Posts Tagged “Seamanship”

Preparing Dirona for the North Atlantic Crossing

Preparing Dirona for the North Atlantic Crossing

Below is a 24-minute narrated video preparing Dirona for the 2,801 nautical-mile North Atlantic transit from Newport, Rhode Island to Kinsale Ireland. We first show storm plate (clear window protection covers) installation at the dock using the tender as a working platform on the port side. Then we move the SCUBA tanks below and secure…

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Anchor Ensnarled

Anchor Ensnarled

Yesterday morning, we started up the main engine just past daybreak for a planned run from Widewall Bay along the west coast of Hoy and the Mainland in the Orkney Islands. But the anchor was locked down solidly on the bottom. That’s happened before and we have our tricks. Dropping another 100 feet and pulling…

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North Atlantic Gales

North Atlantic Gales

On our 2,800nm North Atlantic passage from Newport, RI to Ireland we passed through three gales. The first two were in the initial week of the passage, before we turned the corner south of the Grand Banks. It was during the first gale that we battled a water ingress issue that set off alarms a…

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Passage Preparation

Passage Preparation

We generally keep Dirona ready to go to sea at a moment’s notice, and securing the cockpit furniture is typically all we need to do as we get underway. For multi-day passages, we do some additional preparation ranging from provisioning, to heavy weather preparation, to paperwork necessary to bring Spitfire into a new country. Highlights…

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Alarms at 1:15am

Alarms at 1:15am

I bolted awake at 1:15am to a shrieking alarm. We were 50 miles south of the Grand Banks, in large seas, on passage from Newport, RI to Kinsale, Ireland. I ran upstairs to the pilot house and Jennifer, at the helm, just said “high bilge water.” Yuck. Better than fire but far from good news….

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Big System Coming

Big System Coming

For quite some time now we have been watching a very large low in the weather models coming down from Greenland. The storm is currently predicted to bring 20′ waves on 10 second period, with 25 to 30 kt winds.  With 20′ waves nominal, there will be some that approach or exceed our 30′ mast…

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North Atlantic 500mb Forecast

North Atlantic 500mb Forecast

We plan on getting underway this weekend for Kinsale, Ireland. It’s a tiny bit early in the season but we have what looks to be a blocking high developing in the North Atlantic which will stall the steady stream of low-pressure systems that we’ve been watching for the past several months. Unfortunately the high is…

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Departure Planning

Departure Planning

We’ve been studying the weather every day as we prepare for our Atlantic crossing from Newport, RI to Kinsale, Ireland. We use a variety of data sources, including NOAA surface analysis and 500MB forecasts. The sources we rely most heavily on are GRIB files containing data from computer-generated models such as NOAA GFS and WAVEWATCH…

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Fighting Water Ingress

Fighting Water Ingress

Besides a fire at sea, few things are more frightening for an ocean-crossing vessel than uncontrolled, and potentially undetected, water ingress. Safety Digest, published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) of the British Department of Transport (www.maib.gov.uk), often contains reports of small boats sinking in minutes. Many might have been saved had their captains…

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Non-Stop Adventure

Non-Stop Adventure

PassageMaker Magazine April, 2017: Non-Stop Adventure: 56,000 Miles at Sea…And Counting

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Route Planning

Route Planning

While in Florida earlier this year, we considered a variety of routes for our upcoming Atlantic passage. Some of the possibilities are shown in the screenshot above (click image for larger view). The waypoint east of South Carolina is Bermuda, and the one labeled Terceira Sao Miguel is the Azores. The other waypoints are mostly…

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Maretron N2KView on Dirona

Maretron N2KView on Dirona

When we go to sea in Dirona there are usually only two people on the boat. That means automation and reliability are super important to us, and we want early warning of problems or unusual conditions. Maretron N2kView is a good-value display system that has worked very well for us and allowed us to incrementally expand what…

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Going the Distance

Going the Distance

PassageMaker Magazine Jan/Feb, 2016: A globetrotting Nordhavn 52, Dirona, offers a case study in range & consumption planning for long-range cruising.

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To Change or Not to Change? That is the Question.

To Change or Not to Change? That is the Question.

Oil changes at sea get pretty close to a universal response from boaters I know. Everyone says loudly “DON’T DO IT.”  The risk of something going wrong when hundreds, if not a thousand miles, from shore is simply too high. And, with oil change intervals ranging between 250 and 375 hours, there typically is no…

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Managing Fuel Economy

Managing Fuel Economy

We currently are underway on a 3,650nm non-stop run from St. Helena to Barbados. Prior to this passage, our longest non-stop run without fueling was 3,023nm from Dampier, Australia to Rodrigues, Mauritius. The current 3,650nm passage is at the very limit of Dirona’s range and we are, naturally, monitoring fuel economy closely to ensure we…

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A brush with disaster

A brush with disaster

Almost everyone has had a brush with disaster. Some are really big events like being standby and not making an airplane flight that crashes, or missing a bus that ends up being in a serious accident. Some are more minor like a near-miss when driving. But, whatever the cause, nothing catches your attention like “almost”…

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