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Delivery of Panantir 5 from Bermuda to Huntington
June 26-30, 2022

For the past few years I have been thinking about doing the Newport to Bermuda 600+ mile off shore sailboat race. I wouldn't go that far off shore in many boats, one boat I would do the race in is the J44. I've done a number of races on those boats and they are big, strong, fast, safe boats. In 2022 I did not do the race, but I did help return a Palantir 5, a J44, from Bermuda back to her home port in Huntington, NY.

I arrived in Bermuda around noon on Friday, June 24. I met one of the crew in the airport and we took a cab to our hotel, walked down to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and wandered around the docks until we found Palantir and her owners. I was excited to hear all about the race and the second place finish. Wow. After some drinks at the yacht club, a walk back to the hotel, a dip in the pool, and a good dinner with most of the delivery crew I was ready for a good night’s sleep (something I had not had in a few days, and would not get again once we departed Bermuda).

Saturday was a free day. Unfortunately, it rained most of the day. I helped provision the boat with some fresh food, then relaxed and rested.

Sunday: Up at 6:00AM. Last shower for a few days, packed my bags and walked down to the boat. Stow gear at 6:45. Sausage Egg and Cheese sandwich and coffee from the RBYC, then on to the boat. We depart around 7:30 and head out for fuel. The weather forecast was for light winds, so we wanted to be prepared for lots of motoring. We left with 40 gallons in the main tank, 30 gallons in a secondary tank, and 30 additional gallons in Jerry Cans on deck. We departed the fuel dock and headed towards the open ocean. There was some wind so we alternated between sailing and motoring. Eventually we cleared the shoals, reached the northern end of Bermuda, and turned towards home.

Note about safety;
The boat owners practice and require safety first, foremost and all of the time. If you were on watch you had to wear a PFD with harness and tether. You needed to be clipped in whenever on deck. If you were off watch you needed to wear a PFD and tether if you left the cockpit. All good ideas and rules.

The day was sunny and warm with light wind. We motored at an easy 2200 rpm, 6+ kts, and a fuel burn of about 1 gallon / hour. Time for watch standing to start. The watch schedule was 6,6,4,4,4: The five crew were split into two 2 person teams, with one person serving as the navigator and floater. For Sunday I was on from 0800 to 1400, 2000 to 0000, Monday would be 0400 - 0800, 1200-2000, etc. This took some getting used too, but was manageable.

As we headed north, Bermuda retreated in the distance and then all we could see was water in every direction. We would not see land again for many days. In the afternoon we noticed lots of clouds on the horizon. Rain was in our future. It started light but looked like it would be heavy. On go the foul weather gear. My Gill gear kept me dry and comfortable. I neglected to put on my boots, so my feet were soaked but eventually my shoes dried.

My watch partner was also the cook. During our off watch time he worked in the galley to prepare dinner: roasted salmon and fingerling potatoes. Amazing! Great job by the cook. As we were on watch from 8:00PM to midnight we watched a nice sunset as day one ended and night began. Lots and lots of stars. The milky way was visible from horizon to horizon. The autopilot did the steering and all I needed to do was look around every few minutes, make sure we stayed on course, and check the plotter every few minutes. Many of the Newport Bermuda races left at the same time and we could see boats around us and the AIS displays allowed us to track speed and heading.

Monday.
On watch from 0400-0800, then from 2 to 8 PM. Warm Sunny day, very little wind, good times. Motor with no sail most of the day finally put out the head sail. Tacos for dinner, delicious. After dinner we put up the main. Off until midnight Tuesday.
-Some of Monday was boring. Not much to do or see. No sailing. Just the engine droning along, pushing us towards NY. The navigator decided that, based on weather and the gulfstream current, that we would head towards NY Harbor and go up the east river and out to the Long Island Sound instead of heading to Montauk Point and then heading west through the Long Island Sound. OK. That hadn't occurred to me.


