We arrived into Barbados 25 days and 3,689 nm after leaving St. Helena. We’re told this is the longest non-stop run in a Nordhavn under 100ft. Including the 11-day, 1,711 nm trip from Cape Town to St. Helena, we’d been at sea six weeks to the day between Cape Town and Barbados, and covered exactly 5,400 nm, stopping only for four nights in St. Helena.
The long run from St. Helena to Barbados was of course our biggest concern, as prior to this our longest passage was 3,023 nm across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Rodrigues. We left St. Helena carrying 2,691 gallons of fuel and needed to make 1.6 nm/gallon targeting a 400-gallon fuel reserve. We normally use a 200-gallon reserve, since we know the fuel levels fairly accurately. But on longer runs, with more potential for issue, we often at least start with greater reserves. And for planning purposes, we assumed an average speed of 5.5 knots, which would be 28 days at sea.
Sea conditions generally were good most of the run, with a few days of negative current, and we had no trouble meeting our fuel economy goal. We ended up averaging nearly 6 knots, and so spent three days less at sea than we’d planned on. The summary data from this trip are:
- Fuel consumed: 2,384 gallons
- Fuel left on arrival: 307 gallons
- Total actual distance: 3,689 nm
- Overall fuel economy: 1.55 nm/g
- Overall speed: 5.98 kts
- Total trip hours: 616.5 (25 days, 16.5 hours)
- Gallons per hour: 3.87
- Average RPM: 1458
We’ve been asked to each comment on whether we’d do that length of passage again and the highs and lows of the journey:
Jennifer: I’d gladly do a run like that again–it really didn’t feel like a big ordeal. I was happy to reach Barbados of course, but I wasn’t dying to get off the boat or anything. Overall, the entire trip went remarkably well: the boat ran smoothly and sea conditions generally were good. We were comfortable at sea, slept well, had great meals, and enjoyed many relaxing hours together in the pilot house or up on the flybridge. For me the only real low points of the journey were when we hit a few days of counter-current that had a real negative impact on our fuel economy and also about 3-4 days of rougher water. Conditions were perfectly safe, but it’s just less enjoyable and more tiring when boat motion increases to the point that you need to be careful moving around.
James: It was a long trip for sure but it really wasn’t that difficult. Having done it, we now have really long distance runs as another tool we can use with comfort. Some people find longer times at sea boring, but for me it’s almost a relief to be able to catch up on work and boat service that needs to be done. As long as the weather isn’t difficult or dangerous, long trips really aren’t bad at all. We do have to admit that we are ready to slow down for a bit :-). We have covered a lot of water since Australia.
Spitfire: I’m happy so long as the kibbles keep coming and I can get in a good 20 hours of sleep a day. I like the longer trips because one of Jennifer or James is always at the helm, so I can get attention (or kibbles!) whenever I want, 24 hours a day. The main thing I don’t like about being at sea is sliding around when I’m sleeping, so I just adjust my sleeping position to wedge myself in more securely. At rest or in calm conditions at sea, I’ll sleep pretty much anywhere, often upside-down. In light seas, I’ll brace my paws against a wall. As conditions get rougher I’ll wedge into the pilothouse corner shelf above the master stateroom steps. And in extreme conditions, I curl up into the master stateroom sink and don’t shift an inch.
Trip highlights from February 1st through 3rd follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps