Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mahina Kai Day 4 - Back on the Continental Shelf

Mahina Kai and her crew continue to progress towards Newport.

Currently we are about 120 nautical miles from the entrance of the harbor. We are now past the Gulf Stream and continuing a steady pace of sailing and motoring to our destination. In the gulf stream the water approached 90 degrees F. Now the water is 75 degrees it will likely be high 60's when we return to Newport.

The crew continues to make its way through the provisions our shore team left in the freezer. Tonight's dinner is Meatball & Vegetable calzones.

Now that we are past the gulf stream we appreciate the break from the heat. But we do miss the blue sky and the matching crystal blue water. Towards New England the sky and water have both taken on a more gray tone.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Mahina Kai Day 3 - The Gulf Stream

Mahina Kai motored through the night until the wind settled to a light SW wind just after sunrise which turned us back into a sailboat. It is a very hot and sunny day on the ocean and the wind increased steadily throughout the afternoon. At about 1700 ADT we entered the Gulf Stream with 16-20 kts of wind from the SW, moving along at a lively pace.

Digging down into the freezer, we came upon Janet's moon pies, or Black Moons to us easterners, a welcomed treat frozen or thawed. For dinner we had Jim's lasagne, very tasty, we miss you Jim but, someone has to work.

Right now the wind is calming down and the sky clear enough for a great sunset and peaceful night at sea.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Day 2 Return - Greetings from the Sargasso Sea

We are just settling in for the evening of Day two of our sail from
Bermuda back to Newport, Rhode Island. We have ~450 nautical miles remaining in our trip.

Yesterday afternoon was very hot leaving Bermuda. Scattered
thunderstorms threatened our journey and we watched a few waterspouts (kinda like baby tornado's on the sea). We have often seen these crossing the gulf stream but never so close to Bermuda.

Paula's chicken parm. was a hit for dinner.

The evening was uneventful with light and variable winds. Similar to the situation we found ourselves in during the race. The difference on this trip is that we are not racing, so we can leverage the engine to motor through the light wind.

As the clouds gradually moved off to the SE, the 4-6 AM watch was treated to Venus rising in the east and reflecting off the ocean. Is that a Venua Kai? We then set sails and shut off the engine.

The crew was awoken for the 6 AM watch with a fresh breeze. Fresh enough to roll several crew members out of their bunks. We have had a great sail most of the day, enjoying 10-15 of wind allowing us to make great way under sail. We also witnessed an amazing sunrise behind the remnants of the evening's thunder storm clouds.

As I write this the wind has lightened and shifted a little more to the
east and we are taking advantage of that foul current we met during the race, about 2.5 kt to the NW. While perhaps not the best conditions for making minimum time to Newport, it should allow some restful sleep for the off watch crew.

Our thanks to Ken for posting these to our blog site.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mahina Kai - Day 1 Sailing Home

An early start this morning for vacationers, we rose at 7 to a Bermuda shower and rainbow off the deck. A fitting farewell to a fun vacation. Another load of gear and food on-board, we set off to the fuel dock for 200 liters of diesel, just in case, and then off to St. Georges to clear customs. On our way at 1:55 PM ADT. It is a sunny hot day and the weather home looks to be favorable after this front moves through overnight. The crew is all smiles and glad to be aboard our floating home for the passage. The mega yachts are also clearing out and Hamilton Harbor is looking a bit empty. See you next time Bermuda!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Packing, Provisions and Preparing for the Sail Home Mahina Kai – Day 13 Bermuda

Today was our last day in Bermuda for this journey. A few showers this morning gave way to partly sunny skies, 84F, 72% humidity. We lounged, did laundry, provisioned the boat, swam, made updates to the web site (check it out), blog and tracking, and finalized weather routing and course back home. The Harbourfront Restaurant is making us dinner tonight, hoping that it is as good as we remember. Hey Wayne, shoes are required for dinner.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Thoughts on the Race, Bermuda and the Journey Home

The 2017 MBR had 50 entries and 9 boats retired or did not start the race, Mahina Kai was 9th in her class and 33rd overall in the division. Not our best finish, but a finish none the less. We certainly struggled with the lack of wind and adverse current in the middle of the race. Hopefully, we have learned a few new tricks on light air sailing that we can leverage on future adventures.

Even though, our overall finish was less than we had hoped, we cannot be more proud of the crew of Mahina Kai. Everyone performed exceptionally well and we completed the race without incident. This is our 3rd Marion Bermuda race. At the beginning of each race the crew is left with a simple rule to follow… Clip in, take your time, our goal is to not use single band aid.

During one of Mark Twain’s visit to Bermuda he was rumored to have said: “You can go to Heaven if you want, but I would rather stay in Bermuda,”  Mahina Kai and her crew stayed on several days after the Marion Bermuda race enjoying the Americas Cup match races and the J-Boats regatta. During our extended visit we can certainly understand how Mr. Twain came to that conclusion.

