Ok, getting ready
for the second part of this trip.
We're still in
Halifax waiting for Hurricane Noel to pass or dissipate.
Winds are from the South so it's senseless to go against
them. We might have to wait a while. The way it looks now it
will be at least Monday before we can leave.
During our absence
Dad had befriended somebody walking his dogs, who invited
him to this meeting of the oldest officer's club in Canada,
the Royal Artillery Park Officers Mess. A lot of old Navy
officers there as well, who were fascinated by Dad's stories
and invited him back along with us for Friday lunch. There
will be somebody picking us up at 11.30 to drive us there.
Gunter and I are thrilled.
Rod Morrison picked
us up and took us to the officer's mess. We drank copious
amounts of beer and talked to many of the old salts. Mayo,
Ivor, Bill, Tom etc. all gave us a piece of their minds and
Dad was the absolute celebrity.
Frank took us to the
"Sackville", a museumship corvette left over from WW2 that
is being restored at the dockyard of the Department of
National Defence, flashed his card and gave us the tour with
more drinking at the ship's mess. Dad corrected Bill, a
historian but not a veteran, on the gyro compass bit. Bill
said that at that time they only had magnetic compasses. Dad
told him that on the minesweeper in 1942, "H.M.S.Hound", he
had to maintain the gyros. Another proof on how easily
history is distorted.
Then back at the officer's mess Bill interviewed Dad with a
tape recorder. Ivor joined us for dinner at the "5
Fishermen" which was superb. I had mussels and
Bouillabaisse.- When we got back to the marina "Katmar" had
pulled into RNSYS and we had a last beer aboard with Anke,
an ex-eye doctor from Hamburg and Dieter. They had sailed
from Holland, Scotland, Orkney and Faroe Islands to Iceland,
Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland and are now leaving the
boat here for the winter.
Storm "Noel" is
starting to blow and we secured the boat as well as we
could. Hans Himmelmann who owns the 51 foot Swan next to us
lent us his car to do some shopping, so we took advantage of
that and replenished the supplies. I woke up a couple of
times during the night as it was blowing quite a bit but the
dock and the lines held.
By noon we had blue
skies and sunshine. Power in a lot of places, including the
Yacht Club building are down, therefore also our Internet
connection but our shore power feeding the boat is still on.
We hear stories of containers being blown around the harbor.
I cook lentils and rice in preparation for tomorrow's
planned departure. Gunter rents a car and we drive to
Peggy's Cove where we arrive just in time for sunset and big
surf. Back in Halifax we have a nice dinner at McKelvie's on
Lower Water Street.
Still no wireless
Internet, but the club house lets me plug in. Downloading
weather info, we're probably leaving.
We arrived at 7.00
in St.George Harbour and cleared customs, then tied up at
some make shift marina with the stern towards the dock and a
gang plank to shore. It has been an eventful voyage. I
wasn't able to write aboard because everything moves too
much but I will take the next days to update. Stay
Here are the events
that unfolded during our journey:
Halifax around noon we ran into some big swells that were
leftover from the 50 foot waves that had come to Halifax Bay
during Hurricane Noel. When I’m below eating or doing
something I get queasy and can’t really eat very much. I
still haven't quite gotten my sea legs back. Len let me take
the 8-12 watch so I can get some uninterrupted sleep later.
On deck I’m fine. Dad also does all of the cooking. He
doesn’t get queasy like Gunter and I would.
I take the watch at 8.00 and we spend a great day sailing
but the night gets stormier and stormier until a severe
electrical storm with winds gusting to 60 knots rattles us
Everything is flying all over the place, books and a fruit
bowl break through their constraints and lightning all
around. We’re motoring against wind and seas, our speed is
choked at times to 0.68 knots. Gunter and Dad get knocked
around the cabin and bang themselves up a little.
Sails out we’re making 7.5 knots and recovering slowly from
a rough night.
After a while without wind and motoring we’re nearing the
Gulf Stream, It’s sunny and warm and the wind increases
during the evening to 30 knots and we’re making at times as
much as 11 knots under sail.
Friday , Nov.9th
We get in some good sailing, had a very enjoyable dinner in
a warm cockpit although moving constantly, then again some
strong winds of 40 knots at night for a certain period.
When I come on watch at 4.00 there are strong winds and the
furling line is jammed around the winch, luckily with not
much of the fore sail out and we’re motoring. I wait until
daylight at around 7.00 and manage to free the jam and set
sail again to save fuel. We have a great day sailing making
7.5 knots all day and expect to be at our way point just
before turning to Bermuda’s South shore.
I come for 4-8 watch expecting to see Bermuda up close but
to my surprise it is only a faint glow on the horizon off
our starboard. Gunter is hesitant to go in at night but we
decide to turn into the South shore as the wind is coming
directly North from behind and if it increases it can
jeopardize our making it at all. Especially since we still
have problems revving the engine high without causing some
heavy vibrations. (The consensus is that it is caused by the
Max-Prop feathering propeller’s internal gears getting out
of sync. We manage to correct that by going into reverse and
revving, but the problem persists.) The timing is perfect as
we go into St. George’s Harbour shortly after 7 in daylight.
We're happy to be on
Terra Firma again and settle in. St. Georges is pretty quiet
on a Sunday, the high season is over, most places are closed
but I find an internet cafe. We take a walk around and find
out a bit about the history and sites, have a drink and
snack on a terrace by the sea, chat with the locals and
tourists and fellow boaters. Around 20.00 Gunter takes us to
the Carriage House Restaurant where we have another
impressive culinary experience. Wahoo is the catch of the
day. After a night cap back on board we settle into our
bunks with a gentle cooling breeze blowing that clean sea
air through the port holes and I fall into the best 9 hours
of sleep that I've had in a while.
holiday and again most stores are closed. We clean the ship
and talk to technicians on the phone trying to get our
Nobeltec software to recognize the GPS. I don snorkel gear
and check out the propeller. It looks ok but I seem to
detect a little extra play in one of the blades. It seems
negligible but at 3000 rpm it can make a big difference.
We take the bus to
Hamilton and enjoy the tour guide bus driver who points out
the sites. Old US Navy base with one of the biggest runways
in the world at 10000 feet. Airport closed at night but the
lights can be switched on via New York computers for
emergencies, and of course residences of various celebrities
hidden in the lush vegetation off the narrow winding roads.
We walk around Hamilton a bit and have dinner on Front
Street, then take a cab back to the boat and watch one of my
"Blue Planet" episodes before hitting the sack around 2200.
We have some
shopping to do and are probably leaving today.
We left Bermuda, which still has a British flair with their
high tea and left lane driving, at 1700 after checking out
at customs and a bit of effort to secure the 2nd anchor. We
motored all night and finally started sailing under a soft
breeze around 800 on Wednesday. The lack of wind is making
us motor more than we’d like and we’re worried about fuel.
Wind NE building to around 17 knots. Good day sailing.
Strong winds up to 30 knots right on the nose. We’re
motoring and only beating into seas at 0.5 to 2 knots but at
600, during my usual 4-8 watch, the wind changes direction
in our favor and I can set sails and shut off the engine to
between 5 and 8 knots under sail. A bird landed on our deck
with the nearest land about 400 nm away. It is not a sea
bird and looks tired. We feed it some bread and it rests a
little on our windy deck before taking off again. Dad made a
valiant effort at supper, as usual, but the boat is rocking
and rolling heavily and the more than soft eggs squirt all
over the place.
Fitful winds. We’re trying to sail as much as possible but
eventually it dies and we have to motor again. Slow progress
but it is nice and warm and the water a promising blue.
We seem to be the only boat on the ocean as we see no one
Another wind less early morning but around 600 we use the
preventer to keep the main sail and boom out and running a
decent 5 to 6 knots with a light breeze pushing us.
Monday, November 19
Our loyal ENEast wind is pushing us on and is easing our
worries of running out of fuel. I sight land, Eluthera
Island around 8.30.
The wind increases to 28 knots and we’re surfing towards
Nassau at up to 8 knots.
The timing is perfect since we want to arrive in daylight.
We have enough time left to pull into Atlantis harbor and
coast the neighborhood before tying up in strong winds at
the Nassau Yacht Haven around 1600. Immigration comes
swiftly but customs is slow.
In the next day or
so I shall sum up the trip, get into a little character
development, edit some photos and post again...........
Since so far this
was mainly a log I want to sum up this journey and tell you
a little more about these different characters that make up
this motley crew.
Leonard is a real inspiration and source of innumerable
interesting stories. He was on the “Prince of Wales” during
the famous battle with the “Bismarck”. He was trained to
maintain the electrics on the sighting mechanisms of the
gunnery, became an electrician and later engineer. He was on
merchant ships as chief engineer for many years and worked
as a surveyor, salvage expert, standards inspector and
troubleshooter for insurance companies and government
agencies. Finally he had his own company before retiring.
