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  1. Bill Skelton says:

    Congratulations James !!

    I can see you entering the outer harbour Kinsale….very well done!!


    • Just passing Old Head of Kinsale now. A great sight just below the low hanging cloud cover. Only 5nm to go!

      • Martin Monteith says:

        Welcome to Ireland!! (Martin Monteith here, if you remember we met you as you returned from round the world as you arrived at West Palm Beach last spring) I’ve been watching your progress across the Atlantic, wow! That was quite the boat ride! Glad you both have arrived safely, enjoy Ireland and hopefully you have some nice weather as it’s beautiful especially in nice weather. We emigrated to Canada from Nortern Ireland 28 years ago.

    • Chris Symonds says:

      What a journey!

      Wonderful to follow you across the Atlantic. Now enjoy the warm hospitality of the ’emerald isle’!

  2. Steven Coleman says:

    Well you’ll be there by the next time I check in and for all my number crunching at the start, looks like you’ll hit your 300 gallons almost on the nose.

    Good Job cutting right across like that is something most pleasure boaters (including the NAP) don’t do esp with just two people.

    • Hi Steve. Man, it’s exciting to watch day break with Ireland just popping into view as the sun slowly inches up over the horizon. We’re surrounded by working fish boats. The wind is very close to zero and the water is dead flat. Beautiful.

      We are currently carrying 380 gallons with 26nm left to go. We’re carrying around 50 gallons more than targeted since we slowed down a couple of days ago to arrive in to Kinsale at 10am rather than closer to midnight. Slowing down saves a lot of fuel. At this speed, in these conditions we could go around 5,000 nm.

  3. Erik Andersen says:

    Welcome to European Waters – Fastnet to Fastnet.
    Regards Erik

  4. Timothy Daleo says:

    Six footer mixed following seas and a low ahead of you? Eleven days with five more to go if you slow a little to keep it in front of you? Hope the three of you are doing well. Excited to see your progress each day.

    • As unexcited as we are to face yet another couple of days at 30 kts of wind with around 12′ of waves, we’ll probably not slow down to first let the system pass. The current plan is to continue at whatever speed the weather allows.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        Haul cheek SSE for a day and then turn NW and take some quarter seas? Sure wish I was there to help! Hope all is well and that the donuts held out.

        • It would be a good day for a donut. We have a rough day expected tomorrow with 30 kts winds and 14′ seas on 7 seconds. We still have the badly worn bolt in the steering system and we are getting some metal dust build up underneath it. Everything looks right and I can’t see any movement that shouldn’t be there but we are still getting accelerated wear. I don’t want to take on the storm tomorrow without knowing things are exactly as the should be so we plan to shut the boat down today and let it drift while I change these parts for new ones while we drift.

          I have the parts needed on hand so the only concern is how the boat will handle just drifting in a good sized swell while I make the change and have a look for any other possible problems.

          The primary fuel filters were starting to show increased vacuum yesterday so I changed over to a new one yesterday. That’s the second time in this trip that I needed to change fuel filters. The first one when 73 hours and this second one went 174 hours. On the short side for both but not totally surprising given how rough it’s been. Rough conditions can stir up settled out debris in the fuel system and plug filters more quickly. We normally get 200 to 600 hours on a filter.

          Once we get the steering work done today, we’ll be ready to take on the storm with all systems at 100%.

          • Mike Owen says:

            How is Jennifer handling the rough seas? I think I read she gets uncomfortable/seasick when the pitch is above 10 degrees? Does the new band work? Safe travels. Mike

            • Jen hasn’t been having seasickness problems over the last week so the band appears to be working well enough. When it’s this rough, it’s hard to get a good sleep though so we’re all a bit tired but generally doing well. The boat is running well and we continue to make good speed. It’ll be nice to be in more settled seas though.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            Jeez, you are right in the center of it according to . Are there really 5M waves on your stern pushed by 30 knot winds like their charts show? I always think of me being there on Dirona, but not today. Good luck and hope you find time for some rest tonight.

            • Early in the day yesterday, those were the conditions and had been for quite a while. The winds started backing off yesterday around noon. The seas take much longer to settle but it’s already enough better that we are sleeping significantly better. I just got up and for the first time in days I feel great rather than lethargic and worn out. Looking at the most pitch and role over the last 15 min, pitch was 6 degrees and roll 10 degrees. Not smooth but much more comfortable.

              • Timothy Daleo says:

                A floating metronome, ugh. Glad you are through the thick of it. Hopefully you can stay at the edge of the system and get a couple days of rest before you arrive.

                • Super nice today. We are slowing down to arrive in Wednesday morning so we’re just loping along nice and easy. Only 256nm to go.

                  • Timothy Daleo says:

                    You beat my estimate by a day. I cannot wait to see some interesting pictures and see what the final tally was on spares and fixes.

                    • Timothy Daleo says:

                      According to AIS, at 200 nm from Cork, you passed by a fishing vessel and will pass to the South of a vehicle carrier named Onyx in about 8 hours. Very cool as you seem to be the only pleasure craft in open water North of the 45th parallel.

