Havan to Miami by Cruising Catamaran (Blue water Sailing Magazine)

 

 

DSCN070730 BLUE WATER SAILING • January 2015
{ CLASSICPASSAGES }
The U.S. Customs official,
bristling with guns and
communications equipment,                             DSCN0685
had just asked us if
we were aware it was illegal
for U.S. citizens to visit
or do business in Cuba. I had done
a lot of homework on the subject
to confirm we were in the right, so
was it actually possible we could
be denied re-entry into the United
States? Or be fined up to $50,000?
Friends of clients of mine in
Italy (I am a sailing instructor/yacht
broker based in South Florida) had
asked me to bring their Nautitech
42-foot catamaran from Havana,
Cuba to Miami, Florida. The vessel
was booked on Dockwise Transport
for shipment to Genoa, Italy from
Palm Beach, and I delighted in the
opportunity to visit Cuba before delivering
the boat back to the States.
Over the years, I have often been
asked about a possible voyage from
Miami to Cuba, and always replied
that while the prospect of visiting
Cuba was intriguing, the actual passage
was less than enticing. Due to adverse
current in the Straits of Florida
and likely wind against current with
the prevailing southeasterly wind direction,
it can be tricky. But always at
the back of my mind was the mouthwatering
prospect of a Havana to
Miami voyage, with an exotic layover
in Havana where I could sample the
forbidden delights of a Cuba locked
in the 1950s, followed by an agreeable
passage back to Miami.
The reality turned out rather
differently. Aware of the fractious
U.S.-Cuba relationship politically,
I had exhaustively researched (so I
thought) the laws governing the USA’s
requirements for U.S. citizens visiting
Cuba. After long conversations with
Customs and Border Patrol, and the
A lesson in navigating more than just
the waters between the United States
and Cuba by Tony Wall
Havana to Miami
www.bwsailing.com 31
Treasury Department in Washington
DC, it seemed that since we had no
financial dealings with
the Cuban government
(the yacht owners paid
for our airfares and all
expenses incurred in
Cuba) then we would
be in compliance with
U.S. law. The actual
law is the 1925 Treasury
Act that forbids
U.S. citizens from having
financial dealings
with the “enemy.” In
certain circumstances,
it is possible to apply
for permits to travel to
Cuba (e.g. education,
religious purposes, etc),
but our time constraints
did not give us that
option.

DSCN0710

 

 
HAVANA BOUND
My longtime sailing
friend Ken accompanied
me on the trip and we arrived
at a hot and humid Havana Airport
where we were met by our friends in
the obligatory mid-1950s Chevrolet.
FLORIDA
CUBA
Havana
Gulf of Mexico Miami
Atlantic Ocean
32 BLUE WATER SAILING • January 2015
{ CLASSICPASSAGES }
The drive along the tree lined Avenue
des Ambassadeurs was fragrant with
smoke from the legions of pre-1960
American vehicles as we cruised past
crumbling mansions once inhabited
by international embassies.
Upon arrival at Marina Hemingway,
I worked meticulously on the pre-sail
checklist and came up with more than
a few equipment deficiencies on the
2008 catamaran. No working windlass
and a very rusty chain, no GPS—fortunately
we had brought our own
units—and most seriously, no working
VHF. This meant no communications
with traffic in the sometimes-crowded
Straits of Florida. So we figured we
could just go to the local chandlery
and buy a portable. This was a problem.
Cuba has very strict controls on
communication equipment, and there
club burgees adorned the ceilings
as well as a plaque commemorating
the 1998 St. Petersburg to Havana
Yacht Race (Havana Cup), which I
competed in.DSCN0698A sticky, air-condition-less night saw us up

