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We’re On Our Way!

Posted by Keith on April 2, 2007 at 1:40 pm  

About 90 miles SW of San Diego
01:45 MST


It’s official! We are now well underway for our first stop, Hawaii!

I’m on graveyard watch – the midnight to 0300 shift. Seas are lumpy with occasional waves over the bow, but we expect this to pass by later today.

I must interrupt this writing every few minutes to check all instruments, radar for approaching ships, and our engine room for leaks, whirs, clanks, etc. – anything suspect, and other than the purr of our diesel engine.

Meanwhile, in an abundance of caution, we are running our Lugger 385 HP engine at a mere 1150 RPM, while consuming just 4.5 gallons of diesel per hour.

Any boat this size will bounce around a bit under these conditions, but all things considered, our ride is incredibly smooth. And quiet: You can hear the clock tick in the pilot house. I’m not kidding.

We’ll need to average at least one knot per hour more if we are to make Hawaii by the 11th or 12th; but this slower rate gives us a chance to double check fuel consumption. And besides, powering up in these relatively heavy seas, just makes the ride more uncomfortable.

We will no doubt increase speed once we have a couple days experience.

Yesterday Morning’s Departure

What can I say about our departure? My wife, Lynn, our sons Mac and Sam, my son, Chris and daughter Laura, and her friend, Mike, were all present. My oldest son and his family were there in spirit but they could not escape the obligations of his new business in Cincinnati in order to be physically with us.

Friends such a Larry and Sharon Gill from Phoenix (who’s son, Gary Devine is the minority whip in the California Assembly), Steve Miller, my friend and the PAE representative who sold me our ship, and Dan Streech, President of PAE, were also on hand.

Also present was publicist Ryan Navarrone and a video crew from Gordon C. James Public Relations, our PR firm. Despite sitting on the runway for two hours in Phoenix yesterday morning, my good friend and neighbor, Gordon James, was not able to fly into San Diego, due to fog at the San Diego airport. He sent his regrets, and we had a nice visit by phone while we were still within cell-phone distance of shore. Finally, a photographer from PAE. We are honored that PAE/Nordhavn is an official sponsor of our trip.

We departed exactly on schedule – 10:58 AM – while broadcasting the entire experience live to our radio listeners back in Arizona. The commercial-free version of yesterday’s radio show can be heard right here on this site, and can be found just below this entry.

We should have plenty of photos and videos of the departure up on this site within the next couple of days.

32.13.143N 119.38.161W
About 130 miles southwest of San Diego
7:20 AM MST

Great Circles and Sat-Com Gear

First Mate Rip Knot is at the helm, and I am typing away at the pilot house settee directly behind him.

He is studying the KVH Sat-Com manual in order to divine the protocol for sending information packets – text, photos and video — back to our website. We’ve done it before, but it has been awhile. In the process, he’ll also instruct us on how to access the internet while at sea.

We should have this up and running by later today.

Meanwhile, the wind has died down a bit. Overnight it peaked at 20 knots. Now it is ranging around 10-16 knots, plus or minus five. This is force 4 on the Beaufort Wind Scale. Force 12 is the highest, so by all standards, this is pretty mild.

However, the ocean is still quite choppy – six-to-twelve-foot swells with modest white caps, and some spray. If our weather routing service’s forecast is correct, things should settle down nicely by later today. This should coincide with us reaching our first waypoint, about 160 miles WSW of San Diego. We’ll then begin steering an increasingly southern course for Hawaii – adjusting a bit more southerly each day.

This curved navigation plan is referred to a “The Great Circle” approach; and may be used between any two distant points on the globe.

Here’s how it works: Instead of drawing a straight line on a flat Mercator map, a Great Circle route takes advantage of the curvature the earth. As an example, if you have a globe at home, just run a string between two distant points, mark the coordinates along the way, and then enter the coordinates on a flat Mercator map. You’ll see that the string’s coordinates actually created an arching route from point A to point B, when measured on the Mercator map.

Einstein might have enjoyed applying his theory of relativity to all this: Are we traveling in a straight or curved line? It depends on the relative standard against which you apply your progress.

I prefer to put it less scientifically: When at sea, the shortest distance between two distant points is a Great Circle curve.


2 Comments so far

  1. Dave Ansell on April 3, 2007 5:51 am

    Do I recognise the name of your First Mate?? I think he was captain of one of the Boats on the Trans Atlantic Rally. As I remember, he had an assertive owner….

  2. Mark A. Senseman on April 3, 2007 8:15 am

    Hi Keith,
    WOW! This is really going to be fun following your Global Adventure!
    As a sportsman, I would suggest you do some Tuna and Bill fishing at your first destination. This would relly help “twist the knife” for those of us work’en slobs…
    Keep the updates coming!!!

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