We Are Off to Bermuda

At 0600 we left the dock in Portsmouth. It was overcast and raining. We headed out the Chesapeake. In Dodge Morgan’s book on his record breaking solo circumnavigation, he talked about “marauding emotions” on the day he departed. He also mentioned that his senses were “under siege.” After reading Morgan’s book, I intended to consciously monitor my emotions.

After waiting so long to finally start sailing, I expected a feeling of elation once we untied the dock lines and go on our way. My thoughts were more along the lines of, “darn, it is raining.” There was no feeling of “wow.” On the way to Cape Henry it was amazing to see the number of US. Navy war ships.

Several hours later, as we passed Cape Henry, a big smile emerged and my thoughts revolved around the idea that we were headed across the Atlantic, next stop Bermuda. We were soon battling the gulf stream. We motor sailed to get across the gulf stream before the winds shifted and came out of the north.

Eight Hours and We Are Off

I did not accomplish much today.  I got the GoPro set up to take video from about midship.  When I turned it on, the screen indicated the slot for the micro-SD card was empty.  I was not able to find the extra that I am pretty sure I bought, so my Samsung 360 donated its card.

At 5:30 (1730 sailing time) there was a meeting of the skippers to discuss the weather.  It was decided we would take off at sunrise.

If you want to see our track, the following link will tell you there are multiple tracks.


Select the option: Portsmouth to Bermuda.

A window to the left will give the option of open of selecting a boat.  We are the North Wind.

A Change in Departure

Another trip to West Marine.  We needed the Navionics micro-SD that covered the Azores.  The biggest challenge of the day was negotiating the traffic jams to get through the tunnel that connects Portsmouth to Norfolk.  It was happy day because the overnight order at West Marine had come in.

About midday we learned that weather will delay our start.  Thus, we have another day to do some fine tuning. Projected departure, May 6.

Surprisingly, I was not disappointed.  I took the delay in stride.

First Day on the Boat at the Dock

Spent the day getting food provisions, and a trip to West Marine.  Since Carlos and Kathy have a rental car, Lane (skipper of the Flying Dolphin) came with Kathy and me.  Because the food prices in Bermuda and the Azores are outrageously expensive, we provisioned for six weeks.  The Ford Escape was piled to the brim.  Lane was in the back seat and sitting against the door with grocery bags filling the floor, seat and blocking the rear view.  The back was likewise filled.  This was not the first time for provisions, and as it turned out not the last.

Greg who oversaw the retrofit in Savanah, failed to complete other jobs that he was paid for.  The line on the whisker pole was too short, so we had to buy a longer line and splice them together, so we did not have to climb the mast.

I spent a good chunk of the afternoon rigging the pulleys and lines to connect the dinghy to the stern arch.  It took couple of tries but I eventually got the twist out the lines.  Carlos and I worked on rigging the preventer.  The preventer keeps the boom from slinging with great force during an accidental jibe.

Joined the Boat Today

The day has finally arrived to make the trek to Portsmouth, VA.  Between 6:15 and 7:00, I was rushing to get everything in my bags.  The girls left for the bus stop and forgot to say goodbye.  Marcia returned from the bus stop and we were off the airport.  Getting on the plane to BWI, Sid Shaw was seated in about the 8th row and said a cheerful hello.  Rather than sit in the middle seat next to Sid, I opted to sit in an aisle seat at the back of the plane.  It would have been nice to talk with Sid but being able to stretch my legs and have full access to both armrests won out over being sociable.  Fortunately, Sid waited for me to exit the plane and we had a conversation about our kids and their friends.  I am so glad that friends we met at BDLC have not been lured away to other universities.

Kathy picked me up at the airport.  I learned that at one point in the late morning, Carlos was about to call me and tell me to cancel my flight.  They realized I was already on the flight, so Carlos did not call.  Bob and Jim from Trident Marine Electronics questioned whether they could rewire, install a missing network switch, get the chartplotters working together by the day we were scheduled to leave.  It would have meant that it would have been a no go. However by mid-afternoon, they postponed some other jobs and committed to get it done.  They put in 20 hours to tear out the wiring that was done in Savaanah and eventually update the software.  Kudos to Trident Electronics, and to Bob and Jim!

Sleeping on the boat was like sleeping on the land.  My stateroom has a great mattress. Unlike some marinas, the water was smooth.  Hence, there was no movement of the boat.  Ocean Yacht Marina, Portsmouth, VA is directing across from the Norfolk Navy Yard. With massive cargo ships coming and going, I would have thought we would be bouncing around from their wake.  It was amazing how high the empty cargo ships ride in the water.