                    • I think all those pleasure craft not above the 45th parallel may have a point :-).

                      Thanks for the traffic update. I expect it’ll get fairly busy as we approach Fastnet rock with both commercial shipping and fishing. We’re loping along at only 6.5 kts to allow us to arrive in the morning rather than around midnight. We’re targeting to arrive at the Marina at 10am tomorrow morning.

                    • We would have been a day to perhaps even two days later with a more normal fuel load. But, on this trip, we have enough fuel for 4,000 nm but are only going 2,800. Even with poor conditions we have been making pretty good time.

                      I’ll give some thought to summary post but, at this point, the “used up” list would include: steering arm bolt, steering ram rod end, two fuel filters, a grey water pump valve, two vales for the main bilge pump is pretty close to the full list. Where we have some work ahead of us is in some of the design changes we will want to make. We want to add a high capacity bilge pump to the main bilge, we need to exclude water from the aft cockpit storage lockers, and I’m thinking of adding a third high water bilge alarm. We often finish ocean crossings with nothing to do but, after this one, we do have some bigger projects. We’ll add it all into the trip summary that we’ll post sometime this week.

                      Only 182nm to go!

                  • Alex Goodwin says:


                    You said that you have yet to see a rough enough sea to put Spitfire off his grub – even after the fun that had you a few days ago, does that still hold with the moggy (?) still busy gaining weight?

                    • Spitfire adapts fast and he’s doing great. He definitely prefers flat seas to rough ones but, from his perspective, no preference is important enough to give up a meal :-). I’ll bet he isn’t an ounce under 15 lbs.

                  • Kevin Kelleher says:

                    While you may have started out with some tough conditions it certainly looks great to end the trip. I have seen you over the years on Youtube and such but until this trip had not followed your travels. I would like to say thanks for a great blog and for taking the time even in the “tricky” times. Looking forward to the summary.

                    Best regards
                    Kevin Kelleher

                    • Thanks Kevin. It’s great to see Ireland slowly revealed below the fog bank as the sun rises this morning. Conditions are glass smooth, we’re creeping along at 6.1 kts, and watching the working fish boats hauling nets all around us.

        • Drew Hunter says:

          Do you filter incoming fuel or only once it is in your tanks? When you fueled on 5/6 you didn’t say it was at the Newport Marina but I assume that’s where you got it. Since the marina was empty the entire time you were there, maybe no one has been using the fuel from there supply. In fact no one may have pulled any significant amount of fuel from their supply in 6 months. Just an (un)educated guess but the fuel you got from Newport may have been “old” and if the sediment all settled out and the pickup is right off the bottom of their supply tank, it may have been quite dirty too.
          Whatever the reason I am sure you are glad you have your quad filter system in place so that no matter the quality, your JD is getting nice clean diesel.

          • Great question Drew. Yes, we picked up the fuel from the Newport Yachting Center. Prior to our purchase they had 7,000 gallons on hand and it’s highly probable that fuel has been there since sometime before the end of the season last year. So, you are right, it is old fuel. Their storage system is an excellent concrete above tank system and they have annual inspections etc. and the most recent one was done weeks before our purchase.

            Your question brings up the generic question of how to get only great quality fuel delivered to the engine. One tactic is to filter the fuel using a Baha Filter on the way into the tanks. This is a common tactic with world cruising boats. The downside is that it slows fueling dramatically. At our fuel volumes it’s really not practical to fuel on the way in. It takes 1.5 to 3 hours to fuel us as it is. It might take more than a day with an external filter. It just doesn’t feel practical.

            The second approach is avoidance. Only go to locations that sell massive volumes to commercial boats so you know the fuel good. This is a good tactic, doesn’t take any longer, and sometimes leads to actually getting better pricing. However, when in locations like Vanuatu, there is exactly one place to fuel. There is no choice and, for fuel volumes like we take, they don’t stock that much so they call a truck, the truck drops a load into the nearly empty tanks stirring up all the sediment and then we fuel. Pretty much the worst possible setup but there is no choice. So, as much as I like tis second approach of being selective about where you get your fuel, it also isn’t a general solution for Dirona.

            Since we can’t prefilter and we can’t always be selective, that leaves us with the third tactic: expect some poor quality fuel and manage it. On this model, we worry less because instead of worry that we might get bad fuel, we more or less expect we’ll get some bad once in a while and design the system to deal with it.

            Here’s what we do. All fuel being deliverd to Dirona goes into the two bulk side tanks of 835 gallons each or the on-deck fuel bladders when we are using them. When we tranfer the fuel from bladders below decks it passes through the 25 micron fuel transfer filter. Any fuel leaving are side tanks to go to the wing day tank or the supply tanks (where all engines but the wing get there fuel) also goes through the 25 micron transfer the filter. The Transfer filter is a large RACOR FBO-10 with truly massive filter area. It takes a lot of block that filter. In fact, I’ve never blocked that filter although I have purchased large amounts of rust, small amounts of water, and even some large cockroach-like bugs. The FBO-10 just catches it all.

