Aboard Virginia: Upwind to the cut

Ocean Navigator editor Tim Queeney is aboard the schooner Virginia, en route to Bermuda on an offshore celestial navigation seminar. The following are his comments from Saturday, November 21st. We will post Tim’s latest reports as he sends them in, so be sure to check back frequently.

Captain Stefan Edick of Schooner Virginia reminded us early on that we might pay for our good fortune. Multiple days of northerly breeze had propelled Virginia along the 770-mile rhumb line toward Bermuda. We gobbled up the miles on port tack, never once having to shift the sails. On Thursday, however, with 150 miles to go, the wind shifted.

We had contemplated a single long port tack run along the rhumb line, but now a northeast breeze barred us from a triumphant entry through St. George’s cut. We would be forced to work the last buck fifty miles. Captain Edick ordered a long starboard tack to the north in an effort to get above a stalled trough that lay across Bemuda like a yellow police tape. We spent most of a night headed north. We hoped for a shift to the southeast that never fully materialized. A counterpunching welterweight, the wind kept us off balance as it bobbed between northeast, east and east southeast.


In the final two days we motorsailed, beating and pinching our way toward St. Georges. After the hardy geometry of many upwind tacks, the pink-encrusted islands appeared and grew ever larger. I was honored to man the helm, under the steady eye and sure command of first mate Dylan Clark, as Virginia crossed the skinny waters of Town Cut into St. Georges Harbor in the afternoon hours of Saturday, November 21. The captain’s edict concerning final payment for the rollicking good times of the first few days proved prescient. We paid in the shiny coin of hourly upwind slants, sailing more than 1,020 miles to make good our passage from Charleston to Bermuda aboard Virginia.


In addition to our stalwart captain and hardy first mate, the rest of Virginia’s crew were an impressive mix of professionalism and infectious good humor: second mate Caroline Seavey, bosun Michael Magno, engineer Aaron Sanders and deckhands Will Smith, Casey Gordon, Keith Barkwood, Jasmine McCracken, Mackenzie Haberman, Goldwin Smith and Sophie Martel. And perhaps the most important crewmember of all, cook Carey Drager.


By Ocean Navigator