early for provisioning and completion of the necessary departure
formalities. I took this as an opportunity
to go on a photo tour of Old
Havana—a charming series of squares
and 19th century apartment buildings
as well as visits to the famed Hotel
Nacional and Boulevard Malecon.
I would have loved to spend an
evening in this exotic environment,
but our itinerary only allowed us an
18-hour layover, so we got underway
for fueling and final preparations.
NORTH TO MIAMI
Upon departure from the inlet in
mid-afternoon, we motorsailed north
in fickle winds, making good progress
on a north by northeast heading. By
midnight the skies to the southwest
were illuminated by lightning, soon
to be followed by violent storms and
winds from every quarter. On this
particular yacht the helm stations are
exposed to weather far aft on each
hull, so we were grateful for the protection
of the saloon while a reliable
autopilot kept us on course.
was no way we could solve
this particular challenge
without a significant delay
and additional expense.
That evening, we were
entertained at a very
good state-run restaurant.
Bright and colorful,
it was a big favorite with
the locals. In the evening,
Cuba, and even Havana
away from the main thoroughfares,
is a remarkably
dark place, and it seemed
the 6-volt lighting systems
on some of the cars didn’t
help much.
We returned to Marina
Hemingway for after
dinner Cuba Libres
(rum and cokes), where
we admired the
pictures from
the club’s illustrious
history
depicting Papa
Castro, Ernest
Hemingway
and others experiencing
the
renowned sport
fishing waters
surrounding
Cuba. Hundreds
of yacht
www.bwsailing.com
BWS
33
A RED TAPE RETROSPECTIVE:
We were meticulous in not having any financial dealings
in Cuba—not even airline tickets, a portion of
which is remitted to the Cuban government.
We ensured the yacht was properly documented as owned by
non-U.S. nationals. It was registered in Italy.
An exhaustive check was made of the yacht to ensure we were
not inadvertently carrying anything contraband—drugs,
currency etc.
A series of telephone calls were made to U.S. authorities prior
to the trip, including Customs and Border protection and the
U.S. Treasury Department in Washington D.C.
We had copies of documentation showing the vessel was already
booked and paid for the onward transit to the European
Economic Community.
We used our U.S. passports and made a point of being completely
transparent in our declarations—no financial transactions
between U.S. citizens and Cuba, including airfares—with
our European friends paying for everything.
After a bumpy few hours we were
finally approaching the outer barrier
reef of the middle Florida Keys. I always
like to have good visibility when
we are entering through a reef, and
dawn did not come too early for us.
We raced to get to a protected anchorage
before the weather deteriorated
again. Fortunately, by then the wind
had settled into a Force 6 from the
southwest and we had a fast broad
reach up to the anchorage just south
of the Key Largo canal entrance.
The forecast was for gale force
winds from the northwest through the
night, and we watched in awe as the
surrounding palm trees were blown
sideways in the howling wind. Thankfully,
the anchor, with rust-encrusted
chain, held us safely in place. Since
the power windlass was inoperable, I
was glad I had taken the precaution of
buying additional pairs of work gloves
in Havana.
As expected, the following morning
we had to endure very fresh northnortheast
winds as we slogged north in
the Hawk Channel and we chose to anchor
that night at Pumpkin Key, rather
than face a mauling in the Gulf Stream.
Our final day was picture perfect
with fresh easterly winds giving us 11
to 13 knots of speed under full sail for
an early arrival into Bayside Marina
in Miami. We literally
squeezed into our slip
for a full wash down
in preparation for our
clearing in procedure. I
called into Small Vessel
Clearing in Miami and
we made our way to the
Customs and Border
Patrol office in the Port
of Miami. The officers
were actually very helpful
and professional
after reprimanding us
for our ignorance of
the rules governing U.S.
citizens visiting Cuba.
These requirements occupy
many hundreds of
pages embodied in no
less than three acts of
Congress. In the end, I’m glad I had
done my homework.
Captain Tony Wall is a professional
sailing instructor and licensed yacht
broker based in Miami, Florida. He is
an accomplished offshore sailor with
more than 50,000 miles experience
and has completed trans-Atlantic passages
(east and westbound) as well as
many crossings of the Gulf Stream. For
more info visit tonysails.com.

