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  • Dun Laoghaire

    Our second visit to Dun Laoghaire marina outside Dublin was as enjoyable as the first. In the ...

  • River Liffey

    The River Liffey runs through the center of Dublin and has long been a source of water, ...

  • Dalkey

    Dun Laoghaire harbour was constructed in the early 1800s from stone quarried at nearby Dalkey. ...

  • Dublin Arrival

    After spending two weeks at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, we departed on the last of ...

  • Quoile River

    For our third and final anchorage in Strangford Lough, we returned south from Mahee Island and ...

  • Mahee Island

    After three nights moored off Chapel Island, we moved to the northern end of Strangford Lough ...

  • Chapel Island

    We anchored for three nights off Chapel Island just inside Strangford Lough, NI in wonderfully ...

  • Northern Ireland Arrival

    The 225-mile overnight run from Scalpay to Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland started and ...

  • Stornoway Departure

    We departed Stornoway at the end of March for Northern Ireland. With the area’s frequent ...

  • Stornoway

    Our first visit to Stornoway in 2018 was only for a week. We hit the highlights of the town and ...

  • Perimeter Trail

    Our final walk in Stornoway was also on the Lews Castle grounds, this time along the Perimeter ...

  • Lews Castle Grounds

    Sir James and Lady Matheson created the Lews Castle and its grounds over a period of seven ...

  • The Iolaire Disaster

    The shipwreck of the HMY Iolaire was one of the worst UK maritime disaster during peacetime. ...

  • Cnoc Nan Uan Hill

    Cnoc nan Uan hill is just north of Stornoway, and an easy walk from town. The hill is the ...

  • Stornoway Arrival

    After completing quarantine at Longhope in Orkney, we returned to Stornoway to refuel, ...

  • Quarantine at Longhope

    We spent much of our two weeks at Longhope, Orkney in twelve days of quarantine required for ...

  • Norway to Scotland

    Free from the ice, we departed Farsund, Norway for Orkney, Scotland on the first leg of our ...

  • Thawing in Farsund

    Valentine’s Day 2021 brought an online Pearl Jam concert and the end of the cold snap in ...


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Recent general comments and questions (view all)
  1. Al King says:

    Is your landfall at Charleston in deference to the upcoming hurricane season and needing to stay north?

    • No, our insurance allows us in the Hurricane zone until July 1st so that didn’t influence our crossing choices. For this crossing we planned to go south from Dublin to the Azores/Bermuda high and then west to landfall. We did want to land north of the hurricane insurance line so that we wouldn’t have to move the boat immediately. Within those constraints, Charleston seemed like a good choice. We’re it not for hurricane issues, we might have chosen to land in Florida.

  2. Rodney H Sumner says:

    HI Jennifer and James: Great to see that your passage has been smooth (relatively) smooth sailing so far.
    Just wondering how does your system generate the course updates? Not the details themselves but the frequency they are posted to the site? There is no apparent pattern for these updates

    Happy travels

    • Good morning Rod. Some updates are manual and some are automatic. Weather is automatic every 6 hours, route and position data is automatic and every 15 min. The fuel economy updates and pictures and trip notes are, of course, manual. In thinking this through, perhaps we should update the weather data more frequently. We’ll look at doing that.

  3. Timothy Daleo says:

    I see that your speed has picked back up. You must have transitioned into calmer waters at are at the edge of those two weather fronts. It looks like you might get a push of 1/2 knot today. Excited to see you crossing again.

    • Yes, conditions are quite positive right now and we’re currently enjoying 7.8 kts. Conditions are wonderful with a very light swell and less than 5 kts of wind. Our plan is to continue to skirt the edge of the systems around and it looks like we are going to be successful at that for at least the next 4 or 5 days.

      There is a low pressure system that the models show forming in the Bermuda/Florida area that may give us trouble but the weather models prediction qualities get pretty thin when looking that far ahead.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        It looks like your turn to starboard put you into a 12-14 knot headwind and slowed your speed. The models show a decent swell of 4-5 feet now. I hope it all smooths out for you by the morning. At least the temps are in the high 60s!

        • Yes, the air temperature is already 70F and it’s only 9am. The water temperature is also much higher than we have seen for years at 74F. Conditions remain calm. It’s looking like about 5 days out until we reach the US, we’re going to have to work through some low pressure systems. Nothing big predicted but looks like we’ll be seeing some weather.