During the Bismarck
battle they were not sufficiently trained, had been drafted
and only quickly trained in Northern Scotland's Orkney
Islands to go out and fight. The admiral whose orders they
were following was on the doomed "Hood" battle cruiser,
which was sunk by the Bismarck. A shell from the Bismarck
hit the bridge of the "Prince of Wales" and killed all 11
people except the 12th, the Captain.
He had to wipe some brains off the intercom telephone to
talk to the engine room to tell them what happened.
As they were closing
the respective decks to keep the ship from sinking, Dad was
the last one to wriggle out before it was closed. All the
others were trapped below and went down with the ship. It
was the first battle where ships were sunk by torpedoes that
came from airplanes, as was the case with the Bismarck and
the Repulse etc.
He then went on to get torpedoed by the Japanese in the
Pacific where he swam in an oil slick for an hour before
getting picked up.
He continued his Navy career on a minesweeper clearing mines
for the Normandy invasion under constant barrages from
German shore batteries and danger of directly hitting a
Maybe realizing his talent or inclination to survive
disasters he continued in his civilian career to salvage
ships that were sinking or sunk, sometimes going on board by
helicopter with loads of pumps and hammering in rivets as
other rivets were bursting from their seams and flying
around like bullets, getting ships back to port that had
already been given up. He is calm and indestructible below
deck where he cooks and does things in conditions that I and
even Gunter would have a hard time doing.
Gunter is full of
energy and has a passion for boating the like I've never
seen. He's had some health issues to deal with and he's
barely off the operating table when he's back on the boat
going through all kinds of contortions to reach that elusive
valve or wipe that hard to reach spill. One cannot help but
be touched by that spirit. He constantly worries about
everybody's comfort and organizes every last detail, a trait
that has served him well in building up the successful
business that he has. Just getting to know a boat of such
complexity and to maintain it is a full time job and Gunter
knows every nook and cranny, valve, switch and circuit.
Flirtation is a fine
boat. She’s extremely seaworthy and sails well in all kinds
of seas and wind. Her hull is Twaron ( stronger than steel)
reinforced which gives her almost an overkill of structural
stability, if that were possible. The anchor set up is a bit
awkward and I’m glad we didn’t have to use the anchor. There
is a plow anchor as the main and a Danforth as second
anchor. The chain is not marked so one has to calculate the
The 75 hp Yanmar
engine was giving us some worries because of the strong
vibrations that start at 2600 rpm. We think it's due to the
propeller. This can compromise the ship when you have to go
against strong currents and have to rev it up.
Electronic Navigation System is a pleasure to behold. All
the sensors as wind speed and direction, boat and over
ground speed, water and air temperature etc. merge in a
central box called SeaTalk and can be displayed on all
different displays. GPS, electronic charting and the
autopilot interact so well that you can set the tracking
function to keep you on the straight line to your waypoint,
eliminating any need to compensate for drift. If you get the
wind right from astern or in front you can set the wind
function on the autopilot to keep the wind at a certain
angle and thus ensure a good sleep without fluttering sails
and set an alarm if the wind changes beyond a certain
degree. The electronic charting shows you where you are in
different zoom levels and if you have purchased the
respective charts you can get great detail. The furling
sails are easy and convenient to handle. As with all
sophisticated technology there is more that can go wrong
than with the basic set up but the convenience is great.
believe this trip gave me a chance to shake all that
landlubber dust out of my brain and bones and get closer to
Mother Nature than I’ve been in a long time. The ocean has a
profound cleansing effect, whether it's the clean air or the
shake, rattle and roll that vibrates throughout one's body
while going watch at night and not seeing anything but total
darkness, not knowing where the water stops and the air
starts as they are churning together. Of course you also
have the dreamy nights, swaying gently under a starry sky.
It also made me feel the joy again that I felt when I
graduated Seaman’s School in Travemunde, Germany in 1978
with the conviction (at that time) of having chosen the most
beautiful profession in the world. It was a wonderful trip
and the company was great. There are not many people one can
spend 24/7 with for extended periods and we never had any
arguments. Any difference of opinion was handled civilly and
I think that we all have a deeper friendship and
appreciation of each other than we had before. Thank you
Gunter and Leonard for the experience, the camaraderie and
the fun that we had. May all your voyages be safe ones!