possible ride between weather systems to the north and south of our route. Once we get to 55 00 West, in about 480 nautical miles, we'll pick up the rhumb line (shortest distance) to the Azores.
After the 25 knots of wind that blew through Hamilton harbor for much of the day yesterday, today we have perfect weather for starting a long passage. There is a light wind and a gentle seas of 2 to 3 feet, with only the occasional bump, on our starboard quarter.
Uno Mas, the fleet pacesetter, is steaming along at 5.9 to 6.1 knots.
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