          • Timothy Daleo says:

            It looks like you have a gentle breeze and high cloud cover and pleasant day ahead. Five days out of the US? I was thinking twice that time so am I missing something? I calculate that you will arrive in the US with about 220 gallons of fuel remaining.

            • Sorry Timothy, I wasn’t sufficiently clear. What I meant is we have 5+ days of good weather but out beyound that there are big systems predicted that we’ll have to work around or might have to put up with. Your predictions on fuel look about right. We’ll be in the 250 to 350 gallon range unless we have reason to spend some of our planned reserve.

              • Terry Gregory says:

                Hi to you both, I seem to recall the last oil change during passage was on the north Atlantic to Kinsale, from Dublin to the US should require 2, I’m interested to know how you plan to do this.

                • You are right, on one trip we did decide to shut down the main engine during a crossing because it was a nearly 600 hour crossing from St. Helena to Barbados (roughly 3,650 nautical miles).

                  On the current trip we went Dublin to the Azores and then changed the oil in Horta, Azores. We’re now 3 days out of Horta on route to Charlestown. We’re taking a longer path than strictly necessary working our way around weather systems but, even doing that, we’ll not need another oil change prior to arriving on the US East Coast.

              • Timothy Daleo says:

                You must have great conditions tonight. It looks like a clear night with Dirona dead center in the low. I see that you are running over 8 knots and at close to 1.5 mpg! As a note, I am sure you hear this all the time but, I appreciate the communication and responses while you are underway. The satellite comms and tech to keep us informed and following is amazing and always appreciated.

                • You are so right. Conditions are amazing. We still have to manage a system out there in our path nearly a week out but it’s looking like conditions are going to stay quite good for a while yet. This really nice.

                  We have now consumed 530 gallons so I plan to pump the forward fuel bladder below decks today. Thanks for the feedback on the blog. We appreciate it.

                  • Timothy Daleo says:

                    I hope the day was smooth and clear as you still look centered between the fronts. It almost looks dead calm on the model. You mentioned draining the forward bladder but I thought you had already used that fuel. The cockpit bladders at 532 gallons are next?

                    • We did empty the forward bladder on our way south from Dublin to the Azores but we refilled our tanks and that bladder in Horta Azores. When ew left Horta we were carrying our full fuel load below decks and above. The aft two bladders will be transferred below as soon as we sufficient empty below deck tankage for them to fit with a 50 to 100 gallon safety margin. We expect we will be ready to transfer the aft tanks below Saturday or Sunday

  4. james says:

    Hi James and jennifer how’s the crossing going would you have seen the falcon 9 this morning thank you safe passage to charleston

  5. Van Anderson says:

    Hi James and Jennifer, your latest crossing has been great to follow. Spitfire looks great! Your experience with PredictWind has motivated me to use it again. Tracy and I left Palm Beach a couple weeks ago and are slowly making our way North. Unfortunately we’ll be past SC by the time you arrive but hopefully our paths will cross again later this season. Our current plans have us in Maine for the month of August. Have a continued good voyage.

  6. Phil and Gerri Bradshaw says:

    Nicely done Jennifer and James

    Still enjoying your international crusing, engineering, exploring, drinking and eating. We miss it.

    Phil and Gerri Bradshaw – ex N52 “Mermaid Explorer” and now with many grandchildren- we love them all dearly, but it did curtail our cruising life! :)

    • We’re missing the restaurants and pubs part of our normal routine and we miss them as well. Hopefully, we’ll get vaccinated when we arrive into the US and can get back closer to our normal travel rhythm. Our current plan is to get back underway once this weather systems passes through and, in the interim, we’ll have some time to enjoy the Azores. Thanks for the post-crossing greeting and all the best from Dirona.

  7. Martin Monteith says:

    Hi James and Jennifer seems like you’ve had a pretty good run from Dublin, I’ve been following along the way, wish you a safe journey across the Atlantic for the remaining part of your return to the USA👍👍

    • Thanks for the best wishes on our latest cross Atlantic run. This morning we arrived into Horta. Most of the trip south from Dublin was excellent. The weather was just kicking up a bit in the last 24 hours as a low pressure system comes through. We’ll stop here in Horta, get fueled up for the next leg of nearly 3,000 nautical miles to South Carolina, and enjoy the Azores a bit while waiting for the weather to improve again before getting back underway.