            By the time the fuel gets to the supply tank, it has passed through the FBO-10 25 micron bulk filter. From there the fuel passes through a Racor 900 2 micron filter then goes through the 10 micron on engine followed by a 2 micron on engine. So, all fuel gets filtered at least 4 times on the way to the Deere injectors. See this article for more detail on why we run only 2 micron primary filtration and other aspects of the fuel system design:

            If while operating we learn that we have a problem load of fuel, we can configure our fuel system to be able to run the engine off the supply tank while at the same time running all the fuel from each side tank through the transfer filter and back to the same side tank. This should allow us to recover fairly quickly if we do have a problem.

            Given the frequency of fuel filter changes on the last two fills it’s possible that one of those two fuel loads might be slightly substandard or, perhaps more likely, after more than 7 years and 9,000 hours our tanks are starting to have build ups of asphaltenes and other fuel fall out and, when we hit rough water, this fuel fall out are starting to go back up into solution.

            When we left for our around the world trip, we had 48 Racor 900 filters with us and, surprisingly, we used less than 10 on the trip. Most fuel world-wide is surprisingly good.

  5. Michael says:

    Greetings from land locked London, Ontario 26C and sunny – I looked at your current location – 47° 41.09’N, 32° 37.98’W, almost directly in the middle of the Atlantic
    – hopefully the weather is good for you guys, so be safe and have fun!

    Michael Ishoj

    • I know London Ontario well. I went to High School in Ottawa and Jennifer and I lived in Toronto for a decade. Conditions are good right now. We have the doors open and are just enjoying the good weather. Looks like we have some more lumpy water coming but I guess that’s the cost of wanting to cross a bit earlier in the year.

  6. greetings from Furthur in the Philippines, just catching up on your blog. so glad you are having such great adventures. following your route, did you miss SE Asia? too bad.
    Hope all goes well hope we cross paths someday.

    • Hey Brian. Good hearing from you. You’ve chosen a nice part of the world to live in. We wanted to tour Asia but to do that would have added another year to our trip around the world given the timing constraints when the Indian Ocean can be safely crossed. We wanted to spend some time on the East Coast of North America and then head to Northern Europe. It would not surprise me at all if we eventually ended up in the Pacific exploring the area that is captured you.

  7. Gregg Testa says:

    Have you thought about repositioning the bladders next time? Is there enough room to do so? and how many fuel filters spares have you gone through since the start of your journey from RI. I am glad your both safe.

    • Greg, the bladders take up volume in the cockpit so it takes less water to fill the cockpit and they block the free movement of water on deck which can also lead to greater water depth. Both those issues do matter but my primary focus is there is a 1″ hole from the cockpit to the inside of the boat and whether the bladders are on deck or not, a 1″ hole just sounds like something that needs to be addressed.

      • Kevin Kelleher says:

        I certainly hope all is safe and well aboard the Dirona. I can’t help you with your journey but I will be in Cork at the end of June should you need any parts or supplies. I grew up there and spent my youth between the harbours of Crosshaven and Kinsale as well as the entire SW coast “One of the most beautiful coasts on the the planet”. I will be leaving Chicago last week of June if there is anything you need from the states or from Norhavn.

        Please let me know and safe passage.

        Kevin Kelleher

        • Thanks very much for your offer Kevin. If you were arriving earlier, I might ask for the overtons part recommended further back in this discussion:

          Hopefully, we will be off enjoying more of Ireland by the time you arrive. We’re really looking forward to it. Thanks for the offer to assist.

          • Kevin Kelleher says:

            No worries, glad your sorted.
            Should you want to avoid the usually busy village of Kinsale you can head out the road about a mile (lovely walk) towards Charles fort and you’ll come across an establishment called The Spaniard. A great melting pot since the 1700’s with good food and known for the impromptu evening music sessions. Also across the road is a little lane that takes you back down to the harbour opposite of where you will be moored. Again an area more laid back with locals and returning vacationers.
            Best of luck with the remainder of your voyage.
            Kevin Kelleher,

  8. Steve Coleman says:

    I’m glad you two are safe and like everyone else I’m waiting to hear what happened. The first thing I thought of was a problem with your aft mounted anchor but, I’ll just have to wait and see.

    Flooding at sea is not a fun situation. About halfway through my tour in the Navy we came closer than many to losing the boat due to unnoticed flooding in the forward hold which was secured from inspection due to a storm and it was unsafe for the sounding and security watch to go out on the main deck for the only access to that compartment at the time (we later installed a interior hatch for access during rough weather).

    We had 83 people to deal with it, two people in the middle of the Atlantic would have been stressful.

    • Steve, it sounds like you have been through a similar experience. Stressful to be sure regardless of the crew size.

      All brushes with disasters usually have more than one mistake or problem. The core problem in this case is the locker has a 1 inch “drain” hole. This 1″ drain hole becomes a “fill” how when there is more than couple of inches of water on the cokcpit deck. Once water is in the locker, it’s flowing down below through the Glendinning shore power cord retraction hole. It’s amazing how much water a 1″ hole will pass.

      • Steve Coleman says:

        Well, a unrestricted 1″ pipe at 6 ft/s (gravity) can flow up to 960 GPH. Looking at the pictures I’d say it could have the potiential to flow somewhere between 1/4 -1/3 that which is still a lot more water than I’d want to see.