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Beneteau 393 2005 $99,000

5026529_20150429071744466_1_XLARGEA must see Beneteau 393 located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Roomier, more spacious and boasting some of the best accommodations to be found, this unique 39-foot passage maker answers a long awaited quest for the serious blue water cruiser. The Beneteau Oceanis 393 features many of the design and esthetic elements as the Beneteau 473, which won the Cruising World’s Best Production Cruiser award for 2001. To create a fast passagemaker, Beneteau turned to a design team with deep experience in both racing and cruising: the French naval architects Berret/Racopeau Yacht Design..The raised deck above the salon gives plenty of headroom and great views from down below. There are 7 opening hatches and 8 opening portholes . This boat is in excellent, nearly as-new condition, with barrier paint and complete bottom paint recently completed, all new ground tackle featuring Delta anchor and 50ft chain, and new mainsail. The seller was meticulous in his maintenance. Unbelievable Value at this Price! This is the desirable series with solid feel yet excellent sailing capabilities and a beautiful teak interior.

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Tayana 37 Cruising Yacht Cruising Outpost

relaxin-at-forneys

The first time I saw Charisma, I fell in love.
I had always wanted a double ender, but being a
former racing sailor, I had no idea where to start. I’ve
sailed everything that races from Star Boats to Maxis
and done World Championships to several Transpacs,
but after so much performance sailing I was ready for
comfortable cruising… and a classic look.
A friend suggested a Tayana 37. “Huh?” was my
only reply, so off to the internet to do some research.
I liked what I saw: classic look, solid construction, a
real blue water kind of cruiser and solid performance
based on some smart design work by Bob Perry, noted
yacht designer. I also found out that once you found
one you had to be prepared to move fast as Tayana 37s
are very sought after and don’t generally stay on the
market very long.
So, when Charisma came up for sale, I called
immediately and made an appointment that day to
go down and see her. Approaching on the dock I
immediately appreciated her beautiful lines with
just enough teak to add to the classic look, but not to
the workload (well, not much anyway). Once down

Read more by clicking the pdf link below.

Charisma Tayana 37 Cruising Yacht

Tayana 37 Specs

LOA: 36’ 8”
LWL: 31’ 0”
Beam: 11’ 6”
Dra: 5’ 8”
Displacement: 22,500 lbs.
Ballast: 8,000 lbs.
Sail Area: 861 sq. .

 

Credits:

Cruising Outpost

Bob Bitchin

 

 

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53 Jeanneau Year 2013 For Sale | Miami, Florida

Jeanneau 53 2013

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Gibraltar to The Canary Islands-On the Run!

 

GIBRALTAR TO THE CANARY ISLANDS-ON THE RUN!!

Poniente or Levanter?

Poniente or Levanter?

A STRAIGHT-FORWARD ASSIGNMENT (HOW OFTEN HAVE WE HEARD THAT BEFORE)-TRAVEL WEST FROM GIBRALTAR THROUGH THE STRAITS TO THE ATLANTIC, PICK UP THE PORTUGUESE TRADES BLOWING SOUTH BY TURNING LEFT, AND ARRIVE AT THE CANARY ISLANDS A FEW DAYS LATER.

SIMPLE ENOUGH UNTIL YOU BEGIN TO ANALYZE THE STRAITS THREE ZONES-UPPER, MIDDLE AND LOWER, CURRENT VERSUS TIDAL STREAMS, AND FINALLY FACTORING IN WEATHER.

WINDS BLOW HARD FROM THE EAST (LEVANTER) OR WEST (LA PONIENTE).

IN ADDITION, ONE MUST KEEP A SHARP LOOKOUT FOR HEAVY COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S BUSIEST AREAS, TO ENSURE ONE DOES NOT STRAY INTO THE SHIPPING LANES.

THE CUTTER-RIGGED PACIFIC SEACRAFT 40 “AZURE” IS OWNED BY DOCTORS HAROLD KERNODLE AND GIJS VAN STAVEREN,  AND I HAD THE PLEASURE OF ACCOMPANYING THEM FIVE YEARS EARLIER ON THE VOYAGE FROM FLORIDA TO GIBRALTAR.

IN THE INTERVENING PERIOD, DOCTOR HAROLD WITH HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS  HAD SAILED ALL OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, THE ADRIATIC AND THE AGEAN SEAS, TAKING IN MORE THAN A DOZEN COUNTRIES.