      • Martin Monteith. says:

        👍👍 I was keeping an eye on your trip from Dublin, checked in a couple of times a day, also followed the “PredictWind App” looked like it was going to be a lot rougher near the end but seems like it cleared fairly well. It got sort nasty behind you hitting the south coast of Ireland. I’ll watch for you leaving Horta and hopefully you’ll have a great journey across the Atlantic. Maybe you’ll even make it to Georgian Bay and the North Channel but you’ll be hard to please with nice scenery after the last few years in Finland and Norway etc. Anyway safe travels and enjoy Horta.

        • Thanks for following along. You’re right that Norway was amazing but we lived in Toronto for 10 years so we know the Georgian Bay area is beautiful and we do intend to visit the great lakes sometime over the next couple of years.

  8. Timothy Daleo says:

    It is so great to see you heading back and that the waves have settled down. Safe travels to the three of you!

    • Thanks Timothy. Conditions are better than we deserve right now but we’ll take every good day we can get.

      We’re both looking forward to the next chapter in the adventure where we spend the next couple of years in North America.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        It looks as if you will arrive about an hour after sunrise. Hopefully you will check in easily, pass the test and get some well deserved rest. I am excited to hear more about the plan for the trip home!

        • Yes, you nailed it. We arrived in just after 8am and are tied off on the commercial dock. We’ll get picked up for the COVID test this afternoon and plan to fuel tomorrow morning.

  9. Eric Patterson says:

    Does Spitfire have any say when it comes to MAYDAY? lol I love the ditch bag for Spitfire!

    • All three of us are pretty much in alignment that avoiding leaving the boat at sea is a primary goal so we’ll work pretty hard to keep things operating correctly and to avoid conditions the boat can’t handle.

      It’s great out here Today. We’re 172 nautical miles north of Horta Azores and there is a light swell and 10 kts of wind on a clear day. Just the way we like it. We should arrive into Horta tomorrow morning just after 8am local time.

  10. Peter Merritt says:

    Hi James, Taking a look at the latest fuel status report, you appear to have used 2,896 ltrs and still have 7,351 ltrs available. Are you using fuel bladders for this trip?

    • Yes, we’re carrying our full fuel capacity even though we don’t even need all the fuel we can carry below deck for this short 1300 nautical mile trip. However, we’ll need the full fuel load for the second leg of the trip from the Azores to the US but since fuel is just about exactly 2x more expensive in the Azores than the excellent price we were able to get in Dublin, we’re “tankering” the entire load south with us. We’ll save enough on the fuel required for the second leg to pay for more than 1/2 of the first leg.

      Having the capacity to move a lot of fuel definitely has up sides. Another advantage of ample fuel is we’re currently running at higher power levels than our normal ocean crossing pace and, as a consequence, only getting 1.1 nautical miles per gallon.

    • Peter Merritt says:

      Ahhh, reading further I see you have already mentioned you are using the bladders!!

  11. Sam Eklöw says:

    Hello James and Jennifer and Happy Walpurgis Night !
    Throwback to 2019 when you where here in Aland visiting us.
    We are spending the weekend in Kokar with our RV, trying out a new two floor sauna they built there. Are you going back to the west coast or staying on the east side? Safe travels to you! Best Regards Sam

    • Hi Sam. It’s great to hear from you and, as we recall, every Walpurgis Night is a Happy Walpurgis Night!

      We really had a great time visiting you, the Aland Maritime Safety Center, and Aland in general. We’re currently heading back to the North American East Coast via the Azores. Our plan is to spend a year or two on the East Coast before returning to Europe via the Northern Route through Greenland and Iceland.

      Please wish everyone back at the Safety Center the best and we hope you have a great time in Kokar at the 2 floor Sauna.

  12. Etienne Grobler says:

    I may have missed the mention but is seems you are on your way home! Safe journey.

    • Hey Etienne. Yeah, we are heading back to North America. There is lots of exploring we been wanting to do on the east coast and crossing European borders by boat is very high friction right now, so we decided to get under way. Thanks for the well wishes. Conditions are wonderful right now.

  13. James says:

    Hi Jennifer and James

    there’s a view from a webcam in dun laoghaire with mv dirona


    thank you for an excelleny blog about your travels safe passage back to the US

  14. L-H Arvedsen says:

    When you have an archelogical find you often use dendrochronology to locate and date a find.
    Such has been the case of a viking ship found in Roskilde Fjord.close to Copenhagen Denmark. It was long a big question where ship had been build. But through dendrochronology it was found that the ship was build in Ireland – at Glendalough in the year 1042.

