Voyage of Traveler / Blog

January 16, 2012

Voyage of Traveler: A Three Year Circumnavigation 2007-2010

Voyage of Traveler: A Three Year Circumnavigation 2007-2010
Part 1 of 4 (Click the Play button on the screen and then the video will begin after 40 seconds.)


Part 2 of 4


Part 3 of 4


Part 4 of 4


December 8, 2009

Position Report, Dec 8 - 43 Miles to Barbados

Traveler’s Dec. 8 Position Report:

Our 1300 UTC position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Carlisle Bay (Bridgetown), Barbados are:

Dec. 8 - Day 17
13-14N, 058-55W
188.7 nm –another new boat record!
43 MTG
Our ETA is this afternoon!
This will be our final Position Report

All’s well onboard Traveler.

Fish report: I only thought we were going too fast to troll, but even though we were doing over 8 knots we decided to give it a try yesterday afternoon.  Within an hour Yansen caught a yellow fin tuna!  We ate some immediately, sashimi-style, with ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.  And had delicious sautéed tuna fillets for dinner with a fine chenin blanc from the Canary Islands to celebrate our last dinner on this Atlantic crossing.  Yansen also cooked and ate the head, including the eyes and the heart, as is the custom in Indonesia!  We found out that there is a lot of good tasting meat in a tuna’s head.  Brian, Larry and I each had some.

With the crew of two (out of 225) ARC sailboats that left the Canary Islands together with us not making it (a lost rudder and a dismasting, they had to abandon ship and were rescued), we are especially thankful that we had a safe crossing.  Traveler, and her crew, performed very well.

This 2,650 nautical mile passage has been a fast one.  I was expecting 18 to 20 days, and it only took 16 days and 6 hours.  As of 0900 local time (UTC -4), we are only 29 miles away from our closest point of land on Barbados with 43 miles to go to our anchorage at Carlisle Bay, so we should arrive about 3pm this afternoon, just in time to clear immigration and customs.  And enjoy a Barbados-style Happy Hour!

Living the Dream,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

P.S.  I’m really looking forward to watching the USC Trojans play in the Rose Bowl this year, and now that we are in the Caribbean I should be able to find the game on TV at a sports bar.  What’s that?  The Ducks are going to the Rose Bowl?  And the Trojans are going where? To the Emerald Bowl?  Where’s that?

December 7, 2009

Position Report, Dec 7

Traveler’s Dec. 7 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 7 - Day 16
14-31N, 055-58W
181.5 nm — a new boat record run!
226 MTG
Our ETA has moved up and is now Tuesday afternoon.

All’s well onboard Traveler.

Fish report: We are going too fast to troll the lure.  We have not caught a fish since the mahi we caught on Day Five, when our average speed was 6.25 knots.  This wind we have been enjoying for the past several days may be bad for fishing, but it’s great for sailing.  Traveler loves this kind of wind: 17 to 20 knots apparent wind speed behind us on a wind angle of 130, with following seas.  Our average speed for the past 24 hours has been 7.5 knots, and that is VMG.  We have a full main and a poled out, reefed jib, running wing and wing.

We’re starting to smell the coconuts and rum drinks.  By this time tomorrow we may be able to see the island!

Living the Dream,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 6, 2009

Position Report, Dec 6

Traveler’s Dec. 6 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 6 - Day 15
15-32N, 053-00W
172 nm –another great daily run!
408 MTG
Our ETA is Wednesday, early morning.

All’s well onboard Traveler.

During the first few days of this passage across the Atlantic, I read a biography about Christopher Columbus titled, “The Last Voyage of Columbus.”  I liked it so much, I’m reading it again.

Here’s a one-question quiz about Columbus for you.

How many voyages of discovery did Columbus make across the Atlantic to the “New World?”
A. One.
B. Two.
C. Three.
D. Four.

The correct answer is D. We all know of his historic First Voyage, which was basically a reconnaissance mission.  He was intent on finding a westward passage to the Spice Islands of Asia but instead sighted San Salvador in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492.  He then later explored the northern coasts of Cuba and the island of Hispanola before returning home. But did you know his flag ship on that voyage, the Santa Maria, wrecked on a reef and Columbus limped home to Spain on the battered Nina?  Many are aware of Columbus’ Second Voyage, which was from 1493-96.  But did you know that he set sail with 17 ships on that voyage, with the main purpose to establish a colony on the island of Hispanola.  He off-loaded sugar cane, horses, fruit trees and more than 1,000 men and women, and also (unintentionally) rats and diseases.  With the diseases his forced colonial labor supply rapidly died off, more than a million of them, so the European settlers brought in slaves from Africa to harvest the sugar and other crops. On his Second Voyage Columbus explored and charted nearly every island in the West Indies.  On his Third Voyage, from 1498-1500, Columbus discovered the island of Trinadad, the coast line of Venezuela and the Orinoco River, making him the first European to discover South America. Later that voyage, unfortunately, he was arrested and imprisoned by a political rival in Santa Domingo, the city he founded and named after his father. Eventually, he was released, returned to Spain, and was given the authority by the King and Queen of Spain to return to the New World, primarily to resume his search for a passage to Asia. On his Fourth and Final Voyage, from 1502-04, Columbus explored as far west as Nicaragua and Panama, and from the natives there learned that a great sea (the Pacific) was a nine day hike through the jungle.  Columbus believed he had discovered the westerly route to China and was very close to its mainland and that a sea passage would be discovered soon.  Nevertheless, in declining health, he decided to return to Spain.  But along the way, because his two ships, the Santiago and La Capitana, were both leaking badly and no longer seaworthy, he intentionally beached them on a reef on Jamaica, where he and his crew were shipwrecked for a year before being rescued.  He eventually retuned to Spain, departing Santo Domingo on September 12, 1504.  But the return voyage did not go well.  A storm dis-masted his ship when he still had about 1,000 miles to go.  He jury-rigged some sails on a broken spar and limped back to Spain, arriving on November 7, 55 days after leaving the New World for the last time.  He died two years later.