        As far as “puker factor” there is a big difference between two people and a crew who for the most part are still in their teens on a ship trained, drilled and tasked with the rescue or salvage of submarines. And it’s not to say you don’t do an excellent job with preperation but, I’d say we had just a little more in the way of equipment available.

        If you can visualize three decks of the bow flooded back to the superstructure, I doubt it took us 45 mins to find the problem, fix the problem and de-water the forward hold.

        It was a bad storm but what I always found strange was the bridge never noticing it was punching into the seas rather than trying to go up and over.

        • That is a nice looking ship and, having spent time on one US navy vessel at sea, I know the entire crew will have been super well trained.

          What I found unnerving is how fast the bilge refilled. Even a fairly small leak can be a very big deal.

      • Rob Byrd says:

        Respectfully James, I think the root cause of the water to the bilge situation is not the position of the Gendinning hole but the water getting into the locker in the first place. Sure, if the Gendinning hole is relocated higher up the sidewall as I think you or another mentioned in another thread then this could reduce or eliminate overflow to the bilge in lessor conditions than this passage. If the locker is full of water though, there is going to be overflow. That hatch needs some gasketing as it is leaking water like crazy. If Ireland has anything like a Home Depot store, you’ll probably find a nice selection of “weather strip gaskets (EPDM material is best) in various dimensions and profiles. For about 15-20 bucks in the US, you would have probably have enough weather strip for all the deck hatches at the cockpit. A general hardware store is a common place to locate weather strip products.

        In addition, It is reasonable to assume that when carrying full fuel bladders, there is some deflection in the deck and hatch covers. I have no idea if this is significant to widen up the normal gap for water passage but it sure can’t help Gasketing well would if not eliminate then certainly slow water pass through when under the fuel bladder load

        • Rob, I generally agree with you that keeping water out of the locker is preferable to preventing water flowing below and my thinking is heading down that same path. when you say the locker door is “leaking like crazy” I suspect you may have missed my earlier description of the locker design. There is a 1″ diameter opening to the cockpit in the bottom of the locker to allow water to drain out. Of course, it’ll also allow a very large amount of water to flow in as well. Additionally, there are three full width vents across the front of the locker. The locker door weatherstrip looks pretty good but, between the louvers and the locker drain, massive amounts of water can easily enter. Certainly those two sources are the vast majority of the problem.

          It’s a reasonable guess that the deck hatch covers could leak due to flexing with the fuel bladders on top but we don’t have a leak at that location and their is no evidence of the deck flexing. The door you are referring to does have a good quality weatherstrip. It did leak back when the boat was new but I put a new weatherstrip on in 2012 when in Hawaii. I’ll probably replace it again this year or next since this weatherstrip is often under more than a 6″ of water. But, at this point, no problems in that area.

          Most of the problem isn’t leaking weather stripping but engineered openings (louvers and drains). Until these are closed, the rest really won’t matter. I do think the right answer is probably to close these two large water entrance points off.

  9. Sam Landsman says:

    Sounds like a little too much excitement! Glad you’re safe and solved the problem, I look forward to learning from it. Hope conditions smooth out soon and you have an uneventful remainder of your trip.

    • Thanks Sam. The conditions last night were even rougher but, with boat systems operating correctly, the 20’+ waves don’t really seem that threatening. We both slept well.

      If we can pick up speed as the conditions improve, there is a good chance we can ride the blocking high all the way into Ireland. If can’t make enough speed we will get found by another low before the Irish coast. But, at this point, I think we will have the fuel to maintain the speed we need to stay in that slow moving high.

  10. Tim Kaine says:

    Glad all is well and look forward to the read. Just reading the brief trailer you posted has me buying a ticket.
    I am sure at the time it was very nerve wracking but all of us will learn something from it. Glad you won the battle and all 4(boat too) of you are safe.

    • Thanks Tim. I’ll finish writing it up today and get it posted. Last night was, by far, the roughest conditions we have seen. More rough than when we were battling the water leak. Even though the wave are larger than we have ever seen on any trip, the boat is operating well and not leaking really rough water becomes annoying rather than being dangerous.

  11. Steve Coleman says:

    I know this isn’t your first “Rodeo” and you’re watching fuel burn constantly whereas I, only a couple times a day but you two sure are making me nervous.

    It’s probably for the best I’ll never be anything but a “dreamer” because I’d either be trying to arrange someone to meet me, or seriously considering turning back.

    I guess I’m not as much of an “explorer” as I’d like to think. I have to admit you’ve got me on the edge of my seat when I check in to see how you two are doing.

    • John Worl says:

      Amen to Steve! When I find you (I think) on AIS at MarineTraffic it appears that you have plenty of heavy shipping company too.

      • Sorry to fall off line for a couple of days. We have been battling the combined effects of bad weather and a mechanical problem Need to get through 1 more day of difficult weather starting tomorrow morning. Once we are through that and enjoying the blocking high on our way into Ireland, I’ll post more detail on conditions and what went wrong.

        We’ll catch up and post more once we get back into better weather and get a bit more caught up on sleep.

        • Rob Blake says:

          Our thoughts and prayers are with you James & Jennifer. Godspeed……………Rob

          • Thanks very much Rob. We’re 100% back to normal and I had a great sleep last night. Forecast conditions over the next 24 hours are heavier than what we saw two nights but what we saw two nights back was worse that what was expected and it’s looking like this might not be as bad. Either way, no issues expected and there is a very nice blocking high pressure area that should give us very good conditions until we are close to Ireland.

            I’ll write up what happened and hopefully get it posted sometime over the next 24 hours.

            • Marc Onetto says:

              James. Just read about your water in the bilge issue in the middle of a major storm. If I understand the blogs well, you are now safe. My thoughts are with you. Hope you find the root cause of what happened, and that you soon reach the high pressure zone you are aiming towards. BE SAFE.

              • Thanks Marc. We are back to 100% operational. Current condition make walking around in the boat difficult with max roll out above 25 degrees and max pitch at 12 degrees. Winds running 25 to 35 with gusts to 40 kts. The weather models say expect around 12′ but many of these waves look to more than 20′ towering over our pilot house. all good on Dirona. I’ll write what happened in the storm a couple nights back.

                • Michael & Frances, N40 Coracle says:

                  We are thinking of you and looking forward to learning more about what happened. Please don’t trouble to reply, we are following the blog avidly.

                  • Thanks Micheal. Last night was the roughest water we have ever been in. The weather was directly on the beam and we saw rolls from the largest waves up over 25 degrees. Some waves were up above 20′. The funny thing is we both have been sleeping well. As long as all systems are working correctly and they are again, the boat is pretty comfortable in rough seas. We’re looking forward to smoother water but, at this point the rough water is more of a nuisance that slows us down and makes moving around in the boat require more care.

      • Marine Traffic sometimes show a boat at the last location where it was picked up by one of their ground stations but our exactly location is always up at We definitely have seen other ships but only a couple each day and, for big portions of the trip, there was nothing around at all.

        • John Worl says:

          Actually, (as a non-member) MarineTraffic shows you as a “pleasure craft” that has “position received via satellite. “

          • Cool. I thought MarineTraffic had hidden all that behind a paywall and I pretty much gave up on it. I’ll go back and give it a try again. I loved it in the early days.

    • We had one day where we were on the edge of our seat as well. In fact it felt a bit like a rodeo in here :-).

      Had we not had a mechanical problem, the weather would likely be less of an issue. This first low is only slightly deeper than originally forecast — what attracted us to take this weather window is there is a blocking high developing over the North East Atlantic that should hold of the worse of the bad weather systems and the rough water at the start of the trip was forecast to be rough but nowhere even close to a safety issue. Sometime later today or early tomorrow, we’ll write up the adventure on our end.

      On your fueling question, we left with more than 2,700 gallons which is a lot more than needed for this trip. There have been times when we burning hard to get in front of a passing low but we still expect to land in Ireland with 300 gallons of reserve fuel. Even with some high burn periods so far, we still only need to get 1.18 nm/gal which is easy. When we are tighter on fuel we often run at 1.5 and even far above. We’re good on fuel.

  12. Mike Owen says:

    James and Jennifer:

    What kind of heavy weather preparations will you be making in light of the heavy weather forecasted?


    • Rob Blake says:

      Ahoy James & Jennifer –

      My beautiful bride was not happy that you skipped by Portsmouth New Hampshire before initiating your Atlantic crossing. After the deluxe tour you gave me last fall, she was very much looking forward meeting you both.

      Any possibility of turning around and returning to Portsmouth so she could take a quick tour of your fine vessel?

      It should only take an hour or so and then you can continue East again. I’ll even buy you dinner at the Wentworth!

      Should you selfishly decide to continue towards Europe, I will be forced to visit Tiffany’s (again) for another pale blue box to calm her nerves.


      • Bob said “Any possibility of turning around and returning to Portsmouth so she could take a quick tour of your fine vessel?”

        Don’t tempt me :-). This trip has already had more “adventure” than any other previously done and while working on a problem we did have the boat turned 180 degrees to reduce the severity of the wave conditions while I worked outside. However, the plan is still to go to Ireland. You and your wife should come visit us there!

    • Good question Mike. On any trip that is longer than the accuracy period of a good forecast, we prepare for the worst. The anchor is secured by a large steel pin, the storm plates are on to protect the big salon windows, the deadlines are on protecting the smaller ports. Everything is secured. The dishes cupboards are back with foam, the interior furniture is locked down. All deck furniture is held down with trailer straps. All interior cupboards are latched down securely. Having done that before leaving on this trip, there isn’t much additional work we can do to prepare.

  13. Gregg Testa says:

    Could you show video of the rolling sea’s and have you see any other traffic?

    • We’re on a satellite connection so uploading video is expensive. It looks like we have a few days of difficult weather in our near future. We’ll try to take some video of that and other parts of the trip to give a view of what the trip was like. But we’ll likely not post the video until we are back to less expensive connectivity.