Tuesday.
On watch 12-4AM. Phantom (another returning boat) is directly ahead of us. Motor sailing with full sales. Beautiful clear night. Great view of the constellations.
0200 Wind up over 10 kts. I reluctantly woke the owner to ask if I can turn the engine off and she agrees (I didn't want to just turn the engine off and have her wake up in a panic - what's wrong with the engine?). Engine off and Sailing by 230!. I spent the next two hours hand steering and it is great. Brilliant stars and lots of planets up, So nice to be able to steer using a star as a reference point. I saw a few shooting stars. Off watch until 8 AM

0800. Wings up to 10 to 15. Relieved on watch crew. Hand steered for one hour. Good coffee. Sailing @8+ kts. Glorious day.
We sailed all day Tuesday and had excellent speed. Doing 9-11 kts SOG most of the day. Wow, this boat is fast. For the return delivery we raised a furling headsail. So nice to be able to roll up or out the sail.

Tuna casserole for dinner. Not my favorite

On watch from 2000-0000. Wind up. We reef main. Seas getting up. Need to hand steer. Getting dark. Getting windier. Clear evening. Cool out. I see strange clouds up ahead We have reached the gulfstream. As dusk fell and we entered the gulfstream everything changed. It went from being a fun, fast sail, to a very rough ride. The wind was in the low to mid 20's, forward of the beam. The seas were up and we were pounding into waves. When I started my shift it was pleasant and warm. I was wearing shorts and a shirt Now we were tacking waves on deck and sheets of spray shooting back into the cockpit. I was getting very very and cold. The water was very warm and felt nice when it hit me but the air was cool and I was getting cold. This was not fun at all! At 2300 I passed the helm to my watch partner and I huddled under the dodger.. AT midnight we were off watch. I went below to put on dry clothes. My gear was in the v berth and the motion down below was terrible. I started feeling queasy and unwell. I quickly put on dry pants and short and my foulies. I wanted to climb into my bunk but I was afraid the motion would make me feel worse. So I went back into the cockpit and laid down on the high side. This was miserable. After 30 minutes the seas had calmed a little so I went below and into my pilot berth bunk. I got about one hour of sleep before my next shift.


Wednesday
On 0400-0800. Feeling better but not great. Wind down. Motor sail with reefed main. My wathc partner makes me ginger tea w lemon for me. I feel okay. Seas not too bad. Slow.going.
Autopilot gives rudder sensor error and stops working. We try to reset it a few times. No go. Need to hand steer for remainder of trip.
Off watch and I rest in my bunk.
On 1400-2000. Calm. Peaceful. What a difference! I feel great. Motorsail at 7kts w main, cllose to wind. We pump fuel from second tank to primary tank, then pour 15 gallons from cans into secondary tank.
1705pm motorsail w main and Genoa. 8 kts sog, wind 12.5 apparent at 60. Engine at 2000
Saw a pod of dolphin

Freeze dried beef stroganoff for dinner. Surprisingly good. I feel great and sleep before my 12-4 watch.

Thursday
Watch 0000-0400.Clear breezy night with lots of stars. Steer by the pointer stars in the big dipper at a course of 336. Then clouds roll in and it’s hard to steer. Watch partner steers at 0140-0300, then me again until 0400.


On again at 0800. Wind Built during the night. Sleeping in pilot birth was fine. With the boat heeling, the curved side of the pilot berth allowed my to basically lay flat. By my shift at 800 the wind was very light. Sailing very calmly. Intentionally delaying our arrival to NY harbor to avoid foul currents in east river. Now about 40 miles from New York. Eventually the wind died and we motored to New York Up the east river back out into the sound where we had a nice sale back we arrived in Huntington around 9:30 PM

Map Slope Font Parallel Rectangle
Cloud Water Sky Body of water Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies
Sky Naval architecture Slope Watercraft Triangle
Water Sky Cloud Fluid Afterglow
Sky Boat Smile Watercraft Naval architecture
Water Outerwear Sky Cloud Headgear
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Nice report on your return. I sailed in this year's race, helping deliver the boat from Norfolk, VA and then racing from there Bermuda. I left Bermuda bound for Europe at the same time that you arrived, perhaps we crossed paths at the airport. It was my first time in Bermuda - it is a pretty island, very much like Switzerland... just more expensive! Had I found sufficient time I would have skippered the boat I was on back to Norfolk. I have to admit that I've gained a new appreciation for (a) autopilots and (b) in-mast furling during the course of the race. We lost our bowsprit and didn't have the use of our downwind sails until the last day, and I also learned how much work it is optimally sail a spinnaker!
 

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Glad you had a nice trip. J/44's are nice & fast, but are too big for easy handling of sails & gear. (J/36 is much more manageable :))
Don't like in-mast furling as much as Zanshin. We did a N-B race with one and despite our efforts over the entire race we figured that it was set properly for only about a half hour.
The Gulf Stream can be boisterous. One time we had three waterspouts in sight at once.
 

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@paulk - I should have added that even with 10 racers aboard putting a reef into the mainsail in boisterous conditions still needs to be planned beforehand and (without an autopilot) needs at least 3 people (helm, one at the mast to hook in the reef and at least one more to pull on the main halyard and reefing line). On my boat, with in-mast furling, it takes one person less than 10 seconds to do the same, and nobody has to leave the cockpit. The bigger cross-section of the mast used for in-mast furling and the inherently less optimally shaped main makes for slower sailing. But on my boat I'm a single-handed cruiser, not a racer :). I've got over 10K solo miles in the current "Zanshin" and have only had to leave the cockpit on passage a couple of times, usually to free a line tangled in the crack of a hatch or on the lashings of the dinghy stored forward on deck.

I raced on a Jeanneau 53 in the Newport-Bermuda race and I am certain that it is faster than my cruising Jeanneau 57! We had to put in reefs during the 35+ knots wind with gusts of over 45 and I was not happy sending someone forward to the mast in those conditions. On the same night there was a fatality on another boat where a sailor went overboard while forward.
 

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I've done LIS / SE to Bermuda and back many times in Shiva (C36s) The boat is set up for offshore with a storm jib in a bag on deck and trysail hanked on and ready to raise if need be. All reefing is done from the cockpit. I usually rig a preventer and use my running back stays. I've done it single handed, double handed and with total 5 on board. Worst was full gale in Gulf Stream... everyone was seasick... boat was fine. Almost all steering is done by the Alpha3000 AP except when the conditions are very spirited. I've made NY landfall in NY Harbor going up East River... and around Montauk. Trips were about 4 day 16 hrs.
 

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@paulk - I should have added that even with 10 racers aboard putting a reef into the mainsail in boisterous conditions still needs to be planned beforehand and (without an autopilot) needs at least 3 people (helm, one at the mast to hook in the reef and at least one more to pull on the main halyard and reefing line). On my boat, with in-mast furling, it takes one person less than 10 seconds to do the same, and nobody has to leave the cockpit. The bigger cross-section of the mast used for in-mast furling and the inherently less optimally shaped main makes for slower sailing. But on my boat I'm a single-handed cruiser, not a racer :). I've got over 10K solo miles in the current "Zanshin" and have only had to leave the cockpit on passage a couple of times, usually to free a line tangled in the crack of a hatch or on the lashings of the dinghy stored forward on deck.

I raced on a Jeanneau 53 in the Newport-Bermuda race and I am certain that it is faster than my cruising Jeanneau 57! We had to put in reefs during the 35+ knots wind with gusts of over 45 and I was not happy sending someone forward to the mast in those conditions. On the same night there was a fatality on another boat where a sailor went overboard while forward.
You need a crew of at least eight to make sure you have enough hands to do everything racing. Some races we've run the gamut from flat calms to squalls with sail changes almost every watch going from runs to beats in the rain while others have been long starboard tack reaches the entire way with just sun or stars overhead. It's different every time.
 

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Whenever I set sail for an ocean sail, every crew member must hand steer by the compass for at least 4 watches (4 on/ 8 off), no matter how much experience they say they have or how well recommended they are. At no time may anyone who hasn't mastered hand steering by the compass use the autopilot.
I've been in situations where even a perfectly good autopilot can't do the job, and I want my crew to be able to do the 4 hours without a problem. Some complain, until the sh*t hits the fan.
 
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