Following in the wake of the great Admiral of the Ocean Seas,
Living the Dream,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

Position Report, Dec 5

Traveler’s Dec. 5 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 5 - Day 14
16-20N, 050-08W
156 nm
580 MTG
Our ETA is Wednesday, around noon.

All’s well onboard Traveler.
We had a squall blow by us this morning, which gave us 30 knots of wind and sustained boat speeds of over 9 knots for more than an hour, with a top speed of 11.5.  Fun ride!  Then, as usual, after the squall there is a long lull.  The wind dropped to about 6 knots, causing our boat speed to fall to 4 knots, so we kicked on the engine and motored for a couple of hours until the wind picked up again.  And running the engine gave us a couple of hours to charge the batteries and make some water.

To break up the daily routine, I rigged the boatswain’s chair to a block on the outboard end of the boom, which was well over the side of the boat, and we played a dunking game I called “Flying Fish.” The guy in the chair (first me, then Brian) got dunked in the warm Atlantic as the line was eased out from the wench.  And then he was dragged in the water until the boat rolled to the other side, swinging him forward a bit and then hard into the side of the hull, hopefully with his feet out to absorb the contact (read collision!)  Plus, the force of the sea while sailing along at 6 knots could have easily ripped us out of the chair.  (We did wear a life jacket, just in case.)  It is a good thing that I went first because Brian wasn’t going to do it until he saw his old man do it, then he had to do it.  And if Brian went first and I saw how dangerous it was and how you could really get hurt by the roll of the boat slamming you into the side of the hull, I would not have gone.

But Brian and I managed to get wet, have some fun, hang on, and not get hurt.  Too badly.

Larry and Yansen wisely stayed safely in the cockpit, took pictures and laughed their asses off.

Living the Dream,
Crossing the Atlantic,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 4, 2009

Position Report, Dec 4

Traveler’s Dec. 4 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 4 - Day 13
17-10N, 047-33W
147 nm
738 MTG

All’s well onboard Traveler, again.  But it wasn’t for a few hours.  At 0500 this morning we discovered we had a low-flow fresh water leak.  But where was it coming from?  I say “low flow,” but it was leaking steadily at about a gallon an hour or so, which is significant when we still have five days to go to Barbados.  We decided to wait a few hours until the morning light before looking for the source of the leak and try to fix it, hoping it would be just a loose hose clamp on a hose somewhere.  At 0800, we discovered it was coming from our hot water heater, which came as a bit of a surprise since it is less than a year old, having replaced the one we started with while we were in Singapore. After a half hour or so, with master plumber Yansen taking the lead and Larry, Brian and me helping–Team Traveler!, we had the leaky water heater disconnected, removed and in the cockpit. We soon found out that the leak could not be repaired.  So, now how do we plug the water lines so we can turn the water pump back on and have pressurized fresh water for the rest of the trip (which is needed to drink, cook, flush the toilet, etc.)?  We had to come up with something to jerry rig two plugs to cap the ends of two hoses, and they had to be just the right diameter.  The nearest plumbing store is about 750 miles away in Barbados.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  After a few minutes of searching the boat, we found two perfect plugs: (1) the tapered handle end of the plastic toilet scrub brush, and (2) a cork from a bottle of wine.  For this special occasion, I selected from the Traveler wine cellar a fine 2008 Moroccan cabernet savignon. Our hose plugs worked!  So we celebrated by drinking the cabernet with our pancake breakfast.  Cheers! (As Jimmy Buffet said often, “It’s five o’clock somewhere!”)

Living the Dream,
Crossing the Atlantic,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 3, 2009

Dec 3 Position Report

Traveler’s Dec. 3 Position Report:

Our 1300 position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG)
to Barbados are:

Dec. 3
18-03N, 045-08W
149 nm
882 MTG

All’s well onboard Traveler.