ON THIS TRIP, HAROLD AND I WERE JOINED BY DOCTOR DON MUNDY AND HIS FRIEND WAYNE.

Wayne, Capt Tony, Dr. Don Mundy and Dr. Harold

Wayne, Capt Tony, Dr. Don Mundy and Dr. HaroldI ARRIVED AT AZURE”S GIBRALTAR SLIP IN THE VERY EARLY HOURS OF THE MORNING, AND EASED MY WAY INTO THE DARK CABIN. QUITE A CHANGE FROM THE BRIGHT WELCOMINGINTERIOR WE HAD ENJOYED ON OUR EASTWARD TRANSATLANTIC CROSSING FIVE YEARS EARLIERTHE WIND HAD BEEN BLOWING FROM THE WEST FOR SEVERAL DAYS, AND THE OMENS WERE NOT GOOD FOR AN EARLY DEPARTURE.

TIME ENOUGH FOR A FEW MORE MECHANICAL REPAIRS AND HOPE FOR A CHANGE IN THE WIND.

TAKING THE EAST WIND “LEVANTER” OUT OF THE STRAITS, AND THEN THE PORTUGUESE TRADE WINDS, BLOWING STEADILY FROM THE NORTH AND NORTH-EAST, MOST OF THIS VOYAGE SHOULB BE DOWNWIND, A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO TEST THE NEW “PARASAILOR” RECENTLY PURCHASED. THIS SAIL HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO FACILITATE DEAD-DOWNWIND SAILING, OBVIATING THE NEED FOR A MAINSAIL.

EARLIER RESEARCH INVOLVED STUDYING THE PREVAILING WINDS AND THE CURRENT. I WAS DISMAYED TO SEE THAT “80% OF THE TIME THE CURRENT FLOWS EAST INTO THE MEDITERRANEAN”-BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE HIGH RATES OF EVAPORATION ON THE INLAND SEA-THE MEDITERRANEAN HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST SALINITY LEVELS IN THE WORLD. TWICE DAILY HOWEVER, THERE IS AN EBB TIDE RETURNING TO THE ATLANTIC, ESPECIALLY IN THE VICINITY OF THE COASTS.                                        377

AS OUR CREW ARRIVED, IT WAS APPARENT WE WERE EXPERIENCING A WEST WIND OF 15-30 KNOTS, AND THE MISSION WAS TO CO-ORDINATE THE COMPLETION OF ESSENTIAL REPAIRS (THERE IS A WHOLE OTHER LIST OF “DESIRABLE REPAIRS”) –WITH THE FORECASTED LEVANTER AND USE THE EBB TIDE TO OUR ADVANTAGE.

THE COAST PILOT WAS A LITTLE CONFUSING, BUT I DECIDED TO PUT MY FAITH INTO THE HOURLY TIDAL STREAM PROJECTIONS DESCRIBED IN IMRAY’S MEDITERRANEAN ALMANAC. WE WOULD GET FAVORABLE CURRENT FOR FIVE HOURS BY LEAVING GIBRALTAR A FULL FIVE HOURS BEFORE “HIGH WATER”!.

WE WERE NOW THREE DAYS INTO THE PREDICTED LEVANTER AND THICK MIST ENSHROUDED THE ROCK OG GIBRALTAR WHEN WE CAST OFF FROM THE FUEL DOCK. FORECAST AT FORCE 4-6 FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS.

I TUCKED IN TWO DEEP REEFS INTO THE MAINSAIL, AND AS WE SAILED WEST, RESISTED THE TEMPTATION TO HOIST THE SPINNAKER, SINCE “LOCAL KNOWLEDGE” HAD ADVISED ME THAT AS THE LEVANT WIND IS CONSTRICTED INTO THE STRAITS, A VENTURI EFFECT IS CREATED ACCELERATING THE WIND TO GALE FORCE.  TWO HOURS OUT THE WIND INCREASED TO FORCE 5 (20 KNOTS) APPROACHING TARIFA ON OUR STARBOARD   BEAM-THE SOUTHERNMOST POINT OF WESTERN EUROPE.