It has been an amazing visit to the island with over 2 dozen family and friends joining us in Bermuda to help us celebrate the event and many more who followed us online.  We continue to be amazed by the generosity and friendliness of the people of Bermuda.

The crew now appears to be rested and ready for the return journey back to New England. The next few days will include weather updates, trips to the grocery store and preparing Mahina Kai for her return voyage to Rhode Island. We are sad to depart but, eager to return home.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mahina Kai – Day 6 Marion to Bermuda – Land Ho

Wind SW 12kts Seas 2-4ft
Mahina Kai – Day 6 Marion to Bermuda – Land Ho

The final task related to the race is to finish.  Bermuda is a figure-8 laying sideways with Hamilton Harbour and the Great Sound to the west, and St. Georges Harbour to the east.  The entire western and northern coastline is protected by over 300 square miles of coral reef which makes the race finish and approach into Hamilton Harbour especially complex. 

Many boats are converging on the finish now, and are popping up on our charts as they get closer.  As we approach, we have a half-dozen navigation aids that we need to pass to the right on the way to the finish line.  After the finish off St. Georges, we turn out to sea, loop around to the West and enter the channel.  Since this is a night finish, we will anchor at St. Georges, and sail to Hamilton in the morning.  It will take a couple hours for us to navigate the channel through the reefs to the Western end of Bermuda and the Great Sound to Hamilton.

This year, the America’s Cup is being held in Bermuda, and the boats are racing in the Great Sound, which we will need to pass through on the way to our port at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club.  Additionally, this year, there will be large J-boat racing in the ocean along the south side of the island.  The J-boats are 100’ racers, and they will look quite spectacular racing in sight of the pink-sand beaches of Bermuda’s southern shore.  

Once we arrive at the RHADC, and give the boat a bath, I look forward to the RHADC fish stew served with Goslings rum and sherry peppers.

On the menu today breakfast burritos, sandwiches, tacos for dinner. Cookie of the day: Suns!

#SVMahinaKai #MBR2017

Mahina Kai – Day 5 Marion to Bermuda – Calm Seas

Wind SW 3kts Seas 1-2ft
Mahina Kai – Day 5 Marion to Bermuda – Calm Seas

Weather weather everywhere, but not a gust to sail by.
Another day of struggling to find a puff of air.  We had a few periods of modest wind, but largely calm with little progress. 

The monotony of the day was punctuated by a visit from a pod of dolphins, which always excites the crew.  A few seabirds enjoyed fishing in the wake of our boat, and we passed an occasional Portuguese Man o’ War.  These fellows are even more at the wims of mother nature, relying solely on wind propulsion captured by their above-water sail.

Normally on sail races, it is bouncy, the boat is heeled over, and eating is on paper plates.  With the weather being so calm, the Captain has called for the china to be brought out of the closet for a dinner al fresco in the cockpit with lasagna, salad, and fresh fruit cup.  Cookie of the day: Stars!


We continue to hope for some gathering weather, but if this does not come, we will have some serious discussions about our provisions, and how long we can continue enjoying this Bermuda High.

#SVMahinaKai #MBR2017

Mahina Kai – Day 4 Marion to Bermuda – Weatherman said there’d be days like this

Wind SW 6.6kts Seas 1ft
Mahina Kai – Day 4 Marion to Bermuda – Weatherman said there’d be days like this

The Weatherman said there’d be days like this.  There’d be days like this, the Weatherman said.
Having cleared the main Gulf stream current, we are now in the third leg of this race, the Sargasso Sea and Bermuda approach.  The challenge now is to thread the needle of ocean currents and setup a route that provides the fastest path to the finish line outside.

At the Skipper’s briefing on Thursday, the Meteorologist described how the winds from the receding storm on Friday would give way to high pressure areas around Bermuda, and cause winds to lighten.  He said to bring a deck of cards for the last leg.  He was right about that!  In late evening yesterday, winds began to fade, and today we find ourselves with barely four knots of wind and flat seas.  Although we see no vessels around us, we know many other boats are experiencing the same situation. 

When there is a little wind, a sailboat cuts through the chop of the waves and rides relatively smoothly to its powerboat cousins.  But, when there is no wind, a sailboat bobs around like a cork in a bucket.  When waves move past, the boat rocks back and forth, unfilled sails rattling.   It becomes noisy, bouncy, and a difficult place to sleep!

Today on the watch, we have seen some Portuguese Man o’ War, and Sargasso seaweed, which becomes more prevalent once we pass the gulf stream.

Thankfully, we get a little lift in the wind around lunchtime.  We adjust our sails, make final course adjustment to Bermuda, and we are on our way.  Progress is modest, but at least we are making forward advancement against the currents.  This fades after a few hours and in the afternoon we are again halted and bobbing.  There is a wind rally around dinnertime.  We are hopeful for some consistency in the wind, which will make for some progress in the night.

BLT Sandwiches and chicken salad are on the menu, chicken pot pie for dinner, Cookie of the day is: Blue whales.

#SVMahinaKai #MBR2017