Some of you may be wondering how we are able to keep the batteries charged on such a long passage like this.  We have four sources of power:

Engine’s alternator.  This puts out about 10 to 20 amps per hour but, of course, only when the engine is running.  Obviously, this takes diesel fuel, and running the engine just to charge the batteries is inefficient, noisy and creates heat.  But it works and works well.  While we were racing on Transpac, we (and all the other racing boats) could run the engine to charge the batteries, but had to keep the transmission in neutral, otherwise it would be considered cheating.  While cruising, we run the engine in gear at about 2000 rpms.  This is an especially useful way to charge the batteries when the wind is light or at night.

Honda generator.  This is a portable 2000 watt gasoline powered generator that puts out about 65 amps per hour, so it is much more efficient than running the engine, and fully charges the batteries in about an hour.  But, it is noisy and we must buy and store gasoline (highly flammable) and keep re-filling the fuel tank every couple of hours or so of running time.

Solar panels.  We have four solar panels for a total of 360 watts of power.  They generate, on a hot sunny day, about 10 amps per hour, enough to keep the refrigerator and the chart plotter powered, but not enough for all the other power we consume, and of course it puts out nothing when cloudy or at night.

Wind generator.  Our Kiss High Output Wind Generator works well, but only when the apparent wind is at least 15 knots.  And it works day or night, as long as the wind blows.

We have not been on shore power since we left the marina in Rabat, Morocco, which was on October 25.  We “went green” by adding the wind generator and solar panels when we were in Tahiti in February 2008.  I wish we had done so before we left Newport Beach, because it is much more expensive and time consuming to do that while you are in a foreign country.  Also, I was unaware before we set off just how important solar and wind can be to keeping the batteries fat and happy.

The refrigeration, radar, TV (if we watch a DVD), computer, watermaker and autopilot all draw a lot of power.  How did Columbus, Cook and the other early explorers get by without all those things we now consider essential?

Living the Dream,
Crossing the Atlantic,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 2, 2009

Dec 2 Position Report

Traveler’s Dec. 2 Position Report:

Our 1300 position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG)
to Barbados are:

Dec. 2
18-43N, 042-37W
176 nm
1031 MTG

Last night under a glorious full moon, we broke our previous top speed for this passage (11 knots) with 14.7 knots!  And that was with just a reefed jib (no spinnaker), while surfing down a big wave.

Living the Dream,
Crossing the Atlantic,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 1, 2009

Dec 1 Position Report and Another Poem

Traveler’s Dec. 1 Position Report:

Our 1300 position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG)
to Barbados are:

Dec. 1
19-31N, 039-37W
181 nm (Our best daily run so far this entire voyage and a 7.54 knot average)
1207 MTG

We are sailing deep with a full main and a reefed, poled out jib wing and wing.  Our top speed, surfing a wave, was 11 knots.

We had a great Half Way Party last night.  I cooked chicken cordon bleu with salad and boiled small potatoes, and we enjoyed crushed pineapple with rum for dessert.  With champagne we toasted making it half way across the Atlantic.

I hoped you enjoyed the poem.  Here’s another, by Brian:

Roses are red, violets are blue,
And all is well for the Traveler crew.
Eighteen days of nothin’ but water,
Like The Who said, “We need somebody’s daughter.”
Sailin’ ’round the world, doin’ what we choose,
Writing a blog, spreading the news.
Some things we love, and some we despise,
For better or worse, they change our lives.
Tryin’ our best to always stay safe,
And to keep the food flying off from our plates.
It’s been a long, amazing journey full of ups and downs,
Getting closer and closer to Traveler’s home town.
Picked up Yansen along the way,
Lucky we did, he saves the day.
There’s only one life, so we make it last,
Knowing “Man makes plans and God just laughs.”

Living the Dream,
Crossing the Atlantic,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

P.S. I’m over my weekly limit for time allowed to use the SSB for Sailmail, so please no more emails to us for a few days, unless they are short and important.  Thanks.

November 30, 2009

Nov 30 Position Report and Poem

Traveler’s Nov 30 position report:

Our 1300 position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG)
to Barbados are:

Nov. 30
20-23N, 036-33W
177 nm (Our best daily run so far and a 7.3 knot average)
1385 MTG = Half Way!

All’s well on Traveler.  How well is it, you ask?
There’s time to write poetry, if you write fast.
The ARC with their fenders on Day One, what a show.
Now it’s Day Nine, with another nine to go.

Here we are in the middle of the Ocean Atlantic,
With such wind and waves, others would be frantic.
But life aboard Traveler is routine for the crew.
Fair winds, following seas and an incredible view.

From the Canaries to Barbados in the Caribbean,
It’s a long rolly sail on a down wind run.
We’re all longing for some rum in the sun,
Mount Gay Factory Tour, look out, here we come!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with hot roasted turkey,
cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
With champagne we toasted and gave thanks a lot
to the captain for getting a good autopilot.

Yansen caught a mahi and likes his wasabi and soy,
Larry crosses off a Bucket List item, what joy!
Brian wants to meet a young girl in the Caribbean,
And Michael looks forward to Barbara flying in.

The weather is fine, you might even say hot,
Eating well and getting good sleep–not!
O’er thirteen hundred miles behind us we’ve logged,
Same number ahead means the Half Way Party and grog!

Living the Dream,
Crossing the Atlantic,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

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