Tarifa passes by to the north at 10 knots

Tarifa passes by to the north at 10 knots

TOGETHER WITH 2-2.5 KNOTS OF FAVORABLE TIDE, OUR SPEED OVER GROUND CLIMBED ABOVE 9 KNOTS, MAXING OUT AT 9.6 KNOTS. THE FOLLOWING SEAS WERE ALSO BUILDING-NOW 4-6 FEET; IT WAS LIKE RIDING A TIGER EVER FASTER INTO THE BECKONING NORTH ATLANTIC-NO DISMOUNTING AND POSITIVELY NO TURNING BACK!

WE NEEDED TO JIBE ACROSS TO PORT TACK TO START OUR TURN SOUTH WEST AROUND THE NORTH WESTERN POINT OF AFRICA, AND ELECTED TO “CHICKEN JIBE” BY TACKING THE BOAT AROUND 270 DEGREES IN THE 30-35 KNOT BREEZE, REACHING OFF SOUTH WEST ACROSS THE SHIPPING LANES.

ON ANCIENT CHARTS, THERE WAS A NOTATION “THERE BE DRAGONS!” FOR DANGEROUS OR DIFFICULT (OR UNKNOWN SEA AREAS.

I WAS AMUSED TO FIND A SIMILAR WARNING ON THE ELECTRONIC CHARTS-WHICH ON CLOSER INVESTIGATION REVEALED “OUTFALLS”-AREAS OF CONFUSED SEAS  CAUSED BY EBB CURRENTS FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN MEETING WITH THE ATLANTIC SWELL AND THE NORTHERLY PORTUGUESE TRADE WINDS. WE KEPT WELL AWAY FROM THESE AREAS, OFF THE NORTH WEST COAST OF MORROCCO.

THE NEXT TWO DAYS THE WIND STAYED OFF OUR LEFT SHOULDER, ALWAYS IN THE FORCE 6 TO LOWER FORCE 7 RANGE; WE TOOK TURNS TAKING PICTURES OF THE SEAS BEHIND US CLIMBING TO 10 FEET OR SO, BUT NEVER QUITE  REACHING THE COCKPIT.

FOR COASTAL CRUISING, THE REVERSE TRANSOM (OR SUGAR-SCOOP) IS PRACTICAL FOR PROVIDING A SWIM PLATFORM. “AZURE”’S  CANOE STERN MADE RIDING THE FOLLOWING SEAS A JOY, AS WE WATCHED THE STEADY THREE-METRE SEAS LIFT HER UP AND DASH SOUTHWARDS.

SINCE IT WAS A LITTLE BREEZY IN THE COCKPIT, WE SERVED DINNER IN THE SALON-BY NOW AZURE WAS ON STARBOARD TACK, AND THE TABLE WAS SET FOR SETTINGS ON THE WINDWARD SIDE.

THUS BEGAN THE LEGEND OF “THE HUNGRY GHOST OF THE AZURE”, WHEN FIRST A GLASS OF WINE, THEN A SALAD, AND  EVEN ELEMENTS OF THE MAIN COURSE TOOK OFF FROM THE TABLE HEADING FOR THE LOWER SIDE!

THREE FAST BUT RAMBUNCTUOUS DAYS LATER  THE WINDS HAVE EASED TO 10-15 KNOTS.

THIS IS THE CUE FOR HAROLD TO SET UP THE “PARASAILOR” SPINNAKER AS PRACTISE FOR THE TRANSATLANTIC PASSAGE SCHEDULED FOR THE END OF THE YEAR. AZURE BROAD-REACHED EFFORTLESSLY IN THE LIGHTER WIND, WITH THE SPINNNAKER’S VENTED  DESIGN PREVENTING  THE BOAT FROM ROUNDING-UP IN THE HIGHER GUSTS.

THE FOLLOWING MORNING, THE VOLCANIC PEAKS OF THE CANARY ISLANDS WERE SPOTTED, AND A COURSE FOR LANZAROTE’S WELCOMING PUERTO CALERO MARINA WAS PLOTTED.