  14. Timothy Daleo says:

    Lows, hose and tidal flows. The water finally looks nice but 50° days with winds make it a bit chilly!

    • Yes, it’s been really nice. Today we took the forward bladder down. 367 gallons down below and the bladder is all folded up and tucked away.

      That massive system that we have been watching for days is now predicted to be slightly bigger with 30+ kts of wind and 20′ waves. We’re looking for options to miss the worst of it but it’s a big system so avoiding it entirely is possible. Heading way south doesn’t appear to help. Heading north actually would help but we don’t want to head up into the ice zone. The two options we are thinking through is go super slow for multiple days and avoid the center of the storm but it’ll be an unpleasant 3 or 4 days in big beam seas. The other option is to proceed on the current course and speed and then turn into the weather and spend a day super slow with the bow to the weather waiting for it to pass.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        I am glad I do not have to make that decision! All thing being equal though, I would take a bad day with total control of the roll of the boat versus three days of nausea and the possibility of a freak wave. I am watching with great interest and anxiety.

        • Colin Rae says:

          Although I know the answer will be “Wherever he damn well wants!”, the question is where does Spitfire sleep when the going gets tough? Is it snuggled into the off watch on the floor of the MSR, or is it up in the wheelhouse as part of the Duty Watch? Keep safe, Colin N47 Albatross.

        • You’re probably right Timothy although there is a point where the conditions are worth avoiding at even high cost. In our boat, I would do a lot to avoid 30′ waves and, if the forecast says 20′, there will be some at 30′. We try very hard to avoid dangerous weather but don’t worry as much about avoiding comfort weather.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            Glad to hear you are safe and had everything you needed to handle the situation! Starboard laz at 2-3 gpm ingress? Deck drains, AC pumps and a few other thru-hull fittings are all in that area. There are also two below the waterline intakes just forward of that area. 10 hours is a long time to deal with water.

            • You’re right — 10 hours is a ridiculously long time. The boat is rolling 20 to 22 degrees, pitching 12 to 15, and some of the investigation was done outside at the transom standing in 8 to 12″ of water with waves rolling over the transom every 5 min or so putting a foot or so of water into the cockpit. Part way into this emergency I realized I was not thinking as clearly as needed to. I realized that I was sea sick. Not vomiting but not operating at normal mental acuity levels. After applying a Scopolamine patch, that good better. But in seas that rough, moving stores around to get access to the leak takes time and, if anything is not tied down, it quickly becomes a heavy projectile inside the boat.

              I’m just glad we have two bilge alarms or we wouldn’t have noticed until it was too late. I’ve read of many fish boat losses where the helmsman starts to notice something not quite right. The boat feels lethargic and slow, they investigate quickly, but it’s too late and the boat capsizes within seconds. Getting to the problem early is absolute vital.

  15. John Worl says:

    Course change to avoid fishing grounds?

    • Yesterday we were in water well over 75F and often pushing us along at a combined speed of over 8kts. Around 2:30am last night we started to lose it and the water temp fell from 75 to 61F. My guess based upon all the data we have is the we probably were north of the Gulf Stream. Since it’s such a massive boost to speed, we went to the south trying to find the warm, fast running water.

      The water temp has crept up to 64F but is nowhere to the 75F we were seeing. Almost all references I have seen have the current running way south but we were in it yesterday. This note on the Grand Bank has the Gulf Stream even further north. I’m not if the Gulf Stream is north of us or South but the course diversion south was my best guess at where it might be.

      • Steve Coleman says:

        Well I hope you find it soon, if I’m calculating it right you’ve got a 417.5 NM safety net at current rate of fuel consumption. I know that’s more than I seem to think but, I guess I subscribe to the old saying that “You only have to much fuel if you are on fire”.
        I hope you two (three counting Spitfire) are enjoying the trip.

        • Yes, you are right on the fuel situation. We adjust our speed such that we arrive with the planned fuel reserve. For this trip, the reserve is set to 300 gallons which is only 360 nm at the current burn rate or up to 480 if we are conserving more.

          We normally set speed purely on fuel economy but there are enough low pressure systems in the area that we are going along quickly until around Friday to get past the path of a low coming up the coast. The next weather system is a strong one coming down from Greenland with expected sustained winds in the 35 to 40 kt range with 18′ seas on only 8 seconds. Fairly ugly. I’ve not fully investigated the model but it looks like a good strategy might be to slow way down Friday morning and run dead slow over the weekend. We’ll still take some big conditions Saturday and Sunday but, by slowing down, we give the storm to start to subside somewhat before we get into the worst of it. If we do that, it’ll lengthen the trip a day or two but avoiding the worst of those conditions would seem to be prudent.

      • Erik Andersen says:

        Grateful for your postings – follow your course daily.
        Especially admire your Maretron screen-shots giving all the details.
        Does the Maretron fuel meter include the content of the bladders – and am I right in assuming that you are drawing from the bladders from the initial start of the journey??
        Keep knocking …. Best wishes.

        • Yes, the Maretron fuel reading is the full fuel load including the forward and aft fuel bladders.

