Nov/Dec 2010 Issue 190: Bermuda Cruising Rally


Many sailors desire to test their mettle on an offshore passage. It is a great undertaking that demands careful planning, time, skill, self-confidence, not to mention a good boat. Fortunately, there are programs that assist the sailor, no matter what their experience level, in safely challenging themselves and their vessels in going offshore.

The Bermuda Cruising Rally is one way of accomplishing this goal ( The idea is that a group of both experienced and inexperienced sailors sail the 650 miles or so from the East Coast to Bermuda. Steve Black pioneered the idea of the Bermuda Rally years ago and now Daniel Goldberg, in association with famed circumnavigator Tania Aebi and Hank Schmitt, is carrying on the tradition.

Goldberg, a 43-year-old sailor and full-time lawyer participated in Black’s Bermuda Rally years ago. He wanted to continue doing the rally when he got a new boat, but Black discontinued the event, focusing instead on his Caribbean 1500 Rally. Goldberg thought the rally a good idea and wanted to try his hand at organizing an annual event. Realizing that he lacked credibility in the sailing world he reached out to Aebi. She liked the idea and partnered with him. Aebi has done all three rallies beginning in 2008. The first year they organized the rally they had three boats participating. Last year they had nine boats and this year 10. Goldberg is also connected with Schmitt who owns Offshore Passage Opportunities, a crew networking service ( For the past two years the rally has begun in Greenport, N.Y., on the east end of Long Island.

Goldberg provides all the services one could hope for. With the assistance of Jenifer and Dane Clark, daily updates are given on the Gulf Stream and weather conditions ( All participants have a satellite phone and twice-daily conference calls are established so that important information can be exchanged. This year the fleet departed Greenport on a Sunday morning, arriving in Bermuda the following Thursday — a good passage.

The cost per boat is $950 plus 25 dollars a head. “Once you slip the dock lines, you are out there on your own,” Goldberg said. The greatest advantage, he thinks, is the large manual that comes with signing up. All the requirements to safely make a passage are detailed in the manual. Few people have offshore experience and Goldberg has collated all the necessary information so little is left to chance.  

On the passage Aebi took some sights. One is of the lower limb of the moon and the other is of Venus. She used a Tamaya sextant that had no error. At the time of her sights the DR of the boat was at 35° 19’ N by 67° 32’ W. Her height of eye was nine feet and there was no watch error.

The time of the moon shot was 23:56:40 GMT on June 22, 2010. The Hs was 27° 40.8’.

The Venus shot was taken at 00:09:01 GMT. Be careful here about the change of day. It is the next day, so we are looking for information for June 23. The Hs of Venus was 25° 04.0’.

A. What is the Ho of Venus?
B. What is the Ho of the moon?
C. What is the fix position?

A: Ho is 29° 59.2’
B: Ho is 28° 42.2’
C: Fix is at 35° 16’ N by 67° 36’ W


ON 190 – Long Solution to Bermuda Rally

David Berson

The Venus/moon fix is a classic means of achieving a fix. Thanks to the modern Nautical Almanac and the sight reduction tables, this seemingly complex sight is not as intimidating as it first appears. Let’s start with Venus

The time of the sight 00:09:01 on June 23, 2010. The DR at the time of the fight is N35°19’ by W67°32’W. Height of Eye is 9 feet. The Hs is 25°04.0’

Hs         25°04.0’                                       Dec.         N19°36.4’  (-0.8’)

-dip               2.9’                                        corr-                    .1’           

App alt   25°1.1’                                        Dec.          N 19°36.3’           

3rd cor –         2.1’


+Venus corr      .1’

HO        24°59.2’

GHA 00 hrs              138°00.6’

+min/sec                        2°15.3’

GHA                          140°15.9’

V cor (0.5’) –                         .1’

GHA                           140°15.8’

-ass long                       67°15.8’

LHA                              73°

AP N 35° by 67°15.8’W

HO249 Vol 2

Hc                     24°24’                      d +31                    Z 83° convert to Zn 277°

+Table 5 corr          19’

Hc                      24°43’

HO                      24°59.2’

Intercept 16.2 nm Toward (HO MO TO)

 The Lower Limb of the moon was shot on June 22 at 23:56:40. The Hs is 27°40.8’ The DR is the same as the Venus shot. Height of Eye is the same as well. The moon tables require a bit more effort and care. The v correction is added to the GHA and the d correction still is assigned to the declination. There is also something called HP (horizontal parallax) which has to be factored in when reducing the sight. There are relatively clear instructions for the process in the Moon Tables in the Nautical Almanac. Go over them a few times if you get lost. Here is how I solved the problem.

GHA        30°12.8’          V 8.7            Dec S 21°37.5’      d 7.3’      HP  57.2

+ min/sec  13°31.3’                              + d corr      6.9’

+ V corr             8,2’                             Dec S 21° 44.4’

GHA          43°52.3’

+                360°

– ass long     67°52.3’

LHA            336°

Hs               27°40.8’

– Dip                    2.9’

App Alt       27°37.9’

+ corr                 59.9  These two corrections are found in the moon tables

+ corr                   4.4’

HO               28°42.2’

HO 249 Vol. 2 (Declination  Contrary to Latitude)

Hc           29°33’                      d -56                Z  154°

Min of dec-  41’

Hc           28°52’

HO           28°42.2’

Intercept  9.8 nm Away                  AP N35° by 52°.3’W

If you take the time to figure this out and plot the LOP’s you will see a very nice fix close to the DR. Have fun and keep up the good work!

By Ocean Navigator