When last we left you, Bodacious Dream and I were on course for Bermuda! Well, we’re here now … all safe and sound, having pulled into St. George Harbor at 3AM very early Monday morning. Bermuda wasn’t a planned stop in the itinerary, but it became an option once we began conducting some tests on the electronics and other equipment in Rhode Island.
I felt at the time, that we were leaving without taking the time to fully test all our systems. The initial reason we pushed the launch back a day was because of problems with the Iridium satellite phone. There were just so many things to do … as you can see in the photo here as my compatriot Tim Eades helps me wade through it all.
I decided that Bermuda was a good first stop, as it provided me a four or five day test sail to try out and get comfortable with the workings of the boat and all the various (and some entirely new) systems we’d installed. When departing on such a long voyage, you really do need to be picky about having things working just right.
Departing Jamestown was just grand, made all the more memorable by having my old friend Joe Harris on his boat, Gryphon Solo escort me out to open water. The sailing was great for another five or six hours that day, but then the winds died and motor sailing was the only way to make forward progress. This gave me the chance to bang on the systems and organize things on the boat. Quickly enough, I saw the Iridium phone was back to working perfectly, but the performance on the KVH satellite system was super spotty, and there was a problem I could see with the hydro generator mount. Both of these I knew would require further attention once in Bermuda.
So, along I went, calculating fuel consumption, checking weather and hoping that breeze and fuel would work in harmony. We did some very relaxed sailing Sunday afternoon, while waiting for the wind to build, which it did – but as predicted, from the wrong direction. Still I was able to sail upwind to Bermuda and still retain five gallons of diesel to negotiate my way into the harbor at St. George without any complications.
Approaching Bermuda w/ A3 Spinnaker up …
There is a great radio network here active in Bermuda … and it’s customary for visiting yachts to check in with them once they’re within 20 miles or so. They then track you and counsel you on your navigation through the many coral reefs and ledges that make transiting this area very dangerous. It was a great help to have a steady voice on the radio confirming my intentions and my navigation. Thanks Bermuda Radio!
I negotiated the entrance called the “Town Cut,” and then motored around in the bay getting my bearings on the Customs Docks where I was required to dock and check in. After three attempts and some signal light waving by the customs officials, I was able to make a secure landing there. In 20 knots of wind, it wasn’t very pretty, but it was 3:00 am and fortunately no one else was up to see it. Once tied off, I cleared myself and Bodacious Dream into Bermuda … and promptly fell asleep in the cool breeze.
At about 9:00 am, I started my day working with the harbormaster to find a proper dock for Bodacious Dream. After about 30 minutes the harbormaster rang Bernie, who at 82 years old, is a life member of the St. George Dingy and Sport Club. Bernie was kind enough to drive me around, arrange a dock, help me leave the dock at the Customs and even help me catch the lines at the Dingy Club. I sure hope I’ve got that much energy at 82!
So, the rest of Monday was spent getting settled in, washing the salt out of the boat and off myself, and organizing options for repairs to the systems. Today Tuesday, I got a lot done and most everything is about ready to continue the Expedition. However, the new obstacle looks to be weather. I’ll do another update on the weather here very soon, as there looks to be a lot going on in the Atlantic Ocean this week.
For now, I’m secure in Bermuda, and with our electronic systems all beginning to work better, plans are coming together. I’m waiting for one package and a weather window. Tonight and tomorrow are expected to be stormy here, so the timing is pretty good to hang out. But BoDream and I are anxious to highsail it across the Atlantic to our first official stop at St. Helena Island … before heading on to Cape Town, South Africa … and the completion of Leg One!
Thanks to everyone for following along and congratulations to those of you who figured out the fuel consumption and that I wouldn’t make it in until Monday morning. There was a 9th grader out there that figured that one out perfectly! And we hear another of our Facebook friends is using our updates with her 7th Grade Math Class! Very excited to hear such things!
– Dave and Bodacious Dream