Sailing to Bermuda

Into the Blue

 

Offshore passages all have their very own unique qualities and for Bruce, this particular trip is one he will not soon forget. Bruce had been working for The Moorings, a yacht charter company with a base in Miami Beach Marina while also working on his captain’s license and generally keeping busy as a mate in South Florida. When the opportunity arose to make the near thousand mile journey along the eastern edge of the Bermuda Triangle, the answer was. . . YES!

The Moorings had partnered with America’s Cup as the official yacht charter supplier during their 35th event. The race sees the most technologically advanced sailing catamarans one could ever imagine with superhuman teams navigating each course.

With little notice, Bruce hopped on a plane to meet his crew in Road Town Marina on the British Virgin Islands. We like to say that he completed a Bermuda Triangle integration of sorts as he made all the points; Miami, San Juan, Bermuda and Back to Miami. No sightings were reported and the fleet, five leopard catamarans, made it safely to their destination.

Offshore Communications

Back on shore, I had little communication regarding vessel location with the exception of AIS when the fleet were in range. I am the type that loves technology. Just to give you an example, seven years ago I sat in on a talk given by Chris Parker and asked when I would be able to have satellite internet access on my 27ft Catalina. He asked me to wait about ten years as the technology was not going to fit on my small sailboat. So here I was, nearly ten years later, wondering about latest technology in cruising communications. Luckily, Sailing Totem came out with a super helpful post while Bruce was gone, Offshore Communications, satellite or SSB? It more than satisfied my curious mind and I also learned about the Predict Wind app.

In addition, I found a very interesting event running parallel with Bruce’s fleet; The inaugural Antigua to Bermuda Race! Using their YB tracking system I enjoyed six days of beautiful racing yachts, cruising/racers, super yachts and multihulls. YB tracking also supports The Transpac, Oyster World Rally and the World ARC. Often I would try and imagine where Bruce and his fleet were in relationship to the Antigua to Bermuda race. They left the same day, really just hours after The Moorings departed Anegada. It was fascinating to read the reports over coffee in the morning which included amazing night sky descriptions, delicious dinners, exercise regimens, searching for wind, suspicious fishing/offloading activity, rescues, kindness, teamwork and finally reaching Bermuda.

The next generation in catamaran Design

When Bruce appeared back on the grid, I found that he spotted the Nigel Irens designed APC78 catamaran! How awesome as Bruce really had no idea how closely I was following their race from Antigua. Nigel Irens had designed some of the Gunboats too and Bruce was fortunate enough to run into  one of those as well, The Zenyatta. The APC78 was the only catamaran racing this year! Get out there Riley and Elayna of La Vagabonde! Paul Gelder of Sail Magazine describes Nigel’s boats in the most beautiful way.

celebrated as a kind of fusion of art and science. Irens’ designs, built for speed and endurance, have been called poems of flowing function, and for decades have been sought after by the hottest sailors on the race circuits.

It’s no wonder that Alexander Simonis, the naval architect behind Leopard, met Nigel Irens at the age of 18 and was quite inspired. The Leopard Catamarans are nice cruising boats not racers. They have a huge charter presence in the British Virgin Islands. Here on Miami Beach our now closed base had only 3 Leopards; mainly for trips over Biscayne Bay and to The Keys compared to the BVI’s 300 or more vessels! You wouldn’t think it but The Leopard catamaran is blue water capable. The firm, Simonis Voogd is known for some pretty interesting race designs. Today, designers are definitely being challenged as sailors dream of both comfort and performance. The Gunboats and Outremers are excellent examples of just that and are very much in a class of their own. Bruce and I are working towards the Outremer 5X. Although Grand Large Yachting paints a pretty awesome picture of the new Gunboat 68ft.

Sail Magazine talked with Alexander Simonis recently about the new Leopard 45 and I am interested to try this one out on charter. Bruce was headed to the Keys with a family on The Moorings 39 recently and came across some nasty weather that I think the 45 would have been well suited for.

Simonis explained that while the hull entry is fine, the hulls flare rapidly above the chine to provide plenty of reserve buoyancy to raise the bows as they enter a wave. This combination gives good speed in wave-piercing mode while keeping the foredeck well clear of heavier seas. He said he also designed the Leopard line with ample bridgedeck clearance and a subtle hull configuration that takes the bow wave smoothly between the hulls. Makes sense to me. Again, it’s hard to argue with a boat that just made it on its hulls from the south Atlantic. (Find the entire article here here. )

A beautiful video of the new boat.

Our New Video!

So the crew from Bermuda makes there way back to the British Virgin Islands this week. Sadly, Bruce was unable to go along on this particular trip. Though I imagine we will have plenty more amazing sailing opportunities ahead. We are so grateful that he was asked on the first crossing! Enjoy the video of Bruce’s first journey on the Leopard 48ft below and follow our You Tube Channel for more adventure this summer.

 

Water In Transit – Crystal Clear

About time to get onboard that sailboat with a desalination unit? Maybe, we could use some extra reverse osmosis in our lives. While we prepare to throw off the bow lines we’ve welcomed the opportunity to try Aqausana’s, Clean Water Machine.

The dust has nearly settled on the corner of Euclid and 11th as perhaps the construction for the back up sewage system and new water main comes to a close. The water still sputters out of the tap and we have heeded the boil water notifications. It’s all completely understandable as Miami Beach raises street levels, installs pumps along the bay and updates our water delivery and waste export systems. The sea levels continue to rise, salt water intrusion becoming a major issue, as well as, the amounts of acceptable contaminants climbing while seemingly floating at a safe level.

Sounds like a lot? It can be overwhelming at times. On the other hand, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department received recognition this summer as a Utility of the Future Today  by the National Association Clean Water Agencies, the Water Environment Federation, the Water Environment Research Foundation and WaterReuse—with advisory support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is awesome news but I still think filtering water is necessary.

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Aquasana’s Clean Water machine, with its sleek and streamlined design has found earned a spot on our countertop

The Biscayne Aquifer always carried this untouchable mysticism for us; clean and pure. We somehow forgot the journey this water takes to reach the glass, first flowing through the Everglades, a fragile river of grass needing much protection and then through city water treatment systems. Last week the U.S. Congress finally approved $1.95 billion for projects to assist the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee, south. A great relief for much-needed improvements as the health of the Everglades and surrounding regions is urgent.

The levels of contaminants in our drinking water should not harm us, yet seeing the streets torn apart, tasting the chlorine and experiencing a couple undesirable side effects, we felt it was time to take it up a notch and further refine the quality and flavor delivered. Austin based water filtration company, Aquasana answered our call. At the helm,Todd Bartee, an environmental engineer, believes that everyone has the right to decide what they consume. We love the ocean, have traveled to hot springs across the country, collected our own water from cold springs, and most recently traveled to Italy being spoiled by awesome mineral water.

Miami Beach on a quiet morning.
Miami Beach on a quiet morning.

I like our water as close to natural as possible and it’s amazing to have the opportunity to remove extra water additives like chloramines with current filter technology. With a vision for accessible health and wellness, Aquasana has inspired us to take a look into the pipes of water travel, in that space between the faucet and the source. It’s definitely a murky conversation with challenging questions on the edge of pollution and clean drinking water. I am proud of everything that Miami-Dade has on the table yet with slow construction I also do not want to increase my visits to the toilet, as well as, the clinic for respiratory discomfort.

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Construction at the intersection of 11th and Euclid looking towards the Biscayne Bay. Miami Beach, FL.

For the last month we have now been creating our own water with Aquasana’s Pure Performance Claryum Technology. It uses activated and catalytic carbon, ion-exchange and absolute sub-micron mechanical filtration for 320 gallons or 2400 plastic bottles in just about six months! At eight times the capacity of gravity filtration on the market we are extremely happy. We are also excited that the selective nature of the filter allows minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium to remain. The filter cartridge is BPA free and recyclable. We know that we have done all that we can to reduce the heavy metals, chlorine resistant cysts, organic chemicals and pharmaceuticals while protecting the environment from waste. Aquasana’s Clean Water Machine is an on demand system consisting of a dock and pitcher using power to push water through their Claryum filter. It reduces 66 contaminants compared to gravity filters reducing 6. The system is NSF certified and we use it for everything from general drinking water, filling the kitty bowl and all manners of kitchen preparation ranging from coffee and tea, soups and smoothies to soaking beans.

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Easy undocking and fill up of the on demand container.

Digging, drilling, pipe installation and ground filtration has unfolded outside our window since last winter. Add that to toxic algae blooms, as well as, the drone of planes covering South Beach with Zika pesticide and additional filtering of water doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Preservation of an aquifer lying just a few feet below the surface has become extremely real to us. Before the construction we didn’t give drinking water a second thought. The process has opened our eyes. The Biscayne Aquifer’s shallow position and permeable limestone structure makes it susceptible to contamination touching the lakes, rivers, streams, canals the bay and ocean.

New awareness is inspiring and we are looking forward to visiting and helping protect our beautiful and natural resources. Take a look at the Aquasana products below from the counter top solutions to whole home water filtration systems. I think our next step will be changing our shower head—way overdue! One step at a time. . .