THIS WAS TO BE AZURE’S HOME UNTIL MID –NOVEMBER AT LEAST, WHILST PLANNING THE TRANSATLANTIC VOYAGE ACROSS TO ST LUCIA, AND FINALLY HOME TO FLORIDA.

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Night Watch North Atlantic Ocean

 

SUBMITTED BY;

TONY WALL

2711 MADISON St

Hollywood, fl 33020

Tel 954 243 4078

e-mail; tonysailventures@aol.com

 

It is 02.45 in the morning on a dark (but not yet stormy) Atlantic night, and it’s time for the “Graveyard watch”-03.00-06.00 a.m. I pull myself up with an effort out of the leeward berth-18 degrees of heel makes your body feel twice its normal weight. We are 250 miles from Horta in the Azores on a Transatlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale and West End, Grand Bahama via Bermuda to Gibraltar. The wind, as forecast, is 25 knots (Force 6 “windy!”, gusting over 30 with the possibility of gale force. Pulling on the foul weather gear takes some co-ordination between the pitches and rolls. I make my way aft in the darkened vessel, two crew members softly snoring, held snugly in place by the lee sheets I look out the companionway and see the ghostly spokes of the wheel correcting jerkily one way and then the other-he’s ok; he doesn’t need any help-stay down there!  We named the autopilot after our departed crew member Don (he didn’t die-he had to leave the boat in Bermuda after a sterling spell from Fort Lauderdale to Bermuda). As I approach the steps, every 30 seconds or so there is a huge swooooosh as AZURE the Pacific Seacraft 40 surfs over the occasional 10 foot waves, which look like they are coming to devour our boat.. Timing my steps, I notice the roaring swoooosh is followed by a great roar from the stern-mounted wind generator as the wind gusts over 30 knots. Don is up to the task though, and after a slight heading up (not a good idea), he corrects us back to course. Snapping on my tether, the first task is to monitor the wind speed- 22-26 knots true from the South West. It’s 1,760 miles from Bermuda, and we carried about 100 gallons of fuel-enough to motor for about one third the distance.

Good winds and mostly favorable current have been essential, but yesterday we poured in the penultimate tank of reserve fuel, as we sat in a calm in the middle of the ocean. The weather forecast on the single side band radio promised us southwest winds building to 25 knots later that night (late on June 8) As the wind filled in slowly up to 15 knots, we were sailing wing and wing with a poled-out genoa. Before dinner we took down the pole and turned onto a broad reach with a single-reefed main , staysail and 50 per cent jib.

 

 

With the likelihood of strengthening winds overnight, wing and wing, whereby the main and genoa are on opposite sides to maximize boat speed would leave us very vulnerable. The problem would be the difficulty of jibing the headsail-a possibility of foul-wrapping the sail between the headstay and the inner headstay.  At 23.00 hours the wind is 18, gusting 23-24, but the problem is the boat feels hard and the waves are feeling more forceful. This would be okay for a race around the cans in the daylight, but at night-time with a potential gale coming, a little disturbing. Broad-reaching allows us the ability to partially furl the genoa in the lee of the mainsail-but don’t take in too much! Balance is critical, but the real worry here is safety margin if the winds continue to build through the night…We double-reef the main, and an hour later, the wind is 25, with frequent gusts to 30. Charging through the North Atlantic at more than hull speed, occasionally 9 knots-quite a speed for a “floating hotel” like Azure, I am sitting alone in the cockpit, listening to the swooosh and roar, gives one a lot of time for contemplation, thinking of my wife Carie who I will be meeting up with in England, and my other sailing friends, many of whom who have shared an ambition to “sail across the pond”.

Then there is the notion-I have sailed many tens of thousands of miles and never been seasick-yet there is always the nagging thought-will this be the first time? The next thought is “how much stronger will this become”- can I handle 15-20’ seas for an extended period? The voice in the back of your mind tells you there is no escape from here-the remorseless waves and swells are your destiny for the foreseeable future…Then a calm-but no, not really-the wind is down to 17-18 knots, and its time to check the instruments, warm up the GPS and make another log entry, counting off the miles to Horta in The Azores. After the third hour, hopefully feeling tired it’s time to head below to fall into the sea berth, and go to sleep quickly. Another watch, another rest, then a new day, breakfast and coffee. See, we survived just fine-now enjoy the ride!

