Sunday, October 31, 2010

Provisioning for 10 Days at Sea

One of my most time consuming tasks has been planning the meals for the 8-12 crossing from Hampton, VA to Tortola, BVI. As a rookie at this - not to mention the limited storage and workspace in the galley - I have planned and planned. Then I shopped and cooked!

I have planned two meals a day: a hearty mid-day meal and a robust soup/sandwich evening meal. This was recommended by one of our two experienced crew members who suggested that everyone is very tired at the end of the day. Since I will be the one in the galley, it makes sense to me to work harder in the morning.

Another problem I have to address is: what will people "feel" like eating. Who knows how much sea sickness we will endure. Obviously I am not serving spaghetti and meat balls on the first day! Lighter fare - and ingredients that won't stain the boat or clothing - will be offered until our systems adjust to the motion.

To make life in the galley easier, I have pre-cooked all of the meat and frozen it by recipe. Then I bagged all canned and dry goods for each recipe and labeled it. If it works, it will be easy to pull the meat out of the freezer and grab the correct bag of remaining ingredients and presto: there is the meal! I sure hope it works the way I imagine. I am just not sure about cooking at a 15 degree angle while riding up and down on the waves. And if sea sickness gets me, then anyone can pull the ingredients and make the meal!

So what are we eating? Beef stroganoff, chicken and rice, beef burgundy, spaghetti and Italian sausage meatballs, chop suey, beef stew, curried chicken, rigatoni, ham, chicken cacciatore, chili, white chicken chili, brocolli cheddar soup, clam chowder, beef barley soup, potato soup, corn chowder, chicken noodle soup plus some surprises for the crew. And if we are lucky, we may have fresh fish along the way! We purchased an offshore rod and reel, etc.

The biggest challenges were stowing all of the provisions and remembering where I put them! Not good for one with low estrogen (it's important for memory, ladies). The second challenge was getting the frozen food to Maryland: will the airline TSA confiscate it from me or should I ship it overnight? I did carry it on Southwest and it was fine - and still frozen solid when I got to the boat.

Here is what the provisioning mess looks like. Finding a place for everything is a real challenge!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Whether or Not: The Weather

Warning: Red sky in the morning!
Here we are in Hampton, VA finishing the last details for our final inspection. I can't tell you how many trips to West Marine we have made! I don't want to get the American Express bill when we get home! Every seminar gives us a few more suggestions and items to acquire for our safety and comfort.

Today we are getting briefed on sea sickness and various safety procedures. The key point was that sea sickness is mostly a state of mind. Like Henry Ford said, "If you think you will be sick, you will!" A little paraphase of Henry there. I am not going to be sick. I am not going to be sick. I am not going ...

We are getting hit with the winds you had in Michigan a couple of days ago. The wind is out of the north and the temperature dropped 25+ degrees overnight. We had two days of on and off showers with intermitent sunshine and blue skies. I can see why everything is on hold until the last minute for the final weather forecast. We will know on Sunday if we are, indeed, leaving on Monday.

They are suggesting that we may be delayed a day or two if this blow and low pressure system doesn't get out in front of us. I am real glad we have the boat we do as she is built for offshore sailing. There are a couple of 34' and 37' boats that I would not want to be in. We have put up our enclosure which will keep us warmer and drier than most. I am not too sure about line of sight issues with it up, though. We will all have to keep our eyes looking for danger: other boats, big ships, weather, floating objects, etc.

The marina is full of big beautiful yachts. There are over 80 boats in the Caribbean 1500 so it should be a spectacular sight when we all leave the harbor and head out to the ocean. We have met the couple from Germany with a Hallberg-Rassy 40. They sailed double-handed from Sweden to the Med, then to the US and down the coast to Hampton. Now they are going south to the islands. Another couple from the Netherlands has a huge catamaran. It will probably fly all the way down. Here are photos of Sophie and Pikutidu (her flags spell her name).

You can follow us by going to and clicking on the FOLLOW THE FLEET area at the top. We are in Crusing Class 7 and are a yellow track when you click on positions. If you go to the bottom of the photos, you will see Sherry on the way to the laundry! Just like at home - it is never done!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Leg: Herrington Harbor North, MD to Hampton, VA

Bright (well, bright by the light of the full moon) and early we left the dock at Herrington Harbor North in Tracey's Landing, MD. We had said our "thank yous" to the wonderful crew at Free State Yachts who have been our Maryland family for the last year and a half. We can't say enough about their customer service and great hospitality while Trillium spent more time in their "backyard" than in the water.