          It turns out that bladders are stable in two conditions. First when completely full and the second when fully emptied. In the middle, or even just slightly less than 100% full, the fuel sloshes around really hard. It’s more weight moving than I like and it’s hard on the bladders. When filled to the absolute top, they are almost a solid and nothing moves at all. Knowing that, we run off the below deck fuel until we are down around 450 gallons at which time, we pump the forward bladder down completely. We’ll do that tomorrow. Then we’ll run until we are around 700 gallons from the top on the main tanks. Then we’ll pump each aft tank down again in a single operation.

          Tomorrow we will have the forward fuel bladder empty and it’s contents below decks. Five or six days later, we’ll pump the aft tanks below decks. We like to get the fuel load below decks as soon as possible.

  16. Timothy Daleo says:

    Glad to see you are on the move with a May 25th arrival. It looks like some crappy beam seas early on before it levels out. Safe travels to the three of you!

    • Yup, crappy beam seas. Just like you said Timothy. It’s like you were here :-).

      But it’s already somewhat better than it was when we left so no real complaints at this point. Only 2,730 nm left to go.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        Thank you as always for your responses. Whenever you are on the move I check your path against Passage Weather, NOAA and NDBC. I am excited to follow you on your 18 day journey and to see all that the new sights have to offer!

        • Conditions are great right now from a weather perspective. We’re currently working against a very strong negative off shore tide but it’ll change soon. No surprise the tides are strong since we are just south of the Bay of Fundy where the largest tides in the world can be found with ranges as high as 53′.

          Later in the trip we expect it to be rougher than it is now. First in the area due south of Greenland we expect 12′ waves on the forward port quarter and then later in the trip getting close to the extremes of the weather forecast, 15+’ is expected but on the stern. I hate wind on the bow so that first set will likely be the least pleasant of the two.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            150 South of Nova Scotia with a starboard swell and a slow pace? You keeping your sanity?

            • In nice conditions, we can run like this forever without getting bored or frustrated. I always have things to do at work and projects on the boat or something I want to lear so it’s never boring. What really sucks at sea is rough conditions. You get tired, doing anything is a struggle, and it just sucks your strength, reduces fuel economy, and slows the boat.

              The weather models continue to suggest that we’ll spend a week or two on this trip, getting bounced around.

              • Timothy Daleo says:

                Are you going to drain the bridge bladder today? Is the fuel consumption about where you thought you would be? PW shows 20 knot headwinds and a current against you? Jennifer and Spitfire doing well?

        • Eugene Colbourne says:

          You might be better off with a course well south of the tail of the Grand Banks, stay away from the Labrador Current, much nicer to keep in the NA drift. Following you from Newfoundland.

          • Yes, good point. Yesterday we ran most of the day and part of the night in 70+F water so it certainly was the Gulf Stream but surprisingly far north. We were running over 8 kts for lots of the time. Further complicating things is the tidal currents heading into and out of the Bay Fundy are absolutely massive even 100s of miles out in the open ocean.

            I appear to have lost the Gulf Stream with the water temperature having fallen down to 61F. We’re trending south looking over the last few hours but the water temp continues to fall. It may be we are searching south when it is actually north of us but that just seems too far north for the Gulf Stream. We’ll keep trending south to see if we can find it. It’s good for 1.5 kts or better if we can refind it

            • Eugene Colbourne says:

              We were surveying on the tail of the Grand Bank in mid-April, temperature was between 2-3 Degrees C and extended about 50 nm southeast of the 500 m isobaths.

              • This shows the Gulf Stream heading over the Grand Banks and then over the Flemish Cap: We have to run south of the current ice line which will have us at least 20nm south of the southern tip of the shallows.

                The reference above suggests the Gulf Stream will be north of us at that point but your comment implies we might be better even further south. If you know the approx lat and long where you believe the gulf stream is running on the basis of your recent survey could be helpful. Thanks for passing along the data.

                • Eugene Colbourne says:

                  That Wikipedia reference is not accurate the Labrador Current always flows around the tail of the Grand Bank heading to the west onto the Scotian Shelf and a branch flows to the east of Flemish Cap then clockwise around the Cap. The Labrador Current basically determines the southern extent of the iceberg limit. The Gulf Stream is always south of the 500 m depth contour off the southeast Grand Bank. I have seen it as close as 20 nm (last November 2016, temperature 23 deg. C). On April 13 2017 we surveyed south to lat 41 deg. 20 min long -48 deg. 40 min with a water depth of 3400 m and the surface to 1200 m depth temperature was still 0nly 3-4 deg. C. This suggested to me that the Gulf stream was still a bit further south. That said it can meander further north quite quickly and your planned track 20 nm south might pick it up.

      • Michael says:

        Your only 289 miles out? Heavy head seas James?

        • Yes, weather on the bow for the early part of the trip. We are not terribly efficient into heavy winds and climbing large swell on the nose. Much of yesterday we were running in the Gulf Stream with speeds in the 7.5 to 8 kt range and water temperatures up over 70F. We appear to have lost the current and we’re now back down to 6.4 kts in moderate seas.

  17. Rod Sumner says:

    At what readings are the roll and pitch numbers you report indicative
    of calm, moderate and rough seas?

    • That’s a good question Rod. We are currently seeing the trailing 60 min max roll and pitch at 10.7 degrees and 10.0 degrees respectively. I don’t have hard and fast numbers and it really depends upon the speed of both (especially pitch). Looking first at roll, much less than 6 or 7 degrees is very comfortable, More than 10 or 12 we chose to sleep on the floor, and more than 20 is getting really rough. Looking at pitch, the numbers are lower. Less than 5 degrees is comfortable. Much more than 8 or 9, we choose to sleep on the floor, and more than around 12 or 13 can be obnoxious. Pitch is super sensitive to frequency and even 10 degrees can be annoying in short seas.

      Sleeping on the floor sounds like it’s really rough but it turns out it just works well and we sleep better. In these conditions we could sleep quite easily on the bed but it turns out we sleep better wedged between the bulkhead and the bed. We find we sleep better when we move less so elect to take the floor around 10 degrees of roll.

      Current conditions are a good example of the sensitivity to wave frequency. We are seeing 10 degrees of pitch and 10.8 degrees of roll but its actually not that rough with the reasonably long frequency. I suspect I would still chose to sleep on the floor if I was heading to bed now.

      Early this morning it was surprisingly rough and, in those conditions, you have to be careful moving around the boat. It easy to slip or make a mistake and miss a hand hold. Both roll and pitch were more then but the wave frequency was shorter as well.

      • Rod Sumner says:

        Thanks for the info, As you say wave frquency is a great determinator of calm or rough conditions. Would it be possible to monitor/report on the wave period with your system?

        • I’ll give it some thought Rod but I can’t think of a reliable data source for wave heights. I might be able to get it from the reading the rising and falling altitudes on the satellite compass but that requires us reading it far more frequently and I wonder if it would be accurate enough to be useful. Other than that, I can’t think of a source for wave period that we could use.

      • Brian Smith says:

        Great to see you and Jennifer (and Spitfire, of course!) back “on the road” again! Here’s hoping for calm seas and no mechanical surprises.

        What’s the source of your pitch and roll data, James? Something built into the boat, or something you added? (I’m thinking an Arduino and a couple properly placed sensors might be all you need, but maybe it’s more complex than that.)

        • The pitch and roll data is from the Furuno SC30 sat compass. It delivers very precise location, heading, pitch, roll, yaw, and altitude. Of course we have (many) backup GPS and electronic compass as well in case of SC30 failure. Your solution would be about 100x less expensive 🙂

  18. Jamie says:

    “Nothing smooths rough seas like a creme-filled donut.” Quote of the year!

    Hope you have a good run across the pond. Looking forward to the next chapter – thanks for sharing this incredible journey!

    • Thanks Jamie! We knew we were heading out into fairly lumpy conditions this morning and there is a minor low that will brush against our track a few days out. BUt we like the high predicted to build over the North East atlantic over the next week. All indications point to bumpy but safe first part of the trip and we’re hoping the high helps stabilize the latter part of the trip.

  19. Rod Sumner says:

    Jennifer and James
    Smooth (or relatively) seas for your Atlantic crossing.
    With all of your systems go you will have an enjoyable trip.
    As with all of your followers (groupies?) I await your updates with great anticipation

    • On this one Rod, we don’t expect an enjoyable trip. At least part of it will be in the 10′ to 15’range. We always aim for enjoyable and often find it but it’s hard to reliably get in the North Atlantic. Waiting for June might help but it can be tough to get across the Atlantic without some low pressure systems finding you. We like the current conditions because there are no dangerous lows and a large high pressure system is just starting to build in the North East Atlantic that should hold off future lows. The high pressure system is producing 10+ waves on our path and bigger further north but the models suggest our crossing will be lumpy but quite safe.

  20. Foster says:

    Thanks for the mini-lesson on the weather. As an inland boater, long term weather isn’t a big deal since there is always a port near by. I’ve watched your other long jumps and you seem to do most of the weather forecasts well.

    Topic switch: The new stack outlet is now in a box outside the stack. That looks like something I’d shin smack on a regular basis. Is it tucked out of the way or is there a bigger first aid kit?

    Topic switch: Your issues around the lift TV has convinced me to do an easier mount. I was pretty much convinced with the prior mess on the lift, but the controller issue sealed the deal. Thanks for saving me serious boat dollars.

    • Thanks Foster. This particular crossing we expect to be a bit rougher than usual but we generally like the weather we are heading out into. It’s predicted to be a bit rough not scary or dangerous.

      You were asking about the stack plug and if it was in the route of nearby shins. Fortunately not, The closest route that runs ear the plug is the one from the fly bridge stairs to around the stack. The plug is far enough back that there is no interference with that diagonal route. I don’t expect it’ll be a problem. We also have the storm plates and some bulk marine board stacked just behind the plug so it’s not the furthest protruding element in that area.

      The TV lift was surprisingly challenging. We solved the problem and didn’t need any parts but it took the best part of a day to get resolved. We like the lift but needing to spend a day to get it working again was annoying.

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