    • Roskilde, and the Viking Museum there, were on our list of places to visit when we were in Denmark, but we didn’t quite fit it in. And now we’re moored not far from where one of those ships was built. Thanks for the information.


  15. Leo MacLean says:

    Hi…..I have been following your journey for a few years now.
    I first seen you guys from Boston to Newfoundland.
    We passed each other off Saint Pierre
    I was on bridge watch for ferry NS to NL
    Take Care
    Leo MacLean

    • That does go back a while but we do remember that trip well. We had a great time in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. So much so that we’re heading back to North America this year and will cross the Atlantic back to the US east coast this summer. Hopefully Canada will open up for cruising next year and, if so, our boats may pass yet again.

      Thanks for the greeting on the blog and it’s great you are still following the blog.

  16. Stuart Martin says:

    Hi James and Jennifer
    We hope that you guys are well.
    Our N6052 has been stored on land, fortunately just outside the Nordhavn Europe office, for over a year now due to the pandemic travel restrictions. We were here in Canada last March and our own reluctance to fly prior to vaccination, combined with the current travel restrictions have kept us away from the UK. The third wave here is now quite severe and I have been called back from retirement to work as a vaccinator as they were very short of GPs and nurses in the clinics.
    We are now starting to plan our move to the boat and wanted to ask your advice on shipping a pallet of supplies from Toronto to Southampton. Is there a company or network of companies that you have found to be particularly good to deal with over the years? Do you have any advice on the packing of the pallet or should we just leave that to the shipper/broker/freight forwarder?
    Thank you very much
    Stuart and Liz
    MV Bluenose N6052

    • Sorry you can’t get to your boat for so long, but at least it somewhere safe where it can be looked after.

      For shipping a pallet, we’ve found better results by working from the destination side, so that we are contracting with the locals, rather than working from the source side. Since we often have to either store the pallet or have it redirected locally, being the customer of the local company works well. The local shipping company has partners in the US that will handle the pickup on that side. For our past few shipments into NL and Norway, we have found a customs broker at the destination and then asked them for a recommendation on a shipper.

      To find a broker, we typically just do a web search, contact a bunch and ask for prices. Most countries have some form of temporary import process for visiting yachts where you can bring the goods in duty/tax free. Sometimes you need to pay a deposit. So we ask cost for import/export with a rough list of the items and ask for an overview of the process. We pick one based mostly on responsiveness, cost and “interest” in the job. For some companies single pallet shipments are on the small side for them. The cost is usually less than $500 and can depend a little on how much you are bringing in and whether you will provide the Harmonized Tariff Codes for the items. If the brokers do it, they might charge a little more depending on the number of items.

      We’ve shipped twice to the UK, but both times were parts shipped directly from the supplier and we didn’t arrange the shipping ourselves, and we handled the customs side only on one as the other was shipped through UPS and they handled it. The first time we did it using the EU temporary import process, where the goods are effectively imported with a deposit and we had to explicitly export them from UK/EU to get the deposit back. This was a bit of a pain as we exited the EU at NL and had to find an NL customs officer to enter the export into the system, but with UK outside EU will be simpler. We used Charlie Milligan at SeaAvia ( for a customs broker. For the second shipment the parts came in as TAD (Transit Accompanying Document) which basically says the goods are being transported through the country, but will not be imported. This process required no deposit and felt simpler, but broker could advise.

      It’s important that the pallet be packed securely and you can do this yourself and many offer it as a service. Because it’s important the packing be done well, we usually ask for pictures. Then our local shipper at the destination arranged with their partner in the US to pick up the pallet and deliver it to the destination. We usually find the whole process takes 6-8 weeks from ordering what we want to actually receiving it, although the last one was a little longer due to pandemic delays.


      • Stuart Martin says:

        Thank you very much Jennifer. We have already had advice from Charlie Milligan regarding the Brexit implications on our Temporary Import/Admission status of the boat. I had not realized that Charlie was a freight forwarder/broker as I had a different email address for him than the SeaAvia address that you mentioned. We will gladly rely on Charlie to organize our shipment. Thank you kindly once again for all of your advice. All the best, Stuart

        • There are two breakers on the junction box. One is a push button breaker that is labeled fuse and other is a two pole breaker. The former is prone to nuisance releases when they get old and especially if the generator enclosure temperatures have been high. The other one, the two poll breaker protects the field circuit. Which one is causing you problems.

          On most of this issue, you need more data. You’ll need a good quality multi-meter and you’ll need a clamp on ammeter. The symptoms you are describing could all be closely related and all part of the same problem or they could just be independent issues. The noise at the raw water booster pump might be new or it may be that it’s always been that way and you are only noticing it now because you are investigating this problem and observing these systems much more closely. My normal approach to chasing down these problems is to 1) fix every problem that I know about that is even only possibly related on the belief that the more faults that you have out there, the more confusing it can be to find the problem you are after (fix everything), and 2) when everything is operating on spec and what is left is a difficult to isolate problem or, especially difficult, an intermittent problem like you have. At that point, I come up with hypothesis or possible faults that could cause these symptoms and then think through, if that was a problem, how could I detect it?

          For example, if your theory is the raw water pump is drawing too much current and releasing the breaker, then you should put an ammeter on the raw water pump feed wire and watch it on start up where the draw is usually highest. If that doesn’t show anything, I leave it there and watch it when the pump starts making noise. In this case, the breakers you are seeing releasing don’t feed the raw water booster pump, so we know for sure these are not related by it’s an example of how I might chase down the issues.

          In your case, I’m assuming it’s the double pole breaker that is releasing. This is caused by generator field winding excess draw. But we also know the inverter is cutting out. This could be many different things and you need to do more sleuthing. However, I have seen these two faulting together so this is one possible answer: The generator Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) does have a failure mode where voltage starts to vary greatly and sometimes go quite high. The Inverter will reject poor quality power so, if the AVR does allow the voltage to swing, you will see the inverter cut out rarely. And, if the generator voltage is unstable, in rare cases it can cause the double pole field breaker to release. This did happen on Dirona, I replaced the AVR and it’s been fine since so this is certainly a candidate problem that would yield those symptoms. The bad news is an AVR is $500. In my opinion, AVRs fail often enough that it’s worth having a spare and, if you do have a spare, you can try it since it’s only a 10 min job to change it.

          Intermittent problems are the very hardest to chase down but the best approach is to get more detailed and quantitative data and develop theories on what the problem might be and then use multi-meter tests or other data to confirm or reject your hypothesis. Sometimes when I have a spare, I might even try changing a part if that looks easier than chasing the issue through detailed measurement. Good luck!

  17. Kenneth Myette says:

    You should check out this documentary. Really insightful

  18. Hans Neven says:

    Welcome in Dun Laoghaire :) There are a couple of nice places within a couple of kilometers like Dalkey and Killiney Strand (6 km). Perfect for a stroll on a beautiful day like today. Enjoy your stay!!

  19. Tahir Cader says:

    Hi James. I hope you all are enjoying Dublin. My sister and family live in Drogheda, which is about 35 mins north of Dublin. My nephew works for our friends at Intel :) Let me know if you need some pointers for Dublin and the surrounding area and I’ll put you in touch with my nephew. I am sure you all can figure things out with COVID and the associated restrictions.

    If you have a chance, I would visit Monasterboice, which is close enough to Dublin. My sister took me there a few years ago. It has the world’s oldest Celtic crosses there, which are fascinating.


    • Things are still fairly locked down in much of Europe including Ireland but thanks for the recommendation. And, since we are unlikely to get vaccinated between here and our return to the US this summer, we’re being a bit cautious ourselves.

  20. My wife and I met you on your return to the US mainland in West Palm Beach a few years ago, been following you and your tremendous adventures! I see that you’re back in Northern Ireland, that’s our native country. There’s a great local farm market “Farm Gate Fruit And Veg” they’ve got fresh fish too, it’s at 26 Inishargy Rd. Kircubbin not far from where you’re anchored. Just thought I’d suggest it as I see lots of great feedback about them.
    Enjoy your voyage back across the Atlantic and wish you a safe voyage! Take care.

    • Things are pretty locked down at this point so the market isn’t really an option at this point. Perhaps on our next trip once the Pandemic is behind us all. Thanks very much for the local knowledge — we appreciate the advice and many of the best parts of our trip around the world came from recommendations like yours.

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