Days 7 and 8 – Fort Lauderdale

It’s departure day for the Division 2 boats. We have split into two divisions, Division 1, which departs tomorrow, and Division 2 that departed at 3:00pm EST today.

This morning started with a 10:00am Captains briefing. What follows are a few highlights from that briefing:

The Flagship, traveling independently, is a Nordhavn 57, Atlantic Escort
-Our boat, Sans Souci, is the Division 1 escort vessel
Division 2 is lead by Autumn Wind, another Nordhavn 62 
-The weather report from Fort Lauderdale to Bermuda looks good. The first 12 hours are expected to be the worst as the boats proceed north to go around the Bahamas. Waves are estimated at 5 – 7 feet, with an average of 7 seconds of separation, descending to 2 – 4 feet as we approach Bermuda.
-The doctor reviewed with us the process for dealing with medical emergencies. It was made clear that if weather conditions are such that support vessels cannot approach a boat in distress without endangering additional persons, the distressed boat will be on its own. 
-We reviewed the communications plan (twice daily roll calls, radios always on channel 16, single side band on 1282) 
-We went through the arrival procedures in Bermuda 
We will be running in the following formation: each boat will run initially ¼ mile behind and to the port side of the boat in front of it. Our departure will be filmed from a helicopter, so we want to look sharp (as we are being beat up by the waves).

1) Division 1 (Fast Boats Mostly Nordhavn 57’s and 62’s) 
#18 Sans Souci
#16 Grey Pearl
#15 Sea Fox 
#14 Emeritus 
#12 Goleen 
#11 Que Linda 
#19 Crosser

2) Division 2 (Slow boats mostly Nordhavn 46’s) 
#20 Atlantic Escort 
#17 Autumn Wind 
#10 Four Across 
#9 Sundog 
#8 Strickly For Fun
#2 Satchmo 
#3 Envoy 
#4 Egret
#6 Stargazer 
#5 World Odd@Sea 
#1 Uno Mas

-During the day, it’s ok to run close together, but at night we should spread out
-There will be another meeting tomorrow morning for the Division 1 boats 

The departure was almost delayed when a giant cruise ship caught fire, just off shore, and had to be towed into the port. We were listening to the action on the radio, and it became quite exciting when the towropes snapped, and also when the captain of the cruise ship admitted that the boat did not have a fire suppression system in the engine room.

Roberta and I watched the boats depart, until the last of them was out of site. The boats will be motoring early 100 miles north before making the turn to the east to go around the Bahamas. I’m not sure why, but I put on music as we were watching the soundtrack to Titanic. It was almost certainly in poor taste, and not one of my brighter moves…



Division 2 departs from Fort Lauderdale


Autumn Wind leads division 2 out to sea

Within 30 minutes of departure, we had our first incident. Autumn Wind, the escort boat for Division 2, a Nordhavn 62, suddenly had to shut down. Massive amounts of Diesel fuel was spraying everywhere in the engine room. A couple of days ago, we had discussed that fuel frequently seems to be the culprit when things go wrong. I haven’t heard the whole story yet, but my understanding is that one of the return lines, bringing unburned diesel back to the tanks from the engine, had inadvertently been left closed. All of the hot, unburned fuel that wasn’t consumed by the engine, was being pumped under high pressure into a hose that was capped. Fortunately, the crew of Autumn Wind was able to quickly diagnose the problem, make the repairs and resume their place in line. I feel very sorry for whoever had to spend hours, in a sloppy sea, mopping up the mess in the engine room. Autumn Wind, like Sans Souci, has a small backup engine. My assumption is that they were able to slow down and run on it, while making repairs.

Five N46’s head out to sea


As I type this, I am uploading a lot of new pictures to the site, mostly of the boats leaving the dock. I had staked out a place from which to take pictures of the departing boats, but everyone took off at least 30 minutes early, and I missed the great shots. The pictures of the departure can be found on the website under the Nordhavn Rally menu item. From there, select Photos Part I followed by Departure.

The afternoon was spent doing some final tweaking on electronics, and washing the boat. We put a net across the back of the boat so that Shelby(our dog) won’t fall off. I’m looking out the window now watching the Division 2 boats running about a mile off shore. They really look like they are getting tossed around. The wind is supposed to subside a bit over the next 24 hours. I have my fingers crossed.

Tonight, we went to dinner in Miami with the whole crew, with a stop by Christian Fittipaldi’s house, where Rip made his final departure speech to the crew. We spent an hour discussing man overboard procedures, and reiterating about 20 times that safety is priority #1.

Tomorrow morning will be busy with final details. There will be a kick off briefing, which I assume will be largely redundant to the briefing this morning. I have to return our rental car, etc. My guess is that I w
on’t send another update until we are at sea.  

P.S. – In Friday’s e-mail I mentioned that there is a correlation between the length of a boat, and its maximum speed (on full-displacement boats). Here’s the formula: maximum speed = 1.3 x the square root of the length of the boat at the water line.





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