 

Tony Wall is President and lead instructor at Biscayne Bay Sailing Academy,

and a yacht broker with Horizon Marine Center

He lives with his wife Carie in Hollywood, Florida.

 

 

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Voyage of the 46′ Sloop “Harmony”

Voyage of the 46′ Sloop Harmony

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Mid Atlantic Snag; Blue Water Sailing Magazine July 2013

Mid-Atlantic
SNAG

BLUE WATER SAILING • July 2013

{ PRACTICAL PASSAGEMAKER }

A 40ft sloop is sailing on its return voyage from Europe.

Halfway across the ocean, their spinnaker came
down and got tangled in the keel, rudder and prop.

Here’s what happened, and how they dealt with it.



So, this was a fine mess we’d
gotten ourselves into. We

Ready for the 3,000 miles crossing

Ready for the 3,000 miles crossing

were in the middle of the
Atlantic Ocean onboard
Azure, a 40-foot cruising
boat—with no sails up.
The only sail we had flying was now
wrapped under the keel and possibly
around the rudder and propeller as
well. The trade winds were blowing a
steady 15 knots and friendly four foot
seas rolled beneath us.
ON PASSAGE
Let’s go back half an hour or so
to a more agreeable situation. It
was late morning on a beautiful day

Hull speed -with no mainsail!

Hull speed -with no mainsail!

800 miles southwest of the Canary
Islands, and we had made a good
start on our trans-Atlantic voyage.
Azure’s owner, Dr. Harold Kernodle
of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, had
bought the Pacific Seacraft 40 six
years earlier and achieved a lifetime
dream of sailing her from the United
States to the Mediterranean. He and
his family had cruised the Mediterranean,
Adriatic and Aegean Seas
over the last few years and were now

Got it!

Got it!

headed home.
I had offered to join Harold, together
with his life-long friend Dr.
Donald Mundy and Kevin Gallagher
from Washington, D.C. for the passage
to the Caribbean and this was to
be Kevin’s first ocean passage. Azure
was now on the last leg of this odyssey,
and everything had been planned
for the 2,900 miles of open ocean to
St. Lucia.
We had departed from La Gomera,

Flying once more

Flying once more

 

one of the southern-most islands in
the Canaries archipelago. The island
was the stepping-off point for Christopher
Columbus on his first voyage,
and we had indeed visited the church
where Columbus genuflected before
the altar over 500 years earlier, also
praying for a safe voyage.
The voyage had begun well as we
found the steady trades that allowed
us to broad reach down our course
at nearly hull speed, pulled along
behind our Parasailor spinnaker.

On the dock at St Lucia

On the dock at St Lucia

 

Cutter rig really useful for offshore

Cutter rig really useful for offshore

Occasionally we were joined by pods of
porpoise crisscrossing through our
bow-waves. Things could not have
been more perfect.
Sometime later, we heard a loud
pop from the masthead and before
we could react, our super spinnaker
was gracefully floating down into the
Atlantic Ocean as Azure continued
at seven knots directly over it. Seven
months of meticulous preparation and
here was the first crisis.
After a minute, someone remembered
that the transmission had been
shifted into neutral a day or two earlier
and the rapidly turning prop was
greedily devouring our beautiful sail.
An ominous silence from the no-longer
turning transmission confirmed
this. We were alone with just the swish
of trade wind driven seas sliding past
our stricken vessel.
SHRIMPING
The Parasailor is a symmetrical sail
designed to enhance a cruising boat’s
downwind performance, without the
use of a spinnaker pole. An ingenious
system of interchangeable guy lines
allows the sail to be flown from a
broad reach on one tack, through a
dead down wind run to broad reach on
the opposite tack. The sail jibes very
smoothly and is rated to be flown in
apparent winds of up to 30 knots. It’s
a multipurpose downwind wonder
sail that can be flown without the aid
of the mainsail. Now, it was under the
boat and we were doing what racers
call “shrimping.”
We gathered in the saloon to put together
a plan to retrieve the sail. We had
no other sails up and could not start the
engine because of the fouled propeller.
Kevin Gallagher, our super-fit crewman,
offered to go overboard with a knife in
his teeth to take care of the problem, so
we needed to plan how he could do this
in the safest way possible. We needed
to stabilize the yacht’s movement, so
we decided to heave to.
First, we had to hoist the mainsail
so we could round the boat up into the
wind before setting the backed genoa.
Of course, the wind direction was not
cooperating. The boat was lying nearly
stern to the wind, which made hoisting
the mainsail difficult since the sail
slides and battens were pinned against
the mast and spreaders.
As we rolled laboriously, we stored
the lazy jacks to allow the mainsail to
be raised, and then set about hoisting
it. With 75 percent of the sail hoisted,
we slowly got underway. It was also
necessary to roll out 50 percent of the
genoa to give us enough boat speed to
turn upwind with the big sail dragging
beneath the hull. We slowly brought
the boat head-to-wind and tacked
over-without releasing the jib sheet
to get the half rolled out genoa to
backwind. By reversing the helm so it
was angled to steer up wind, the boat
gradually settled at about 60 degrees
off the wind and virtually stopped.
Kevin donned a harness and diving
mask and we then carefully lowered
him over the windward side of the
boat into the water. He was secured
to the boat by a 30-foot line that was
led forward to prevent the boat from
slow sailing away from him.
Two crewmembers carefully controlled
the line while Kevin worked
five feet under the water. Kevin
repeatedly dove down to clear the
tangled mess, holding his breath for
long periods. Twenty minutes later, he
emerged triumphantly with spinnaker
clew and lines intact. We hauled him
and the undamaged Parasailor back on
board and celebrated by getting Azure
underway again with well-earned sundowners
raised in our diver’s honor.
Tony Wall is a professional yacht
captain, delivery skipper and sailing
instructor based in Florida.
Owner Dr. Harold Kernodle
monitoring the Parasailor
LESSONS LEARNED
On trade-wind passages, once
you are well offshore there is no
going back the way you came.
It isn’t until something causes
you to stop and turn around into
the teeth of the relentless trade
winds and waves, that you realize
how alone you are out there.
The consequences of making
further mistakes can be sobering.
What if the overboard crew
is injured in the process? Although
Azure was hove-to, there
was still a considerable motion
in the swells. What if the crew
becomes disconnected from
his lifeline? Spotting a swimmer
wearing a charcoal colored
wetsuit in dark blue-grey seas
would have been problematic
to say the least. In addition, we
had extremely limited maneuverability
to attempt a man
overboard rescue.
But a repair had to be attempted.
The way things were,
we had a fouled propeller and
a possibly destroyed spinnaker
with 2,500 miles still to go. A
willing and able crew, a little
bit of luck, and a sound plan to
tackle the problem, all made for
a successful outcome.
Here are the lessons we learned
and what we did wrong:
• We carefully put a plan together
with everyone assigned
a role, using good signals and
communication.
• Heaving to gave us a stable
and secure platform from which
to execute the repair.
• We did not go into panic
mode when the spinnaker fell,
situations such as these could
easily start a cascading series of
problems.
• We secured Kevin with a forward-
facing halyard but not the
spinnaker halyard since we could
not get a fair lead for the halyard
over the side of the boat.
• We were equipped with a
snorkel, mask and sharp knife. A
serrated blade is best.
• The partial wet suit was useful;
however, a brightly colored
swim cap might have helped
locate our diver if he became
detached from the vessel.
• Had we had a double-reefed
mainsail hoisted before the
spinnaker came down we would
have had directional control
more quickly.
• We decided to move the
transmission into neutral, which
allowed the propeller to freewheel.
Usually, I move it into
reverse under sail. However,
make sure you check your engine
and transmission manuals
for the manufacturers’ recommendations.

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Pacific Seacraft 40 For Sale Yr: 2005

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Hunter Sailboats For Sale Tony Wall Yacht Broker

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