We had a little bon voyage cocktail party with Roger, Liz and hubby Bill, Scott and Amy plus one of our crew members, Stuart, and his wife Sondra. It is very nice of Sondra to loan us Stuart for a couple of weeks.

Stuart, Sondra & Amy

After a fun evening with all of them, we crashed into bed with the alarm set for 4 AM. We were up and pulling away from the dock at 5 AM in the black of the night guided with light of a beautiful full moon. We have had many nights under the Maryland full moon as we tend to be there at the right time.

A couple of hours later the sun began to rise with a long low red glow in the east while the full moon was still shining across the water in the west. It was beautiful! It is not often you can see both at the same time unobstructed. It was very cold, though.

Dennis & Roger (Mr. Hallberg-Rassy Answer Man)

The wind was brisk and the waves on the nose, but we continued south toward Virgina for in 2-3 foot seas for 12 hours. Around 4:30 PM we pulled into Little Bay off Fleet Bay just north of the Rappohannock River. We had been up that River before so we were somewhat familiar with the water there. By 5:15 PM we had anchored. Dinner was served and we crashed again! We tend to go to bed with the sunset and get up with the sunrise.
Looking west at 6 AM

Looking east at 6 AM
On Sunday we pulled out at 8 AM and motor sailed into the SSW wind all the way  to Hampton, VA which is across from Norfolk. It is a very busy shipping and naval area so we were please to pull into our slip before sunset. The wind was on the nose again but it got warmer as we went south.

In Hampton at the BluewaterYachting Center, we were greeted by Pixie, the wife of our second crew. Bob was putting his boat away and joined us shortly. Pixie, being a true southern belle, arrived with fresh baked goodies for us. The four of us went to dinner. Then in the truest expression of southern hospitality, they left one of their cars at the marina for us to use all week! Truly generous since we had just met them!  
Bob & Pixie

A couple of tired sailors!
 We are looking forward to working with our crew as we head to the BVI. It is going to be a real adventure. Sherry is still concerned about the 10-15 foot waves people are talking about!
We have a couple of days of seminars and briefings and some social gatherings and then we are off. By the way, we have been watching the windy weather back home and see it coming our way!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trying to Make This Blog User Friendly

It was great to hear from so many of you that you have subscribed to Skipperette's Log. Some of you are having trouble so I am trying to make it more user friendly. I am sure I will continue to tweak it as I learn more about Blogger and Flickr.

Right now I am having trouble myself: I can't figure out how to post photos in the Flickr area and I don't know where to find the place where you can make comments. So I can understand your frustration, too!

You can always just go to to read the latest. If you register with one of the feed links on the right or at the bottom of the page, you will receive any updates by email. Hopefully I will get this all worked out before we head offshore and out of email range. Do continue to let me know what challenges you are having so I can address them in the next few days.

NOTE: I have also learned that sometimes an older post disappears. When I click on HOME at the end of the post, the others show again. You can move between current, older and newer ones. I hope this helps and I welcome any tips you may have, too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Going from Land to Sea: A Cozy Space

Here is a quick tour of our new digs. It is cozy and no room for "stuff." In a wonderful way, living aboard is a simplified lifestyle. At the same time it has its challenges: not enough room for some tasks, need to move at least three things to get to what you want, tests your memory to recall where you stowed everything, etc.

We have three cabins and two heads (bathrooms) with showers. Here is our cabin. We each have a closet (hanging locker) that is about 12" wide and 4.5' high. I now know the meaning of "packing lightly!" Actually, you end up wearing the same few clothes again and again. We even have a washing machine onboard!

The main saloon - say "salon" - don't know why they spell in like a watering hole except that probably a lot of drinking takes place here. I will have to see how that works for me! There is a liquor/wine cabinent in the center of that table you see here. Convenient, huh?

The galley is very "compact" but efficient. That is if you like moving four things to get to what you want. And, of course, everyone drops "things" on the tiny counter space that I have at the bottom of the companion way!

If you come to visit, you can have your choice of two cabins: the forward V-berth or the port double bunk cabin. It is cozy, but ... It is a sailboat. after all. And not the Ritz!

Then there is the "heart" of it all: the Navigation Station! This is the most important area as it has all of the electronic andcommunication equipment. We have added a few new "toys" to make our offshore adventures safer. There is a lot to learn to get the maximum benefit from them. Some of it is going to be en route training as we just need to use it to get more proficient.