Blue Water Dreaming
The First Trip - Saint Martin - Bermuda - New York
Passage - Saint Martin to Bermuda - 27 April to 4 May, 2006
With some basic preparations Oscar and John were ready to leave for the long trip going directly from St Martin to Bermuda.

They left Marina Royale, where Zenitude was docked, timing for the bridge opening on a beautiful afternoon. They were a crew of two with John in charge to teach Oscar how to handle the sails. Oscar, having always been captain of motor boats needed now to get up to speed in the matter of handling a boat under sails.
Zenitude about to cross the bridge out of Simpsom Bay Lagoon
It took seven days to make the 900 miles to Bermuda. The weather was rough at times or completely calm with no wind at other times. As expected it took a couple of days to get into the rhythm of night watches. 

When they were half way on the trip Oscar started to be very conservative with fuel consumption not really knowing Zenitude's performance under engine. A bit late then, but  he realized they should have left with extra jugs of fuel to be able to keep going at ease when the wind died. 
After 7 days at sea, Zenitude  arrives in Bermuda at the same time as a front that hits the island. Fuel management paid off, during the last day they motor sailed under strong NW winds to do the westing needed to reach Bermuda, hoping to get there before the front. They just about made it but had to face 35 knots wind in the cut when entering St George Harbour.
Date Time Latitude Longitude Distance from departure Comment
27/04/06 16:00 18 04.00N 63 05.60W - Depart St. Maarten
28/04/06 12:00 19 48.39N 63 21.91W 112 Rain Squalls then No wind, motor at 1500 RPM
29/04/06 12:00 21 28.30N 63 31.40W 204 Rain Squalls then No wind, motor at 1500 RPM
30/04/06 12:00 23 25.80N 63 33.80W 329 T-Storms 30 KTS SW, later 8KTS NW, then 15-20 NW
01/05/06 12:00 25 45.80N 63 40.80W 473 Midpoint of trip18-24 KTS  SW. Gusts to 40KTS in front at 0745, then 16-20 KTS SW
02/05/06 12:00 28 14.73N 64 07.88W 639 20-25 Kts SW becoming  12-15KTS W
03/05/06 12:00 30 47.40N 63 03.27W 796 Front shifting to NW. Lite winds, SW 15-18, 2nd larger front with 302KTS gusts settling to 15-25 from W.
04/05/06 12:00 32 22.80N 64 40.60W 914 NW winds 15-25KTS Motorsailed to make Westing. Arrived Bermuda 38 KTS in Town Cut.
From Zenitude's Log Book:
Finally, Zenitude rests at the town docks.  
Arriving together with the front
St George Harbour - 04 to 07 May, 2006
What a lovely island!  It combines nature and culture with clean, safe beaches in a sub-tropical environment. Oscar was amazed at how nice and friendly people of Bermuda are. Everyone he passed would smile and say 'Hello Sir', even the man cleaning the streets.
Slide Show - St George
In the meantime, I was in New Jersey checking our mail. I got the papers with the insurance policy for this first trip of Zenitude.

I was shocked to see the policy covered a trip St. Marin/New York, excluding Bermuda plus the additional requirement of having a crew of 3. The bottom line was, Zenitude was not insured for this trip. After a quick chat with the broker, Bermuda was included in the policy, as this had been the original request, but there was no way around the number of crew required. It had to be 3.
There was no doubt what needed to be done. I caught a plane and some hours later I was happily arriving in Bermuda to join the crew and make up for crew member number 3. The plan was to leave Bermuda next day at sunset, there seemed to be a window and John was in a hurry to get back home.  With that, I joined the crew in Zenitude for the second part of this first trip.
The 400-year old town of St George has been declared a World Heritage Site, its surrounding forts are a focus of authentic, colonial architecture in the New World. Its bright buildings are laid out in a narrow maze of streets with names like Old Maid's Lane and Featherbed Alley. The slide show below shows some of the beatiful buildings and places.
Bermuda is one of the most popular offshore destinations for sailors on the US East Coast and a frequent stop for boats sailing between North America and the Caribbean or Europe.
Once they entered the harbour they found a space in the city docks, which are free for all cruisers that arrive to this beatiful port.
Passage - Bermuda to New York - 7 to 11 May, 2006
We spent a nice day in Bermuda getting fuel, weather maps and talking with other cruisers about the next days' weather. It was not a very firm window but the first 3 days looked good enough for the trip. Zenitude did not have good communication gear and we were counting on SSB radio contact with Herb on Southbound II for weather forecasts.
After farewell drinks with newly found friends we left the docks and started our crossing just as the sun was setting in the horizon. This was my first long passage on a sailboat and as Bermuda's coast line started to fade  away I had a strange feeling while wondering what on earth was I doing here. But soon after the feeling was gone and I got into the cruising mood.
During the first part of the trip we had relatively good weather. On the third day at sea we lost communication on our SSB and were left without any weather information from this day onwards.

We crossed the Gulf Stream in nice and calm weather. On our 5th day at sea we run into a really bad storm with over 40 knots wind and 18 foot seas. As the storm hit and the wind suddenly changed we lost the shackle that was holding the preventer with a big bang.

During the worst part of it Oscar and John had to take turns on the helm as the autopilot would not hold. It was cold and miserable and I had never been so scared at sea before.  For me the worst part was not knowing what it lay ahead in terms of weather as there was no way to get an updated forecast.
After about 12 hours of bad weather the wind and seas started to calm down. We were now close to Long Island shore and a very bad fog started to appear as we were getting close to the continent. Visibility was next to nothing and we transited the big ships route into New York harbour guided just by our radar. At this point we decided we wouldn't attempt to enter New York and headed towards New Jersey's shore, to a marina known to John.  
Celebrating the end of our first passage in Zenitude
After grabbing a mooring at the marina, everything all the sudden was so quiet and still, a beautiful night. We finally could relax, all our fears and troubles quickly forgotten. We made it, our first passage completed. 
Graciela joins the crew for the second part of the trip
Next day, on a beautiful Saturday morning, we left the mooring in Sandy Hook in New Jersey and sailed up the Hudson River to our final destination, a berth at a marina in the New Jersey side of the river.

It was a happy and slow trip with Manhattan on our starboard side, feeling all the excitement of the end of the first trip and the beginning of our new cruising life.

This was the first time we crossed under the Verrazano bridge, sailed along side the Statue of Liberty, passed Hoboken and entered our berth in the marina, right across the Empire State building.  For the next 6 months, this was going to be our home.
Date Time Latitude Longitude Distance from departure Comment
7/05/06 19:00 32 22.80N 64 40.60W - Depart Bermuda
12:00 32 54.06N 66 30.30W 111 SW 12-15 KTS
12:00 33 54 40N 68 48.50W 265 WSW 15-18 KTS
12:00 35 41.90N 70 26.70W 400 W 25-30 in AM
12:00 37 57.90N 71 19.70W 540 Motor Sailing through Gulf Stream in NW Shifted SW 8KTS
12/05/06 12:00 40.08.10N 73 02.10W 708 Shift SW 8-10 Later SW 20-35 w/gusts to 50KTS
12/05/06 20:11 40 26.70N 74 55.00W 754 Arrived in Sandy Hook in FOG
From Zenitude's Log Book: